§ 4.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)
I beg to move:That this House, while appreciating that the Government and armed forces of the United States of America have borne the major share of the burden of resisting armed aggression in Korea, regrets the failure of Her Majesty's Government to secure effective consultation prior to recent developments including consultation on the timing of certain recent air operations; and considers that improved arrangements should now be made to enable such consultation to take place between the Governments principally concerned on issues of United Nations policy in the Far East.I would begin by joining my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House in saying how sorry we are that the Foreign Secretary is away, and how warmly we wish him a speedy recovery from the fashionable but very disagreeable disease by which he has been struck down.
I think everybody now agrees that my right hon. Friend was right to raise the recent events in Korea in Committee of Supply a week ago. There were things that needed to be said, misunder- 256 standings that needed to be cleared away, and open Parliamentary debate was indispensably required. It is because we want finally to disperse those misunderstandings and to ensure that they do not arise again that I am moving this Motion.
We think that some changes are required in the arrangements for the conduct of the United Nations' action in Korea. I want to explain, very frankly, why. May I begin by recalling how that action first began? It was in the Cairo Declaration in the war that the Koreans were first promised their freedom and independence. It was at Moscow, in December, 1945, that Russia agreed that that pledge should be honoured and that Korea should be made a free and independent State.
We all think that that was right. There are 30 million Koreans. They have been ruled by China and Japan, but they have their own language, culture, race and history, and they have struggled for their freedom for many years. Twelve months after the Moscow Conference, the United Nations Assembly decided that Korea should become a free and self-governing State. In due course, they sent a U.N. Commission to help to set up the new Government.
Unfortunately, the country had been split into two zones of occupation, Russian and American, and the Russians, in their zone, flatly refused to carry out their pledge. Eventually a Republic of Korea was set up south of the 38th Parallel, because the Russians did what they had done in Germany; they split the country—
§ Mr. S. O. Davies (Merthyr Tydvil) indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
They refused admission to the envoys of the United Nations and they set up a separate Communist régime. When the Republic was created and an election had been held, the United States began, in the Summer of 1948, to talk of withdrawing their occupation Forces from Korea. They were still hoping to reduce their overseas commitments. They hoped that this gesture of confidence and good will would evoke a like response.
The Assembly of South Korea was much alarmed. In November, 1948, they 257 passed a resolution demanding that the American troops should stay, and declared that if the troops went, South Korea would soon be invaded by 250,000 Communist troops who were waiting in the North. None the less, the American troops were withdrawn. The last troops left in June, 1949. Troubles on the 38th Parallel began at once. In September, the United Nations Commission warned the Security Council that the country "faced a barbarous civil war."
The attack actually began at the Communists' chosen moment, in June, 1950. The U.N. Commission then reported to the Assembly that the invasion—I read their words—was an act of aggression initiated without warning and without provocation, in the execution of a carefully prepared plan. This plan was an essential part of the policy of the North Korean authorities, whose object was to secure control over the whole of Korea.That report was unanimous and the chairman of the Commission was Mr. Arup Singh, of India. There was no doubt then, and there is no doubt now, that the invasion was what my right hon. Friend the then Prime Minister called it: an act ofnaked aggression."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1950; Vol. 476, c. 2161.]Declaring the attitude of the then Government, of the party, of the House and of the nation, my right hon. Friend said that, if the United Nations was not to go the way of the League of Nations, its members must be prepared to act when the need arose. If we wanted to avoid another world war we had to assert the rule of law. He said it was far more dangerous not to take action than to take action, and any suggestion of condoning the act would strike at the whole basis of the United Nations. It was vital to resist, and not to do what we did in Abyssinia in 1935.
If this aggression had succeeded, the whole of Asia might have passed under totalitarian régimes which would have ended our hope of using Western brains, machinery and knowledge to raise the living standards of the East and of extending to other countries the warm friendship of East and West, the warm co-operation, we have in the Commonwealth. Above all, it would have destroyed the Charter, with its guarantees of national independence, the Charter which 258 had been threatened in 1946 in Azerbaijan and flouted in Czechoslovakia in 1947, and which would have been finally discredited, perhaps for good and all, like the League Covenant in Abyssinia, if we had failed in Korea then. It was a turning point in history, and we all felt it so two years ago.
