HC Deb 01 August 1952 vol 504 cc1869-961

Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [31st July]: That this House approves the contractual arrangements between Her Majesty's Government, the Governments of France and the United States of America and the Government of the German Federal Republic concluded at Bonn on 26th May 1952, and the Treaty between Her Majesty's Government and the European Defence Community together with the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty which were signed at Paris on 27th May 1952; and affirms that these instruments give effect to the policy set out in the Declaration signed by the Foreign Ministers of France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America at Washington on 14th September. 1951, and pursued by successive Governments of the United Kingdom for the inclusion, of a democratic Germany, on a basis of equality, in a Continental European community, which itself will form a part of a constantly developing Atlantic community.—[Mr. Eden.] Which Amendment was to leave out from "House," to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: while accepting the aim of the inclusion of a democratic Germany on a basis of equality, in a Continental European community, which itself will form a part of a constantly developing Atlantic community; and while accepting the principle, subject to proper safeguards and conditions, of a German armed contribution to an international system of collective security, rejects Her Majesty's Government's present proposal as inopportune, particularly at a time when attempts are still being made by the Western Powers to discuss the German problem with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and reaffirms the conditions first laid down in the House by the present Leader of the Opposition on 12th February 1951."—[Mr. Shinwell.] Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

11.57 a.m.

Mr. W. M. F. Vane (Westmorland)

After that further round in the campaign between two great personal rivals, the matter of a foreign treaty seems quite a small affair.

Last night, when the clock struck eleven, I was in the middle of a sentence in which I was trying to say that whereas the foreign policy with regard to Germany pursued by the late Government, and largely supported by us, was not entirely of their own choosing, it was, none the less, worthy of the wide measure of support which it received. I was referring to the statement on 14th September, 1951, and I wished to draw the attention of hon. Members especially to the sentence which says: The Foreign Ministers have now instructed the High Commission to proceed to negotiations with the Federal Government which will, it is hoped culminate in early agreements between the four Governments to enter into effect together with the agreement for German participation in Western defence through the proposed European Defence Community.… I think that the adjective "early" is worthy of our attention, because nothing which has yet been said by hon. Members on the benches opposite has convinced me that any factor has entered into this matter which caused them to change their minds from what they clearly meant in September last.

We have heard speeches which have forgotten all about this word "early." We have talked about ratification this year, next year, sometime, never, but nothing has yet been said to show why they were wrong then, or what has entered into the matter since to make them forget this particular word "early." I do not think it matters very much if they confuse themselves in this affair, but it does matter a great deal if they confuse the general public. This is the sort of thing which it is extremely difficult for the general public to understand.

Admittedly, if we penetrate into the appendix of one of the many White Papers relevant to this debate we can no doubt find, set out in technical language, the conditions under which it is hoped that E.D.C. will operate. But we must assume, I think, that that is beyond the reach of the great majority of the people of this country who are not at all clear how this military constitution we are now discussing is to work out. If the Joint Under-Secretary cannot do so now I hope that some means will be found later by the Foreign Office to give wide circulation to a simple explanation of what we are trying to do.

Many people believe that we are to have a new independent national German army arising in Europe a short time hence. What I hope will be explained is the nature of the exact controls. We remember the Reichswehr which was set up after the First World War which, was limited, I think, to 150,000 men. It is generally admitted now that it developed along lines entirely different from those which the Allies intended. We should like to know what is in the present agreements to ensure that that sort of break out does not take place.

Then there is a small point. Is this German contingent to have a uniform of its own? I have heard that it is and that it is not. I cannot find out from any of the documents. This may seem a small point, but it would be of great interest to many people. Again, is this German contribution to come wholly under E.D.C., or are the German forces to find themselves in two divisions, those under E.D.C. and those separate and directly under their own Government? That is not clear to me.

Then there are others who are anxious to be convinced that this new arrangement will be efficient and that it will come into operation quickly and fulfil its military purpose. We must all admit that military interests have made us—both hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite and hon. Members on this side of the House—arrive at this general measure of agreement. It is a great deal easier to plan an international army on paper than it is to organise and train it to a state of efficiency on the field of battle. It is one of the curious facts of history that generation after generation supposes that a paper arrangement like this can immediately represent an efficient army.

We have only to remember the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War. The army under his command there was I believe of only 20 per cent. British Nationals. How many years of muddle and inefficiency were there before he had succeeded in developing a system of command which made that international army operate as one. Again, nearer our own time, between 1939 and 1945 in every Allied command there were months of tedious and costly experiment before ways and means were discovered for cooperating with Allied contingents and effecting the command of such a simple thing as an Allied brigade in a British division. I should like to be convinced that we are going ahead with this plan in an air of realism, fully appreciating all the difficulties which exist in translating these paper plans, good though they may be, into an effective fighting force.

I conclude by urging all hon. Members to support the Motion and to forget the official Amendment which, from the speeches by hon. Members opposite, appears to please very few of them. The second Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) appears to be more closely in tone with many of their speeches. But since I gather that that Amendment is not to be called and they will not have an opportunity of dividing on it, I hope that hon. Gentlemen opposite will forget the compromise Amendment and in British interests, and, in the interests of the peace of the world, support the Government in their simple act of continuing the foreign policy which hon. Gentlemen opposite have pursued consistently for a number of years.

Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)

Before the hon. Gentleman sits down, may I say that I gave him notice that I wanted to ask him for an explanation of what he said last night, the full import of which I question whether he understood when he said it? Last night he said: While that was going on, although I do not impute any motive or particular intention to the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd), who was the first holder of the office of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, there was, I am sure, a feeling that whatever we did in the administration of Germany at least we ought not to put unnecessary obstructions in the path of the German Socialist Party and organisations closely allied to it. Now, I do not think that has stood us or the German Socialist Party in good stead. But we were not alone among the Occupying Powers in following some such policy because, as we all know, the Russians quite blatantly favoured the Communist Party in their zone, and I think it is fair to say that the Americans in theirs also did perhaps what they could to smooth the path of the C.D.U. or C.S.U."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st July, 1952; 504, c. 1845.] I am not personally injured by the statement, but it is a matter which should be cleared up because I am sure that the hon. Member could produce no evidence for the allegation. It is not for me to answer for the Americans, but certainly, so far as our own Administration is concerned, I think that if this statement is allowed to go unchallenged it could be misinterpreted and used to the disadvantage of the integrity of the British administration in Germany and elsewhere.

Mr. Vane

The hon. Member was courteous enough to tell me that he wished to raise this point. What I said last night was very close to what I have said many times before in debates on Germany during the days when he was responsible. Many of my hon. Friends on this side of the House made speeches roughly to the same effect. I do not want to follow the precedent of yesterday and make a 40-minute speech from the back benches, but I should like to remind the hon. Gentleman of our criticism in those days.

I have still in mind the industrial and agricultural policy and the result of putting enormous numbers of civil servants, n.c.os. and officers of the Army under disabilities for far longer than they need have been. I think that he would agree, too, that great insistence on the restarting of German trade unions was a matter pursued perhaps with greater enthusiasm than otherwise it may have been because he thought that the majority of them would not be opposed to Socialism. He will remember the feting and entertainment of Dr. Schumacher in this country very soon after the end of the war. There are many other considerations. I think that that justifies the extract which the hon. Gentleman has quoted.

Mr. Speaker

This is a matter for debate, but it cannot be allowed to proceed too far.

12.8 p.m.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Nutting)

Perhaps I might be allowed to intervene at this stage to deal with some of the points which have been raised. Up to now the debate has followed a pattern to which we have become increasingly accustomed in foreign affairs debates during the last few months, with a sharp and seemingly unbridgeable division between the Right and the Left wings of the party opposite, with the Front Bench trying somehow to hold an uneasy balance between them.

Up to now only one speaker from the benches opposite has really supported the Opposition Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), and that was the right hon. Gentleman himself. I thought at the time that it might be a little rash of him to claim, as he did, that he was about to speak officially on behalf of the Labour Party. Even he seemed ill at ease and did not appear to have his heart exactly in the job. Perhaps that is not to be wondered at, for we know the views which the right hon. Gentleman holds on this subject and which have been made only too apparent at Question time.

If the Opposition will forgive my saying so, the Amendment which they asked the right hon. Gentleman to move is indeed a most curious pronouncement. It accepts: …the aim of the inclusion of a democratic Germany on a basis of equality, in a continental European community. It accepts, too: …the principle…of a German armed contribution to an international system of collective security… Indeed, it could hardly do otherwise, since these were the policies if not the actual phrases to which Her Majesty's Opposition, when they were in power, set their hand and helped to initiate. But the Amendment goes on to say that this is not the moment to go forward with these policies: …at a time when attempts are still being made by the Western Powers to discuss the German problem with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic… I say straight away that I am glad to see that, at any rate, the Opposition Amendment acknowledges that we are making attempts to discuss matters with the Soviet Union.

Speakers from below the Gangway in particular, and the right hon. Gentleman himself, have accused us of being pretty well everything from lukewarm to frigid in our attitude on this question. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman repeated yesterday that we must put the Soviet offer to the test. Even the hon. Gentleman the Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd), in a speech with which I otherwise agreed, called our replies to Russia about Germany rather cold and evasive.

Let me deal with the question. First let us remember that the initiative in these matters is with the West. It is we who are making the proposals, and the ball is now at the feet of the Russians. Let me remind the House of what we have said in our recent Notes. The first Western proposal was made in the Note of 13th May, and in that Note we said, "Let us agree to set up a Commission to investigate whether there is a possibility of free all-German elections." This is the Note of 13th May, and we expressed a preference for a United Nations Commission, which was natural, because there was in existence a United Nations Commission, which had been set up as a result of the Paris meeting of the United Nations. We suggested that we should meet together with the Russians after the Commission had reported.

The reply we got from the Russians to that was merely a repetition, so far as that aspect of the matter was concerned, of the proposal for an immediate meeting. Our reaction to that—and I really do not think that anybody can call it luke-warm, still less frigid—was, "All right; if the Russians will not write to us, if they do not want to go on writing letters, perhaps they will talk." It was because that was our feeling that the three Western Powers sent their Note of 10th July to the Soviet Government. Let me quote from that Note. We said this: In order to avoid further delay, H.M. Government, in concert with the French Government and the United States Government…propose that there should be an early meeting of representatives of the four Governments, provided it is understood that the four Governments are in favour of free elections throughout Germany…and of the participation of a free all-German Government in the negotiations on the Peace Treaty. The purpose of this meeting would be to reach agreement on the first question which must be settled if further progress is to be made; namely, the composition and the functions of the Commission of Investigation to determine whether the conditions necessary for free elections exist. The Note goes on to deal with the specific agenda for this proposed conference, and it ends in this way: In order that free elections can be held, it will also be necessary to reach agreement on the programme for the formation of an all-German Government, as proposed in paragraph 11 (iv) of H.M. Government's Note of 13th May. H.M. Government, therefore, repeat their proposal for the discussion of these further important issues by representatives of the four Powers. When such agreement is reached, it will then be possible to proceed to the unification of Germany. Can any fair-minded critic really say that we have not been forthcoming, that we were shirking or evading a conference in face of the actual words which I have quoted? Can anyone suggest, as did the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), that in this or any other words of our Notes, we are making impossible conditions for the Soviet Union, and, indeed, as the hon. Gentleman said, demanding, as a pre-requisite to the conference, the integration of Germany into the Atlantic bloc?

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

This is a very important point. The hon. Gentleman has referred to the reply to the original Russian proposal, which was to have an immediate meeting of the four Powers to organise free elections in Germany. Is not the difference between the two sides of the House at this moment the difference between the Russians and their friends, who are proposing that the Powers should discuss how to hold free elections, and ourselves, since we are suggesting that we should have a meeting on a much lower level, not to organise the elections, but to find out whether there are conditions in which free elections could be held? Is it not very natural that that should be regarded in many quarters as being merely a delaying device?

Mr. Nutting

No, Sir; there is absolutely no truth whatever in the statement made by the bon. Gentleman. [Interruption.] Well, at any rate, in the latter part of it.

In the first place, we have never specified at what level these conversations should be held. That is a matter which has been left open. As regards the other part of the hon. Gentleman's intervention, I can only remind him that we must devise some means whereby we can ascertain whether the conditions for free elections exist. If the hon. Gentleman is satisfied, without going to have a look at the place, that the conditions for free elections exist in Eastern Germany, we are not, and we want to make certain that these conditions can be brought into effect, and that is the purpose of this meeting which we have proposed to the Soviet Government.

Let me now deal with the suggestion in the Amendment that we should hold up ratification until the talks with the Russians have either succeeded or failed. I am bound to say that, coming from a party which has endured, when it was in Government, so many bitter experiences in negotiations with the Russians, I find this doctrine astounding. Have the party opposite forgotten the Palais Rose? I am sure that my predecessor has not, if they have. Have they no recollection of the years of frustration which followed Potsdam, and, if their memories are so short, do they not remember the remarkable account given by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker), in the debate on 14th May last, of the history of Soviet reactions to Western policies on Germany in the last 15 months?

Mr. Ernest Davies (Enfield, East)

I am getting a little tired of the Palais Rose being referred to and compared with the proposal for talks on Germany. The hon. Gentleman will recall that the Palais Rose was endeavouring to reach an agreement on an agenda covering a very wide field indeed, whereas the suggestion of these four-Power talks is simply related to the specific point of arranging free elections in Germany.

Mr. Nutting

I do not think there is any difference between the hon. Member and myself. I am not comparing the Palais Rose with the conference about to take place. Indeed, I could not do so, because it has not yet taken place. All I am saying is that I do not want another Palais Rose. That is the attitude which Her Majesty's Government take.

Do not the party opposite remember how the Russians, for instance, completely ignored the proposals which they made when they were in Government, together with the French and United States Governments, first in September, 1950, and later in May, 1951, that measures should be taken to bring about the political and economic union of Germany, and to create an all-German Government by means of free elections? Do they not remember that, each time thereafter, when they decided that the West must go ahead and take steps to consolidate its strength and unity, from that moment, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South told us in the debate in May last, the Soviet Union began, gradually at any rate, to appear more and not less forthcoming?

What conclusions are we to draw from all this? Let me remind the House of what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South said himself, and which was repeated again yesterday by the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget): Surely they show one thing with dazzling clarity; that E.D.C. and E.D.C. alone, at every stage has led the Soviet Union to change their policy, and to propose the union of Germany today."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th May, 1952; Vol. 500, c. 1574.] The right hon. Gentleman did not appear to consider E.D.C. a "perilous adventure," as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington called it yesterday, which would make agreement with the Russians more difficult to achieve.

He went on to say: Having said that, I go on to say with equal emphasis that we should make a grave mistake if we let that history prevent us from taking the Russian Note very seriously indeed. We must find out if the Russians really mean what they have said. We must make a genuine, honest attempt to work with them if they show signs of wanting to work with us."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th May, 1952; Vol. 500, c. 1574–5.] I apologise if I have wearied the House with these quotations, but the fact of the matter is that right hon. Gentlemen opposite have so often and with so much clarity gone out of their way to prove the case of the Government and to build up a case against their own Amendment. No words of mine could answer more effectively the speech of the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) or express more precisely the position and policy of Her Majesty's Government than those which I have quoted.

We are putting the Soviets to the test. We have offered a conference, but we believe that we must meanwhile go ahead with the policies upon which we have embarked, for on them and on their early fruition depends our best hope of holding profitable negotiations with the Soviet Union.

The hon. Member for Coventry, East produced an argument yesterday which I must say was astonishing even for him. He said that we should use the threat to re-arm Germany as a negotiating weapon, but that we should only keep it as a threat. We must not take any steps which might in any way suggest that we are prepared to carry that idea through.

The hon. Gentlemen's ideas of how to conduct diplomatic negotiations are pathetic in the extreme. If he had any knowledge whatsoever of negotiation, and especially of negotiation with the Soviets, he would know that such a weapon as he wants would be nothing but a boomerang. The truth is—and we know it very well because we have had it from his own pen—that he wants to see the E.D.C. killed altogether. In an article in the "New Statesman and Nation" of 3rd May, the hon. Gentleman said: If the time-table breaks down this summer, the European Defence Community will be as dead as a door nail, and no one will attempt to try to resurrect it. If that is not an indication of the hon. Gentleman's own mind, I do not know what is. Nothing could be more clear than that. We are told that the party opposite agree with us that we must try to settle the problems of the divided world by negotiation and not by force. If that is so, they must make up their minds whether these negotiations shall be from a basis of weakness or of strength. Surely we have learned in this country the bitter lesson of what negotiation from weakness means, the ghastly alternatives of capitulation or war. Our purpose, therefore, is to negotiate from strength.

The Opposition Amendment, if carried, would seriously—perhaps—fatally weaken the negotiating position of the West, and would lead to greater rather than less intransigence by the Soviets. It could only lead to delay in that essential process of knitting together the grand design of European strength and unity upon which, as the right hon. Member for Derby, South so rightly said, depends our only chance of influencing Soviet policy.

Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)

I am doing my best to understand the hon. Gentleman. Am I to understand his argument to mean that without German assistance we cannot build up that condition of strength? Is that what he is saying, because I should like to know?

Mr. Nutting

I should have thought that was the position not only of this Government, but of the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Member. In that case, what was the right hon. Gentleman's speech about yesterday? In that case no single hon. Member could apprehend what he was driving at. His whole purpose yesterday was to say that we were driven into this position because N.A.T.O. had not enough forces.

Mr. Shinwell

That is nothing new. I have said it in this House over and over again. I have said it when I was Minister of Defence, I have said on the public platform and I repeated it yesterday. Why do not we build up the strength of N.A.T.O.? That is what I ask the Government to direct their attention to. If the existing N.A.T.O. countries in the West are provided with adequate forces, and, in particular with adequate weapons, then obviously in that measure we do not require German assistance.

Mr. Nutting

The exercise upon which we are engaged is precisely to build up the strength of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and, therefore, in that case there is nothing between the right hon. Gentleman and myself. I am sorry, if we agree, that we appear so unable to persuade ourselves why we do.

