§ 3.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison (Lewisham, South)
I beg to move,That this House takes note of the Foreign Secretary's statement, welcomes his adherence to the policy followed by the previous Administration of His late Majesty with regard to the Korean conflict and the relations between Great Britain and China, but regrets the Prime Minister's failure to give adequate expression to this policy in the course of his recent visit to the United States of America.This is a critical Motion, and it is particularly critical of the Prime Minister, but we have no wish to make of foreign affairs a wild party affair. We wish not to imitate the semi-hysteria of the former Opposition about Persia. Moreover, the state of the world is too serious for that. There is a good deal of aggression, some of it military and some of it political. It varies from place to place, and it is a dangerous world in which we live.
For ourselves, we stand by the fundamental principles of foreign policy for which our late colleague, that great trade union leader, Ernest Bevin, stood. We believe in the United Nations, its Charter and its principles. We believe in the organisation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. We believe in resistance to aggression, and we say that freedom needs all the friends that it can get.
But we are genuinely disturbed about what happened in Washington, particularly as to the Far East. It was commented by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition that the Prime Minister has spoken with two voices, one in London and one in the United States Congress. Neither voice, I am bound to say with my right hon. Friend, was wholly satisfactory. The Prime Minister's voice in both places was markedly different from that of the Foreign Secretary in the House of Commons on 5th February.
It is not us alone who have noticed this dual voice, this different method of expression, and some difference of approach. It was, as my right hon. Friend indicated, noted by the "New York Times" in a leader of 31st January, which he quoted in the first day's debate, which in part said:Prime Minister Churchill…like a good salesman with different customers he displayed his wares to their best advantage, first in Washington and then in London.946 I now put to the House another quotation, which raises some serious points upon which we should like the comments of the Prime Minister. It is from an article by Mr. Joseph Newman, the well-known London correspondent of the "New York Herald-Tribune," of 5th February. Mr. Newman writes:Members of Parliament and the British public in general, listening to Prime Minister Winston Churchill's denial that he had made any 'definite or formal commitments' to President Truman for action against Communist China if it breaks a truce in Korea, felt something like Alice when she picked up her looking glass book and read the poem Jabberwocky.'…[An HON. MEMBER: "Read it out."] No, I am not going to. I am conscious of my limitations. [An HON. MEMBER: "The right hon. Gentleman ought to know it."] I tried it in private, but it would not work. There is some comment upon that famous poem, and Mr. Newman resumes:Humpty-Dumpty eventually translated 'Jabberwocky' for Alice without any serious consequences, but about the worst thing that could happen to Mr. Churchill at the present moment would be for some official Humpty-Dumpty to appear on the scene to translate his denial of any 'definite or formal commitments' on China. This official could seriously damage Mr. Churchill's political position at home and destroy Britain's bi-partisan foreign policy. There are several officials in Washington apart from President Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson who can translate Mr. Churchill's words and one of Mr. Churchill's dearest hopes today must be that they refrain from playing the rôle of Humpty-Dumpty.We should like to know what the comment of the Prime Minister is upon that. It was the case that after the Congress speech there was a fairly universal assumption in the United States Press that the speech of the Prime Minister to Congress represented a major shift in British policy. We should also like to know whether that almost universal assumption of the Press of the United States of America was justified or not, or whether the Congress speech represented no change of policy at all.
It is not only that apprehensions have been raised in our own country; apprehensions have been raised in the United States as well. The "New York Times" of 21st February reports of the proceedings of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress:The House repudiated its Democratic leadership, its Foreign Affairs Committee and 947 the Administration itself. It adopted by a vote of 189 to 143 a resolution 'directing' Secretary of State Dean Acheson to come forward with full information as to whether President Truman had made any secret military commitments to Prime Minister Churchill of Britain in their consultations here in January.That is what the House of Representatives of the United States Congress is asking, and we in the House of Commons ask the same question with suitable British adaptations, and we expect to receive an answer.
The truth is that conflicting cleverness on both sides of the Atlantic is, in our submission, dangerous. It is dangerous to peace and it is dangerous to good Anglo-American relations. It is far better to be clear and frank both with the Congress and with the British House of Commons, and the statement in the House of Commons on 30th January, made by the Prime Minister, was, in our view, woolly and evasive. Indeed, the Prime Minister had little desire to make the statement at all. He wished to hold it over until the debate began.
§ Mr. Morrison
We had a right to know in advance what his report on the United States visit was. He has just confirmed that he would have preferred to make his statement at the beginning of the debate; but surely, when a great mission of this importance, headed by the Prime Minister, goes to America, and especially as the Prime Minister came back by sea, which gave him an opportunity to prepare a report, it was right that the House of Commons should have a report at the earliest practicable moment and that there should be reasonable time between that report and the debate in the House. It was a poor report, we believe, and it was not willingly made.
The truth is that, from the point of view of the decision to undertake the visit at all, this was a somewhat rushed visit. The decision was made very soon after the right hon. Gentleman became Prime Minister, and I wonder whether there was adequate preparation for such a wide field of discussion. Moreover, it has to be remembered that this is Election year in the United States. It adds to the difficulties, with which the 948 right hon. Gentleman is familiar, because I well remember that in the War Cabinet there were difficulties on the occasion of the Election year, even during the Presidency of the late President Roosevelt. It is a difficult year in which to go at all, and it is liable to lead to complications in any case, because the parties are in some controversy and are adapting their decisions in readiness for the Presidential fight. Our war-time experience bears out the fact that there are difficulties.
I am inclined to think that it was a doubtful mission, undertaken by the wrong man at the wrong time. He came back with very small results for our country—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—but with vaguely expressed and possibly grave commitments. He created a legacy of confusion and doubt on both sides of the Atlantic.
I should like to know from the Prime Minister what was said about Japan and China, particularly regarding the intentions of Japan, now declared to have signed the Peace Treaty with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and not with Communist China. We have heard the Foreign Secretary on this aspect of the matter, but we should like to have the Prime Minister's version as well, because we are not quite sure who is directing foreign affairs in the Foreign Office—the Foreign Secretary or the Prime Minister. Moreover, the "New York Times," on 26th January, contained the following report from Tokio, which conflicts with reports in other quarters, and I should like to know the truth of the matter. It declared that the Japanese Prime Ministertold the Japanese Parliament today"—that was, I think, 25th January—that he had agreed to limited recognition of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's régime on Formosa as the legitimate Government of China at the request of the United States. The British Government, which has diplomatic relations with the Chinese Communist Government on the mainland, raised no objection, he added.That is to say the Prime Minister of Japan added that the British Government had no objection.
There are reports to the contrary and, indeed, the Foreign Secretary did make the observation that he and the Government had taken the line we had taken and had made it clear to the United States 949 that we did not agree with the Japanese decision. Therefore, we should like to hear the Prime Minister's version of the matter.
The Labour Government discussed the Japanese Peace Treaty and the subsequent procedure with Mr. John Foster Dulles when he was here last year. The House will recall the dilemma of the two Chinese Governments. It was agreed between Mr. Dulles and myself, for, as it then was, His Majesty's Government—and my right hon. Friend the former Minister of State was present at the time—that Japan's future attitude towards China must necessarily be for determination by Japan itself in the exercise of the sovereignty and independent status contemplated by the Treaty. Indeed, I informed the House of Commons on 12th July:A further difficulty has been the question of the Government entitled to commit the Chinese people to a peace treaty with Japan. This is a difficulty which has not been resolved. If a treaty is not to be indefinitely delayed, the only alternative has seemed to us to be that China should not be invited to sign the present treaty. The interests of the Chinese people are, however, safeguarded by the provisions in the draft which is being published today. Once the treaty has been signed and Japan becomes responsible for her own foreign relations, it will be for Japan herself to decide her future relations with China."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th July, 1952; Vol. 490, c. 631.]It was and is our wish that Japan should become a really democratic country associated with the peaceful, freedom-loving nations, and Mr. Dulles himself confirmed the agreement that Japan should decide for herself. Speaking at the San Francisco Peace Conference in September, he said that a possible course with regard to China might have been to have two peace treaties, each of which would be signed by one of the two Chinese Governments. He did not think that the Japanese Government would have agreed to this, however, adding thatto exert a compulsion in this matter would create resentment in Japan and it would activate and aggravate Allied division in the face of a grave world-wide menace which requires the maximum unity.He then said that, by deciding to exclude China from the Peace Conference, the Allies hadleft China and Japan to make their own peace, on terms, however, which would guarantee the full protection of the rights and interests of China.950 All this clearly meant that Japan should be free to decide the matter when she attained a sovereign and independent status; and that required that sufficient ratifications should be secured, which it is understood they have not, and certainly they had not at the material time.
I have certainly no wish to use overcritical words about an important official representative of a great and friendly Power with whom I had pleasant relations, but I must tell the House what has since happened in Japan. I quote from the United States Congressional Record of 16th January, 1952, certain proceedings in the Senate relating to a letter of 24th December from the Prime Minister of Japan on the subject, addressed to Mr. Dulles.
This is from the official record of the United States Senate which indicates what happened in Japan, and I think indicates how it was that the Japanese Prime Minister precipitately as I think—and on the substance of the matter necessarily one must, from our point of view, tend to think wrongly—but at any rate precipitately announced the intention of the Japanese Government as to which Chinese Government they would recognise. This is part of the proceedings. Mr. Sparkman, senator from Alabama, said:I shall not take time to read the letter in full, Mr. President"—that is to say, the letter from the Japanese Prime Minister—inasmuch as I shall ask that it be incorporated in the record as a part of my remarks, but I wish to call attention to the fact that in this letter the Prime Minister of Japan gives a positive assurance that his Government, as soon as it is legally possible, will enter into a treaty of peace with Nationalist China. That was a matter of considerable discussion during the time the Senator of New Jersey [Mr. Smith], Mr. Dulles and I were in Japan in December. As a matter of fact, I suppose it is the one item which arose more often than any other. Mr. President, this act on the part of the Prime Minister of Japan is an act of courage on his part, because there are many people in Japan, many in his own Government, who probably feel that this step should not be taken, certainly not unless the United States and Great Britain are able to present a united front in favour of such action. We know that this did not accord with the wishes of Great Britain. It does accord with the wish of the United States Government 951 which the Senator from New Jersey [Mr. Smith), Mr. Dulles and I did our best to make known to the Japanese Government and the Japanese people while we were in Japan.Then Mr. Senator Smith of New Jersey said:The Senator from Alabama and I are members of the Far Eastern Sub-committee of the Committee on Foreign Relations and at the suggestion and invitation of Mr. Dulles we accompanied him to Japan, because we felt it was most important that our colleagues in the Senate should understand, when the Peace Treaty comes before the Senate for ratification, whether the new Japanese Government is going to recognise one Chinese Government or the other. The letter of the Japanese Prime Minister is an assurance that the new Japanese Government intends to enter into a Peace Treaty with Nationalist China and to reject any possible negotiations for recognition of Communist China.It seems to me from this to be clear that, contrary to our agreement that Japan should be free as to which Chinese Government she recognised when she became an independent and sovereign State, United States pressure was brought to bear on the Japanese Government to commit themselves in advance to the recognition of the Chiang Kai-shek administration. Because not only were there two Senators sent from the subcommittee, but Mr. Dulles was there, and Mr. Dulles is in charge of these matters in the State Department. Therefore, I think we ought to have a full statement as to what happened about this between the Prime Minister and, or the Foreign Secretary and the United States Government.
I have only to add on this matter that since this the "New York Herald Tribune" of 30th January has published an article by the well-known columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop giving, in my judgment, a most curious version of what happened in the London negotiations. It is a string of inaccuracies. For example, in the course of the article this statement is made:The fact is that before Dulles left for Britain last June, to try to negotiate a Japanese treaty with the British, the Japanese Government had already made up its mind. Premier Yoshida had already signified that Japan would extend at least limited recognition to Chiang Kai-shek in Formosa. This act was perfectly well known to the British Foreign Office, of course including then British Foreign Minister Herbert Morrison.I wish to state categorically and clearly that this statement is not true. It is not 952 true of the British Foreign Office, and it is not true of myself. I do not wish to blame the two distinguished columnists from whom I have quoted. To my mind it is clear that the writers were mis-in-formed, or perhaps I should say mis-inspired. But this sort of experience and this sort of thing is not good for Anglo-American relations.
Nobody is more anxious than we are, and I think it is generally true of the country as a whole, that our relations with the United States shall be cordial and good. But if Anglo-American relations are to be happy and healthy, and because we would wish that, we submit that we must speak to each other, we and the Americans, in friendship, on a basis of fraternal equality and with frankness.
It is a great mistake to assume that the United States people or Government mind frankness, as long as it is combined with friendship and courtesy. When I was in Washington last September, addressing the National Press Club, I deliberately and publicly discussed our own recognition of Communist China, as distinct from the United States refusal to do so and its recognition of the Chiang Kai-shek regime. I discussed it with all its controversial implications. Also, on the matter of East-West trade in Europe, I put the British point of view on that, and it really is a service to both countries that each should put, politely and firmly but clearly, these differences of view.
But the heavens did not fall, and there was no bitter quarrel about it. Indeed, it was taken in good part, as these things usually are, and I thought, therefore, that it is a mistake not to speak with each other—and it is a two-way traffic, because the same thing happens the other way round—in friendship and as between friends, but clearly, as to our respected views.
But there is another view about this, and I think that the Prime Minister has another view as to the way in which we should talk, as between ourselves and the United States, at any rate, in public. In this House in a debate on exports to China on 10th May, 1951, he made a statement which contains a remarkable passage which is not good for Anglo-American relations. He said this:Our advice to the Government"—that is, to the Labour Government—is to stop rubber entirely now and to reach an agreement with the United States on the 953 general question of trade with China in a spirit which will make the United States feel that their cause is our cause, and that we mean at all costs to be good friends and Allies."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th May, 1951; Vol. 487. c. 2168.]I submit that, since the words "at all costs" are included, it means that there can be no independent British foreign policy. It means that we have drifted into a very serious state of affairs, and I quote that passage because I think that it did indicate the genuine belief of the right hon. Gentleman.
Well, it did not matter when he was Leader of the Opposition, but it does matter much more now when he is Prime Minister. If we are to regard ourselves as satellites of the United States, or if we come to be regarded as satellites of the United States, or if we deceive the Americans as to our true convictions, our good relations with the United States will be spoilt, and we shall thereby stir up anti-Americanism here and anti-British feeling there, and we shall be playing the Communist game. Our relationships with the United States must be dignified relationships on both sides.
I do not want to see us drift into an attitude of subservience which is bound to do harm to our good relationships in due course. Moreover, there was another sign of the mentality of the Prime Minister on these matters when, in his statement in this House on 30th January, he got confused as to who was conducting the negotiations with the Communist forces for the truce—the United States or the United Nations—and it is indicative of his frame of mind.
We are all in this business of Korea. The Labour Government, I agree, with the support of the Opposition and the country as a whole, went into Korea, and we stay their loyally with our associates in this struggle, but we hope that a truce will soon come. It is perfectly true that the United States has made by far the biggest contribution in Korea, but that does not mean that we are to set ourselves aside or be involved in grave risks of widespread war without proper consultation and consideration.
I believe that the United States Government is, in general, seeking to limit the war, and our business is to be helpful to the United States Administration in seeking to limit the war, but, as I shall show, there are some United States views in 954 favour of open, large-scale war against the Chinese Government which is recognised by the Government of the United Kingdom.
The Foreign Secretary was wrong in denying this in the House of Commons on 5th February. He really was wrong in disputing that there were real elements of American opinion which were in favour of these policies. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]I will give way, if necessary. Is it denied that the Foreign Secretary said that? In that case, we had better have the quotation.
The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs denies it; he says it is not true, but this is what the Foreign Secretary said at col. 831 of HANSARD of 5th February:If I am to judge by the criticism, there seems to be an impression in some quarters in this country—and this, I think, is at the heart of the matter—that the United States is not really sincere in its pursuit of the armistice negotiations—Mr. S. O. DAVIES (Merthyr Tydfil): A very strong impression.and I do not myself hold that view—MR. EDEN: I am glad to deal with it—and even that she"—that is, the United States—seeks an extension of the conflict in the Far East. I want to state my experience, that I heard no single word in any responsible quarter, while I was in America, to lend colour to this belief. I sincerely believe that the American Government and people—both of them—are as deeply anxious for peace in the Far East as we are ourselves."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th February, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 831–2.]In the first place, if hon. Members opposite say—I am going to quote more people in a minute—in advance that the distinguished Americans whom I wish to quote are irresponsible people who do not matter, let them say so, if they think that that sort of thing will improve Anglo-American relations. I do not treat these gentlemen with that contempt at all, and, moreover, when he says, as the Foreign Secretary did, I am sure in all good faith, that the American Government and people were all agreed as to the desirability of promoting peace in the Far East, there is more than one view in the United States about that, as I shall show.
But, first of all, I wish to quote from the Prime Minister's statement here and his speech to the United States Congress passages which I think were likely to 955 encourage the very tendency among some prominent Americans which the British people would wish to discourage, since this kind of thing was not calculated to be helpful to the Government of the United States. Let us consider the evidence of the Administration which was given to the Congressional Committee of Inquiry into the dismissal of General MacArthur.
The line taken by the American Government at that time was that it was most undesirable to extend the war in the Far East. It was in fact the line which was taken generally by the two Governments—our own Labour Government here and the American Government there. But the Prime Minister, speaking in an election year to Congress, conflicted in spirit with that evidence given to the Congressional Committee. I think that that was an unfortunate intervention.
The Prime Minister's statement in the House of Commons on 30th January dealt with the question of the truce, and this was the statement he made. He said:The whole hypothetical question of what should be done, should a truce be made only to be broken, had been discussed before we left for America between the United Kingdom and the United States and the other Governments who have fighting forces in the field. It was agreed that clearly a very serious situation would arise in such an event as a breach of the truce; and various contingencies had been examined without any definite or formal commitments being entered into."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th January, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 198.]There was also the statement before the Congress—on page 5 of the White Paper which has been circulated—that:We welcome your patience in the armistice negotiations and our two countries are agreed that, if the truce we seek is reached only to be broken our response will be prompt, resolute and effective. What I have learned over here convinces me that British and United States policy in the Far East will be marked by increasing harmony.
§ Mr. Morrison
Let me ask some questions. I think the House is entitled to ask what is that policy to which the Prime Minister referred on which there is harmony between us and the Government of the United States. Moreover, it seems to me to be mischievous, irresponsible and foolish, when a truce is being negotiated under some difficulties, lasting 956 much longer than we like, goodness knows—I am not criticising the United Nations team in that respect—but negotiations are proceeding.
The truce is not yet reached. Is it sensible, while the negotiations are proceeding, before the truce is reached, to try to throw a spanner into the works and say, "Even if a truce is reached we have also to prepare for that truce being dishonoured and broken by the other side?"
That kind of talk is calculated to make it harder for the truce to be reached, and if the Prime Minister says to the Chinese, which, in effect, he did, "We have grave doubts as to whether you will honour the truce; you may make a truce and then break it," it is a provocative statement in itself and is quite likely to make the Chinese think we have some intention of breaking a truce and that we are preparing our defence in advance. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, certainly.
Hon. Gentlemen really must get it into their heads that other people have their way of thinking as well as the British people have their way, and when we make statements concerning these delicate and important matters we have to try to think how other people's minds may work as a consequence of what is said. I think that that was a foolish, unwise and provocative statement, and was irresponsible and calculated to encourage people who take a point of view about these things which is different from ours.
Therefore, we had better know what the policy is; we had better know what these contingencies were about which the Prime Minister was talking, if we can, because these are things which may commit our country. It is all very well to say that they were non-committal, and so on. So was Sir Edward Grey before the First World War; he was non-committal, too. If these things involve extending warlike operations we really ought to know more about them than we do at present. We should like to know what the policy was to which reference was made, what were the commitments before the United States visit and during that visit and what is the general position. And we had better know now what the answers are to these questions.
957 The first business of the United Nations representatives on the one hand and of the North Koreans and their Chinese associates on the other is to reach a truce which is as sound and successful as we can and then to negotiate, on the political level, a peace settlement that will bring this particular trouble to an end, and it is not the business of the British Prime Minister, in the middle of these truce negotiations to make statements which are calculated to make it difficult for them to go forward to a successful conclusion.
We have to take into account some United States views as to open, large-scale war against China, and we have also to take into account in this House and on this side of the Atlantic the Prime Minister's background and his instincts in these matters, which ran through that Congress speech. There was no great and high appeal to the peoples of the world, including those of the Communist police States, and I think there ought to have been. These occasions ought not to be used merely for threats, innuendoes and attacks, they ought to be used also to try to lead the peoples of the world to better courses, including some of the peoples in police States, which can be done but which is difficult, over the heads of their own Governments.
Let us look at some significant statements made by leading Americans in responsible positions, and notice has to be taken from what they say. My first quotation deals with the past but it has its significance and illustrates the dangers of election year. This is by Mr. Taft, who is a very distinguished member of the Republican Party, one of its leaders if not its most important leader, and a possible Presidential candidate, reported in the "New York Times" on 27th January:Amid repeated applause, Senator Taft contended that the recall of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur as United Nations Commander 'apparently came from the fact that he wanted to win the war in Korea and the Administration did not want to win that war in Korea or to protect Formosa.' The Senator said he believed that MacArthur's policies of bombing and blockading and the use of (Chinese) Nationalist troops would have resulted in the consolidation of Korea and the setting up of a free Korea which might have been defended.' 'It is doubtful, however,' he said, 'whether today General MacArthur's 958 policies could be successful, because we no longer have control of the air over the Yalu River.'There is a second quotation from Mr. Taft which appeared in the "New York Herald-Tribune," on 14th February. It reads:Senator Robert A. Taft, Ohio, aspirant for the Republican Presidential nomination, said last night that the 'only chance to stop' an eventual military assault on the United States is a Chinese Nationalist invasion of Communist China.He said in a speech: 'The invasion, well organised, might snowball rapidly. Is there any other way to prevent Stalin from seizing all Asia and building up such massive strength that he will attempt finally an assault on the United States?'It is fair to add that, later, Mr. Taft said that his observations were conditional upon a Chinese invasion of Indo-China. Whether or not that be so, we on this side cannot but regard such expressions as provocative and dangerous, and moreover, we ourselves have no faith in Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, either for his governmental administration or for his general record.