Let us remember—I think we sometimes forget—that we could not have resisted without the United States. The North Koreans had been very powerfully armed by Russia. Many of them had served in the Russian and Chinese armies and were battle veterans. They had Russian advisers. There was no doubt that Russia was behind them. Marshal Tito told me two months later that the thing could not have happened without direct orders from the Kremlin.
We were ready to do what we could, but we were very deeply committed in Malaya, Hong Kong, Libya, the Middle East, Germany, and elsewhere.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I am prepared to debate about Finland with my hon. Friend on another occasion. Today we are concerned with aggression in Korea.
I was saying that we were ready to do what we could, but only the instantaneous American lead could have saved South Korea from the aggressors and the Charter from a calamitous defeat. I hope that we shall not forget the gratitude we felt then to the United States, and which we owe them still. I hope we shall not forget, remembering our own heavy sacrifices and commitments, that in Korea, as we say in the Motion, they have borne the main burden of the resistance, supplied most of the troops, suffered the casualties and carried the cost.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Certainly, 50 per cent. of the troops are South Koreans fighting for the freedom of their country.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
It is with all those things in the forefront of my mind that I say the things I have to say today. When the Security Council decided to call on members of the United Nations to resist, there was only one possible system of organisation and command: to entrust it wholly to the United States, subject to consultation with the other Governments whose troops were taking part. I think we owe gratitude to the United States for accepting that responsibility.
On the whole, the system worked well. Difficulties arose. We all recall them Consultation with Washington put them right. But the system was never ideal from the point of view of the United Nations and, in the last six months or so, what I might call its inconveniences and limitations have become more apparent and more acute. I will not speak of our anxieties about what my right hon. Frend has called MacArthurism, although they are very real. I shall deal only with three matters, all of them important, all of them affecting closely the fulfilment of our major purpose—the checking of aggression and the speedy restoration of a just and lasting peace.
The first is the question of the prisoners of war and the camps at Koje, with which this White Paper deals. The troubles at Koje have been with North Koreans, not with the Chinese. They grew serious when the United Nations Command decided that they would not repatriate North Korean prisoners against their will, provided always, of course, that the prisoners thought they would be liable to persecution or death if they went home.
It has been said by some hon. Members on both sides of the House that the Prisoners of War Convention was wholly set aside. I reject that view. It is wrong in law, it rests on a misapprehension about the spirit and purpose of the Convention, and on a misinterpretation of its terms. Of course, the occupying Power can tell the prisoners that they will not be sent home compulsorily. Stalin told the German soldiers that in 1944.
So far, the decision of the United Nations Command was, in my view, wholly right. In consequence, it was necessary to have a screening. When and how the screening should be done is another matter. The Minister of State has told us in the White Paper that, so far as it could be done at all, it has so 260 far been done fairly and well. I shall have more to say about it later. But it could not be done in all the compounds. In some of them the attempt to do it provoked resistance which caused loss of life.
Of course, the prisoners had no right to resist by force. Ex hypothesi their rights under the Convention come from the fact that they have laid down their arms. Still less had the Communist prisoners any right to "try" and to "execute" their non-Communist fellow prisoners. There have been scores, if not hundreds, of those executions, and we all think that every one of them was a murderous outrage.
What is deeply disturbing about this story here is that the camps should have been allowed to fall into such a lamentable condition, when the guards could not even go inside, when the Commandant was kidnapped and held to ransom, when the prisoners were making grenades and other weapons and preparing for mass escape and large-scale war. We know the extenuating circumstances. There were far more prisoners than had been expected, the United Nations were very short of troops, the officers were too anxious to give the prisoners their full rights under the Convention, they wanted to avoid trouble by not sending guards into the compounds; and, of course, there have been a lot of lying rumours about the camps, about the maltreatment of the prisoners, about their conditions and their food.
All the same, the story of the Koje camps is not a happy one. I shall not blame the American officers in charge. They have been censured and removed and demoted. It is not for us to add to the bitterness they must feel. I shall not blame the American High Command, but I do say this: it must have been a very disagreeable experience for the American High Command, and would not their position all through have been better if their responsibility for the general policy pursued, and perhaps even their responsibility for the daily application of that policy in the camps had been shared with other members of the United Nations?
No difficulty about security could have arisen, no question of ultimate authority or prestige. But if some officers of other United Nations nationalities had been 261 used, perhaps officers with greater experience of controlling prisoner-of-war camps, some of this trouble might perhaps have been averted and, in any case, the position of the Americans would have been much less exposed. They would have lost nothing and, I believe, they might have gained very much.