I shall now deal with the last part of the Amendment. Dealing with the last part about the Attlee conditions—I hope the right hon. Member for Easington will not go away, because I have one more thing to say about it—I thought the right hon. Gentleman was really in a hopeless fix. He knew perfectly well, of course, as the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) showed in his own speech, that the Attlee conditions had, in fact, been fulfilled. Therefore, he had to fall back on a modest measure of distortion, if I may put it that way.

Let me read to the House what were, in fact, the first and second Attlee conditions as stated by the Leader a the Opposition when he was Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman said: There is, first of all, the provision of arms. Obviously, the re-armament of the countries of the Atlantic Treaty must precede that of Germany. Second, I think the building up of Forces in the democratic States should precede the creation of German forces."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1951; Vol. 484, c. 67.] That was not what the right hon. Gentleman said yesterday. He said: What were the Attlee conditions? First, that the other countries in Europe associated with N.A.T.O. should be adequately armed."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st July. 1952; Vol. 504, c. 1737.] That was the way he put it. I submit to the House that that is a completely different proposition.

Mr. Shinwell

Just brevity.

Mr. Nutting

The right hon. Gentleman's idea of brevity is very strange, because he then went on to say that in his view the only way in which this condition could be fulfilled, would be if the French had 12 to 15 divisions before the Germans even started rearming.

Mr. Shinwell

I was using the argument based on the statements made to me and to other Defence Ministers by M. Pleven, in the first place, and by M. Moch in the second place. They made promises over and over again about 15 divisions in 1951, then reduced it to 12 divisions in 1952. What I pointed out was that we only had five French divisions.

Mr. Nutting

All I am saying is that the Leader of the Opposition when he was Prime Minister said nothing of that. He merely said, as I have quoted from the record, that the re-armament of the countries of the Atlantic Treaty must precede that of Germany. I consider that to be quite different from what the right hon. Gentleman said.

Mr. Shinwell

Is that all the hon. Gentleman wanted me for?

Mr. Nutting

Yes. It has been suggested that the signing of the contract will, if it has not already done so, make the division of Germany final, and that therefore the West is to blame. I do not accept that for one moment. In the first place, those who hold this view ignore all that has been done by the Russians to prevent the Potsdam Agreement being carried out—the persistent refusal of the Russians to treat Germany as a single economic unit and their in- sistence on drawing reparations out of current production. But, more than that they completely ignore that not only in the economic field, but also militarily and politically, the Communists, step by step, have deliberately over the last four years or more been turning Eastern Germany into a satellite state of the Communist empire.

All the measures of repression which they have taken to the build-up of the Government in Eastern Germany to which the hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe) referred yesterday, are just part of a long, carefully worked out plan to absorb Eastern Germany into the Soviet system. If some hon. Members are gullible enough to believe that all this which has taken place in Eastern Germany, to which my right hon. Friend referred yesterday, results from the Bonn Agreement, then all I can say is that the people of Eastern Germany are not in agreement with them.

The more the Soviets seal off their zonal boundary against the West, the more they communise the economic and political system of Eastern Germany, the more they expand the Eastern Germany Army, the more they ape the Hitler youth brigades with their so-called Free German Youth movement—the more the people of Eastern Germany are coming to realise that their only hope of lifting this "black night of Communism" from their land lies in the re-creation in Western Germany, by means of the German Contract and the European Defence Community, of the necessary basis of strength from which to negotiate their ultimate reunion in freedom. They know—if hon. Members opposite are unaware—that Germany could be reunited tomorrow in a Soviet concentration camp. But neither they nor their Western German brothers nor any of the Western Powers are prepared to contemplate for one moment a solution on these lines.

A lot has been said in this debate about the European Defence Community from the point of view of a German contribution to Western defence. I suggest that it is important also to look at this new development, as did the hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. Healey), from the wider aspect—from the aspect of how it can help to further the growth of unity in Western Europe. The first step in the development of this unity was, of course, the Schuman Plan for pooling the coal and steel resources of France. Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries. This imaginative project is now coming into force and the High Authority is being set up. Dealing, as it does, with the basic industries of Western Europe, the Coal and Steel Pool must render a signal service to the closer union of the industry and economy of Western Europe.

But its purpose has always been more than purely economic and industrial. By making a practical start with the integration of these six countries' basic industries it has sown a powerful political seed. It has demonstrated that a fusion of economic power can best be achieved between these six countries by a political act of far-reaching importance—the surrender in a vital industrial field of national sovereignty. And so the Schuman Plan has paved the way for the further initiative of the European Defence Community.

My right hon. Friend dealt fully yesterday with the structure and organisation of the E.D.C. I shall not add to what he said about that except to answer my hon. Friend the Member for Westmorland (Mr. Vane) and to say that, of course, all the German contribution to Western defence will be within the European Defence Community. But when my right hon. Friend was describing yesterday how this structure is made up, I could not help casting my mind back seven years to the end of the last war.

Anyone who, seven years ago, had prophesied that by 1952 German and French statesmen would have signed a treaty creating a European Army, which is to be under an international and supra-national Board of Commissioners, in which French units may be under German command and German under French, and which, together with the forces contributed by the other Powers, will share a common arms and supply programme and jointly administer common services and support—surely anyone prophesying this project would have been laughed to scorn.

Yet such a treaty has been signed and this revolutionary concept is already on the way to becoming a reality. I join with the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) in paying tribute to the statesmanship of the leaders of France in bringing forward these far-sighted solutions to the age-old feuds of Western Europe. My hon. Friend the Member for Southport (Mr. Fleetwood-Hesketh), in his maiden speech, said yesterday that it gives an opportunity which Briand and Stresemann sought but never found.

Now, on top of all this, the six Governments are about to explore the possibilities of a European political authority which will co-ordinate the existing Communities and which may one day develop into a European federal government. What is our part in all this? My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary once said in Opposition that we in Britain cannot resign ourselves to the rôle of a mere spectator in so vital a matter as the future of Franco-German relations. That is still our position.

The late Government said in the Washington Declaration that they welcomed the Schuman Plan and the Paris Plan as an important contribution to strengthening the economy and defence of Western Europe and proclaimed their desire to establish the closest possible association with them at all stages of their development. We support all those aspirations to the full. But we have done more than that and ever since we have been in power we have sought to put them into practical effect. I think that we are succeeding.

The links which we have established with the European Community are of various kinds. First, there is the permanent delegation which we will have to the seat of the High Authority for the Schuman Pool. Then there are the links with the E.D.C. Treaty providing mutual guarantees of automatic military aid in the event of an attack in Europe; and arrangements for British forces to operate and train with E.D.C. forces and to be linked in such matters as administration and supplies, and there is the N.A.T.O.E.D.C. Protocol to which we are party, and arrangements for joint consultations between Councils of N.A.T.O. and E.D.C.

But important, indeed essential, as are these technical, military and diplomatic links, we wish our association with the European Community to be extended to other planes. That is the object of the Eden plan for the future of the Council of Europe. That is why we have proposed that the Council of Europe shall have what I might call a double incarnation.

In addition to its present function as a purely consultative body we proposed that it should provide the institutions for both the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Schuman Pool and the European Defence Community when it is set up. By this means, and by reason of our membership of the Council of Europe, we shall be able, provided the six Powers agree, to be associated in the discussions of the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of these two European Communities. In this way we shall be able to bring our influence to bear on the counsels of these bodies.

So much for the existing institutions of the Schuman Pool and the European Defence Community. What of any future projects of a like shape and structure? What, in particular, of the proposed European political authority?

Mr. S. Silverman

What of the Test of us in this debate?

Mr. Nutting

I have seen it suggested in some quarters that the move to hurry on with the study of the European political authority spells doom for the Eden plan. The hon. Member for Leeds, South-East put this view yesterday. This is entirely wrong. It does no such thing; first, because there is no reason whatsoever to suppose that the six Powers want to go ahead with any project—the European political authority or anything else—without the closest association of Great Britain; and second, because our plan specifically envisages that further federal projects will develop in the future, and proposes that similar links at the Ministerial and Parliamentary levels should be established between them and Britain directly they come into effect.

Let it be clearly understood that while we cannot join a European federation, we welcome all these initiatives and will in no way seek to frustrate their development. As my right hon. Friend said in his opening speech, we make only one condition—that this development should be kept within the framework of the Council of Europe, in which this country plays a full part. This was the condition which I laid down at the recent meeting of the Council of Europe at Strasbourg, when I introduced the British proposals to the Consultative Assembly.

I think that all my hon. Friends on both sides of the House—I feel that I can call them that because, whatever their position in this debate, on that occasion we all worked together on a bi-partisan basis—were heartened by the fact that the British proposals were endorsed by the Assembly by 99 votes to nil.

I am sure, also, that they would agree that the atmosphere of this last meeting was a real change and a real encouragement for the future. Britain was once again leading Europe. The initiative which we have taken in this wider European sphere shows that we are conscious of our duty towards Europe, that we shall discharge to the full the responsibilities that fall upon us, to help and to further the new and growing unity of Europe. We believe that to be a step towards peace. We ask the House to support us in this task.

12.41 p.m.

Mr. F. J. Bellenger (Bassetlaw)

I suppose it is only inevitable that Government supporters should take an opportunity of emphasising the obvious differences which exist on this subject on these benches. It would be farcical—it would not be honest —to disguise those differences. The speeches which have been made show to what extent those differences go, and I can only hope that on both sides of the House hon. Members in listening to the speeches which are made on these benches, either from one point of view or from another, will believe that they are animated not only by sincerity but by a desire to achieve peace, which is not the prerogative of any group of Members in this House.

I can well understand my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) putting his Amendment on the Order Paper, and I could, in certain circumstances, support his point of view entirely; but because I do not think that his Amendment has any degree of possibility in the world in which we live today, I am reluctantly forced to take a point of view which I think most of us would never have contemplated, at any rate during the war or immediately after the war, but which seems to me to offer the only possibly practical way of maintaining peace in Europe, for a reasonable length of time.

I shall endeavour to give to the House reasons why I believe that ratification of these treaties is inevitable and desirable as soon as possible. First of all, let me remind the House that on 9th July, 1951, there was issued from the Privy Council Office this declaration: It is notified that the formal state of war with Germany is terminated as from 4 o'clock p.m. today, the 9th July, 1951. That was after nearly 12 years of a state of warfare between this country and our allies and Germany. What succeeds that declaration? Obviously, if we terminate war we must get into a state of peace, and we are not in a state of peace with Germany today.

Germany today is occupied and to a large extent controlled by the occupying Powers under an occupation statute. I should have thought that my hon. Friends on these benches would have been the first to desire that the people of Germany, the millions of trade unionists and Social Democrats with whom we have so much in common, should be free at last to live their own national life in their own way with the minimum of restrictions so long as their way is the democratic way of life.

After the First World War we had the Treaty of Versailles, and even that Treaty allowed Germany an army, but, I believe, no air force and no navy. At any rate, they were allowed 100,000 men. Let us never forget that what we are discussing today is not entirely the rearmament of Germany but the contractual agreements which give to Germany a good deal of sovereignty—something which I should have thought my hon. Friends, with their differing opinions, would have wanted. If one falls the other falls, and what takes their place?—nothing except the present Occupation Statute under which Germany is contributing large sums for British and other occupying forces.

After the Treaty of Versailles, which the Germans ever after called the Versailles diktat, and which, incidentally, laid the foundations for Hitler to reach the position he did what did Germany do? In 1922 the leading classes in Germany entered into a treaty with Russia—the so-called Rapallo Treaty. From that date they started preparations for the Second World War with the connivance and the collusion of the Russians. When we are listening to plausible speeches like that which my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) made yesterday, it is very necessary to consider a little of the past history as well as what he considers to be the future history.

I maintain that Russia's policy has been consistent and will be consistent as regards Germany, whatever we try to do. Of what does that policy consist? The rulers of Russia will never allow Germany, East or West, divided or united, if they can possibly help it, to unite with the democratic nations. That is the first thing that we have got to keep in mind when we are considering the negotiations, which I agree should undoubtedly go on with Russia concurrently with the ratification of these treaties. Now we come to 1939. In 1939 the agreement made between two dictators, Stalin and Hitler, precipitated the Second World War.

Mr. S. Silverman

Do not forget 1938.

Mr. Bellenger

Of course, we had Munich. I want to say as little as I can about the party opposite, because I also believe—and this is the force of my argument—that because they went in for a policy of appeasement, as is apparently being suggested by some of my hon. Friends today, we also contributed to the Second World War, but not to the same extent that Hitler and Stalin did with that agreement which, never let us forget, was a horse deal if ever there was one—cutting up Poland, sharing out the spoils, taking the Baltic States, all in a secret protocol.

Mr. Silverman

The purpose of my intervention was not to assist my right hon. Friend to re-write history but only to point out to him, as I am sure he will agree, that it is a little unfair to blame what he calls the two dictators for doing together what the democratic nations had done with Hitler only the year before. The partition of Poland, bad as it may have been, was surely no worse than the partition of Czechoslovakia in the Four Power Pact at Munich.

Mr. Bellenger

That only shows how points of view differ, and I am bound to tell my hon. Friend that if that is his reading of history we are diametrically opposed.

Mr. Silverman

My right hon. Friend is not diametrically opposed to hon. Members opposite.

Mr. Bellenger

In matters of this importance, involving the question of war or peace, because I happen to sit on the opposite side of the House I do not see why I should take a point of view which I believe to be wrong. I hope that even in these days we should allow a little latitude to hon. Members in this House, and I am bound to say that considerable latitude is given to my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman).

Mr. Silverman

Not given—taken.

Mr. Bellenger

I also presume to take it, with or without my hon. Friend's permission—I do not mind. Russia's policy is consistent today.

I mention these historical facts in order to destroy the illusions to which my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East gave expression yesterday. I say straight away that, in order to try to convince public opinion here and in Germany, we must try to get Russia to the conference table and, if possible, to get agreement; but when we go into a conference of that nature we must know what we want. Unless we do know what we want, negotiations of that kind will drag on and on and the position at the end will be far worse than it is at the present moment, grave as it may be.

I was interested to note that my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) said yesterday, without any qualification whatever: I say on behalf of the Opposition that we should not agree to prolonging such talks"— with Soviet Russia— if they go beyond a reasonable time. There must be a limit; they must not be unduly prolonged."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st July, 1952; Vol. 504, c. 1741.] I entirely agree with him. I only wish that he had given some indication of what that limit should be.

In considering the arrangements in the European Defence Community we should ask ourselves why we should subscribe to these agreements, as we have done, because Her Majesty's Government have appended their signature to them. Is it not because we think that our democratic way of life is threatened? After all, what is the whole purpose of our re-armament unless it is to protect our way of life and the liberties and privileges that we have attained through centuries and which seem to us to be threatened? If it is the case that our re-armament is for the purpose of defence alone, how much more necessary is it that on the Continent, in the front line, that defence shall be just as strong as ours? Even my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington is constantly telling us that defence on the Continent is weak.

I have always understood that the Labour Party, of all parties, stood for collective and not selective security. If collective security for the purpose of the Covenant of the League of Nations or the Charter of the United Nations Organisation means anything at all, it means the uniting of all democratic forces to stand against the threat of aggression from wherever it comes. Obviously the German nation has to agree first, and that will be the test whether or not they believe in democracy. Our agreement or act of ratification only becomes operative when the other nations, including Germany, agree, and if they do—I agree that it is speculative, but so is the whole of life, as I see it—I think that we have a better chance of helping towards peace in Europe, which, in turn, may be extended to other parts of the world.

I am glad that the official Opposition Amendment recognises that fact and only differs in one respect from the Government's Motion. Whatever speeches have been made here, whether they come from below or above the Gangway—except in regard to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East; and it is sometimes difficult to break through the supersonic barrier of his mind to see what he really does believe—there is complete agreement on these benches that the Government are right in initialling these Treaties. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Very well. Two of my hon. Friends, whose opinions I respect—

Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)

The hon. Member ignores our opinions nine-tenths of the time.

Mr. Bellenger

I am not ignoring them now, and they have reminded me if I were in danger of doing so. My two hon. Friends—whose opinions I respect and which spring from a different source from that of the majority of opinions in the party to which they and I belong—are pure pacifist—

Mr. John Paton (Norwich, North)

No; we are the opposite.

Mr. Bellenger

I do not know what is the opposite of a pure pacifist. Perhaps one or both my hon. Friends will tell me if they are fortunate enough to catch the eye of the Chair.

Mr. Paton

If the hon. Member will sit down we will try.

Mr. Bellenger

If they are realists as well as idealists they must agree—as I should not be at all surprised to know that they did agree during the war, either by open expression of their thoughts or by passive acquiescence, that we were right in fighting Hitler to try to avoid aggression—that if we are to stop aggression, which, if it has not already occurred, is very near in Eastern Germany, it is only logical that we must take steps that are not purely pacifist. We should not lie down in front of the juggernaut which is rolling on. That is why most of us on these benches support re-armament and why most of us support the re-armament of Germany, even though some hon. Members may qualify their support, as they have done today.

I think it was my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East who asked about finance and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who attempted to answer him. I wonder whether either of them were right in their question or answer. Let us be quite frank. There are a considerable number of British troops in Germany. They have always been paid from British funds borne on the Service Estimates, so whatever happens to these troops the British taxpayer will still continue to pay for them. It is true that a large proportion of their expenses in Germany in relation to billeting and so forth are paid out of the Germany economy, under an occupation statute imposed by right of conquest and nothing else.

That was the case with the Indian Army, in the days when we controlled India, but I well recollect many of my hon. Friends saying that that should stop. They said it was unfair to impose military expenditure on the Indian people in order to maintain the Indian Army. Why, therefore, should we expect the Germans, before or even after ratification, to contribute to the British forces? I do not think they will, but if that is the argument where is there any equity, if we really believe in being at peace with the German people?

We do not say anything of the kind, and what the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the House must envisage is that even if we take away these divisions tomorrow they will still cost the British taxpayer the same amount of money as they will cost after these treaties are ratified, except in so far as we can induce the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation—and that means the United States of America—to pour more money into the pool in order to contribute towards our defence forces.