But there is not only Mr. Taft. There is, again, Mr. Dulles, and he was reported in our British Conservative "Daily Telegraph" of 22nd January as follows:Mr. Dulles, architect of the Japanese Peace Treaty, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, in asking for its ratification, that the United States must take positive steps to assure the downfall of the present Moscow-dominated Government of China. We cannot expect a change in China to take place automatically. To realise such a change will require something besides a negative and purely defensive policy in Asia on the part of the leaders of the free world, notably the United States. It will require determination to promote freedom and independence in Asia, and action consistent with that determination, as opportunities arise.The "Daily Telegraph" adds:Mr. Dulles was not speaking for the State Department, but Mr. Acheson, Secretary of State, left the case for ratification largely to him, after supporting it briefly in general terms.There is a second quotation from Reuter of 12th February which reported:The United States should not allow the mainland of China to remain under Chinese Communist control,' Mr. John Foster Dulles said in Washington on Sunday. Interviewed on a radio programme, the chief architect of the Japanese Peace Treaty and adviser to the Secretary of State demanded a foreign policy that would make it 'as tough as possible' for People's China. Mr. Dulles added that the 959 pressure of the Seventh United States Fleet between Formosa and the mainland of China is 'not normal.' 'It is not normal for us to dedicate U.S. forces to restrain our friendly allies,' he said, 'I do not think we need to use the Fleet to accomplish that result, or at least I think that is something we should look into,' Mr. Dulles stated. On future relations between China and Japan, Mr. Dulles said: 'I think in the long run you cannot keep an absolute barrier between Japan and the mainland—so we should change the character of the régime on the mainland'I should like to know something in respect of this reference to Formosa and the situation there. It will be recalled that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, when he was Prime Minister, said that the Royal Navy would not participate in that operation, and it was, I understand, an American naval operation. I should like to know from the Prime Minister whether that declaration or undertaking still stands. Was that still clear as between the present Prime Minister and the President?—because he said something about Formosa in Congress, and I want to know whether there is any change or whether, on the other hand, he has run a risk of misleading Congress.
It is fair to add that Mr. Dulles was careful to say that he was not speaking for the United States Government in that last extract, but it is no good calling him an irresponsible person. He is Ambassador at Large appointed by the President. He is the special adviser on Far Eastern affairs to the State Department, and, moreover, he is a possible Republican Secretary of State if there should be a change in the Administration. It is small wonder that the "Manchester Guardian," commenting on this statement by Mr. Dulles, said:If Mr. Dulles is to be taken at his word, he is asking for an American Crusade against China, Russia, and all the satellite countries. He rules out every idea of limited agreement. Doubtless he would prefer a cold war. But could his type of crusade remain at the cold war level? In Britain those who wish to sow division between us and America have been saying that American policy was exactly what Mr. Dulles describes. Fortunately, the American Administration has different ideas from Mr. Dulles, but his words, unless he can explain that he has been misreported, will rightly cause much anxiety.That is an extract from the "Manchester Guardian" of 14th February. It is a serious state of affairs, and what I am wondering is whether the spirit of the 960 Prime Minister's observations in the United States rather released some of these declarations by men feeling that it would be acceptable to the British Government.
The question about China is: ought we to assume that China is a permanent servile satellite of the Soviet Union and of the Cominform, even though China has a Communist Government? That was not the view of Mr. Ernest Bevin. It was not his view, and partly because he took that view the Labour Government recognised the People's Central Government and urged admittance of that Government to the United Nations. I personally agree with him and so do my hon. Friends on these benches.
Indeed, the Prime Minister himself introduced the question whether China would permanently be of the political character that she is at the moment, because he, in a bright moment in his speech, introduced this degree of wisdom into his Congress speech, even though the rest of it was out of harmony with the passage which I will now quote. He said—and these are wise observations; it is a pity he did not live up to them—The Chinese said of themselves several thousand years ago, 'China is a sea that salts all the waters that flow into it.' There is another Chinese saying about their country which is much more modern. It dates only from the Fourth Century. This is the saying: 'The tail of China is large, and will not be wagged.'The Prime Minister added—and we can almost hear him saying it:I like that one.There is wisdom in that. I want to be quite fair and give the Prime Minister the credit to which he is undoubtedly due for that quotation. But if that be true, that China is not necessarily a permanent associate of the Communist system, then why assume otherwise in the rest of the utterances? Why carry on in a spirit as if she was beyond the pale, which seems to me to be foolish indeed? It seems to us that he was acting and talking the other way. We ought not to try to push China the other way. China, it must be remembered, has a vast population—much bigger than the Soviet Union, bigger than the United States—
§ Mr. Morrison
My hon. Friend says, "Bigger than both together," and it may 961 well be so. She has a long history and she has her own traditions. She has her own psychology and characteristics, and I have met quite a number of businessmen with long knowledge and experience of China who have told me that they do not believe that China will permanently be an associate of the Cominform.
We must resist aggression, but our business is not to build up a Chinese wall against us. It is not to do in China what the Prime Minister helped to do in the Soviet Union 30 years ago at the early part of the Soviet Revolution. It is not a sensible thing to do and, moreover, there is a Commonwealth aspect. India, with other countries of the Commonwealth, has a great part to play in the great world of Asia.
We cannot always agree with each other about policy, India and ourselves. But the Labour Government achieved much, and the Indian Government achieved much, by way of Anglo-Indian co-operation and by way of understanding between ourselves, India, Pakistan and Ceylon. We wish that co-operation to continue, and we should never forget India's part in these matters and the help which she and those other countries can give in the relationships between ourselves and Asia and between themselves and Asia.
Yet the only references to India and Pakistan by the Prime Minister were indiscreet and inappropriate. He said this old thing which is persistently nagging in his head:After the war, unwisely as I contended, and certainly contrary to American advice, we accepted as normal debts nearly four thousand million pounds sterling of claims by countries we had protected from invasion, or had otherwise aided, instead of making counter-claims which would at least have reduced the bill to reasonable proportions.Why does he want to go out of his way to stir this up? He could not even carry the war Government with him on this doctrine. There was no agreement about it, and I say it was needless of him to go into that field and it was quite foolish to say what he did.
There is another one. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] We have put a Motion down and it is my duty to prove the case from the documentary records. Here is the old imperialism coming out again, as it did then. He said, as recorded on page 6:Britain's power to influence the fortunes of the Middle East and guard it from aggression is far less today now that we have laid 962 aside our imperial responsibility for India and its armies.In the same old-style vein, he said, earlier:In the Middle East enormous changes have also taken place since I was last in power in my own country.That is what he said. [HON. MEMBERS: "Abadan."] He continued:When the war ended, the Western Nations were respected and predominant throughout these ancient lands, and there were quite a lot of people who had a good word to say about Great Britain.When will hon. Gentlemen opposite realise that they are living in a different world today? When will they realise that this persistent wish of the Prime Minister to get back to when the Western Powers were predominant over backward nations is a wrong conception? It is the imperialist conception. What we want is not to be predominant over these countries but to be friends and partners and co-operators with them. That is a much better conception.
In both these matters we are apprehensive about the whole approach and background of the Prime Minister and his party. They do not face constructively the great changes in Asia and the Middle East. They do not understand the dangers of the poverty and ignorance in which a large proportion of humanity lives. That is why we said, last October, that peace was safer with us than it would be with the Conservatives. That is what we say—that peace was safer with the last Prime Minister than it is with the present Prime Minister.
§ Mr. Morrison
The hon. and gallant Gentleman will be relieved to know what I said. I will tell the House what I said —and this follows directly from what I have just been saying and from the imperialist attitude represented by the cheers of hon. Gentlemen opposite. This is what I said at the Labour Party Conference—and it will be quite clear that it is untrue to say that this was an accusation of warmongering. What I said was this—and it is on record and it is true:I do not accuse the average Conservative of being a warmonger, of thirsting for the shedding of blood, of wishing to be involved needlessly in a world war.963 This was on the eve of the Election, at the beginning of the Election campaign. I said:I do not say that, and I advise you not to say that, because it would not be fair and it would not be true. But it is their temperament, it is the background of their mental outlook, the old imperialist outlook. It is the semihysteria"—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] And here it is again—of the bulk of those Tory back benchers that really alarms one as to what a Tory Government would do if a Tory Government were put in. Therefore, if the country wants peace it had better vote for the people who can most surely be relied upon to preserve peace, and, if I may say so, are most competent to frame principles and proposals for the peace and well-being of the world.Those people sit upon these benches. I have shown by the evidence which I have put to the House that the Prime Minister has tendencies which are contrary to modern understanding and the cause of peace, and that he is out-of-date. I say that what I said to the Labour Party Conference was then true, that what we said in a similar vein throughout the Election was true—and we say today that what we said at the beginning of the Election and during the Election has been proved to be true by the actions to which I have drawn attention today.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Winston Churchill)
When I learned the text of the Motion which has been put upon the Order Paper and saw that it took the unusual form of a personal Vote of Censure upon me I am bound to say that I did expect that some more serious attempt to frame and sustain charges would have been made than we have heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison). I have hardly ever listened—from a skilled Parliamentarian—to such a weak, vague, wandering harangue which at no point touched the realities or which was so largely composed of quotations of all kinds, some of his own, and none selected with a view to proving or sustaining any effective case.
I shall in due course—I hope I shall not too long detain the House—deal with the attack which is made upon me today, but if I had to confine myself 964 to those aspects of it which have been dealt on by the right hon. Gentleman I am bound to say I should find myself very short of material with which to reply.
I wish, first of all, to draw the attention of the House to the agreement we reached in Washington about the atomic bomb. We reached an agreement about its not being used from the East Anglian base without British consent. This agreement states in a formal and public manner what had already been reached as a verbal understanding between the late Prime Minister and President Truman.
We felt, however, that it would be an improvement if the position were made public and formal, and I expect that will be the general opinion. A much more important atomic development is now before us. I was not aware until I took office that not only had the Socialist Government made the atomic bomb as a matter of research, but that they had created at the expense of many scores of millions of pounds the important plant necessary for its regular production. This weapon will be tested in the course of the present year by agreement with the Australian Government at some suitable place in that continent.
This achievement is certainly a real advantage to us and when I informed the Americans in Washington of the position which had been reached quite a new atmosphere was created on this subject. I was interested to read in the newspapers on Monday week the following statement by Senator MacMahon, the author of the MacMahon Act of 1946 which, under extreme penalties, forbade all sharing of secrets with Great Britain or other countries:The achievement of an atomic explosion by Great Britain, when an accomplished fact, will contribute to the keeping of the peace because it will add to the free world's total deterring power.This event is likely to raise in still sharper focus the problem of atomic co-operation between ourselves and Great Britain. The British contributed heavily to our own war-time atomic project. But due to a series of unfortunate circumstances the nature of the agreements which made this contribution possible was not disclosed to me and my colleagues on the Senate special atomic energy committee at the time we framed the law in 1946. Now we may consider rethinking the entire situation with all the facts in front of us.965 This is a very important declaration. We must now await the result of the experiment in Australia. While paying all credit to the late Government and their scientists for the action which they have taken I must, as an old Parliamentarian, express my surprise that a full and clear statement was not made of this policy to Parliament, especially in view of the immense sums of money which were voted by this House without their having any clear appreciation of what was being done. There was no reason why Parliament in time of peace should not have been made fully aware, not, of course, of the technical details, but of the large scale new departure in policy adopted on so grave a matter.
The Conservative opposition would certainly have supported the Government, as we did on so many other of their measures of defence, and their majority would no doubt have been overwhelming. Nevertheless, they preferred to conceal this vast operation and its finances from the scrutiny of the House; not even obtaining a vote on the principle involved, while, at the same time, with Machiavellian art, keeping open the advantage of accusing their opponents of being warmongers.
§ Mr. C. R. Attlee (Walthamstow, West)
I really cannot let those statements pass. We have carried on precisely the same policy on the advice of our experts and advisers with regard to the publicity of these atomic matters. I was ready at all times to see the right hon. Gentleman, and I always understood that his closest confidant, Lord Cherwell, was fully informed of all these matters. I do not know why he had not told me about it, and as for the Americans not knowing what we were doing, we were telling them every possible thing in order to get their co-operation.
§ The Prime Minister
The right hon. Gentleman will no doubt have various opportunities of making full statements upon all this topic, but it does seem to me that some of the late Government's followers hardly relished their success in this sphere. I notice, indeed, a certain sense of disappointment with the statement that the achievement which has been made could not be wholly attributed to us. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition is in the position of one who "did good 966 by stealth and blushed to find it fame." Before the whole story passes from life into history he will have to do a good deal of blushing in the explanations which he will have to make to some of his followers.
This remarkable episode is a good prelude to the argument I shall now deploy in reply to the new move in the Socialist warmongering accusation, of which the right hon. Gentleman's Motion is the latest expression. I am complimented by the fact that the official Opposition's Vote of Censure should concentrate its gravamen on me. It is not the first time I have incurred the wrath of the Socialist Party. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nor of the Tories."] I remember that in March, 1946, a Motion condemning a speech I made at Fulton was put on the Order Paper by just over 100 Socialist Members of Parliament, including seven who subsequently became Ministers. Here is the relevant part of the Motion:That this House considers that proposals for a military alliance between the British Commonwealth and the United States of America for the purpose of combating the spread of Communism, such as were put forward in a speech at Fulton, Missouri, by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford, are calculated to do injury to the good relations between Great Britain, the United States and the U.S.S.R., and are inimical to the cause of world peace.…That Motion was never debated. On the contrary, the policy which I outlined at Fulton five years ago has since been effectively adopted both by the United States and by the Socialist Party. Two years later, by the Brussels Pact, and in the following year by the North Atlantic Treaty, the whole substance and purpose of what I said was adopted and enforced by the Socialist Government, and today we all respect the foresight and wise courage of the late Mr. Ernest Bevin in helping to bring those great changes about.
Now, today, the Opposition have adopted a position of protestation that there should be no war with China. We agree with them about the importance of avoiding such a war, but I seem to have a recollection that there was some trouble about the Chinese going into Korea, which began 15 months ago, and that the Chinese Communists and their North Korean allies killed and wounded more than 100,000 Americans and nearly 3,000 of our own men, and that they lost themselves what has been estimated at over 967 1,250,000 killed and wounded. Even half that number would be quite a lot. One reads, too, in the papers every day about fighting that is going on even now with the Chinese.
Apparently, however, according to the mentality of the Socialist Party, which only five months ago supported all this devastating struggle in Korea, nothing matters unless we call it "war." Apparently the important point is: What is it to be called? As long as it is not called "war" the high condition of moral idealism of the Socialist movement is in no way impaired.
Hundreds of thousands of men may fall mangled and torn by bomb, bayonet, bullet or grenade; whole areas of Korea may be devastated in the advances and retreats of the opposing armies; 35,000 dead may be picked up in front of a single American division; our own men may have killed many times their number in deadly fighting; but, whatever happens, it must not be called "war." [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] It is not the fact, but it is the name that counts.
What a strange political philosophy. "No war. Peace in our time"—that is what the Socialists said when they themselves were responsible, in conjunction with other nations, for using deadly modern weapons to share in the slaughter of a million or more Chinese and North Koreans. It is difficult to imagine such a process of self-delusion and mental obliquity.
But whatever has been going on in Korea in the last 18 months is war, even though they choose to call it a "collective police operation"; and it is a war entered upon by the Socialist Government, and waged by them, side by side with other members of the United Nations. Since we have been in office the truce negotiations, begun eight months ago, have continued, and the slaughter of the Chinese has abated. A comparative calm rests on the blood-soaked front, and the Socialist Party can turn their energies, I have no doubt with a measure of relief, from being war wagers to calling other people warmongers.
I made it plain a month ago, in my first speech on my return from America, that I was opposed to action that would involve us or our Allies of 968 the United Nations in a war in China. I drew the attention of the House to General Omar Bradley's statement which I will now quote exactly—[HON. MEMBERS: "Another quotation."]—for I was not quite accurate before. Verify your quotations is a good maxim. This is the quotation:We would be fighting the wrong nation in the wrong war and in the wrong place.
§ The Prime Minister
We did not interrupt the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), who has just sat down, and I really must ask for an opportunity of unfolding my case. I must remind the House that I have never changed my opinion about the danger of our getting involved in China. When the Chinese first came into Korea, after the Russian-instigated attack by the North Koreans, I said in the House—[An HON. MEMBER: "Another quotation."] What did the hon. Gentleman say? Oh, I beg pardon. I thought it might have been an intelligent point. I said on 30th November, 1950:The plan would evidently be to get the United States and the United Nations…involved as deeply as possible in China, and thus prevent the reinforcement of Europe and the building up of our defensive strength there to a point where it would be an effectual deterrent. It is one of the most well-known—almost hackneyed—strategical and tactical methods, to draw your opponent's resources to one part of the field and then, at the right moment, to strike in another. Military history shows countless examples of this and of variants of it. Surely, however, the United Nations should avoid by every means in their power becoming entangled inextricably in a war with China."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th November, 1950; Vol. 481, c. 1335.]I have never departed from those views in any way, either publicly or privately. I also endeavoured when I spoke here a month ago to show the danger which was arising in Europe by the dispersion of so many British, American and French divisions in Asia as a result of acts of aggression which the Soviet Government had promoted without losing a single soldier in Russian uniform.
This made it clear that I disagree profoundly with the kind of statements, some of which have been read to us this afternoon, which have recently been made in the United States by various 969 prominent Americans engaged in the impending Presidential Elections. I am not going to mention names. It is not for us to be drawn into American politics. Her Majesty's Government deal with the United States Government of the day, and with them our relations are very good indeed.
But let me now give the House some account of what happened about Korea under the late Government, and also since we have become responsible. The reason why I have to use guarded language instead of simple facts is that if military action, like, for instance, bombing, were referred to precisely, it would reveal what had been agreed and might therefore expose British and American airmen to extra danger. There is nothing I should like better than that all the relevant documents on this subject should be published. But that is not possible while fighting is going on or may be resumed on a large scale.
I will give the House the fullest account I can at this present time. On several occasions in the last year the United States asked the British Government what military action they would agree to if certain things happened. Questions were addressed to the late Government and later to Her Majesty's present advisers. On the first occasion in May of last year, before the truce negotiations began, the right hon. Gentleman the late Foreign Secretary replied to an inquiry that His Majesty's Government had decided that in the event of heavy air attacks from bases in China upon United Nations forces in Korea they would associate themselves with action not confined to Korea.
§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)
On a point of order. Is the right hon. Gentleman quoting directly from Cabinet papers? If he is, then I move that the papers be laid. If, as I understand, the right hon. Gentleman is making references to discussions inside the previous Cabinet, then he is in order in doing so. If he is quoting, then he must lay the papers, and I so move.
§ The Prime Minister
I am not quoting at all. I am carefully avoiding making any quotations on that account, but I am undoubtedly entitled in defence of our own position, which has been subjected to this shameful attack, to place the 970 House in possession of the facts as far as that can be done.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
On a point of order. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that some inquiry was addressed at some time by the American administration to the previous Government. Such an inquiry would presumably have been either in a document itself or, if the inquiry were made to the Cabinet, then in a document circulated to Ministers. Therefore, once the right hon. Gentleman has referred to such an inquiry he has by implication referred to a document. That being so, I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, whether the House is not entitled either to have the document laid before it or to have the statement withdrawn?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Colonel Sir Charles MacAndrew)
The rule is that if a document is paraphrased, it does not require to be laid. If, on the other hand, it is quoted from, it must be laid unless it is against the public interest so to do.
§ Mr. Silverman
Further to that point of order. Once a thing is paraphrased, the paraphrase may be a comment, but the right hon. Gentleman did not do that. He referred to a specific question asked by one administration of another. That, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, is not a paraphrase.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I made the position perfectly clear. If a document is paraphrased it does not require to be laid. If it is quoted from, it should be laid unless it is against the public interest so to do.
§ Mr. Bevan
If it is against the public interest so to do, it is against the public interest to make reference to it. May I respectfully submit to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that my first recollection of an action of this sort was when the right hon. Gentleman made a quotation from a Cabinet document and was afterwards seriously chastised by the late Earl Lloyd George? It was on the occasion of the Stack assassination in Egypt, and the right hon. Gentleman had to come down to the House of Commons and apologise for quoting without permission from a Cabinet document.
In my submission all parties in the House in this case are seriously handicapped, because it should be to the interest of every party to see that there is no 971 partisan disclosure of Cabinet papers unless the whole truth is made available. I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to accept my Motion that the papers be laid.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
All I can do is to quote briefly from the Manual the exact words which are probably better than those I gave in my own language. It says:If a Minister of the Crown quotes in the House a despatch or other state paper which has not been presented to the House, he ought to lay it on the table. This rule is analogous to the rule observed in courts of law against quoting documents which are not produced in evidence. It cannot be applied to private documents or to documents which are alleged by the Minister to be of such a nature that their production would be inconsistent with the public interest.
§ Mr. Attlee
I certainly understood that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister was giving us the text of a dispatch. I think in that case and on all precedents that the whole of the document must be laid, and I submit that. I should like to know what we are having, whether this is some paraphrase or whether it is the actual dispatch because, after all, in fairness to the Government of the day, it is very easy to paraphrase things and to give them a twist. I should like to have the actual words.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I can only deal with one point of order at a time. I was listening very carefully to what was said. I understood—and I was reinforced by the Prime Minister after the point of order was first raised—that he was paraphrasing and not quoting.
§ Mr. Silverman
Further to that point of order. I respectfully submit that the Prime Minister did not say, and could not say, that he was paraphrasing. What he said, expressly, was that on 15th May, 1950, a certain question—which he quoted to us—was addressed by the American Administration to Mr. Ernest Bevin. By no possible twist of language can that be called a paraphrase.
On the other point—as to whether it is in the public interest—I submit that the Prime Minister cannot possibly claim that 972 it is not in the public interest to disclose it, because he has already disclosed it. Therefore, since this is not a paraphrase and it is not claimed to be in the public interest that it is not right to disclose it, I submit that the conditions of the Standing Order have been fully satisfied and the House is entitled to the papers. I beg leave to second the Motion which the right hon. Gentleman moved.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
It seems to me that that point is rather contradictory. If it has been quoted at all, it does not mean that it has all been quoted, and it may not be in the public interest to lay the paper before the House.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Perhaps I have not read it very fully. If I quote from Erskine May I think the House may be satisfied. "A Minister who summarises" —I apologise to the hon. Member if I have used the wrong word.
§ Mr. Bevan
Then, in my submission, that puts my Motion entirely in order, because whether the right hon. Gentleman was summarising, paraphrasing or referring to, it was to a State paper that he was making reference. Indeed, he identified it, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, by a date. In those circumstances, unless the right hon. Gentleman shelters behind the question of public interest—and if he did he ought not to have been so cowardly as to have mentioned it. [Interruption.]
§ The Prime Minister
I have already pointed out that the previous Administration committed themselves to action not confined to Korea. I am not making a quotation. I am stating a fact.
§ The Prime Minister
The United States Government did not give an unqualified agreement to the views of the late Administration because they did not think that their views provided sufficiently for cases of extreme military urgency. Subject to this, however, there was agreement, and I am entitled to inform Parliament of the fact. It was agreed between the United States Government and the late Socialist Administration that in certain circumstances and contingencies action would be taken not confined to Korea. Only they wished, quite properly in my opinion, that they should be consulted beforehand—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) had a perfectly quiet hearing and I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister might be allowed the same.
§ The Prime Minister
I am stating the facts perfectly clearly, as you will see when they are all set forward. They will show how very little ground there is for hon. Gentlemen opposite making their slanderous accusations against us.
In September last year the Americans proposed that in the event of a breakdown of the armistice talks and the resumption of large-scale fighting in Korea, certain action should be taken of a more limited character. These proposals were accepted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South and they were endorsed by the then Prime Minister. Whereas in May the right of prior consultation had been required by the late Government in the specific instance, before our consent could be assumed, in the more limited proposals of September the Socialist Government did not insist upon this right. In both cases Her Majesty's Government consider that the decision of our predecessors was right and, in my view, in both cases it justifies the words which I used in the United States Congress, namely "prompt, resolute and effective."
