§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 3.33 p.m.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Nutting)
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
As the House knows, the Treaty of Peace with Japan was signed at San Francisco by representatives of the late Government on 8th September; and this Bill is a consequential matter which will, I hope, commend itself to the House. Before I say anything more about the Bill, however, I should like to revert briefly to the Japanese Peace Treaty itself.
The House will recall that the draft of the Treaty, in substantially the same terms as the Instrument signed at San Francisco, was published as a White Paper on 12th July, and was discussed in general terms by the House on 25th July. During that discussion, certain hon. Members on both sides of the House expressed anxiety lest so liberal a treaty might expose this country's trade to damaging competition from Japan.
The prosperity of British industry must always be one of the principal concerns of any Government, and, indeed, of the House, but I am sure that whatever may be the merits of trying to protect this country's industries against unfair and injurious competition, a treaty of peace is emphatically not the means which we should seek to use. It is impossible, even if it were desirable, to attempt, so to speak, to write our own Customs regulations into an international agreement, negotiated and signed by a number of different States, and to expect them to be accepted.
Fifty-four States at war with Japan were consulted during the preparation of this Treaty, and in expressing their own views His Majesty's Government took careful note of the requirements and needs of the Colonies. None of these States was in a position to dictate the terms of the commercial articles of the Peace Treaty. In fact, the terms represent, as indeed, do the terms of all multilateral treaties, the maximum distance which all the participants were prepared to go in any particular direction.
880 In a multilateral treaty of this kind, therefore, it would have been quite impossible, even had the Government at that time wished to do so, for them successfully to insist upon the inclusion in the Treaty of provisions which restricted Japanese industry or production. Indeed, even if it could have been agreed to insert restrictive provisions of this character, the Allied Powers would have had no means of enforcing their observance by an independent and sovereign Japan.
The right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger) dealt with all this in the debate last July, and, if my memory serves me correctly, the House as a whole seemed ready to accept his explanation. I think, therefore, that I can fairly say that the draft Peace Treaty appeared then to be generally acceptable to the majority on both sides of the House, despite those inevitable omissions and imperfections to which I have referred.
I believe that that general feeling still continues, and as far as this side of the House is concerned, at any rate, we support the Treaty as the best treaty we were likely to achieve in the circumstances; and we welcomed its signature at San Francisco as enabling us, in the words used last July by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to resume our historically close association with the Japanese people. As the record of the Japanese Peace Conference at San Franciso shows, this spirit also animated the 47 other Allied States, including 11 Asiatic countries, which signed the Peace Treaty on 8th September.
The Treaty of Peace with Japan will not come into force until it has been ratified by Japan and by the majority of the States which were principally concerned with the negotiations. These States are Australia, Canada, Ceylon, France, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Japan has now ratified the Treaty, and I understand that she intends to deposit an Instrument of Ratification in the very near future.
As forecast in the Gracious Speech, His Majesty's Government have presented the text of the Treaty to the House before ratification. As the House is aware, the only constitutional requirement for ratification is that the text of the Treaty must 881 first be laid before the House for 21 Sitting days. The White Paper containing the text of the Japanese Treaty will have been before the House for this period on 6th December.
I understand that while it is the usual practice to allow time for a debate before ratifying an important treaty, this is not a strict constitutional requirement, but if, as I understand, Mr. Speaker, discussion on the Second Reading of the Bill will be allowed by you to range widely over the Peace Treaty as a whole, and provided, of course, that the House is prepared to give a Second Reading to the Bill, the Government will regard this discussion as having afforded proper Parliamentary opportunity for debating the Treaty prior to its ratification by the Government.
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison (Lewisham, South)
I want to get the constitutional or Parliamentary doctrine clear. I am speaking from memory, but this is deeply embedded in my mind, although I am open to correction. I have it clearly in mind that, starting with one of the early minority Labour Governments I think it was conceded that a Treaty should lay upon the Table—this is a very important Treaty whether one agrees with it or not—and if by the Opposition, or by a substantial wish in the House, there were a desire to challenge it, argue about it, or have it discussed, the Government of the day would provide facilities for that to be done. Thereafter, the ratification would take place. If there is no such demand within a certain number of days—40 or whatever it may be—of course the Government are free to ratify it.
I hope the hon. Gentleman is not challenging the right of Parliament to challenge or debate a treaty, if Parliament is so minded, before the expiry of a certain number of days. I know it is happening now, but, by the doctrine he was enunciating, I thought the hon. Gentleman was challenging that doctrine.
§ Mr. Nutting
No, I do not think so. The Treaty has been lying on the Table for some considerable time and the necessary period which the constitution requires that it shall lie on the Table will have expired on 6th December. Although this Bill is a narrow Measure, and only deals with narrow points, I understood from inquiries I made that you, Mr. Speaker, would permit a general discussion and a fairly wide discussion to take place upon the Japanese Peace Treaty as a whole in order that the House should have full and proper opportunity today to express its view upon the Treaty and to debate the issue as well as the narrow issues contained in this Bill.
§ Mr. Speaker
This Bill, as I read it, provides machinery for carrying out the Treaty, if it is entered into, and I think it would be in order, therefore, to discuss the merits of the Treaty in general as arguments for showing whether this machinery is really necessary and approved by the House. I had, therefore, proposed to allow the discussion on this subject to be wide.
§ Mr. Morrison
That is agreeable to me, Sir, and I thank you for the understanding Ruling you have given, but I am not on this particular Treaty only. I only want to be sure that what I have conceived to be the traditional rights of the House for some years past are not being challenged by the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Nutting
I offer in no way a challenge to the rights and privileges which the right hon. Gentleman has at heart and I hope that the explanation I have now given and the Ruling you have given, Mr. Speaker, will satisfy the House that this occasion, this afternoon, will present adequate opportunity for debating the Treaty as a whole.
I should like to take this opportunity of saying that His Majesty's Government attach very considerable importance to ratifying the Japanese Peace Treaty and thereby fulfilling their part in bringing it into effect. I think the House will agree that it would be not only unjust, but definitely contrary to our political and commercial interests, to leave Japan as an occupied State. It is of the greatest importance to this country that we should resume direct diplomatic and commercial relations with the Japanese Government 883 at the earliest possible opportunity. Since the end of hostilities in 1945 the political situation in the Far East has been distorted by the necessary occupation of Japan.
I believe that the restoration of Japan to the community of nations will help to stabilise conditions in that unsettled part of the world and assist the establishment of more normal international relations in Asia. In consequence, therefore, it is important that, when the Japanese Peace Treaty comes into force, His Majesty's Government should be able both to carry out their obligations under the Treaty and its accompanying Protocol and also to make use of the rights the Treaty confers upon them.
This brings me to the Bill before the House. As the House is no doubt aware this Bill is the child of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. That it became a foundling left on the Foreign Office doorstep for us to adopt is due to the fact that there was no Parliamentary opportunity for the party opposite to bring it forward after they had signed the Treaty of Peace. I make no complaint about that, but, as the new foster father, I am warning right hon. Gentlemen opposite that I shall look to them for help in protecting the child against the murderous intentions of those full-blooded Pharaohs, the hon. Members for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith), and Central (Dr. Stross).
The passage of this Bill through Parliament is essential if we are to resume normal commercial relations with Japan because, until we have cleared up—as it is the purpose of the Bill to give power to clear up—all the tangled mass of claims and contracts arising from the existence of a state of war between Britain and Japan, a resumption of normal relations between the two countries will be delayed.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)
An important constitutional point arises here which, I think, it is necessary to clear up now. Would the hon. Gentleman agree that the acceptance, or ratification, of the Peace Treaty is a Royal Prerogative and that that prerogative cannot be used unless Parliament provides that machinery? Therefore, in order to get that machinery, this Bill must be passed and, if it is not passed, the Royal Prerogative cannot be used?
§ Mr. Nutting
If I may say so, that is a technical point, but a technical point of great importance. Constitutionally, I am advised that it is not essential for this Bill to pass through Parliament in order that the Government might ratify the Peace Treaty. Constitutionally, that is not a strict requirement.
§ Mr. Nutting
Yes, for the King to ratify it. Naturally, if the Bill were defeated, His Majesty's Government would regard its defeat as an attack upon the Peace Treaty as a whole and it is for that reason, among others, that I ask the House to give the Bill a Second Reading so that we may ratify the Peace Treaty and that, by doing so, we may resume normal commercial and political relations directly with the Japanese Government and people.
While it is possible to indicate to the House, in a general way, the kind of subjects connected with the Peace Treaty which require legislative provisions, it is not at present possible to state precisely what provisions will actually be necessary. Hon. Members may recall that a similar situation arose when the Treaties of Peace (Italy, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland) Bill, to implement the Peace Treaties with those countries, was considered and approved in 1947. The present Bill follows the precedent of that Statute.
The Bill is an enabling Measure which, in the words of Clause (1), confers upon His Majesty the power tomake such appointments, establish such offices, make such Orders in Council, and do such things as appear to Him to be necessary for carrying out the said Treaty and Protocol, and for giving effect to any of the provisions thereof.Perhaps I might here give the House some examples of the action which may be required under the Bill to enable His Majesty's Government to carry out their obligations under the Peace Treaty and its accompanying Protocol. Sections A to D of the Protocol prescribe rules in accordance with which contracts, periods of prescription, negotiable instruments and insurance and re-insurance contracts affected by the war shall be regulated both in Japan and in the United Kingdom. 885 In order to provide for the implementation of these rules in this country it will be necessary to give them legal effect by Order in Council.
There is also the exercise of the rights acquired by this country under the Peace Treaty and the Protocol. In connection with these, action under the present Bill will be necessary to implement Article 14 of the Peace Treaty, which, as hon. Members will recall, entitles His Majesty's Governmentto seize, retain, liquidate or otherwise dispose of all property rights and interests of Japan and Japanese nationalssituated in this country. Such property is subject to control under Trading with the Enemy legislation in this country, in accordance with which it has been preserved in contemplation of arrangements to be made at the conclusion of peace. To enable His Majesty's Government to take over this property and to dispose of it will require legislative provisions by Orders in Council.
Article 15 of the Peace Treaty provides for the restoration of British property situated in Japan which had been taken over or otherwise controlled by the Japanese Government. It may be necessary to set up machinery to take full advantage of this right. This also may necessitate action of one or another of the kinds contemplated in Clause 1 of the Bill from which I have already quoted. Apart from the economic and financial provisions to which I have referred, there is little in the Japanese Peace Treaty and its accompanying Protocol which directly involves Parliamentary legislation. Most of the obligations in the Treaty, as the House is aware, are imposed upon Japan, and they are political and social, as well as economic in character. Such obligations of this kind as devolve upon the Allied Powers do not, I am advised, require legislation to implement them.
As I have already said, I very much hope that we are still generally agreed upon the necessity and desirability of a Treaty of Peace with Japan; and I trust we shall be equally of one mind upon the importance of our being in a position fully to resume relations with Japan in accordance with the Peace Treaty as soon as that instrument comes into effect.
§ 3.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Kenneth Younger (Grimsby)
I rise on behalf of the Opposition to support the Second Reading of the Bill. I imagine that this will be no surprise to the House, in view of the fact that the Treaty was negotiated by the late Government, and was signed at San Francisco on behalf of His Majesty by my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), the British Ambassador in Washington and by myself.
So far as this Bill is concerned as you, Mr. Speaker, said, it is really a Bill to provide machinery; and so far as I am aware, no controversy arises on the rather small-scale machinery which is required to carry out this Treaty, if it is ratified. I do not therefore propose to take up the time of the House in discussing any details of the Bill itself, but I am aware that there have been many misgivings of different kinds expressed about the nature of this Treaty, misgivings which are shown, at any rate in one manifestation, in the Motion for the rejection of the Bill which is on the Order Paper in the name of several of my hon. Friends.
Since I was so closely concerned with this Treaty at any rate in its latter stage, I should like to be allowed to attempt to put the matter in perspective as I see it. The House will agree that at the present time there is no more troubled area in the world than the Far East, and any settlement in that area involves several major elements. There are at least three major Powers actually there—the Soviet Union, China and Japan—and other major Powers, including ourselves and the United States, have traditional and quite legitimate interests in the area.
In the post-war period events in China have been so spectacular, and Japan, in the meantime, has been so much in eclipse, that I think the immense importance of Japan in Asia and the Far East has tended to be overlooked, particularly in this country. Recent events in 1950 and this year in the Far East seem, unfortunately, likely to postpone a settlement of the relationship of the new China with her neighbours and ourselves. But to suggest that, until all these very difficult matters are solved, the relations of Japan with the outside world should, or even can, remain static, is gravely to under-estimate the importance of Japan 887 in the Far East; and the danger of holding up for very much longer her return to international society.
Quite apart from recent events in the Far East, the basic problem of peace settlement with Japan was bound to be intrinsically very difficult. I suppose that no country has had a more remarkable history over the last 100 years than has Japan. She emerged from feudal isolation to become a very great industrial and trading Power, with interests all over the world. She has, so far, been the only Asian State able to rival the West in technology and production. Her population has risen in the last 20 years by very nearly 20 million people. To support that population the Japanese islands, like the British Isles with their heavy population, require access to raw materials and markets in many places outside the islands themselves.
There was a slight chance that Japan would achieve access to those raw materials and markets without disturbing the peace of the world. There was what I might call a rather brief liberal interlude in her history. But that passed, and as things turned out, Japanese expansion, under the fanatical leadership of militarism, and in the interests of a rapacious industrial and commercial system, took the path of conquest and war, with the results and sufferings to Asia, the Commonwealth and the United States, about which we all know.
These events have inevitably left a legacy of bitterness which is not yet dead. Therefore, the problem of the victors when Japan was defeated was how to prevent a resurgence of the forces responsible for these events while enabling the teeming millions of skilled and industrious people in Japan to earn their living; and also—and this is important—to make their contribution to the advancement of living standards in Asia and other parts of the world.
The Potsdam declaration on Japan, in 1945, envisaged an occupation which was to last—and here I am briefly paraphrasing the provisions—until those who had allowed Japan to embark on world conquest had been eliminated from positions of power in the State; until her war-making power had been destroyed and until democratic tendencies had been established. Thereafter, I think it fair 888 to say, it was envisaged that she should make a full return to international status.
How far the democratisation of a defeated country from outside is possible at all is very much open to doubt, particularly if the occupying Power is a country with Western traditions operating in a country with traditions so very different. Moreover, any occupying Power faces this dilemma. It is the duty of an occupying Power on the one hand to encourage democratic and peaceful elements in the occupied country; and yet if it compels those elements to operate for any prolonged period under the direction and control of an alien master, by that very act it undermines their authority; weakens their chances of survival and, therefore, opens the way to a revival of extremism. That is a problem in the occupation of a defeated country after every war.
By 1947 it was the general view of the British Commonwealth that the time had come for a change. The occupation Forces had initiated many sound reforms; land distribution, trade union reform and constitutional and social legislation of various kinds. It was believed at that time that these very tender plants would have the best chance of taking root under native Japanese auspices, and not for any long period under the authority of an occupying Power. Accordingly, during 1948, 1949 and 1950 the Commonwealth countries have been working on the draft of a peace treaty.
We reached agreement on many points, notably on the impossibility of basing our future relations with Japan on treaty provisions restricting her ability to earn her living. That was stated as being the policy of the Labour Government by Sir Stafford Cripps as early as 1946, and I do not think that the intention of the party has ever wavered from that view. That does not mean that we have not got very grave misgivings about the revival of Japanese pre-war competition, based on some of the practices in which the Japanese indulged before the war, but we have to face the fact, particularly, that restrictions on Japanese production would most certainly have been opposed by a majority of the countries at war with Japan, and particularly the whole of the Asian countries with backward economies, who were looking to Japan to make 889 a contribution through her low cost production to the betterment of their conditions.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
My right hon. Friend says that such conditions would have been opposed by countries who had been at war with Japan, including those of Asia. Of course, the principle one was China, who was never consulted at all.
§ Mr. Younger
It is quite correct that the Chinese were never consulted, but I think that all the south Asian countries or, at any rate, the majority of them, were agreed, and India above all others—[An HON. MEMBER: "India has not signed the Treaty."] Perhaps my hon. Friend will allow me to complete my sentence. India, above all others, has been most insistent upon having a liberal treaty in the economic sense, with no restrictions on Japanese ability to produce and sell abroad.
The second point we had to face was this, and it was dealt with by the Joint Under-Secretary in his speech. Even if there had been some restrictive clauses introduced into the Treaty, as I do not believe was practicable, there would have been intensive feeling against it after the end of the occupation and after Japan had become sovereign. I think it is true to say that the great majority of the practices in which Japan indulged before the war were practices which, at that time, were breaches of Japan's obligations, but it was not found possible to enforce those obligations.
I think there is general agreement that these matters could not have been dealt with in the Peace Treaty. The object at which we aimed was that Japan should voluntarily undertake international obligations, and some provision is made for that in the declaration attached to the Treaty, that we should encourage whatever can be done to improve labour standards and conditions of work in Japan, and that all of us should try to prevent a return of slump conditions all over the world, for that was the real thing which caused Japanese competition to be so deadly to all the rest of the countries before the war.
§ Mr. S. O. Davies (Merthyr Tydvil)
Will my right hon. Friend tell the House whether such protection is to be found within this Treaty? We are all agreed with the sentiments of the right hon. 890 Gentleman, but the Treaty itself is absolutely devoid of any such suggestion.
§ Mr. Younger
Obviously, the Treaty did not contain a safeguard as to what Japan shall voluntarily do after she regains sovereignty, but if my hon. Friend wants to see what is in the Treaty about this, if he looks at the preamble and also at the declaration which is attached to the Treaty, he will find that there is considerable attention to such matters as could properly be dealt with at that time.
I want to leave other aspects of the very important economic and trading side of these provisions for the moment, because my hon. Friend the Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) will be dealing with them at greater length later in the debate. I want to say that, this generally liberal conception of the Treaty having been agreed, I am quite certain that we were right to avoid putting into the Treaty minor pin-pricks whose only result would have been to cause resentment for very little effect.
On this there was full agreement with the United States, the Commonwealth and, once again, especially with India. It was this support which led us to forgo anything but token reparations. If we had tried to get, and had succeeded in getting, something more than that into the Treaty, it could have ruined Japan's chance of reconstruction but could not possibly have compensated the countries concerned for the loss they have suffered.
There was an exceptional case of compensation for those who had been prisoner of war in Japan, and there was agreement that something should be included on this point in Article 16. This agreement was obtained only because of the very special nature of the case, because of the enormity of the treatment which ex-prisoners of war had received, and also because of the grave implication of appearing to let such matters go by more or less unnoticed.
I believe that this Article was welcomed by ex-prisoners of war in this country, and I would like to thank the Far Eastern Prisoners of War Asociation, which led the campaign for a provision of this kind, for the realistic and responsible way in which they conducted their campaign. I should add that they were ably assisted by the hon. and gallant Gentleman who sits for Norwood (Brigadier Smyth).
891 Some of my hon. Friends will no doubt wish to express their views about this. but my impression was that the Association was gratified that we were able to secure the establishment of the principle to which they attached such importance. but they did realise that although there might be argument about the exact sum. no really large sum could be obtained.
Commonwealth policy on this Treaty had been crystallising throughout the period from 1947 to 1950, and, as the months went by, we became more and more convinced that the situation was deteriorating in Japan, while there was a desire to have more scope for our representatives, diplomatic and commercial, and those of other nations, than had proved to be possible during the occupation. The long delay in these years was due, in part, to United States indecision on certain aspects of the Peace Treaty, but I do not think we should forget that it was also due to procedural intransigence of the Soviet Union.
As elsewhere, we waited long in the hope that there might be some agreement before deciding that we must go ahead ourselves. I believe that the territorial and military provisions of the Treaty might have been settled broadly on the lines of the Potsdam Declaration, and that the disposal of Formosa and other difficult topics could have been settled without any complications if all this had been terminated before the Korean war and before the deadlock arose over affairs in China, but, of course, these events have given new importance to the security problem.
Whatever might have been the case before, I believe that there is no responsible person in the country who could now readily accept a treaty which left Japan a military vacuum after the end of the occupation. The Treaty proposal is that Japan should have the same rights of defence as other members of the United Nations, and it would have been difficult to deny such rights once we have decided that Japan was to become sovereign.
Outside the Treaty, it is known and has now been published that there was the intention that there should be, more or less simultaneously, a mutual security pact with the United States which would involve certain rights for the United States in the way of bases and facilities 892 in Japan, and the supply of some contribution towards the defence of Japan by United States Forces.
Those who think that an arrangement of this kind is wrong have, I think, the responsibility of suggesting some better way of achieving two objectives, which are separate but are really linked together. The first is the objective of preventing the rebuilding of Japanese forces for the purpose of aggression, and the second one is that of the adequate defence of Japan against aggression.
On the first one, I think that the continued interest in Japan and in this area of the Pacific by the United States is absolutely essential, and, certainly, Australia and New Zealand take that view. There is, indeed, no other Power available on whom we could rely to ensure this, and nobody would suggest that the United Kingdom should be prepared to take on great extra commitments for that purpose in that area.
On the second point, if Japan, despite this limitation, is, nevertheless, to be defended, it is hard to see how that can be more appropriately done than by some form of joint United States-Japanese arrangements, which would fit in with the idea of the three-Power Pacific pact between the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Of course, those who wish to see United States influence entirely eliminated from Japan and from the whole of the Far East will oppose this course, and, indeed, this is what the Soviet Union has done; but, frankly, I cannot see that this is either a United Kingdom or general Commonwealth interest. If, therefore, the occupation is to come to an end, as I think it must, I believe that this is the best available arrangement to succeed it.
I have tried to put before the House some considerations which, following the three or four years of intensive work on this subject, seemed to point to the importance first, of an early treaty, second, the need for one with liberal economic provisions, and, third, the acceptance of a United States-Japanese security arrangement. I believe that the case, as I have put it, is a reasonably sound one, but there still remains the formidable question whether the events of 1950 in China and the Far East, the deadlock over the recognition of the Central People's Government of China, followed 893 by the aggression in North Korea and Chinese participation in it, should have led us, in the late stages of our work, to go into reverse, or at least to stand still and cease the pressure for a treaty on which we had worked for three years, and require, instead, a delay until all the Chinese issues were cleared up.
This, I think, is the most anxious issue of all those connected with the Treaty. It faced the Allies with the choice of very unhappy alternatives. I am sure that nobody would seek to deny that a treaty without China, without the Soviet Union, and, as it turned out, without India, is something that would be very much less than we had hoped for throughout these years of work. I should like to make it quite clear that the non-participation of India was based to a very large extent on quite different grounds from the non-participation of the Soviet Union. There was, indeed, very wide agreement with India on the question of a really liberal treaty, though she was unwilling to participate without China.
I want to put this point very squarely and to show how the situation presented itself at the time. I have said that there was this long delay between 1947 and 1950 in getting on with the preparations for the Treaty. When discussions really began in earnest in order to work out the Treaty in September and October, 1950, China was not yet in the Korean war, and, as I said during the foreign affairs debate last week, there was, at any rate, in New York, where I was at the time, a strong hope that there would be a settlement of the question of Chinese representation long before we should reach the point of signing a Japanese Peace Treaty.
At the opening of the General Assembly in September, the matter was raised and a committee was appointed, at the instigation of the Canadian Government, with the object of putting this matter, so to speak, in cold storage, until certain things had happened, particularly the passage of certain Elections. From the way in which sentiment was moving in the General Assembly, it seemed likely that, by Christmas, 1950, there would be a majority for a settlement satisfactory to us. Therefore, at that time, I felt that we were quite right to renew the consultations with the Powers principally concerned, and particularly 894 with the Russians, who were consulted at that time.
If hon. Members cast their minds back to that period, they will recollect that the situation in respect of the Supreme Command in Japan was not in any case such as to make us wish unduly to prolong that institution. It was not until later that Chinese intervention and the persistent refusal of the Chinese Communists to enter into discussions, even with the Indians and other Asian States, right up to the summer of this year, made the settlement of the representation of China appear very much more remote.
In the meantime, there had been many and varied consultations both inside the Commonwealth and outside, and it became clear that a very wide measure of agreement could be obtained from the vast majority of the countries concerned. This, of course, in turn, had its effect inside Japan. There, too, there was impatience for a treaty. Expectations had been raised and the country was becoming mentally prepared for the end of the occupation. I believe that an indefinite postponement of the Treaty at that stage, especially if it were known to be due to the fact that we were waiting only for the participation of a Government which was engaged at that time in aggression in Korea, could not have failed to have very serious effects in Japan.
I attach weight to this, not because of any particular tenderness for Japanese feelings in the matter, but because I am convinced that realism demands that we now treat Japan as a nation which is again going to be important, and that it will not pay us to behave towards her as though we thought her problems could afford to wait until we had squared up every other trouble with every other Power, including some which have given us very little encouragement to date to expect early agreement. I am not saying that a delay of a few months would not have been acceptable, but could anyone envisage that there would be a Chinese settlement within so short a period? I wish I could. I could not at the time, and I am sorry to say I cannot today.
There is the further consideration that, even if that issue were out of the way, it is rather doubtful what prospect of early agreement we should have once we got round a table. Throughout this time the Soviet Union had not offered a single 895 constructive suggestion or anything which could be called a compromise draft for a treaty, but had only offered procedural obstruction. Her one aim seemed to be to get all the Western Powers completely out of the Far East while increasing her own hold in that area, and the eventual proposals which she put forward at San Francisco bear this out.