Unless we really believe in reparations —and how many of my hon. Friends do —we ought to say that the time has arrived when the cost of British troops, which are in Germany not for our defence alone but as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, should be borne in the same way as that of the other members of E.D.C. or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It may cost us more, but it will be for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to tell us how much this country can afford in defence. I think that is the fairest and, indeed, the only way of looking at this financial consideration.

Let me now come to our Amendment. I only wish that I could support it, but I am not going to support anything which is merely a compromise in order to achieve face saving, and we know that the reason this Amendment is on the Order paper is in order to try to arrive at some compromise between two opposing points of view. Well, if that is the way we are going to conduct international relations, meaning so much to this country and to the people that elect us, then the sooner we stop playing this unreal game the better. I remember so well before the war Munich, Spain and the rest of it, when continual wrangling was going on between both sides of the House. What happened? We came to war partly because both sides of the House could not agree. Then, when we came to war, what happened? Both sides of the House joined in a coalition to carry on the war.

Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)

Did not both sides agree to unconditional surrender, which makes the next war inevitable?

Mr. Bellenger

I do not know whether it makes the next war inevitable, but I agree that both sides did agree to unconditional surrender, and let me tell my hon. Friend that some of us had considerable doubts about that in those days and gave expression to it in this House.

Mr. W. G. Bennett (Glasgow, Woodside) Was it not Russia who insisted on it first of all?

Mr. Hughes


Mr. Bellenger

I do not want to diverge too much, otherwise it would make my speech more lengthy.

I want to deal with only one or two further points. I was on the question of the Opposition Amendment. It is very difficult to say what the late Mr. Ernest Bevin would have done if he had been alive it is very difficult to say what a Labour Government would have done if they had been in power; but if words mean anything—and they must mean something—the document signed by the then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), is plain beyond peradventure. There it is, for all to read, and in that document the three Foreign Ministers, including a Labour Foreign Minister, signed their hand to this statement: The Foreign Ministers have now instructed the High Commission to proceed to negotiations with the Federal Government which will, it is hoped, culminate in early agreements between the four Governments to enter into effect together with the agreement for German participation in Western defence through the proposed European Defence Community, whose forces would form part of the joint defence forces under the North Atlantic Supreme Command. We initiated that policy, and if the Government are carrying on that policy are we going to condemn them merely because of so-called bi-partisanship? Hon. Members will have noted that in America they are proceeding to the Presidential election, and both the Democratic candidate and the Republican candidate are carrying out, if words mean anything at all, a bi-partisan foreign policy. When in a time of election in America, with all the pressure that is being exercised by all sorts of groups in all sorts of ways, both candidates for election can agree on a bi-partisan foreign policy because they believe their country is so vitally interested, surely we in the British House of Commons cannot do less.

Therefore, because I believe that what the Labour Government put their hands to when they were in office is what the present Government have merely carried on and brought to fruition—because that is what the ratification of this agreement will mean; that will be the last step before those treaties come into operation —because they are doing that, and because I believe in honesty in politicsoccasionally—I regret that I shall not be able to support the Opposition Amendment this afternoon.

1.5 p.m.

Mr. F. M. Bennett (Reading North)

I hope the right hon. Member for Basset-law (Mr. Bellenger) will not think that if I do not comment at length on his speech it is because I am in disagreement with it. It is, in fact, for precisely the contrary reason. Throughout the two days of this debate there have been many claims on the benches opposite to speak as heir of the late Mr. Ernest Bevin, but I think many of us, certainly on this side, and, I think, throughout the House, would agree that if there is one individual whose speech is a direct outflow from Mr. Ernest Bevin's policy it is that of the right hon. Member for Bassetlaw.

At the opening of this debate yesterday the right hon. Member for Easing-ton (Mr. Shinwell) claimed that he was fortunate enough on this occasion to be speaking for a united front within his party, and he warned us on these benches against trying to exploit any non-existent differences. I do not intend to do so, partly for the reason that I feel the situation is sufficiently serious without going into that too deeply; and secondly because, after the speeches we have heard, in such very divergent fashions, from hon. Members opposite it would indeed he a case of gilding the lily.

In so far, however, as it is possible to extract anything concrete from the Opposition as to why they have put down this Amendment—this face-saving tactic, as it has been alluded to—it does seem that there are perhaps two propositions which are worth a slight amount of examination.

The first is that we should insist on new elections in Germany because the present Government there have no mandate to enter into these defensive arrangements and to re-arm. I think that has flowed more or less throughout the debate—the need for new elections because of the lack of a Government mandate. That is an astonishing constitutional doctrine. The Labour Government were elected first in 1945, and although I took part, unsuccessfully, in that election on leave from the Army I have not the slightest recollection of the Labour Party mentioning the word "re-armament" at that time, or defensive pacts against the Soviet Union, or entering into any defensive arrangements at all.

When they were elected I do not believe they could for a moment have claimed that they had a mandate for any of the items in these fields which followed. Indeed, in those day of "Left calls to Left" it would have been the wildest heresy on any Labour political platform to have even suggested that the time might come when the Atlantic Pact and defensive arrangements against the U.S.S.R. would be necessary.

Yet, with no mandate we got the Brussels Pact in 1947, in 1949 the Atlantic Pact, and concurrently with it the announcement to this country that we needed to re-arm on a substantial scale. The Government had no mandate for those, but I do not remember any suggestion in this House or elsewhere that before entering into those arrangements it was the constitutional duty of the Government, as they had not got a mandate, to go to the country first and get one.

It is perhaps worth reflecting what would have been the sentiments expressed by the party opposite when they were in office if, for instance, the United States had, before agreeing to conclude the Atlantic Pact with us or to encourage our re-armament, insisted that the Labour Government should go to the country and get a mandate first. They would have regarded that, and rightly, as gross inter- ference with our domestic constitutional rights. So much for the claim of the need for new elections.

The other point I should like to spend a few minutes examining is the claim that the timing is wrong, as mentioned in the Amendment, because of the particular effect it will have at a time when new talks with Soviet Russia may begin. The only time we have ever, in our experience —and I am sure the right hon. Member for Bassetlaw, who held office in the Labour Government would agree—found the Russians since the war in any mood of conciliation is when they have seen signs of our increasing firmness and our increasing strength. That goes for all dictators, whatever their political colour.

I therefore feel that the best possible way we have of achieving any sort of reasonable settlement with the Soviet Union is precisely that of pressing on with the arrangements outlined by the Joint Under-Secretary of State earlier today—not only with the re-armament of Germany, but with all the other international defensive arrangements going on—so that we can proceed on a basis of security and strength. Every bit of evidence that there is shows that that is the right way of getting a settlement with the Russians—not by appeasement. And that way of approach is common to right dealing with all dictatorships.

There is one aspect of the matter that has not been touched on—or touched on hardly at all—in this debate about Western German re-armament, during which some on the benches opposite have been protesting against it. We seem to have neglected the very substantial rearmament that has been going on for a long time in the Eastern zone of Germany. If it is right to say that at this time it is a misguided policy to support the re-armament of Germans because of the possibility of talks with the Russians, the Russians do not seem to think so, because while they have been approaching us with prospects of talks with us, re-armament in their zone has not stopped but gone on apace.

I do not want to keep the House, because I know that there are other hon. Gentlemen who want to speak in this debate, and so I am not going to quote at length the figures that I have obtained, but I think it is worth noting how steadily this re-armament in the Eastern zone of Germany has gone on. Irrespective of party, this is a very serious matter, when we see there a national army daily growing bigger in the Eastern zone of Germany, and when there are here certain people who are decrying even the beginning of the formation of so few divisions in the West.

In May, 1949, according to official figures that could be quoted, there were in the Eastern zone military or paramilitary formations numbering 9,000 men; by September of the same year they numbered 42,000; by May, 1950, they numbered 50,000; by September, 1951, they had gone up to 60,040; and the latest reports now speak of no fewer than 70,000 well-armed soldiers, sailors and airmen equipped with the latest weapons of war.

Considering that there are only 17 million-odd Germans in the Eastern zone compared with 47 million or 48 million in the West, and considering that we are talking only, in a much bigger area, of 10 to 12 divisions, and that before we have even started to enlist the troops or even have ratified the agreements, and that they have already got now between six and seven divisions in that part of the country that is only one-third of the size of the whole of our zone, it seems that not only have they re-armed their zone of Germany, but have already re-armed it proportionately far more even than our plans envisage re-armament in ours.

Mr. James Carmichael (Glasgow, Bridgeton)

Would the hon. Gentleman kindly give the authority for the statement he has made regarding re-armament? Where do those figures come from?

Mr. Bennett

I think the best way to deal with the point—I am not trying to escape it, for I have the figures here with the authorities—is to show the figures to the hon. Gentleman afterwards. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Well, the reason I am suggesting that is, not that I am trying to evade the issue, but out of consideration for others who wish to speak. If I am driven to it, I am perfectly ready to quote the document and read out all the sources of the information, but that will not be so good for others who wish to speak, for it will take up time.

So far in this debate not a single hon. or right hon. Member opposite has been able to find any single constructive reason why we should not ratify these agreements now, and we are forced to accept the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bassetlaw himself that the Opposition Amendment has no substance in it in fact, and that it has been put down as a face-saver. That, in this House, we can all appreciate. We all understand that. But this debate in this House has significance abroad, and the Opposition Amendment has a certain significance in that sense, and it may be misinterpreted abroad.

Indeed, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) last night actually expressed as a hope that the division of opinion shown in this debate, and any Division that may take place in the Lobbies tonight, would have the effect of preventing or delaying the Germans and the French from ratifying. He actually expressed that as a hope.

All I can say in regard to that is that I hope that the French and the Germans of their own free will will realise that what has been happening in this debate, and any Division that may occur, is not because of any great national difference of opinion about the right way for this country to act, but, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) said, is happening as a face saver, for a disunited and torn party.

1.14 p.m.

Mr. A. J. Irvine (Liverpool, Edge Hill)

There is, I think, still some misapprehension among hon. and right hon. Members on the other side in regard to the objections which are raised from this side of the House to ratification at this time. The Foreign Secretary yesterday said that the reason he criticised the Amendment was … because it asks us to halt the work we are doing in the hope that we shall get these talks—in the hope that we shall get the Russians into these discussions."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st July, 1952; Vol. 504, c. 17181 That observation of the right hon. Gentleman seems to me to illustrate the misapprehensions that exist. What reason is there why the work to which the right hon. Gentleman referred should be halted at all by a decision not to ratify the Conventions at this early date?

There is no suggestion from this side of the House, no matter what variations of opinion there may be, that there should be a halting of the process of the buildup of Western defence. We are concerned with the entirely different question of the timing of what is admittedly a technical matter—the process of ratification. We believe that ratification, for all that it is a formal and technical step, is one which should have been better timed to affect the whole diplomatic situation.

At present, as the Government are proceeding, there is no indication given to the House and to the country as to any possible effect that the timing of ratification may have upon the prospects of opening the four-Power talks or upon the development of Russian policy; but when we set out upon the process of re-armament we were told that the whole object of the exercise was not merely that we should build up our self-defence but that we should build up until we reached a position where we could negotiate from strength. It was thought, therefore, that, step by step, as the defence position of the Western Powers was strengthened, there would develop parallel to it a policy of probing and inquiring to discover how the Soviet Union was reacting to the defence policy of the Western Powers and whether there were any signs that talks could be commenced on a more hopeful footing than heretofore.

The real difficulty we are in now, in my judgment, is that we are building up our strength and nobody in the Government knows how to begin to negotiate. That seems to me to be the tragedy of the situation as we separate for the forthcoming Recess. Arms races, as we all know, possess their own diabolical impetus. They are a process that, once set in train, becomes extremely difficult to stop. They become difficult to stop for economic reasons, because of the dislocation that occurs. If we stop or reduce the arms process, possibly unemployment results.

Moreover, in the course of an arms race the sights are raised and new objectives are tagged on, so that we have from the United States, for example, a new statement of the objectives of Western policy, called "containment-plus." New objectives are tagged on to the original ones and proposals are made that steps should be taken to free the people now under the subjection of the Soviet Union. We have heard them from hon. Members opposite in the course of the debate, as my hon. Friends remind me.

In my view, the task of statesmanship at the present time is to keep the original objective of our armaments programme and of Western defence in sight. That is why we should probe at every stage the possibility of getting results by negotiation. This very process of ratification should have been used as a bargaining counter in that connection, to see whether we could secure a reasonable basis for the talks. As far as I know, it has never been put to the U.S.S.R. in terms that if they will enter into talks upon such-and-such a basis, or according to such-and-such an agenda, then we in Britain will not proceed to ratification. No suggestion of that kind has been made and this important, although formal, matter of ratification has not been used in any way in connection with the main objective.

On the contrary, it has been rushed through unnecessarily early, and nothing in the handling of it is designed to bear upon the prospect of four-Power talks. If the process of the re-armament of Germany outpaces by too far the search for a basis of negotiation, then the prospect of negotiation will be destroyed; and, in the view of my hon. Friends, that is the great danger of this situation. The object of negotiation is to find German unity by peaceful means, and yet a consequence of what we are doing, a consequence of what is being done this afternoon, may be, in my belief, to perpetuate the division of Germany.

I am not one of those who think that the issues in this matter are other than extremely difficult to determine. I think that the issues are rather narrow which divide hon. Gentlemen at present, and one of the concessions which I make to hon. Members opposite is that I accept the force of their argument that if we develop Western defence upon the lines which they have enunciated, both in the Conventions and through E.D.C., we would achieve as a consequence one advantage of supreme importance.

The advantage which would be achieved is that the age-long enmity between Germany and France will at long last be brought to an end. That is what they say, and there is some force in it. They say that the only answer to German militarism is in a European army, in an army in which the forces of Germany and of France are integrated and through which, as I say, at long last the enmity between these Powers is finally brought to an end in an integrated European force. That seems to me a very important argument. Incidentally, it is that aspect of the matter to which the so-called Attlee conditions have the most important relevance.

Why am I not, in the result, swayed by that argument? It is because I think there is an even more important objective than that which I have described—namely, the solution of the problem of Germany, the necessity of achieving German unity by peaceful means. If it be a fact that the objective of uniting Germany and France in an integrated force cannot De achieved in the existing situation at the same time as we achieve a united Germany, then I would permit the first objective to go in order that I might achieve the second. It is because I think that what right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are doing at the present moment endangers the prospect of establishing German unity by peaceful means that I take my stand where I do on this matter.

I ask myself the question—because this is fundamental to the whole argument—is it true, in fact, that by proceeding at this rate with the Western build-up we are doing anything which will perpetuate the division of Germany? Because if that is not true, my whole argument falls. Reports certainly indicate that at any rate the Germans are convinced that this is so. This process of ratification, which is being carried through today is, according to the reports which one receives, regarded as a very grave step in relation to the prospects of achieving the peaceful union of Germany.

The "Manchester Guardian" in a despatch of 26th July, said as a fact what one would in any way have expected, that The Germans fear that an internal frontier guarded on either side by German soldiers is more likely to be permanent than the kind of frontier that divides their country now. Yesterday, "The Times" reported that the struggle between the East and the West of Germany was getting more bitter every day. The President of the East German Republic, Herr Pieck, has said, in terms which are sadly familiar, that "strength is the only thing that Dr. Adenaeur and his American sponsors understand." Of course, Dr. Adenaeur is saying exactly the same thing, with a few alterations in words, and sending the message back.

All that is going on meanwhile, therefore, is accelerating and accentuating the danger of a divided Germany, and we have the prospect of a domestic arms race between the East of Germany, on the one hand, and the West of Germany, on the other hand—an arms race in which Eastern Germany, where they have been training their cadres for four years, will have the initial advantage. It was interesting to observe the other day that Mr. Walter Lippman said: We are in the gravest danger of finding ourselves in a wholly untenable position—that of making our military and political plans contingent upon the perpetuation of a divided Germany. That is the seriousness of the matter and if, by carrying through this ratification at this time, we are doing anything to make more likely or more inevitable the continued division of Germany, then the gravity of what we are doing this afternoon cannot be over-stated or overestimated. I wonder whether hon. Members fully realise how far this is written into the Conventions themselves. It is written into paragraph 3 of Article 7, where, as I understand the Convention, it is said that if eventually unification of Germany is achieved, then the Governments of the West will look to the united Germany to fulfil these very obligations now being entered into by the West German Federal Republic. How can that be regarded by the Government of the Soviet Union? Is it not the clearest indication that our intention is to force home our own objectives in Central Europe? What the House is being asked to do is to agree to something unnecessarily early which may perpetuate the division of Germany and render four-Power talks abortive.

The speed of the build-up all the time is only paralleled by the laggardness in the promotion of the four-Power talks. There is a widely held assumption that they are bound to fail. We hear it all the time. Pessimism and defeatism on that issue are rampant. What kind of basis is there for foreign policy if we proceed on the assumption that the talks are bound to fail? I have myself no illusions about the difficulties. I think that the difficulties are very great indeed. But I say that the British people were first of all persuaded to participate in a great programme of re-armament on the basis that we were building up our strength in order to negotiate on terms of equality. If now, when all that sacrifice has been made and all that effort has been carried out, we are to be told, "The prospects of negotiations are non-existent," I say that we have been persuaded to re-arm under false pretences.

I also say to hon. Members that just because Russia has been intransigent since Yalta, it does not follow that she is going to be intransigent all the time. After all, seven years is a short period in the life of a nation. The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, speaking today in what struck me as tones of great pessimism, with his melancholy reference back to the Palais Rose, based his argument on the assumption that if we referred to the historical precedents there was no kind of prospect of successful negotiation. Was there ever a more melancholy prologue to international negotiations?

Mr. Nutting

I was not melancholy about the prospects at all. I do not accept that the negotiations may break down. I was merely saying that the chance of negotiations succeeding is much better if we go on with the policies which the late Government started and which we are carrying out.

Mr. Irvine

If I have induced some optimism in the mind of the hon. Gentleman, I have not spoken in vain. In fact, there is evidence the other way. The historical evidence is that Russia is capable of great shifts in foreign policy. That is how she works and that is how she moves. There was such a shift before the war when the dismissal of Litvinov took place. These great shifts of policy do occur. Certainly our foreign policy should be based on the assumption that Russia is capable of carrying out such a shift again. These shifts of policy by Russia only occur seldom in point of time and only occur when objectives of immense importance are thought to be in sight. But the point is that the avoidance of the integration of German forces with the West may be —we do not know—just such an objective. I say that it is the Government's duty to probe the possibilities.