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I presume that the right hon. Gentleman has got to the end of that part of his speech.
§ The Prime Minister
No, I have not. I was coming to the change of Govern- 974 ment and what happened after that. If the right hon. Gentleman wishes to say something now I shall gladly give way.
§ Mr. Morrison
I was waiting until the right hon. Gentleman had got to the end of his observations on the attitude of the late Government. I am not crying about it, because neither my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition nor I, nor any Members of the late Government, have anything to be ashamed of—but I am bound to say that I think it is unusual, doubtful in taste and constitutional propriety, for the Prime Minister to delve into the papers of his predecessors—as to the principle of which there are well known constitutional rules—and then come here, not with a fair statement of what took place, but with a partisan version, adjusted to his own tactical needs and, when he is faced with a demand for papers, to hedge and evade, because of what he had done.
As far as I am concerned—and I think I speak for my right hon. Friend—I am quite willing for the papers to be fairly laid; but the right hon. Gentleman is building up a precedent this afternoon for future administrations. There were long discussions with the United States about this and there is no analogy between what he is now discussing and what we were discussing earlier on. The whole point of the discussions to which he is now referring was what should be done in the case of our troops being attacked from the air from certain airfields. That is all. Obviously, from certain airfields—and it never went beyond that point—[HON. MEMBERS: "China."] If hon. Gentlemen opposite are quite incapable of listening, or are getting hysterical, I cannot help it.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I hope the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easing-ton (Mr. Shinwell) will not wave to me to sit down when I stand up. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame!"] I thought the right hon. Gentleman waved to me to sit down when I stood up. If he did not, I beg his pardon, but I understood that he did. In any case, I rose to ask whether the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South was making a second speech.
§ Mr. Morrison
I am in the hands of the Chair, but when a practice of this kind is introduced I think I have the right to deal with it. I was about to finish. If I was standing up while you were on your feet, Sir Charles, and if that was the point of your complaint, I apologise. Had I seen you stand up I should certainly have sat down at once. I finish by saying this. The discussions earlier on had very wide demands which were resisted—
§ Mr. Morrison
Hon. Gentlemen opposite ought to be fair. It was confined later on to the point: "What do you do if you are attacked from airfields over the border?".
§ Mr. Morrison
Yes, that is right. In principle, one cannot stand by in that case and do nothing whatever about it, but there was insistence at our end that every effort should be made to see that there was consultation, because people can go a little bit off the rails in believing that something has happened when in fact something has not happened. Therefore, we required prior consultation. But that limited and direct military point about something happening in the field of military activities is a wholly different thing from this other argument in favour of widespread war and invasion.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
On a point of order. I do really submit to you now, Sir, that this position is becoming quite farcical without the papers. Here is a debate going on between the Prime Minister on one side and my right hon. Friend on the other about the effect of certain communications made a long time ago, and about whether it is fair or unfair to make a comparison between those matters and the matters we are now discussing. In that dispute the rest of the House is completely lost. We do not know what the argument is about.
The whole purpose of the Standing Order to which reference has been made was always to prevent the House from being put in the ridiculous position of having to listen to a debate between two of its Members about matters of which 976 the rest of the House remained in ignorance. I say to you, Sir, that it is quite impossible to continue this debate in this way without the House having access to the documents to which both right hon. Gentlemen are referring.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I gave my Ruling perfectly clearly. I am of opinion that it was a summary which was made, and therefore the Prime Minister is quite in order.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I did not say I knew. I said in my opinion it was, and I am quite entitled to my opinion.
§ Mr. Silverman
With great respect to you, Sir. You said that in your opinion this was a summary; and, indeed, it may well be so. What I am saying is that neither you nor any other Member of the House has any material whatever on which to form that or any other opinion.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Well, I have got my own opinion, and that is all I can go on in giving my Ruling.
§ Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)
On a point of order. Is the right hon. Gentleman in order in stating that there is fear on the part of my right hon. Friends when they have stated that they are willing to have published the documents about which the question has been raised? Has the right hon. Gentleman the right, under 977 your guidance, to make provocative remarks of that kind ascribing fear when he is not willing himself to have those documents examined?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
If I could do anything to stop provocative remarks I certainly would, but they are in order.
§ The Prime Minister
We now come in the narrative which I am giving Parliament to the change of Government in this country. The General Election took place and Her Majesty's present advisers became responsible. The question was put to us by the United States: What would happen if a truce were agreed upon and then treacherously broken by the Chinese, greatly to the loss and disadvantage of the United Nations' armies, and if heavy fighting were resumed on a large scale?
This involves one hypothesis on top of another, and on the whole it does not seem very likely to happen, especially if, as we hope, peace negotiations follow the present truce. Nevertheless, when allies or members of a common body like the United Nations are working together, the one who bears nine-tenths of the burden may well ask the others what they would do in certain circumstances, and Her Majesty's present Government agreed that it would be prudent to make clear that serious consequences would follow the breach of the terms of an agreed truce.
As I have already said today, and as I pointed out when I spoke a month ago, it is not possible, while military operations are going on, to state either positively or negatively exactly what those consequences might be. But let me make it clear that we conformed, in principle, to the policy of our predecessors. Indeed, in some respects it might be said that we did not commit ourselves even as far as they had done. Nevertheless, the action to which we agreed, like that of the Socialist Government before us, fully justified the description which I gave to Congress of being "prompt, resolute and effective." The dispatch in which our policy was set forth was approved by the Cabinet in December, and various communications were sent to other members of the Commonwealth. All this happened before my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I set out for Washington.
978 It is a fact that we did not discuss the matter further at any conferences in Washington with our American colleagues. They did not raise it, and we had received no answer to our reply. It is absolutely true therefore to say, as in the words of the Opposition Motion, that we adhered to the policy followed by the late Administration with regard to the Korean conflict and the relations between Great Britain and China. It is not true to say that I in any way departed from this position. There is no truth in the suggestion that any secret or private arrangements were made or any change of policy agreed upon, formally or informally, actual or implied, by me or my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, on these issues during our visit to the United States.
Having told the House these facts, some of which evidently surprised them, let me come to the address which I was invited to deliver to the Congress of the United States. I am very glad that the House wished to have this document circulated to them and that it should have been examined with so much attention. I cherish the hope that it will be found, as time passes, not to have been injurious to British and American relations which are, of course, all-important to our survival here at home and to the part we can play in averting a Third World War.
It is the design and intense desire of the Soviet Union and its satellites and all its associates and fellow-travellers in many lands to drive a wedge between the British and American democracies and everything which tends to consolidate the mighty forces of the English-speaking world, upon which the hopes of United Europe also depend. Anything that secures that unity must be considered a service not only to freedom but to peace.
I must ask the indulgence of the House —if there is any of it left at the end of this statement, though I hope some of the excitement may wear off as we go along—to let me present the background in my mind to what I said to Congress, for which I have been criticised by the official spokesman of the Opposition, the late Foreign Secretary. It was certainly no easy task, in the present circumstances of bitterness here at home and during election year in the United States, to choose the points on which to dwell.
979 In July last, when I was a private person, a delegation of the American Senate, which had been sent round many countries, came to London, and during their visit they asked to see me, and I received them in my home. I was impressed by the fact that this powerful body was greatly disturbed by the anti-American feeling which they thought existed in the House of Commons. So I said to them, "Do not be misled. The anti-American elements in Parliament are only a quarter of the Labour Party, and the Labour Party is only a half of the House. Therefore, you may say that one-eighth at the outside, give vent to anti-American sentiments. The Labour Party as a whole, and the Government of the day, supported by the Conservative Party in this matter, are whole-heartedly friendly to the United States, and recognise and are grateful for the part they are playing in the world and of the help they have given to us."
This was the message which I tried to give to Congress when I spoke, and in so doing I felt I was speaking—I hoped I was speaking—for the great majority of the present Parliament. Today, however, I must say that the attitude of a fraction of the late House of Commons and apparently of a larger proportion of the present House of Commons and the mood and temper which this Vote of Censure which the right hon. Gentleman has moved personally upon me implies, can be made use of throughout the United States by Isolationist forces and by the anti-British elements which form a powerful minority throughout the great Republic.
I say to those former Ministers whose records lie behind them and who have put their names to this Motion: "Beware lest in petty manoeuvres about the leadership of the Socialist Party you do not injure causes to which you have pledged your honour and all our fortunes."
I had no wish or need to proclaim any new policy to Congress because, so far as policy is concerned, in Korea and China, we were only following in accordance with our own convictions the policy entered into and long pursued by our predecessors. But I hoped by my visit to the United States, first to establish an intimacy and an atmosphere of goodwill 980 in the high circles that rule in Washington which would make it much easier in the future to deal with problems as they arise. I also felt a keen sympathy with the American people in their losses, and in having so many of their men serving far away from home.
I hoped also to give the Congress and people of the United States something of a glow and sense of our abiding friendship for them, and of our gratitude to them for all they have done for us, and for the causes which we also are resolved to serve with all our strength. On the whole I cannot feel, in spite of this party challenge, that I have failed in what I sought to do.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
If the right hon. Gentleman does not give way, the hon. Lady must resume her seat.
§ The Prime Minister
If the hon. Member desires to ask if I have misstated anything or to correct me in any way, I should make an exception in her case because she always conforms to such a high level of courtesy.
§ Mrs. Castle
I should like to thank the right hon. Gentleman and to ask him in all seriousness if, as he says, he made no new commitment additional to the one made by the late Government he can tell us why it has been widely reported in the United States responsible Press that there has been a change of policy in relation to Korea as a result of the right hon. Gentleman's visit to the United States.
§ The Prime Minister
I am afraid that it is very difficult always to follow with complete accuracy all the movements represented in our own Press here at home, and I really cannot undertake to have a similar mastery of the mighty Press of the United States. But what I have stated here is a fact—that I made no new commitment in this field of foreign affairs of any sort or kind.
However, there are a few points of detail in this meticulous heresy hunt on which I will touch. The right hon. Gentleman the 981 Leader of the Opposition complained in his speech the last time we debated this matter that I had used the word "United States" more often than I had used the words "United Nations." Surely, when speaking to the American Congress, whose troops have contributed nine-tenths of the fighting power and whose casualties are 20 times as great as all the other members of the United Nations put together, it would not be unnatural that I should speak of them and of their sacrifices.
But technically I have a right to speak of the United States as a prime factor because it is their commander who, under the United Nations, is the head of the Unified Command provided by the United States Government over all the forces employed. It only shows the limited and lopsided character of the Socialist trend of thought that they should complain that I did not deny the United States, in their own Assembly, the honour which belongs to them of being the supreme agent and chosen leader of the world instrument against Communist aggression.
The Leader of the Opposition admitted the other day that he agreed with what I had said to Congress about Formosa. This is what I said:I am very glad that, whatever diplomatic divergencies there may be from time to time about the procedure, you"—that is, Congress—do not allow the Chinese anti-communists on Formosa to be invaded and massacred from the mainland.It is the only thing that one could say about Formosa which could be agreed on both sides of this House and on both sides of the Congress of the United States, and, indeed, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. I thought it was rather a good selection—almost a bullseye. The fact that I selected it was, by implication, adverse to other statements which could be made on the subject and was, I believe, so understood and accepted by the great majority of my audience on that occasion.
I have been accused of speaking with two voices on different sides of the Atlantic. That is not true. I speak with the same voice, I can assure hon. Members—the one to which they are having the opportunity of listening today. Wherever I speak everything that I say on these occasions will no 982 doubt be immediately reported or broadcast in the fullest manner on both sides of the Ocean. I am not conscious of the slightest change of thought or conviction on these important issues, and I do not retract a word that I have used on either occasion, here or on the other side, on our foreign outlook and policy.
Let me then sum up. First, there is no change in our policy towards the United States, towards the United Nations or towards the war in Korea. Secondly, on the circumstances which might justify action not confined to Korea, we have only followed and conformed to the policy for which the late Government were responsible and for which no two men were more personally responsible than the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken to us and who has thought it compatible with his personal candour and public behaviour to move this Motion.
Thirdly, I believe that on both sides of the Atlantic we are convinced, as I have argued since the beginning of these troubles, that nothing could be more foolish than for the armies of the United States or the United Nations to become engulfed in the vast areas of China, and also that few adventures could be less successful or fruitful than for Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek to plunge on to the mainland.
Fourthly, if the truce is made only to be broken, a very grave situation will arise in which we must act as good comrades to our American and other United Nation friends and as a loyal member of the United Nations Organisation. In this case, our action, like that contemplated by our predecessors, will be prompt, resolute and effective.
Finally, the prospects of a truce being reached and respected in Korea will depend to a large extent upon the unity between Great Britain and the United States being proved to be not only unbreakable but growing stronger, and the attempts of all who seek to weaken or divide us being repulsed and condemned as they will be tonight by the House of Commons.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)
I should like to start, as I did not intend to do, by making a reference to the most unusual device adopted by the right hon. 983 Gentleman in making a summary of a State paper, and I should like to say to hon. and right hon. Members on both sides of the House that they ought to begin to reflect seriously on the consequences that might follow from that precedent.
First of all, it does not concern me, obviously, because the date mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman was after my resignation from the Government. Therefore, I can hardly be accused of a private preoccupation by the disclosure. But I should like to point out to the right hon. Gentleman that, if it is proper for any Cabinet Minister who has access to all previous State papers to make any reference that he likes to them without being under the obligation to publish them, that will deal a deadly blow not only at the probity of Government but at the principle of collective Cabinet responsibility.
I want to point out to the House what follows from this, and I want to remind the right hon. Gentleman that, of all people, he ought not to have done it, because I remember him having the biggest hiding of his career at the hands of the late Earl Lloyd George for a previous act of similar mischief.
§ Mr. Bevan
What is involved in this? In the first place, if the right hon. Gentleman will kindly give me his attention and suppress his innate frivolity, he will realise that all Cabinet meetings are already summarised and not reported verbatim. Therefore, if we who have been members of Cabinets are to be exposed to a summary of a summary, all our past conduct can be completely falsified and made the 984 subject of a series of lying innuendoes. If it be accepted—this is of the utmost constitutional importance and I want hon. Members opposite to remember that we have access to Cabinet papers—nothing can stop me going to Cabinet papers—just as nothing can stop right hon. Gentlemen opposite—and nothing can prevent me, if this precedent is to be accepted, from summarising Cabinet papers, State papers or Cabinet minutes. Before we know where we are the British Constitution will be engulfed in a series of fruitless recriminations. It is only the right hon. Gentleman with his eighteenth century psychology who would have indulged in the trick at all. In fact, he would have been a worthy member of Lord North's administration.
Hon. and right hon. Members opposite may think they have won a temporary advantage by this method, but they must measure and weight its consequences. This is a boomerang, and the wounded will not only be on this side of the House. I warn right hon. Members who are members of the Cabinet that if this is going to be done, there should be a shorthand report of all Cabinets and Ministerial committees; otherwise, they may find themselves in the hands of summaries which have bowdlerized what they say and the advice that they have given; and some future political enemy may further bowdlerize it in a debate in this House. I should have taken the right hon. Gentleman on one side and asked him whether he has not done British constitutional practice a great injury by this piece of irresponsible foolery this afternoon.
I say this with due humility, that in the course of the last 20 years I have given considerable attention to the study of Parliamentary practice. [An HON. MEMBER: "And other things."] The hon. Gentleman will probably be confined to one thing. In the course of that time it has always seemed to me—and I put this in all respect before the House —that the informality of our discussions, which is the envy of the world, is only rendered possible by having it maintained within a strict formalism of procedure. Once that formalism is broken down and once the tacit assumptions of political relationships are broken, then there is no limit to the damage which can be done to the British Constitution. 'Therefore, I earnestly hope we shall not 985 have a repetition of what has been done this afternoon.
Even now the right hon. Gentleman ought to respond to the invitation of the Front Bench and publish the paper, because to take hold of a State paper, which he says it is not in the public interest to publish, and then to indicate a part of its contents—[Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman, according to Erskine May and the strict constitutional procedure, has nothing to shelter behind except that it is not in the public interest to disclose a document. If, therefore, be does not publish the document at this moment, but contents himself with giving what may be a lying summary.—[Interruption.] How do we know it is otherwise, because there is nothing in the right hon. Gentleman's career that would guard us against that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"] I do not propose to withdraw; I have said nothing which is out of order.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
If I hear any hon. or right hon. Gentleman saying anything which is out of order I shall deal with it.
§ Mr. Bevan
You, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, quoted Erskine May, where it says:It has also been admitted that a document which has been cited ought to be laid upon the table of the House, if it can be done without injury to the public interests.If its publication would injure the public interest, the right hon. Gentleman ought never to have made reference to it at all.
At the conclusion of his speech the Prime Minister inferred—this shows the extent to which his ego now fills the whole cosmos—that an attack upon him might be construed as an attack upon the United States. That is an astonishing doctrine. We have always known that the right hon. Gentleman believed that any attack upon him is an attack upon Great Britain. We have always known that his ego has expanded to that extent, but surely it is now an unusual doctrine to suggest that for the Opposition to move 986 a Vote of Censure upon him is imperilling Anglo-American relations.
Of course, the right hon. Gentleman might complain, as the Foreign Secretary himself complained, of what might be described as anti-American feeling in this country and as anti-American feeling on this side of the House. I have never had any anti-American feeling. [Laughter.] I can tell hon. Members opposite that I have more friends in America than I have on the other side of the House. Hon. Members opposite must get these facts right. No one is wholly in favour of British policy. Is there complete unanimity in Great Britain about British foreign policy? Of course there is not. Is there complete unanimity in the United States behind American foreign policy? Of course there is not.
This attempt to make nations into homogeneous units, and so make it impossible to criticise any aspect of the administration of a country without being charged with being against the country as a whole belongs to juvenile polemics. No one is more adept at that than the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman this. He himself, I am quite sure, would admit that there are different currents of opinion inside the United States of America. We therefore are entitled to criticise certain of those currents without being accused of anti-Americanism.
For example, I am not going to quote from Senator Taft. I am not going to give quotations at all. I am not going to quote from Americans in an electioneering year, because we all know that Americans in their electioneering are even less scrupulous than hon. Gentlemen opposite. It would be distinctly unfair to suggest that Senator Taft actually believes what he is saying any more than the right hon. Gentleman believes all that he is saying. In fact, I am going to ask the right hon. Gentleman one or two questions.
What we are anxious about here—and our anxiety is shared outside this House and we must all keep it within our consciousness—is that if there is one thing that lies heavily upon the hearts of hundreds of millions of people it is the fear that the statesmen of the world may not be able to prevent a third world war. Therefore, we have to consider these matters in the light of that all-pervading anxiety. That is the reason why we were 987 so much upset by what we thought the right hon. Gentleman had said.
I freely admit that the right hon. Gentleman is the most articulate Englishman that has ever lived. He has a gift of language, both in speech and in writing, and many of his spoken and written contributions are adornments of the English language. If there is anyone who has the gift of making himself clear, it is the right hon. Gentleman. It is a gift not shared by the Foreign Secretary, who is able to shelter a very opaque foreign policy behind ambiguity of language. The right hon. Gentleman is above all men, clear.
How did it come about that he was so much misunderstood? [An HON. MEMBER: "By you."] Not only by us but by reputable elements in the United States of America? It is no use hon. and right hon. Gentlemen shaking their heads. Not only must they have spoken to large numbers of Americans who take the same view, but they must know that almost every organ of responsible American opinion put a different construction upon the Congress speech than the right hon. Gentleman has given this afternoon.
Therefore I am bound to ask myself, as I am sure we are all bound to ask ourselves: How did he come to be misunderstood? Did he succumb to the warmth of his reception? Was he seduced by his immediate audience? Were his indiscretions the result of his lack of self-control? If that was the case, we will give him a series of warm receptions on this side of the House, hoping to receive the benefit of a similar number of indiscretions.
The United States of America believed that, as a result of the right hon. Gentleman's visit, a change had taken place in British foreign policy towards the Far East; and, indeed, what other conclusion could they form? My right hon. Friend the ex-Foreign Secretary has made a quotation, and it stands out here startlingly:What I have learned over here convinces me that British and United States policy in the Far East will be marked by increasing harmony.Does that mean that they are moving towards us or we are moving towards them? Being a Welshman, I am interested in the structure of harmony. 988 "Increasing harmony" means being of increasing accord. The Foreign Secretary made it quite clear on the last occasion that there were deep differences of opinion between Great Britain and the United States on China policy. Are we moving towards them, or are they moving towards us? From what situation does the harmony arise? I wish the Prime Minister would listen, because he will not hear as much good sense from the Chief Whip as I am giving him.
§ The Prime Minister
I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman. I am afraid I did not hear what he said. I am so sorry to have missed it. Would he mind repeating it?
§ Mr. Bevan
It was not a good enough joke to repeat. The point that I am putting is this. Here is a quotation from "The Times" of 12th February—and I am not quoting politicians who are trying to get votes—Mr. Dulles, during a broadcast discussion last night, said that the United States must let all the Far East know that it would not stand idly by while any part of the world remained under the rule of either Communist or Fascist dictatorship.Does the right hon. Gentleman approve of that? Are our arms to be engaged in a war against Communism as such? [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer !"] Does the right hon. Gentleman agree with that statement? During a broadcast, Mr. Dulles has said that the United States must let all the Far East know that it would not stand idly by while any part of the world remained under the rule of either Communist or Fascist dictatorship. I think he put "Fascist" in as a make-weight. Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that as a definition of British Foreign policy?
§ Mr. Bevan
In other words, there is no harmony there. Will the right hon. Gentleman now—he has not told us in his speech—indicate where the harmony arises? This is a serious matter. We are discussing here not merely the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman in the United States but, it may be, the end of what is described as bi-partisan foreign policy in this country, and we want to know where we stand. Apparently the right hon. Gentleman does not agree with that. I will go on. I am very glad that we 989 are getting together, even if the right hon. Gentleman is not getting together with the American Administration. This report goes on:American intervention"—mark the words—in the Korean conflict was a step in this direction"—this is still Mr. Dulles speaking—because it showed its determination to prevent the spread of Communism.So that, from the mouth of Mr. Foster Dulles, this is not a United Nations operation to contain an act of aggression, but an intervention by the United States over a long distance of time against Communism. Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that? Is this not a complete justification of the charge being made that behind the guise and façade of the United Nations the Americans are waging an ideological war with weapons against the Soviet Union?
We must warn our American friends that not one British soldier, sailor or airman will risk his life behind a policy of that kind. In saying this I am speaking for myself and not for my party as a whole. However I believe that is the view of the overwhelming mass of the rank and file of every party in Great Britain. It would be a great mistake to leave American public opinion under any delusion about that.
Mr. Foster Dulles goes on:The United States should stir up all possible trouble and inconvenience for the Communist régime in China, and should take the raps off General Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces in Formosa in their effort to harass the Chinese Communists.I wonder whether Mr. Foster Dulles knows what he is talking about. Does he seriously understand the implications of those words? Why should the Chinese People's Government come to terms in Korea when they are now told explicitly, not merely implicitly, that the United States is actively promoting a resumption of civil war on the mainland of China? It is a terrible responsibility to take.