Had they been accepted, these Soviet amendments would have completely undone the liberal character of the Treaty, and, therefore, would have gone no distance towards meeting the wishes of a country like India. They would have forced the United States right out of the whole of that area, and, at the same time—and I ask the House to note this—would have given to the Soviet Union new strategic privileges in the area in addition to the very considerable territorial gains already obtained by her as a result of her brief intervention in the war against Japan. Therefore, I think that the purposes of the Soviet moves at San Francisco were transparent and were not such as could have commanded the support of many of the countries involved, least of all ourselves or the rest of the Commonwealth.
These, then, are the circumstances in which we had to face a choice between a delay to which we could not put any definite term and proceeding to a treaty for which we had pressed for years and to which we knew that something close on 50 nations would be prepared to agree. Therefore, we decided to proceed. We tried, and I believe successfully, in the text of the Treaty to safeguard the position of China. Articles 10 and 21, I think, achieve that purpose. The position now is that Japan, after the Treaty, will have to decide what her own relations are to be with China. That was the clear understanding between us and the United States negotiators. It was made doubly plain between us and many other countries at San Francisco.
I have seen certain suggestions that there are some in the United States who would like to make United States ratification of this Treaty dependent on prior decision by Japan to recognise the Nationalist authorities. I sincerely trust that no such situation will arise. I am quite sure that it would not be the wish of any of those engaged on behalf of the 896 United States in negotiating this Treaty, and I know it would be regarded, not only by them, but certainly by the representatives of many of the nations who signed the Treaty, as a clear departure from the understanding upon which this question was left on one side by the signatories at San Franciso.
Moreover, having got to the point where we have, I think there is a great deal to be said for allowing this most important question of the long-term relationship between two of the greatest nations in Asia to be settled exclusively by Asians. Nothing we could have done or refrained from doing in respect of this Treaty could have prevented the problem of Japan's future relations with her neighbours from being full of deep anxiety. It is an illusion to think that the indefinite prolongation of the occupation, with all its disadvantages to Japanese evolution and its cost to the United States, would, in some way, have promoted agreement with Peking.
I do not believe it, nor do I believe that what we have actually done seriously prejudices the chances of such an agreement. If the Chinese wish to end the fighting in Korea, as I trust they do—and we have always said that we regarded that as the first step in a Far Eastern settlement—this Treaty will certainly not deter them. Once that step has been taken, nothing in this Treaty will make any harder a solution of the problems of recognition, of Formosa and all the others which will then certainly have to be tackled.
On the credit side, on the other hand, it offers a better prospect of a reasonable development in Japan of friendly relations with ourselves and the Commonwealth, to say nothing of the many others formerly at war with her, than any other course open to us to take at the relevant time. I believe, therefore, that this Treaty, little as one feels enthusiasm for it, was necessary. But I agree that it leaves most of the basic problems of the Far East still unsolved, and in the coming months and years great efforts will be needed on our part both to help guide Japan's efforts into acceptable channels and also to see that our point of view is fully understood in the United States.
As elsewhere in the world so, I believe, in the Far East, it is only by the determined pressing of our views, within the 897 framework of Anglo-American co-operation, that we can hope to make our contribution to establishing peaceful relations.
§ 4.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Walter Fletcher (Bury and Radcliffe)
In the penultimate sentence of his speech, the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger) said very rightly that this Treaty leaves the majority of the great questions of the Far East unresolved. But he might have gone further and said that it opens up a whole new series of problems, not only in the Far East, but reaching into the rest of the world from the Far East.
My mind goes back to 1946 when I believe I was the first Member of this House to raise the question of the whole series of competitive effects that might arise from Japan. The then President of the Board of Trade, Sir Stafford Cripps, after suggesting that those fears were ill-founded, proposed as a remedy the raising of the cost of living in Japan as being a sort of panacea that would settle all these problems.
I think we have progressed a good way on the path of realism since then. I can quote from another hon. Member on the benches opposite, and one who in 1947 had a relative degree of freedom. I am referring to the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Rhodes), who, on 18th April of that year, said:Very often I am despondent about the small amount of knowledge that there is down here as to what is actually taking place behind the scenes in Lancashire and Yorkshire on the question of textiles. We are in a very dangerous position—very dangerous. If we persist in backing America and backing Japan to maintain 80 per cent. of Japan's exports in textiles, we are asking for suicide in Lancashire—and Yorkshire, too, ultimately."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th April, 1947; Vol. 436, c. 557.]The hon. Gentleman's freedom of speech was slightly curtailed later when he joined the Government and he was compelled to see a slightly different more rosy view. It is obvious from what has been said and what will be said in this Debate that this Peace Treaty has to be signed. There is no alternative. But as it solves no problems, surely the task in front of this House today is to see what steps can be taken to implement it and that it is not merely a series of words.
898 We heard from the right hon. Gentleman that many of the practices of Japan—dumpings, sometimes State subsidised and sometimes due to a very low cost of living—that took place all over the the world before the war were in contradiction to conventions and treaties. What we have to do is not to worry so much about how these clauses are drawn, but to see what chance there is of their being less deadly throughout the world—and not only in the Far East—than they were on a previous occasion.
Many hon. Members on both sides of the House have spoken before now in that sense. In the past, the voice of the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) has been heard very clearly, not only in this House but over a far greater area, urging the then Government to start taking steps. We have to say quite openly—and with the Government we have today we are now in a position to say things more openly to the United States than before, because their feelings toward us have changed a good deal—that we had not very much to do with the running of Japan or with the original negotiations when this Treaty was drawn up.
Our Ambassador in Japan waited too often in the outer court. I have an idea that today he must think he is in a warm, friendly, all-boys-together atmosphere in the new post he now holds as Ambassador in Moscow compared with what happened when he was in Japan. There is no doubt that we did not have a very great deal to say in the drawing up of this Treaty, and I believe that the great problem in the mind of everyone, and particularly of Lancashire Members, is that the great influence in Japan will still be that of the United States of America.
§ Mr. Younger
I should like to take up the hon. Gentleman on the point he makes about our not having had much to do with the drawing up of the Treaty. As he probably knows, the final draft was compiled from two drafts which were compared with each other, one produced by us and the other by the United States. I think the hon. Gentleman will find that the Treaty is the result quite as much of our draft as of that of the United States.
§ Mr. Fletcher
But the original negotiations which took place in Japan before we came to the question of drawing up the Treaty were largely carried out by 899 the then American No. 1. That is something we should not forget.
There is no doubt that it is in the implementing of this Treaty that our interests must lie. Those who represent constituencies whose life blood is very largely textiles have a peculiar interest, but they too must not look at the matter only from their point of view. It has always been perfectly clear that competition would come, not only in textiles but in other articles, from Japan, an industralised country parallel to us in a great many ways.
What we have to do is not to try to prevent proper competition, which in itself will not be a bad thing as a spur to us. From the very facts of the case there must be difficult competition because the lower Japanese standard of life is due to natural causes and cannot be artificially improved, but we have to prevent the growth of the grossly unfair competition which we suffered before. That, I think, does not lie entirely in our hands. It is well to accept this Treaty on the basis that there will come a time, as has been the case with Germany, when we shall have, to a great extent, if not to forgive, to forget.
In the Far East we cannot build up anything like the sort of balance of power that is likely to preserve peace, even when the Korean war is at an end, unless we have a Japan with a reasonable future and with some sort of hope of retaining and improving her standard of living. It is a most complicated problem.
One of the things one must remember, if one faces all the facts, is that in some areas of the world there is no doubt that the prospects for manufacturers of certain lines in this country to export are very much less than they were because Japan emerged from the last war without a great burden of overseas debt such as we have; she emerges rebuilt very largely with American technical help and, in spite of having suffered defeat and receiving the first atom bomb, in many ways better able to compete and to produce than we are. Those are inescapable facts and no wishful thinking and no threat can really mitigate them.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
To add one more to those inescapable facts, the mainly resuscitated Japanese industry is being resuscitated by American capital, which presumably will remain in control.
§ Mr. W. Fletcher
That is certainly the fact, but how far it goes I do not know. I am not afraid of facing those facts, even though they are inescapable. I believe that healthy competition based on their national advantages against our natural advantages—and we have a great many, including Lancashire skill—is not to be feared.
But I should like to come to the main question of the unfair practices that existed and how, let us hope, we shall be able to stop them in future. We know quite well that there are clauses which, to a certain extent, require respect for patents and copyrights, but we have seen before how the Japanese have broken international contracts and agreements on these important subjects, and I have produced evidence of it in the House before now, especially in the case of textiles for West Africa. I hope that this is one of the things which the Prime Minister and those who are going with him will take up in America because it will affect our export position and, therefore, our financial strength and our rearmament possibilities.
We should try to secure some convention, well backed up by America and other countries and ourselves, to make quite certain that these unfair dumping practices of the past are not repeated. Unless we arrive at some really basic solution in respect of which it is understood in the United States that we in Lancashire in particular are highly vulnerable on this point, we shall not unilaterally be able to do very much. We could not do so before the war. Japan took not the slightest notice of what other countries said. She indulged in every kind of practice and broke every copyright and every trade mark known. We must not forget that.
Undoubtedly there is great fear in the minds of many people in industrial areas, especially in Lancashire, in this country that once we in this House accept this Treaty, as undoubtedly we shall do today, and once it is ratified, it will pass from our minds and we shall not take the follow-up action which is so vital in seeing that a repetition of past events is not allowed to take place. It is up to hon. Members—on no party basis at all—representing those constituencies most vitally affected, to see that this House is kept fully aware of these malpractices if and when they take place.
901 There are plenty of signs that the danger is by no means past. I can produce Japanese prints sold in West Africa to show that the finger of Japan is reaching out there and creating competition. If Japan, as she may well do, buys raw material such as cotton on a better basis than we do she will have a considerable advantage. It is perfectly certain that what matters most is not the legislation, not the signing of the Treaty, but firm determination on the part of those Powers who do not want to see again the dumping from that area which caused unemployment and low wages.
Everybody who has served in the Far East, as I did during the war, has the right to think that though Japan is having a chance again to join in the comity of nations, it does not automatically mean that we have forgotten and forgiven everything that happened. Japan has to prove not only to our satisfaction but to the satisfaction of the rest of the world that she is worthy, that she is conducting herself on the lines that make it right that she should join, and that when we admit her there will not be this arrière pensée, this fear. Let us make quite certain by our own action. Above all, by direct negotiation with the United States, let us take immediate steps on the somewhat narrow front of policy on design and copyright and patents.
There is the question of compensation. Because it was difficult to collect and would not be sufficient we did not pursue that subject in full. There are, however, many countries like Indonesia and Malaya, which saw vast quantities of their possessions removed to Japan and which are receiving insufficient compensation, and they feel very strongly about it.
There must be some deterrent against a repetition of past events. As we have no alternative, we must agree to the ratification of this Treaty, but we must sound a note of caution and ask for early negotiations with the United States and other nations to restrict the wrong activities of which there are already signs. Above all we should ask that no "most favoured nation" treaty rights shall be given to Japan. If there are to be any "most favoured nation" treaty rights at all it should be for those who suffered, working together for democracy 902 and not for those who did their utmost at the time to upset it.
Therefore, I give this Treaty the blessing which comes from a constituency which will be vitally affected by the outcome of Japanese trade and competition over the next few years. I hope that early negotiation will take place to safeguard against as far as we can, and to watch with the utmost vigilance for any sign of a return to semi-feudal control and the low standard of living which that meant and which prevailed in Japan for so many years to our grievous detriment.
§ 4.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)
I beg to move, to leave out "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add "upon this day six months."
I move this Amendment because I have lived in Lancashire for many years, and have obtained and retained the confidence of thousands of people in North Staffordshire for a long time. According to my understanding of what has been said, discussions on this Treaty have been taking place since 1947. They have taken place in all kinds of committees in the United States during that time.
Those of us who obtain American newspapers daily and read them—I emphasise "read them"—will have seen that those papers have been discussing this Treaty and its effect during the past two or three years, yet this is the first occasion that this House; representing a great industrial country, has had an opportunity of discussing the Treaty. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] Does anyone say "No"? It is true it has been raised on the Adjournment and I also raised it at 12.30 a.m., and it has been raised occasionally in debates on foreign affairs, but this House has never had an opportunity of a full-scale debate of the kind which has taken place in America.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger), whose approach to this problem I like, said something to the effect that it is the duty of the occupying Power to encourage democratic development. I accept that and I shall produce evidence later to show to what extent that encouragement has been carried out. Later, my right hon. Friend said something to the effect that, "It was our belief at the time that democratic 903 development was taking place." If I have time I shall produce further evidence to deal with that.
I and my hon. Friends move and support this Amendment because we know the past to our cost and we fear the future. The pottery and cotton industries are very concerned about this Treaty following their terrible experiences between the two wars. Almost every trade union official in Lancashire and North Staffordshire is indignant at the failure to take steps to safeguard their interests.
The hon. Members for Stoke-on-Trent met the executive of the National Union of Pottery Workers during the Election because some people were trying to capitalise on this Treaty politically. The executive of the Union made it quite clear to us what our attitude should be towards the Treaty. The spinners' and weavers' officials throughout Lancashire are also indignant about this matter. Everybody closely in touch with the shipbuilding areas of the country knows the anxieties there. Hon. Members familiar with the Birmingham area know the uneasiness of the large-scale manufacturers of light engineering products such as bicycles.
Everyone knows these industries are making a mighty contribution to Britain's economic position. We all know that none of us can live in this country unless we carry on a great export trade. Industry is making a mighty effort, with management and workmen co-operating and going all out to secure the maximum output. They are uneasy at seeing us in this House acquiescing in the proposals involved in this Treaty.
The Federation of Engineering and Shipbuilding Trades and the officials of the Amalgamated Engineering Union and other engineering unions are all very concerned about the effect of this Treaty upon this country. May I say this to those who may disagree with me? In a few years, if we in this country are faced with competition from Japan and Germany and if wages in those countries are 100 per cent. lower than they are in this country, if they work longer hours and have no social services worth talking about, how will this country meet that competition?
§ Mr. Smith
How much per cent. then? Fifty per cent.? Some of us have been through this kind of thing between the wars and we know the effects. Here are a few extracts from one of the latest American books entitled, "Aspects of Labour Problems" by the International Institute of Pacific Relations:Union-busting tactics on the part of employers were not a major factor in Japan. They were not necessary; the police did the job.That is democratic development. [An HON. MEMBER: "Was this pre-war?"] No, it is since the war. If any hon. Member likes to go to the Library and ask the Librarian, he can obtain a book in which this book is reviewed and from which these extracts have been copied. Had I known this debate was to take place I would have asked the Librarian to obtain the book as quickly as possible, so that we could have it before us this afternoon. On page 240 the book says:Japanese labour faces a stiffer attitude on the part of employers and a tough-minded ultra-Conservative Government. The greatest obstacle to the development of the labour movement in Japan is the attitude of the Government which regards all labour organisation as potentially or actually subversive.In face of that, how can the Japanese workers organise themselves in trade unions? Japan is a menace to democracy and the standard of living which democracy has built up throughout the world.
Here is another extract, not from a labour man, not from a trade unionist but from Mr. Roger Lee, Chairman of the Calico Printers' Association and also Chairman of one of Lancashire's biggest concerns:Mr. Lee complained that Japanese 'pattern pirates' were still stealing popular Lancashire designs 'Originality of design is vital to this association.' he said, 'but we are still faced with the contemptible practice of our registered designs being copied in Japan.'Anyone who knows anything about designing and development must know that a tremendous amount of work and cost is involved behind the scenes prior to bringing out a design. It was my privilege to work at one of the largest industrial establishments in this country where, even before the war, £150,000 was spent each year on research alone to enable it to keep pace with modern developments and competition which was then taking place. When that takes place the overhead charges and on-costs are, of 905 course, increased. Therefore, we should not encourage other countries to copy designs and put them on the market at greatly reduced charges.
I have before me the Treaty of Peace which we are considering, and which I obtained from the Vote Office. It states:This Treaty has not yet been ratified by His Majesty's Government.I want to know whether the Government will oppose Japan being allowed to become a member of the United Nations unless we can have undertakings to the satisfaction of representative industrialists in this country. When I refer to representative industrialists, I include the trade unions, employers and other organisations representative of all engaged in industry. They should be consulted before we agree to Japan being allowed to enter the United Nations.
It is time we spoke out at United Nations. In view of Britain's great record in two world wars, we are entitled to go to the United Nations Assembly and speak in the way in which I hope the elected representatives of this country will speak in this House tonight. The Treaty also says:… private trade and commerce to conform to the internationally accepted fair practices.That has been repudiated already. It has been repudiated by the practices which are being carried out by Japan.
If hon. Members doubt that, I invite them to go and ask the pottery manufacturers or the trade unions. Let them ask the cotton and silk industries if Japan is conforming to accepted fair practices. Go to any part of Stoke, Manchester, Blackburn, Oldham, Bolton, Macclesfield and Leek, and ask whether copying is taking place at the present time. I am not asking hon. Members to accept what I am saying; let me quote from "The Times." This is concrete evidence. of the inability of the American occupying force to allow democratic development to take place in Japan; and, therefore, a fight in this House is a fight not only to defend our country and our fellow workers about who I am concerned, but we are also assisting the Japanese workers in the fight that they are putting up on this issue.
In "The Times" of 2nd July this year, from their Tokio correspondent, there is 906 an article entitled "Labour standards in Japan." It goes on to say:Japanese industrialists have been heard to state recently that since the British Government has concurred fully in America's ideas of a peace settlement, there is no longer any need to tolerate nonsense about wages, working hours and so on. For the first time since the surrender a private organisation—the Tokio Chamber of Commerce—has urged that daily working hours be increased from eight to 10, that restrictions on overtime and holiday work be 'eased'"—and we know what that means—that conditions of employment for children and female workers be 'revised' and that annual leave with pay be shortened. Management groups, however, now go farther and demand that the law relating to labour standards be rescinded. This law not only protected Japanese workers, but also ensured that the British Commonwealth and other countries would not again be confronted by competition made possible by the employment of something closely approaching slave labour.Mr. Richard Hughes, of the "Sunday Times," above all papers, on 3rd June this year, referred tothe campaign in Japan to destroy Occupation labour standards, to increase the working hours of Japanese workers, to abolish overtime, and to restore the big family combine monopolies.There it is in its stark reality. That is facing us now, and it is a terrible menace to the standard that we have been able to build up within British democracy.
Will the Government insist on a full implementation of the undertakings before Japan is allowed to become a member of the United Nations? I will let hon. Members into a secret. Before we become members of trade union, or of most unions, we have to appear before the president of the branch and give an undertaking that we will abide loyally by the rules of the organisation and uphold the standards of conditions of our fellow workers. If it is right to do that internally in Britain, the time has arrived when we should also do it internationally so far as we can. Will the Government insist on an interpretation of this Treaty so that, as far as possible, we may maintain our standards and international fair practices? Will the Government ask for a Commonwealth conference to consider and decide upon a Commonwealth policy?
In Articles 7 and 12 one finds that United States big business has safeguarded its interests. If I had time I would give an example of how badly we let ourselves down in 1945, and it is because Clause 7 907 in the Loan Agreement provided for a strictly legal interpretation that we were not in order in keeping in being the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation. That body made a great effort during the war, and in my opinion it could have been used for the purpose of organising our trade to enable Britain to obtain the best results from our raw materials at the lowest possible price. The Americans have safeguarded their position, and the time has arrived when we should be doing the same.
If any hon. Members have any doubts about the truth of what I am saying, all they have to do is to get the 1950 Trades Union Congress Report; if I had time I would quote from it. Statements by some of the finest characters representing the T.U.C. are to be found therein—men like Mr. Lewis Wright of the Amalgamated Weavers' Association, who states that the Americans have prevented the Japanese from organising like they should do. When the Americans had assisted them in a certain direction a gentleman named Mr. Dodge imposed an economic policy which prevented them from organising as they should.
I wish I had time to read this extract, because it should really go on the record, but I want to be as brief as possible and, therefore, I shall confine myself to these few remarks. [An HON. MEMBER: "Read it."] All hon. Members have to do is to get the 1950 T.U.C. Report. If anyone has any difficulty in getting the Report, I will obtain it in the morning and hon. Members can read it for themselves.
I have with me a letter. I am not going to give the name of the sender, because I want to save time and I only want to quote parts of it. I know the type of person who has written it. He is typical of the decent people who try to do the right thing by themselves, their country, and their workpeople. The letter says:I have had samples sent over from America which are almost, one could say, fantastic. It was not a question of copying the type of design, but it was almost an exact tracing, and, of course, the price retail is one third of our price. We must not be confused altogether by what happened pre-1939 when this unfair competition was very serious indeed, but the future is very much more serious because the Japanese have considerably increased the quality of their ware—I would almost say out of all proportion. I do not want you to get the impression that we 908 are in the slightest degree afraid of Japanese manufacturers of china in the true sense of the word, if the competition is fair, but when they copy our designs so exactly, and so quickly after we have brought them out ourselves, it is a very serious threat to the industry.This was happening only a few weeks ago. An American traveller was exhibiting two cups, one made in Japan and the other made in Britain. The one which I hold in my hand is an exact copy, and he was telling our customers in America that the Japanese could produce identical cups, the quality not as good but almost as good, and—the tragedy is—at one third of our price.
We have reached our standards not by talking and not at all easily, but through the terrible sacrifices of our people. We ought not to let this Treaty go through without making our voice heard, not only in this country but by letting it ring throughout the other countries which have been responsible for putting us in this position. This is economic aggression of the very worst type. We have fought twice in my lifetime to deal with military aggression, and the time has arrived when those who took a long time to come to our support in both world wars should be reminded that they ought to come to our support immediately in face of this economic aggression which will have such an effect upon our country.
Before the war, when the pottery industry lost its orders, it always lost them to Japan. They made little inroads into our own country—only through the chain stores—but they did make big inroads into the Commonwealth. In a decade before the war the imports of Japanese pottery increased by 50 per cent. into Canada, 70 per cent. into Australia and 45 per cent, into South Africa. By 1940 the Japanese claimed to be the world's chief producers of domestic pottery. Therefore, there is no doubt about our attitude in North Staffordshire to this matter, and that is why I have moved the Amendment.
In October, 1945, 15 ships sailed regularly between Japan and Australia, and 14 of them were British. Australian importing firms say they can get shipping space for goods from Japan more easily than they can for goods from Britain. Consequently, we should be concerned about this problem not only from the point of view of the industries I have 909 mentioned, but also from that of many other industries.
The Americans have embarked upon a new form of imperialism. They are very critical of British imperialism, but in my opinion they are not entitled to be in view of their own modern form of imperialism, which is known as financial penetration. They go along with their millions of dollars, with their loans, with controlling interests, with subsidies; and I am reminded of the words of one of the greatest who ever lived, who wrote:You take my lifeWhen you do take the means whereby I live.We ought to speak up against this policy whereby those who are relatively well placed go along to organise slave labour under slave conditions, in which democracy has no chance to develop. Tonight, we stand for the defence of the hard-won rights of the British people, of our trade union rights and standards, and we stand, too, for the Japanese worker. We must not forget the encouragement of economic suicide which took place before the war as a result of the international worsening of standards. The Trades Union Congress say that should not be allowed to start again. In taking this stand we are taking it not only on behalf of our country, our own industries and our own people but, we believe, on behalf of the workers of Japan; for we believe that we are taking a stand which will assist the Japanese people themselves.
§ 5.2 p.m.
§ Dr. Barnett Stross (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)
I beg to second the Amendment.
When the Minister opened the debate this afternoon he showed at once that he himself was aware of some of the fears which exist in the minds of hon. Members on all sides of the House. He spoke of our fears about unfair and injurious competition and went on to make it clear that in his view there was no place in a peace treaty for safeguards or, certainly, no place for restrictions. A little later he said that we wanted this Treaty because it was the only way by which we could establish normal commercial and political relationships. He said they would follow the treaty.
I wonder whether he will agree when I make this comment; if, by normality, 910 he meant the sort of conditions which existed before the war, we should not find that acceptable. If there are to be normal political and commercial relationships with Japan they will have to be based on something which has not been enjoyed in the past. I think we are all agreed on that.
The hon. Gentleman went further. He was good enough to say that he expected a full-blooded attack by two hon. Members for Stoke-on-Trent. I am sure that the House will agree that they had such an attack from my colleague, the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith); and if I cannot achieve what he has achieved, that will be my fault and not his.
We have heard it said again and again that General MacArthur should be praised for the benevolence which was shown in the occupation policy. I think all of us recognise that the United States had to bear a great financial burden in supporting the Japanese people, to say nothing of the cost of the military occupation itself, which was very high. It is plain for the whole world to see today that, under the shield which has been held up for these past years, Japan and the Japanese have been re-organising their exporting industries, including the pottery and textile industries, and that they are now able to move into a position from which they can under-sell any competitor in the world. Certainly, they can undersell any country where wages are what we call normal and where labour standards are of the type to which we are accustomed in this country.