In spite of what the Minister of State has said, I think the same is true about the conduct of the truce negotiations at Panmunjom. It is not my purpose to criticise the conduct of the talks. I believe broadly that the record of the United Nations and of the United Nations delegation and command is very good from first to last. Let us remember some of the history of these truce talks.
It was at the Assembly of the United Nations in the autumn of 1950 that the delegates from Asia and the Middle East moved a resolution calling for a cease-fire. We supported it. The over-whelming majority of the Political Committee of the Assembly voted for it. Russia and her satellites cast their votes against and the fighting went on. In the following May and June United Nations Forces inflicted a crippling defeat on the Chinese and North Korean armies. They had fearful losses. They were driven back in great disorder. They surrendered in large numbers. Early in June 60,000 were trapped and captured.
It was while the advance was going forward that Mr. Malik broadcast in New York suggesting that Korea could be settled and that the first step was to negotiate a cease-fire and armistice. At once General Ridgway made proposals to the other side for truce talks. He did not stand on forms. He did not say the proposals should have come not from Russia but from China and North Korea. He did not delay in order to press home his great military advantage. The talks began at once and they began on our side with ardent hope. But everybody remembers their lamentable course: the heavy build-up of new forces, new and heavy armaments, new defences on the other side, and the continual procrastination and delay at Panmunjom.
I do not say that we have always been right, but I do say that for over a year the U.N. delegates have made concessions of many kinds. They agreed to give up islands off the North Korean coast which they had captured. They accepted neutral inspection teams behind the lines 262 instead of joint U.N., Chinese and North Korean teams. They modified their demands for an aerial inspection of the rear areas. They agreed to limit the rotation of troops. They agreed to the rehabilitation of airfields in North Korea. They limited the number of ports of inspection, and so on. They have shown a generous and enlightened attitude from first to last, and they have made it plain that we want a truce and are prepared to go very far to get it. I am sure that on all the policy issues which have arisen there has been consultation between the Command and the Governments of the members of the U.N.
Having said all that, I still wonder whether things might not have gone better, whether delays might not have been avoided, whether the position of the United States might not have been much stronger, if the responsibility for this vital task had been more widely shared.
There has been a Korean delegate with the American mission at Panmunjom. That was clearly right, since half the troops are South Koreans and since it is in their country that the conflict is going on. But I urge the Government to consider again, in spite of what the Minister has said, whether it is not now desirable to get more United Nations representation, British or other, both at Panmunjom and in the forming of truce policy in Tokyo as well.
I do not accept the Minister's reasons —I do not think they hold water. The U.N. would not be weaker with the Chinese if there were more people taking a common line, and there is still a great question—the decisive question—to be settled. We know that our Foreign Secretary has said that there will have to be another screening of the prisoners with Communist observers and that, perhaps, that screening should happen before the armistice is signed. Surely, in those circumstances, after this long lull, introducing other representatives might only give us a good occasion for a new and a united start.
Again, I urge that no issue of security, of military plans or 'of secrets could possibly arise; no question of the authority of General Clark, no question of prestige. It could not weaken or hamper the U.N. delegation. On the contrary, I am sure that their position with the Chinese, their power to persuade, and 263 their position with the peoples whose troops are fighting for the Charter in Korea, would be stronger, and, perhaps, much stronger, if they were more clearly and visibly representative of the United Nations as a whole.
The issue is the more important since if the Communists are sincere, if they want a truce at all, everything now turns on this single question of the prisoners of war. And on that question it behoves us in every way we can to bring the collective wisdom of our nations and their Governments to bear.
It is the fact that so much progress has been made at Panmunjom, that a truce may be near, that lends such special gravity to the third matter of which I wish to speak: the bombing raid which happened a week ago. May I explain why, when we first saw the news of this raid, we were so much disturbed? We never doubted that the power from Suiho served a military end, as the MiGs on the Manchurian airfields serve a military end. But these stations also serve the civilian population of Manchuria. The Government tell us that one-third of the electricity in Manchuria comes from there. They tell us that Mukden depends upon it—General Barcus said so the other day.
Mukden is a long way away. We may have brought total war, misery and unemployment to civilians there who are not involved in the battle at all. Undoubtedly, therefore, it does affect things on Chinese territory, which, in principle, we have agreed to leave alone, refusing proposals which have often been made for bombing raids on Chinese soil, for blockade of China, and so on.