In the last debate we had on this matter the Foreign Secretary asked us to put ourselves in American shoes. Let us put ourselves in Chinese shoes for a change. Let us ask ourselves what we would do. Everybody here knows—at least every miner, railwayman and 990 agricultural worker knows very well that if he were in China he would be a Communist peasant. He would not be a Chiang Kai-shek, he would be a Communist. Of course he would be. Anyone who had lived under the régime of Chiang Kai-shek would become a Communist. [An HON. MEMBER: "He would be forced to be one."] He would not be forced to be a Communist because everybody knows that when the People's Armies marched they occupied a country where the people received them willingly, while Chiang Kai-shek's forces were retreating in a partly hostile country—I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister sees to laugh at in that—
§ The Prime Minister
I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that I was not laughing at him. My attention was caught by the overcrowding of the Front Bench opposite below the Gangway.
§ Mr. Bevan
The right hon. Gentleman now suffers from certain physical disabilities and he ought not to reinforce them by inattention. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw."] We are now in great difficulty. On this side of the House we are afraid that the activities now going on in Korea are being slowly converted into a world-wide attack on Communism, and we believe that, if it is allowed to continue much further, it will mean the end of independence in British foreign policy and it may mean the end of civilisation.
Therefore I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should say to the American Government in explicit terms that we repudiate the Foster Dulles document. However, the right hon. Gentleman had a sinister passage in his speech today in which he found it difficult to distinguish between what he called types of wars. In fact, he described what is happening in Korea as war. I asked, what was happening in Spain when Italian and German forces were there. Was it war? What did hon. Gentlemen opposite do about it? [HON. MEMBERS: "What did you do about it?"] What the party opposite did about it was to shelter themselves behind a hypocritical policy of non-intervention to help Mussolini and to help Franco and to help Hitler establish a Fascist régime in Spain.
§ Mr. Dudley Williams (Exeter)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is the right hon. Gentleman maintaining that it would be better if there were a Communist regime in Spain today?
§ Mr. Bevan
The Chinese call their troops volunteers like the Italians and the Germans did. In fact, what we have been hoping to do by using the same language is to try to contain the fighting there. So far it has been contained. I believe it has been contained for reasons that I do not think are apparent to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. They, and the American administration in particular, have all along deceived themselves into thinking that this irredentism in the Far East and the Middle East is the result of a Kremlin plot. It is no such thing.
In so far as the Soviet Union still believes in power politics—and heaven knows it is getting a lot of excuses just now—it is true that the Soviet Union seeks to take local advantage of social disturbances. However it is also true to say that that irredentism is entirely indigenous. No one can suggest otherwise. If, in fact, the Soviet Union is so powerful and is so omniscient as to be able to stir up and manage and direct all these social forces all over the world, we ought to send a postcard to Stalin and give in. [An HON. MEMBER: "You would."] It is because the right hon. Gentlemen and the American administration make the wrong diagnosis ofthe problem that a wrong solution is being applied at the present time.
§ Mr. Arthur Colegate (Burton)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are we discussing a vote of censure on the American administration or on the Prime Minister?
§ Mr. Speaker
On this Motion the discussion can go very wide, but it would be helpful to the House if we could cut down the width of the discussion.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am well aware that within the terms of the Motion the debate can go very wide, and I said so. At the same time there are limits to width, and and it would be helpful if we concentrated more on the sense of the Motion.
§ Mr. Bevan
I submit to your Ruling, Sir, but will you do the House a favour? Will you tomorrow look at the speeches of the Prime Minister and myself and see whether mine is wider than his? The Prime Minister, throughout a considerable portion of his speech, twitted this party on trying to hide their policy behind a difference of description of the war going on in Korea at the present time.
We are saying, and I repeat this, that what is happening in the Far East and the Middle East is in consequence of all-pervasive poverty. It is the consequence of a revolution that will go on for the rest of this century and will not be contained by the military arms of the United States of America, Great Britain or Western Europe all together. That is why we think that a very great deal of energy, of material wealth, is being thrown away on fighting the wrong sort of war. The war that we want fought is a war against those despairing social conditions that give rise to war.
As a result of pouring out our treasure on a myth, on an assumption that all this is Russian military aggrandisement, Europe has been ruined. That is why I plead for more vigorous British leadership, because nothing that has happened in the last six months can give us any confidence in American diplomatic leadership at the present time.
France is being ruined. We are facing a financial crisis. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] We are not? Then the party opposite should not steal the Health Service. We are facing a financial crisis. All Western Europe is facing grave economic difficulties, largely as a consequence of the fact that all the statesmen in America and Great Britain are becoming the victims of a mythology that they are meeting the Machiavellian plots of the Kremlin where, in most instances, they are meeting the natural rebellion of the ordinary human being against intolerable conditions.
Therefore, I suggest that what the people of Great Britain want to see is not how we can make more effective war 993 against the Chinese. What they want to know is what steps we are taking to make a peace, not how big a gulf we are digging between ourselves and the Soviet Union; and what far reaching plans we are making to pacify the world. It is because they do not believe that the Prime Minister is capable of seeing things in that light that they have no confidence in him in this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "They sent him here."] If he went to the country tomorrow, he would be handsomely beaten. [Interruption.] That is why I suggest that the time has arrived to state the facts clearly to the Americans as we see them. Do not believe that this will cause so much difficulty as is suggested. Americans like to be told the truth, roughly—they state it themselves.
Do not let us believe that behind the monolithic face of the Soviet Union there are no differences of opinion. That would be a very great mistake. Dictatorship has schisms, as well as democracies; the difference is that they are hidden from the public gaze. There must be inside Russia at present roughly two schools of thought—
§ Mr. Bevan
I remind the hon. Member that it is no more use abusing the Soviet Union than abusing the United States. If that is the point of view he adopts, he is not fit to occupy a public position.
This universal indictment of nations ought to be left behind in the adolescence of mankind. Behind this facade in Russia there must be two main contending streams of thought. There are the younger ones, the younger revolutionaries, who have come of age since the Revolution was consummated, who, probably, had illusions of imperial grandeur and might want to have an adventure. They are reinforced in their advice, in their propaganda, by the growing belief that the combinations of the Western World might take on aggressive intentions, because behind this language of Foster Dulles, behind what is being said in the Embassies of Europe, there is a good deal of chatter about bringing the thing to an issue, ending it all, and the Russians know this. Therefore, there must be in Russia advisers who say, "Let us take it on be- 994 fore they get stronger than they are now."
But, obviously, those advisers have lost, because there is another school in the Soviet Union. That school has always thought that it is not necessary to try to accomplish the world revolution by military methods, that they can always rely upon differences of opinion; and so far, their point of view has been in the ascendancy. We do not want any differences of opinion between us and the United States of America to encourage hopes of a military adventure anywhere, but we do not want such subservience to American opinion that convinces the Russians that there is no hope for them except through another blood bath.
We want no homogeneous policy on one side, and no homogenous policy on the other side. We want frank exchanges of opinion, hoping that mankind will still have the wisdom to find a better way out of its difficulties than another insane holocaust.
§ 6.47 p.m.
§ The Minister of State (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) has made a speech, some of the points in which require an immediate statement and answer. I agree with him and perhaps he would agree with me, that the test which we should apply to our words, our actions and our Motions in the House is whether they are likely to contribute to world peace or otherwise.
I wish to put forward one or two points of view about the Motion which is before the House. I am not going to say anything about the personal motives which may have inspired it, because it is in the interests of the House and of the country, and of the world as a whole, that we should so far as possible damp down this sort of controversy. In seeking to put certain points of view before the Opposition today, I find myself very much in the same position as I was, time after time, during the United Nations meetings in Paris, in attempting to prevent matters reaching the extremities of controversy.
So far as criticism of my right hon. Friend's speech is concerned, there was one matter to which the leader of the Opposition in particular referred in his 995 speech on 5th February. The former Foreign Secretary gave expression to a similar view today, and to some extent it was implicit in what the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale has just said. On 5th February, criticising the speech of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition said:I cannot but think that in doing so he tended to represent us as an ally, even a comparatively minor ally, in an American war.That was the thought which was implicit in the speech to which we have just listened.It is significant that he only mentioned the United Nations once in the whole of that speech, and that was only very much in passing, mainly to emphasise the fact that physical action had been taken on the largest scale by the United States for a moral action by the United Nations."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th February, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 838.]That was the criticism, I thought an important criticism, which is well worth meeting.
But, of course, the Leader of the Opposition did not in fact read to the House or pay just attention to what my right hon. Friend had said because, after the reference which I have just given, after the statement about Formosa and after welcoming the patience of the negotiators in the armistice negotiations and after the passage referred to by the right hon. Gentleman about increasing harmony, my right hon. Friend spoke of the sympathy in British hearts for the Americans who had given their lives and went on to say:Whatever course events in Korea may take in the near future I am sure that our soldiers and your soldiers have not made their sacrifices in vain. The cause of world law has found strong and invaluable defence and the foundations of the world instrument for preserving peace, justice and freedom among the nations have been deepened and strengthened. They stand now not on paper, but on rock.I maintain that it was a totally unfair criticism of the Prime Minister's speech just to mention that passing reference to the United Nations withou quoting the passage, to which I have referred, making it clear that the context of these operations was in regard to the strengthening of the world instrument for preserving peace, justice and freedom. I do not think there is a single person in this House at present who, having heard the 996 speech of the Foreign Secretary on 5th February, and the speech of the Prime Minister today, now believes there are any additional commitments of any sort entered into. There has been the most explicit undertaking given in regard to that by both my right hon. Friends.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The next suggestion—and here I come to one of the points made by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale—was that by his speech my right hon. Friend was helping dangerous elements in the United States of America. I do not think there can be a better answer to that—and I apologise for another quotation—than from the leading article in the "Manchester Guardian" of yesterday, which is headed, "Who Helps Taft?"Who is doing most to help them: Mr. Churchill and his Cabinet or Mr. Attlee and some of his party?…the Labour Party itself seems to be doing more in Senator Taft's case than Mr. Churchill has ever done. How does Mr. Attlee suppose that the Opposition motion will be read in the United States? Its finer point—that the House, although approving the Foreign Secretary's statement of policy, regrets the Prime Minister's failure to give expression to that policy—will be lost. (That is in any case a formula to hide differences among Labour Members.)It will look to many people in America like a plain statement that Labour will not go along with the United States in any effective action against China if a truce is broken. It is enough to make Senator Taft whoop with joy. It is exactly what he has been saying: that America cannot count on anybody. And the more Americans of all persuasions come to believe Britain cannot be relied on, whatever the Chinese do, the less they will be willing to listen to our views.The trouble with the Opposition motion and with Labour's action in forcing it forward again is that it emphasises disunity.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
I do not quite know the inference we are to draw from the right hon. and learned Gentleman's last 997 sentence. Is he suggesting that the House of Commons should not go into Recess during American election year, but be very careful because we want one side or the other side to win in America? Is that what the right hon. and learned Gentleman is saying?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I meant neither of those things, but I will endeavour to unfold my arguments. One of the troubles is that there is some difficulty in unfolding a continuous argument because of the great deal of assistance that is given. I will come back to that point because I wish to do so, but I wish first to deal with the latter part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. I think his argument is fairly put in these terms: that re-armament on its present scale is not the right answer to Communism.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The right hon. Gentleman is so good as to nod his head to show that I am not putting it unfairly. I think the attitude of Her Majesty's Government should be made quite clear on this point. We certainly do not agree and do not maintain that it is the only answer, but, in our view it is the first essential answer because, unless the independence and security of the free nations can first be assured, it is foolish to talk of economic aid to under-developed countries. The one is a condition precedent without which the other is impossible.
This argument is used often—and it is one of the reasons why I sought to intervene at this moment—as though we were not giving any help or making any attempt to give help to under-developed countries in the world. In a supplementary question yesterday there was a reference to one of our contributions as "a paltry contribution." I think I shall have the support of right hon. Gentlemen opposite because I think the record of assistance we have given other countries in the past six years really entitles us to a very great deal of credit.
One thinks of the assistance given in South and South-East Asia; the releases from sterling balances of something like £400 million from the end of the war to June, 1949; £172 million from June, 1949 to June, 1951; the Colombo Plan, which envisages something like £300 million—these are figures of releases from sterling balances and also of gifts and loans. As 998 far as our colonial territories are concerned there is the £140 million under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act; the loans raised in the United Kingdom in this year alone, 1951, of £23 million; the £110 million of the Colonial Development Corporation's capital and the very large sums financed out of the resources of the colonies themselves.
In the Middle East there is the help given to Palestinian refugees; specific matters like locust control; and help in Jordan, Libya and Eritrea. Then there are the various international agencies and sums of money devoted to those for this current year amount to nearly £3 million.
These have all been referred to by right hon. Gentlemen opposite and when it is put forward again and again that our only attempt is to deal with the matter on the basis of re-armament, that is not fair to the sacrifices the British people have made in the last six years in order to give assistance to these under-developed territories. In these matters I say straight away that right hon. Gentlemen opposite are entitled to a great deal of credit.
§ Mrs. Jean Mann (Coatbridge and Airdrie)
In regard to the question put yesterday, would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman admit that the cut made by the Government is an exceedingly heavy one for the first month of the year and at the beginning of their term of office?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The previous figure was for 18 months, so the figure is 10 per cent. The grant of £760,000 was for 18 months and the figure of £450,000 is for 12 months only. On a pro rata basis, if the same rate had been maintained it would be £500,000 and it has been reduced to £450,000. I think we all regret the necessity for having to make the reduction.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is it not a fact that in the discussions of the United Nations contributors were asked to maintain for the second 12 months' period the same rate as they previously maintained and that we were the only contributors, apart 999 from Australia, who failed to respond to that appeal?
§ Mr. Lloyd
One of the reasons which caused us to make a reduction was the fact that of previous contributions only 10 per cent. had been spent by the end of September. In that circumstance, this new figure has not damaged or affected contributions made by other countries. Considering all the other difficulties, and the fact that we have increased our help in certain other respects, and having regard to the overall picture I do not think we have anything about which to be ashamed with regard to this help to underdeveloped territories.
The main point for consideration by public opinion throughout the world is that we are not seeking to say that rearmament is the only answer to Communism. The last Government, and this Government, the two parties together, are in agreement and are taking very substantial measures, considering our financial circumstances, to give assistance to under-developed countries throughout the whole world, and we shall certainly continue to do everything we can within our means. But unless we are strong enough to defend ourselves all this really would be money wasted.
After all, when people blame us for this re-armament programme it should be remembered that it is not our fault; that it is not so much a question of a conflict of ideologies, but because the Soviet Union has driven its frontiers further westward. In particular, we remember the fate of Czechoslovakia, and in view of a threat like that to the free countries, one by one, it seems to me impossible for any responsible body of opinion in this country not to support the re-armament of this country, in concert with its Allies, as the first essential defence against the Soviet Union.
§ Mr. Manuel
I take it that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is indicating that there is no difference with the opinion expressed by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) against re-armament, but that he is actually in agreement with the view expressed by the right hon. Gentleman for Ebbw Vale, as he is a party to the under-spending of the amount fixed for this year by approximately £100 million? That is agreed?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I think that on all these matters of foreign affairs, it is exceedingly important to get the greatest possible measure of unity on both sides of the House. The hon. Member has interpreted the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and myself as being in agreement on this point. I am not sure that the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale would agree, but if we are in agreement I am very glad of it.
§ Mr. Bevan
In this controversy, as in others, the right hon. and learned Gentleman is identifying the term "re-armament" with the re-armament programme. They are not necessarily the same things at all. As a matter of fact our contention is that the re-armament programme which is being effected has now left us weaker than if it had been smaller.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I was dealing with what I might call the ideological point: that it was suggested that we believe that rearmament, whether the re-armament programme or anything else, is the only answer to Communism. I think it necessary to put on record at the earliest possible moment that that is not our view; but we do believe that it is the first essential in facing Communism. The other matter which again I think arises out of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman—
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that one of the reasons why my hon. Friends and, indeed, why thousands of people up and down the country believe that the Government bases its opposition to Communism solely in re-armament is because of the record of the Prime Minister in the wars of intervention against the Soviet Union in 1918, 1919 and 1920?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The hon. Gentleman may believe that, but I do not think that more than an infinitesimal fraction of the people of this country share that view.
The other matter which, as I say, I think should receive a great deal more publicity than it has received at present is the question of a preventive war. I may be doing the right hon. Gentleman an injustice, but I think I detected in his speech the idea that we in some way favoured, or at all events were supporting people who favoured, the idea of a preventive war against Communism. There has been a great deal of criticism of the 1001 speech of the Prime Minister and I think it right we should draw attention to the passage towards the end of the speech where he made it clear that weseek or covet no one's territory. We plan no forestalling war.That should be taken in conjunction with what the American Secretary of State said on, I think, 21st February:People of my country and the peoples of the other countries of the Atlantic community do not cherish military strength for its own sake.…We seek to build forces adequate to deter aggression or to meet it. We do not seek to create greater strength than we need for this purpose; we do not desire military forces great enough to launch a preventive war. We desire peace and the aim of all the efforts we have undertaken…is solely to ensure that we shall live in peace.When we are hearing a great deal of unfavourable things about what certain American people have said, I think it only fair to give great prominence to that clear statement, which is precisely what the Prime Minister said in his speech to Congress. I submit, taking these arguments one by one, that there are no grounds at all, to use one of the right hon. Gentleman's own phrases, for this miasma of suspicion and misrepresentation about what has been said.
There is another aspect of this Motion and I would urge this point of view on hon. Members opposite, because I hope it is not too late for them to have second thoughts about this matter. What will be the impression upon the world of this Motion, and the voting against the Government upon it? It will be said that the Opposition have voted against the Government on foreign policy and that this is the end of bi-partisan foreign policy. It is no good hon. Members opposite failing to appreciate that fact.
I would remind them of the example of the Second Reading of the National Health Bill, in 1948. The Conservative Party made it quite clear on that occasion that they were not voting against the principles of the Bill, but they were voting on a reasoned Amendment which clearly set out our view. Ever since then the Labour Party has maintained that we voted against the principles of the Bill. They have said it again and again, and I expect that they succeeded in convincing a good many people of it.
It is exactly the same with regard to this Motion, although there is this rather 1002 clever form of words seeking not to make it a Vote of Censure on the foreign policy of the Government, but only on the Prime Minister. It will be read, in fact, as showing disunity between the major parties on this matter and disunity between the United States and a large section of our people; and I suggest that that will be a lamentable conclusion.
The right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), the former Foreign Secretary, talked today about playing the Communist game. The people who will delight in what is taking place in this House today, if this Motion is pressed to a Division, will be Mr. Vyshinsky and his colleagues, with whom I have been endeavouring to deal during the past three months. During the whole of the last Session of the United Nations they spent their time attempting to split the United States and the United Kingdom apart, to shake our confidence in one another and to shake the will of the free world to resist. I said that to them at the time and it was perfectly obvious that that was their endeavour.
I believe the greater majority of hon. Members in the House are in favour of maintaining our freedom. We may differ about the method, but I believe that by far the larger number of hon. Members wish to see this country and other free countries united in their defence of freedom. It is all very well to think of this as an academic or theoretical discussion, but it is not, because we have seen the frontiers of Soviet Communism gradually expanding to the west, and many a time right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite have testified to the degree of that menace and to the necessity for our being strong enough to defend ourselves against it.
Some hon. Members, in point of fact, have said that in their view the threat of war had come very much nearer in the past three months, but the right hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) said the other day, in South Africa:I believe that the immediate danger of war has passedI do not agree with either of those statements. I think that, as we gather our strength in this country, so the threat of war will diminish, but to say that the immediate danger is past is to make by far a too optimistic statement of the case.
1003 I should have thought that we in this House should be concentrating all our efforts upon increasing the common ground between the parties and the common ground between ourselves and the United States with regard to tackling this danger to the free world. First of all, we should build up together our defensive strength, both military and economic, and we are agreed upon that. We should sustain the rule of law, and again we are agreed on that. We should strengthen the authority of the world instrument to preserve peace, justice and freedom. We should help, to the utmost of our capacity, economically and technically, those people whose standards must be raised, and we must do all that, not in a spirit of patronising superiority, but as partners.
These are the objectives which are in common between most hon. Members opposite and those on this side of the House. I believe that they are the common objectives between the United States of America, or by far the larger proportion of its citizens, and by far the larger proportion of our citizens, and that the Prime Minister's speech to Congress, to quote again the words of the "Manchester Guardian"…revived the sense of partnership between the two Governments.I think it was a substantial contribution towards the attainment of the objectives to which I have just referred.
I say again, in all seriousness that I think one is perfectly entitled to debate these matters. I think the right hon. Gentleman made a most interesting contribution, developing a point of view which most certainly had to be debated and answered. I do, however, ask hon. Members and those responsible for this Motion to think twice about registering a Division in the House today, from which the world will certainly draw the inference that the general agreement between the two parties in this country on foreign policy has ended. If that, happens, it will certainly endanger the cause of peace, and any censure to come will rest not upon my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister but upon those who support the Motion in the Division Lobby tonight.
§ 7.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael O'Neill (Mid-Ulster)
I hope that the House will bear with me 1004 for a few moments while I enter into this debate and make my maiden speech.
As an Irishman, I feel that the foreign policy of any Government should be aimed to achieve one objective—world peace. I think everybody agrees on that, but, in order to achieve that objective, we have to recognise one basic principle, and that is the right of free and equal partnership for all the nations of the world. To quote President Truman when he spoke at San Francisco on 4th September, 1951:The peoples of our country want, and are determined to have, a world at peace, where there is justice and freedom for all nations.In this respect, I believe that this Government, and, indeed, past British Governments, have a wrong conception of nationalism. According to the policy of this Government, it would seem that nationalism, as applied to some countries, is a very great virtue, but, in other countries, it would seem to be regarded as a very great vice. That is not true of the world today, because we have reached a stage in our civilisation when every country can manage its own affairs, without being a menace to its neighbours or a danger to world peace.
As an Irishman and an Ulsterman, I took a special interest in the Prime Minister's visit to America. The right hon. Gentleman had a wonderful opportunity, as a professed democrat, to enlist world opinion over there for international peace, but I am afraid that it is just another case of having missed the bus.
During that visit, the Prime Minister made two statements with regard to Ireland. In one, he is quoted as saying that Britain will never consent to a plebiscite in Ireland, and in the other he says that Britain will never desert Northern Ireland. To the Irish people, these statements constitute a threat, they are wholly inconsistent with democracy and have only succeeded in estranging the whole Irish race, both the Irish people in Ireland, in America and all over the world.
The Prime Minister should have been well aware of the wishes of the Irish people, because in 1918, which was the last opportunity which the Irish people had of voting as a whole, over 80 per cent. of them voted for a free Ireland, and that position holds good today. I feel that, in this matter, I am merely pushing an open door, because both the 1005 Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition have made specific statements in this respect. The Prime Minister himself said, in 1948:The will of the people, expressed in conditions of freedom and universal franchise, must prevail. That is our root principle.The Leader of the Opposition said, in 1947:We are seeking, not to enforce our views on other people, but to try to see to it that every nation and every country and people are freely able to choose their own form of Government.What has occurred to cause these two right hon. Gentlemen to change their views? Why did they insist on maintaining a minority rule in Northern Ireland by force and at a time when the country could be of immense value, not only to this country alone, but to the whole western world? The days of minority rule went out with Lord Salisbury, and we hope they will never return, unless the Prime Minister envisages a dictatorship. We hope not. The will of the people must prevail in every country everywhere, and the sooner this Government realises that fact the better it will be for everybody, for Britain and the whole world.