I have been informed—and I think it is true; but hon. Members who know the textile industry better than I can tell me whether I am right—that, so far, the tendency has been for Japan to sell her textiles at prices which are based, more or less, not on the cost of production in Japan but rather on the cost we incurred in Lancashire. Accordingly, the manufacturers have made high profits. I believe that is true, and is perhaps one of the reasons why Lancashire has not yet felt anything like the full evil which may come from the sort of competition we experienced before the war.
But that is certainly not true of the pottery industry. My hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) tells me that the textile industry is beginning to feel that kind of 911 competition now, as well, but we have felt it in the pottery industry for quite a time. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, gave a typical example when he spoke of fine china manufacture, where the Japanese under sell us by charging about one-third of the amount which we are able to get for our goods. That has been going on for quite a long time. Sometimes they sell at one-fifth of our price, and I have known the figure to be one-seventh in some of the small figures representing old British patterns.
It is only a year or so ago that another of my colleagues, the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mr. Edward Davies), produced pottery figures showing that in the case of some Toby jugs we were being under-sold by productions costing about one-eighth of our prices, for what were exact imitations of our patterns.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)
Would the hon. Gentleman make it clear to the House that what he is speaking of is destructive competition and not merely the establishment by Japan of a secondary market at a lower price in these goods?
§ Dr. Stross
I am very grateful for that intervention. That is the case. It is the penetration into our old-established markets by exact imitation—although not all of it is imitation—of our patterns which takes away our living from us. But it is not all like that. Like my hon. Friend, I quote from a letter from a great firm in Stoke-on-Trent:The Japanese capacity for manufacture is improving very considerably indeed. Their goods are not to be despised at all.This combination of American "know-how," together with cheap, almost slave labour, is something with which no one in the world can possibly compete. We cannot compete. I am told that the Supreme Command made strong attempts to prevent dumping—and I am using the word technically. I believe the American Customs Bureau has given a definition of dumping, using such words as,To sell goods under the cost of production.But this definition is useless, for we know that Japanese labour costs figure so low in the cost of production as scarcely to count at all by comparison 912 with our own. It has been estimated that the difference between their costs of production and ours is greater today than it was before the war. I have in mind an article in the "Economist" last month, which said costs were in the order of three to one. When we made these complaints it is not only wages which we have in mind, but also all the other overheads which we speak of as the social content of wages—safeguards relating to the health of the worker, compensation to the worker if he has been injured by accident or crippled by industrial disease—
§ Dr. Stross
These costs are high in Britain, as they are in every civilised country, and we are proud of the cost. They are the social content of our costs; they are the last thing we want to give up and they have been obtained only through hundreds of years of struggle. We want Japan and the Japanese worker to be safeguarded in exactly the same way. In the Potteries we say that our victories over lead poisoning, which once used to slay our workers in hundreds, and over silicosis, which killed them in thousands, have cost a great deal of money, and all that cost is embodied in the articles we produce and try to sell.
Since the war we have rationalised our factories considerably. I hope the House will forgive me for speaking parochially about an age-old industry which is located in the city in which I live. We have modernised our industry, which we think is a good bit better than any in the world, but apart from the manufacture of some of the finest types of ware, like bone china, we know we can never compete with the Japanese under today's conditions.
The other day the managing director of Wedgwoods told the Press, amongst other things, that their exports, which are sold through their agencies in Toronto and New York, last year came to 3½ million dollars. That gives some evidence that the industry has been useful to the country—and this is only one firm. Last year, I believe, the country exported £5 million worth of fine china in all and £10 million worth of earthenware. I know that may not be great by comparison with the income of a great nation like ourselves, but it is life and death to the people in the area—and what I am saying 913 about pottery in particular applies to many other industries in this country in exactly the same way.
The problem which we have to face is not only economic, but also sociological—a sociological problem in which the Japanese worker himself is the very first victim. He lives in islands and in a part of the world where the people have been exploited by tyranny and serfdom and have achieved little or no freedom. The occupation authorities tried to plant the seed of freedom during the years of occupation, but it is fair to say that the green shoots of the plant are scarcely visible as yet. The trade unions have grown on the modern lines of American labour, but their influence as yet in bargaining power can in no way be compared with the type of influence to which we are accustomed in this country, where it is so helpful and stabilising.
For instance, in January, 1947, when there was the threat of a strike in Japan, designed to give some redress in a very small way—and I emphasise, in a very small way—to the disparity between wages and prices, the Supreme Commander stepped in and said the strike must not be allowed to take place. He forbade it. That was a great pity and showed a lack of understanding of how labour should defend itself under such conditions.
The Japanese workers are probably worse off today than they were before the war. Our own workers in the Potteries have told us what they feel about this matter and they take a very broad and generous view of it, remembering the difficulties in which they were placed in the years between the two wars and bearing in mind the fact that they cannot compete with Japanese labour while the Japanese worker is exploited. They say that the first thing is for us to use all our influence in Britain, and all the influence we have internationally, to persuade Japan, in the first place, to improve conditions for her own workers, not only by improving wages as compared with the cost of living but also by protecting the health of the worker and introducing the type of safeguards which we have for our own workers.
Secondly, if it has been possible for the Japanese to sell textiles at prices equivalent to those we have been getting for Lancashire goods, why cannot the same be done for their pottery manufac- 914 tures? Our workers think—and they are very explicit about this—that if no agreement can be reached with, and no promises made by, Japan before the Treaty is ratified, there is not much chance of it being done later. They believe that Japan has curried favour with the occupying Power by being complacent to everything asked of her and they believe that Japan's policies will receive less check and less hindrance from now on if this Treaty is ratified.
There is a serious matter that all of us in this House must bear in mind. Debarred by American pressure from seeking raw materials and a market in China, Japan will turn more and more to the sterling and dollar areas both for raw materials and for markets for her goods, and that means that the evil that we have in mind, the evil from which we suffered before the war, will be doubled—certainly aggravated—in the near future.
Japan has tremendous problems of her own, and we would do all we could to help her. Her population has increased since 1936 from 70 million to 80 million. Possibly, in a good year, when the harvest is good, she is able to feed herself, but not very well. She imports food. This brings me to a thought that we should not forget. I have heard it argued today that we should not stand in the way of Japan's exporting her cheap finished articles all over South-East Asia, because that would help raise the standard of living of the peoples in that part of the world.
But is that really correct? Is it not possible that that would work the other way round, in that those Japanese goods, flooding those markets, would garner into Japan all the rice of those areas, so leading to more hunger among and more exploitation of the peoples of South-East Asia, and proving, not a bar to Communist infiltration, but a help and encouragement to it? That is a thought to bear in mind, because South-East Asia wants not so much aspirins and Kodak cameras and fancy lighters. Does she not want rather the wherewithal to grow more food and to produce more goods for herself? Cheap finished goods from Japan may only skim off the food from South-East Asia.
It has been said that the world does not owe Staffordshire and Lancashire a living. I am not so sure about that. I 915 think that we who have been accustomed so long to paying decent prices for the food we have had from other civilised countries, recognising, as we have, that in the prices we have paid we have gladly paid an amount to cover decent wages and standards of labour—that is, when we have been buying from Scandinavia, from New Zealand, from Australia, from Canada—surely have at least the right to look to them to consider buying from us before they buy cheaper goods from countries where labour is exploited.
Lastly, I would turn from the parochial to the long-term point of view. People like myself and my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, believe that in the long term we cannot solve this problem unless we tackle the main problems that face us in the world today, and the chief one of those is the question of peace and war and the relationship between East and West.
We can visualise—we do not need to be poets to visualise—the possibility that, if there were not tension between East and West, if we were not cursed with preparations for world war and with rearmament, Japan, Germany and other countries, with France and the Soviet Union and many others, could all be working together side by side and bending all our efforts to put an end to the poverty in the world, and to go into those areas where our help is needed.
Were that the situation, we know very well that the problem we are now discussing would not exist at all. Could that be the situation the problem we are discussing would vanish, just as fog vanishes when the sun shines. I cannot help saying that we shall have to think again if we are to save the world by this method. We have been saying something about saving ourselves and our own standard of living, but that is the short term point of view. If we are to be successful in helping Japan as well as in helping ourselves, and in helping Germany as well as ourselves, and people all over the world, let us think again, and think in terms such as I have just envisaged.
§ 5.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Harwood Harrison (Eye)
It is with a very real sense of humbleness that I rise to speak so soon after my entry into this House, but loyalty to the fellow soldiers with whom I went through three 916 and a half years in Japanese hands makes me speak on this question. I would ask for the usual indulgence accorded by this House to new Members—perhaps the more confidently because, to the best of my belief, it is nearly 300 years since an ancestor of mine last spoke in this House.
It is a matter for congratulation that within six years of the end of hostilities a Treaty such as this has been made—after a war which started with the unprovoked and catastrophic bombing of Pearl Harbour, the over-running of Malaya, the looting of the Dutch East Indies, and the threat to Australia; a war in which brutalities and massacres took place.
I think that in a treaty we must look for certain principles. I should like to enumerate only four: first, contrition by the country which has made acts of aggression; second, a sense of guilt amongst all individuals in a country which has broken international conventions and violated the accepted standards of civilised behaviour; third, there must be sufficient punishment by occupation and repatriation to bring the first two principles about; and fourth, the punishment so meted out should act as a deterrent to that country and to others so that aggression does not happen again. I am not quite satisfied that the last two principles are fully carried out in this Treaty.
The Foreign Secretary made a very grave statement to the House on 28th January, 1944, pointing out the conditions under which prisoners of war were existing—a statement which horrified the House and the whole country. At that time it was felt that full retribution should be exacted. Years afterwards I was able to read that statement, and as an eye-witness I can tell the House that it was a very accurate statement, but rather an under-statement than an overstatement of the conditions under which we were existing. It was so easy, when they were on top, for 80 years of civilisation—a veneer—to be set aside, and for us to see the barbarian underneath.
Are we satisfied that this Asiatic attitude to life has altered—their belief that strength and might are right, and their principles by which the officer hits the sergeant, the sergeant slaps the corporal, the corporal punches the first-class private, the first-class private beats the third-class private, and the third-class private takes it out of a prisoner of war? 917 We must be certain that the Japanese realise that defenceless people and women and children have rights, and that they should be respected.
Those of us who were soldiers there, under the orders of our King, want no pity, but we do feel that justice and reparation should be exacted. We have never expected or wanted anything special from the British taxpayers. I myself, after my return, thought that the worst cases could be adequately dealt with by our Ministry of Pensions, and that those who were fitter, and after recovery, would return to do their jobs as capable citizens of this country.
I represent the Eye Division with some 180 parishes, and in scarcely one of them is there not a former prisoner of war, or the relative of one who died out there. I have been very perturbed, in the last two years, to find that men who, I thought, had recovered are now breaking up, and that latent illnesses are displaying themselves. Many of these men are particularly restless in their employment. I have seen many of them, and it is particularly for those men that I would speak, because I am afraid that some indelible mark has been left upon them.
I would not weary the House with a recital of the conditions in which we existed then, except to say that I have seen virile, active men in their 20's and 30's reduced by slave labour to being worn out old men who died by starvation or disease due to the callousness of the Japanese towards human life. Money can be little compensation, but at least it does buy some comforts.
This matter was debated in the House on 10th May this year in a debate initiated by hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House when they were on that side of the House. In the debate the view was put forward by all parties that a special case had been made out for these ex-Service personnel, and it was hoped that it would be met. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), who was then the Foreign Secretary, remembered that when he went to sign this Treaty?
I know full well that under Article 16 certain sums of money have been put aside, but on working it out, one finds that there is practically no more than £1 918 million for the ex-Service personnel in this country. There can be no issue per capita of grant. There may have to be a means test in the way this money is administered by the Red Cross, and that really defeats the object that we had in mind. This £1 million barely recompenses the Red Cross for the food parcels stolen from them by the Japanese in the war. I wonder—I do not want to be controversial—whether or not the wool was not drawn across the eyes of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South, who was then the Foreign Secretary; or if that is being controversial, perhaps I should say that I wonder whether his eyes were dimmed by drops of oil.
I have heard many speeches in this House about Japanese competition, and I know that there is mention under Article 14 about compensation, and about Japan's economic position not being sound. But I doubt whether that is true. We have the case of the loan and of the bonds lent to Japan before the war, and we have only to look at the rise in value of the £75 million at par that has taken place in the last few years to see what many people in this country think of the ability of the Japanese to pay. There is a further sum of £37,500,000 due in interest which they may well pay, and I feel they might have met the claim of £9 million that we wanted—some quarter of the interest due. I should like to know, if Japan comes to borrow money again from this country, that at least this moral obligation has first been met. It would only mean that she has to work a little longer. The whole amount is little more than 2s. per head of the whole of the Japanese population.
Has this Treaty failed as a deterrent? Do other nations now think that the Japanese can now treat the white man with impunity and get away with it? The Korean war started in June, 1950, and it is rather remarkable that it was not until after the terms of this Treaty were known that we got the facts which led to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary making the statement he did in the House a week ago. It had the same familiar ring. We could get no information of the prisoners. The normal channels through the Red Cross or neutrals were closed. It did not take much imagination on my part to visualise how many of these United 919 Nations soldiers now in Communist hands may be alive today. Have we made no progress at all?
In conclusion, I would say that one of the most emotional moments of my life was in August, 1945, when I, with many others, thin but, I think, undaunted, climbed on to the roof of our gaol at Changi and pulled down the hated Japanese flag, remembering all the brutality that had happened underneath it, and hoisted, in its place, the Union Jack, planting it, as we believed, for freedom, justice, law and order throughout the world. I realise that with all its implications it is necessary to pass this Bill to ratify the Treaty, but I would ask that, in implementing it, we do try to see that in all the Japanese people there is inculcated sanctity for human life, and that they give compensation to those to whom they brought sorrow and hardship.
§ 5.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
I am pleased that it falls to me to offer to the hon. Member for Eye (Mr. H. Harrison) what, I am sure, are the congratulations of the whole House upon a quite exceptional and remarkable maiden speech. There is, of course, a tradition in these matters, that an hon. Member must not be controversial; but never that a maiden speech should not be passionate and sincere.
The hon. Gentleman, without being controversial at all, has impressed all of us with the restrained, controlled emotion and sincerity of his speech, and I am sure that we shall all look forward with pleasurable anticipation to hearing him on subsequent occasions. I should like to say to him, however, that although the custom of the House prevents me from engaging in any kind of debate with him, he has done something a little more than is done normally in a maiden speech, and that is to make a definite and significant contribution to the debate in reminding all of us of the background against which we are debating this Bill.
I should like to support my hon. Friends who moved and seconded the Amendment for the rejection of the Bill. In doing so, it is right that one should ask what would be the consequences—and my right hon. Friend the hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger) invited us to do so—if we succeeded on a 920 Division, or without one, in carrying the Amendment. It is clear that the first consequence of such a decision by the House of Commons would be, at any rate, to postpone the ratification of the Treaty. It is very difficult indeed to understand what possible harm could be done by a postponement of the ratification of a Treaty which the hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. W. Fletcher) described, I thought quite modestly, as a Treaty which did not settle any of the existing problems of the Far East, and which did originate a large number of new ones.
There are two aspects to this matter. One is the local and domestic—the economic—and the other the place that the Treaty, if ratified, would hold in the present complex of international relations. I propose to say a word or two about each of them. As to the first, the cotton trade of Lancashire since 1945, for the first time this century, has been expanding. For most of the period since the end of the First World War, the Lancashire cotton industry was rapidly contracting year by year. The tendency was always to have fewer spindles, fewer looms and to produce less, and Lancashire was becoming, or, at any rate, many of the towns that lived by cotton were becoming, a series of depopulated towns.
Unemployment was high, underemployment was high, and concealed unemployment was high. Things were getting progressively worse. For a period of six years since the end of the War the opposite has been the case. There has been full-employment, Lancashire has been prosperous, the Lancashire cotton trade has been prosperous, and while the standard of living of the workers and their security of employment has very much improved as compared with prewar years, the cotton manufacturers, too, have been making very large fortunes. It has been a prosperous industry.
The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross), who seemed to draw a distinction between the potteries and textiles said that there was a movement the other way as a direct consequence of the kind of competition which has been described. He was mistaken in thinking that these consequences had not yet reached Lancashire. Only this week, two mills in my own constituency, one in Colne and one in Nelson, have given 921 notice to close down, and the explanation given in both cases by the owners of the factories was the growing challenge of unrestricted, unregulated, and unfair competition from Japan.
My right hon. Friend who spoke from the Opposition Front Bench and played so notable and distinguished a part in these negotiations in San Francisco said, "Do not worry too much. Do not say there is nothing in the Treaty about all this. Here is half a sentence in the Preamble. There is somewhere else a half-hearted declaration. We have done all this, but you cannot put anything into the Treaty about it because you will achieve very little by way of practical result, and you will arouse for your little practical result a good deal of resentment." I should like to know whose resentment we would have aroused if we had insisted in putting into the operative part of the Treaty something to justify the Preamble and something to implement the declaration.
§ Mr. Silverman
Perhaps my right hon. Friend will wait a moment. I think that is a very reasonable question to ask, and in a minute or two I will suggest what should have been put in. It is quite clear that my right hon. Friend, whose speech I am quoting at the moment, had it in his mind that there were some things that could have been put in, because if he did not know what it was that could have been put in, it is difficult to know how he could tell that they would cause resentment if he had tried to do so. I should like to know whose resentment it would have caused. Who is fighting about this—the Japanese? Was it the resentment of the Japanese that he was afraid of?
§ Mr. Silverman
Why not? If I were negotiating on the part of this country and had to choose between the resentment of the Japanese and the resentment of the people of Lancashire, I would choose the resentment of the Japanese. I ask again: Was it that he was resisting Japanese resentment? I just do not believe it. Resentment could only matter if it was the resentment of somebody more powerful, more influential, and able to exert 922 more pressure on the negotiator's mind than the Japanese. It is perfectly clear—if not, the right hon. Gentleman can deny it—that he would have liked to have put something into the Treaty.
§ Mr. Younger
I said that from 1946 onwards it was the settled policy of the Labour Government that there should not be economic restrictions of this kind. That was said by Sir Stafford Cripps in 1946 in this House when he was President of the Board of Trade, and I do not think there has ever been any deviation from it.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am sure that my right hon. Friend does not want to mislead anybody. No one is talking about restrictions. We are talking about ways of saving Lancashire from the kind of unfair trading practices which it had to compete with before the war. I am sure that my right hon. Friend is not pretending that he did not want to protect Lancashire from that.
§ Mr. Younger
If it is simply a question of unfair practices, I thought that I made it clear in the course of my remarks that it would not have been actually impossible to put provisions about that in the Treaty, but they would have been valueless, as was shown by experience before the war when various means of preventing it were tried and proved quite unenforceable.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am not complaining. I am sure that my right hon. Friend was not in the Chamber when I quoted that part of his speech, and I think that I quoted it fairly and fully. He said it was worth-while to put it in the Preamble; it was worth-while to have a declaration, but it was not worth-while to have anything in the operative parts of the Treaty. The reasons he gave were twofold. One was that he said, "You cannot put anything effective into the operative parts of the Treaty; nothing that would be of any real value and, in order to do what was anyhow ineffective you would have had to arouse resentment."
§ Mr. Younger
That is why I ask whether it was on a limited point. The point about causing resentment when I quoted, not Japan, but India was on the question of restrictions of Japan's ability to earn her living. That was not intended to be 923 applicable to provisions designed to prevent her engaging in practices contrary to international usage, but to put that into the Treaty would have been unenforceable and, therefore, pointless.
§ Mr. Silverman
It would seem that there was nothing to cause any resentment if the right hon. Gentleman had put in the operative part of the Treaty some provision in order to ensure that unfair practices were not followed. There would have been no resentment about that.
§ Mr. Silverman
That part of what we all understood was his argument when my right hon. Friend made his speech can thus be dismissed. We need not bother any more about the resentment part of it. It was not anybody's resentment that stopped us doing it, but it would have been unenforceable. Why would it have been any more unenforceable to put it into a Peace Treaty than into any other treaty negotiated thereafter? If these things are unenforceable, then they are unenforceable in whatever kind of treaty is made. If a treaty can be made on these points, and if these matters can be enforced, then those clauses can be put into the Peace Treaty just as easily as they could be put into any other treaty.
My right hon. Friend shakes his head. There is an old joke about that which I will not bother to remind him of. It is not surely being said that there is no way at all of protecting by treaty Lancashire, Staffordshire and other places from unfair practices of the kind that were described by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith). I cannot understand, once this business of resentment is out of the way, why the attempt should not have been made to embody such protection in this Treaty. Since something has been put into the Preamble and into the declaration by way of principle, why not put something in the operative clauses to give us some power to enforce the declarations, some power to make them real?
I was asked, "What kind of things?" and I promised I would reply. Why should there not have been in the Treaty some clause or clauses which would have ensured to the Japanese working class 924 the right of free association to protect and improve their standard of living, their hours of work, their conditions of labour and their wages.
§ Mr. Silverman
I do not know whether the Charter deals with it very precisely, but there is the Declaration of Human Rights and other things, but if we did not want generalisations of that kind but something to protect the workers directly, there would have been nothing to prevent the putting into the operative part of the Treaty things that would have prevented anyone interfering with the Japanese in exercising their human rights in a democratic society, thus protecting themselves from just the very things which made them so unfair competitors with other workers all over the world.
I am amazed that the attempt was not made. I cannot understand why the attempt was not made, unless the explanation is that here, although dealing nominally with Japanese industry, we were not really dealing with it at all. Here you have American industry, which was providing—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah."] It is a perfectly fair point, surely. We know that American capital had gone into Japanese industry since the war. Everybody knows it.
§ Mr. Silverman
The hon. Member shakes his head, but there is somebody sitting near to him, the hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. W. Fletcher) who made that very point in his own speech. A lot of American capital has gone into Japanese industry since the war, and a lot of equipment has been installed there, too. I would not have bothered to comment on this matter if I had known that the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. W. W. Astor) was drawing a distinction between capital and equipment.
§ Mr. Astor
I thought the hon. Gentleman was saying that American capital had taken shares in Japanese industry since the war It is well-known that the Allied Command in Japan would not allow that, but it is true that under the economic assistance which Japan got machinery was made available to her.
§ Mr. Silverman
Apparently we are not really in dispute, so we need not pursue the matter further. The hon. Gentleman thought that I was using the word "capital" in the financial sense, but that is not important. The important thing is that America's provision of new capital in any sense gives her control of Japanese industry and an interest in its development, and in doing the very things which my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, described as having been reported, not by him, nor by people of our way of thinking.
§ Mr. W. Fletcher
The hon. Member has drawn the wrong conclusion from what I said. Does he really think that the fact that American industry, in one way or another, might have an interest in Japan would lead to lower wages, in view of the fact that America pays the highest wages of anyone in the world?
§ Mr. Silverman
I thought the hon. Member in this matter was on the same side as I was. Why is he starting an internecine civil war between Lancashire Members? I thought he invited us to conduct a gallant fight together in the interest of Lancashire against both Front Benches.
The point is that it was not any Japanese Government or any Japanese administration which interfered in the way my hon. Friend described. That was the American administration in Japan. It seems to me to be perfectly clear that it would have been possible, if he had wanted it, to have had operative clauses in this Treaty which, even though their ultimate sanction may have offered difficulties, would have given us, at any rate, some future right to be heard and to intervene about these matters, and would have given some assurance to our own industry that our Government was really looking after their interests.
I leave that part of it with only one other sentence. I would not for one moment wish anything I have said to be interpreted or used in any way in support of any notion that Japan is not entitled to earn its keep in the world by contributing what it can to the general wealth of the world, by the use of raw materials, machines and labour and adding to the general common stock. Even though the Japanese were our enemies, even though their conduct was what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Eye (Mr. H. 926 Harrison) described, even though their entry into the war was perfidious and treacherous, there is no reason in the world why, for ever after, the Japanese should not be entitled to do all they can to earn their living.
Lancashire would have helped the Japanese to do that, and would be quite prepared to do so now and in the future as we have in the past. What we are saying is that the kind of competition which they practised before was no use to them and kept their own standard of living down at the very time when it interfered with our capacity to earn our own. It seems to me a dreadful thing that we should have been in such a hurry to sign a Treaty which admittedly solves no problems and which does nothing to offer any kind of protection of that kind.
I should like to say a word or two about its place in the general pacification of the world. It seems to me that treaties of peace have to be judged by the extent to which they contribute to the pacification of the world. It has been said by both speakers from the respective Front Benches that the time has come when Japan should be taken back into the comity of nations. I am not against that; but it seems to me that there is one nation in the Far East with a prior right to be taken back into the comity of nations—a right that takes precedence in time in morals, in politics and in common sense over the right of Japan.
After all, Japan took herself out of the comity of nations. Nobody put her out; nobody refused to recognise her; nobody refused to her equal rights with all other nations on the councils of the world. She took herself out of the comity of nations by an unheralded, unprovoked and entirely unjustified attack upon Pearl Harbour. This pacification of the world, upon which we would all like to feel that we are engaged, is the pacification of a world whose unrest did not begin in 1939 with the outbreak of the European War, and did not begin in December, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. It began long before, with the Japanese attack through the Korean peninsula, into Manchuria. The first breakdown of the whole system of collective security which we had sought to build since 1918 came with that act of aggression by Japan upon China.