Moreover, as has been often said, this raid came at a most unfortunate time when the truce talks were going on, when the differences had been narrowed to this single point. We are instinctively afraid that the raid might imperil all the good work so far done in the armistice negotiations; that it was the kind of event that might lead to a wider conflict in the East.
I am well aware that very highly-placed Americans, among them Mr. Lovett and General Clark, have said that this was a normal military operation required, as I understand it, to check the heavy Communist build-up, and that it 264 had no political implications or significance at all. Of course, I accept the good faith of those declarations. I am aware that there may be a military case for the raid—urgent battle reasons, of which we have not been told. Perhaps the Prime Minister can tell us more about it when he speaks.
But may I put some other considerations to the House? This target of Suiho was outside the existing instructions of the U.N. High Command. They had to refer to Washington for special authority to carry it out. In two years, it had never been bombed. There may be a reason; perhaps the Prime Minister will tell us. It had never been bombed, although the bridges on the Yalu had been attacked. In fact, this target was discussed in Washington by my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary with the Americans in September last and according, as I understand, to our Foreign Office record, it was agreed that Suiho should not be attacked unless the truce talks had broken down or a large-scale Communist attack had been begun.
But there is something even more important. Whatever the U.S. Government in Washington intended, this raid was launched and publicised as though it was meant to have a political effect. General Weyland, the Commander of the U.N. Air Forces, who was in charge, said this:It might be taken as a gentle hint of more to come if the Commies want it that way.General Van Fleet used the occasion to make a statement:I wish the enemy would launch a major offensive against the U.N. I hope he comes. I think such a battle would be decisive.Such a statement could be used—of course, has been used—by Pekin and Moscow Radios to make the Chinese people think that we want the resumption of full-scale war and that we want to settle it now, not by truce and then negotiations, but by more fighting.
That was not, I am sure, the purpose in the Generals' minds. That purpose was explained by the spokesman of the American Ministry of Defence in Washington, when he said this on the day the raid took place:We must now realise that the best chance of breaking the deadlock at Panmunjom is to hit the enemy with all the force at our command.265 There it is, a clear political intention to coerce and threaten the Chinese and the North Koreans into signing a truce.
The idea was widespread among the Press. The "New York Times," a very responsible paper, had a heading:New phase in Korea. Yalu plant raid is first step in programme of increased pressure to force a truce.It is easy to understand that the generals, after a year's frustration, may feel that their way is the best, that it is right to hit at the Communist resources even if it affects civilians in Manchuria far away, even if it affects Chinese territory. But the whole question is: What is the effect that it will have on the Chinese? How do they react to threats and force?
There is a lot of evidence in the last 50 years that they react as we do. There is a lot of evidence in their war against Japan to make us think that threats and force only make them stubborn. This may make them more obdurate than they were before at Panmunjom; it may deepen their suspicions of our motives and intentions. Therefore, it may have a political effect the exact opposite of that for which the generals hope. It may make the hopes of a truce less, not greater. As we have said, it may imperil the work already done. It is very unfortunate that this happened when it did, when the talks were narrowed to one point, and when, as the Prime Minister said last Tuesday, we are in an extremely difficult and delicate position.
It is too soon to say for certain what the ultimate political effect on the Chinese will be, but the raid has certainly had another political effect almost as important as the first. We are fighting for the Charter. It is vital to keep the members of the United Nations solid in our support. Lies have been told about the raid—that there was mass slaughter of women and children and the bombing of open towns. That is not true. But still this raid, and the way the raid was launched and publicised, has caused the gravest doubts. Two years ago, when the Security Council passed its momentous resolution, it had the full support of world opinion—in Europe, in both Americas, in Asia and in the Middle East. It is vital to keep that opinion solidly in our support. Nothing could be more disastrous to our long-term purpose than that it should be alienated or lost.
266 There is no doubt that last week's raid and all the comments on it did cause widespread anxiety, in Asia, in Europe, in this country and elsewhere. In our view, that may be no less dangerous to our United Nations' purpose than the effect it may or may not have had upon the Chinese. Both points are of great importance to the conduct of this United Nations action.
We are gravely disturbed by what we think to be the Government's failure to get proper consultation about the raid. We think that recently things must have become extremely slack. In our view, the Government have not reported often enough or fully enough to the House of Commons about the Korean situation, about the operations, about the prisoners, about the truce. Their White Paper came a few hours before the debate. They have had other preoccupations, but we think that they have let things slide. We think that they are very seriously to blame, for let us be sure that Korea, whatever our other preoccupations, is still the crux of the world situation.