We cannot exclude the possibility that the appointment and the arrival of Mr. Gromyko in this country may be an indication that there is to be a different emphasis in Soviet policy. It is said by some hon. Gentlemen on the other side that the slight change in the Russian attitude that makes itself apparent is a consequence of the West showing increasing strength. I quite agree. But that is not a reason why we should postpone talking in terms of negotiation. The logic of that argument of hon. Members opposite is that we should build up our strength not to the point where we can negotiate from strength but to the point where we can enforce our will. That is not and never has been our objective.

We should take the initiative. All this talk about our being a second-rate Power is again part of the defeatism and pessimism that are constantly coming across the Floor from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. They are obsessed by the belief that we have become a second-rate Power. There is this prolonged delay in the despatch of Notes. Everything is referred back across the Atlantic before our position can be made clear. Speeches and statements made by the Minister of Defence are referred to General Omar Bradley. We have reached a sorry position when this constant referring back is regarded as a necessary feature of our diplomacy and we can give no lead of our own.

I should have thought that we still had enormous influence as a great Power and as the centre of a great Commonwealth. The Government do not think of exercising that influence as I see it. Their policy is simply one of doom. They have no hopes nor prospects in this at all. They have no promises, not even false ones; there is nothing to "ram down our throats" in foreign affairs. They are caught up in a remorseless process which appears to us to exclude the prospects of negotiations even from strength.

The plain truth is this: not only has the Conservative Party an outlook of doom and pessimism, but the whole country would have had such an outlook had not certain elements of the Labour Party been at work on this matter in recent months. That has been, as I believe, one of the really important features of the situation. There has been in the Labour Party—and, after all, there is only a small majority dividing the House, and the view I am expressing is a view largely held by hon. Members in the Opposition—a developing determination that the original objective of our re-armament policy should be kept in mind. If that development within my party had not occurred the Opposition Amendment would not be in its present terms.

Our determination is that we should build up our strength in order to negotiate from strength, and that all the time we are building up our strength it is our obligation and duty to probe and inquire into what the prospects of negotiation are. A technical and formal matter like ratification should, we think, have been approached in that context and not steam-rollered through unnecessarily rapidly as if there was no other prospect than that of a steadily deteriorating situation; as if the only thing that it was possible to offer to the British people was another catastrophe.

1.40 p.m.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)

Except for the concluding passages of the speech of the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Irvine), which caused some controversy and opposition on this side of the House, I believe that the House has listened to him with respect, as it usually does to does to his speeches on foreign affairs which, in my view at any rate, tend to enlighten our proceedings. I largely agree with the main theme of his statement to us this afternoon and shall hope to touch on some of the points he made in the course of my own remarks.

I am very glad to note the general trend of these foreign affairs debates, the continuity of bi-partisan foreign policy upon a slightly different basis—the emergence of more contributions of opposite effect from opposite parties. That is not a bad thing. The country as a whole is glad to see an occasional respite from our formal battles in this House, particularly on foreign policy, about which there are so many anxious thoughts and inquiring minds in the country. My experience of my constituents and the public generally is that they are pleased that that is the trend in Parliament.

We have had three contributions from hon. Members opposite who declared themselves in support of the Government on the issue of the re-armament of Germany and the conclusion of the contractual agreements. I think I am not going too far in saying that there are a small number of hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, one or two of whom may still be called if there is time, who are more attuned to the thinking of the official Labour Opposition.

For my own part, I welcome this opportunity of explaining to the House and to my constituents why I must abstain from the Divisions which will follow this afternoon unless it be that we are to have a formal declaration from the Government at the end of the day that this is a vote of confidence and that a defeat of the Government will result in its resignation and a General Election, in which case the whole of the Government's home policy at the present time is called into question. As I am a warm supporter of the Government on their home policies, it would be with a heavy heart that I should vote with them on this issue and in those circumstances in the Lobby this afternoon.

I should like to make clear my reasons for this attitude. Without taking too long about it, I invite the House to accompany me in a short and I hope not too jerky ideological journey from the far side of the Atlantic through the N.A.T.O. countries and through Germany to the Iron Curtain. I do not think one can hope to have a comprehensive or complete view of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which is the great power force in Europe today, unless one begins to look at it through the eyes of the United States. I should like, therefore, to attempt a brief and crude analysis of the United States policy towards Europe. It has, I think, three strands.

First of all, there is their suspicion of this hotch-potch of nationalities in Europe, their fear and resentment of the patchwork organisation of States breeding wars in which their soldiers have died, their dislike of the quota economies and high tariff walls, and the adverse comparison with the broad, expansive lands of the United States generating power and opportunity. For that reason we get the American view projected upon Europe, hoping that it will become, under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and under the economic arrangements, a large and important territory equal in concepts to that of the United States. For this reason the United States has federal designs for Europe.

Secondly, there is the Marshall thesis, that potent mixture of humanitarianism and economic democracy, the Good Samaritan lifting up the prostrate form of European civilisation and the dollar advance guard marching out against industrial Communism. Thirdly, we have the military motive, the extension of the Monroe doctrine, the rebound from the post-1919 failure of Wilsonian self-determination for small nations but the retention of the other part of the Wilson case, the ideal of making the world safe for democracy, by kindness, yes, but by force now, too.

Thus, in the eyes of the United States, these N.A.T.O. countries become at once, freed of their feuds, a large area for trade and exchange, a forcing house for democracy and an instrument of military power. With the adhesion of Western Germany to E.D.C. —E.D.C. being but an appropriate tool of N.A.T.O.—the process is virtually completed, and we have to consider the impact of this upon ourselves and upon Eastern and Asiatic Europe.

Is Britain isolated by this United States thrust into Europe, or, alternatively, are we isolating ourselves by certain actions that we have taken, and are now taking, and, if so, how? We are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, but we are not members of the industrial complex which is rapidly becoming the beating heart of N.A.T.O. We are only interested observers of the Schuman Plan.

Some hon. Members in all parts of the House have suggested in our debates on the Schuman Plan that we should throw ourselves into this organisation, but both Governments have so far been hesitant, and indeed, there are great reservations by those with technical knowledge, on this side of the House at any rate. They feel that to subject our iron and steel interests to partial control by foreigners would be a fatal act of policy. They feel that we should lose flexibility in production upon which we should depend completely for purposes of war. They feel that we might lose some of our habitual British markets in the Commonwealth.

But as things are now going in Europe, are we wise to stay out any longer, or should we go in and do something about this organisation? The Under-Secretary today told us that there was a hope of putting it under the Council of Europe, but my understanding of the speech of the hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey) yesterday—he is considered to be an expert on this—is that that proposal was rejected forcibly by M. Spaak and others when it was made on the last occasion and that there is no guarantee at all that we shall work our will. Meanwhile, the process is going on. The High Authority is being constituted, and it is to be subject to a political organisation in Europe. Who will dominate this power citadel of the Ruhr-Lorraine when it has been created? Will it be Germany, or will it be France, or will it be a combination of both countries?

To go a little wider, what precisely is this United Europe that we are creating? Is the United States going to remain involved in it, or, having forwarded the whole enterprise under the conceptions that I sought to give at the beginning of my speech, will the United States retire and allow it to go on on its own, and if the United States goes and we are not there, what happens then? We have fought countless wars throughout history to prevent the domination of Europe by one Power or a combination of Powers. I see a danger emerging unless we enter this organisation for some purpose. Either France or Germany, or a combination of the two, will become master of this vast industrial pattern.

A United Europe has never emerged at any stage either in the processes of war itself or in the immediate aftermath of war. War and its immediate aftermath are the very times when the national and international will becomes manifest in new patterns and new forms of society. Is it really to be British policy in peace to go against the grand operation of mankind in its most exuberant phases and positively create now a pattern of Europe which never emerged in the war and never emerged immediately afterwards, a pattern which seems to be so inimical to British interests?

There is another facet to this. There is no doubt whatever that the American build-up of Western Germany is proceed.

ing apace. The position which we had under the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) is very much changed. He found that Germany was costing too much, £80 million a year I believe. Under his dispensation there was a quick climb down to about £4 million. Whether that is the figure at the moment I am not able to say, but it is something of that order.

Immediately after that came currency reform and the immense resurgence of modern industrial Western Germany. It is no secret at all that the United States is pouring loans, investments and Marshall Aid into Germany, and if the figures are examined—I have them here —it will be seen that in the last three or four years since currency reform Germany has added 25 per cent. to the index of real wages whereas in this country, despite everything we have done, we have been unable to add more than a fraction. Of course, the Germans started at a lower level, shattered as she was by the war, hut that is not the significant feature. The significant feature is the velocity of this process and where it is going to lead us in the future. A case can be made out for saying that the German economy has surpassed ours already and is in a more healthy and vibrant condition than our own.

At this point, again, we find ourselves isolated, politically and commercially. I do not want to be controversial, but we on this side of the House think we have had six years of a narrow island Socialism, nationalisation, the siege economy and an over-welfared State, things that confine our opportunities and hold us back from entering. Europe and securing supremacy in it.

Now, I regret to say, we have had nine months of bureaucratic Conservatism, exchange control, cuts in imports and retaliatory export reductions. The Americans pass us by. The good Samaritan is now the Levite. They passed us by originally in amazement, now only with a shrug. Make no mistake about it, the Americans are bent on making Western Germany the fulcrum of their economic power in Europe. How often does one hear the bitter phrase, "These guys are working, you are not."

On top of that comes the proposal, American sponsored and American pressed, for the re-armament of Ger- many. In the "Economist" this week we read of very advanced proposals, very advanced indeed: One or two popular writers have recently openly expressed a thought that is in the minds of many—that the European Army must develop into a German-American alliance, in which France would willingly accept Germany's role as defender of Western Europe. Major (Retd.) Adalbert Weinstein, who is in touch with professional military opinion, suggests in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that, as the psychological basis for a European army is evidently lacking in France, a possible alternative to the E.D.C. might well be the 'integration' of West German and American armies. These are straws in the wind. Many German military men believe that America will eventually find that it is cheaper and more efficient to re-arm Germany direct than through an international bureaucracy. I should imagine that the German-Americans of the Middle West, Milwaukee and St. Paul, will say "Aye, Aye" to that.

In all these circumstances, "dragging our feet" or more positively "stopping the rot," so far from being a policy to be denounced, becomes, to my mind, a policy in the highest degree a vital British interest. There is very great reason to fear. What are the soldiers of E.D.C. to do when they are formed? If they stay where they are then they must evolve into guardians of the Schuman Plan, defending the concept of Ruhr-Lorraine against all corners. If, on the other hand, under pressure of N.A.T.O. they turn East we may be in for one of the most frightful wars that has ever rent mankind.

I come to the last part of what I want to say, the impact of N.A.T.O. on the Iron Curtain countries. There is a time in the life of politicians when issues are presented to them that test the very foundations of their political faith. Such an issue is presented to me today by the contractual agreements and the re-armament of Germany. These tests are not tests of courage at all. I have not welcomed the comments that occasionally came from the other side of the House when I have made speeches upon foreign policy. As an example of why they are not tests of courage, I should like to tell the House that only now, four, five and six years after the events, I find myself able to record that I have profoundly disagreed with the Prime Minister's foreign policy speeches from Fulton to Llandudno and from Zurich to Strasbourg.

I do not think that the atom bomb is a deterrent to Russia: I think it is a provocation. I remember Molotov's agonised cry, "We will have it, too." The real deterrent is Russia's unwillingness to be charged with the management of more countries than she can hold down. I do not think that the communisation of satellite countries constitutes a military terror. I think it is naive after the Teheran Agreements to suppose that they could be anything other than communised, and I further believe that the fact they have been communised constitutes a most exciting invitation to this country to undo over the next few decades some of the harm wrought by those Agreements. I do not think that the only language the Russians understand is force. I think they will meet force with force and possibly meet a force unwisely proffered by striking first, as is the habit with some of the baser animals.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said yesterday that the Russians were more likely to talk if we pressed on with re-armament. Respectfully I disagree entirely. I think that, as the military build-up has been going forward in Western Europe, so we have seen the stepping up of the violent anti-American and anti-British propaganda in the East, and now this new no man's land created by the East German Premier across poor, divided Germany.

Why do we re-arm one half of Germany competitively with the other? Do we suppose that they will fight each other, like North and South Korea? If they do, with all these complex guarantees that we have given, Britain becomes a shattered island overnight. If they do not fight, what is to stop the generals and their staffs pulling out of their associated power relationships and securing a concordat on the frontier, as Bismarck, Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler have taught them how to do? Who stops them doing it? Poland and France, Russia and the United States? How can they do so, estranged as they now are from each other.

One point that has not been mentioned in this debate is the position of Berlin in this build-up of arms. If Berlin were on our side there might be some reason for us to step beyond the level of rearmament that the other side has created, but as it is on the far side, and with all these complex guarantees, it seems madness to tempt the East Germans to reply in kind, stage by stage, to West German re-armament.

I want to say something about the cost of re-armament. The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary said yesterday that there would be no net additional burden on us from German rearmament, and that is satisfactory, though many of us doubt how that will be achieved. But is German re-armament the best and most correct way to ensure that British exports remain competitive with German exports? I suggest that there are other ways, such as first, the institution of four-Power control and making Germany pay for her occupation. We are told that we have gone past that, that it cannot be done, that the position of Adenauer and his Government depends upon a forward move. My love for Dr. Adenauer is not as great as that.

Secondly, we could make Germany pay for her occupation by a quota of free exports to us of partly finished materials which we could finish off, competing with them on their own retained quota of finished goods. Thirdly, we could do something which so far has not been suggested, but which I think the Social Democrats in Germany would like very much: we could encourage Germany to assume some of the heavy burdens of the modern welfare State.

In conclusion, I want to return to the N.A.T.O. concept. I ask the House: What prospect has N.A.T.O. of bringing East Germany into the Western world, of detaching the satellites from the Soviet complex? It has no prospects at all. It is the most miserable instrument for the purpose. It is an instrument designed to consolidate Western friends but it makes those friendships glower into the eyes of the East, as the "Voice of America" makes one only too painfully conscious every time one listens to it.

In this far greater adventure of reaching out into the Iron Curtain and reclaiming some of these nations and erstwhile friends for democracy N.A.T.O. is a palsied organisation. I urge the Government to let it rest. I urge them to go for something else. I urge them to go for a four-Power conference with Russia now, even if the agenda is a loose one. I urge them to go for a united Germany much on the lines of the great success we had in the four-Power control of united Austria, where, incidentally, the Iron Curtain is no Iron Curtain at all but the thinnest of veils.

I urge the Government to take up the long and fascinating task of rescuing these East European friends of ours of 15 and 20 years ago. Have the Poles forgotten that we went to war for them when the shadow of oppression and tyranny began to fall on them? Be assured they have not. They are awaiting with patience the day when by peaceful trade and painstaking negotiation we come to their aid and raise them up again. But great wisdom and great patience are needed for these things—traditional British virtues which we seem to have been losing in the American alliance.

I am convinced that these themes will raise the spirits of the nation. Today the younger generation is heartily sick of the gloomy prognostications and sombre statements that come from 10, Downing Street, from Washington and from the centres of arms and atomic energy production. They look for a return to independence in Great Britain. They look for the restoration of the skill and wisdom for which we have been famed in the past. They look for peace, for trade and for the propagation of the great liberal virtues which have made us the nation we are. I am certain they will not look in vain

2.7 p.m.

Mr. W. T. Proctor (Eccles)

We have listened to an interesting speech from the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke). I fear that he lives in a dream world of his own creation—

Mr. S. Silverman

No, he does not he lives in an actual world.

Mr. Proctor

I want to comment upon one aspect of that speech in which, whilst rejecting the foreign policy of the Government, the noble Lord informed us that the only thing that would drag him into the Lobby in favour of the Motion would be if their home policy was in jeopardy. I should describe that as one good reason why no one should support the Government today or on any other day. A home policy which involves us in disruption of transport and steel and in domestic disaster is something that commends itself to the noble Lord.

He referred to the fact, as he thought it to be, that Russia would meet force with force. I do not think that the Russians will attempt to meet superior force with inferior force. I should like to think that the Russians would meet reason with reason, and if anyone could tell us that this would be so, I should have great hopes of peace in the world at the present time.

We are at an historic turning point. We are now engaged in something which many hon. Members in 1945 would have thought impossible. Looking back to that period I think we would all have rejected the idea of the re-armament of Germany. We are faced with something that makes it necessary to look back and see what has brought about the great change in affairs.

I go back to the period of 18th November, 1946, when there was a debate in the House on foreign affairs. I quote from what my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Cross-man) said then, in referring to the situation with regard to the Soviet Union and the cause of the rift in the world that was then appearing: … in my view, the second main cause"— of the change— was the diplomatic and propaganda offensive launched by the Russians against the British Empire and the British Commonwealth…It was calculated…upon the basis that Great Britain was weak and that America was powerful and hated the British Empire, and that there might be a chance of disrupting the British Empire, and so securing Russian frontiers and Russian safety for even"— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th November, 1946: Vol. 430, c. 536.] That was a correct reading of the situation at that time, and by and large that has been the situation right from that period up to the present.

I hoped in 1945—and, I think, the main body of Members hoped—that we should have been able to continue the great Alliance of the war—America, Russia and the British Commonwealth—and to rebuild the world together. Unfortunately, that has not been possible, and we cannot escape making our decision as to who was responsible for the situation that has been created up to the present time. I am bound to say that it is the opposition of the Soviet Union, as indicated in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East, on 18th November, 1946. From that moment, we have a great turning point in history, and the actions of this country and of every country was a response to that new situation.

What was the response that we made to it? The only possible response was to organise our defence around America and American power. Let there be no mistake: outside of American power, the Soviet power was, and is, supreme. But we have accomplished that, and American power balances that of the Soviet. We have organised, at very great sacrifice, throughout the world, a balance in power. There is every hope at present of our making an agreement with the Soviet—a peaceful agreement, based on the fact that we are in the position today of having military strength.