927 China was the first victim of Japanese aggression. She suffered from it the longest and she suffered from it the worst. My right hon. Friend fully recognises that, as did the Government of which he was a member. We made no bones about recognising the actual de facto Government of China. It did not bother us whether it was Communist or not. We knew that that was not the test. That is not to say that we had no opinions or sympathies about it. Some went one way and some went the other. I make no secret of the fact that my sympathies in China were on the side of the Communists.
I do not see how anyone who wanted to see a better future for their country, if they lived in China and if they had open to them only the choices that were open to Chinese citizens, could have come to any other conclusion or taken any other side. To some it was a matter of regret. The late Mr. Ernest Bevin once said that our recognition of China was a regrettable necessity, but whether regrettable or not it was recognised as a necessity.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
Mr. Ernest Bevin said to me only a few days before he passed away that in all the circumstances we must remain the best of friends with China.
I think the point we are now getting on to is going beyond what we should be discussing.
§ Mr. Silverman
I 'shall pass from it immediately, but I was just raising that very point in the hope that there would be no misunderstanding about it. It was Mr. Ernest Bevin, in the very last speech as Foreign Secretary which he made from that Box, who said that if the Americans had had as much good sense about the recognition of the Chinese Government as the British Labour Government had had, the Korean business might never have occurred at all. I pass from that. I quite agree it goes a little beyond even the wide limits of this debate.
I say that there was never any doubt or difficulty about the recognition of the Chinese Government by the Labour Government in Britain, and I understand that the present Government do not propose to interfere with it. I understand, and I was glad to hear, from my right hon. 928 Friend that he accepts the position that there can be not even the beginning of any pacification of the Far East without a clearing up of this Chinese question. He said that we could not afford to wait for that, and he gave his reasons. He said it was because there was a deadlock, and because it looked as if the deadlock was indefinite. He said that if we had waited until a settlement was arrived at in regard to this question this Japanese Treaty of Peace would have been indefinitely postponed.
With whom is the deadlock? Everybody has had much to say about the intransigence of the Soviet Union in the negotiations from 1947 onwards about this Treaty. I dare say that it was so, but whose intransigence is it which maintains this deadlock in the Far East? Why have not we a word to say about that, about this obstinate refusal to face the plain facts of life, about this determination to keep this unrest going, this state of war, this peril to all the world, arising out of the deadlock about the Chinese situation?
The hon. Gentleman agreed with me a minute or two ago that China was rather outside the scope of this Debate, but he is still persisting in his argument.
I am not prepared to argue that point. We cannot in this Debate discuss China's position.
§ Mr. Silverman
I submit that this point is vital to my argument. I am saying that it was not worth while to sign this Treaty now because it does not affect the international situation in the Far East one little bit. That was accepted by both Front Benches, by the hon. Gentlemen opposite as well as by my hon. Friends. The reply to that argument was: "Yes, but it is not our fault. We have to go on right now, and the reason why we did not agree before was because of the intransigence of one country in the negotiations from 1947 onwards, and the present deadlock." I am pointing out that the deadlock could have been broken if those who were negotiating the Treaty had taken the right line about it and had been as careful to condemn unreasonable intransigence on one side as they were to condemn unreasonable intransigence on the other side.
929 It is only in that way that the question becomes relevant. I certainly agree that the whole question of the history of China leading to where we are now would have been irrelevant to the debate, but this point I submit is not merely not irrelevant to the debate, but fundamental to it. If we think of the present situation with regard to China as reasonable and tolerable and one which cannot in any way be altered or changed by anything that we could do, then we are in favour of this Motion. If we think that the passing of this Motion tends to prolong the deadlock and that that very deadlock is at the root of the problem, then we are in favour of my hon. Friend's Amendment. In that sense, this is the very root of the argument that we are having in the House of Commons this afternoon.
I say that this refusal of the United States of America to recognise the Chinese Government is the deadlock to which my right hon. Friend referred. There is no other deadlock. It is an unreasonable refusal, and it stands directly in the way of that very pacification of the Far East to which this Treaty was intended to contribute, but which everybody agrees it does nothing realistic about. If the attitude of this country's negotiators during these negotiations had been different, if they had said: "This is no Treaty at all. This will never pacify the Far East. You will never get any pacification of the Far East until the Chinese Government are properly recognised," they would have had their way.
§ Mr. Nutting
I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. It is only fair and right to point out, while he may continue to blame the United States Government for being, as he puts it, intransigent and holding up a settlement in the Far East by refusing to recognise the Chinese Government in Peking, that about half the signatories of the Japanese Peace Treaty are of the same view as the United States of America on this matter, and that those signatories include Australia and New Zealand.
§ Mr. Silverman
I cannot debate this point at any length, but in the present conjuncture of international affairs there will always be a great many nations who will listen to what Uncle Sam wants done and will find that it is just what they always wanted. There is no difficulty about that in present circumstances.
§ Mr. Nutting
Is the hon. Gentleman seriously suggesting that Australia and New Zealand have not minds of their own in this matter and are merely following tamely at the heels of the United States of America?
§ Mr. Silverman
I am seriously suggesting that no man in his right senses, looking at this matter from the point of view of strict international law, unprejudiced by ideological preconceptions of any kind, would have the slightest doubt that the present People's Government of China is, in fact, the Government of China, that there is no other Government of China and that that Government are entitled, by international law, to be recognised. I am sure that that is the hon. Gentleman's own view too. It is certainly the view of the British Government and has been their view for nearly two years.
I say this is the right view and is the only possible view; that until the United States of America are prevailed upon in some way to see the facts as they are there is no possibility whatever of getting any pacification in the Far East, and that our concurrence in this hasty, improvised, ill-thought-out Treaty, negotiated in part with the wrong persons and signed in the end by the wrong parties, can only postpone the real settlement that we all hope to see.
I have been speaking for much longer than I wanted to, and I have not said some of the things I wanted to say. I would sum up my arguments by saying that this is a wholly bad Treaty. It does not contain the protective clauses that our industry is entitled to demand. It was made by negotiations with the wrong parties, at the wrong time, and it was signed at a conference which was attended by all the people who do not matter as well as one or two who do, and was not attended by many others who matter most importantly to it.
There can be no peace treaty with Japan without Chinese concurrence. From whatever point of view this Treaty is looked at, it is a wholly inopportune, futile, and indeed reckless proceeding. I hope that the House of Commons will take the opportunity afforded to it by today's debate and today's Motion to indicate its opinion that the Treaty ought not to be ratified.
§ 6.9 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Wentworth Schofield (Rochdale)
It is with a deep sense of humility that I rise to speak in this great and august Assembly. In conformity with custom, I ask the forbearance of hon. Members present during the short time that I seek to put my views before the House.
The constituency which has entrusted me with the honour of representing it here in Parliament is Rochdale, a town which lies on the north-eastern rim of the great industrial area of Lancashire. As might be expected in such a town, which was the birthplace of the Co-operative movement and the home of John Bright, and which was represented in Parliament by Richard Cobden for quite a time, its people take political questions and controversies seriously. Its industry is wide and varied, and among its principal industries is cotton spinning and weaving. Indeed, Rochdale is the third largest cotton-spinning centre in this country, where every variety of cotton is spun, from the coarse Indian and American varieties to the finer Egyptian qualities. No wonder, therefore, that the people of Rochdale are always interested about anything which has to do with cotton.
It is because of their interest in cotton that they are interested in the Japanese Peace Treaty. Most of them can remember the damaging effect which Japanese competition had upon the welfare of the cotton industry between the two wars. That competition did not derive its effectiveness from any superior skill on the part of its operatives or management. Precisely the opposite was the case. It derived it from the low labour standards of Japan, from the Japanese Government's manipulation of the yen and from subsidies and other methods which, in normal trade circumstances, would be regarded as inconsistent with proper commercial standards. It is nice to know, however, that the Japanese have given an assurance in this Peace Treaty that they intend to conduct their business with fair practices in the future.
It is true that industrial conversations have taken place between representatives of the industry in this country and representatives of Japanese industry, and that the hope has been expressed in them that Japan's economic recovery will be accompanied by the raising of Japanese labour 932 standards. Like this country, Japan is ill-endowed with raw materials, and because of that she is fundamentally dependent upon her export trade. In a world which has been starved of cotton goods because of six years of war, it was right that Japan should play a part in alleviating that shortage.
What we have to fear is the situation which will arise when that shortage has been met, when the world has a certain amount of trade to offer and the countries of the world are competing for it. In Rochdale, and in the cotton industry in particular, we are afraid that unbridled competition, based on low wages and the standards of the Orient, are far more likely to create unemployment and a lowering of British standards than raising the standards of the Japanese workers.
On the other hand. hon. Members on both sides of the House should not overlook one positive step which has been taken in the Peace Treaty. It is a step which has not yet been mentioned in the House, and one which, if full advantage is taken, may assist us to protect our interests in the markets of East and Central Africa. I refer to the remark made in the Treaty that Japan renounces her right under the Convention of St. Germain-en-Laye, which is perhaps more commonly referred to as the Congo Basin Treaties.
Most people who are connected with Empire and international trade have heard at one time or another of the Congo Basin Treaties. It is surprising how few have a really clear idea of their history and implications. The original Congo Basin Treaties were brought into being as far back as 1885 by what is known as the General Act of Berlin and they were modified five years later by the General Act and Declaration of Brussels.
The Great War of 1914–18 cancelled the Treaties as between the belligerent nations, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Portugal and Russia on the one hand and Germany, Austria and Turkey on the other. When the Treaty of Versailles was signed, it was stipulated that the Congo Basin Treaties should once more be brought into being. It was also stipulated that the defeated enemy nations of Germany, Austria and Turkey should not be allowed to subscribe to the Treaties as signatories, and it was at that time that Japan was brought into the Congo 933 Basin Treaties as a signatory for the first time.
The basis of the Treaties is that there shall be a full equality of trade in the territories of the Congo Basin and that any import duties which may be imposed shall apply equally to all countries irrespective of whether they are parties to the Treaties or not. In effect, they are instruments of free trade which open the trade door to a vast expanse of Central and Eastern Africa. By reason of their terms, Japan, the chief producer, soon found herself in a position to undercut all her rivals in those markets and soon found herself in a position where she had a virtual monopoly of those markets.
Unfortunately, no time limit was expressed in the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye, nor is there any provision in the Treaty whereby it can be revised or revoked except by 100 per cent. agreement on the part of its signatories. Seeing that the Treaty virtually presented Japan with a monopoly of the East African market, and that the Treaty could not be altered or revised without Japan's sanction, it has paid Japan to act as a sort of dog in the manger and by that means keep to herself the great bulk of the trade in East Africa and Central Africa. It actually took the defeat of Japan in war to remove her from the benefits of the Treaty.
By the provision in the Peace Treaty that Japan shall renounce her rights as a signatory power of the St. Germain-en-Laye Convention, that dog has now been taken out of the manger, and if the remaining signatory Powers now wish to revise or renounce the Treaty there is nothing to stop them, for Japan can no longer prevent it. I submit that that is a very definite step forward, but it is only a step, and it is no use unless it is followed up further, because it must be remembered that so long as the Convention of St. Germain-en-Laye is in being there is still nothing to prevent Japan from again monopolising those markets. The Japanese Peace Treaty does not at all alter Japan's ability to compete in those markets; all it does is to stop Japan from preventing the other signatory Powers from revising or revoking the Treaty.
Many in the cotton industry are wondering what further steps are now 934 contemplated to prevent Japan from again getting an undue share of the East African market. Many are wondering whether it is the intention to initiate talks in order to find out whether the other signatory Powers will be agreeable to either a revision or a cancellation of the St. Germain-en-Laye Convention. Among many of the signatories of the Convention it has been felt for some time that its cancellation is long overdue, and I humbly submit to the House that the question of cancellation should be looked into very carefully and considered with the other signatory Powers, because in that way only can we be certain of protecting our own rights in our own Colonies in East Africa.
§ 6.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Greenwood (Rossendale)
Being, in a sense, a maiden speaker myself, I can congratulate the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Rochdale (Lieut.-Colonel Schofield) with more than usual feeling on the way he has come through his ordeal with such flying colours.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman may be aware that on the last occasion on which we discussed Japanese competition his predecessor in the House spoke on the subject, and that is perhaps evidence of the fact that in Lancashire at least the question of Japanese competition is regarded as being largely above the differences which normally divide our parties. The hon. and gallant Gentleman made a most constructive and well-informed speech. I, at least, thoroughly enjoyed it, and I believe that the whole House did, and we shall certainly look forward to hearing him again, especially in debates on matters affecting the textile industry.
Hon. Members who have been in the last two Parliaments will not be surprised to find me speaking once again on the question of Japanese competition, although they may be surprised, as I am, at the exact spot from which I am speaking. When I last addressed the House in July I drew attention to certain features in the Japanese Treaty which were giving cause for alarm to my hon. Friends and to many thousands of people outside the House. On behalf of my colleagues in Lancashire and Cheshire I drew attention to our doubts as to whether the time was ripe for such a Treaty. I expressed doubt 935 whether there had been a real change of heart on the part of the Government of Japan. I questioned whether at that time there was an expanding world economy.
Unfortunately, our views did not prevail, and now the Treaty has been signed, and signed by my right hon. Friends the Members for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), and Grimsby (Mr. Younger); but at least we had the consolation of knowing that before the Foreign Secretary of that time put his signature to the Treaty he spoke very plainly to the assembled delegates about the attitude which this country would adopt if Japan were to revert to the practices which she pursued before the war. I believe that, now that Treaty is signed, an old chapter is closed and a new chapter is opened and what we have to do from now onwards is to concentrate not on attacking the Japanese Treaty as such but rather on the practical steps which can be taken, in pursuance of the signing of the Treaty, to protect the industries of this country against competition.
My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith), who commands the affection and respect of all of us in the House, spoke of the attitude of the trade unions to this question. My hon. Friend was talking about the trade unions' attitude to Japanese competition—and nobody thinks the Japanese competition is a good thing—but I do not think my hon. Friend has any right to say that it would be the wish of the trade union representatives in Lancashire that we should oppose this Bill and, in consequence, the ratification of the Japanese Peace Treaty.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
The same thing applies the other way round. There ought to have been an opportunity for consultation.
§ Mr. Greenwood
I have taken the opportunity of consulting at any rate some of my local textile union leaders, and there is certainly no doubt in my mind that what they would want us to do is what I am suggesting, that henceforth we should concentrate on such opportunities as we have under the Treaty for protecting our people against unfair competition.
Hon. Members on this side of the House ought to remember that it has 936 always been the attitude of the Cotton Board, upon which both sides of the industry are represented, that it would be no use at all trying to include in the Japanese Peace Treaty clauses protecting us against Japanese competition.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
My hon. Friend will probably remember that between the two wars most of the leading Labour newspapers advocated in practically every edition, what we have been advocating this evening, particularly "Forward" and "New Leader." If he will look at the T.U.C. reports he will see that time after time at conferences pleas were made for precautions to be taken similar to those that we have been advocating tonight.
§ Mr. Greenwood
I do not think there is any difference between my hon. Friend and myself about that. Obviously, these precautions have to be taken. What we are saying, what the Cotton Board has said, and what both parties have said, is that it is no good trying to write these provisions into the Treaty and that what we must do is to rely on the conventions and colateral agreements which are provided for in the Treaty.
Some of my hon. Friends have put down an Amendment on the subject, and some hon. Members have interpreted what they believe the Amendment would produce if it were carried. I will give my interpretation. In the first place, it would mean the rejection of a Bill which has a very modest purpose, the provision of machinery for implementing such protection as the Treaty affords us. The second, and long-term, result would probably be, as hon. Members have suggested, that this country would have to refuse to ratify the Treaty, but I wonder what long-term benefit that would bring to the people of the industrial areas who will be subject to Japanese competition.
Under Article 23 of the Treaty it will be possible, even if the majority of the signatories refuse to ratify it, for the United States to bring the Treaty into effective operation. We all know that the only Power who can make the Treaty effective is the United States. The United States alone have occupying Forces in Japan until the Treaty is signed. The fact remains, whether we like it or not, that, even if we refuse to ratify it, the Treaty will still come into operation, and that is what makes me say that we have 937 to concentrate from now on upon taking advantage of the colateral agreements for which the Treaty provides.
§ Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)
Is my hon. Friend correct in saying that the Treaty could be brought into operation by the United States alone? Surely he meant to say that it required a majority of the States, including the United States?
§ Mr. Greenwood
The point is covered in Article 23 (b), which says:If the Treaty has not come into force within nine months after the date of the deposit of Japan's ratification, any State which has ratified it may bring the Treaty into force between itself and Japan by a notification to that effect given to the Governments of Japan and the United States of America not later than three years after the date of deposit of Japan's ratification.That means, of course, that if America decided to bring the Treaty into effect, America being the only Power which is in a position to operate the Treaty, that would, in fact, be bringing it into effective operation. I do not think that there is any question at all about that.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Does not my hon. Friend appreciate that such a bilaterial treaty would be of no value to anybody and that there is no reason to think that anybody would avail themselves of it? The important thing is to get a general settlement, and surely, if we did not go along with this abortive attempt at a general settlement, we would help all those who wanted to get a real settlement.
§ Mr. Greenwood
My hon. Friend confirms exactly what I am saying. A bilateral treaty of that kind would be of no use to anyone—it would not be any good to us. What my hon. Friend has to persuade us of is that a general settlement is likely if we or any other countries refuse to ratify the Treaty.
Hon. Members have talked about the alarm which now exists in Lancashire. There are two responsibilities which lie heavily upon those of us who represent textile constituencies. I do not want to pretend that textiles are the only industry which is imperilled by the Treaty. There is a very large number of them, including the potteries, shipbuilding, light engineering, rubber footwear, and so on. Nobody will deny, however, that of the major industries of this country, none of them suffered quite so badly as the cotton 938 industry in the years before the War. But I do not think that at the moment we can afford either to spread alarmism in Lancashire or to relax the vigilance which hon. Members, on both sides of the House, have constantly exercised during the last four or five years.
I agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) said about the growing competition which is already beginning to be felt. So far it has not been very serious, but it is now beginning and, of course, the danger of what will happen in the next two or three years is very great indeed. I notice today that the Financial Editor of the "Manchester Guardian" is talking about the uneasiness in the industry and the fear that when the present temporary recession is past, Lancashire will have to face the full blast of Japanese competition.
There are many reasons why we are apprehensive. They arise both from internal factors—in Japan itself—and from external factors. It is, unfortunately, true that in spite of all the improvements that we have constantly been told have been made during the Allied occupation, the workers in Japan are still receiving less than before the war; and the difference between the rates of pay of Japanese and Lancashire workers is three times greater today than it was before the war broke out.
My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, quoted an interesting article from "The Times." I was very flattered that he should do so, because I quoted it myself in extenso in the House on 25th July and later lent him the outting from which he was quoting. But there is, of course, even more recent information than that. In the "Financial Times" today is an article by Daniel Duxbury, in which he refers to antimonopoly laws and the labour legislation in Japan. He says:Already, there are signs that at a convenient time industrialists will press for revision of these laws.The anxiety which we are at present feeling is, therefore, by no means groundless.
Hon. Members have referred to the growth of Japan's population, but I do not think that anyone has referred to the fact that of Japan's growing population some 38 million are under 21 years of 939 age. This means, of course, that in the next five or ten years there will be an enormous labour force upon which she can draw. They have, probably, far more textile experts available to them than have any of the other Far Eastern countries.
Of the external factors, obviously—
§ Mr. W. Fletcher
Before the hon. Member leaves the question of the internal factors, would it not be wise to make clear—I am certain there is no difference on this—that the low cost of labour in Japan is due to the forces of nature rather than to the forces of man; that rice, which is the main diet, is one of the few foods which is not in short supply, and fish, which is the other one, is fairly abundant; and that it is not, therefore, man who is forcing down the cost of living? One of the causes is living in flimsy houses, on account of the earthquakes, which are built of necessity at very low cost. It adds to the danger, but it emphasises the point that the low cost is due to natural causes.
§ Mr. Greenwood
There may be a certain amount of truth in what the hon. Member says, but, at the same time, I do not think that he, in his turn, would deny that there has not been very much effort in the past on the part of the leaders of Japan to raise the extremely low standard of living of their people.
Of the external factors, clearly the most important is the closing of the Chinese market to Japan. There are reasons that lead one to suppose that that market may not be reopened in the near future; I will come to that presently. Others of Japan's markets which have disappeared are India and Indonesia, which have, set up textile industries of their own. If, as we all hope, the Korean war finishes in the near future, this will mean another difficulty for Japan, because Japan has been prevented from exporting a large amount of textiles to markets where we want to sell our textiles, by the fact that she has been selling them extremely profitably to United Nations Forces fighting in Korea. Indeed, during the past few years Japan has become, ironically enough, the arsenal of democracy.
But, at the same time, there are reassuring factors. For example, quite recently the Japan Cotton Spinners' 940 Association expressed the view that Japan should not expand its cotton spinning industry beyond six million spindles; they said that it would be better to take into account the potential world demand and the world's potential raw cotton holdings. That is a point of view which has been followed up by a number of American experts, including Mr. Murchison, the Economic Adviser to the American Cotton Manufacturers' Institute. Another somewhat reassuring factor is that a shortage of dollars has meant that Japan has had recently to cut her imports of raw cotton, and exports next year are likely to be slightly lower than this year; and this year also they have shown a slight decline upon the previous year.
Whatever reassuring factors there may be, we cannot, however, afford to leave things to luck. What I should have liked to hear this afternoon was rather more practical suggestions about the way that we are to go ahead with collateral agreements, with conventions, and with all the other devices with which we can protect our industry.
I want to put to the President of the Board of Trade a number of questions, with which, I hope, he will deal when he replies to the debate. I ask, first, a question about Article 14 (a) of the Treaty, dealing with reparations. As, I expect, the right hon. Gentleman will know, this has given cause for a good deal of alarm, both in this country, in certain of the Far Eastern countries, and even in Japan itself, because it is being interpreted in this way: It is thought that the Article as it now stands makes it possible for countries which were occupied by Japan to send raw cotton to Japan, to have it manufactured there into piece goods, and then to take the manufactured goods back, having paid only the cost of the raw materials. This would mean, of course, that that market was being closed to the products of this country, of India or of other countries and it would be possible for the country receiving reparations in this way to dump the goods in the neighbouring territories.
I cannot believe that that is the intention underlying Article 14. It is, of course, subject to negotiations, but I should like the right hon. Gentleman to explain the Government's attitude towards it. At present, it seems to me to bear a 941 most lamentable resemblance to the way in which, in the Treaty of Versailles, we provided for reparations in coal, which was a major factor in bringing about the decline of our coal industry.
Secondly, what are the Government going to do about the conventions relating to unfair practices? My hon. Friends have mentioned a number of examples of the way in which the Japanese are pirating designs, copyrights, and so on. The position in the Treaty seems to me to be a little obscure. If the right hon. Gentleman can clarify it, that would be helpful not only to Members but to the trade and to the public outside. For example some conventions are specified in the declaration at the end of the Treaty. The Agreement for the Prevention of False Indication of Origin of Goods, for instance, is referred to as being specifically adhered to by Japan, but there is no mention of the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property or the Berne Copyright Convention.
§ Air Commodore A. V. Harvey (Macclesfield)
Would it not have been more helpful if the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger) had given his views on this when he made his speech, so that we would have had in mind what the late Government had intended?
§ Mr. Greenwood
The principles behind the Treaty are perfectly clear. What we are trying to discover now is how the Government are interpreting the provisions of the Treaty and what steps they are going to take to bring them into operation.
The hon. and gallant Member for Rochdale spoke about the possibility of having a conference of the Powers which are interested in cotton. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether there is any possibility of having such a conference before cut-throat competition really gets going? Nobody here would want us to go back to the days of restrictive practices, when the one thing upon which we were all concentrating was stopping the sale of goods to people who needed them.
Surely, it would not be unreasonable to try to ensure that the development of the world's productive capacity of textile goods should be geared to the expansion of world trade. It seems to me that in a world where poverty is one of the great curses of the 942 time, there must be an almost limitless market for textiles if only we can create the purchasing power so that people can take advantage of them. I should like to see us going ahead on those lines and, perhaps, reaching agreement with the other Powers about conditions of manufacture, the ranges of goods on which countries should specialise, and the markets on which they should concentrate.
In the meantime, however, I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman would give his views on what is the Government's policy towards implementing Article 12 (a), which provides for the making of commercial treaties. As the hon. and gallant Member for Rochdale said, we have already had one visitor from overseas—Mr. Hara—representing the biggest spinning concern in Japan, and I understand that before long Japanese Government delegates will be coming to this country.
I cannot help feeling that it would be in the interests of both parties if we could come to some agreement about a modus vivendi. It is no good Japan trying to expand beyond the world's capacity to absorb, and at the same time it is no good our trying to maintain competition in certain classes of goods, because in those classes cheapness, and not quality, is what counts. If we had such an agreement, surely it would be possible to set up some joint machinery to ensure that Japan adheres to the Treaty and to the collateral agreements that go with it.