I should like, on behalf of my colleague and myself, to state that we do not desire to take any part in the domestic affairs of this country. Neither do we desire to be affiliated with any party here, but, to show our detestation of the policy of the present Government in having failed absolutely to make any approach towards a just solution of the Irish problem, we shall vote against the Government tonight.
We seek the co-operation of all parties in our effort to achieve Irish unity. That is our sole objective here—to achieve the unity of Ireland—and I say to hon. Members of all parties: the friendship of the Irish people is worth having you can have it for the asking. It only requires one simple operation—take your troops out of the Six Counties and leave Ireland for the Irish.
§ 7.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Fitzroy Maclean (Lancaster)
While congratulating the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Mr. O'Neill) on a very spirited maiden speech and saying how glad we are to see him and his colleagues take their seats, I should like to give the hon. 1006 Gentleman a word of advice. Speaking as a Scotsman, I really think that he would do much better to try to use the tactics of peaceful penetration which we have used over the centuries with such success.
§ Mr. Maclean
I said "peaceful penetration." But perhaps this is a beginning. Having said that, I should like to try to get the debate back to the Motion which, in one way and another, seems to have been rather neglected this evening.
I think few people would dispute that one of the most important features of British foreign policy since the war has been the measure of agreement which has existed between Government and Opposition on most of the main issues. Whatever the exact wording of the Motion that was finally tabled by the Opposition, the important thing about today's debate is that it marks a break in this limited but nevertheless valuable co-operation between the two great parties in the State, and I should like to spend a few moments examining how that break came about and what its effects are likely to be.
During the late Government's period of office, many of us on this side of the House showed ourselves at different times highly critical of their conduct of foreign affairs, but what we criticised was not so much the underlying principles of their foreign policy as its timing and the methods by which its exponents sought to carry it out. Once the leaders of the party opposite had got over their lingering, sentimental affection for Russia, once they had belatedly grasped the imminence of the danger threatening this country, once they had realised—again belatedly—the need to re-arm and to strengthen the bonds which united us with our allies—once, in short, they had realised the need for collective security—then they were able to count on our support and to count on it with far greater certainty than on the support of many Members of their own party.
I think that no one on this side of the House would deny the great services rendered by Ernest Bevin to the cause of world peace—services for which he was bitterly attacked by Members of his own party. Similarly, I do not think that any of my hon. Friends would deny the 1007 fundamental wisdom of the re-armament programme initiated by the present Leader of the Opposition—once more to the accompaniment of persistent sniping from behind.
Again we on these benches gave the right hon. Gentleman our wholehearted support when he took the courageous step of committing this country to war in Korea in defence of the principle of collective security, when later he authorised General MacArthur to cross the 38th Parallel, and finally when he joined the United States in branding the Chinese Government as aggressors. We now know that he went even further. On every one of these occasions, the then Prime Minister and his Government were able to count on the loyal support and co-operation of His Majesty's Opposition.
That is what happened when a Labour Government was in power and when we were in Opposition. What happens now when the conduct of foreign affairs is in Conservative hands? What line do the Labour Party take now? Sabotage from the very beginning; at the Election the warmonger scare, the then Foreign Secretary, broadcasting to millions all over the world, doing his level best to queer the pitch for his successor; and now a China scare, just as harmful, just as artificial, and created from just the same motives.
§ Mr. W. Griffiths
Might I point out that when the late Foreign Secretary made his broadcast speech during the Election he made the point that some of the hon. Member's colleagues had made most extravagant speeches—for example, the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for New Forest (Colonel Crosthwait-Eyre), who talked about dropping the atomic bomb on Russia now. He and others made speeches which were extremely dangerous to world peace.
§ Mr. Maclean
The hon. Gentleman misunderstands me. I was talking about the passages in the broadcast in which the then Foreign Secretary, the right hon. Gentleman who opened this debate, did his level best to queer the pitch for any Conservative successor. If the hon. Gentleman will look at the text of the broadcast he will see what I mean. That was the warmonger scare—perhaps the 1008 most successful stunt there has ever been in the history of British politics to get votes.
§ Mr. Maclean
I would rather have red meat than the Red Flag, which most hon. Members opposite seem to prefer.
To return to the China scare. To give him his due, the Leader of the Opposition has not gone as far as some of his more enthusiastic back benchers would have liked. It is true that he stopped short of putting down a Motion censuring what is virtually his own foreign policy. But, as is so often true of half measures, he has gone quite far enough to make himself look perfectly ridiculous. And, what is much more important, he has for purely party reasons jeopardised the whole principle of national unity where matters of vital importance are at stake.
I said "for purely party reasons," but it is not even that. The Motion that is before the House—this hybrid Motion which has been cooked up and tabled—is the direct result of the various stresses and strains that exist inside the Labour Party. It is a sop to the yapping Cerberus who sits for Ebbw Vale. It is intended to appease the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), who admits quite frankly that, wherever anybody else might stand, he himself stands on the side of the Communists.
If we lived in more peaceful times, if the issues involved were less vital, a shabby political expedient of this kind would, at a pinch, be understandable, even excusable; but we do not live in peaceful times and the issues involved affect the survival not only of this country but of the whole of Western civilisation. And I must say that, in the circumstances, I find it incredible that a patriotic man like the present leader of the Opposition should lend himself to such low-down manoeuvres.
The situation in the Far East is, after all, clear enough. In Korea, we have a case of flagrant aggression committed by the North Koreans, aided and abetted by the Chinese and the Russians. We have allied soldiers being killed and wounded 1009 by the Communists. We have allied prisoners of war being shot by them in cold blood. And yet there is an important section of the Labour Party who seek to condone this aggression and who try to confuse the issue by making out that the Americans are the aggressors and the Chinese are the aggrieved party.
Even the former Foreign Secretary talks about the danger of provoking the Chinese by imputing to them unworthy motives. It never occurs to him for a moment to think whether the Chinese have not provoked us. Hon. Gentlemen opposite try to ignore the plain, inescapable fact that for over a year the Chinese have been killing our lads in Korea. They raise their hands in horror at the idea of any retaliatory measures against China.
§ Mr. Maclean
In fact, they advocate a policy of total appeasement towards the so-called People's Democratic Republic of China, which shows its popular nature and its democratic character by massacring hundreds of thousands of its unfortunate citizens in the best totalitarian style. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) said that any railwayman, any agricultural worker, if he were in China would be a Communist. What about all these hundreds of Chinese who are massacred? What about them? Were they all wicked capitalists and Fascists? There were an awful lot of them if they were.
And it is to pacify this lunatic fringe, to appease these arch-appeasers that the Leader of the Opposition has tabled a Motion of censure on the Prime Minister. Just what has my right hon. Friend done to merit this personal attack? There is his speech to Congress, first of all. By it, by promising "prompt, resolute and effective action" in case of any further Chinese aggression he did two things. First of all, he dashed Russian and Chinese hopes of a breach between Great Britain and America—hopes which had risen very high under the last Administration. Secondly, he gave Stalin and Mao Tse Tung a clear warning of the consequences of any further attempts to extend their Asiatic Empire.
1010 Personally, I can think of no greater, no more effective contribution to the cause of world peace. I think all parties in the House are agreed in not wanting to see an extension of the war in the Far East if it can possibly be avoided. I believe all parties are equally anxious to see a cessation of hostilities there. What some hon. Members tend to forget is that whether or not the war in the Far East is continued or extended does not depend exclusively on the Western Powers. It also depends on Stalin and Mao Tse Tung.
At the present time, the enemy are reinforcing in a big way in Korea. If, as seems very possible, fighting flares up there again, are we simply to abandon everything we have fought for? If the Chinese, as they may well do, invade Indo-China or Burma, if they attack Hong Kong, are we still to do nothing? Are we still to stop our aircraft from operating across the Chinese border? No; quite clearly we should have to strike back and, that being so, it is far better that everybody concerned should know the position in advance. Prevention is far better than cure.
What we have to do is to deter the Chinese from starting anything in the first place. That we can best do by demonstrating the unshakable strength of our alliance with America and by ensuring that the Chinese understand what will happen to them if they do attack. That is exactly what the Prime Minister has done by his speeches here and in America. As he himself said,We have secured a better chance of reaching an agreement [with the Communists in Korea] by making it plain that the United States and Britain are working together in true comradeship and, that in the event of a treacherous renewal of war, would together take prompt, resolute and effective action.It is for doing that, that he is now being subjected to this attack.
What have hon. and right hon. Members opposite done? They have done something quite different. They have done their best to give an impression of disunity—of British disunity and of Anglo-American disunity—by their silly yammering, they have strengthened the hand of Mr. Taft, about whom they say they are so worried, and of the other isolationists in the United States. And they have encouraged the Chinese to believe 1011 that they can continue their career of aggression with impunity. In other words, they have, by their conduct, not diminished but increased the risk of war.
I say that if there is to be a vote of censure, it should be on hon. Members opposite and on their leaders.
§ 7.38 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
Before I comment on some of the points made by the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. F. Maclean), with many of which I agree, I want to say a word or two about the speech of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). I agreed in some considerable measure with the latter part of his speech. I think, however, that the implications of many of the views which he put forward are not fully understood, and particularly, perhaps, not entirely understood by his own followers.
The right hon. Gentleman stressed, for instance, the need to increase the happiness, the welfare and the standards of living of the poorer people throughout the world. I entirely agree, and I was very glad to hear what is being done by the Government, as explained by the Minister of State. But in the long run, the standards of living and the welfare of those people will be increased by allowing them to make more use of the raw materials which their countries provide and by allowing them to make manufactured goods. We should not deceive ourselves. It means that we shall not be able to obtain those raw materials and food to the extent which we should like and that we shall face more competition from those countries with our own industries.
What I think should be put fairly before the working people as well as the better-off people of this country is this: if we are sincere in our desires to raise the standards of living of millions of people throughout the world, it is not just a question of a few Colombo Plans and a few million pounds handed out for this or that purpose. It is a question of facing the fact that at the moment we are a better-off nation and we must forgo some advantages and face some considerable inconvenience and competition if the standards of these people are to be raised.
1012 Secondly, we cannot afford to leave a vacuum in these countries. The concept of Empire is now perhaps rightly suspect, but our obligations are not over when we give self-government to a country. We have an obligation towards them for their education and economic development, and I sometimes wonder if we have not gone too far back from the ideals expressed by Mr. Kipling.
Is there not a very great need today for the young men of this country to go out to the Far East and to Africa to take service not necessarily with our Government but with the United Nations and the Governments of those countries themselves and to fill that vacuum which must exist if one hands over a country like Burma or the Dutch East Indies to their own people, who have no experience in the conduct of affairs?
The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale referred to the very serious state of Europe and I agree with, though not in laying the blame largely at the door of the United States. If the Government are to be censured at all in this debate they are very much open to criticism for some of their European decisions. Apart from the military value to the European Army, there would have been a great psychological value if they have pledged a contingent of British troops to serve in Europe for a definite and prolonged time. By so doing we should strengthen the hands of democratic forces in France and the hands of Dr. Adenauer, and would encourage the people throughout Europe who are trying to build up unity and self-respect among European nations.
Whatever the dangers—and I agree there are great dangers in re-arming Germany and I should not like to see a German General Staff revived—do not let us make the mistake of failing to support moderate elements in Germany when they are in power, and thus run the risk of the rise of immoderate elements later.
The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale also referred to speeches by Mr. Foster Dulles and the effect that it might have had inside the Soviet Union. They might have some effect there, but to my mind far more serious is the effect of these speeches in the free countries themselves. Communism does not exist only behind the Iron Curtain. It is the alternative throughout the free countries of the world 1013 and has a great following in Europe and the Far East. The danger of these speeches is not that they will influence Russian policy, which is determined by other and long-term objectives: it is the effect they may have in weakening confidence within the free world.
In the early part of the speech of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale I must confess that there seemed to me some whistling to keep up confidence. Now we know that we were committed by the late Government to drastic action within Chinese territory whether the truce was broken or not. The right hon. Gentleman indicated that what the Prime Minister told us might be inaccurate, but we had it confirmed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham. South (Mr. H. Morrison). Whatever papers are laid or not laid before the House, the late Government committed themselves to retaliatory action outside Korea in the event of certain things taking place. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale spoke of Lord North. I should have thought that that was an example of secret diplomacy which might well have been undertaken by Lord North.
Whether papers are laid on the Table or not is secondary. Whatever anxiety there is about that, it is nothing to the anxiety of the people of this country when they read the statement, not by the Prime Minister, but by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South. I am entirely with him in his dislike of ideological war, but I must confess that ideology in foreign affairs is much more often brought in from the extreme Left than the Right.
I was rather surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South, in moving this Motion attacking the Conservative Party for being warmongers. In the Conservative Party, as in other parties, there are many shades of opinion. Far be it for me to demand unity in a party. But in recent history many of us think this country was brought to war not by the warmongering of the Conservative Party but by their ostrich-like and pathetic belief in the pacific intention of the dictators.
As for imperialism, the Conservative Party were the party who gave us the India Bill and gave up the Irish bases. Certainly, these were not examples of im- 1014 perialism, and there is certainly something in the continual whipping they have received from Lord Beaverbrook for their very lack of interest in the Commonwealth and in imperialist ideals.
I regret this Motion because I think it will have the very opposite effect to that desired by the Labour Party. The aims of foreign policy today, as in the time of the late Government—and as they should be—are that we should be strong enough to deter aggression on one hand and that we should be able to build up the welfare of the free nations on the other. But in both these jobs, and not only in the job of defence, we must have whole-hearted co-operation between the Commonwealth and the United States.
I would impress upon people who attach the greatest importance to building up the standard of life in the Far East that this is impossible without a large influx of American capital. I should like to say to the Americans that they must shake out of themselves their prejudice against Commonwealths like the British Commonwealth. Imperialist they may have been, but they now play a useful part in holding together and building up the welfare of the world as a whole and we desire the United States to co-operate with us throughout our Commonwealth as well as outside it.
It would be disastrous if anything were to be done which would seriously weaken that co-operation. Furthermore, it would be disastrous if by this Motion we gave the impression that we were going to pull back in any way in the Far East. I am not one of those people who think that there is a very pressing danger of a major war in Europe, but I think there is a danger of a series of Korean attacks throughout the Middle and Far East.
I should like to spend a little time in commenting upon the much quoted speech of General Bradley. I must say I am surprised at the agreement it provoked. He said that war in China would be a war against the wrong nation at the wrong time, and so on. Undoubtedly, the habit of conducting our diplomacy by public speech is one of the most serious handicaps from which we suffer. Let us think of the effect this speech would have had on us if it had been made by a Russian. We would have said that it implied a Russian intention to prosecute 1015 the right war at the right time against the right nation, and we would be much inclined to rejoice if they found themselves pinned down in a place in which, obviously, they did not want to fight.
§ Mr. Mayhew
As I shall say if I am lucky enough to be called, this excellent phrase was initiated not by General Bradley but by myself some four months earlier in the United States. Therefore, I feel I can speak on this subject with some authority and I assure the hon. Member that if he had been in the United States at that time, speaking on this subject against General MacArthur, he would have found that the phrase was an extremely powerful one and helped the cause of limiting the war.
§ Mr. Grimond
I daresay it had an excellent effect in America, but what I am doubtful about is its effect in Russia. After all, we have no reason to suppose that speeches made in America will be reported only in that country. After all, we should not be having this debate here tonight if they were.
I hope that the approval shown to this phrase does not mean we are in any way lessening our determination to maintain our interest in the Far East. It seems to me that at any rate one set of opinions behind the sort of remarks made by Mr. Taft and others is the feeling of many Americans that, if Chiang Kai-shek is willing to have a go at the mainland of China, why not try to fight the war with his men instead of American boys?
I do not believe we should necessarily assume that it shows on the part of Americans a desire to fight a bigger war themselves. I am certain that behind it is partly the desire to get someone else to take part of the responsibility of a war in China, and that, if Chiang Kai-shek is willing to do so, let him try. I believe that that is a very dangerous state of mind, but I do not think we are going to abate that state of mind by showing any signs of pulling back in the Far East.
Incidentally, I should like some further enlightenment as to what now are the permanent arrangements for discussing political matters between the members of the United Nations concerning the Far East and whether the method by which decisions are reached concerning political 1016 and military matters has been altered and improved.
The second reason why we should not lessen our influence in that area is that it is of immense importance to the Commonwealth. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are very intimately concerned with what happens in the North Pacific. The third reason is that I believe that peace is still indivisible. That, I think, is a Russian phrase. If we are to ask the Americans and other nations to assist us in Europe it is up to us to play our part in areas that seem far away from us today, but which are of the greatest importance to our Commonwealth. To my mind, just because we have a different approach to the Far East from that of the United States, we should be prepared to play, if anything, a rather greater part, and not put too much stress on keeping our powder dry for a hypothetical war in Europe which may never break out.
Peace and prosperity throughout the Pacific area are very much a British interest, and it must rest in the first place on a feeling of security. I think that we ought to be very careful to define what are our interests, and not only our interests but those of the free world. I think we should make it very clear that we are bound to resist any attack not only on those places for which we are responsible but on Burma, on French Indo-China, and on any of the free countries in that area. But the destruction or even the permanent enfeeblement of China is not a British interest, and is not an interest of the free world; and I am very glad to hear that point of view, as I understand it, re-affirmed by the Government.
Mr. Kennan's book has pointed out that the tendency of democracies, once they begin to engage in war, is to attach great moral indignation to their fighting. That makes it very difficult for a democracy to take on a war of limited objectives. It makes it, I think, very difficult for a democracy to say that there can be any benefit in not completely crushing its enemy. But I think Mr. Kennan is right in saying that, probably, if we were to have history over again, we would treat Germany more fairly than even we did after the 1914–18 war. I think that certainly, in the instance of Korea, and probably other similar wars carried out in the Far East, they must 1017 inevitably be wars with limited objectives, and, therefore, we should if possible keep out of them moral and ideological overtones.
Though I hold no brief at all for Communist China, I believe that the only hope for the Chinese is in a gradual change within their own country, and I am sure it would be not an advantage but a very heavy disadvantage for the free world if they were faced not only with an attack on that country but with a totally disrupted China, a China completely defeated by atomic warfare or turned into a state of complete internal chaos.
By all means let us stand up and defend our legitimate interests in the Far East, but let us not become either permanently embroiled in China or seduced into thinking that it is a British interest completely to smash up the existing fabric in the Far East—in China or Japan—until at least we have something, which we have not at the moment, to put in its place.
§ 7.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
The Government, by drawing a limited commitment by the previous Government—by drawing this red herring—across the trail, have attempted to divert the House from the real problem we have to face, namely, the problem set for Britain and for world peace by the trend in opinion in certain sections of the United States towards spreading the war in China.
What is said by Mr. Foster Dulles and what is being defended by the Prime Minister tonight is something quite different from the specific, limited commitment in certain eventualities which had been given by the previous Government. This commitment was given subject to consultation and was directly connected with military operations already going on in Korea.
But the real problem is this trend in United States opinion, and it presents a problem which no reasonable person surely can deny. We cannot just dismiss statements such as those read out and made by Mr. Foster Dulles. Those opinions are not shared by the United States Administration. They, I am sure, would not claim Mr. Foster Dulles as one of their members.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I know the argument on that point, and I cannot give way; but it is important opinion.
If we wish to find an effective attack on the ideas of Mr. Foster Dulles and, I think, of Mr. Taft, we find that they are made, as often as not, by members of the United States Administration.
§ Captain Soames
Would the hon. Gentleman not agree that Mr. Foster Dulles can no more speak for the American Administration than can the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) for the Socialist Party?
§ Mr. Mayhew
No, again, the hon. and gallant Member is mistaken in the opposite direction.
It is quite impossible to regard Mr. Foster Dulles simply as a private individual, for various reasons. He holds a position of responsibility in the United States of America. Equally, however, it is wrong to consider him a member of the United States Administration, and I think it is unfair to the United States Administration not to point out that the most vigorous and effective critics of the views of Mr. Foster Dulles have often come from within the Administration itself.
The point tonight is: Have the Government shown any signs at all that they recognise that this problem exists? What measures have they taken or are they proposing to lessen the influence of these people? Do they understand that the Prime Minister, in his visit to the United States, did, in fact, whatever his intention, give aid and comfort to those who hold these views?
Nothing that the Prime Minister has said—and he laid false trails in his speech —gives us any reassurance on these points. It is the judgment, I think, in many quarters of the House and in public opinion, that we should go all out for an armistice in Korea, and that it would be neither wise nor morally justified to spread the war there; that such action would not shorten the war but prolong it, and, perhaps prolong it almost indefinitely; that it would cost more lives, British, American, Chinese and Korean, and that it would destroy the West's political influence in Asia. It would also be strategically foolish.
On the subject of the strategy, may I for the record make one point clear. I 1019 have here a news cutting dated 12th January, 1951, from the "Louisville Courier," which quotes me as stating, during a speaking tour in U.S.A.:We, the British, are not prepared to play into Russia's hands by committing more of our limited military resources against China; tying up in the wrong places at the wrong time against the wrong country.Naturally, I was most satisfied that within four months this phrase which I had used should be picked up by General Bradley. I was even more gratified when the idea penetrated the understanding of even the Prime Minister, and was commended to my hon. Friends and myself most warmly in a recent statement in the House.
Though it may seem churlish, let me make this point to the Prime Minister. He would do much better explaining the British point of view to the Americans than learning the British point of view from an American source in order to lecture us about it in this House, especially when the lecture originates from ourselves. I would also like to make this point. My speeches there, like those of many Members of the House, were made under the auspices of the British Information Services.
It seems to me a supreme folly, at a time when it was never more necessary to explain the British point of view in the United States, that among their foolish cuts the Government should include cutting of B.I.S. Every time the Prime Minister goes to America the British Information Services becomes more necessary to explain the muddles and clear up the mess, and I say that, not only in going to America and making ill-advised speeches but in cutting the British Information Services as well he seems to be over doing it altogether. There really is a problem in the growing trend of opinion in certain quarters of the United States towards spreading the war. It is a problem which the Government must understand, face, and remedy; but it is this problem which this Government seems to have difficulty in understanding and no intention of remedying.
May I now turn to a very different subject? Because the problem which I have just been discussing is the most immediate and urgent one, there is the danger of thinking that the impatience 1020 of certain Americans is the only, or the main, threat to world peace or to peace in Asia today. But we have also to face the fact, as responsible people, that China, allied with the Soviet Union, has the aim of driving all Western influence out of Asia.
I do not think many of us would contest that they want to avoid world war, but from their acts and speeches it cannot be doubted, but that they have the aim of destroying Western influence in Asia, of using nationalism to combat the West, and subsequently, we can hardly doubt, of using Communist forces to oust the nationalist forces in the so-called liberated countries. We have to face this problem because we cannot avoid responsibilities in Asia. In India, in Burma and in Korea, as Members of the United Nations, and as members of the Commonwealth, we cannot avoid facing this fact.