One thing in which I say the Government today are wrong is in bringing forward this agreement at this time. An act of statesmanship on their part would be to withdraw it, to wait another few weeks until we come back after the Recess, and to give every possibility for a meeting of a four-Power Conference. Let us approach the Russians in every possible way. Let us give them every encouragement and make the most tremendous efforts in order that we may find out whether there is not a possibility of making peace.

The peace that we can arrange in Europe today is entirely different to the arrangements that might have been made in 1945 had we kept together. Today, we must recognise that Germany has emerged as a nation, and the basis of anything that we consider must be German unity, freedom and democracy. They must be accepted into the comity of nation on a basis of fair equality.

German unity, however, is not enough. That was Bismarck's policy. It was the policy of Hitler, and it led to disaster in the world. Unless it is contained in the greater unity of Europe, German unity is a great danger to the world. The noble Lord mentioned the great and devastating things that could happen as a result of a united Europe that was aggressive.

Mr. Malcolm MacMillan (Western Isles)

A united Germany.

Mr. Proctor

A united Germany, and a united Europe. The noble Lord referred to the united Europe and the power of the steel and coal that were there. I believe that a united Europe can be a great bulwark for peace, because I believe that a united Europe would be peaceful. I know of no continent where there is a greater longing for peace than in Europe —and small wonder, because that continent has been very largely destroyed and has suffered more than any other as a result of war.

When once we were faced with potential and actual aggression, we are faced now with the fact that the day of the small nation is finished. The day of the sovereign power of the small country has gone, and gone for ever. We must recognise now that the day has arrived, at least, of the great groups. I should like to see the world organised on a single basis. A single all-world Government is what I stand for and believe in, and is what I should like to get to as quickly as we can. But we must face the fact that we have to build up all-world Government on the basis of great groups.

Let us look round and see what great groups are in existence. There is, first, the American group, an almost all-powerful and economic and military entity. The next group is our own, the British Commonwealth and Empire. It is a loosely knit group, and it is not a complete economic unit. In this House, however, where we have some very peculiar and extraordinary political organisations in operation, we exercise the sovereign power for 50 million people in this country and for 65 million people in the Colonial Empire.

I should like to see us make a tremendous attempt to coalesce that sovereign power and make it a sovereign power by consent. If we look at the possibility of taking the colonial area with the 50 millions in this country and developing the huge resources that are there at our elbow, as it were, I believe that we could constitute one of the great groups in the new world that I envisage.

The next group is a united Europe. We should do everything we possibly can to create complete political and economic unity in Europe. I see no reason whatever why Europe cannot function as a great single economic and political unit that would be of great benefit and power to the world in close association with us. Next, the Soviet Union, covering the vast area that it does, is a very natural economic and political unit. There does not seem to me to be any reason why it could not be fitted in peacefully into the world. China is another one. If we had the good will, all these groups could easily be fitted into an organisation that would rapidly become a complete world organisation.

But we have at present to win the world from the idea of the development of armaments and of rivalry to that of peaceful co-operation. Here, I must say a word or two about our own defence programme. We went into that programme ourselves, and no Member in the House—at any rate, very few—can divest himself of responsibility for the decisions that were made.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Oh, yes, we can.

Mr. Proctor

I said, except "very few." I had my hon. Friend in mind.

We went in for a programme of £3,600 million at that time. It was developed to £4,700 million. No one, so far as I know, ever said or even thought that we could accomplish those programmes out of our own resources. Certainly, everyone I spoke to said—every committee I attended and everything I heard in connection with the programme —that it could only be accomplished by pooling the resources of the whole democratic world.

It is time we raised again with our friends and allies the whole question of what is to be the development of this great programme so far as Great Britain is concerned. We cannot have the risk of completely turning over our economy to a war economy and being left, at the end, with an economy which produces war goods but not peace goods if we are fortunate enough to get peace. We must recognise that the time has now arrived for consideration of that policy on the very highest plane. There is nothing inconsistent in that with all the statements made by the Front Bench of the Labour Party and all the decisions the Labour Party have made throughout this programme. Everyone inside the Labour Party, with a few exceptions, must take equal responsibility for the decisions we have made.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Might I point out that one of the few is the president of my hon. Friend's own trade union?

Mr. Proctor

Yes, my hon. Friend refers, of course, to the pacifist president, a very respected head, of our organisation. Happily, of course in this country we have no barriers against opinion for the very highest positions and everyone is entitled to his own opinion on this matter. I certainly agree with this complete tolerance and freedom of opinion.

But in dealing with this great defence programme, a great effort we are undertaking that must strain our economy, I say that the only basis on which it can be carried out in the world is a basis of complete co-operation between equals. The reservations which have been referred to in the House on several occasions this week were specifically put in, in my opinion, to make sure that the British economy would not be ruined by this great armaments programme and the time has arrived to ensure that.

I suggest to my hon. Friends that now there is a great turning point in history for us. We are in opposition now and that has certain advantages which do not follow when in office. One of the greatest things which could be accomplished today would be a united Social Democratic movement for Western Europe. I should like to see my hon. Friends make a tremendous effort to get agreement with the German Social Democratic Party, the French Socialist Party and all the Socialist parties of Europe. I should like to see us considering the whole question of the future of European defence—

Mr. Richard Fort (Clitheroe)

Could the hon. Member describe the circumstances a little more clearly in the event of other countries not holding the same fervent enthusiasm as he has for Socialism? What arrangements can he make with non-Socialist parties in other countries?

Mr. Proctor

I want to develop the argument for a moment on this basis. One of the great disasters which happened in the modern world has been the fight between Russian Communism and social democracy in Europe. The decision which Lenin made that he would blot out, as it were, social democracy in Western Europe and fight it by Communist Parties was one of the disastrous decisions of history. I want the Social Democrats of Western Europe to realise that they are in a position of very great power. I should like to see us in the position of having absolute agreement with the Social Democrats of Western Germany.

I should like to see us have an agreed policy of European defence. I think everyone accepts the necessity for defence at present. I should like us to approach the Russians. While I am asking and pleading with the Government to do everything possible to promote a Four-Power Conference, I should like to see a social democratic approach from Western Europe to Russia on that basis to see, at the same time as the Government may be going ahead if we can, to find some way of building a bridge which will give peace in Europe and throughout the world.

I believe that the Russians have to bear the chief blame for the historic changes which have taken place. While we can forgive all the statesmen of the past for the errors they have made provided we can secure good in the future, we should approach the Russians on the basis of making a really tremendous effort for peace. My greatest hope of peace is this. I would have little hope of peace if I saw any great group in the world with the possibility of reaping an advantage out of war.

But I believe now that every great group and every nation throughout the world has a vested interest in peace. I believe we should build on that basis and make an appeal at the present time. I ask the leaders of the Labour Party, in the main, to make the big effort I am suggesting among the Social Democrats of the West to try to build this bridge between ourselves and the Russians in order that we may turn from the vast armaments programme to a programme of peace.

If we could use the tremendous American industrial machine, the wonderful machine we have in this country, the industrial power of Western Europe and the industrial power of Japan to set about meeting the human needs of all the people in the world and create a new world of peace and happiness, I believe that by planning we could utilise those machines which are in our hands for the purposes of peace. I ask statesmen on our side of the House to make a party effort in this matter. I plead with the Government; let them here, today, for the sake of unity and as an act of statesmanship, say, "We will postpone this ratification for a few months. We will make the effort, test the sincerity of the Russians, and come back to report to you on this matter."

If they did that they would place us in this House in a happy position. If success came as a result, then, naturally, the Government would receive great praise. If failure came, I am certain there would be an absolutely united House of Commons on this matter.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hopkin Morris)

Lord John Hope.

Mr. Percy Shurmer (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member whom you have called, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but I want to raise a matter of importance to all hon. Members.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Does the hon. Member raise a point of order?

Mr. Shurmer

Yes, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Today, there is a three-line Whip which necessitates all hon. Members being present, but the Members' Dining Room has had only one-third of its number of waitresses. Furthermore, some of the food had to be sent back, as it was unfit to eat.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

That is not a point of order.

2.29 p.m.

Lord John Hope (Edinburgh, Pentlands)

Time is getting on and I propose to be, as I think I always am, very brief in what I have to say.

Mr. Shurmer

We are very hungry today. We have had no food.

Lord John Hope

I will guarantee to give the hon. Member at least food for thought if he listens to me.

I am sorry that my noble Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchinbrooke) has left the Chamber, because I want to say a word or two about his speech, which I am sure we all much enjoyed. I think he ought to cheer up. That is what I was going to ask him to do—nothing less friendly than that. Of course, it is perfectly obvious that if the United States are to desert all their treaty obligations and that if the future foreign policy of the United States is to revert to its past isolationism, World War III becomes inevitable; but all the evidence is to the contrary. I am only sorry that my noble Friend failed to read the results of the party conventions in the U.S.A.

I would say of this debate, all of which I have heard, and which has been a most helpful and valuable debate, that five facts have been made abundantly clear as a result of it. They are all concerned with German re-armament. First, no one likes it; second, no one has forgotten the past; third, the Russians made it inevitable; fourth, both the major parties and also the Liberal Party agree to it in principle; and fifth, all parties want safeguards, so far as safeguards are possible.

When there has been so much agreement on the basic issues. I think it is a pity that this compromise, in the form of the official Opposition Amendment, had to be attempted. It is an ingenious compromise so far as the words are concerned—a compromise of "Not yet. Yes, we agree that this has got to happen but not yet." It is ingenious but I am afraid it is dishonest, because although undoubtedly some hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite genuinely feel that this ratification must be effected one day but that it is not time yet, there are other hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who mean, if they can, to see that it does not happen at all. That is why I am entitled to say it is dishonest for those who think in that way to vote for that compromise Amendment.

The two most striking speeches from the benches opposite yesterday were those of the hon. Members for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) and Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey). I wish briefly to deal with those speeches on their merits. The hon. Member for Coventry, East said one thing in his speech which seemed to me to slip by those who subsequently took part in this debate. It is something I was waiting for someone to comment on.

He said at one stage—he was rather driven to say—that it would only be in a desperate emergency that he would re-arm Germany. Yet that same hon. Gentleman was jubilant a short time ago, in an article to which the Joint Under-Secretary of State referred, at the prospect of delay in the ratification of these agreements and at the prospect of that delay killing E.D.C. stone dead.

But the death of E.D.C. must mean at the very least making a vacuum in Germany which must be more likely than anything else to bring about the desperate emergency in which the hon. Gentleman would arm the Germans. A great deal of time there would be to do that effectively when that hour arrives. The hon. Member reminds me of nothing so much as the famous animal that ran so fast round the tree that it managed to catch itself. I say seriously to the hon. Member that in a serious moment of this sort slick dialectics are no substitute for a sense of responsibility.

I do not quite know which camp the feet of the right hon. Member for Leeds, South-East are in; I believe that he has a foot in both camps. I am not sure. I have heard the hon. Member make a brilliant speech at Strasbourg and a very good one here yesterday. Mine will be a good deal shorter and probably a good deal less good than his. But it is quite clear that the hon. Gentleman, too, means to kill E.D.C. if he can. I have already commented briefly upon the consequences of that, and I wish to say one more thing about it in a few moments.

Meanwhile I wish to point out to the House a significant difference between the two speeches of the hon. Member—that at Strasbourg and that of yesterday. In the Strasbourg speech the hon. Gentleman went all out for the admission of Germany into N.A.T.O. Yesterday, he was pulling his punches and in an eloquent but very wary and rather woolly paraphrase merely talked about closer integration with the Atlantic Community, or something of the sort, because he has seen, since he made that Strasbourg speech, that the inclusion of Germany in N.A.T.O. now, with an absolutely independent army of her own which she would herself equip and which she would command, would be more likely than anything else to bring about the one thing of which he and his hon. Friends dislike the prospect most.

I would say to the hon. Member, to his hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East and to others, that, whether they know it or not—and I am sure they do know it—in striking at E.D.C. they are striking at the one development that made the Russians look like talking sense. At the end of February, 1952, came the Lisbon Conference, and it was only a fortnight after that when the Soviet Union sent their first Note proposing the creation of an all-German Government. Therefore, I say, let them not try to kill E.D.C.; they are doing no service to the cause of peace.

I believe that the real reason for the Opposition Amendment is something quite different from the merits of the case, and I think it is a very serious one. I am sure that the real reason is the demand by the left wing of the party opposite for nothing less than an end to bi-partisan foreign policy. There might, of course, come a moment when any Government or party might have to declare a break with the principle of bipartisan foreign policy if they simply could not carry on with it, but I wish to make an appeal to hon. Members opposite that that moment ought to be avoided if it is humanly possible. Either one thinks that in principle a bi-partisan foreign policy is the nation's life blood or one does not. If one does, one ought to be very careful and sure of oneself before one breaks it.

I now wish to quote to the House some words written by the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg) in "Reynolds News" on 24th February, 1952. He said: Tuesday night's division will be, in one way, the most refreshing division we have voted in since 1945: it should symbolise the beginning of the end of bi-partisanship it foreign policy. We must get back to the principle clearly set out by Attlee in 'The Labour Party in Perspective'—that there can be no general continuity or identity in the foreign policies of a Socialist and of a Conservative Government. Let us have it from the party opposite whether what I have just quoted represents the view of the Labour Party. It is important that we should know and I hope that the right hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) will respond to my request that we should be told the answer to that question. In a way, I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), with his great experience at the Foreign Office, has not intervened in this debate. I think it would have been helpful, and that he certainly would have come out in favour of bi-partisanship in principle in foreign policy. I hope I am not mistaking the intentions of the right hon. Member for Bishop Auckland when I say that I am afraid that he, as, shall we say, the elder "New Statesman" of the Labour Party, is more likely to follow his junior colleague, and to denounce bi-partisanship in foreign affairs.

It is healthy and it is inevitable that the two great parties in the State should fight, and fight hard, and generally it is not a case of shadow boxing. But I hope that in this case it is, and I hope very much that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman will bear me out. The Labour Party in opposition, when the peace of the world and the safety and security of this country are the primary concern, ought to help us, as we, when we were in opposition, helped them.

2.42 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Dalton (Bishop Auckland)

It is most natural, and most healthy, that in a debate on such a subject as we have been discussing for these two days sincere differences of view and of emphasis should be declared, and that we should all speak plainly what is in our minds. It has indeed been evident during this debate that such differences as there are and there are considerable differences—do not run wholly along a party frontier. There was, for example that most remarkable speech to which we have just listened from the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke). It was a very clear, brave, individual speech which I was very glad to hear, On the other hand, there are hon. Friends of mine who have expressed views with which I have not been wholly in agreement, but which I am very glad they should be able to come here and express. All this is wholly healthy.

Mr. John Paton (Norwich, North)

There are not nearly enough of them.

Mr. Dalton

It is also very natural that on this subject different views should be held. For example, our judgment on the past record of great nations—more than one; our estimate of the probable future intentions of great nations—more than one of them; the lessons that we draw from history and experience; and where, when we add it all up and try to bring it all back into a final judgment; where, in a world which, evidently, it would be half-witted to view with undue optimism, lies the lesser evil, and where lies the stronger hope?

We must all do our best in these circumstances to reach the conclusion which we think will lead us away from this looming menace of a third world war rather than towards it. The votes we cast today, and the speeches which will have been made in this debate, must all be judged in relation to that. It has been well said by a great man that none of us can escape history. The votes we cast in this debate and the words we shall have spoken during it will be commented upon far on in summers that we shall not see. This will be a very historic Parliamentary occasion.

May I say a word about British public opinion as a whole, which has not been much mentioned today? What is the view, broadly, of those which we represent on this issue? Some hon. Members of the House look forward, almost with eager anticipation, to the re-armament of Germany. Others look forward to it with deep foreboding; and in between those extremes there are many intermediate emotions. But what about the millions of people whom we here represent?

So far as I can judge, there is very little enthusiasm anywhere in this country for the early re-armament of Germany. There is certainly no strong wish to hurry it up, and there is considerable repugnance to the general idea. They are not all experts on Foreign Affairs, but I think I have accurately summed up the general feeling of the British people. I may follow that up by saying that, no doubt like many other right hon. and hon. Friends, I have received letters from many people about this subject in recent months and weeks. I have received a very large number of letters against German re-armament and exceedingly few in favour of it.

It is the experience of every public man that, in general, those persons write to him who disagree with what he is saying and not those who agree with him. For this reason this proportion of my correspondence is, I think, more notable. I am not taking into account those machine-made letters, such as were referred to yesterday by my hon. Friend the member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) but letters written, very obviously, by decent, sincere, ordinary citizens who are much troubled by this problem.

Looking back for a moment, and my hon. Friend the Member for Eccles (Mr. Procter) referred to this, it is indeed a tragic reflection that if only at the conclusion of the last war the great alliance of the three principal victors had held firm, the British Commonwealth, the United States and the Soviet Union; if we could have marched forward arm in arm only a little distance into the future, how different would that future have become. It is now the recent past. It is clear that, had that been possible, we should not be discussing German rearmament today.

Had that alliance held, nobody would have thought it was desirable or necessary that the Germans should be armed—except perhaps for a rudimentary police force. On the contrary, by now, in my judgment, we should have gone a long way in the disarmament of those victorious nations by mutual agreement, and established, at comparatively little cost in money, manpower and materials, a real collective security which would have endured. But this was not to be.

It is easy to say—and true to say—that the principal reason why it did not come about is because the Soviet Union showed through those succeeding years a stubborn and unto-operative attitude. Everyone knows that and the Labour Party have declared it in a recent declaration we have made. Having said that, with which all hon. Members probably agree, I would add that it is not enough to apportion the blame for the past. We must move forward from that judgment and strive, in spite of all that, to build a better future.

In approaching this problem it would be dishonest if we did not have in our minds—and I am sure that most hon. Members have had in their minds during this debate—a very simple and fundamental question. On the whole, balancing one thing with another, if we have to choose between these two, a strongly armed Germany or a strongly armed Russia, which would be the greater menace in the future to Britain and to the whole of the free world? That is the question we must all ask ourselves in this context. We must ask ourselves, "Are we making the lives of the young generation in Britain safer or more hazardous by the operation which is today being discussed?"