I was surprised to find hon. Members on this side of the House suggesting that we should refuse Japan's admission to U.N.O. except on certain conditions to be laid down. To allow admission to U.N.O. to depend upon the will of employers in certain countries, would be a most regrettable state of affairs. I should have thought that if we wanted to get people to conform to the rules of a club, the best way to do it was to get them in rather than to keep them out. If we could have a commercial agreement of the kind I suggest, that would be a much more effective way of getting them to conform to these agreements than would be the method which my hon. Friends are suggesting.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
I am very much attracted by my hon. Friend's view that the way to get people to observe the rules of a club is to grant them membership 943 first. Would my hon. Friend say whether that doctrine applies to China as well as to Japan?
§ Mr. Greenwood
I have never hidden my view that China ought to be admitted to the United Nations. That has always been the view, too, of the leaders of the Labour Party, and I am sorry that my hon. Friend should have tried to imply that that was not the point of view either of his party or of myself.
The next question I want to put to the President is what is the attitude of the Government to most-favoured-nation treatment? He will recall that on 12th July my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Helens (Sir H. Shawcross) made a statement on that subject and I would like to know whether it is the intention of the Government to continue the policy which was set forth on that occasion.
In the last resort, and here I come back to agreement with my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) and even with the hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. W. Fletcher), it is the attitude of America which is going to count—America's attitude, both political and economic. On the political side, obviously, for many years to come the United States will have tremendous influence in Japan. Lancashire is wondering to what use that influence will be put.
There is China, an almost limitless market for Japanese goods, which has been slightly opened during the past few months. Of course, if it happens, as has been suggested in the debate may well happen and to which I remember the right hon. Member for Blackburn, West (Mr. Assheton), referring in July, that America tries to persuade, force or cajole Japan into recognising the Chiang Kai-shek Government, it may well be that the doors in China will be closed once again against Japanese goods.
I noticed in the "New York Times," on 19th November, a leading article in which reference was made to the need for Japan to have some outlet for her products. This is what the article said:Many Japanese business men forsee an uncertain future unless they can trade with Communist China; neither treaty says they can't, but the heat will be on them not to try it.944 That is a most ominous suggestion to come from so responsible a paper as the "New York Times."
§ Mr. W. Fletcher
Does the hon. Member agree that the real danger—which has not been mentioned—is China, which is expanding enormously as a textile making country with many secondary industries and that competition will arise very soon to Japan from China supplying her own needs?
§ Mr. Greenwood
Yes, China is very much in the same position as India and Indonesia, to which I referred. They will be cutting down their imports from Japan because of the development of their own industry. But this is another factor and I do not think one can minimise the importance of either of these factors. On the economic side it is clear that Japan will not be dangerous unless she has unlimited supplies of raw cotton and she cannot get unlimited supplies of raw cotton unless she gets them from the United States.
I do not think it an exaggeration to say that the future of Lancashire today is in the hands of the American people. I remember the right hon. Member for Blackburn, West, saying, in the debate in July, what a formidable combination it would be—American capital and Japanese efficiency. There is today considerable doubt in Lancashire about what is to be the policy of America in the future. After all, last year, when America allocated supplies of raw cotton, Japan, Germany and Italy came off a good deal better than we did in this country. That is the kind of thing which makes peoples in the textile areas legitimately anxious about what the future holds.
Having spoken fairly bluntly about what Lancashire is thinking about America, I hope it will not be suggested that I have taken an anti-American line. I have not taken a party line, nor an anti-American line, but I have tried to say what the people of Lancashire are thinking. The relationship which has existed between Lancashire and America is a long one and a very strong one indeed. In 1862, at the height of the Civil War, 500,000 cotton workers in Lancashire were unemployed for lack of raw cotton and on New Year's Eve of that year working men called a meeting in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, to send a message to Abraham Lincoln to carry 945 on the struggle, even though it was bringing starvation to workers in Lancashire. On that occasion people of Lancashire gave their loyalty, trust, and confidence to the people of America, and I hope that in the next two of three difficult years that same loyalty, confidence and trust will be returned by the people of America.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
I wish to congratulate most warmly the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) on his first speech from the Despatch Box. It was not only well constructed and well delivered, but, if I may say so, it was "as to the manner born." But, then, we remember he has been brought up in a very good school and all of us can join with the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Arthur Greenwood), who has always enjoyed the warm affection of every hon. Member in this House, in rejoicing at the success of his son.
The only thing I was wondering, when the hon. Member proceeded with his argument, was whether he was in favour of signing this Treaty, or not. He very rightly reminded us of his speech delivered in the last Parliament, and repeated the argument he uttered on that occasion. It seemed to me, I may be wrong, that he was convinced against his will, but remained of the same opinion still—namely, the opinion he was expressing earlier in the year, and that was against the Treaty.
§ Mr. Anthony Greenwood
I was trying to point out that it is really no good fighting battles which have been finished a long time ago; one must admit defeat on occasion and then proceed to do what one thinks is best in all the circumstances.
§ Mr. S. Silverman indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Davies
The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) does not take that view. He is quite convinced that it would be absolutely wrong to ratify this Treaty. I am not at all sure that that is also the attitude taken by the two hon. Members who moved and seconded the Amendment for the rejection of the Bill. I think they rather recognised that on the whole it would be best to sign, but they wished to enter a protest. But that again was certainly not the view taken by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne.
946 Let us consider this Treaty as a whole. We are all agreed that Japan broke pretty nearly every rule of international law, behaved in a manner which we cannot forget even if we do forgive, and treated everyone not only cruelly but in a manner almost impossible to conceive. As the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne very rightly pointed out, she was the first aggressor after 1918, and continued that aggression until she was followed by the new aggressor in Europe, Herr Hitler. Then came the extraordinary action at Pearl Harbour, just at the moment when her Ambassador was talking to the American authorities. Then there was her treatment of prisoners, and so on.
We admit all that, but we also know that it is always best in a treaty not to be vindictive, not to over-punish, because that only means that resentment is borne by a subsequent generation and the consequences of that will have its effect in the history of those who follow. That has been the experience of those who made treaties too severe in their terms. Undoubtedly that was the experience after the Franco-German War and there were certain aspects in the Treaty of Versailles which led to a considerable amount of feeling being engendered in Germany and Central Europe.
I comment, as I did in the debate to which the hon. Member for Rossendale referred, on the fairness of this draft Treaty, the fact that there is no vindictiveness about it, nor punishment, while recognising of course that Japan has behaved in such a way that she really will have to work her passage back to warrant her being treated on terms of full equality with other nations. In the meantime, I remind the House that in the Treaty itself, and as part of it, she has been deprived of territories upon which she was dependent until 1945. She is deprived of every right which she had obtained—I agree by force—in China, deprived of Korea, deprived of Formosa, deprived even of the islands which are adjacent to her and immediately north. That in itself compels her to keep within the confines of the two islands, already overpopulated.
It is right that we should remind ourselves that she has also had to bring back from those other countries a great number of people who went to live in them and she has to depend entirely on those 947 two islands. She is today the most thickly populated area in the world, not even excepting ourselves or Belgium. The right way to ascertain that is not to take the area as a whole but to take the arable area and relate the population to that. In that way Japan easily overtops even ourselves and Belgium in density of population.
We have to remind ourselves also of her population figures and the amazing way in which they have grown. The population in 1930 was 50 million. In 1937 it had gone up by 20 million to 70 million and by November, 1950—these are the latest figures I have—it was 84 million. Obviously it is growing at the rate of one million a year and has gone up from 70 million in 1937 to 85 million in 1951.
Who can it benefit if this Treaty is not signed now? The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne said that it would be just postponing the signing possibly for a few months.
§ Mr. Davies
Well, it would postpone it for a time, but surely we are all agreed that it was wrong that we should have delayed for so long, from 1945 until 1951, without making a treaty, or without making any effort to get a treaty, except the effort which was made by the previous Government from 1947 onwards.
The sooner a treaty of peace is made the better. We have been waiting, and the world has been waiting, all these years for an agreement. Surely the sooner it is made the better. What purpose could there be in postponing it any longer? The best that could happen would be that America would ratify it and there would be an end of the occupation by America. But, supposing America took the same view as the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne and did not ratify it, but continued the occupation? Would that be a desirable decision?
§ Mr. Silverman
If America took the same view as I take we would have a general settlement, which would be valuable, instead of a partial settlement, which will achieve no purpose at all.
§ Mr. Davies
How is that to be achieved? How do we know what is 948 the view of China on these matters? We have not been in consultation with them, although we have tried.
§ Mr. Silverman
Oh, no. Surely the right hon. and learned Gentleman is wrong about the facts. No attempt to negotiate the terms of this Treaty with Japan, or any treaty with Japan, has ever been made with China.
§ Mr. Davies
I accept that, but I would also point out that any effort to get into touch on those matters which concern us much more closely have so far failed. That being so, if the whole thing is thrown once again into the melting pot, what will be the result? No, in respect of the general lines of this Treaty, one should have no doubt whatever that the right thing to do is to ratify it as early as possible.
An objection has been made as to what will be the result of Japan being admitted into the comity of nations. There is, in the preamble, a promise that she will work her passage back and conform with the Declaration of Human Rights; which will mean greater freedom there, and without a doubt greater power for individuals, both in their democratic institutions and their trade unions. All that is provided for, but what else could we do other than put that in the preamble? If there is anything further put in we reduce the freedom of the country with which we are negotiating.
As I understand it that was already one of the main objections. The Joint Under-Secretary may be able to inform me—and the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), will know much more about this than I or any of us—whether I am correct in understanding that the objection which India had to the Treaty, and to the signing of it, was that India did not think that Japan was being put upon a fair equality with everybody else. If we make a further restriction upon the power of Japan to run her own country the objection of India would be greater even than it is now.
So what are we to do? There is now a population of 85 million living in the 949 islands, having to import their food and raw materials. How are they to live? Having heard the speeches made by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith), the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross), and the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne, I understand that the position now is that we are not afraid of competition. They agree that these people in Japan have to live, and that they can live only by trading; they have to get their raw materials elsewhere and pay for their raw materials by selling their export goods, and by being free to go wherever they like to do so; and there would be no restriction or any complaint by anybody else if they did compete with us in those circumstances.
There can be no doubt now but that the desire, even of these three hon. Members, is that there shall be an expansion in that area so that those people may live. May I also remind them of the tremendous possibilities which there may be in Asia? There is to be found the bulk of the population of the world. We do not know, even within 50 million, what is the population of China. It is sometimes said to be 450 million and sometimes 500 million. None of us thinks that any settlement we make economically can in any way affect the tremendous populations of those countries. So there can be no doubt that there is no possibility of restricting in any way the power of the Japanese people to go on trading and buying and selling wherever they wish.
The only objection, apparently, is an objection to piracy of design, breaches of copyright and matters of that kind, but this is not a matter which we can put into a treaty. The right way to deal with that is either by making an agreement with the Japanese people or the Japanese Government, or still better, one prefaced by an agreement made by industrialists on both sides. Failing that, We must take whatever steps we can in our own country to deal with the matter.
Those surely are the only ways, and those are not matters which can be put into a general treaty such as this. If we did do so, and supposing there was a breach of them, what sanction could there be? What court could there be to try it? And how would we enforce that sanction?
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman really saying that there is no moral sanction in the world for any breach of treaty?
§ Mr. Davies
We have had two examples already, unfortunately, which have done a good deal of harm. There was one when, very rightly in my view, we referred the Persian matter to the Court at The Hague. It went from there to the Security Council, with a request for them to carry out the order of their Court, and the matter has been postponed, apparently indefinitely. There was another example with regard to South-West Africa. At the present moment there is no definite, precise, quick-moving sanction which would compel people internationally to keep to their agreements, and that is the trouble.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am sorry to keep interrupting, but if the right hon. and learned Gentleman is saying that there is no sanction which is of value or validity to compel people or nations to obey the obligations they have entered into about these matters, then that will apply as much to the treaties postulated by this Treaty as it would apply to this Treaty. If there is no sanction for a breach of this Treaty there is no sanction for anything, and what the right hon. and learned Gentleman is saying is that we cannot reach any agreement at all.
§ Mr. Davies
I have stated what is obviously the position as regards a general treaty. But in the case of a bilateral treaty we could put in some form of guarantee, or require the payment of a deposit, or do something of that kind, a breach of which would lead to a forfeiture. In a general agreement of this kind that is quite impossible. But I hope the House will agree that the Treaty ought to be ratified as it is a fair general one.
On the particular ground of competition, surely we are all agreed that it would be absolutely fatal now to restrict in any way the powers of these 85 million people. I would remind the House of their position. Their nearest neighbour, either north-west or west, is already Communist, whether it be Siberia or China. I have always understood it be be the doctrine of everybody in this House that we cannot defeat Communism 951 merely by the use of arms. We have to meet it by doing away with suffering, injustice and matters of that kind.
Surely, therefore, if we do not give these Japanese people an opportunity of restoring themselves to the comity of nations; of building up their own standard of living and of holding that position, then we shall be creating for ourselves a situation which will be far and away more dangerous than anything else of which I can conceive.
§ 7.10 p.m.
§ Mr. William Teeling (Brighton, Pavilion)
The Japanese have just ratified this Treaty and we are the first country on the other side to debate it. I am inclined to wonder what will be the impression of Japan, and especially the Japanese Government, when they read this debate, at least so far as it has gone at present; or, if I may say so, up to the point at which the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) spoke, because I am in very close agreement with almost all he has said.
Until he spoke, we seemed to be dealing practically entirely with the question of the textile industry, as if that was the only thing which mattered in this Peace Treaty. We have rather skated over the fact that the Japanese themselves have accepted it—they had to, of course—and have been given certain terms which, in the end, may prove almost impossible for them to carry out. Their population is vastly increasing, but their territories have been cut down by nearly half. The possibilities of obtaining raw materials are nothing like so good as in the old days, and they are badly needed for any form of export market.
Only recently have the Americans allowed them to get some coal from China, whereas if they had to go on getting it through the United States it would have been at a very greatly increased price. Unless they can be allowed to trade with China in the near future it seems to me that it will be almost impossible for them to carry on, unless in some way they under-cut us. I do not believe they want to do that for one moment.
I believe that there is now in power a Japanese Government who are not the same type of people as were there before the war. I believe that the present Prime 952 Minister, Mr. Yoshida, is a great friend of this country. He has proved himself a friend of this country in the past. He was an Ambassador here for quite a long time before the war. He was sent here particularly, because he was so friendly to this country. And he was most outspoken in support of this country, so far as it was possible for him to be, up to the commencement of the war. Other members of the Japanese Government are known friends of this country. But one would get the impression from everything which has been said this evening that there has been no change whatever and that all that has been happening in the last four or five years has been an absolute waste of time.
Surely these Japanese, or a large number of them, have been working hard to develop the country and to develop a new kind of life. Certainly when some of us M.Ps. went to Japan in 1947 we saw very serious attempts being made by a very large number of Japanese people to improve the position of Japan. Whether that has been achieved or not is as yet uncertain, but at least a lot of people think it has been done to a large extent.
Things have been said by the mover and the supporters of the Motion for the rejection of the Bill about slave labour, and so on, but no one who has been in Japan, either recently or before the war, would recognise some of the things described. It is true that there are millions of people living in different parts of Japan at a very low standard, much lower, than our standard of life, but they do not necessarily want the same things as we want. Factory owners in Japan, both before and after the war, have concentrated on giving people the things they wanted in kind. We may prefer to have them in cash. We may prefer to have council houses at a very high cost, but in Japan factory owners give the people houses for no cost at all; and they are fairly clean ones and well looked after.
One could argue on that point for a long time, but at least it is not quite fair, and it is especially nonsensical if one is trying to talk about competition, to say they are employing slave labour—
§ Mr. Silverman
My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith), is not here and the hon. Member is quoting from him. But in what my hon. Friend said about slave labour he was not drawing upon his own experience; he was quoting from an American source.
§ Mr. Teeling
Even Americans can be wrong. But the hon. Gentlemen who spoke and the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) rather gave the impression that it is the Americans who over the last four or five years, have been preventing improvements. Am I wrong about that? Did not the hon. Member refer to the question of strikes being stopped by the Americans—strikes to better themselves? The point is that if the people have been trying, as I believe they have been for some years, to better their conditions, surely it is incumbent upon us, in talking about this Peace Treaty, to try to act in the same way and hold out the hand of friendship to them.
My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary pointed out that this Bill concerns the ratification of the Peace Treaty, and that trade matters should come later and be discussed in greater detail, and that we should deal with other topics as well. I am most glad that we have had this first opportunity of a debate, so early in this Parliament, because, in the last Parliament, and more especially in the Parliament before, it was almost impossible for anybody interested in the Far East to get a day for a debate on the Far East. If we did, the debate eventually would narrow down to Malaya and Korea, so that Japan never came into it at all. Now, at long last, we are taking a day to debate Japan, and I hope that we may be able, later, to have debates on other subjects, such as the textile questions affecting Lancashire and Yorkshire, but not only on that tonight.
Let us show that we can hold out the hand of friendship to Japan, which is not so very differently placed to ourselves. We are islands off the Continent of Europe; they are islands off the Continent of Asia. We have to trade with Europe and are most anxious to do so; so are they anxious to have the opportunity of trading with China and with Asia as a whole. We badly need raw materials; so do they. We seriously lack finance; so do they. Our population is immense, and 954 so is theirs. We can only live by trade or colonisation, and they can only do the same, though we hope it will not be by colonisation, but by trade.
A large number of the men who are now controlling Japan, including Mr. Yoshida, the Prime Minister, and many of those associated with him, have been educated in this country. They are old friends of this country and they were, in many ways, linked up with those early days of Lord Lansdowne when we were the allies of the Japanese. Today, these people expect that we will hold out the hand of friendship to Japan, and I think we could very well do it again tonight.
There are various things which Japan wants. She is looking to us at present for guidance in the development of many aspects of her life—her Parliament, her trade unions, and so on. I do not believe the Japanese think that the United States is the country which they could best copy. With 86 million people in her small islands, with no raw materials, she cannot be compared with a country like the United States. We are in a more similar position to that of Japan, and we should get the Japanese to come here and study our people and our institutions.
I think, also, that Japan herself might make a gesture at the present moment which would do much to remove the alarm now felt by people in Yorkshire and Lancashire. First of all, there is the question of the treatment of prisoners during the war, on which subject we have just listened to a brilliant maiden speech. I believe that Japan herself, whether as regards to money or otherwise, will be prepared at the present time to make a gesture to the people of this country, and to make an admission that they did wrong in that direction and at that time.
Second, there is the question of the bondholders, and Japan might very well help there. I know thousands of these bondholders, not City of London people, but very poor people, holding very few of these bonds, all over the country, who have received not one penny by way of interest for many long years. I realise that we cannot now obtain the money with which to pay back to these people either their capital or the accumulated interest, but, after this Treaty is ratified, which is what the Japanese promised to do, we should get them to begin to pay interest again to these poor people. That 955 is one of the things which the Japanese themselves ought to do of their own accord and, if they did it, it would give some of the people of Lancashire some hope for thinking that, later, some rules and regulations might be laid down for the future that would be kept, like the paying of debts.
In addition to the textile question, there is the fact that the City of London also has interests in Japan on such questions as insurance, banking and shipping. Surely our Government will bear in mind that these industries have also great interest in trade with Japan? Just because we are watching over the textile industries, we cannot postpone indefinitely coming to some agreement with Japan about other industries as well, which might well involve the granting of most-favourednation rights.
There are two other points upon which I would like to ask the President of the Board of Trade with regard to negotiations that have been going on in the past. Article 18 of the Treaty deals with outstanding pre-war claims, but the Treaty only imposes an obligation to consider on their merits claims for loss or damage to property or for personal injury or death arising before the existence of a state of war. We consider that there should be an obligation on the Japanese to meet such claims as had already been admitted by them before the war, but not paid.
Some of us feel that there has been one most important omission from the Treaty, and that is that no provision is made regarding discriminatory taxation against the foreigner. There is not, in fact, any relief from the payment, in part, of Japan's war costs. It seems to me that it is very necessary now that something should be done to mitigate this discrimination. We are going to have a large number of English people living in Japan and trading there, and they have to live at the highest standard of living in the country. They will therefore have to pay the highest form of taxation, which will very largely be for the repayment of war damage, and so on. I refer to internal war damage, and I do not think that that cost should be forced to be partly borne by Britons.
There is one last point on which I should like to ask the Government a question. We have been told a great deal about the development of trade unions. 956 I was out there at the end of 1947, when it was quite obvious that the Japanese trade unions were very much in their infancy, and there was a very slow process of development going on. At that time, some of us suggested that some trade unionists of standing in this country should go out on a fairly long visit to Japan in order to give the people there some idea how to develop a trade union movement. When we came back, we suggested this to the Prime Minister of the day, who agreed that it was a good idea.
So far as I know, nothing further has been done about it, and I am wondering whether this would not be an appropriate moment, when the Peace Treaty is about to be ratified, to send out some of our trade union representatives to help forward this development.
Finally, I would beg of the House to realise that this is not a debate on the textile industry as such, but on the ratification of a Peace Treaty with Japan. Let us show the Japanese the hand of friendship and help them to build up their trade unions, and let us recognise that they are people who wish to work with us and who want to work with those who used to be their Allies.
§ 7.24 p.m.
§ Mr. A. J. Irvine (Liverpool, Edge Hill)
The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Teeling), knows a good deal about Japan, and it is always interesting to listen to his speeches on this subject, but it seems to me that he is prepared to take the view that this Treaty errs on the side of severity. I do not think he would regard that as putting it too high; that is what he seems to suggest. I think the hon. Gentleman must realise that, in expressing that view—which may be right or wrong, although I think it is wrong—he is representing a very small minority indeed in the country.
Those of us who feel anxieties about the provisions of this Treaty, and who take this opportunity of expressing them, are entirely prepared to agree that it would be quite wrong to introduce into this Treaty any provisions that are restrictive on Japanese trade, commerce and manufactures. I also realise, as has been stated by many hon. and right hon. Members, that in the subsequent resolutions which are to be discussed, and in the subsequent discussions which are to take place, a great number of opportunities will, no doubt, arise to represent 957 British interests in matters affecting this country.
Our complaint is not that restrictive provisions are not put into the Treaty nor that there are no saving clauses and the possibility of action being taken by subsequent resolution, but that this Treaty goes out of its way to give a fillip and an advantage to Japanese industry which may be detrimental to Lancashire and to the interests of British industry. The Treaty seems to go out of its way to give what we think is an unreasonable advantage to this great competitor, and I cannot believe that the interests of the British textile industry were on this occasion sufficiently brought home to those responsible in the matter.
It seems to me that the matter is brought forward most clearly by Article 14 (a) which deals with reparations. What is the position under this Article, which, I submit, is of such importance that the House should take cognisance of it? That Article recognises the fact that there are countries which have been the victims of Japanese aggression and which are entitled to receive reparations. That is recognised in the Treaty. These countries are by this Article given the opportunity of providing Japan with raw cotton to be processed and manufactured and then to be returned to them free of cost, no charge being made for the processing in Japan.
That is a most serious matter for anyone concerned with the interest of the textile industry of Lancashire. A country like Indonesia—to mention only one of many—which has suffered at the hands of Japan and which, in previous years, may have been an important part of our own overseas market in South-East Asia for cotton manufactures is, by this provision in the Treaty, given the opportunity of buying raw cotton in the world market, shipping it to Japan, receiving it back as a manufactured product at the raw material price, and then is in the position to sell the manufactured commodity in the world market at prices far less than those ruling for that type of commodity.
That, it seems to me, is a very grave matter indeed, and one of which the House should be fully cognisant. It is fair to say that this means giving in this important part of the world a tremendous trading advantage to the Japanese, a part 958 of the world in which, in honest competition between countries, it was perfectly reasonable to hope in due course for an expansion of exports of British textiles. It is an advantage which the provisions of the Treaty give gratuitously, unreasonably and absurdly to Japan having regard to all that she has done, and this at a time when Britain's competitive position in the textile industry is already becoming extremely difficult.
The volume of Japan's exports of cotton goods already exceeds the volume of British exports of those goods. The figures for the second quarter of 1951 show that British exports of cotton goods amounted to 247 million square yards while Japan's amounted to 342 million square yards. British manufacturers are finding that the volume of new orders for their products is already beginning to fall off, and that the samples of Japanese cloth are very markedly better than they were before the war.
The British industrialist and the British textile worker must also bear in mind the fact that, as things are at present, their competitors in Japan have at present not only the advantages to which I have referred, but the added advantage of being comparatively free of the taxation burden which we have to bear for purposes of defence. Moreover, all that is happening in Japan and the Far East is giving impetus to this competitive effort by post-war Japan in the cotton and textile market because, in large measure, she finds herself deprived of her traditional market in the mainland of China and because she finds her silk industry a much less profitable activity than it was before owing to the development of nylon and rayon.
These two last factors are encouraging Japan to concentrate upon the manufacture and export of cotton goods to new markets. It is because these things are happening that in the 12 months since the limitation of four million spindles was raised by the Americans, Japan has increased the number of spindles installed in her factories to 5,055,000.
My purpose in drawing attention to these matters is to try to emphasise to the House what are the factors in the Far East which are contemporary with this, as I see it, gratuitous and unnecessary action of ours, under the terms of the Treaty, in encouraging them and 959 giving them an advantage in their textile trade. It seems to me that by Article 14 (a) we are giving them an opening in markets where we hoped to compete with them for the good of our own industry. They are being given the chance to build up goodwill and a capacity to sell their manufactured products at prices with which it will be impossible for us to compete.