Our fate may depend on what occurs. And we may be very certain that other issues of great political importance even more serious than this will soon arise. That is why we have put down the last part of our Motion. We must not be, we cannot in future be, at the mercy of the failure of the human factor as we were this time. We must have more adequate machinery of consultation.
The other night the Minister of State asked us what we mean. It is not really for people in opposition to make concrete proposals—[Interruption.] I am going to try. I have already said that I think that the system imposed by the circumstances of 1950 was not ideal from the United Nations point of view. It is not what we had hoped for when, if ever, the Security Council called on members of the United Nations to resist aggression. N.A.T.O., with its Council, its secretariat, its committees, its integrated military command, is nearest to a picture of what, but for the Russians, the Security Council might have been. Can we apply the N.A.T.O. system to Korea? I think that, with great advantage to everybody, and especially to the United States, we can go some way.
Let me make two preliminary reservations. Military operations cannot be run 267 by committees; there must be a command. Secondly, 16 Governments cannot be told in advance about impending plans and operations; if they are, the enemy will know them, too. But I think we could have not only the British Deputy Commander who is now to go. This is not an Anglo-American question, it is a United Nations question. I think we could have a rather more—
§ The Minister of State (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
I think the right hon. Gentleman meant Deputy Chief of Staff.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Yes, I beg pardon.
I think we could have a rather more fully integrated command under General Clark. The officers, of course, would owe their loyalty not to their own Governments but to him. Nevertheless, I think that their presence on his staff would be a real advantage both to him and to all concerned. We could have what has been discussed, a political adviser to General Clark, as we had in so many theatres during the last war. If the Americans would appoint a chief adviser, the other members of the United Nations could appoint assistants to work with him, and it would surely be of use to have a body of able men constantly studying and reporting on the vastly important political aspects of this Korean affair.
Thirdly, I think that arrangements in Washington could be improved both on the political and military sides. There has evidently been a slip up on the military side. I should like to see a small, strong political sub-committee of the United Nations—it is quite easy to arrange—meeting fairly often, studying the background and ready to consider at a high level the big political issues as they arise.
But more adequate machinery will not suffice if Her Majesty's Government fail in their job, fail to assert their right to consultation, fail to make others respect them and listen to what they say. It seems to us amazing, after the Prime Minister's visit to Washington six months ago, with five Cabinet Ministers and 45 officials, after his promise of closer and better co-operation with the United States, that two Ministers of Her Majesty's Government could be in Tokyo, in Korea, in Washington, while at all 268 levels this raid was being planned, discussed, mounted and authorised, and yet it was never even mentioned to them and their views were never asked. So much was that so that when the reporters told the Minister of State that it had happened, he replied, "I do not believe it." Something has gone very seriously wrong when our Ministers, on a special mission, were left in total darkness, as they were.
We must have more vigour and more vigilance from the Government. We must have more adequate machinery as well. When I say that, let me add at once that we accept American leadership, as we did before. We still feel the same gratitude to them. We want to help them to get the fair and early truce for which we believe they long. We still want, as they do, a general peace settlement when the truce is made. We believe that when the aggression in Korea has been ended Mao Tse-Tung's Government should take its place in the United Nations, and we believe that the Americans will then agree.
When the aggression has been ended, the whole question of Formosa should go, as we have all promised—the Americans, too—to the United Nations for debate and settlement. But we know, as Mao Tse-Tung knows, that these things cannot happen under the Charter until we have stopped the fighting, until the aggression is ended, until we are genuinely and sincerely making peace.
We want peace for Korea, for a democratic Korea, as Dr. Syngman Rhee must be made to understand. We welcome the strong language and firm attitude of the Minister of State, but the Government must see it through. We want peace for Burma. We want peace for Malaya. We want peace for Indo-China. We want peace for China itself—real peace with all the guarantees for her independence and integrity that she desires. We want peace which will enable her to end the bloodshed from which her people have suffered for 50 years, peace which will allow her and us to cut the monstrous burden of armaments under which we groan.
Bur let Mao Tse-Tung clearly understand that we cannot sacrifice Korea's freedom, we cannot betray the Charter, 269 for which we stand. We still seek peace, settlement, good understanding between his country and the rest of Asia and the world. But he must say the word by which aggression can be ended and Korea set free. We pray that he may say it and say it soon.