I ask that question and I put it to myself, as we all must. There is, I think, no easy answer to it. It is a dark riddle. But I am sure that we ought, each of us, to be asking it of ourselves and trying to find the best answer that we can. The Germans are a highly gifted people, highly gifted both in the arts and the sciences, both in industry and in war. They are more gifted in some respects than any other race on earth. They are a most formidable people. They have immense power of organisation. They have a marked national egoism and they have shown in the past strong streaks of utter ruthlessness. I think that is a fair description.

Some hope that we shall be able, by what is now being done, to "integrate" them, as the catchword goes, or at any rate the western section and the majority of them, into some organisation in West Europe, and that, as the phrase goes, they will be "on our side," against the Russians if trouble comes, and against Communism generally. It may be so. I deny none of these possibilities, but I am inclined to think that they will not be so much on our side. I am inclined to think that they will be on the German side, wherever they may think that that side is, in any future situations which may arise. "Deutschland über Alles" is their national anthem. They sing it with conviction, and I think that most of them mean just what they sing.

We must take account of the many other realities which now we are considering. The Prime Minister is not here, but I wish to pay a tribute to him as the historian of the First World War. I have lately been re-reading, "The World Crisis," which most hon. and right hon. Members will know well, with a view to re-covering the background of long ago.

There are many moving and eloquent passages in that book, but none more so than this, from which I venture to make a brief quotation, at the close of that great story ending with victory in 1918: The curtain falls upon the long front in France and Flanders… The ruins are rebuilt, the riven trees replaced by new plantations…Merciful oblivion draws its veil; the crippled limp away; the mourners fall back into the sad twilight of memory. New youth is here to claim its rights, and the perennial stream flows forward, even in the battle zone, as if the tale were all a dream. That is a beautiful and moving passage. But, Sir, it was no dream. It had been a cruel reality. And I quote these few more sentences from the same closing pages of the Prime Minister's great book. He said: In the sphere of force, human records contain no manifestation like the eruption of the German volcano. For four years the Germans fought and defied the five Continents of the world by land and sea and air … To break their strength and science and to curb their fury, it was necessary to bring all the greatest nations of mankind into the field against them. Nearly twenty million men perished or shed their blood before the sword was wrested from that terrible hand. And then the Prime Minister used these words, which have rung in my memory every since I first read them: Surely, Germans, for history it is enough! But, Sir, it was not enough. It all came again, with variations, in 1939. The memories of that are still too fresh for me to need to speak of them in detail. We cannot be quite sure, and I doubt whether we can even be vaguely hopeful, that a possibility of its happening a third time can be excluded. In my view, it would be either simple-minded or evasive not to recall these matters in this debate. It is because many of us recall them with great vividness that we have been, as every Member of the House must have been, tortured to find some way of giving a vote in this House which should be realistic and look facts straight between the eyes.

We have set down an Amendment in three sections. I will briefly recapitulate the case for it.

In the first place, we reaffirm as our aim: … the inclusion of a democratic Germany on a basis of equality, in a Continental European community, which itself will form a part of a constantly developing Atlantic community.… Those words are taken from the communiqué of the three Foreign Ministers, of whom my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) was one, in Washington in September, 1951. They are also included in a recent statement called "Labour's Foreign Policy," in which we have declared: The Labour Party is convinced that Western Europe, with or without Britain, and however close its unity, cannot stand alone in the modern world. A European community is possible only within the context of the wider Atlantic unity, and any form of European unity which may tend to weaken the Atlantic unity is to he avoided. That is our conviction and that, I hope, is completely clear. By that we stand. The second section of our Amendment deals with the acceptance in principle of German re-armament subject to due safeguards and conditions.

There has been much discussion about this during the debate. It has been truly said that in September, 1950, less than two years ago, the late Ernest Bevin went to New York and immediately, upon his arrival, declared publicly—and those who are ignorant of this or those who doubt it need only turn up the newspapers of that time—at a Press conference before the main discussion had begun: German re-armament is unthinkable. That was his view then. My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman gave a quotation yesterday which, frankly, I had forgotten, but it greatly reinforces the strength of the quotation which I had remembered. There is no doubt that at that time that was Ernest Bevin's view.

There is also no doubt—this was questioned yesterday, so I must produce an element of evidence—why it was that he changed his public attitude upon the matter. It has often been said, in a general way, that it was due to American influence. It was, of course, due to that, and nothing else. The American Press at that time carried many reports of what was being said and done in the conference. And I have a clear recollection of all that as a Member of His Majesty's Government, as I was then.

The simplest way of putting it is to quote a phrase much used in the American Press at that time, "The single package." It was Mr. Dean Acheson who had used this term at a Press conference and it appeared in all American newspapers. The "single package" policy was one containing three elements which were being offered together and not separately. The three elements were an American Supreme Commander, General Eisenhower, in Europe; American ground troops in Europe; and, thirdly, German re-armament accepted at least in principle.

There is, therefore, no question as to what happened. I know that Ernest Bevin accepted this principle of German re-armament with reluctance. He was most careful, as his public statements show, to make clear that he had accepted it in principle, leaving open for further discussion all the difficult questions of the timing and the amount and the framework in which it should be done.

We say in our Amendment, and we mean it, that we do not retreat from the acceptance of that principle now. We still accept it. We reaffirm it. On the other hand, our acceptance is, and always has been, subject to certain conditions and safeguards, many of which have been mentioned in the debate. They are, primarily, the now well-known Attlee conditions first declared by my right hon. Friend when he was Prime Minister in a speech in this House on 12th February, 1951. They have been quoted by the present Government as an indication of British foreign policy at that time, in Command Paper 8492.

I should like to say that, of course, these conditions were not thrown off casually by my right hon. Friend. They followed long, anxious and even sometimes animated discussions among those of us who then had to bear collective responsibility. Once they had been declared by my right hon. Friend who was then Prime Minister, they were, I think, generally accepted, not only by the Labour Party but by the country generally, as being reasonable and just conditions to be insisted upon. And they still are.

I do not accept the view that they are now out of date. As a matter of fact, they were repeated by my right hon. Friend in an important article which he contributed to the "Daily Herald" only a few months ago, since we have been in Opposition. It was on 6th March. 1952, and I thought it a most valuable article, in which, after discussing other matters relating to international affairs, my right hon. Friend wrote: I think that, reasonably interpreted, these conditions are still sound. He went on to say: Much discussion has taken place since then, but it is not yet clear what are the views of the German people. That brings me to one particular matter which was mentioned by one or two speakers, and on which I am anxious to say a word or two. If we want to know what is the democratic view of a people, one of the best ways of finding out is to let them vote. That is, on the whole, as good a way as any other. It was for this reason that some of us, on returning to this country after a visit to Bonn, did propose that, before the present West German Government ratified these treaties, they should put the issue to the vote in West Germany.

I do not regard this, as some have described it in gloomy language, as constituting an improper interference in the affairs of another nation. We are, after all, in opposition. When in Government, we have, of course, to take more care. When in opposition, one can recover a certain healthy freedom and speak one's mind without too much consideration of these secondary aspects of the matter. I regard it as a perfectly proper thing that members of the Labour Party, when in opposition, should speak quite freely, and that that will be for the general good. [Interruption.] My right hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger), who was for a short time in the Government, ought to know that one has to watch one's step when in the Government. We are not now in the Government, and I am only anxious to deal with the point which has been raised by hon. Gentlemen opposite.

The present Bundestag has no mandate whatever to deal with this matter; that would be the British interpretation of the position. I am told that the doctrine of the mandate is not part of the German system of democratic thought. This Bundestag was elected in 1949. That was a full year before Ernest Bevin declared that German re-armament was still unthinkable. It is perfectly clear that the reasons which led Germans to vote for one party or another in 1949, whatever these reasons were, had nothing to do with German re-armament—either for or against. It was not an issue; nor was it in any voter's mind.

Therefore, we made, as we hoped, this helpful suggestion, this simple and democratic suggestion, which, however, was not everywhere received with approval. It is very natural that any Government, thinking it likely that a new election might produce a change—after all, Her Majesty's present Administration will sympathise very much with this, because they do not want an early Election—might make an initial resistance to any such proposal, but we must take that for granted, and value it accordingly.

I now want to say a few words about the legal aspect which has been debated. Legal arguments have been used to show that it is impossible, under the present German basic law, for an election to take place before the summer of next year. The Foreign Secretary, when we last debated this subject, quoted Article 68 of the basic law, but he did not quote Article 63. But, before I say anything about that, I will make some non-legal comments on the whole affair.

I am quite sure that, if Dr. Adenauer himself wanted an election, or if the three Powers wanted an election, or, if the four-Power talks succeed, as we all hope they may, and the four Powers agreed that there ought to be a new election for the whole of Germany, and not only for West Germany, it could be arranged. No lawyer will persuade me to the contrary. I put that forward as from one honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple to another. I was present, as he will remember, when the Foreign Secretary was "churched" in the Middle Temple a little while ago.

Legal niceties can nearly always be adjusted to political requirements. Nearly every person in either party in the House who has had experience of public office will agree with that. But let us now look at the purely legal aspect for a moment. If the argument is to be on a purely legal plane, I would draw attention to Article 63 of the basic law, under which—I am only summarising, of course, I have the text here, but I do not want to quote at length—if Dr. Adenauer were to resign and if he could persuade the majority of those supporting him to vote against anybody else coming forward as his successor, the Federal President would then be able to dissolve the Bundestag within 21 days. Meanwhile, until a new Chancellor was appointed, as laid down under Article 69, the retiring Chancellor remains in office. That is an important practical point. He would not be displaced from office; indeed, in fact, he would be able to go to the country as the head of a caretaker Government, a procedure and a precedent that will be understood by right hon. Gentlemen opposite.

Therefore, I maintain, having put the issue on the narrowly legalistic plane as between two honorary Benchers of the Middle Temple, that there remains no argument why our proposal is constitutionally impracticable. I still think that it would clear the air and remove a number of ambiguities if an election were to take place in Western Germany. That is my personal opinion.

Now I turn to another of the "Attlee conditions," which is very important. It is the third in order of the "Attlee conditions," and it provides that The arrangements must be such"— that is, for German re-armament— as to preclude the re-emergence of a German military menace. My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), who moved our Amendment yesterday, had many interesting things to say, knowing all about these matters and having attended conferences both beyond the Atlantic as well as in this country on this subject, about the successive stages which this scheme for German re-armament within a certain framework has gone through.

The scheme has taken many different shapes at different times. I will not go into detail about it, but it is clear that, in some respects, the scheme has become less promising, from the point of view of satisfying the third "Attlee condition," as it has proceeded. In particular, at one time, we were thinking in terms of brigade groups, relatively small units, and we are now thinking in terms of divisions. I do not know the exact size of the divisions, but they are, of course, substantially larger units.

It is very clear, as I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree, that, subject to considerations of military efficiency—and if they are not to be efficient, we might as well not have them—the reemergence, suddenly, overnight, of a German general staff, suddenly commanding troops collected from here and there, previously labelled E.D.C., now to be labelled as the German Army, the larger the units become, the greater the danger of such an overnight transformation. Quite evidently, if we think not in terms of divisions of men of some nationality but of whole army corps particularly, that would be a form of integration which would be even less likely to reassure us against the re-emergence of a German military menace.

As I understand, what is being contemplated is a force of 12 German divisions—500,000 men according to Herr Blank, who speaks with authority about these things—a German Tactical Air Force and the beginnings of a German Navy. This will be a very formidable force when it grows to its full height. Of course, it will take time to grow to its full height, but when it does it will be very formidable.

Are we really confident that it will be effectively contained within the framework laid down for E.D.C.? Will it not be, when it reaches that size, what the Prime Minister straight-forwardly called it, a German Army? About the Prime Minister's position there has never been any doubt—less still since the right hon. Gentleman spoke about it yesterday—but as long ago as 30th January, 1952, the Prime Minister, speaking in this House, said he hoped that various developments would enable France to take a more confident view about the development of a German Army, which is of the utmost importance to the problem."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th January, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 201.] A German Army, he said. The Prime Minister is a great master of English. I have paid that tribute in another context earlier. He calls a spade a spade; he does not call it an integrated element in an agricultural defence community. He calls this army a German Army, and that is what it will be. Yesterday, the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary lifted just a corner of the veil, so tantalisingly, when he said: In 1949, there were many people who began to feel that Western Germany should be able to play its part in the defence of Western Europe as well as in its economic and political recovery. This was a hard decision to take. Many of us hesitated to take it. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister hesitated less than most of us."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st July, 1952; Vol. 504, c. 1709.] I naturally expected that. If the right hon. Gentleman thought fit to lift this corner of the veil enough to give us a dim vision of the disputations in the shadow Cabinet, would he give us a little more information? Are there still differences of view in the sunlit Cabinet room between those who hesitate a little, and those who hesitate not at all, in rushing forward and putting the most modern weapons into German hands?

I have spoken of the danger—I think we all apprehend it—and I will not develop the argument further. But I must say one more thing which has some bearing on future peace or war in Europe. In many respects, Germany is unique. I have already said that in many respects the Germans are the most gifted of all the Europeans. But Germany is the only European State which openly makes claims to large changes in her frontiers with her neighbours, and it is this consideration which has, in the minds of the French Government, among others, given rise to great hesitation about the whole line of policy which should be followed as regards membership of N.A.T.O.

There is no pretence about it. The Germans say, in almost all their parties—not the Communists; they are told to he conservative about the Oder-Neisse Line —but all the others, including the Socialists, say they desire to get back their 1937 frontiers. No doubt they mean what they say, that they will only seek to get the change by patient conversations and not by force. Yet it remains a unique feature of the Germans that they alone openly make these claims for a change in the status quo in this respect.

As I read history, no such change, if it is of any magnitude, will come about except by bloodshed and war. We cannot put out of our minds the fear that, as the years go by, and they grow stronger, their claims may take on a harsher note, and that we may be closer to one of two equally dreadful possibilities; that the order may be given in German to advance across the Oder-Neisse Line into the lands inhabited by Slays, and of our being involved through some ambiguity of guarantees, or through some fabricated frontier incident. There will be a new, special danger of war arising here from the moment when we have strong German forces looking eastwards towards those coveted lands.

The other danger is that we shall repeat Rapallo or the Molotov-Ribbentrop relationship, and that we shall get a union of a strongly armed Germany and a strongly armed Russia against the rest. I do not like that any better. These thoughts must be in our minds, and they are part of the whole series of questions which it would be dishonest of us not to raise.

I now turn to another matter mentioned yesterday. It is the financial liability which we are undertaking under these conventions. I asked the right hon. Gentleman some questions yesterday and he was kind enough to reply. But I still do not feel at all clear on the subject, and I do not think that anybody else who has studied the various declarations which have been made, and which do not seem to agree with one another completely, can be quite clear.

I have a queer sense of doubt whether that complete accord and agreement on every point, however small, between the Treasury and the Foreign Office—which was, of course, a marked feature of the late Government—still persists today. I am not quite sure that at one stage the right hon. Gentleman did not run away with the cart, from the point of view of the Treasury, and make some rather rash assertions which the Treasury have ever since been trying to overtake and smooth away.

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will say something about this when he replies, and I will, of course, give reasons for thinking this. The point is very simple. We have today on the Continent of Europe four British divisions. I gladly believe, and I am proud to hear it, that these are some of the best divisions which have ever been put into the field, and that those divisions are the best in Europe and, indeed, in the world. I can quite well believe that, and am proud to think it is true. At the moment a considerable part of the occupation costs fall to be paid by the Germans. The question I want answered is: What is to happen when this financial convention is signed and when, likewise, the E.D.C. treaty is signed? What is to happen with regard to the apportionment of these costs?

The thing that put me, so to speak, on the alert and which caused me to sound the alarm—if I may paraphrase a famous phrase—was when I read the right hon. Gentleman's reply to a supplementary question on 7th May, in which he said: After that date, and I cannot say what date it will be, because it depends how far expenditure is divided between the German contribution and our own—it may be the end of April or the end of June—after that date, there will certainly be an extra contribution of ours on account of the contribution the Germans themselves are making."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th May, 1952; Vol. 500, c. 362.] I thought that clearly meant that we should ourselves have to pay more—in respect of our troops in Germany—and this qualification is very important, as I will explain in a moment. That is what I thought it meant, and I was strengthened in that opinion when I read what the right hon. Gentleman said on 10th June in answer to a question. He was asked by my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), certain questions about the new arrangements and how it would work out.

I do not know whether my right hon. Friend was setting a trap or thinking aloud, or what. However, he asked a very valuable question. He asked: Is it not perfectly obvious that, after the N.A.T.O. arrangement has come to an end in June, 1953, whatever new arrangement is come to, our contribution to the maintenance of our Forces in the West is bound to be higher than at the present time? Is not that perfectly obvious? The Foreign Secretary, rushing eagerly forward into bi-partisan arms, as he thought, replied: I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman. That is entirely true and, of course, that is always part of the necessary consequences of a German contribution."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th June, 1952; Vol. 502, c. 38.] Taking those together, what can they mean? Surely they can only mean that at these dates at least—there may have been a change of thought and of policy since—the right hon. Gentleman was convinced that following June, 1953, under these new arrangements, we should have to pay larger sums than now in respect of our troops in Germany. But in what currency and how? And here we come to the most serious aspect of it all. We shall have to pay in gold in respect of our troops in Germany, owing to the unhappy workings, in its present phase, of the European Payments Union.

The Germans are now sucking away our gold reserves at a disconcerting pace. That means that any additional payment we have to make to them in respect of services rendered by them in their country will have to be in gold or dollars. This is very serious. The Government, apart from other arguments I am using, cannot justify our giving approval to a financial convention in which there is no safeguard at all for our gold reserves. We should have further consideration of this and a clearer statement about where we shall stand financially next year.

We are in a very serious balance of payments position. Everybody knows that. Even if the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had remained quite silent this week, everybody would have known. Therefore, it is vital that we should know whether or not there is now a new threat looming up to our gold reserves and our financial solvency. Perhaps I might be permitted to quote a remark which I made elsewhere, when I said that this might well be the last golden straw to break the patient British camel's back. That is just about what it would be, if at this time our gold reserves were flowing away under the operation of economic forces and on top of it this further great burden was thrust upon us. I should like the foreign Secretary to say a word more about that when he replies to the debate.