This is surely the whole difficulty of our problem. If we had only to deal with the problem of the rising impatience of certain sections of United States opinion our foreign policy would be clear and simple, and we need not have any controversy about it. But the difficulty and danger is that in the minds of these Communists, in the minds of the Chinese and the Russians, side by side with fear is ambition. The same doctrines that make them fear the West make them hate the West and wish to destroy the Western régimes. The desire for security in the minds of Chinese and Soviet Communists is almost indistinguishable from the drive to expand, the drive for world power. The way they think, those two things are almost indistinguishable, and that is the problem we have to face.
We must, therefore, have a twofold approach to solving this problem. We have on the one hand to have policies of conciliation, restraint and patience—really trying to get into the minds of the Communists in China and Russia; trying to look at things from their point of view; trying to estimate what the impact of our actions will be on them; showing them by all possible means that we have no intention of forcing war upon them; showing them by every possible means that ours is a policy of live and let live; and strengthening democracy in countries outside the Communist orbit by measures of economic aid.
1021 That is one way in which we can deal with this menace. But, equally, there is the second approach—the approach of making it perfectly plain that clear-cut aggression will be resolutely resisted. We cannot have one approach without the other, and the whole task of foreign affairs today is surely to try to balance these factors which often conflict with each other to an awkward degree, but which are both necessary if we are to increase the chances of avoiding war.
We have not always succeeded in this in the past. We have only to look at Korea itself to see the mistakes made by the Western Powers under both these headings. We made a mistake under the first heading, of the need for patience and imagination, when, after crossing the 38th Parallel, the United Nations Forces, flushed with victory, rushed up to the northern frontier without sufficiently stopping to consider what the impact of this would be on the mentality of the Chinese Communists. A little more restraint there, a little more imagination, and a little more patience might—I only say might—have helped to avoid the disaster of Chinese intervention in North Korea.
But, equally, in Korea the Western countries were wrong—anyhow, the United States was wrong—under the second heading as well. It did not make clear that it was going to be resolute in resisting aggression against South Korea in the first place. Looking back now to 25th June, 1950, who can doubt but that one of the reasons why the Soviet Union unleashed the North Koreans against South Korea was because they, like many observers in the West, thought that the United States had written off South Korea altogether.
If we had made clear in advance that such an act of aggression would be resolutely met, as it was met, by united military resistance, that act of aggression might never have taken place at all. Thus Korea shows—and many other examples could be given—the need for a twofold approach in keeping world peace at the present time.
No one should doubt but that the Labour Party and my hon. and right hon. Friends do stand for both these principles. That is shown in this Motion. It 1022 is shown, too, in the six years of Government after the war; six years of Government when this country was, on foreign policy, well-governed, obeying the principles of patience and strength enunciated by Mr. Ernest Bevin. We have got fat more right to speak about the principle of collective security than hon. Members opposite. They had their chance to organise a collective security system before the last war, and they rose to the occasion in the most lamentable way at Munich. Indeed, it was we who led the way to making a reality of collective security since the war, in the North Atlantic Treaty and under the United Nations—things which have helped to stabilise the situation in Europe today.
We have every right to speak on this subject with authority. We have also shown ourselves ready to bear the cost of defence, provided it is fairly done and not by just soaking the schoolchildren and pensioners, as hon. Members opposite seem to advocate. I think that my hon. Friends will agree with me that it is useful to say this if only for one reason; that we on this side of the House are coming back into power very soon.
If the impression were given that the Labour movement was not resolute in its intention to resist clear-cut aggression and to defend by all proper means Britain's fair claims and rights in the world, that, we know, would recoil on us on our return to power. I am not thinking only of Communist countries like China and Russia, but of Spain, Egypt and the Argentine to whom these remarks might apply and who might get adventurous ideas and be reluctant to negotiate fairly with us if they got the wrong impression.
In conclusion, I would urge that the Government must understand that there are two sides to this peace-making, and this Motion calls them to account because on his visit to the United States the Prime Minister failed to make plain that there is a basic difference here between the British and a powerful section of United States opinion which could be disastrous if it were not made plain. Instead of explaining and asserting the British point of view he tried to explain it away, to obscure it and to apologise for it, and this deserves the censure in the Motion before the House tonight.
§ 8.12 p.m.
§ Major Tufton Beamish (Lewes)
The hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew, has given us a series of faint echoes of the more extreme speeches that have come from his side of the House. He did not, although he accused my right hon. Friend in a brief moment when he dealt with the Motion which we are discussing of ill-advised remarks in his speech to Congress, quote one single word of that speech as evidence. I would say to him, with all politeness, that he may be able to get away with that kind of act on television but he cannot get away with it here.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Is it not a fact that of all the subjects the right hon. Gentleman should choose to discuss in his speech to Congress, his mention of Formosa and of spreading the war in Korea did give a totally false impression?
§ Major Beamish
I am glad of the hon. Gentleman's interruption because that is one of the points with which I intend to deal in my speech, which I hope will bring us back to the Motion which we are discussing, and which has been discussed on this side of the House but hardly touched upon on the other side. The speech of the hon. Member for Woolwich, East, was in glaring contrast with the sensible and thoughtful speech made by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond). [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] The reason is that the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland happens to be a very sensible man.
I had not originally intended to speak in this debate, but because the Opposition have shown such irresponsibility and have based their arguments on so many fallacies, I am glad, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that I caught your eye. I very much regret the tone of the debate as set by the Leader of the Opposition, and I am sorry he is not in his place because I want to deal with some of his remarks. He tried to blow up a storm in a Chinese teacup. During the 1930's no one can deny that the party opposite took every possible opportunity of making a partisan approach to foreign affairs. I had hoped that the war and six years of Labour Government would have taught them a sense of responsibility. But I was wrong.
1024 The Prime Minister today dealt in very characteristic fashion with the unbalanced remarks of the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison). I want to analyse the attack that was made by the Leader of the Opposition. Let us admit, because there is no denying it, that the speech which my right hon. Friend made to Congress has been grossly misinterpreted in some sections of the United States Press. We can all agree on that. One has only to read the papers to see that is so.
§ Mr. Manuel
The hon. and gallant Gentleman has said that the opinions expressed in the American Press have misrepresented the views of the Prime Minister in his speech to Congress. Do I take it that he is making the point that the whole of the responsible Press in America is irresponsible in this particular matter, because it is not only the left wing papers who have been criticising what the right hon. Gentleman said?
§ Major Beamish
The Leader of the Opposition quoted "an American writer" as saying that'Prompt, resolute and effective action' was widely interpreted here as willingness to join the United States in such measures as bombing Manchurian airfields.…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th February, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 838.]If those words were misinterpreted in some quarters of the United States Press, they were not by the United States Government. Fancy quoting "an American writer." Who was it—Mr. Walter Winchell? The misinterpretation in the United States Press was deliberately stoked up by the Socialist Party who sought to misinterpret those words themselves, although they knew perfectly well what they meant. They have been guilty of stirring up the very trouble of which they have accused my right hon. Friend of being responsible.
I do not think that is a very good way in which to help this country. We have been told that my right hon. Friend should be criticised for saying, "We take our stand by your side," during the course of his speech to Congress. Let me remind the party opposite of the words of the Leader of the Opposition on a similar occasion when he went to America on the advice of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. He said: 1025In fair and foul weather as long as the Stars and Stripes fly in Korea the British flag will fly beside itWith those sentiments I heartily agreed at the time. What is the difference between that and what the Prime Minister said in Congress, except maybe that the Leader of the Opposition used rather more emphatic words.
The Leader of the Opposition wants to know what is the Government's policy to keep the peace in the Far East after the armistice which he agrees, as we all do, should be first settled. When he was in power he never gave this House the faintest indication of any long-term policy in the Far East. My right hon. Friend and the Government have taken the earliest possible opportunity not only of looking towards long-term policy through the machinery of the United Nations but of raising this question when they were in the United States. There is a very distinct contrast here. It is clear to me that throughout this debate there has not been one single constructive suggestion from any hon. Member opposite so far as Far Eastern policy is concerned.
The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South was purely destructive. In mentioning him, I am reminded of the complete misinterpretation that he has put on something which is going on at present. He sought to argue that the Japanese Government is in process of recognising General Chiang Kai-shek's Government as the legal Government of China. He is wrong in saying that, because only on 22nd February Mr. Yoshida, the Japanese Prime Minister, speaking in the Diet, said that a Japanese delegation in Taepah, Formosa, was negotiating a bilateral treaty which would recognise Nationalist sovereignty only over territory acturally controlled by the Nationalists at the moment. The right hon. Member for Lewisham, South, was completely wrong in his remarks.
We are now told that it was unfortunate that my right hon. Friend mentioned Formosa. The Leader of the Opposition said:The trouble is that there is only one point that was touched on by the Prime Minister in his Congress speech—and I think it unfortunate that he mentioned it—and that was Formosa."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th February, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 839–40.]What complete rubbish that is! I have never heard such rubbish in my life! I 1026 cannot believe that the right hon. Gentleman had read the Prime Minister's speech. Only one sentence in it referred to Formosa, while there were two paragraphs about Korea, a paragraph about South-East Asia, and a paragraph about Japan. Yet we are told that Formosa was the only thing that the Prime Minister mentioned. If that is supposed to be an attack on the policy of my right hon. Friend, it has completely mis-fired.
It is clear to me from what has been said today and what we knew before that there has been no change in Government policy in the Far East. The only reason I can give for the kind of speeches we have had today from the Opposition is that many hon. Members opposite are beginning to regret the implications of the policy which they themselves laid down.
I want to say a few words about Formosa and put one or two questions to hon. Members opposite. About 18 months ago the United States President announced that the United States Seventh Fleet would neutralise Formosa, would assure that there would be no attack on Formosa by the Chinese Communists and that troops from Formosa would not move to the mainland. That was described by "The Economist" as a "thoroughly respectable police operation." That was a very fair description, and I agree with it.
For more than a year the Leader of the Opposition was unable to make up his mind what the British Government's policy was on this matter. As late as 15th August last he said that the Government was not concerned with Formosa. Eventually he made up his mind. The policy of the Chinese Government towards Formosa is not in doubt. If any hon. Member has any doubt, I will read him something from one of last Sunday's newspapers quoting Peking radio, on which General Nieh Jung-chen, Chinese Deputy Chief of Staff, was quoted as saying:We shall liberate our territory of Taiwan.That is Formosa. Therefore, the Chinese Government's intentions towards Formosa are perfectly clear. In the same speech, the General made it clear that any liberation of that kind would be done in cooperation with China's allies.
As I understand it, the main reason for the neutralisation of Formosa is one 1027 of simple military security. It is that we dare not allow Formosa to fall into hostile hands while the United Nations is opposing aggression in Korea. Does any hon. Member opposite disagree with that? Apparently not. Secondly, the object is to try to localise the war. Does any hon. Member opposite disagree with that? Apparently not. That is fine.
§ Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham, East)
A little earlier the hon. and gallant Member was complaining that hon. Members were interrupting him. Now he is taking it for granted that if we do not interrupt him we agree with what he says. It would be better for him to work on the assumption that if there is silence and no reaction to his speech from this side of the House there is complete disagreement with him.
§ Major Beamish
All right. It seems to me to be very important that we should find out, what, if anything, there is behind the attack which has been made during the debate, and that is the reason for my questions. My third question is: Is it agreed that the future of Formosa should be settled by the United Nations and not by force of arms? [HON. MEMBERS: "Agreed."] Then we can put "Agreed" to that.
If hon. Members have any doubt about it they should read Article 73 of the United Nations Charter. It seems to me that hon. Members opposite, who may not be in complete agreement with this policy, are rather overlooking the views of the Formosans themselves. Article 73 lays it down clearly that territories detached from enemy States come under the trusteeship section where:…the principle is laid down that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount.We can all agree with that. [Laughter.] Have I said something funny?
§ Mr. Follick
The hon. and gallant Gentleman is forgetting that the future of Formosa was settled by the Mena House agreement.
§ Major Beamish
Mena House? I am not concerned with where it was settled. I am trying to find where there is common ground about this. I was criticising the Leader of the Opposition for attacking my right hon. Friend for mentioning For- 1028 mosa at all in his speech to Congress. That has been the main burden of the attack from the Opposition.
§ Mr. Scholefield Allen (Crewe)
All these questions which are directed to the Opposition are entirely beside the point. Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman realise that what troubles me and many hon. Members of this House in relation to the speech made in Congress are the implications which have been drawn from the speech in the United States Press and also not by the irresponsible Press in this country but in a leader, now quite famous, in the "Manchester Guardian," in which the speech was deplored as creating a wrong impression? That is the gravamen of our charge.
§ Major Beamish
That is a vote of censure against the Press. I am dealing with the words which my right hon. Friend used in Congress, and I am answering the attack by the Leader of the Opposition. I intend to go on with it. If the hon. and learned Gentleman wishes to criticise the Press for putting a wrong interpretation on words which were quite clear, he can do so, but I want to get on with my speech.
In these circumstances, we on this side of the House are entitled to ask what all the fuss is about. My right hon. Friend was criticised for saying that prompt, resolute and effective action would be taken in the event of an armistice being signed and the terms of it being broken by the Communists. That was the least that he could say. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why say anything?"] That is what hon. Members opposite cannot understand, and I will go on to explain it.
Why should hon. Members opposite censure my right hon. Friend for using those words? It is still worse when they try to pretend, when they know it is not true, that a secret plan was made to extend the war. That is a disgraceful and unworthy charge to make. Goodness knows, we have all suffered enough in the war. Not a single hon. Member in the House wants to see the war extended. Those who make that kind of charge are making a most unworthy charge. That kind of charge hurts me as much as any of my hon. Friends, because my own regiment was in Korea—although it is now in Hong Kong—during some of the worst fighting an several of my very best friends who 1029 survived the Second World War have now lost their lives. That is the kind of thing I do not like. It is a repetition of the warmongering tactics of the election.
Hon. Members opposite were taken completely by surprise when my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister disclosed to the House—much to the annoyance of the Socialist Party—that it was agreed by the last Government that if certain things happen the fighting could not be confined to Korea. This forced the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South, to turn one of his famous political somersaults, at which he is such an adept.
Let me now turn to one or two points with which I can deal quite easily from the back benches. Why are we blinding ourselves to possible new developments in the Far East? Supposing, for example, that the Chinese Communists themselves extend the war to the Chinese mainland by bringing to bear heavy air reinforcements against the United Nations troops fighting in Korea.
The estimated strength of the Russian aircraft available for the Koreans and Chinese fighting in North Korea is at least 1,700, of which 900 are modern jets. It is perfectly true that so far the United Nations have comparative air superiority over Korea, but the enemy have not yet been using the full force of their attack. Supposing Soviet aircraft were used in very large numbers and supposing United Nations troops had to pull back, might that not create a new situation, which would require prompt, resolute, and effective action?
Supposing again that the Chinese Communists intervene on a large scale with their so-called volunteers against Indo-China, which is so strategically important. I see in today's "Daily Telegraph" —[Interruption.] That is a newspaper which is extremely well informed on the Far East, and I regard their reports as particularly reliable. They report in today's issue:Russian and Chinese equipment played an important part in Viet-Minh Communist operations which forced the French to withdraw from Hoabinh, 35 miles south-west of Hanoi, Indo-China, on Friday night and yesterday.They go on to give detailed evidence of the kind of equipment available. I have 1030 also a reliable report that something like 250,000 well trained regular troops under the command of General Teng Hua, who was recently a Chinese delegate at the truce talks in Korea, are massed along the Indo-Chinese border.
§ Major Beamish
If the hon. Gentleman has any evidence to disprove my facts I shall be glad to hear it.
§ Major Beamish
If the hon. Gentleman thinks I am making up these figures he is at liberty to do so, but I ask him to listen to what I am saying and he can check up the figures. It is my believe that something in the nature of 250,000 Chinese troops are massed along the Indo-Chinese border. They are under the command of the general I have mentioned, and the armies are known as the Second and Fourth armies and they have a large reserve.
§ Major Beamish
I am fortified in what I am saying by the attitude of the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman). [Interruption.] I find it very difficult to speak with you constantly interrupting me.
Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hopkin Morris)
The hon. and gallant Member will, I hope, be good enough to address his remarks to me.
§ Major Beamish
I was not aware that I was addressing my remarks elsewhere, but it is very difficult to make my speech against a running barrage from a sitting position by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne.
§ Mr. Silverman
The hon. Gentleman is not doing himself or the House justice. It is not unreasonable to request, if the hon. and gallant Gentleman stands up in his place and gives a lot of important information of which nobody else has 1031 ever heard, where he got it from, what authority he has for it, and if he is not making it up or getting it from his extreme right-wing friends. What is unreasonable in that? Why should he not tell us what is the source of his information so that we can judge of its credibility?
§ Major Beamish
If I was disclosing information from a private source, the last person to whom I would give it would be the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne. I only ask the House to believe me. Those are the facts and figures about the distribution of these Chinese armies on the Indo-Chinese border, which I believe to be absolutely correct.
§ Mr. Follick
Would it be in order to ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman if he himself knows where he got the information from?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
That is not a point of order. I would appeal to both sides of the House to remember that we should allow free expression of opinion from each side.
§ Major Beamish
I am very sorry if my remarks are provocative, but I fail to understand why. They are a careful analysis of the military situation in the Far East. I believe the facts that I have given are wholly true and undeniable. I cannot say more than that. If hon. Gentlemen opposite do not want to accept my figures they need not.
§ Major Beamish
But I am going on to make my speech.
In those circumstances it was obviously very proper that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary should have issued the warning he did when he spoke in New York during his recent visit to the United States. He used these words, and they ought to go on record in HANSARD:It should be understood that intervention by force by the Chinese Communists in South East Asia, even if they were called volunteers, would create a situation no less menacing than that which the United Nations met and faced in Korea. In any such situation the United Nations would be equally solid to resist it.It seems clear to me that why my right hon. Friend thought it necessary to give 1032 that dire warning was because of the distribution of Chinese troops along the Indo-Chinese border to which I have referred.
Is there any reason in anything I have said now why my right hon. Friend should be censured by the party opposite? Supposing, for example, a new thrust developed against Burma, a country whose Government is already half paralysed by the Chinese rebels who are disrupting the country, would not that create a new situation, and would not this situation call for prompt, resolute and effective action from ourselves and the other members of the United Nations? It is equally true to say that if the Chinese Communists sent reinforcements to back up the Communist rebels in Malaya in a big way, by land or sea, it would create a new situation which would call for prompt, resolute and effective action.
The "Observer" last Sunday summed all this up very sensibly, and I would like to read a few lines from it. Speaking about China, this newspaper said:If she breaks a Korean armistice or commits a new aggression in South-East Asia or elsewhere, war with China will be inevitable; and Pekin should be given clear warning of this.The newspaper goes on to add:While China should be clearly warned that further aggression on her part means war, she should also be reassured in the clearest terms that, if she stays within her borders, nobody will attack her merely from dislike of her régime.I believe that to be a fair and sensible summary of the situation.
Some hon. Members have suggested that General Mao Tse Tung will become another Tito. I hope he will, but I shall believe it when I see it. After the most careful study I do not see signs of it at present. There is a good deal of evidence that General Mao Tse Tung's régime is coming increasingly under the orders of the Kremlin. I feel that "China for the Chinese" may one day be a rallying cry, but not "China for Chiang Kai-shek." I have never said that, and I do not believe it. It is highly problematical whether Chiang Kai-shek will ever be welcomed back into China at all. All the twisted arguments and Fabian clap trap that we have had in this debate cannot alter the facts which I have given.
§ Mr. Thomas Reid (Swindon)
The hon. and gallant Gentleman knows the East 1033 very well. The statement made by the Prime Minister today that he was carrying out Labour's policy is against other statements that he has made. Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman explain why the Prime Minister said in America that he would welcome it if America and other countries sent troops to Egypt? Was that just a wild statement?
§ Major Beamish
I am dealing with the Far Eastern situation. The hon. Gentleman and I have shared platforms in the past and have debated the Middle East. There are very few matters connected with the Middle East on which we do not see eye to eye, but I do not want to be sidetracked to that subject now because the argument would take us too far. This is the first time I have heard the point mentioned in the debate.
How does the Far Eastern situation appear to sensible people? The situation ought never to have been used by the party opposite as a vehicle for a partisan attack on the Prime Minister. There is no denying the fact that Communist forces in the Far East have a very great military preponderance indeed, in comparison with United Nations forces, and that they have the enormous advantage of working on interior lines. The mobilised armed strength of the Communist forces is in the neighbourhood of 5½ million. On the Soviet Border, the latest estimate I have yet received shows that there are 5,000 Soviet aircraft in that area, 26 infantry and seven airborne divisions, and—
§ Mr. G. Thomas
May I ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman to disclose to the House the authority he is claiming for these figures? Otherwise, they mean nothing.
§ Major Beamish
If the hon. Gentleman followed as carefully as I do the intelligence reports which are often published by the United Nations, he would have these figures.
§ Major Beamish
Some of these figures have been quoted on many occasions. It does not matter whose figures they are, I am giving actual figures and as far as I know, they are accurate. They were 1034 quoted in the "Observer" only a few weeks age.
I say that some of us cannot help being apprehensive about the military advantages that may have been gained by the Communists during the prolonged truce negotiations which have been conducted with such good faith by ourselves.
All this seems to me to underline the urgent need for a global strategy to be agreed between all the free countries. It seems also to underline to a considerable extent the failure of the Socialist Party to provide such a strategy. It must be the supreme objective of Allied strategy to win a victory over aggressive international Communism and to avoid a war.
There are many things that need to be done in working out this strategy. The responsibility for it lies clearly on the shoulders of the Government, but the Opposition has a duty too. The Opposition has a duty to criticise constructively, and not to try to curry favour with an unthinking electorate by refusing to support unpopular measures even though they are vital, and are known to be vital, for British security and for the preservation of peace. I have many friends who sit on the opposite side of the House and I greatly regret that so many of them who belong to the majority of the party opposite—the 75 per cent. or so who are really social democrats—are allowing themselves during the course of this debate to be led by the nose by the Marxists and fellow travellers whom I group together under the heading of the Bevanites.
I say to the party opposite that the only honest course for them in this debate is to withdraw their Motion of censure on my right hon. Friend and admit the hollow nature of their charges. To press this Motion to a division will be to give positive proof that the Socialist Party is playing politics at a time of national peril. And not only will it give proof of that but it will also give proof that the whole of the Socialist Party is being swept off its feet by the Ebbw Vale tide.
§ 8.48 p.m.
§ Mr. T. Driberg (Maldon)
I shall not waste much time on the somewhat feverish and infantile speech to which we have lust listened. I will merely say to the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes (Major Beamish) that I am sure he will be as glad as I am to know that there is 1035 absolutely no common ground between us on the question of foreign policy—
§ Mr. Driberg
—whatever may be thought of the general issue of the Division tonight, which I personally warmly welcome, and of the extent to which it may mark or symbolise the end of bipartisanship, as it is called, in our foreign policy.