The textile industry of England is taking the view that in the coming years there is a good prospect of building up much more co-operative and friendly relations than before between themselves and the Japanese textile industry; and I would be the last to deny that it is extremely desirable that there should be greater co-operation than before between the Japanese textile industry and our own.
But I do not think it is a good basis for co-operation that in this Treaty we should go out of our way, as it seems to me we are doing, to give such immense trading advantages to the Japanese. History supports the view, and I am entirely in favour of it, that one should be generous to a defeated foe. It nearly always pays, but in this Treaty we are being generous to a fault and we are giving a fillip and encouragement to Japan which the circumstances do not warrant.
I come now to the wider aspects of the problem with which the House has to deal. The reason why this extremely generous attitude is being adopted by the Western Powers, of course, is not that there is any sudden conversion to the view that it is wiser and better to be generous to a defeated foe. The reason why it is happening is that there is believed to be a threat from the U.S.S.R. It is because it is deemed necessary to have an effective policy of military containment of the U.S.S.R. that for the first time for so long the Western countries have adopted the principle that it is well to be reasonable and generous in one's treatment of a defeated foe.
One feels that the treatment of Japan by the United States and ourselves would have been very different if our relations with the U.S.S.R., and American relations with them, had been better in the postwar years than they have proved to be. Apart from the problem of trade it is in 960 this connection also that I feel some anxiety about the Treaty. In the foreign affairs debate last week many of us on this side of the House had the impression that the present Government have their own conception of the meaning of the generally accepted formula "negotiation from strength." The present Government appear to think that that means building one's forces until one can compel a favourable settlement. If I may draw a parallel between East and West, for example, it is not thought that German re-armament could be modified in response to U.S.S.R. proposals for free elections in Berlin or in Germany. It is not thought of as a bargaining counter.
That outlook is not acceptable to me or to many of my hon. Friends. I understand, and so I think do many of my colleagues, by negotiation from strength that one builds up one's forces until one can negotiate on a level and between evenly balanced Powers. That is quite different from building up forces to the point where one can impose one's will. I understand negotiation from strength as meaning a negotiation where we are not handicapped by having behind us a relative weakness in armament.
I am speaking now of something far greater than the threat to the textile industry to which I have referred. There is a grave danger that Russia, seeing the build-up that is going on to the west of her and to the east of her, of which this Treaty is a symbol, may come to regard the Western proposition of negotiation from strength as constituting a threat to herself which may lead her to indulge in an adventure and a folly which would bring disaster upon the whole civilised world.
§ Air Commodore Harvey
The hon. Member refers to the present Government's policy of negotiating from strength. Surely he appreciates that the policy of the Government is much the same as that of the late Government. After all, the late Government introduced the re-armament programme and the Estimates to which the House agreed, and it seems a little unfair to pass the buck.
§ Mr. Irvine
I think it would be out of order to develop that point further than I have done.
I am suggesting that the debate on foreign affairs last week may have shown 961 that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have a slightly—perhaps more than slightly—different interpretation of the formula of negotiation from strength than that entertained on this side of the House. I feel I must leave it at that. I regard this Treaty with foreboding both because of its likely consequences upon a vitally important British industry and because of its possible effect upon world peace.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ Mr. W. W. Astor (Wycombe)
I rise to support this Treaty because I consider it a wise one, and I have formed that view through no illusions about Japan. The last time I visited Japan was as secretary to the Earl of Lytton, Chairman of the League of Nations Commission of Inquiry into the Manchurian aggression. I personally drafted part of the report which outlined and condemned that aggression in no unmeasured words.
Yet I think that this is a wise Treaty. We have to consider the peculiar nature of Japan, this nation of 85 million people who were shut from the world from the days of Charles II to 1870, and who then, by this extraordinary effort of adaptability, turned themselves into a modern Power to oppose what they felt were the forces of European militarism and aggression. Is it a wonder that the process of civilisation is superficial? There was a state of feudal barbarity in Japan almost within living memory.
There is in Japan this extraordinary mixture of qualities in the people. On the one hand there are the Spartan and Stoic qualities of courage, industry, patriotism and self-discipline made graceful by charming manners, cleanliness, hospitality and probably the most acute sense of duty of any nation I know. Then there is the dark side, the barbaric element, the side of brutality, of ferocity and of cunning, and the emotional instability which some people explain as being the result of their living on an island where there are four major earthquakes every year.
There is this extraordinary divergence in the Japanese character which makes it almost impossible to understand how the Japanese peasant, who is such a charming person in a kimono in his own country, can be such a barbaric brute when in uniform outside his own land.
962 There are in Japan these two elements—the liberal element composed mainly of people who have foreign and largely British interests, those who have been the entourage of the Emperor and the Court, the elder diplomats, many of the great industrialists, many naval men and the intellectuals; and on the other side the fanatical element—the young soldiers, the adventurers and politicians, and behind them the secret societies which have gone in for assassination on a widespread scale. It was the moderate elements that stood up to the campaign of assassination on the part of the fanatical elements.
That nation, with such a peculiar complexity, has inherently the most difficult problem in the world, with a population of 84½ million people which is increasing at the rate of a million a year. Since the war Japan's population has increased by the equivalent of the entire population of New Zealand. There is always this deafening patter of tiny feet behind all Japanese policy.
It has the same problem as we have in this country. It is a nation which has fewer raw materials than we have, and which has, either by emigration or by trade, to keep its population from starving. Emigration can bring no solution. There are not enough ships in the world to carry the people whom the families of Japan are producing every year. No one who knows the difficulties that we have had both with Jewish and Arab settlement in the Middle East can imagine for a moment that emigration can make any difference to this terrible population problem in Japan. They have got to have the British solution of trading so that they can import raw materials and food which will prevent starvation in that country. Unless the Western world can give them opportunities for trade, they will go back again into the paths of aggression and lean towards Communism.
We must never under-estimate the attraction of the mainland of Asia to Japan. It is her natural market, just as Europe is our natural market and just as the United States is the natural market for Canada. If they become solely dependent on that for the outlet of their goods they will undoubtedly eventually joint the ranks of the Communist part of the world. I remember Sir Charles Eliot, the greatest ambassador we ever had in Japan, who lived in retirement at Nara, 963 saying to me that only when he retired did he realise how strong the Communist element in Japan was. Today there are 100,000 registered Communists in Japan. In 1928 one bookshop in Tokio sold 300,000 copies of that unreadable work "Das Kapital." Japan would be as great a prize as Germany for Russia to get into her part of the world, and an infinitely easier one to get into the other camp, unless on our side we show the greatest wisdom.
What is the alternative to this Treaty? Is it a permanent military occupation? America has not the troops, nor have we. Is it permanent subsidy of the Japanese economy by the foreign taxpayer? The Americans are unwilling, and we could not possibly afford to do it. They would be wholly unreliable in a crisis if we made the answer entirely a military occupation.
People have criticised this Treaty but, as Mr. Foster Dulles has pointed out, there are many stipulations that the victors can force a defeated nation to sign but that is not the same thing as being able to force a nation to carry them out in the years after the Treaty has been signed. It is far better to get, as in this Treaty, a genuine settlement accepted by both sides if we want to keep Japan in the non-Communist part of the world.
This problem of trade competition is one which we have to face, not only from Japan but as a result of the industrialisation of Asia. We shall get the same competition from India and Pakistan, and eventually one day again from China. Nor can we control the markets where those goods are sold. South America and Asia are not under our control, and if we should ever exclude the goods of Asia from our Colonial Empire to a degree beyond what was to the mutual benefit of the Colonies and ourselves, we shall lose those Colonies in the same way as we lost the American colonies. It would not be the way to consolidate the Empire, but the way to break it up.
This Treaty is a better Treaty than the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith) admitted. We have Article 8 (b) which deprives Japan of all rights which she had—very most favoured nation treatment—in the past, and we have the undertaking in Article 964 12 (a) which commits them to negotiate with us as to the terms on which their goods come into the areas of our control. What this House has the right to expect of the Government and the President of the Board of Trade is that they will pursue the most active negotiations to insure us against the unfair competition and practices such as infringing our copyright patterns and imitating our designs and so forth, and we shall watch the Government carefully to see that they do it properly.
We need have no illusions that Japan will immediately be turned into a democracy, but there is a very limited amount of education which can be imposed by a foreign occupying Power. Any nation will accept for a short time after defeat ideas imposed from outside, but if we impose a military occupation too long those ideas which we try to impose will be associated with the humility of foreign occupation and we shall bring about just the reverse effect to that which we desire.
People say that democracy can be imposed by force. It reminds me of a headmaster of Eton who once preached on the Beatitudes. He said, "'Blessed are the pure in heart.' Boys, you must be pure in heart. If you are not I shall flog you." It is ridiculous to say "Japs, you must be democrats; if you are not we shall conq you." It must be a process of self-education.
It is not only the force which democracy was able to produce in the war which will have an effect upon Japan. It is also the magnanimity and wisdom with which we act in peace. We have to re-establish that great British influence which used to exist in Japan, and I ask the Foreign Office to think very carefully whether it should not establish again a cadre of Far Eastern specialists within the Foreign Service.
In the old days the Japanese Consular Service devoted their whole career to that country, and they were invaluable in understanding the people whose language, religious thoughts and writing are so peculiar and difficult. Even if we do not re-establish that service in the old form, I suggest that there should definitely be a body within the Foreign Service the members of which should devote the first years of their career to getting a thorough understanding of Japanese language and mentality.
965 It is impossible to get any understanding by moving to Japan consuls whose previous experience has been in South America, Russia or anywhere else. We have to get our specialists who really understand these extraordinary and complicated people. I ask the Government to take the utmost care in the choice of their Ambassador.
It is not the blameless Consul-General or the intelligent Foreign Office clerk who is very good at files who always makes the best ambassador in an Oriental country. Indeed, the disasters which we have suffered in the last 15 years in certain countries have sometimes been associated with that type of representation. Let us get our consular experts, our Japanese experts, to advise us, but let us send a strong personality, a man of great character and distinction, to an Oriental country. Let us get him from inside the diplomatic service if possible, but if that is not possible, do not let us be afraid to choose him from outside.
We have to re-establish British influence in Japan, not only for the purpose of trade and to see that we get a proper deal, but also from the wider political aspect. The only time Japan was a peaceful country was during the days of the Anglo-Japanese alliance. After all, Japan and ourselves are in fundamentally the same position. We are over-crowded islands, each at one end of the great land mass of Eurasia; and we both have a common interest to see that that great land mass is not under the domination of Russia. That has brought us together in the past. It is the common interest which can bring us together again.
In dealing with Japan, we have many advantages. They speak English as their second language. Many Japanese were educated here. The Japanese, who revere their own monarchy, have the utmost respect for the British monarchy. They try to model their monarchy on ours. We have great cards in our hands if we choose to play them. I say to my Japanese friends that it is for them to recognise that in this Treaty the democracies have followed the great principle of Wang Tao—the kingly way, the way of wisdom and the way of magnanimity; and it is for them to prove that this way on our part is not mistaken.
§ 7.57 p.m.
§ Mr. John Paton (Norwich, North)
I do not know whether or not we have just listened to a maiden speech. The hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. W. W. Astor) has been absent from the House for a very long time and I do not know whether he has spoken since his return, but in any case I congratulate him on an extremely interesting speech, delivered with remarkable fluency, with a considerable amount of which I found myself in no disagreement at all.
It is not surprising that a debate of this kind should have been concentrated to a very large extent upon the supposed effects of this Treaty upon our trade. One expected and understood that. I myself share to a very considerable extent the anxiety of hon. Members who spoke at the beginning of the debate, and who represent the textile and pottery industries, about the effects of Japanese competition on these industries. But when it was said, as someone did say, that this Treaty is creating problems for our trade, it seems to me that we are falling into a most extraordinary misunderstanding of the position.
The Treaty itself is creating no problems for our trade. The problems exist. What the Treaty does with regard to our trade is to try in certain ways to ease the burden which we must expect in the future from this revival of competition from the Orient—because we shall get it, willy-nilly; and that competition will affect us and will severely hamper the operations of our own industries whether or not the Japanese keep their workers employed on reasonable standards of life and under good labour conditions and whether or not they obey all the conventions about copyright, designs, and everything else.
What we have to face is that Japanese trade, like German trade, is once more a factor in world trading markets, and Britain has to be able to assert her place as an industrial nation in the teeth of the competition of these other nations—and not by any idea of trying to restrict those nations by clauses in a so-called Peace Treaty. That sort of proposition—by restrictions in a treaty—is completely untenable. The former Foreign Secretary reminded us that we tried it on a large scale in the famous Versailles Treaty, and every hon. Member on this side of the House was a keen critic and opponent of what the Versailles Treaty stood for. 967 When we give our adhesion today to a Peace Treaty of this liberal nature for Japan we are expressing the traditions of our own Socialist movement—an international affair—and we have no right to depart from them.
A legitimate case can be made against some of the practices which were mentioned today by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith). It is true that we must do everything in our power to try to ensure that the competition we shall meet from the Japanese is no longer based on intolerable and inhuman conditions of living and of labour. How are we to secure this? We cannot secure it by putting what I think were called "statements" into the Peace Treaty. We can secure it in only one way. There is only one effective guarantee that in future the Japanese workers will have tolerable conditions of life and of labour, and that is by the organisation of the Japanese workers. There is no other solid foundation upon which such things can be built.
Some hon. Members who spoke earlier said the effects of Japanese competition were already being felt in the pottery and textile trade of this country. They seemed to be wholly unaware of the fact that at present Japanese working conditions approximate fairly well to Western standards in many ways. The Japanese are still working under the labour, industrial and welfare code which was established during General MacArthur's régime and which, on paper, gave them one of the most advanced industrial and welfare codes anywhere in the world.
It is true that this code is now under attack. It is being threatened, but so far as I am aware—and I think I am fairly well aware of the existing conditions, because Japan and the Far East is a study of mine—these industrial conditions are still in existence. It may have been noticed by hon. Members who listened to one of the quotations by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, who I think quoted from "The Times," that the Tokio Chamber of Commerce are demanding a revision of the labour code so that hours can be extended from eight to 10. That quotation from the Tokio correspondent of "The Times" confirms what I am saying—that at the moment the conditions are, on the whole, far more favourable than ever they were pre-war; and yet our 968 Pottery and textile industries are beginning to squeal.
Here we have to face something of very great importance indeed, but we may as well face it. With the finest labour code and welfare code in the Orient—because I include in this what was called the social content of the code—there will inevitably be, for an indefinite period of time, a low cost differential simply because of the climatic and other conditions existing in those islands.
It is no doubt true that in the future the Japanese worker may well cultivate more and more a great many of the demands made by the Western worker for all kinds of amenities. He is doing it now. But with all that he demands in that way he has traditional ways of living and all kinds of houses, and has customary modes of clothes, customary foods, all sorts of things which affect his ideas about desirable living standards. Therefore, we shall probably have always to face this fact about our competition in matters of trade with the Orient, that whatever we do by international regulation about living standards there will probably always be that low cost differential due to the fact that they are workers in the Orient instead of workers in the Occident.
What can we do about it? I think we can do a great deal more than we have done with regard to helping the development of a powerful and responsible Japanese trade union movement. I was in Japan with the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Teeling), who spoke a little earlier on, on a Government mission to that country in 1947, and I remember putting this very point to General MacArthur in an interview we had with him. It is no longer highly confidential or secret, since that interview was so long ago, so I may as well disclose it.
At that time in Japan the trade union movement was being moulded through S.C.A.P., through the American labour organisers of the A.F.L. and the C.I.O., the American counterparts of our T.U.C. General MacArthur told me that he was having difficulty in getting the necessary number of specialists in labour organisation to do what was necessary in Japan. I suggested to him at once that I had no doubt that if he applied to the British T.U.C. he would get all the expert advice and help he could ever possibly want.
969 He answered, of course, with an abrupt refusal. He was compelled to tolerate the presence of the people from the A.F.L. and the C.I.O., but he made up his mind quickly he was not going to have British trade unionists there. I am sure that if now our Government were to make the suggestion that expert trade union help and advice would be willingly given from this country the Japanese trade unionists themselves would welcome it and use it. That is one way in which we could render effective assistance.
There is a point on the question of copyrights of designs, and so on, which seems to me very important. It seemed to emerge from the remarks of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) and my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman). Neither of them and, so far as I have heard, nobody else in the House has discovered any way in which any form of enforcement can be employed to compel a defaulting Japanese industrial system to conform to any international convention it signs with regard to such things as copyright of designs.
There is one sanction that could be employed, but it would require concerted action by the Western Powers. All of us know very well that Japan is almost wholly dependent upon the Western world for the essential raw materials she must have to keep her industries going and make her competition effective. Since that is so, in the face of default by the Japanese—persistent default—in these international conventions affecting copyright and the rest, it would be wise and sound for the Western Powers in concert, particularly Britain, the United States, and the British Commonwealth, to inform Japan that unless she is prepared to honour her international commitments in these respects we shall feel ourselves entitled to withhold raw materials she must have if she wishes to compete.
That seems to me to form an economic sanction which could be employed, I think legitimately, in co-operation by the Western Powers in order to get rid of that bane from which we suffered before the war of the unfair character of so much Japanese competition.
I have listened today to a lot of things that seemed to me to betray little or no understanding at all of the situation in 970 which the Japanese actually stand. We have to recognise as a people that just as we in Britain have to export our goods in Britain all over the world if we are to feed and clothe ourselves, even more so that people must export or die; and the first thing that one must do in coming to this problem is to understand that vital point. Here are people of incredible industry, of great technical competence. in the Orient.
Here are these people, crowded together into totally inadequate space on four main islands and a number of smaller ones; in an area deficient in food, in raw materials of all kinds; a people now deprived of their empire, deprived of any possibility of emigration since every country in the world has shut out its emigrants.
These people must have the right to earn their bread and their necessary supplies of raw materials and so be given a proper and legitimate place in world trade. If we were to give anything less, by restrictive practices of any kind, we should create a situation that would be completely explosive, that would find relief finally in a last shock that would probably disturb the equilibrium now existing between the nations of the world.
This situation has to be faced as the central starting point of our thinking, and whatever we do to try to protect legitimately our own interests we must always—particularly we on this side of the House, who are Socialists and internationalists—recognise the legitimate right of the Japanese also to live, as we want to live, in peace and amity, and allow them the necessary material resources to make that life good.
§ 8.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Richard Fort (Clitheroe)
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Paton), obviously has great knowledge of Japan gained at first hand. He, like other hon. Gentlemen who have been to that country and have known about it at first hand in recent years, spoke with considerable sympathy towards the Japanese in respect of the problems confronting them. I believe that all of us, even those of us who represent parts of England where disasters came because of Japanese competition, recognise that there is a Japanese problem. But I do not think that those of us, on either side 971 of the House, who have seen our friends out of work and the misery brought by Japanese competition can speak with the objectivity on this matter which those like the hon. Gentleman the Member for Norwich, North, and some of my hon. Friends on this side of the House, can, who—
§ Mr. L. M. Lever (Manchester, Ardwick)
What about Lancashire and the cotton workers, and their being unemployed? Everybody seems more concerned about the Japanese workers. What about Lancashire's cotton workers?
§ Mr. Fort
I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman. I was saying that those hon. Members who have spoken with sympathy for Japan cannot expect those of us who have seen our friends out of work in Lancashire or in the Midlands to speak with that calm, Olympian objectivity with which they have. Although we recognise that there is a difficulty in respect of Japan, we must remember that we shall not see peace in the Orient or that stability in Japan which is certainly desired if it is achieved at the expense of our own fellow countrymen.
We have been given many examples today of how Japanese competition is returning and showing itself in the same forms that it did before the war—by increased output, evil trading practices, and, what is perhaps even more formidable, certainly in the textile industry, by cloth being produced today in Japan of good quality for the purposes for which it is intended.
There is a curious illogicality in the minds of some hon. Members opposite. Here is a country—Japan—producing goods which the poorer parts of the world want, at prices which they can afford, and in this House opposite us is a party which is always telling us that one of its greatest desires is to improve the standard of living in what it describes—wrongly, I think—as the backward and undeveloped parts of the world. When the problem of raising the standard of living in such countries has been discussed, I have often heard hon. Members opposite say that our own people must be prepared to make sacrifices in order to improve these poor living parts of the world. This afternoon we are discussing a Treaty with 972 Japan which will do exactly what hon. Members opposite apparently say it is their policy to do.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
The hon. Gentleman is misrepresenting us. There are two aspects of this matter which concern us. The first is the desire to see the standard of the world's living raised, which, of course, can never be done by unrestrained and intensive competition in which worker is fighting against worker and the capitalists are fighting each other; and, secondly, to see some reasonable planning of the whole world cotton industry, which cannot be done by the U.S.A. in connection with Japan and England.
§ Mr. Fort
The hon. Member for Norwich, North, has a first-hand knowledge of Japan, which, I believe, the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) has not. In fact labour conditions in Japan at the present time are as good as they have ever been, and as good as the standards in any other part of the Orient or the rest of the world.
§ Mr. Fort
In any case these standards under the labour and welfare code are comparable with those in many other parts of the world. Yet these people are producing goods which are required at prices which people in countries with a low standard of living can afford. That at once brings us straight away to a part of this problem which has not been mentioned this afternoon. That is the influence of the Colonial Office on the policy of this Government, as no doubt, it has influenced the policy of other Governments.
The Colonial Office, unlike some hon. Gentlemen opposite, has always been consistent in this matter. It has always wanted to see cloth being sold in the territories for which it is responsible as cheaply as possible and regardless of the source from which it comes. Whenever we have had a scheme to control Japanese competition, we have always had to take 973 notice of the influence which the Colonial Office will bring to bear on those who are negotiating the arrangements.
While mentioning this problem presented by the Colonial Office in the territories for which it is responsible, I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, when he comes to reply if he can give us any information about the attempted control of exports of East African raw cotton to Japan. We want that cotton in this country, and I am quite sure that it would be a wise provision in any arrangement which may be made with Japan to make sure that we certainly get the first option for Lancashire, on East African raw cotton and that the Japanese come afterwards.
§ Mr. Fort
The raw cotton can be bought by various methods. This Government must take advantage of Article 12 (a) of the Treaty to make a trade agreement with Japan. It must be an extensive agreement so far as textiles are concerned, covering quantities, qualities, markets and also prices. Only by doing that shall we achieve what we all want to see—first, the protection of our own workers in England from unfair trading practices; second—the other point which I think we also all want to see—supplies of textiles going to the parts of the world which want them at prices which they can afford. Both these things can be achieved if we will make a proper trade treaty with Japan, as we are entitled to do under Article 12 of this Treaty.
That is why I so strongly deprecate the view expressed by those who moved and seconded the Amendment to this Bill—that we should delay still further completing the Treaty arrangement with Japan. Until this Bill is passed, we shall not be able to go ahead and make a trade treaty which we want to see. In order to make that treaty effective, we have undoubtedly to work with the Americans and get their active and continued support for such a trade treaty.
I should like to suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should arrange, in making a first approach to America, that a mission should arrive in the United States when the Prime Minister gets there early in January, so that he can take up this problem with the President 974 of the United States, and take it up with the sympathy and understanding which would undoubtedly come from a former Member for Oldham.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)
I should like to take up the point made by the hon. Member for Clitheroe (Mr. Fort). It was, I think, unfair of him to try to suggest that from this side of the House we have said that we wish to see the backward areas of the world have a rising standard of living, and that as soon as we were met with the economic difficulties or the economic possibilities of intense competition from Japan, we objected to it. That assumption is completely false, because if we had that kind of competition, in the same way as we had it between the two wars, then not only would this side of the House object to it, but hon. Members opposite would object to it.
We want to ask certain questions. The object of the Treaty is to balance forces and get a feeling of satisfaction within the economic, social and military fabric of society, so that we can move forward to the next stage of human progress. The question arises: Does this Peace Treaty, as now constructed, give us the conditions in which we can build up a future in Asia and a future in the world?
I am putting forward what are my sincere beliefs. It is no good throwing at me what a Labour Government or a Conservative Government did. Each one of us has a right to his opinion on these vital matters. Some of us sincerely believe that the pattern of the Treaty chiselled out in Asia is not a Treaty which will make for peace in the modern word, for the elementary reason that there are two major Asiatic nations, China and India, which, rightly or wrongly, have refused to sign this Treaty.
For this House, whether it has a majority of Conservative, Labour or Liberal Members, to try to pretend that this Treaty will create peace in Asia is a refusal to face the facts of the world situation today. Some of us object to the timing of this Treaty. This Treaty was forced upon the world at a moment when the Korean incident was at its height, when powers of human judgment were at their lowest ebb because of propaganda.
975 I do not want to use the horrible word "hysteria" about Americans, because the ordinary people I have met in the United States want peace as much as the ordinary people of Britain. I do not want to misjudge the American people, but I must say that this Treaty was forced on the world at a moment when certain influential forces in the United States were warping and distorting the real economic and military situation in the Far East. That is the first criticism of those of us who have tabled the Motion for rejection of the Bill.
There is another issue. Australia has not been mentioned very much in this debate. Australia was hoping to be the future toolshop of Asia. I do not want to make a long speech, because other hon. Members also want to speak, but I want to make one point. The industrialisation of Australia is forging ahead and, at the present moment, she, as well as Britain, is fearing the possibility of unethical competition from Japan. Australia is a signatory of the Treaty, but so is Britain. The fact that they are signatories does not preclude us from raising here the effects of this Treaty on humanity in Asia.