We declare in the third section of our Amendment that the time is inopportune for the bringing forward of these instruments. Why bring them forward now? Why not wait until the autumn, when we can see how far the scene has changed? We gain nothing by bringing them forward now. Unless E.D.C. is actually formed, they will never come into operation. If the project breaks down, if it is not ratified by the German Bundestag and the French Parliament and other Parliaments all this is just waste paper. Why bring this forward while these matters are in debate, or soon will be debated, in the Parliaments of Western Europe?

If we wait until the autumn we shall know a lot of things we cannot know now. We shall have an idea by then of the final decision of the German constitutional court on the matter. The decision reported yesterday is not the final decision. It is only that the court will not pronounce on a hypothetical question. They say, "We should like to see the law first and then we will say whether a simple or a two-thirds majority is required." If it is a two-thirds majority that is required, then Dr. Adenauer has not got it. The arithmetic is against him there.

We should hope also that by the autumn, in any case, there will be progress in the re-arming of other N.A.T.O. States, and, in particular, that more will have been done to help the French. It is most distasteful to me that the French are left at the back of the queue, while the pressure is all to re-arm their Eastern neighbours. In the House a little while ago I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he accepted the principle that the re-arming of France should precede that of Germany, and he replied that, of course, he did. I hope that that will go forward between now and the autumn.

By the autumn I hope that we shall have also a clearer picture of our financial position. Most important of all, we shall then see whether these four-Power talks are getting anywhere or not. That is the most vital of all the considerations entering into this discussion. I cannot share the view that it is sheer democracy to have been so slow in these exchanges. I do not feel in my bones that all three Western Powers, and Dr. Adenauer as well, who re-writes the exercises at the last moment, are all equally eager to get round the table with the Russians. I will not apportion blame except to say that I think the French are pretty blameless in this connection.

It is really very tragic that the months should slip by and that these argumentative Notes should be sent backwards and forwards. The Soviet Notes are not good and I am not defending them, but the total correspondence is a pretty unsatisfactory affair. Instead of this long correspondence, we should get round the table and see how far we can get. We have heard all about the Palais Rose and of the mournful small change of history in the past. We do not want to repeat that, but we must make fresh attempts to get things moving if we are to hold our heads up before history.

I ask that the Government should accelerate their movements and stiffen their resolve, and let us have in the vacation news that people are at last meeting round a table to discuss these matters. Let us, meanwhile, not pursue the ratification of these instruments, but let us wait to see how in all these respects the autumn situation appears.

I say quite frankly that we should not commit ourselves one way or the other in this House until we see what happens between now and the re-assembly of the House. It is a question of timing, and of intelligent judgment of the new situation as it will appear in the middle of October when the House meets. I have spoken, I hope temperately, for the Amendment, and have criticised also I hope temperately the Government's policy. When this debate ends we shall take the matter to a Division. The Amendment contains a clear and firm restatement of our view. It can be understood by every one, except, of course, those whose professional interest it is to be dull.

If our Amendment is rejected, we shall challenge a second Division on the Government Motion and we shall go on record today against the Government's attempt to obtain a premature ratification of these documents without, as we think, the necessary safeguards and conditions which I have indicated, without having really got down to those four-Power talks with the Russians which may make all the difference between peace and war and—as we believe, and as I said earlier—quite contrary to the general feeling of this country, which does not want to see this matter rushed through.

That being so, we claim that it would be wisdom even now—and what I have said is contingent, of course, upon the Foreign Secretary's reply—if the right hon. Gentleman wants national unity and a bi-partisan approach he can get it quite easily. He need only say that, having regard to the run of the debate, and having listened with attention and sympathy to what has been said by hon. Members on all sides, the Government will not proceed with their Motion today.

3.30 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Eden)

I think the House will agree that we have had two days of a remarkable debate—remarkable in many senses of the word. I am not going to pretend that I agree with all the contentions that the right hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) has just put forward. Indeed, frankly, as I listened to one part of his speech, I could not quite understand how the views which he was then expressing could possibly coincide with the policy that the late Government were pursuing until a comparatively short while ago. It seemed so entirely remote from what has actually happened.

I know the right hon. Gentleman's strong feelings on this subject of Germany, and he is not the only one who has them. They are not confined to one party or to one section of this House, or indeed to one of Germany's neighbours. I really do not think that we can approach this problem solely on the basis of memories. I agree that memories must not be left out of account. We none of us leave them out of account, but at some stage or another and in some way or another we have to try to rebuild another Europe.

I claim no credit for E.D.C. It was in existence before I ever got to the Foreign Office. It has to do with European statesmen, and it has to do to some extent with our predecessors in office. But why I always liked it and still like it is because it seems to me to create the possibility of this European fellowship between France and Germany in particular, which so far has defied every effort of statesmen, generation after generation. That is why I was disturbed —if the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me saying so—during what was a very able speech, by the terms which crept in all the time about Germany.

I do not think Germany can permanently be treated in terms of memories of the past. We cannot permanently occupy Germany. We discussed that yesterday. We cannot do it with this great nation, and if we try it we shall sooner or later come up against the same kind of problem as we had in the 30's. Everybody said, "Why did you not stop Germany re-arming?" Why was Germany not stopped re-arming? Because nobody had the will to do it and some people thought, "If other people have a lot of arms, why should Germany not have some?" That kind of argument begins to be operative and it paralyses the will of the other nations.

We have no choice, if we are to lay the foundations for Europe, but to try to bring Germany into the family of nations or permanently to ostracise her.

There is no middle course. I want to try to draw her into this Western family. E.D.C. tries to do it, and so does this contractual agreement. So did the late Government try to do it. But I did not think that the end of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was in tune with that. It was more of an indictment of E.D.C. and all that it stands for.

The right hon. Gentleman told us about these formations and divisions which he viewed with alarm. So far as I know, these formations have grown no larger since this Government took office. It is not for us to decide how large individual units shall be; it is for the six Powers themselves to do that. So far as I know of the approximate size of the formations, I believe the number is 14,000; I think they are called groupements—something like a small division. They have not swollen since I have been in the Foreign Office compared with the size they were before.

That was the policy which the right hon. Gentleman's party were carrying through in the life of the late Government, and I think he did less than justice to the continuity that we are trying to establish. He said that he was now freer in opposition. No doubt, that is true. but even when hon. Members are freer in opposition they still have certain responsibilities for their actions when in the Government. I maintain—and I do not shift from this position—that every phase of what we have done has been carried through not because it was the policy of the late Government but because we thought it was the correct policy in every one of these fields.

May I mention another point which the right hon. Gentleman touched upon—the question of why we want this ratification now. The hon. Member for Leeds. South-East (Mr. D. Healey) made a charge against me. He said that I had pushed forward the ratification. He said that it was the Government's duty not to force the Opposition into a position of voting against a major issue of policy on genuinely-held, sincere and rational grounds. That is rather an original definition of a Government's duty. The Government also has a duty to discharge what they think is their responsibility in international affairs. It is important not to inconvenience the Opposition, but that is not the only duty of the Government.

Then the hon. Gentleman went on with this charge. He said that I was sacrificing a tactical position of great national advantage in world affairs in the vain hope of a petty party advantage at the present time."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st July, 1952; Vol. 504. c. 1805.] I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman really thinks that, but if he does, I think it is perhaps explained by the fact that he has not been in this House very long. If he had been a good judge of petty party advantage I do not think he would recommend me to pursue the course that we are now pursuing.

Let us be frank about it. If the Government were seeking party advantage at this moment, would we really be asking for this decision now? Would we not go away and allow hon. Members to continue for many more weeks the discussion to which we have been listening for the last two days? Would we not allow them to continue it with gusto at their party conference or anywhere else on any other occasion and then come back in October and put them to the inconvenience of having another discussion on this matter and seeing what new Amendments they can find to paper over the cracks which show? I am just as good a party man as anybody else: at least, I want to be. But I am sure that if I were playing party politics I should like another one or two of these debates on the same kind of subject.

I think hon. Members with more experience than the hon. Member for Leeds, South-East will probably agree—I think it is to their party advantage, although I do not think that is awfully important —that we should decide this question now. I had to take account—and I assure the House that I weighed this up very carefully—whether the decision should be put off until late October. I had to consider what would be the effect in Europe.

After all, the normal practice is that two months or so after a major agreement, this House is asked to ratify. I have a number of examples here. I do not wish to weary the House with them, but that has been the practice on practically every recent occasion. The Brussels Treaty at the time of the late Government was ratified in two and a half months after signature; the Atlantic Pact was ratified in two months; even the Versailles Treaty—a compendious document, whatever one may think of its value otherwise—was ratified in three months; Locarno, in four months. The suggestion here was that the period should be, not two months, but five. That is what it would have meant—waiting until after the Recess.

These hon. Members in their consciences must make their own judgment on this, but I am absolutely certain that if we had not taken this step now and we had waited until October, opinion in Europe would have said, "There are those British again; they do not really mean to come along in this business at all." That is a perfectly fair position. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) and the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) are against this whole business, and I am not arguing with them. I am arguing with an Amendment which favours this whole business but says that this is the wrong time.

There are so many controversies going on that it is difficult to get the angle. What I am dealing with is the official Amendment and not with what I readily admit is the real Amendment of the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes). That much more truly represents the greater part of the speeches to which we have listened during the last two days. I am dealing with the official Amendment. I can see no justification for a five months' delay.

The right hon. Gentleman made one other comment about the German army and the general staff. He said that the larger the formation the greater the freedom and the greater the risk of a re-emergence of a German national army. But there has been no fundamental change in this position since we took office. The strength of the guarantee does not lie in the size of the formation, be it a brigade or a division; it lies in the integrated services and in the fact that if the E.D.C. is worked as it is now proposed, each division will be dependent upon services and upon infrastructure on an international basis.

It is perfectly true that at one time or another one Government may seek to break away. That would be a very grim situation, but if they did break away they could not say, "Here is my national army: I have all that I require"—still less when all the munitions which are being prepared for the E.D.C. are being made on an international basis by the six countries concerned, on instructions from the Board which controls the whole thing. Unless we say that on no account shall Germany play a part with us in any military arrangement in Europe, my conclusion is that this is the best kind of arrangement we can make to give the maximum sense of security and confidence to us all. More than that I do not claim for it.

Several things have been said about what Mr. Bevin thought or did not think. I am not going into that question. It would be rather impertinent for me, not being in the same party as he was, to do that. Another reason why I do not want to do that is because I think that that issue was faithfully dealt with by the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) in his speech last night. I hope that those hon. Members who did not hear it will now read it, because it is a severe but, I think, compelling reply to the remarks which were made about Mr. Bevin by the hon. Member for Coventry, East. All I will say about it is that, as far as I knew Mr. Bevin, he was not a man to take action in international affairs as a result of pressure from anybody.

If I may give my own opinion, I think it is much more true that Mr. Bevin—like myself and, I dare say, many others—came to the conclusions which are embodied in these agreements after many hesitations, hut, having come to these conclusions, I judge that Mr. Bevin would have been determined to see them through. The truth is that in foreign policy one very rarely gets a free or agreeable choice. One almost always has to choose between two disadvantages. This is one of those occasions, and I do not pretend to conceal it; but as between these two disadvantages I have little doubt what our decision should be.

The right hon. Gentleman asked me one or two questions about finance which I shall try briefly to answer. Before he came into the House, the right hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) reminded the House—and it should be recalled that there is some misunderstanding here—that throughout the time of the occupation our troops in Germany have been paid for and equipped from British sources. The German contribution has been in regard to services, labour and capital installation. They have undertaken to continue their contribution in that respect—as I remarked to the right hon. Gentleman yesterday—under Article 3 of the Finance Convention.

What we shall have to do is to negotiate the amount of that contribution. I made clear in my answers—and I think it is almost platitudinous—that two things are to happen. One is that Germany is going to increase her defence expenditure in respect of herself and others as a result of these agreements, and the second is that as her own expenditure rises it is axiomatic that there will be less available for other purposes, including the services which we have hitherto enjoyed.

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the balance of payments position has to be protected, and we have made it absolutely plain that we cannot carry a greater balance of payments burden than we are carrying at present. That has been made plain to everybody. How can this be adjusted? It can be done in a number of ways—by reducing the money we are at present spending in respect of the German levy; by reducing the amount spent on infrastructure, and by reducing our off-shore purchases. There are a number of ways in which this might be done. But when the right hon. Gentleman says that we ought to postpone this decision until we get that picture clear he is asking for a postponement well into next year.

Mr. Dalton

Not necessarily.

Mr. Eden

Probably. I will tell him why. It is because this decision, as he knows, is a matter that goes for review to the "Three Wise Men" of N.A.T.O., and we shall be pretty lucky to get a conclusion by December or by January of next year. The right hon. Gentleman is asking us not to make up our minds until we know what is the position for 1953 or 1954, which we cannot hope to know until January or February next year. We cannot wait until then. The argument that we should wait until the financial position is clearer is not acceptable at all.

The House ought to bear in mind that the situation which faces us in Germany is that our difficulties will only arise as Germany begins to make a larger contribution herself, not only militarily but financially and industrially. Do hon. Members opposite feel absolutely convinced that, if these agreements are not ratified, we can go on indefinitely getting as much out of occupation costs from Germany as we have been doing up to the present? If we say to Germany, "After all, we do not think we shall go ahead with this business," do hon. Members believe that we are going to get exactly the same amount from Germany? I should not like to count upon that over a long period.

Whether or not we make these agreements, in the years ahead we must face the question how we are going to pay for the services we have to meet and which the Germans are now providing for us in Germany. I admit that this is one of the most stubborn difficulties in the whole business. I am deeply conscious of it, as is the whole Cabinet. We have had many discussions about it.

We are quite aware of the proper warnings which were given by the previous Government, and the right hon. Gentleman can be quite sure that we have repeated them more than once. It is quite easy to repeat the warnings of other people. It is the easiest part of diplomacy. But the problems will still be there and we must find a way to ensure that, as a result of any arrangements which are made, we do not have to carry a heavier burden of foreign exchange than we are doing at present.

On the question of the delay in ratification. I have one other argument to present. How long do those who have put down this Amendment want us to delay? The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) did not say. An agreement was entered into at Washington on 14th September and this suggestion of further delay and further delay in ratification does not fit in very well with the terms of that agreement. The communiqué issued by the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) and his two colleagues in connection with that agreement was quoted by the right hon. Member for Bassetlaw. It said: The Foreign Ministers have now instructed the High Commission to proceed to negotiate with the Federal Government which will, it is hoped, culminate in early agreements between the four Governments to enter into effect together with the agreement for German participation… and so on. "Early agreement"—that, last September, does not quite fit in with saying that we cannot look at ratification until after we know the financial position for the year 1953–54. I am certain that if the right hon. Gentleman were here now, he would make these arguments I am making with even more force than I am trying to put into them.

I have only two more observations to make before I conclude. The first is about Four-Power talks, about which there have been a number of comments in the debate and to which the right hon. Gentleman referred just now. Let no one think that once this vote is taken Four-Power talks will be prevented by it. Of course, there is no question of that. If I had believed that and thought that this vote would prevent Four-Power talks, I should have thought it a very weighty argument for delaying ratification. But it is my conviction that ratification of these agreements is more likely to further than to hinder the prospects of an agreement with the Soviet Union. Of course, we can still talk to them after we ratify.

It is a travesty to suggest that we are asking the House today to stop or prejudice the Four-Power talks. I have heard hon. Members say more than once that we are likely to get better results from Soviet Russia if we go into those talks with a solid basis of unity and achievement behind us and in a mood of determination. I repudiate the suggestion that we are lukewarm about these Four-Power talks.

Let me try to sum up what these Notes have done. I think this is a fair presentation of the course of the correspondence. There was the first Soviet suggestion in the Note of 10th March, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred in an interjection. It was the discussion of a peace treaty with the direct participation of an all-German Government expressing the will of the German people. That was the first proposal. We replied to that on 25th March, as we thought, bringing the issue straight down to reality, because we said that the formation of an all-German Government was possible only on the basis of free elections. That is surely right. We suggested a United Nations commission for the purpose, which we had proposed setting up at U.N.O. We also asked the Soviet Government what was their view with regard to the freedom of that Government to negotiate once it was set up.

In answer, they agreed that free elections ought to be considered, but said that the United Nations commission was contrary to the Charter—I never quite understood why, but we accepted that. They said we ought to have a Four-Power commission to do this and they denied Germany's right to enter into an alliance. We asked two questions; we asked whether the new all-German Government would be free to participate in the negotiations. The first step was to have free elections. We preferred the United Nations commission; we did not think a Four-Power commission was right because it would be judge in its own cause. We also had in mind the experience of trying to get Four-Power agreement ever since the war. We said we would accept any form of impartial commission. Was not that a fair answer? The Russians gave no answer to our question about freedom for the German Government, but merely repeated that they wanted a Four-Power commission, and no other.

Then there was the final Note. We explained that we could not accept a Four-Power commission—and we cannot, because from all past experience we know what that would lead to. But we offered a meeting at once. I repeat that we are ready for that now if they desire to discuss the membership of any commission and the functions and authority of that commission. Is not that a fair offer? To that Note we have not had any reply. It may be that we have acted slowly and argued, but the position now is clear enough. I repeat, we are ready at any time for the discussions and we will discuss any commission to supervise, to prepare for these free elections, but we cannot go into a discussion for a Four-Power commission, because we know exactly what the inevitable consequence of that always is.

I am sorry that this reply to the debate is disjointed, but I am trying to answer the points as they were made in the debate. I have one other comment about the re-armament of France and the Western countries, which was raised by the right hon. Gentleman just now. I do not know whether he noted a speech which M. Pleven made in, I think, June this year in Paris, when he gave an account of the development of the French divisions and said that in August, 1950, France had only five under-strength divisions in Europe equipped with weapons left over from the last war. Now, in mid-1952, those divisions were doubled in strength. There were five new ones, and two others would be created in October, making 12 in all. That was M. Pleven's account of the development of the French Army.