There is, however, one point—if I can have the attention of the hon. and gallant Member, because he had the attention of the House for quite a long time—on which I agree with him. I can accept his sincerity and, indeed, honour him for the feelings expressed in the short passage in his speech referring to the casualties in Korea, to the death of men he knew in his old regiment. I ask him, however, in all earnestness, whether he does not conceive it possible that those lives might have been saved, that many thousands of other lives—British, American and Chinese—might have been saved, if it had not been for the insane strategy of General MacArthur when he went right up to the northern end of Korea and, in the view of many of us, provoked and alarmed the Chinese into crossing the frontier. It is, perhaps, unprofitable at this moment to try to sort out the exact responsibilities and provocations on each side, but at least one should not be accused of "condoning aggression," or anything else wrong, if one simply tries to analyse and assess current history as it is being made.
The Minister of State, in his intervention this afternoon, appealed to us on this side to have regard to what he called the "explicit undertakings" given by the Prime Minister and in other quarters. He seems to feel that because of these explicit undertakings our suspicions and the universal impression, not merely of a few irresponsible newspaper men in America, but of the most reputable Washington diplomatic correspondents, could be set at rest and that, therefore, we should not divide the House tonight. Unfortunately, many of us find it difficult to accept those explicit undertakings at their face value.
Explicit undertakings have a way of coming unstuck, of coming apart in the hands of the present Government. Per- 1036 haps I may quote, in passing and by way of illustration, an example from another part of the world. The Minister of State will remember giving an answer yesterday in the House on the question of the Sudan, in which he said that he had nothing to add to or subtract from a most explicit undertaking and assurance given by the Foreign Secretary on the first day of this debate. Indeed, the Foreign Secretary showed that he realised how explicit it was by adding sotto voce at the end of that passage in his speech, "I do not think this will help me much in my negotiations with Egypt" or words to that effect.
§ Mr. Driberg
I am in the middle of what I described as a passing illustration. There have been long speeches about Ireland, Germany, and other parts of the world. I know the point which the hon. Member wants to make, and I appreciate the motives which prompt him to do so.
I was drawing the attention of the Minister of State to some very serious statements contained in the broadcast last night by the Egyptian Prime Minister, reported thus by Reuter in today's "The Times":The people were unanimous that evacuation and unity of the Nile Valley be realised, and he assured them that he would not negotiate"—that is, in the impending negotiations with us—over the principle of evacuation, but on the means of implementing it and achieving the unity of the Nile Valley.That was the Egyptian Prime Minister speaking. If it is true, it means that we are now negotiating, or are about to do so, with Egypt, among other questions, on the question of our recognising Egyptian sovereignty over the Sudan. [An HON. MEMBER: "Nonsense."] It is no good saying "Nonsense," if words have any meaning at all. That is what was said by the Prime Minister of a country with which we are just entering into negotiations. I do not understand why we should be negotiating about that subject at all. In my view, it ought not to be on the agenda—unless the Foreign Secretary wants to transfer his riots from Cairo to Khartoum.
1037 That was just a passing, brief deviation from the main subject of the debate, but I hope very much that whoever replies tonight will be able to say a word of further reassurance, if that be possible, because great concern and alarm are caused when these explicit undertakings are, apparently, broken so soon after they are given.
On the main subject of the debate, I thought that the Prime Minister was quite exceptionally evasive, no doubt deliberately. He did not understand, or he pretended not to understand, the real point of the charges against him and his speech in Congress. It was not so much what he said as the way that he said it and the impression that he conveyed. The Prime Minister himself, many years ago, laid down a set of rules for young speakers. He said that there were three important principles of public oratory and that they were important in this order: first, who you are; second, the way you say it; and, third, and only third, what you say.
I think that that applies well to the speech it the Prime Minister in Congress: it was not so much what he said—although some of that was objectionable to us on this side of the House—as the impression he conveyed, an impression immensely reinforced by the unanimity with which, as I say, these Washington correspondents, diplomatic commentators, and so on—no doubt inspired by official hand-outs from inside the State Department and elsewhere—interpreted that speech as illustrating a reorientation of British policy on lines which have caused so much alarm here. It is no good the Prime Minister riding off with a light remark to the effect that he cannot chase up all the comments which have appeared all over America. He knew perfectly well what we meant.
Furthermore, he was evasive on one particular subject which was dealt with at some length by the hon. and gallant Member who spoke immediately before me, but who has already left his place in the House—the subject of Formosa. What the Prime Minister said to Congress about Formosa may be in itself unexceptionable, although I agree with the criticism by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition that it was an unfortunate subject to introduce with so much 1038 emphasis. But no one has yet mentioned in this debate the curious phrase used by the Prime Minister in his statement in the House on 30th January:What I have said and repeat is that he"—that is Chiang Kai-shek—and those who fought with him against the Communists and have taken refuge upon the island of Formosa should not be invaded and massacred there while the United Nations Forces possess such overwhelming naval superiority."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th January, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 201.]This was not the point at which he made that slip of the tongue, which has been referred to already. This was a considered statement, and he said:while the United Nations Forces possess such overwhelming naval superiority.Surely the implication of that is that the Prime Minister is now committing us, committing the Royal Navy, committing our troops, possibly, to uses in Formosa to which the previous Government did not commit them. He does not say, "while the United States has such overwhelming naval superiority there," butwhile the United Nations Forces possess such overwhelming naval superiority,thus implying that, in his view, an intervention in some revival of the Chinese Civil War, on the side of Chiang Kai-shek, would be a legitimate activity for our Forces.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) dealt with the claim that there is "increasing harmony" between the Americans and ourselves. Either that was empty rhetoric or it was extremely sinister—sinister in that it would justify our attacking the Prime Minister today for having apparently surreptitiously re-orientated British policy and re-aligned it with American policy. The Foreign Secretary used another rather similar phrase in his speech. He spoke about "the Atlantic approach." He said:I hope that in the political field this sense of the Atlantic approach to international problems is going to grow."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 5th February, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 823.]Goodness knows what that particular bit of woolly rhetoric really means or is meant to mean, unless the Atlantic approach to foreign affairs is an approach in which those who make it are usually out of their depth.
1039 Seriously, there is no such thing as an Atlantic approach to international affairs. I know that geography has now been revised, and that Greece and Turkey are on the coast of the North Atlantic. But, what identity of purpose, ideologically or economically, is there between the various Powers on the Atlantic seaboard —ourselves, the Americans, the Portuguese, the various other Powers there? I wish we could clear our minds of some of the cant and hypocrisy which underly these bromides with which the speeches of Ministers are so freely bespattered nowadays.
The reason why there is not and cannot be complete harmony or unity of approach between ourselves and the Americans is that there is a rather interesting contradiction in the whole American approach to international affairs. The principal motive and emotion in the minds of our American friends is an almost obsessive fear and hatred of Communism. But they have a secondary and by no means inconsiderable motive and emotion in international affairs—an equally obsessive and irrational inherited hatred of what they regard as British imperialism. They have a somewhat old-fashioned idea of British imperialism, which has been cleaned up a good deal in the past six years, thanks to the Labour Government. Quite a few of them still have the sort of idea of it which is held by Mr. Hearst and Colonel McCormick and people like that. These two antipathies are, in a sense, mutually contradictory. The Americans cannot have a show-down with world Communism unless they can be sure that we will "go along," as they say, "at all costs," as the Prime Minister says. Yet all the time they are taking economic action, especially in the Far East and South-East Asia, which is extremely damaging to the British Commonwealth and British trade.
I say that we should not go along with the Americans at all costs: not at the cost of sacrificing our independence of approach to international affairs; not at the cost of the disruption of the British Commonwealth and British Commonwealth trade—the loss again, it may be, of Hong Kong and Singapore. The would-be liquidators of the British 1040 Commonwealth do not sit on these benches. They are the American planners who have built up Japanese export trade on a competitive capitalist basis and have, furthermore, induced the Japanese by pressure to cut themselves off from their natural markets on the Chinese mainland and thus to attack our natural markets in South-East Asia even more intensively.
This is the fundamental contradiction in the Anglo-American complex, and I cannot see that the Prime Minister has done anything to resolve it by merely blurring the differences and by pretending that they do not exist, as he did in his speech to Congress. On the contrary, that seems to me to be the most dangerous of all attitudes. Several hon. Members on the other side of the House have said how important it is that the Chinese, or the Russians, or anybody else, should understand clearly in advance what we will and will not do. It is equally important that the Americans, as our potential allies, should understand clearly in advance what we will and will not do.
It is because the Prime Minister deceived them, intentionally or unintentionally, bemused them with his rhetoric, and made them think that we would go along at all costs, and that he would have the British people behind him, that it is necessary for us, by this Division tonight, to record the fact that the Americans cannot have their show-down unless we are in it with them; and that the Prime Minister cannot take us into it with him, and with them, against the wishes of more than half of this nation.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Kenneth Younger (Grimsby)
I rise to support the Motion which stands on the Order Paper in the names of my right hon. Friends and myself.
This Motion has been criticised on many grounds by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but I think that they will at least agree this about the debate to which it has given rise. There was, undoubtedly, for whatever reason, some confusion about the true meaning of the things which the Prime Minister said and did on his visit to the United States, and, as a result of this debate, there will surely be some clarification and some improvement.
I have only been able to make notes of what the Prime Minister has said, 1041 because, in the nature of things, I have not been able to see HANSARD. We have had from him categorical statements in the course of this debate to this effect. He said that he was opposed to action involving us in war in China, and that he had never departed from this, publicly or privately. In winding up the passage of his speech relating to Korea, he said there were no secret or private agreements, actual or implied, on this issue given either by himself or the Foreign Secretary on their visit to Washington, and, when summing up the whole of his speech, he said there has been no change of policy towards the United States, the United Nations or the war in Korea.
The right hon. Gentleman said that he had only conformed to the policy of the late Government in regard to action to be taken in Korea in certain circumstances. He also said that nothing would be more foolish than for us to become involved in Asia, or for Chiang Kai-shek to enter into adventures on the mainland of Asia.
I believe that these are useful statements on British Government policy, and I only regret that they were not clearly made some five weeks ago in the United States. They are not, in every respect, however, wholly clear, as I hope to show in the course of my remarks.
I want, first, to say a brief word or two about the background against which, it seems to me, the Prime Minister made his speech in the United States. It will be known to most hon. and right hon. Members that, for something like 18 months, there has been going on in the United States what they call "the great debate," and a great debate it is, about the fundamentals of United States foreign policy. It deals with issues such as isolationism, the emphasis to be placed on United States interests in the Eastern or Western Hemispheres, relations with the Soviet Union, Communism, and so on.
Within this debate, there has recently emerged, as one of the major practical issues, the question how far world problems, and, in particular, the problem of the relations between Communism and the free world, can be solved, wholly or mainly, by military means, and the testing ground of this issue at the present time is, inevitably, the Far East.
I hope no hon. Gentleman in this House will seek to deny that there is in the United States a considerable body of 1042 opinion, which we might broadly describe as the military school, which tends to believe that strong military action is the main, if not the only, weapon to be used.
I am not going to give the House any more quotations, of which we have had very many. We had quotations in the earlier part of the debate, and we have had them again today, from such people as the American Secretary for the Navy, Admiral Fechteler, Mr. John Foster Dulles, and so on. I think there can really be no doubt that there is a school of thought of this kind, and an influential one, in the United States. It is not at all a straight issue between Britain and the United States; it is also an issue among Americans themselves. Indeed, the extent to which some of the best minds in America are at the present time both speaking and writing against the military attitude towards world affairs is, I think, some proof that this issue is a live one in that country.
How the United States decides this issue is a matter of vital importance to all of us. It is a sobering thought that the political leaders of the United States have the responsibility for guiding their country's decision aright in all the perplexities of an election year. That is a field in which I think we should be wrong to enter, and here I agree fully with the Prime Minister.
For us, this is not an election issue; it is a matter of national survival and of world peace and I think the Prime Minister had an altogether unique opportunity—and I use the word in the strict sense, for there is no American leader at the present time and no foreign leader who had the opportunity, or could have had the opportunity, of speaking, as the right hon. Gentleman might have spoken, to the American public and to the world, and not merely to the Administration in Washington, the other day.
He had, therefore, not only the opportunity but the duty to his own people to make full use of that occasion to state the British case. My misgivings about what the right hon. Gentleman's attitude in America might be started before his speech in Congress. They started when I read the official communiqué which followed his conversations with the President of the United States. It seemed to me almost as though Britain had been represented there simply by her Minister 1043 of Defence and as though the Prime Minister, with his wider obligations, had in some way been left outside the conference room.
I dare say many hon. Members have not very clearly in their minds what was in the communiqué. It was not very long—far less than a column in "The Times"—and it was almost wholly military in flavour. It began with one or two general statements about building the strength of the free world which might have been taken to be more than military but which clearly had a military connotation. It went on to refer to the United States' bases in Britain, to the Supreme Command of the Atlantic, to the standardisation of the rifle, to the European Army, to Middle Eastern defence and to Britain's need of steel exclusively for defence.
Those are very important topics, but one would have expected that something more than a couple of platitudes would have been put into that long list of military subjects to cover the whole field of non-military statesmanship. If that really represents the ratio in the Prime Minister's thinking of military strategy, on the one hand, to diplomacy and statesmanship, on the other, I think it is a very dangerous thing for this country, and I think the Foreign Secretary, who has my sympathy in this matter, had better try to secure for himself at least a small niche in policy-making by applying for the new post of Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Defence.
That was only, as it were, the hors d'oeuvre of the feast which the right hon. Gentleman was going to give us and it was, of course, the Congress speech which aroused people's fears here and aroused a good deal of confusion on both sides of the Atlantic. In particular, there were those two phrases which have been discussed and have been made the subject of our debate—the first, where he said our response, in certain circumstances which are familiar to the House, would be "prompt, resolute and effective"; and the second his brief phrase about Formosa. The right hon. Gentleman's speech today seemed to bypass any discussion of the effect which those phrases produced. He has now told us what was in his mind, but he seems to think that it was only his political 1044 opponents who had any cause to misinterpret those phrases.
As I said, I shall not add to the surfeit of quotations, but if there is anybody here who thinks it was only the right hon. Gentleman's political opponents or only the Americans who were worried by the meaning of those phrases, I recommend him to look up the leading article in "The Times" in the same issue as that in which the right hon. Gentleman's speech was reported—that is to say, before anybody here could possibly have expressed in public any reaction to the speech—and, at the same time, the leading article in another very responsible paper, on the other side of the Atlantic, the "New York Herald-Tribune" of the same day.
The editor of "The Times" saw fit to say, in an article, that it would be perilous to deduce from this speech that in the event of there being any new setback there would be automatic involvement in a wider war in China. Anybody who knows the style of "The Times" knows that that would never have appeared had it not been that on a first reading of that speech the editor of "The Times" had felt certain that some such deduction would be drawn. How right he was was proved by the fact that at that very same moment the deduction was being drawn by the "New York Herald-Tribune," in an equally important leader, that we were now agreeing to those attacks on Chinese centres which Britain had so strongly opposed when they were suggested by General MacArthur. That will be found in leading articles on the same day—18th January—in both "The Times" and the "New York Herald-Tribune."
Since then there has been controversy in many responsible papers, including the "Manchester Guardian" and the "Economist," finally ending with the debate in Congress when the right hon. Gentleman was accused of "double-talk." I do not think I would be exaggerating if I described that situation by saying that the right hon. Gentleman certainly cannot be congratulated on having clarified Anglo-American relations on this subject.
The Prime Minister went further on that line today, and I want to say a word or two about those two phrases—first of all the one about a responseprompt, resolute and effective.1045 We have been told by the right hon. Gentleman that he meant by that no change from the policy of the previous Administration. He described the policy of the previous Administration—and I have got it as nearly as possible verbatim—in these words to which I take no objection: "If heavy attacks were launched from Chinese territory upon our troops in Korea we would be prepared, subject to consultation, to associate ourselves with actions not confined to Korea in order to protect our troops."
§ Mr. Younger
I take no objection to that, though I should like to ask, without delving deeply into controversy, where the right hon. Gentleman was quoting from and whether our United States Allies were consulted before he chose to make public here at least the gist, if not actually the text, of what was, at the time, a private communication to us and an equally private reply?
In commenting upon that description of the policy of the late Labour Government I should like to point out first of all that, as I have said, this was not issued as a political gesture, as a public warning, but as a private exchange of views of what might have to be done tactically in the field to meet a specifically military situation, namely, an attack by air starting from Chinese soil upon our troops.
I dare say that that policy is unpalatable to many people, but I have always taken the view that no Government could take any other attitude towards their own troops but one of saying that if they were heavily attacked from such airfields the military must be ready to take such action. But that is not at all—not in the least—what the right hon. Gentleman said in his speech. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is exactly."] It is not exactly what he said.
In the first place, he made clear in his own speech that he made this statement in Congress in pursuance of a decision he had taken to give a public warning. He was not discussing a military plan—what he might have to do in response to certain action on the Communist side. He was deliberately, as a matter of policy, giving a public warning. And what he said by way of warning was 1046…if the truce we seek is reached only to be broken our response will be prompt, resolute and effective.I quote that from the White Paper.
There is no mention there at all of the condition that this should be done only as a retaliation for military action taken from non-Korean bases. This was not a tactical military measure at all. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen should not jeer. What this means is that the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to authorise action not limited to Korea.
The right hon. Gentleman says he associated himself with that policy when he used that phrase. He said it was our policy from which he had not departed, and that policy was related to action not confined to Korea. In his Congress speech, however, he said he was giving a warning that he would take such action, not in the event of attacks being delivered from other territory, but simply if the truce we were seeking was reached only to be broken—a phrase which may relate exclusively to further aggressive action in Korea.
Moreover, when such a warning is uttered publicly as part of the policy which he has indicated to us, one cannot overlook the possible effect of it upon the obtaining of a truce; and in that connection I should like the right hon. Gentleman who is to follow me to tell us whether it was agreed with the United States that this warning should be issued at the time of the right hon. Gentleman's Congress speech—well in advance of the truce.
I should have seen very much more sense in it if it had been agreed that some warning would be given, after the truce had been obtained, of what might follow upon a breach of the truce; but to make this warning well in advance, while one is trying to get the truce, and to suggest it is going to assist us in doing so, seems to me very curious reasoning.
On these points we want a very firm statement tonight, because the right hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. If he says he did not make any change of policy, as he described our policy, in words which were his, and not mine, then it follows that he has not, in fact, agreed that any action can be taken outside Korea except in the circumstances in which we envisaged it, and we want to 1047 know whether this is correct, because it does not appear so from the remarks he made.
Then, as to Formosa, he made, I think, a very revealing remark. In describing why he had chosen to make that remark he said that, after all, it was the only thing he could say about Formosa which could be agreed on both sides of the Atlantic. It was not a question of whether it was useful; whether thereby he was expressing the British point of view; but whether it would be acceptable to his American audience.
I suggest that that was not a good enough reason for coming out with a remark which, rightly or wrongly, has been interpreted, particularly in the United States, as denoting sympathy—a new sympathy—on the part of the British Government for what has previously been quite specifically the policy of the United States towards the Nationalists in Formosa, and not the policy of the British Government. I think that we want to be quite clear, there again, that he has not sought in any way to depart from our policy on that count.
We must accept from the right hon. Gentleman, I think, subject to those points on which I hope we shall have a reply, that there was no change of formal commitment at all. But was there a change of climate as a result of his speech? I believe that there was. I think that it is clear, from the many statements made by leading Americans since the right hon. Gentleman's visit, that those leading United States spokesmen are not taking more account than they did before of the British point of view. And no wonder. Because he did not trouble to express the British point of view when he spoke to the American public.
I would submit to the House that, quite as alarming as these particular, ill-chosen phrases, was the Prime Minister's omission to set out what is distinctive in his country's policy. I believe he was perfectly right in the early part of his speech to emphasise the unity of our two countries. There was nothing new in that. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, the late Mr. Ernest Bevin, on many occasions, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), have all done the same thing in communiques and in 1048 speeches when they have visited the United States.
But I should like to say here that I do not for a moment accept the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion to this House on I think, 30th January that a special gesture was needed by him to convince the United States that Britain, in addition to being good comrades in the field, would also be good comrades at the council table. I repudiate absolutely any suggestion that any special gesture of that kind was required by him. We have, in fact, particularly in regard to Korea and the United Nations' action in the Far East, been exceedingly good and loyal comrades to the United States; but of course, we have not said, as part of that arrangement, that we are going to refrain from expressing our own point of view.
The Prime Minister has been attacked for the phrase he used—which he has never withdrawn—in a previous debate in this House when he said that we mean at all costs to be friends and allies of the United States. He wishes us to take that as merely a manner of speaking. I do not know how often we are to be asked to take his vivid phrases in that sense. In any case, I think he probably will agree that taken literally it is not a self-respecting basis for an alliance.
I should like to give the House one more quotation, which is the one exception I wish to make to my rule that I would give no more, because I think this is a particularly interesting one. I prefer very much to the formula used by the right hon. Gentleman for an Anglo-American alliance the formula which was used by Thomas Jefferson when he, as an ex-President of the United States, was giving advice to President Monroe on a proposal from the British side for Anglo-American co-operation at a time when the Americans were the lesser partner in the partnership.
It is therefore closely applicable to us today in the opposite sense. He ended a long passage, which I should like to quote in full but from which I take only two sentences, by saying:With her,That is, with Britain; and for that today we should read the United States—With her, then, we should most sedulously cherish a cordial friendship, and nothing would tend more to knit our affections than to be fighting once more side by side in the same cause.1049 Then comes this sentence:Not that I would purchase even her amity at the price of taking part in her wars.I suggest that is a very admirable formula, to which our United States allies cannot possibly object, for the partner who is materially the less powerful in a solid Anglo-American alliance. We have been entirely loyal to our United States partner in every joint venture freely entered into, but the condition is that it should be really a joint venture.
Since we on this side have been accused of having said nothing constructive, I should like briefly to suggest one or two of the things that the right hon. Gentleman might usefully have said, not to pick a quarrel, not to touch on sore points in Anglo-American relations, but to put in British perspective matters which are of common concern. In his speech the right hon. Gentleman saw fit—and, again, I make no quarrel with this—to mention Japan. He said only one sentence on it, and it was, quite frankly, an empty compliment paid to the United States Occupation Forces. Surely he realises that there is a distinctive British point of view upon the Japanese Peace Treaty and future relations with Japan; that many things were left over in the Treaty for subsequent negotiation, in which we shall have very deepest interest. If he did not know that, many of his hon. Friends who represent Lancashire constituencies could have told him.
I think, further, that he should have put the military and non-military factors in the Far Eastern situation, particularly in Korea and South-East Asia, in a proper perspective. We all know that it is extremely difficult to reach a truce in Korea. We also know that it is likely to be even more difficult when we get to the stage after the truce and are seeking a political settlement. I have no objection whatever to the issue of a warning that there will be a United Nations response to aggression. Nor am I under any illusion that we shall earn Chinese respect by being soft with them. I do not, moreover, think that when talking of the necessity of not spreading the war we should think we are the only ones who might spread the war. It is possible that war might be spread against our will by action on the other side.
I think, however, that if these military warnings are to be issued they should 1050 be balanced by an indication that we have equally in mind the other obligations placed upon us by the United Nations' Charter to seek a peaceful settlement of disputes. We should not only say what we would do if there is renewed aggression. We should also indicate that, if there is not renewed aggression but an offer of fair dealing, it will be met with fair dealing on our part; and that the Korean war is not for us, as it appears to be for Mr. Dulles, the first step in a continental counterrevolutionary crusade.