I have heard hon. Members in the House tonight talking about trade union conditions in Japan. One has only to look at the condition of the Japanese trade unions to see how impossible it is, within any measurable distance, to get anything like a British trade union organisation in Japan. I would illustrate that by advising hon. Members to look in the Library at the Mitsubishi Monthly Economic Circular. It gives the number of factories in Japan in 1930 and in 1950. It will be seen that the average number of workers per factory in the ceramic industry in Japan in 1930 was 6.7. In other words, there was an average of seven workers per factory. According to the same circular the present average is 14 workers per factory. The method used in factories like that of Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, Yasudo and other firms was to take the spare parts for industry to various little outlying districts, where they were assembled in small sheds. That kind of industry cannot be reconciled with the modern conception of trade unionism.
976 We are concerned here with a very difficult but practical problem. We have a right to ask that the Japanese should be given the maximum liberty to organise their industry on the best possible human lines in the interests of Japanese labour. I deprecate the way MacArthurism did not allow Japanese trade unionism to develop along correct trade union lines during the four or five years of the occupation.
§ Mr. Davies
I do not want to paint the picture blacker than it is. It is black enough.
Summing up the second part of my argument, we find that the countries of the Pacific and the Far East are afraid of this Treaty even though they have signed it. Australia had hopes of becoming the toolshop of Asia, but she is now going to meet intense industrial and other competition from Japan. I have also dwelt on the difficulties of establishing a trade union organisation on our lines in Japan, and I have illustrated by facts why that should be so. I will now sum up what the effect of all this will be.
If hon. Members look at the list of exports in the black and grim thirties, they will find that in the silk and rayon industries, with which I am concerned—I happen to represent the rayon industry in Leek—it will be seen that 28 per cent. of the silk and rayon exported in the 1930 period throughout the world was exported from Japan, and its factories employed five or less people. In the pencil industry 90 per cent. of the exports came from factories where five or fewer people worked, and in pottery 65 per cent. of the exports came from factories where a similar number of people were working.
We have tried to make a treaty with Japan and we want a treaty with Japan. But the question some of us are posing is—is this an honest-to-goodness Treaty which will build up economic, social and other conditions in the Far East, or is it a Treaty made with the idea of opposing the U.S.S.R.? Was the major factor behind it militarism rather than economic and social welfare? Some of us maintain, despite the honesty of the British Government and the majority of signatories in the Far East that this Treaty has been forced upon the world at the wrong time, largely because of the power- 977 ful magnetism of the United States of America in the Pacific.
The Congo Basin Treaties have been mentioned. They concerned Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika, Nyasaland, Zanzibar, the Belgian Congo and Portuguese East Africa. We were giving opportunities, and Japan had the right of going into those areas. I know that this has been abandoned, but I would ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has any power to abolish the old "chops system," as it has been called, in that area. Many of the importing houses in the countries I have mentioned imported British and Japanese textile goods and imprinted their own marks on them. It would not be the Japanese that were doing it. Are we, in this Treaty, going to try to do something about that system of marking goods in the Congo Basin area?
Coming from one of the areas which have met the most intense competition I say, while I do not want a punitive treaty against Japan, that it is wrong to think that the mass of the Japanese are happy about the Treaty. There have been intense divisions in the Japanese Diet about this Treaty. It is wrong to give the British people the idea that 84 million Japanese people are behind the Treaty. Because of that, it is only just that some of us in this House should raise our voices against it at present, to make the world stand and stare
§ 8.38 p.m.
§ Sir John Barlow (Middleton and Prestwich)
As I have just returned to the House after an absence during the last Parliament, I can hardly claim to be a maiden speaker and to hope for no interruption whatever. We are, however, discussing a problem which is essentially national rather than political, so I hope that I may speak without a great deal of interruption. As is the custom in this House, I declare my interest in the cotton industry, as I am a partner in a firm which has exported textiles, principally to the East, for nearly a century. I have also the honour to represent an important cotton constituency.
It was agreed on all sides in Lancashire when the terms of the proposed Treaty were announced that the cotton industry was very disappointed because it felt that more safeguards for its security 978 should have been given. We have been given many reasons this afternoon why the Treaty could not be made a safeguard but only a framework into which to build safeguards in the future. During the whole of my business life of nearly 30 years I have been very closely concerned with Japanese competition. Some hon. Members will remember its beginning in acute form in the 1920's. In the 1930's, actually in 1934, with some friends of mine in Lancashire, I requisitioned a special meeting of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, which was very unusual at that time. I had the honour that day of proposing a motion criticising the Chamber for having taken so little action against the critical and serious Japanese competition.
Similar conditions exist today. Japanese competition is very much greater and more severe in Lancashire than many hon. Members probably realise. In 1947, there were only about three million spindles in Japan and 150,000 looms. Japanese exports were about 400 million square yards. It is estimated that by the end of the present year their spindlage will have increased to just over six million and their looms to 300,000. That means they will have doubled their productive capacity in about four years, which is an alarming rate of increase. I am informed that the Japanese are working two shifts a day of 8½ hours each and that they work seven days a week.
The markets open to Japan are restricted at the present time, because of the situation in China, Formosa and Korea. That means that their competition is all being focused on the normal markets of this country, and for that reason Lancashire is feeling the competition very severely. I am informed that exports of cotton and rayon textiles from Japan this year are likely to be 50 per cent. greater than similar exports from this country. That is a very serious position.
As has been mentioned, there is a great difference in wages between the Japanese and ourselves. The present real wages in Japan are about 90 per cent. of what they were in 1938, whereas real wages in this country have increased by about 130 per cent. That is a very great and serious divergence. I wish that people in Lancashire could hear this debate. They will no doubt read it in the newspapers tomorrow, and I think many of them will be dissatisfied that there is no note of 979 urgency or a greater sense of the importance of the matter to Lancashire. I can assure hon. Members who come from other parts of the country that this is a very real and burning question for us. The hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) mentioned the attitude towards the Americans in the 1870's. I can assure hon. Members that the attitude towards Japanese competition today is very different.
It has been pointed out that until the Treaty is passed Japan is not free voluntarily to negotiate with this country as regards prices, exports, etc. A very important law was passed in Japan in 1947, at the suggestion of the American Government, concerning prohibition of private monopolies and methods of preserving fair trade. It puts the Japanese Government, as soon as they have received this Treaty, into a more secure position than they otherwise would have had for making negotiations with this country.
I believe that Lancashire will demand, and I hope the President of the Board of Trade will tonight give us, some firm assurances as to what we may expect. It is quite useless agreeing to the Treaty and then hoping for the best. Lancashire is expecting to hear something definite, and unless it does so it will be greatly disappointed.
There are four suggestions which I wish to make briefly. I believe that, in view of the circumstances, the Government will ultimately find it necessary to re-impose quotas in some of the colonial markets, as existed in pre-war days. Likewise, it is of advantage that the Dominions should negotiate with us to take our textiles where possible in preference to those of Japan. Both the Colonies and the Dominions have small local industries which they wish to foster and it will be impossible to get those industries established if they experience substantial Japanese competition.
Further, we are probably the biggest buyers in the world of the produce from the Colonies and the Dominions, and if we take their produce they ought to take our manufactured articles within reasonable limits. Unless the Dominions and Colonies take our manufactured articles, the sterling currency system may well be seriously embarrassed, if not broken down. We cannot have vast exports from Japan 980 interfering with the sterling balances, for that might be very dangerous.
Second, the importation of Japanese greycloth into this country, which has not been mentioned today but which has been going on and is of necessity going on, will, I hope, be allowed to continue until the Lancashire mills can produce the necessary greycloth themselves. The capacity for throughput of the finishing trades in this country—the bleachers, the dyers and the printers—is considerably greater than the output of the weavers and spinners. It is essential to have this greycloth finished in this country and exported to our markets, principally the Colonies, which require it, so that we may have another opportunity of holding those markets. If and when Lancashire can produce the greycloth for the finishers of this country, then let them do so. Third, great emphasis has been placed on the protection of trade marks and designs. I would emphasise that that is of the greatest importance, and I hope the President of the Board of Trade will be able to tell us something about that.
Lastly, America and ourselves do not see eye to eye on the question of rebuilding the textile economy of Japan. We have entirely different points of view, and that must be recognised. However, I believe that America may not understand our position as well as she might, and I wonder if our representatives have made quite clear to her what is happening. America is boosting the textile industry in Japan and building up a fictitiously large industry which world trade will not be able to maintain in years to come, and presumably America is spending money there.
America is also infusing money into Europe to maintain and increase the economy there as a bolster against Communism. I suggest that some of that money is being wasted and that it would be much better to maintain and encourage the British and European textile industry than to build up the Japanese industry to a fictitious level. It is of the utmost importance to deal with this matter quickly, for, otherwise, the great industry of Lancashire will be jeopardised in the years to come.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ Mr. H. Hynd (Accrington)
When the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs opened the debate, he was commendably brief, but he must be thinking 981 that he was, perhaps, too brief in regard to Article 12 of the political and economic clauses. Many hon. Members, on both sides of the House, have made speeches with particular reference to the textile industry, and I am almost shocked to find how much I am in agreement with what was said on this subject by the hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich (Sir J. Barlow), who has just spoken, and by the hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr W. Fletcher).
There is no doubt whatever, as will have been clear from the debate, that today in Lancashire the dreaded words "slump" and "depression" are again being uttered. People remember the disasters of the 1930's, and there is evidence that the same kind of thing is today rearing its head. In my own constituency, there is one firm which, two years ago, installed 144 Northrop automatic looms and operated a two-shift system; but their stocks are piling up, they have stopped one shift, and have reduced production by 50 per cent.
A second firm has made a number of weavers and winders redundant, and those who have been retained will work only two weeks out of three. A third fim has stopped 50 looms and some winding frames, and a number of other firms are weaving for stock purposes only. I do not suggest that it is entirely the fault of Japanese competition, but there is no doubt at all that Japanese competition is one of the factors that is bringing about these results.
The reasons for this have been fairly clearly expressed, particularly in regard to wages. The hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich mentioned that real wages in Japan are now only 90 per cent. of what they were before the war. The figure which I have is 70 per cent., and today's figure for Lancashire is 125 per cent, of what it was pre-war. I take these figures from the report by Mr. Ernest Thornton, the Secretary of the United Textile Workers' Association, who was a member of the Anglo-American delegation which went to Japan in May of last year. They should, therefore, be fairly up to date and reliable.
The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Teeling), tried to make a point that in addition to cash wages, there is in Japan a certain amount of payment in kind, and he mentioned that 982 houses are provided. I cannot accept that as any great contribution to the payment of workers. In the textile industry, it certainly could not have a very great effect, because the same report which I have just quoted states that 80 to 90 per cent. of the operative personnel in the cotton textile industry is female, with an age range of 14 to 25 years; and it goes on to describe how they are recruited in the countryside and live mostly in dormitories. It can hardly be said, therefore, that those girls are provided with houses to supplement their very low cash wages.
Lancashire simply cannot understand why Japan, a country that was defeated in the war, is apparently expanding its cotton textile industry with the help of raw cotton from America, while the supply of the same raw cotton for Lancashire is being cut down by the U.S.A.
As regards wages, Japan is in a comparatively better position to compete with Lancashire than before the war, but wages, of course, are by no means the only factor. The price of raw cotton has increased more than the price of labour, and therefore labour shows up less in relation to the total cost than before the war. The "Economist" of 27th October said this:There is an even greater difference between Japanese and British production costs today than there was before the war; the difference is probably over three times as great and British costs are certainly much more rigid than Japanese.The point is that the menace is growing. We have had figures from various hon. Members showing how the number of spindles in Japan, which was 12 million before the war, had a post-war limit of four million imposed by the American authorities. That limit was removed last June, and we now hear that they have about six million spindles and that production is about half the pre-war figure. An interesting point is that they are re-equipping their textile mills with machinery which is made in Japan, which means that this is another direction in which trade is being taken away from this country, and, incidentally, from my constituency.
I cannot share the optimism of the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, about how gentlemanly the Japanese will 983 behave in competition with this country. I wish I could, but I think experience shows that, just as they are ruthless in war, they have been ruthless in their trade methods. They have broken obligations before and we have no guarantee that they will not do so again. It is not that we do not understand their problems and difficulties. The growth of population has been mentioned, the necessity of trading with South-East Asia, their desperate need to export or die, as my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North (Mr. J. Paton) said, and their lost markets.
These things can be put right to some extent—at least the last one can—if the U.S.A. will alter its policy in regard to China and allow Japan to have full trade relations with China, thereby absorbing some of the exported cotton which otherwise will go to damage British markets at home and abroad. Hitherto, Lancashire has been able to hold its own to a large extent, partly because of the restrictions which up to now have been imposed on Japanese industry and partly because of other factors I have mentioned, but what is to be the effect of this Treaty?
I will not repeat the point so eloquently made by my hon. Friend the Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Irvine) about Article 14 (a). But I have it very much in mind because in my division I have seen the grey cloth which has come from Japan into the mills of Accrington to be dyed and finished. That grey cloth could be made in Lancashire if they had the raw cotton and it should have been made in Lancashire. If that kind of thing is to expand, as it is expanding, the position will be very dangerous.
I have figures which show that Japan exported 177 million square yards of grey cloth to this country in 1949 for finishing. In 1950 it was 91 million square yards and, in the first eight months of this year, it was 57,500,000 square yards. I admit that some of that grey cloth was useful at a time when we were short of raw cotton, but it would have been better to have got the raw cotton and then the grey cloth could have been made in Accrington.
§ Mr. H. Rhodes (Ashton-under-Lyne)
That was not the difficulty which was important. There was a shortage of labour and of yarn, not of raw cotton.
§ Mr. Hynd
I am obliged to my hon. Friend, who knows more about the technical side of the industry than I do.
I wish to say a word about the safeguards we can look for in this Treaty. Are they sufficient? In the preamble Japan promises:In public and private trade and commerce to conform to internationally accepted fair practices.In Article 12 (2) it states that they willensure that external purchases and sales of Japanese State trading enterprises shall be based solely on commercial considerations.But, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger) asked, can these things be enforced? I very much doubt it.
Japan has been admitted to the International Labour Organisation and has a trade union movement of a kind, but it has been pointed out that conditions in the labour field have tended to get worse and I very much doubt whether those safeguards in the Treaty are enforceable at all. What, then, can be done? Certainly, something must be done—there is no doubt about that—to maintain the two great improvements we have achieved in this country over the last few years—our standard of living and full employment. If we lose those we shall put the clock of history back a great deal.
I wish to put two questions to the President of the Board of Trade and hope he will be able to answer them. It has been mentioned in the Treaty that Japan has had to renounce the rights she had under the Congo Basin Conventions. I wish to know the exact effect of that. The hon. and gallant Member for Rochdale (Lieut.-Colonel Schofield), in an excellent maiden speech, gave some explanation, but I was unable to follow just what the effect of renouncing those rights would be. The other question is, that as Japan has to give us mostfavoured-nation treatment with regard to exports and imports, but only on a reciprocal basis, what exactly will be the effect, or what benefit are we likely to get out of it?
I was delighted when the hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich suggested that we should try to get the Dominions and Colonies in their trade arrangements with us to specify that they would take British textiles. That is an excellent suggestion which I should like to be followed up. I 985 hope that the hon. Member realises that it will, of course, mean bulk purchase and long-term agreements. Whatever is done will the President of the Board of Trade please try to give us some hope to take back to Lancashire about what has become a situation causing fear of much damage to industry immediately, even before the full effects of this unfair Japanese competition are experienced?
Up to now the Lancashire cotton textile industry has been making desperate efforts to recruit labour to re-equip and modernise itself. That has been done because of optimism about expanding trade but if there is to be this re-emergence of unfair Japanese competition, and our trade is to be set back again, all those efforts towards recruitment, modernisation and re-equipment will have been in vain, and will certainly not be continued. Therefore the matter is urgent and I beg that the Minister will give us some word of hope to take back to our constituencies.
§ 9.3 p.m.
§ AirCommodore A. V. Harvey (Macclesfield)
I support this Treaty with many misgivings, and I am sorry for my right hon. Friend and those who have to take this baby over from the previous Government, because it will provide them with a headache. We have had a lot of nice speeches about how well the Japanese will behave and how well they have behaved. I was in Manchuria in 1931 when the Japanese came into Mukden. I saw the way they behaved then. They have behaved much worse since and I see no hope or indication that they have changed their spots in the last few years. We can forgive, but we cannot forget. It is just as well to remember that this is a bargain and I should like some assurance that the textile industry of Britain will be safeguarded.
It is all very well to say, "Do not let us bring textiles into the debate." But it will be too late when the debate is over. We have heard from every hon. Member coming from the north-west of England that there is unemployment in the cotton and other textile industries. We have that even before we have experienced the Japanese competition. I have in my hand a sample print sent out to Malaya. In a matter of weeks the Japanese had copied it at one-third of the price. A sample of silk was sent out to Karachi from my own division of 986 Macclesfield. Within four weeks it had been copied in Japan identicallyߞincluding the faults.
I recognise that if we want peace we have to have a reasonable Treaty, but I think some safeguards should be taken to ensure that we will not have large pockets of unemployment in the north-west of Britain. Under the Registered Designs Act, 1949, there are certain safeguards in British colonial territories. That applies only if a case can be proved, and it is not always easy to prove. It is estimated that something like half-a-million yards of fabrics have been copied. That is known, and there are probably many hundreds of thousands of yards which are not known about.
The Japanese have no re-armament programme; they are not faced with Purchase Tax; they are able to build up their home market to support a healthy export market, and I am very concerned about it. I should have thought that some procedure could have been worked out regarding reparations which have not been paid, even to our own colonial territories like Malaya, or to Indonesia and elsewhere. There ought to be a tax on Japanese fabrics and goods sold until these reparations are paid off, thus bringing the price of the Japanese fabrics into line with those of other countries.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party referred today to everything except sweated labour, which still exists in Japan, where children are working 10 and 12 hours a day. Surely, we should have had some assurance that that point would be taken care of. I ask my right hon. Friend to give this matter his full consideration, as I am certain he will, because the last thing we want to see is distress in that large area of Britain. In order to give our people continuous employment, we ask for nothing more than a square deal and competition on terms of equality. If there is unfair competition, the copying of designs and all the rest of it, then we shall have "had it" for a long time to come.
§ 9.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison (Lewisham, South)
We have had an interesting debate, in the course of which we have heard hon. Members from the North-West of England, from Staffordshire and from other parts of the country which 987 have a special interest in the economic aspects of this matter, and it is right that that should be so.
We have had two excellent maiden speeches, both, as it happens, from the other side of the House—from the hon. Member for the Eye division (Mr. H. Harrison), and the hon. and gallant Member for Rochdale (Lieut.-Colonel Schofield). Like other hon. Members, I would congratulate them, and express the hope that we may hear them again contributing to our debates.
A great deal of the debate, indeed most of it, has been about the economic and trade aspects of this Treaty, and their repercussions. We are in the somewhat novel position that the Motion for the Second Reading of this Bill—which, I understand, is intended to carry with it the Parliamentary aspect of ratification; that is to say, authorisation to the Government to ratify—has been submitted by a Government who are recommending the ratification of a Treaty which they did not make, but which was made by their predecessors.
In fact, the Treaty bears my signature, that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger), and of the British Ambassador in Washington. In a sense, although speaking from the Front Opposition Bench, I am the Minister in charge of the Treaty, and, certainly, I have an obligation to defend the action which the late Government took. For good Parliamentary reasons, it is the duty of the present Government, assuming that they agree with it, to support the Treaty and the Bill in the House of Commons.
I freely agree that hon. Members in all parts of the House, including some on this side, are apprehensive about the economic and trade consequences of Japanese competition. I am afraid I must go through these points rather quickly, because I have promised to finish by 9.25 p.m. in order to leave the President of the Board of Trade the time which the right hon. Gentleman requires in order to cover fully the points raised in the debate.
I am not unsympathetic to the points of view expressed in that respect. The only question is whether the Treaty could have been better, and, if so, what provision could have been made and how the problem could have been solved by means of 988 this Treaty. We gave the matter consideration, as did some other countries which are involved in the Treaty, but the fact has to be faced that different countries took different views about it. I think it is an over-simplification of the issue to assume that the United States took one view and everybody else took the other. I assure the House that that is anything but true.
To take the question of economic competition and the desire for a requirement to observe standards that are comparable, for example, with our own, if we had tried to enforce that, and had insisted upon it, I am sure we should have broken on this matter—perhaps not so much with the United States, because they would have nothing to fear from us, though they would from other low-standard countries who were concerned as potential signatories of the Treaty—but with countries in the Far East and other parts of the world as well, whose own labour standards are low and who might fear repercussions of the same sort upon themselves.
The truth is, I do not think we can settle what wages shall be paid or what labour standards shall be observed by concrete provisions in treaties, and if a policy of this kind were pursued, then, quite logically, at the end of the day we ourselves would have to be subject to some kind of legislation of a similar sort so that the higher standards of the United States and of some of the British Commonwealth countries might be protected against British competition.
Therefore, while I understand the problems and the feeling of Lancashire, the Potteries, the West Riding and other parts of the country about it, and I sympathise with hon. Members who are apprehensive about it, I do not see, quite honestly, having thought about it a great deal, how we could effectively have provided a remedy for it in the actual Treaty itself. It is true of course, that from our point of view, Japan has the awkward combination of low labour standards, a weak and to some extent, I agree, depressed trade union movement combined with a high standard of mechanical and technical efficiency in production. The awkwardness of the situation is the combination of these two things, and that is why I so well understand the apprehension voiced from various parts of the House.
989 It is, of course, a problem that exists somewhere else. But we did not entirely ignore the problem, and if hon. Members will look at page 2 of the document containing the Treaty they will find some relevance in the statements that are made there, including the undertaking by Japan to apply for membership of the United Nations, to accept the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Charter speaks of fundamental freedoms which I think include trade union organisation, and Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides for freedom for everybody to join a trade union.
I would add that in the case of the International Labour Office there is the greatest possible provision for the principle of the right of work-people to organise trade unions and freely to function in trade unions, which is more specific and categorical than the declaration in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As I understand it, Japan has already joined the International Labour Organisation, or, if not, is on the verge of doing so. Therefore, she is committed in that respect as well. That being so, I think that as far as we could we made provision on this matter. With respect, I hardly think that one can do so by more concrete provisions and penalties.
I think the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) was right when he said that there are already in existence at this time treaties which provide for arbitration, and which state in specific terms that they cannot be set aside and that arbitration or fresh negotiations should proceed. But they are actually being set aside, and Governments are finding it exceedingly difficult to know exactly what to do in these circumstances. Perhaps as civilisation progresses we shall find a way out. I agree with somebody who said that it is one of those matters about which we ought to talk in the House from time to time in order to see whether some remedy or solution can be found. I am all for that.
My hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Edge Hill (Mr. Irvine), referred to Article 14 (a). That is an Article which provides that Japan may be required to work upon the raw material and to return the manufactured goods to countries which were the victims of Japanese occu- 990 pation or of damage at Japanese hands. My hon. Friend is apprehensive that this may lead to large-scale unfair competition by Japan with British industry. We considered that but we did not feel apprehensive of large-scale trouble on that point.
The demand came from countries, some of them very poor, economically difficult and backward, that had been the victims of Japanese occupation and ill-treatment. It was the only form of reparation that could be worked out, because it is perfectly clear that Japan in her present economic condition and in her economic condition for some time to come will not have much reparation money to throw about. Her economic condition is enormously different from what it was before the war. This was a form of reparation to those countries. But our impression is that they will not get a great deal out of it in reparation, and there is nothing to cause my hon. Friend to apprehend that there will be big repercussions in Lancashire and elsewhere.
My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith), sought a way out of the difficulty about a remedy. He suggested that one of the sanctions should be that Japan should not be admitted to the United Nations until there was a general declaration by industrialists—that is employers and trade union leaders—stating that Japan was conducting her business fairly in relation to the rest of the world. Again I cite the difficulty with other low-standard and backward countries; and I cannot see the United Nations putting itself into the position that it would not admit a country unless there were a certificate from a body of employers and trade union leaders, valuable as that might be.
I do not think, with great respect to my hon. Friend, that that is a practicable proposition; and at a moment when we on this side of the House have been asking all the time for the admission of China it could have repercussions by somewhat analogous arguments in that respect which I think would be rather unfortunate. But it is a real problem and I hope we can discuss it further.
I come to a political point with regard to China. It is argued that China should have been admitted to the United Nations before Japan. I can say at once that as 991 far as the Labour Government and the Labour Party were concerned, if we had had our way China would have been admitted to the United Nations many months ago. Therefore, there is nothing between me and those of my hon. Friends who have stressed this Chinese point. We should have liked it to have been so, and we sought to ensure that it should be so.
Later the question was complicated by the fighting in Korea in which China, officially or unofficially, but certainly effectively, became involved. There was then a great feeling that it was the wrong moment to admit her. There was the feeling, not on our part but on the part of other countries, and particularly of the United States in this respect, that it would be wrong to admit China at a moment when they said their boys were being shot down by Chinese volunteers or whatever one might like to call them, in Korea. I still think China should have been admitted, but one has to have sufficient tolerance to understand the point of view of other people. I understand the argument, though on a balance of considerations I do not agree with it.