§ 4.42 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Winston Churchill)
One would hardly have thought from the interesting and in many ways excellent speech to which we have listened that a vote of censure was being moved against Her Majesty's Government. Indeed, it seemed to me that the whole emphasis and bias of the speech was directed against the extremists in the right hon. Gentleman's own party and was intended to teach them a lesson in the elementary facts of the situation, and that what was left over of the censure by that process, which was considerable, was directed, I regret to say, against the United States. We, the Government of the day—whose fate and fortune turn upon the issue of this evening's debate and Division—had hardly a word of criticism directed against us. The only point with which I will deal fully, was that we ought to have been better informed. Let us look into that in the course of our discussions.
I was very much interested in the right hon. Gentleman's retrospect, which reminded one of a great many things which are so easily forgotten in this bewilderingly busy period. No one, I agree with him, can attempt to form a true opinion about the question now before us without looking back. I shall not attempt to go over all the ground he went over of the wartime decisions and so forth, but I think we should look back on the recent sequence of events.
While the Communists were prospering in their aggression, as he reminded us, they brushed aside all proposals for a parley, and, in the three months from April to June, a great change took place. They suffered nearly 400,000 casualties against 50,000 suffered by the United Nations Forces, including those of South Korea. This was a great change and the Communist Government in China had what is called in that part of the world "lost face." Their demoralisation was profound and widespread and that was no doubt why we had the Soviet proposal for an armistice of 23rd June, 1951.
270 The White Paper gives a very full account of all that has happened since—nearly a year's negotiations during which the Chinese Communists steadily recovered their "face" by negotiating and arguing with the utmost—I almost said truculence, but let me use a neutral term—vigour with the United Nations. What they had lost in the field they recovered at the haggling table at Panmunjom. At the same time, as the House has already been told, they restored strength and order to their armies, doubled their size to nearly a million and made elaborate defensive works and lines of underground approach which would permit them to make an attack on a great scale.
If we compare the position today with what it was a year ago, we can see how shrewd and how well-timed was the Russian request for an armistice and how heavy has been the cost to the American armies who are bearing nine-tenths of the burden and the brunt of the war in Korea. It is said that the United States Forces have had 32,000 casualties in the bickering on the front during these armistice negotiations. We ourselves have had 1,200.
I was told that the armistice period had been costing the United States £4,500,000 a day and the British about £50,000 a day over and above the ordinary upkeep of their troops in both cases That has been the rate of expenditure during the year of armistice and in the end we are about half as well off as we were in the beginning.
Anyone who attempts to read the details of the armistice negotiations in the White Paper may well be tempted to ask themselves in justice whether his own patience is equal to that of our negotiators. Certainly every possible concession has been made by the representatives of the United Nations to make an agreement with the Communists who were military pulp at the time they began the talks. The right hon. Gentleman told us of a number of concessions which have been made. We have not been conscious of any desire on the part of the Chinese Communists and those who guide and direct them to come to a friendly conclusion. It was not likely that they would have such wishes when they were gaining so much at every dilatory step they took and with every month that passed.
271 The future which lies before us in this sphere is indefinite. This armistice negotiation is in itself only intended to lead up to a truce and the truce, if acted upon, is to lead to discussions about peace, which may be equally prolonged. All the time the immense expenditure of the United States will continue. I am not at this moment arguing the rights or wrongs of the world issue; I am only arguing that due consideration should be given—nothing I say here conflicts with the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman—by the sympathisers with the Chinese Communists and by the British nation as a whole to the monumental patience, breaking all previous human records, which has been displayed by the American Government and people in discharging their duty to the United Nations. I defy anyone to show any other historical example which can equal it.
We in this country are all convinced that it would be a great mistake, with Europe in its present condition, for the United Nations or the United States, which is their champion, to be involved in a war with the Communist Government inside China. I have repeatedly emphasised the danger of such a development. But do not let us blind ourselves to the terrible cost that is being paid for their patience by the people of the United States.
I think we ought to admire them for the restraint which they have practised, instead of trying to find fault with them on every occasion. There might easily come a time, especially during a Presidential election, when a very sharp reaction of emotion, even of anger, might sweep large sections of the American people, and when any candidate for the Presidency who gave full vent to it would gain a very considerable advantage.