As to material, I should like to say this. Deliveries of military equipment to Europe from the United States in the year ending 30th June next year are expected to be three times what they were in the year ending 30th June this year. That is, of course, before Germany is in a position to take any equipment in important proportions at all. On this basis, the total deliveries to European N.A.T.O. countries by 30th June next year as voted by Congress, should be in the neighbourhood of 6,000 million dollars. I really cannot see on that basis how the right hon. Gentleman can say that the former Prime Minister's condition that the N.A.T.O. Powers should be re-armed first has not been fulfilled. It seems to me that it has been fulfilled and over-fulfilled. If the House wants more figures, I could give them.

I conclude by saying that there are two votes which the House has to take this evening. On the first one, I do not think that we complain very much if hon. Members think it necessary to put down the Amendment. I do not want to make a party point; it was obviously desirable to get the greatest possible number for the most limited possible course. I make no complaint about that, and I have no complaint about hon. Members going into the Lobby against us.

I make no complaint of those who have always been against this policy continuing to vote against it; but where I shall complain, and feel I have cause to complain, is if those who are responsible for the policy we are carrying out vote against the Motion when it is put. Not one single word that has been said in this debate has gone to show that in anything we have done, or that I have done in my stewardship of the Foreign Office, we have departed from the policies, intentions and purposes which I inherited from my predecessor.

It is quite possible to argue, if hon. Members like, on timing, and to get together and vote on that, but having done that, I beg the right hon. Gentleman who leads the Opposition to consider what will be the view in Europe if on the definite, positive Motion, which, after all, embodies the words of the documents for which he and his colleagues were responsible, they vote

against it. I hope that they will be content with the first vote, which all will accept with good humour, and that they will not indulge in the second, which might be one that would be misunderstood and certainly could not be justified in history.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided: Ayes, 294; Noes, 260.

Division No. 229.] AYES [4.0 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Davidson, Viscountess Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J.
Alport, C. J. M. Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Hurd, A. R.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) De la Bère, Sir Rupert Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Deedes, W. F. Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Digby, S. Wingfield Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)
Arbuthnot, John Dodds-Parker, A. D. Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Donner, P. W. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) Doughty, C. J. A. Jennings, R.
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Drayson, G. B. Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Baker, P. A. D. Drewe, C. Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Jones, A. (Hall Green)
Baldwin, A. E. Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.
Banks, Col. C. Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M. Kaberry, D.
Barber, Anthony Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Keeling, Sir Edward
Barlow, Sir John Finlay, Graeme Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)
Baxter, A. B. Fisher, Nigel Lambert, Hon. G.
Beach, Maj. Hicks Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Lambton, Viscount
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Fletcher-Cooke, C. Langford-Holt, J. A.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Fort, R. Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Foster, John Leather, E. H. C.
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston) Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.
Bennett, William (Woodside) Gage, C. H. Lindsay, Martin
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok) Linstead, H. N.
Birch, Nigel Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Bishop, F. P. Gammans, L. D. Lloyd, Maj. Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)
Black, C. W. Garner-Evans, E. H. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.
Boothby, R. J. G. George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)
Bossom, A. C. Glyn, Sir Ralph Low, A. R. W.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Godber, J. B. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Boyle, Sir Edward Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)
Braine, B. R. Gower, H. R. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Graham, Sir Fergus Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Gridley, Sir Arnold McAdden, S. J.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Grimond, J. McCallum, Major D.
Brooke, Dryden (Hampstead) Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.
Brooman-White, R. C. Hare, Hon. J. H. Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)
Browne, Jack (Govan) Harris, Reader (Heston) Mackeson, Brig. H. R.
Bullard, D. G. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) McKibbin, A. J.
Bulloch, Capt. M. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield) McKie, J. H. (Galloway)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Butcher, H. W. Harvie-Watt, Sir George Maclean, Fitzroy
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Hay, John Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)
Cary, Sir Robert Heald, Sir Lionel Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)
Channon, H. Henderson, John (Cathcart) Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Higgs, J. M. C. Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Mannigham-Buller, Sir R. E.
Cole, Norman Hirst, Geoffrey Markham, Major S. F.
Colegate, W. A. Holland-Martin, C. J. Marlowe, A. A. H.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Hollis, M. C. Marples, A. E.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich) Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)
Cooper-Key, E. M. Holt, A. F. Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)
Craddock, Beresford (Speltherne) Hope, Lord John Maude, Angus
Cranborne, Viscount Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Maudling, R.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Horobin, I. M. Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
Crouch, R. F. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Medlicott, Brig. F.
Crowder, John E. (Finchley) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Mellor, Sir John
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Howard, Greville (St. Ives) Molson, A. H. E.
Cuthbert, W. N. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter
Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas Roberts, Peter (Heeley) Teeling W.
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Robson-Brown, W. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Rcdgers, John (Sevenoaks) Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Nabarro, G. D. N. Roper, Sir Harold Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Nicholls, Harmar Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Russell, R. S. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Nield, Basil (Chester) Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur Tilney, John
Noble, Comdr. A. H. P Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Touche, Sir Gordon
Nugent, G. R. H. Schofield, Ll.-Col. W. (Rochdale) Turner, H. F. L.
Nutting, Anthony Scott, R. Donald Turton, R. H.
Oakshott, H. D. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Odey, G. W. Shepherd, William Vane, W. M. F.
O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Vosper, D. F.
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington) Wade, D. W.
Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon N.) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Osborne, C. Snadden, W. McN. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Partridge, E. Soames, Capt. C. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Peake, Rt. Hon. O. Spearman, A. C. M. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Perkins, W. R. D. Speir, R. M. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Peto, Brig. C. H. M. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.) Watkinson, H. A.
Payton, J. W. W. Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.) Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Pickthorn, K. W. M. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Wellwood, W.
Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Stevens, G. P. White, Baker (Canterbury)
Pitman, I. J. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.) Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Powell, J. Enoch Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Stoddart-Scolt, Col. M. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Profumo, J. D. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray) Wills, G.
Raikes, H. V. Studholme, H. G. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Rayner, Brig. R. Summers, G. S. Wood, Hon. R.
Redmayne, M. Sutcliffe, H.
Remnant, Hon. P. Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Renton, D. L. M. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Mr. Buchan-Hepburn and Mr. Heath
Acland, Sir Richard Daines, P. Hardy, E. A.
Adams, Richard Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Hargreaves, A.
Albu, A. H. Darling, George (Hillsborough) Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Hastings, S.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Hayman, F. H.
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Davies, Harold (Leek) Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Deer, G. Herbison, Miss M.
Awbery, S. S. Delargy, H. J. Hewitson, Capt. M.
Bacon, Miss Alice Dodds, N. N. Hobson, C. R.
Baird, J. Donnelly, D. L. Holman, P.
Balfour, A Driberg, T. E. N. Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)
Barnes, Rt. Hon A. J. Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich) Houghton, Douglas
Bartley, P. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Hoy, J. H.
Bence, C. R. Edelman, M. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Benson, G. Edwards, John (Brighouse) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Beswick, F. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Hynd, H. (Accrington)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Bing, G. H. C. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Blackburn, F. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)
Blenkinsop, A. Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
Blyton, W. R. Ewart, R. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.
Boardman, H. Fernyhough, E. Jeger, George (Goole)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Field, W. J. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)
Bowden, H. W. Fienburgh, W. Johnson, James (Rugby)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Finch, H. J. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
Brockway, A. F. Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Jones, David (Hartlepool)
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Follick, M. Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Foot, M. M. Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Forman, J. C. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Keenan, W.
Burke, W. A. Freeman, John (Watford) Kenyon, C.
Burton, Miss F. E. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Gibson, C. W. King, Dr. H. M.
Callaghan, L. J. Gooch, E. G. Kinley, J.
Carmichael, J. Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Champion, A. J. Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield) Lever, Harold (Cheetham)
Chapman, W. D. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Chetwynd, G. R. Grey, C. F. Lewis, Arthur
Clunie, J. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Lindgren, G. S.
Cocks, F. S. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (L'anelly) Lipton. Lt.-Col. M.
Collick, W. A. Griffiths, William (Exchange) MacColl, J. E.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) McInnes, J.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Hall, Rt. Hon. G'envil (Colne Valley) McKay, John (Wallsend)
Crosland, C. A. R. Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) McLeavy, F.
Crossman, R. H. S. Hamilton, W. W. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Hannan. W. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Pryde, D. J. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Rankin, John Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Mann, Mrs. Jean Reeves, J. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Manuel, A. C. Reid, William (Camlachie) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Rhodes, H. Timmons, J.
Mayhew, C. P. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Tomney, F.
Mellish, R. J. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Turner-Samuels, M.
Messer, F. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Mikardo, Ian Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Usborne, H. C.
Mitchison, G. R. Ross, William Viant, S. P.
Monslow, W. Royle, C. Wallace, H. W.
Moody, A. S. Schofield, S. (Barnsley) Watkins, T. E.
Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Shackleton, E. A. A. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Morley, R. Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley Weitzman, D.
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Short, E. W. Wells, William (Walsall)
Mort, D. L. Shurmer, P. L. E. West, D. G.
Moyle, A. Silverman, Julius (Erdington) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Murray, J. D. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Nally, W. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Neal, Harold (Bolsolver) Slater, J. Wigg, George
O'Brien, T. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Oldfield, W. H. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.) Wilkins, W. A.
Orbach, M. Snow, J. W. Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Oswald, T. Sorensen, R. W. Williams, David (Neath)
Padley, W. E. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Sparks, J. A. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Steele, T. Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Pannell, Charles Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.) Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Pargiter, G. A. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Parker, J. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Paton, J. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall) Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Pearson, A. Stross, Dr. Barnett Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Peart, T. F. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Wyatt, W. L.
Plummer, Sir Leslie Swingler, S. T. Yates, V. F.
Poole, C. C. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Porter, G. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Price, Joseph (Westhoughton) Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Thomas, David (Aberdare) Mr. Popplewell and
Proctor, W. T. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Mr. Kenneth Robinson.

Main Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 293: Noes. 253.

Division No. 230.] AYES [4.11 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Brown, Jack (Govan) Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Eden, Rt. Hon. A.
Alport, C. J. M. Bullard, D. G. Finlay, Graeme
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Bullock, Capt. M. Fisher, Nigel
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Butcher, H. W. Fletcher-Cooke, C.
Arbuthnot, John Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Fort, R.
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Foster, John
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Cary, Sir Robert Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)
Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton) Channon, H. Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)
Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe) Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S. Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell
Baker, P. A. D. Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Gage, C. H.
Baldock, Lt.-Comdr. J. M. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portmouth, W.) Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)
Baldwin, A. E. Cole, Norman Gammans, L. D.
Banks, Col. C. Colegate, W. A. Garner-Evans, E. H.
Barber, Anthony Conant, Maj. R. J. E. George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd
Barlow, Sir John Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Glyn, Sir Ralph
Baxter, A. B. Cooper-Key, E. M. Godber, J. B.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Craddock, Bereford (Spelthorne) Gomme-Duncan, Col. A
Beach, Maj. Hicks Cranborne, Viscount Gower, H. R.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Graham, Sir Fergus
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Crouch, R. F. Gridley, Sir Arnold
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Crowder, John E. (Finchley) Grimond, J.
Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston) Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Cuthbert, W. N. Hare, Hon. J. H.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Harris, Reader (Heston)
Birch, Nigel Davidson, Viscountess Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Bishop, F. P. Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)
Black, C. W. De la Bère, Sir Rupert Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)
Boothby, R. J. G. Deedes, W. F. Harvie-Watt, Sir George
Bossom, A. C. Digby, S. Wingfield Hay, John
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Dodds-Parker, A. D. Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.
Boyle, Sir Edward Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Heald, Sir Lionel
Braine, B. R. Donner, P. W. Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Bratihwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Doughty, C. J. A. Higgs, J. M. C.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.) Drayson, G. B. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Drewe, G. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond) Hirst, Geoffrey
Brooman-White, R. C. Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Hollis, M. C. Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich) Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Shepherd, William
Holt, A. F. Markham, Major S. F. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Hope, Lord John Marlowe, A. A. H. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Marples, A. E. Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
Horobin, I. M. Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton) Snadden, W. McN.
Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Maude, Angus Soames, Capt. C.
Howard, Greville (St. Ives) Maudling, R. Spearman, A. C. M.
Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Maydon, Lt.Comdr. S. L. C. Speir, R. M.
Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Medlicott, Brig. F. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J. Mellor, Sir John Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)
Hurd, A. R. Molson, A. H. E. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Stevens, G. P.
Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (Eb'rgh W. Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Morrison, John (Salisbury) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Nabarro, G. D. N. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Nicholls, Harmar Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Jennings, R. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Studholme, H. G.
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Summers, G. S.
Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Nield, Basil (Chester) Sutcliffe, H.
Jones, A. (Hall Green) Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P. Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Nugent, G. R. H. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Kaberry, D. Nutting, Anthony Teeling, W.
Keeling, Sir Edward Oakshott, H. D. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge) Odey, G. W. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Lambert, Hon. G. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Lambton, Viscount Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Langford-Holt, J. A. Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Leather, E. H. C. Osborne, C. Tilney, John
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Partridge, E. Touche, Sir Gordon
Legh, P. R. (Petersfield) Peaks, Rt. Hon. O. Turner, H. F. L.
Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Perkins, W. R. D. Turton, R. H.
Lindsay, Martin Peto, Brig. C. H. M. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Linstead, H. N. Peyton, J. W. W. Vane, W. M. F.
Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.) Pickthorn, K. W. M. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Vosper, D. F.
Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Pitman, I. J. Wade, D. W.
Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.) Powell, J. Enoch Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Low, A. R. W. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Walker-Smith, D. C.
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Profumo, J. D. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Raikes, H. V. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O. Rayner, Brig. R. Watkinson, H. A.
McAdden, S. J. Redmayne, M. Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
McCallum, Major D. Remnant, Hon. P. Wellwood, W.
McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Renton, D. L. M. White, Baker (Canterbury)
Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight) Roberts, Peter (Heeley) Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Robson-Brown, W. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
McKibbin, A. J. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Roper, Sir Harold Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Wills, G.
Maclean, Fitzroy Russell, R. S. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield. W.) Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Wood, Hon. R.
MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale) Mr. Heath and
Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Scott, R. Donald Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith.
Acland, Sir Richard Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Crossman, R. H. S.
Adams, Richard Bowden, H. W. Cullen, Mrs. A.
Albu, A. H. Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Daines, P.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Brockway, A. F. Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Darling, George (Hillsborough)
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Brown, Thomas (Ince) Davies, Harold (Leek)
Awbery, S. S. Burke, W. A. Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)
Bacon, Miss Alice Burton, Miss F. E. Deer, G.
Baird, J. Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Delargy, H. J.
Balfour, A. Callaghan, L. J. Dodds, N. N.
Bartley, P. Carmichael, J. Donnelly, D. L.
Bence, C. R. Castle, Mrs. B. A. Driberg, T. E. N.
Benson, G. Champion, A. J. Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)
Beswick, F. Chapman, W. D. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Chetwynd, G. R. Edelman, M.
Bing, G. H. C. Clunie, J. Edwards, John (Brighouse)
Blackburn, F. Collick, P. H. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
Blenkinsop, A. Corbet, Mrs. Freda Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)
Blyton, W. R. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)
Boardman, H. Crosland, C. A. R. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Ewart, R. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Fernyhough, E. Lewis, Arthur Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Field, W. J. Lindgren, G. S. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Fienburgh, W. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Slater, J.
Finch, H. J. MacColl, J. E. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Mclnnes, J. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Follick, M. McKay, John (Wallsend) Snow, J. W.
Foot, M. M. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Sorensen, R. W.
Forman, J. C. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Frasar, Thomas (Hamilton) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Sparks, J. A.
Freeman, John (Watford) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield E.) Steele, T.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Mann, Mrs. Jean Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Gibson, C. W. Manuel, A. C. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.
Gooch, E. G. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Mayhew, C. P. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Mellish, R. J. Stross, Dr. Barnett
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield) Messer, F. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mikardo, Ian Swingler, S. T.
Grey, C. F. Mitchison, G. R. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Monslow, W. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Moody, A. S. Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Thomas, David (Aberdare)
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Morley, R. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Hamilton, W. W. Mort, D. L. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Hannan, W. Moyle, A. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Hardy, E. A. Murray, J. D. Timmons, J.
Hargreaves, A. Nally, W. Tomney, F.
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Turner-Samuels, M.
Hastings, S. O'Brien, T. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Hayman, F. H. Oldfield, W. H. Usborne, H. C.
Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.) Orbach, M. Viant, S. P.
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Oswald, T. Wallace, H. W.
Herbison, Miss M. Padley, W. E. Watkins, T. E.
Hewitson, Capt. M. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Hobson, C. R. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Weitzman, D.
Holman, P. Pannell, Charles Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth) Pargiter, G. A. Wells, William (Walsall)
Hoy, J. H. Parker, J. West, D. G.
Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Paton, J. While, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Pearson, A. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Peart, T. F. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Plummer, Sir Leslie Wigg, George
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Poole, C. C. Wilkins, W. A.
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Porter, G. Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)
Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton) Williams, David (Neath)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Proctor, W. T. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Pryde, D. J. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Jeger, George (Goole) Rankin, John Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Reeves, J. Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Johnson, James (Rugby) Reid, William (Camlachie) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Jones, David (Hartlepool) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Wyatt, W. L.
Keenan, W. Ross, William Yates, V. F.
Kenyon, C. Royle, C. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Schofield, S. (Barnsley)
King, Dr. H. M. Shackleton, E. A. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Kinley, J. Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley Mr. Popplewell and
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Mr. Kenneth Robinson.
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Short, E. W.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolved, That this House approves the contractual arrangements between Her Majesty's Government, the Governments of France and the United States of America and the Government of the German Federal Republic concluded at Bonn on 26th May 1952, and the Treaty between Her Majesty's Government and the European Defence Community together with the Protocol to the North Atlantic Treaty which were signed at Paris on 27th May 1952; and affirms that these instruments give effect to the policy set out in the Declaration signed by the Foreign Ministers of France, the United Kingdom and the United States of America at Washington on 14th September 1951, and pursued by successive Governments of the United Kingdom for the inclusion of a democratic Germany, on a basis of equality, in a Continental European community, which itself will form a part of a constantly developing Atlantic community.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."— [Mr. Buchan-Hepburn.]