I think we were right—I think Mr. Bevin was right—to recognise China and to send diplomatic representation. It is only fair to add that I wish China had been more responsive in recognising the British recognition of China; that would have been most helpful to Anglo-Chinese relations. Nevertheless, I still say that I think we were right to recognise the People's Central Government of China, not because it is Communist or because it is not, but because it is the effective de facto Government of China. I would wish that that Government should be admitted to the United Nations, and I say to His Majesty's Government that when the cease fire is settled between the United Nations and China, or at any rate a little later, but not long after, I hope that the Government will go back again to the United Nations and have another go with regard to the admission of China there.
§ Mr. Nutting
May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman? I should like to get the position straight as regards the attitude of the official Opposition. Am I right in supposing that the official Opposition's attitude in this matter is that so 992 long as China remains branded as an aggressor by the United Nations, and so long as the fighting in Korea continues, the attitude of His Majesty's Opposition is that she should not become a member of the United Nations?
§ Mr. Morrison
The hon. Gentleman has gone too far. If he takes up my time I cannot keep my word with the President of the Board of Trade. That intervention really was not essential. I stated the view of the Labour Government at the time in this House—it is on record—and to that declaration I adhere. The hon. Gentleman has tried to take me a little further than I went and I do not want to go so far as he wished to take me. If he will look up the record, a declaration was made on behalf of the Labour Government—I think I made it myself—and to that declaration I would adhere, although we are in opposition. It is the case that it would be desired by many people—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. W. Fletcher) was listened to, and he should not indulge in his old tricks of trying to create confusion when somebody else is speaking.
With regard to China vis-à-vis the Japanese Treaty, I would only say that we would have been perfectly happy if the People's Central Government of China had been at the San Francisco Conference and had been permitted to sign the Treaty, or not, as she wished. I imagine she would not have wished to do so, but we should like to have given her the chance. But what was the situation? We had recognised that Government. Some other countries had recognised that Government. But a number of other countries, not confined to the United States, had not recognised that Government. France had not. There were others, including certain countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
It would have been utterly impossible to have got agreement that the People's Central Government of China should be the Chinese Government to deal with Japan on the Treaty at that time. As far as I was concerned, I was equally determined that we would not assent to the Government of Chiang Kai-shek being the signatory to the Treaty or the Government to be recognised; I was absolutely flat and firm about it.
993 There we were. Nobody could agree on which Government should be recognised, and we thought that the only way would be to postpone that matter and let Japan herself make the decision later on.
I do not accept the view that if we once give a country sovereign status we can then play about with it. I do not think we can conveniently keep strings on it. Moreover, I do not think it is the case that the United States is necessarily going to determine which China Japan is going to recognise. Japan has substantial economic interests on the mainland of China, and so has the mainland of China with Japan; and I am a sufficient believer in economic forces—I hope I am a believer in other forces as well—to believe that that will have its effect.
In conclusion, I would say that, broadly speaking, what we had to decide was whether this should be a harsh treaty, one which imposed restrictions, severe conditions, penalties, post-treaty control; or whether it should be what we call a liberal treaty which is not a bad word in this case—with a small "1." I admit it is a risk; one cannot be certain. There are three possible courses for the future of Japan. One is as a Parliamentary democracy. I hope that will be the case. That is, social progress, free trade unions, a modern Labour movement, a modern Co-operative movement—all these latest improvements in society. It could go Fascist; it could go Communist, quite easily.
I believe the best bet—and it cannot be any more than the best best; and I am not asking anybody to bet about it, because I do not believe in gambling—is that she is most likely to come in with the free democracies and the more peaceful nations if we say to Japan. "Come into the club. If you come into the club there are certain rules about the club which you will have to accept, and you will understand them." But if we say to Japan, "Yes, we will give you peace but we will give it only subject to irksome conditions, penalties and fines and post-Treaty controls and what not," then I believe that Japan, and almost any other country of the world in similar circumstances, would dodge those conditions as soon as she possibly could.
Fundamentally, the best chance of real peace and progress is upon the 994 lines of this Treaty. In all the circumstances, and especially as it was our Government which did it, I hope my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, will not think it necessary to press his Amendment to a Division but that the House will give assent to the Second Reading of the Bill and thereby agree that the Treaty shall be ratified.
§ 9.27 p.m.
§ The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Peter Thorneycroft)
I rise to reply to the debate. If I may be allowed to say so, it has been a debate distinguished by the moderation of the speeches which we have heard—a moderation, I think, dictated by the fact that all of us, on both sides of the House of Commons, face a common problem and share a common anxiety about the future.
It has also been distinguished by two admirable maiden speeches, if I may say so, and also by no fewer than three speeches from the Opposition Front Bench, no fewer than two of which were definitely in favour of the Treaty. I refer, of course, to the speeches of the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), and the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger). After all, they signed the Treaty. For our part, I would say, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, that we intend to honour the signatures which they appended to it. Indeed, I think the only sensible course to adopt now is quite clearly to recognise that the Treaty has been signed and to take the necessary steps to enable us to introduce the measures required under it.
The debate has, however, been lent more point by the action of the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ellis Smith). It would have been a pity if we had all been in agreement. He has brought a note of controversy into our discussion. His Amendment is:That the Bill be read a Second time upon this day six months.If it were carried, that would be a serious matter. It would postpone many actions which should be taken, including, of course, the assembly of Japanese assets and payment out to the former prisoners of war. It would also be directly contrary to the desire and the intention of the leaders of his own party when they signed the Treaty.
995 The hon. Gentleman the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), speaking in his support, engaged in a frontal assault on his own Front Bench. He said the Treaty was an inopportune, futile and reckless proceeding. I do not know, when I came to consider the hon. Gentleman's arguments in support of that, that I was particularly impressed with them. He admitted, quite openly and frankly, that we could not put into this Treaty definite restrictive measures designed to curtail Japanese competition.
What he really said was, "We ought to have written into the Treaty some of the things that are put as voluntary agreements into the preamble—that is to say, they ought to have been in the Articles." Well, I agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) on that matter. I do not believe that the future of all this is to be settled by whether those undertakings happen to be in the preamble or whether they happen to be in the clauses.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
The right hon. Gentleman will remember that the part of my speech he has quoted did not come out of that part in which I was dealing with economic safeguards, but out of that part in which I was dealing with the general political background?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I am not dealing with any question of the general political background and the question of Communism, China, and the rest. I am talking about whether the social provisions should or should not have been put into specific Articles and I say that I agree with the attitude of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery, that there are much wider issues here than that of whether we find these provisions in one part of the Treaty or another.
All I want to do tonight is to deal with some of the arguments and answer some of the many questions which have been addressed to me, but before I do so I should like to say a word or two about some of the basic problems which underly the Treaty, because, though it is limited in so far as this Bill is concerned, the Treaty does touch some of the really big issues of policy affecting our trading position in the world.
996 Let me say this at once. I know that probably any hon. Member of the House of Commons, if he had been drafting this Treaty on his own, would not have drafted it in the precise terms in which we find it here, but the truth, of course, is that one does not draft treaties on one's own, but with those who happen to have been one's enemies yesterday and tomorrow have to be one's friends, and because of this situation the perfect solution is not very easy to arrive at.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
Yes, and with a lot of one's friends as well. No one is more conscious than I, unless it be my predecessor, the former President of the Board of Trade, of the mass of tangled problems to which this Treaty is bound to give rise—the questions of Japanese competition, of treaty rights, of compensation for prisoners of war, and the like. I do not promise to be able to give a satisfactory answer to all of them, but I do intend to tell the House the truth about them as I see it.
Let me start by dealing with Japan herself, not because she means more than us, but because she is a principal party to the Treaty. She is there, and the fact of her existence and of her problems has to be faced. There are 84 million Japanese, and a working force of some 38 million, all crowded together in an island, an ingenious people, enterprising and industrious, and, like us, compelled to earn by their exports the raw materials and the food they need for their existence. I was impressed by the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Teeling), who has great knowledge of Far Eastern matters, and I thought he was right to draw the analogy between the problems which confront the Japanese and the problems which confront us.
Somehow or another we have to learn to face common problems and to live in the world together, and it will be a test not only of political but industrial statesmanship to see that that state of affairs is brought about. We could not have had a Treaty which imposed direct restrictions upon production. Such a Treaty would be, as the right hon. Member for Grimsby said, quite apart from anything else, impossible to implement. It would require a permanent occupation 997 Force to see that its measures were carried out, and I think everybody in the House would reject that solution. Not only would it have been impracticable, but a Treaty of that kind would have landed us—and, indeed, the whole Western world—with insuperable problems.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. W. W. Astor), in his speech, indicated some of the alternatives to this Treaty. It would mean a Japan perhaps permanently occupied—certainly, permanently subsidised—a Japan always impoverished, and, by that impoverishment, a source for the spread of Communist propaganda and the like. I think that everybody agrees that a treaty of that kind should have been rejected.
The right hon. Member for Grimsby, asked me a specific question which I would like to answer at this point. He raised the possibility of pressure being exercised by the United States of America upon the Japanese to recognise Nationalist China. All I would say is that we have no reason whatever to suppose that the United States Government will do otherwise than leave it to the Japanese people and the Japanese Government to decide upon its own relations with that Government.
§ Mr. S. O. Davies
Would the right hon. Gentleman explain to us the meaning of Article 6 (1)? The United States Government are digging into Japan for strategic, military and other not very decent purposes.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I will deal with Article 6 when I come to it in my speech. I do not propose to add to the statement I have made in answer to the right hon. Member for Grimsby.
What we have to face now is the certainty of growing Japanese competition in the future. I think that no one should attempt to minimise that danger or try to write it down in any way. The Japanese have received—and I make no complaint about this—considerable aid and assistance from the United States. They have a large and growing population—growing at the rate of something like a million a year. Like us, they have a balance of payments problem. American aid is declining, and they aim to balance their payments by 1955, which would envisage a still further extension of their exports.
998 Second, they have a large supply of cheap labour. I believe that it is about one-third of our wage levels. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, referred to the question of the trade unions in Japan. Approximately six million out of the 38 million are enrolled in trade unions of one sort or another. It is true to say that there are insurance, accident and health schemes of some sort in Japan. It would not be true to say that it is the intention of the Japanese Government to whittle those away. Indeed, their statements are to the contrary effect.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
Trade unionists in South Wales were at one time not looked upon as trade unionists, and in our view trade unionism is developing now in a similar way in Japan. We have only to read "The Times."
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I was about to meet the hon. Gentleman's point, which is a perfectly fair one. The development of a trade union movement in Japan is a good thing in itself, and a very helpful matter in dealing with this question of competition, but the hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Paton), was right when he said that, having done all that, and even if there were a substantial increase in trade union membership and a substantial improvement in social conditions and the like, we would still be faced with a situation where Japanese labour, for reasons which have been gone into in this debate, would be substantially cheaper than anything paid over here. In that respect we would be up against conditions where they would under-cut our particular exports.
The third factor is that, unfortunately, Japanese exports tend to concentrate on a field of particular interest to us, textiles, pottery and certain machinery. The best Japanese firms combine cheap labour with intense mechanisation, and, as someone had put it in the debate, the American "know-how" and Asiatic wage make the most formidable competition that can confront anyone.
Nor does the problem end there. The great Oriental markets for Japan have, in part, diminished and are, in part, closed to her. India is increasingly a great producer of her own goods, and even China has developed a cotton manufacturing industry. There are those 999 markets, which are closed for reasons well-known to everybody on all sides of the House. So the position here is that this is no minor problem of competition. Here we have a powerful, industrious people, deprived of their normal markets, with a large, cheap labour force and notable assistance from the United States, with no particular obligation to re-arm, but compelled by the very facts of life to export goods. That is what we are up against, and that is the problem which one way or another we have to solve. I thought it better to state it plainly and frankly, and I now turn to some questions bearing on the solution.
When looking for a solution, the first thing I did was to see what my predecessors suggested. First of all I read the speeches of the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Rhodes), who had been Parliamentary Secretary at the Board of Trade. I read his speech of 6th April, 1950, when he was challenged with the problem with which I am now confronted, and he said he had only been four weeks at the Board of Trade, which was insufficient time for him to solve the problem. I have been exactly four weeks at the Board of Trade and I respect the shrewdness of the hon. Member.
I then read what was suggested by the right hon. Member for Grimsby. On 28th May, 1950, in a most considered and careful speech, as one would expect from him, he suggested something in the nature of an Eastern Schuman Plan as an answer to these particular problems. I thought it curious to have confirmation of a Schuman Plan from any hon. Gentleman opposite, for I remember the number of times on platforms in recent weeks when I have been told I was selling the economic destiny of my country to the French.
I was a little surprised that the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to sell it to the Japanese. I thought there might be something in it. I caused the very fullest inquiries to be made. I searched high and low to find where the plan had got to. [An HON. MEMBER: "Was it the Schuman Plan or a human plan?"] No, it was a Schuman Plan. I searched both in the Foreign Office and in the Board of Trade to find whether it existed.
1000 I am compelled to rely on a few comments of my own. For good or ill, this country has for a considerable number of years been engaged in attempting to encourage the flow of trade between the nations of the world, to lower trade barriers and to avoid undue discrimination. I do not say this in any dogmatic or doctrinaire sense. All parties have agreed that those aims were entirely consistent with the maintenance of our Imperial Preference, and the rest. That was the most important aim of our trade policy. I do not think that this Treaty would be an occasion when we should make a final judgment upon these matters, or use it as an excuse to reverse that policy, or suddenly rush into panic, restrictive measures.
The threat of future Japanese competition is great and grave. I have not attempted to burke that issue, but today, cotton textile production in Japan is only 54 per cent. of what it was in the period 1932–36. It is true that today the Japanese have six million spindles compared with eight million before the war.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I think that was a nominal figure. I am told that eight million is a much more accurate figure, but I will accept the figure from the hon. Gentleman, because it merely adds to the strength of my argument, which is always helpful when one is winding up a debate. Not all interventions have that effect. Let me take the areas in which competition can be felt and which were mentioned by hon. Members during the course of our discussion.
I was asked by the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Anthony Greenwood) what our attitude would be about most-favoured-nation treatment. My answer is that today we extend most-favoured-nation treatment to Japan, but we are under no obligation to do so under the Treaty that we have signed, nor will we tie ourselves to do so because it would, in these circumstances, be unwise, with the future as uncertain as it is. The truth is—and I would say this to those who attack us—that this country is free to impose quotas, to put on tariffs or to discriminate against Japanese trade coming into this island.
1001 The second point was about the Colonial Empire. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Rochdale (Lieut.-Colonel Schofield), in his notable maiden speech, raised the question of the Congo Basin Treaties, as did also the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd). The position about these Treaties can be quite simply stated. It is that under the Treaty of Berlin of 1885, free trade was virtually given to this area for the benefit, not of ourselves, but of the African Colonies and other nations who wished to have access to the raw materials of that area.
By the Convention of St.-Germain-en-Laye Japan, who had been our allies in the First World War—which is not to be forgotten in this connection—was brought into that circle. By the present Treaty, her rights as a direct signatory, but only as a direct signatory under that Treaty, are taken away. She is still "a nation of the world" in the sense of the original Berlin Treaty. As such, she is entitled to that freedom of access, or may be entitled to that freedom of access, to which other nations are entitled.
To change that it would probably be necessary to bring all the original signatories together. But to tell the truth, if one wants to see the position about the Japanese competition in the Colonial Empire one has to look beyond the rather tangled maze of the Congo Basin Treaties and look at the facts of the existing situation. The truth is that we are, of course, under an obligation not only to ourselves but to the Colonies themselves. We are not entirely free—not by any manner of means—to suggest to the Colonies that they should impose this, that or the other quota or restriction, and whatever we did, we should be very careful before we proposed anything which was contrary to their own interest. They owe much to us, but we also—particularly these days—owe much to them, and I believe that it is these more practical considerations which will determine the arrangements with regard to protection and otherwise in those theatres.
The third matter to which I want to refer in this context is the question of the nature of the competition. My hon. Friend the Member for Bury and Radcliffe (Mr. W. Fletcher), in a notable contribution, said—it was a practical point—that, after all, we must expect to 1002 meet competition, that it is no good pretending that we can get away from it in some manner or other, and that we had better make up our minds that it will come. But he added that we should do everything we can to ensure that that competition is upon the fairest possible terms and is not of the type and kind which we have experienced from that quarter in years gone by.
Under the declaration, Japan undertakes to enter into a number of conventions. Two conventions were mentioned by the hon. Member for Rossendale. One was the Convention on Industrial Property. The answer about that is that Japan has always been a signatory of that Convention and still remains one. The second Convention which he mentioned was the Madrid Convention, which deals with marks and indications of origin, and the Japanese have undertaken to subscribe to that.
§ Mr. Anthony Greenwood
The Madrid Convention is, of course, contained in the declaration at the end of the Treaty. What I asked about was the Berne copyright Convention.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I am not quite certain about the answer, but I will make certain and let the hon. Gentleman know.
The truth is this. It is one thing to sign these declarations, but what is important is that they should be meticulously adhered to. I know, without even the mass of evidence in teacups which has been produced during the Debate, that there have been many examples, and many examples can be shown, where designs have been taken and copied with meticulous accuracy and sold at very much lower prices.
I believe we have a field of action there. I believe that, to begin with, we should say that the intentions of the Japanese under the Treaty, which we are prepared to believe are honourable, will in the first instance be somewhat judged by whether they really do take steps to see that there is not the pirating of designs—
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I have given way once already and I cannot give way again on this matter—and the taking away of copyright in the manner described by hon. Gentlemen in the debate.
1003 We have to look beyond the terms of this Treaty if we are to judge the relations between our two countries in trading matters. The way for negotiations is still left open under the Treaty. Various suggestions have been made, but I think that much good can be done, and already has been done, by the meetings between the textile industry over here and the textile industry in Japan. I see no reason at all why the good that they have done already should not be continued and extended into other industries. I believe that those contacts upon an industrial—and, may I add, upon a trade union—basis would be by far the best way of starting to solve some of these problems, which confront not only this country, but the Japanese as well. I would certainly give every encouragement to the pursuit of negotiations of that character.
I want to say one word about the question of prisoners of war. The whole House listened with respect and admiration to the speech of the hon. Member for Eye (Mr. H. Harrison). He was well qualified to speak upon this subject. He had himself been a prisoner of war, and many members of his constituency of Eye played a great and honourable part in those sad events which followed Singapore.
I will only say this about it. I believe that those who conducted these negotiations on behalf of the prisoners of war, and those hon. and right hon. Members on both sides of the House who argued their case in the last Parliament, have discharged a very proper duty. I could wish that the compensation to be paid was greater, but the fact is that they are getting under Article 14 the assets which are available in this country. I think that the thing to do is to get on with the business, to pass the Bill, to assemble
§ those assets, and to see that they are distributed to the appropriate organisations.
§ I hope that the House will pass the Bill. I think that that is the honourable and proper course to take at this stage in the proceedings. I recognise the force and sincerity of the arguments which have been advanced about it. I am not, as I hope my speeches show, oblivious to the dangers or the difficulties which confront us, but the Treaty has been signed; it has been signed after a very long and difficult period of negotiation and waiting. I agree with the hon. Member for Rossendale that at this stage of the proceedings one really has to accept the signature, and not argue that it might have been done differently, and get on and take the necessary measures to implement the Treaty.
§ This is not the final chapter in Japanese relations, but it places them on a basis with the minimum of bitterness and the best hope of further progress. Nor is it the final comment on the trading pattern of the world. Our job is to safeguard the interests of the United Kingdom, to see that the Colonies get a square deal, and to further the interests of the Commonwealth. But those great considerations can only be properly pursued in the context of a gradual reduction in the way of world poverty as a whole and the extension of world trade as a whole. I believe that that is the underlying purpose of the Treaty.
§ Japan was once our great ally. I believe she can be again our friend. I believe that the speeches which have been made in this debate indicate the lines upon which this friendship can be built up and sustained in future years.
§ Question put, "That 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 382; Noes, 33.1007
|Division No. 6.]||AYES||[10.00 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bacon, Mils Alice||Bishop, F. P.|
|Albu, A. H.||Baker, P. A. D.||Black, C. W.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr J. M||Blackburn, F|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Baldwin, A. E.||Blenkinsop, A.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Banks, Col C.||Blyton, W. R|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Barlow, Sir John||Bottomley, A. G|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J||Bowden, H. W.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J||Bartley, P.||Boyd-Carpenter, J. A|
|Arbuthnot, John||Bell, R. M. (Bucks, S.)||Boyle, Sir Edward|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Braine, B. R.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton)||Bennett, Dr Reginald (Gosport)||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)|
|Astor, Hon. W W. (Bucks, Wycombe)||Benson, G.||Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C R||Beswick, F||Brook, Dryden (Halifax)|
|Awbery, S. S||Birch, Nigel||Brooke, Henry Hampstead)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Harrison, Lt.-Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Marples, A. E.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Hastings, S.||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Hay, John||Maude, Angus|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hayman, F. H.||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Burton, Miss F E.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Heald, Lionel||Mellor, Sir John|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Herbison, Miss M.||Messer, F|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W||Milner, Maj. Rt. Hon. J|
|Carson, Hon. E.||Higgs, J. M. C.||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Cary, Sir R.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Molson, A H. E.|
|Champion, A. J||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Channon, H.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Moody, A. S.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Morley, R.|
|Clunie, J.||Holman, P.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)|
|Cole, N. J.||Hope, Lord John||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Hopkinson, Henry||Mort, D. L.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Moyle, A.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Horobin, I. M.||Murray, J. D.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Nabarro, G. D. N|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Houghton, Douglas||Nally, W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H, F. C.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Howard, Greville (St. Ives)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.|
|Crowder, John E. (Finchley)||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Nutting, Anthony|
|Daines, P.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oakshott, H. D|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J.||Odey, G. W.|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Hutchinson, Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.)|
|Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Davies, Rt. Hon. Clement (Montgomery)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Deer, G.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Oswald, T.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C E. McA.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Pannell, T. C.|
|Donner, P. W.||Jay, D. P. T.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Jeger, George (Goole)||Parker, J.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Jenkins, R. C. D. (Dulwich)||Partridge, E|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Paton, J.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Jennings, R.||Pearson, A.|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Johnson, E. S. T. (Blackley)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Kaberry, D.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Ewart, R.||Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)||Popplewell, E.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Porter, G.|
|Finch, H J.||King, Dr. H. M.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Finlay, G B.||Kinley, J.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lambton, Viscount||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Prior-Palmer. Brig. O. L.|
|Fletcher, Walter (Bury)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C||Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Raikes, H. V.|
|Fort, R.||Lindgren, G. S.||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Linstead, H. N.||Redmayne, M.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Llewellyn, D. T.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Gage, C. H.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Remnant, Hon. P|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Ronton, D. L. M.|
|Galbraith. T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Luoas, P. B. (Brentford)||Rhodes, H.|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||MeAdden, S. J.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Gibson, C. W.||McCullum, Major D.||Roberts, Maj. Peter (Heeley)|
|Glanville. James||MacColl, J. E.||Robertson, Sir David|
|Gomme-Dunean, Col. A.||MoCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Paneras, N.)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Maodonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Gower, H. R.||McGhee, H. G.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Wakefield)||McKibbtn, A. J.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Grey, C. F.||McLeavey, F.||Host, William|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Royle, C.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Maomillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Russell, R. S.|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)||Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Maitland, Cmdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Savory, Prof. D. L.|
|Hannan, W.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Schofield, S. (Barnsley)|
|Hare, Hon. J. H.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)|
|Hargreaves, A.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Scott, R. Donald|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Markham, Major S. F.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley||Sylvester, G. O.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Shepherd, William||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)||Wellwood, W.|
|Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||West, D G.|
|Short, E. W.||Taylor, Robert (Morpeth)||White, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Shurmer, P. L. E.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Teeling, W.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Thomas, David (Aberdare)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Slater, J.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Wigg, G. E. C.|
|Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Thompson, Kenneth Pugh (Walton)||Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)|
|Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)||Williams, Charles (Torquay)|
|Snadden, W. McN||Thurtle, Ernest||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Snow, J. W.||Tilney, John||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Sparks, J. A.||Tomney, F.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Spearman, A. C. M.||Touche, G. C.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Speir, R. M.||Turner, H. F. L||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)||Turton, R. H.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Wills, G.|
|Stevens, G. P.||Vane, W. M. F.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Vosper, D. F.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Wade, D. W.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)||York, C.|
|Storey, S.||Walker-Smith, D. C.||Younger, Rt. Hon K|
|Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Studholme, H. G.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Summers, G. S.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.||Mr. Drewe and Mr. Heath.|
|Sutcliffe, H.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Driberg, T. E. N.||Mikardo, Ian|
|Baird, J.||Fernyhough, E.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Bence, C. R.||Foot, M. M.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hardy, E. A.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Cove, W. G.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Yates, V. F.|
|Crossman, R. H. S||Logan, D. G.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Longden, Fred (Small Heath)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Manuel, A. C.||Mr. Harold Danes and Mr. Swingler.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time. Committed to a Committee of the whole House for Tomorrow.—[Brigadier Mackeson.]