The Prime Minister maintained no such balance in his speech in the United States. Indeed, the one indication which he gave, as I have already indicated, of his attitude towards the Chinese internal situation was this phrase about Formosa which was taken wrongly, as we now hope we can believe, to indicate that Britain, too, was interested in the cause of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who in the eyes of all Asia represents counter-revolution.
If the Prime Minister had been aware of his position as a leading spokesman of a Commonwealth which contains very important independent Asian members and many Asian dependencies he could not have made this gratuitous blunder. I think it is at least as important that he should have indicated that he did not take a narrowly military attitude to South-East Asia either. This is largely a colonial area which could be lost in more ways than by Chinese military invasion. I believe that the political and economic factors are likely to be in the long run the determining ones, and that they are factors which get all too little attention in the United States.
It is to these factors, I believe—the need for accelerating political progress despite the great handicap of having to fight military aggression at the same time—that he should have called attention. He seems to have forgotten that British policy relative to Asia and the Far East so far—and we hope that he is going to continue it—has combined in it at lent as much economic as military measures.
The economic question is a very important one. At the recent meeting of the Economic Commission for Asia the Soviet Union was angling for an agreement to 1051 exchange raw materials for finished industrial goods, and we should recognise that that is in the long run an extremely serious temptation to the whole of this area, more particularly should we find it difficult to supply the varying needs in industrial products. These are simply examples of the general theme which, I believe, the right hon. Gentleman should have made much more plain than he did in his visit to the United States—the theme of firmness and level-headedness during the military phase coupled with a constant effort to look beyond that phase and prepare the way for a political settlement.
We all know that in the United States they have a habit of looking for quick results. In the industrial field that is a part of their great strength, but in settling great international questions that attitude can only lead to an attempt to cut many Gordian knots by force. While we sympathise with United States impatience due to the impact of their losses in Korea, we cannot afford to accept that as a basis for our joint policy in the Far East, and I am quite confident that the overwhelming body of British opinion, backed by the overwhelming body of opinion in Europe and Asia as a whole, believes this is the view which Britain should always be impressing upon her allies.
I believe that it is essential to do so if we are to limit the Far Eastern War, and great credit is due to those Americans, including the Administration, who have so far succeeded in limiting the war in the Far East. It was little enough help that was given to them by the Prime Minister in his speech.
The right hon. Gentleman, in the opening remarks of his speech to Congress, talked of "the bi-partisan habit of mind" which he hoped would be cultivated in Britain as well as in the United States. We would have been more grateful to him if he had gone on to formulate a more balanced account of his own country's policy in the Far East, instead of which he made a speech which was so faulty in its basic thought, so ambiguous and so misleading that he and his Foreign Secretary between them have had to spend a month in explaining it away.
It is that policy—which he now proclaims that he follows, as it was followed by the Labour Government and as it has 1052 been reaffirmed by the Foreign Secretary —that the Prime Minister allowed to go entirely by default in Washington, and such failure of judgment and of will is something that we on this side of the House are not prepared to condone.
§ 9.35 p.m.
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Harold Macmillan)
Before I come to the actual terms of the Motion which will shortly be put to the vote, perhaps I may be allowed some general reflections. The relations between the people of the United States and ourselves are perhaps of greater importance today than at any time in history. It is vital that we should understand each other, for only by such understanding can our co-operation be healthy and fruitful, and on our co-operation depends the future of the whole free world.
By a curious chance, I can claim one advantage, as I think it, which I share with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and also with my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. We all had American mothers. It also happened that I was privileged for three years in the war, at an Anglo-American headquarters, to serve under a great leader equally respected by the British and the Americans who served under him—General Eisenhower. My experience certainly is that the very fact of the connection between our two countries is in a sense a kind of danger, for the connection of language and origin may sometimes of itself be a danger, because of all forms of quarrel a family quarrel can be the worst.
I very well remember many occasions when there were great differences between the British and the American points of view during the Mediterranean campaign, differences not of strategy and tactics, for they did not come under my direction, but of politics, and I agree with the former Foreign Secretary that our American colleagues did not resent any divergence of view, however strongly expressed, so long as it was put forward openly and straightforwardly. But he made one proviso, and that proviso is very important. He said that it depended upon those differences or arguments being put forward upon a deep sense of friendship and underlying singleness of purpose. After all, that is the basis of any partnership. That was the secret of the 1053 Prime Minister's success in his relations with President Roosevelt and the leading American political and military figures during the war. That was the secret of the success which he repeated on his visit to the United States a few weeks ago.
The right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger) seems to think that the Prime Minister ought to have taken advantage of his visit to America to lecture the American people from his superior knowledge, on all their errors and mistakes. The Americans are very anxious to hear lectures—they sometimes pay very substantial sums to listen to them—but I do not think they would be likely to appreciate their being lectured in the sense or in the terms to which the right hon. Gentleman has just referred.
No; my right hon. Friend did something very different. He made no change of policy regarding the Far East from the policy pursued by the last Government, but he made a great change, and a much needed change, in the mood and in the warmth of our relations. He did much to re-create the old spirit of partnership that we had during the war. He did much to undo the harm done by the follies of hon. Members opposite. We hope to restore the prestige and authority of the British people. Meanwhile, I do not think—[Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite will not like a lot that is coming.
We ought not to forget the significance of the radical change in policy and outlook in America since the old days. Any of those who knew America in the old days quite realise the significance of that change. Bred to a long tradition of isolation, with a deep-rooted hatred of war, hatred of foreign entanglements of every kind, the American people have now accepted responsibilities upon a prodigious scale. They hate war, and if large American armies are now in Korea and if 100,000 casualties have been suffered in Korea, do not let us forget that they took on this job in a spirit of idealism and genuine devotion to the cause of collective security.
We all remember the thrill when we felt, at the start of this terrible campaign, that there was not going to be appeasement, and that there would be an attempt 1054 to challenge this aggression. We all feel in these dark and rather gloomy periods that there may be some slight divergencies arising, but let us remember that they are divergencies of method and not of purpose. Our objective is the same. Our objective is peace, and not the peace of surrender but the peace of honourable and successful curtailment of aggression wherever it may come.
But this is not to say that British policy should be subservient to American policy. On the contrary, Britain and the British Commonwealth and Empire have their own rights and duties. One of the most vital is to re-establish the power and prestige of the British people at home and overseas, and to rebuild their economic strength. This we are determined to do with our partners in the Commonwealth, for on the self-reliance and strength of the Empire as well as upon the revived unity and strength of Europe depends whether we can, with the United States, play our full part in the dangerous years that may lie ahead.
It is the independent economic and military power, both of the Commonwealth and of Europe, that are vital to the stability of the grand alliance. No one wishes us to be satellites of the Americans, least of all the American people, but it is equally necessary that we should not, out of false pride or petty logic-chopping, try to seek out occasions for dispute where none exists. Throughout his speech to Congress, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister insisted over and over again on the tripartite character of this effort, Britain and the British Empire and Commonwealth, America and Europe. I sincerely believe that it is under Providence that these three great forces are joined together today. I say let no man seek to put them asunder.
There are bound to be differences of method and circumstances. The Foreign Secretary very frankly referred to certain points on which Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States had not been in agreement. One of those points was in relation to Japan and her relations with Formosa. He preferred one way, and the State Department preferred another. There was no attempt to disguise this either by the Secretary of State or by the Foreign 1055 Secretary. I think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), who moved the Motion, tried to make something of this incident. I could not see what relevance it had to this Motion, for this matter was handled by the Foreign Secretary, who explained all the circumstances to us. The right hon. Gentleman said that there had been differences of opinion, but the Motion says that the Foreign Secretary has carried out a splendid policy, and it was the Foreign Secretary and not the Prime Minister who carried out this particular part of our relations.
Of course, there are other points of contact. The Prime Minister ventured to observe that the Chinese Communist refugees in Formosa should not be allowed to be massacred by an expedition from the mainland. I noted that the Leader of the Opposition agreed with this proposition, so there is not very much in this. It is also true that, while Her Majesty's Government have recognised the Chinese Communist Government, the Government of the United States have not. I am not quite so sure how far the Chinese Communist Government have recognised us—but we will let that pass.
It is true that some Americans—it happens in free and democratic countries —criticise their own Government and even try to embarrass them. That is not altogether unknown here, so that is a link between us. It is true that there are some Americans who put forward dangerous, and perhaps we may think foolish, ideas, but surely we must all be impressed by the control and the responsible attitude of those who are actually in charge of the American Administration. There may be argument about what may or may not happen regarding the armistice in Korea, the negotiations for which have been so prolonged, but there is no doubt that both Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States are united in hoping that the armistice may take place as soon as possible and be followed by a general political settlement. There are other differences small in kind and character.
We must remember that the Americans in this war have had actually more casualties than they suffered in the whole 1056 of the First World War, nor should we forget the heavy burden that has fallen on our French Allies in Indo-China. Very few people realise the terrible cost to them in blood and treasure, and how the difficulties have been increased, alas, by the tragic death of their great soldier-statesman, General de Lattre de Tassigny.
§ Mr. Macmillan
I cannot give way, because of the time that has been agreed upon. We, too, have a very difficult and baffling task in Malaya. Do not let us forget that if peace is indivisible, so perhaps war may be, and that it will be no encouragement to our boys in Malaya or in Hong Kong to try to make out that there are fundamental differences of policy between the Government of Great Britain and the Government of the United States.
Even while he was speaking, the former Foreign Secretary, I felt, was not very happy. He was also unhappy when the Prime Minister was speaking and when his right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) was speaking. The former Foreign Secretary used a great variety of quotation but did not make much of a case against the Prime Minister. He told us that he disliked the Prime Minister's instincts, rather like the man who said, "This animal is very vicious. When attacked it defends itself."
The right hon. Gentleman soon found the force of this remark. When the counter-attack came, he and his friends were simply blown into the sea. Talk about "hoist with your own petard"—I have never seen any boomerang come back the way this Motion has come back upon them. It was a real knock-out. And what made it all the more galling was to watch the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale gloating while they took the count.
The Prime Minister, as was his right and duty, summarised the narrative about our agreement with the United States regarding certain possible contingencies in Korea. Naturally my right hon. Friend had to trace the beginning of the negotiations in order that the later stages could be told as a coherent story. He was criticised for doing so, but, since the Motion criticises the Prime Minister for failing to give adequate expression to the policy of the previous Government, how 1057 could he defend himself, and how could the House and the country judge whether he had departed from or followed it unless we knew what was the policy of the previous Government?
When this came, the official Labour Party was stunned. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale was very quick to get up and move for the documents and it was rather significant that the Motion was seconded by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman). Of course, the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale would dearly like to see these documents published. I think he would like to get the serial rights for the "Tribune," unless, of course, the "Daily Worker" had a prior claim upon them, or perhaps the "Daily Mirror" might publish them under the title "Whose finger was it on the trigger, after all?"
This has certainly been a strange and hypocritical Motion.
§ Mr. Younger
The right hon. Gentleman said a moment ago that he would answer my question, but he now appears to be passing away from it without answering it.
§ Mr. Macmillan
The right hon. Gentleman took seven minutes of the time he undertook to give me, so I cannot give way. Taking it at its face value, I suppose this Motion is intended to divide the Government—
§ Mr. Macmillan
We have gone a long way since then. I thought the mind of the right hon. Gentleman worked a bit quicker than that. As I say, I suppose the Motion is intended to divide the Government, for it seeks at the same time to praise the Foreign Secretary and to censure the Prime Minister. Of course, it is based upon their own conception of loyalty and team spirit. They really think they can drive a wedge between the 1058 Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, regardless of the affectionate association between our two leaders during some of the darkest and most perilous days in British history. If they believe that, they are very ingenuous. Perhaps the true purpose of the Motion is not to divide the Government, but to unite the Opposition. If that is the object, I am bound to say that as a tactical exercise it has been singularly unsuccessful.
§ Mr. Macmillan
With all their differences, the speakers chosen by the party opposite have only one thing in common: that they seem, for some reason or another that I do not understand, to be somewhat allergic to the Prime Minister. The former Foreign Secretary has never disguised his dislike of him, and has made taunts which he has had afterwards to withdraw; but today he is generally credited with the honour, if it be an honour, of being the creator and inspirer of the "warmongering" cry.
He tried to defend this today by a piece of casuistry which I think he would not have ventured upon if he had known that he was going to be acclaimed and saluted as one of the leaders of the great Government that, with five years of effort and vast expenditure of public funds, was just on the point of producing the British atom bomb. It is a pity that the tests were not ready last October—or, perhaps, they were ready; I do not know. If the explosion had taken place in October, it really might have been some explosion then!
This is a foolish Motion. It is a bad Motion.
§ Mr. Macmillan
The only benefit of it is that we have got on to a little bit of fresh ground in that great contest which is the big sporting event of the year—the battle for the leadership of the Labour Party. We hope that one of these days the thing will be settled, and then we shall have the pleasure of reading in the Sunday papers, as we always do, "How I Won," by the right hon, Member for Ebbw Vale, and "How I Lost," by the right hon. Member for Waltham-stow, West (Mr. Attlee), or, of course, mutatis mutandis, vice versa.
1059 This is a Motion which is altogether unworthy of the gravity of the situation. It is one which has certainly recoiled upon its authors. It is sanctimonious in its flattery of the Foreign Secretary, and malicious in its attack upon the Prime Minister. I think that the authors of it are now thoroughly ashamed of it, and I
§ ask the House to reject it with the contempt which it deserves.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 285: Noes, 318.1063
|Division No. 32]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Adams, Richard||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Kinley, J.|
|Albu, A. H.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Ewart, R.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Fernyhough, E.||Lewis, Arthur|
|Awbery, S. S.||Field, Capt. W. J.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Fienburgh, W.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Finch, H. J.||Logan, D. G.|
|Baird, J.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E)||Longden, Fred (Small Heath)|
|Balfour, A.||Follick, M.||MacColl, J. E.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Foot, M. M.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Beattie, J.||Forman, J. C.||McGovern, J.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon F. J.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||McInnes, J.|
|Bence, C. R.||Freeman, John (Watford)||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||McLeavy, F.|
|Benson, G.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Beswick, F.||Gibson, C. W.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Glanville, James||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Gooch, E. G.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Blackburn, F.||Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Blyton, W. R.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Wakefield)||Manuel, A. C.|
|Boardman, H.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Grey, C. F.||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mellish, R. J.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Messer, F.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)||Monslow, W.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hamilton, W. W.||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hannan, W.||Morley, R.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hardy, E. A.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Burke, W. A.||Hargreaves, A.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Mort, D. L.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Hastings, S.||Moyle, A.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Hayman, F. H.||Mulley, F. W.|
|Carmichael, J.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Murray, J. D.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Healy. Cahir (Fermanagh)||Nally, W.|
|Champion, A. J.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Chapman, W. D.||Herbison, Miss M.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Clunie, J.||Hobson, C. R.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Holman, P.||O'Neill, M. (Mid-Ulster)|
|Coldrick, W.||Houghton, Douglas||Orbach, M.|
|Collick, P. H.||Hoy, J. H.||Oswald, T.|
|Cook, T. F.||Hubbard, T. F.||Padley, W. E.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Paget, R. T.|
|Cove, W. G.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Crosland, C. A. R||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pannell, Charles|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Daines, P.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Parker, J.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Paton, J.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Peart, T. F.|
|Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Davies, Ernest (Enheld, E.)||Janner, B.||Popplewell, E.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D P. T.||Porter, G.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Price, Philips (Gloucester, W.)|
|Deer, G.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Pursey, Cmdr. H|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Rankin, John|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Reeves, J.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Keenan, W.||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Edelman, M||Kenyon, C.||Rhodes, H.|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Richards, R.|
|Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||West, D. G.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Stross, Dr. Barnett||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Swingler, S. T.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Sylvester, G. O.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Ross, William||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wigg, G. E. C.|
|Royle, C.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Schofield, S. (Barnsley)||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Shackleton, E. A. A.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)||Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N.)|
|Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)|
|Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Short, E. W.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Shurmer, P. L. E.||Thurtle, Ernest||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Timmons, J.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas(Don V'll'y)|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Tomney, F.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Slater, J.||Turner-Samuels, M.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Usborne, H. C.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Snow, J. W.||Viant, S. P.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Wallace, H. W.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Watkins, T. E.||Yates, V. F.|
|Sparks, J. A.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Steele, T.||Weitzman, D.|
|Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Wells, William (Walsall)||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Holmes.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Colegate, W. A.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Harden, J. R. E.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hare, Hon. J. H.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Cranborne, Viscount||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. (Blackburn, W.)||Crouch, R. F.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Astor, Hon. J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton)||Crowder, John E. (Finchley)||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Astor, Hon. W. W. (Bucks, Wycombe)||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hay, John|
|Baker, P. A. D.||Cuthbert, W. N.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Heald, Sir Lionel|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Davidson, Viscountess||Heath, Edward|
|Banks, Col. C.||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Barber, A. P. L.||De la Bère, R.||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Deedes, W. F.||Higgs, J. M. C.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Digby, S. Wingfield||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Donaldson, Comdr. C. E. McA.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Donner, P. W.||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Doughty, C. J. A.||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Mollis, M. C.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Drayson, G. B.||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Drewe, C.||Holt, A. F.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Dugdale, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Hope, Lord John|
|Birch, Nigel||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Hopkinson, Henry|
|Bishop, F. P.||Duthie, W.S.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Black, C. W.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Horobin, I. M.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence|
|Bossom, A. C.||Erroll, F. J.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)|
|Bowen, E. R.||Fell, A.||Howard, Greville (St. Ives)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Finlay, Graeme||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Fisher, Nigel||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Braine, B. R.||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Fletcher, Walter (Bury)||Hurd, A R.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Fort, R.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark. (E'b'rgh W.)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Foster, John||Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Jenkins, R. C. D. (Dulwich)|
|Bullard, D. G.||Gage, C. H.||Jennings, R.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Gammans, L. D.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Kaberry, D.|
|Carson, Hon. E.||Glyn, Sir Ralph||Keeling, Sir Edward|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Godber, J. B.||Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)|
|Channon, H.||Gomme-Duncan, Col A||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Gough, C. F. H.||Lambton, Viscount|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Gower, H. R.||Lancaster. Col. C. G.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Graham, Sir Fegus||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.|
|Cole, Norman||Grimond, J.||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Nugent, G. R. H.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Nutting, Anthony||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Oakshott, H. D.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Lindsay, Martin||Odey, G. W.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Linstead, H. N.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W D.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Storey, S.|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Osborne, G.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Partridge, E.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Low, A. R. W.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Summers, G. S.|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Pete, Brig. C. H. M.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Teeling, W.|
|McAdden, S. J.||Pitman, I. J.||Thomas. P. J. M. (Conway)|
|McCallum, Major D.||Powell, J. Enoch||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Thompson. Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Thorneycroft, R. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Profumo, J. D.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Raikes, H. V.||Tilney, John|
|Maclay, Hon. John||Rayner, Brig. R.||Touche, G. C.|
|Maclean, Fitzroy||Redmayne, M.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.)||Remnant, Hon. P.||Turton, R. H.|
|MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Renton, D. L. M.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Roberts, Maj. Peter (Heeley)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Robertson, Sir David||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Robson-Brown, W.||Wade, D. W.|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Markham, Major S. F.||Roper, Sir Harold||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebone)|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Marples, A. E.||Russell, R. S.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Marshall, Sidney (Sutton)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Maude, Angus||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Walkinson, H. A.|
|Maudling, R.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)||Wellwood, W.|
|Medlicott, Brig. F||Scott, R. Donald||White, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Mellor, Sir John||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Molson, A. H. E.||Shepherd, William||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Simon, J. E. S.(Middlesbrough, W.)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Wills, G.|
|Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Nabarro, G. D. N.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Nicholls, Harmar||Snadden, W. McN.||York, C.|
|Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Spearman, A. C. M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Speir, R. M.||Brigadier Mackeson and Mr. Butcher.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham, East)
I wish to raise a point of order concerning the conduct of the hon. and gallant Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Brigadier Mackeson), who acts as one of the Government Whips. I am raising this point because I think it would be difficult for my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) to raise it himself—[Interruption.] My right hon. Friend has been the victim of an act of schoolboyish vulgarity. It was obvious to a number of my hon. Friends—
§ Mr. Stewart
It was obvious to a number of my hon. Friends that the hon. and gallant Gentleman, not content with the quite natural jubilation which we should not grudge him when he declared the result of the Division, proceeded to add to that by what one might call, I suppose, 1064 a technical assault on my right hon. Friend. [Interruption.] With great respect, Mr. Speaker, I am on my feet because you have called me to address you on a point of order. May I inform hon. Members opposite that I propose to remain on my feet until I have said what I have to say? I want to submit to you, Sir, that the gravity of this matter is not the act itself, which is trivial, but the attitude which it represented of, as I say, vulgarity, disrespect to the House and ignorance of the normal politenesses which are required of a Government Whip.
§ Mr. Stewart
If I may say so, for two years in this House I fulfilled the duties 1065 of junior Government Whip. It will be within the experience of all who have filled that office that they often had to contain themselves in patience and to sit in silence listening to the very great provocations of their political opponents. [Interruption.] I would explain to the Patronage Secretary—and the Patronage Secretary, having interrupted me, might at least have the good manners to listen to the comments I am about to make; I see that at the moment it is the Prime Minister who is prompting the Patronage Secretary, instead of the other way round.
§ Mr. Speaker
I must ask the hon. Gentleman to come to the gist of this matter. I am still completely in ignorance about what happened. I understand that some sort of technical assault was made on the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison). He does not look any the worse to me. I should be glad to hear this matter speedily disposed of.
§ Mr. Stewart
I submit to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, and I will put the matter very briefly. I thought what happened was in the view of yourself and most hon. Members. What the hon. and gallant Gentleman who is supposed to support the dignity of the Government Front Bench did was to strike my right hon. Friend lightly across the forehead with his hand. I quite agree that my right hon. Friend appears none the worse for it, but I submit very seriously to you that conduct of this kind does not conform with the dignity of the House and that it is particularly offensive when it comes from somebody who is supposed to keep himself aloof from the heat of controversy, but who has shown on previous occasions that his arrogance of manner and behaviour disqualify him from the office which he holds.
§ Mr. Speaker
I will now ask the hon. and gallant Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Brigadier Mackeson) to tell me what he knows about it.
§ Brigadier H. R. Mackeson (Lord Commissioner of the Treasury)
The right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) made a joking remark to me. If I was in any way discourteous to him, I ask his pardon and the pardon of the House. I offer him my unqualified apology and assure him that what I did was meant in the best possible taste. I stand rebuked by the hon. Member for 1066 Fulham, East (Mr. M. Stewart) and his colleagues, including, of course, the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), who sets us such an excellent example in these matters.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I am very much obliged to my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham, East (Mr. M. Stewart). It was good of him to take up the matter, because there was an assault—a cuff on the head which, I admit, was less dangerous than the last attempted assault on me—throwing a penny—which might have caused great injury. But I accept entirely the spirit of what the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Brigadier Mackeson) has said. He has expressed his regret; I accept his apology and, as far as I am concerned, the incident is closed.