We here have suffered our own losses, too, in this year of negotiation. Our casualties have been a 25th part of those of the United States, and in money a 90th part, but I think it is a very dangerous thing for this country—much though we mourn and regret these losses—making so comparatively small a contribution, although greater than any of the other United Nations members, to overpress its claims and complaints against those who are bearing almost the 272 whole burden and who, as I have said, have shown patience beyond all compare.
I can only hope that the American people will not suppose that the House of Commons is unfriendly to them or that we are simply naggers and fault finders. They have their own political and election quarrels and understand the process full well, and I can assure them that the same sort of thing is going on over here in the Socialist Party, with its internal disputes about leadership—
§ The Prime Minister
—and as they are experiencing themselves in America. Above all, I hope we shall not concern ourselves with American party politics and that they will make all the necessary allowances for the struggles and rivalries going on on the benches opposite.
Let me come to the Motion of censure on the Paper. We have all watched with attention, mitigated by occasional fatigue, the twirls, twitchings and convulsions which are taking place on the Front Bench opposite, and it may well be that they will feel a sense of relief in putting their differences to the test of a Division in the House as well as those which, I understand, take place in other quarters.
But there is a Motion of censure. As I said, nearly all of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman dealt with the United States, their generals, speeches they have made, and so on. We do not control the speeches which they make. But what does the complaint and censure against the Government amount to? It is that we have not sufficiently been considered by the United States, in spite of the visits that were paid to them by so many Ministers earlier in the year.
I have never denied the overwhelming contribution which the United States is making. Still, as the Foreign Secretary has said, we think that, as the second contributor to the United Nations campaign, although our contribution was so small, nevertheless we should have been consulted, or at least informed, before the bombing of the power stations in North Korea. Yet it cannot be disputed that these power stations were legitimate military targets. They supplied electric power to the military workshops and repair depots maintained by the enemy 273 underground and in railway tunnels. They served also for the radar warning system operated by the enemy. That they were military targets cannot be disputed.
Some may ask why this particular moment was selected for the attack. According to the answer that I was given when I made that inquiry, air operations cannot be undertaken without reference to the weather conditions. Korea suffers from heavy monsoon rains in July and August, and it was necessary, if these attacks were to he made, and made successfully, that the operation should be carried out before the heavy cloudy weather set in. [Interruption.] I have been asked to give an explanation, and that is the information which I have been given.
One of the plants bombed lies on the frontier between Korea and Manchuria, and sends some of its output into Manchuria. This has certainly raised a matter of principle and was not, in my view, a decision of military routine. As we were not informed, we could not know. Therefore, although technically aimed at Her Majesty's Government, the censure of the official Opposition, as I said, really falls upon the United States. I am sorry that after the frank and generous statement by Mr. Dean Acheson in Westminster Hall last Thursday, such an attitude should prevail, even in responsible sections of the Opposition.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
On a point of order. The Prime Minister has made reference to a speech that was made outside here. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] He referred to a speech made in Westminster Hall. We all understood that that speech was made at a private meeting, and it was repeatedly said to be off the record. It is very difficult if the Prime Minister refers to it and nobody else is able to refer to any other part of it. Ought it not to be excluded?
§ Mr. John Paton (Norwich, North)
On a point of order. I wish to ask a related point of order, but not exactly the same one. I wish to ask you, Mr. Deputy- 274 Speaker, if it will be in order for Members on this side of the House, now that the Prime Minister has introduced this matter of a private meeting, to continue the discussion about what Mr. Acheson said.
§ The Prime Minister
Might I inform hon. Members that it is already on the tape? The whole report is already published by the United States.
No point of order arises, and I am not going to answer a hypothetical point of order.
§ The Prime Minister
As I say, I do not remember any occasion in international affairs when a more candid and manly course has been taken by a prominent public man. The meeting was off the record, but I obtained permission to give an account to the House, and I find that this account was released this morning in the United States by the State Department.
§ Mr. S. Silverman rose—
§ The Prime Minister
The hon. Gentleman is so busy finding fault that he is not able to keep himself abreast of the, facts.
§ Mr. Silverman rose—
§ Mr. Silverman rose—
§ Mr. Silverman
If I had not thought that it was a point of order, I should not have attempted to raise it, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. The point of order I wish to put to you is this: the right hon. Gentleman has now referred to a document that we have all heard about, namely, the publication, in spite of our being told that it was off the record, of what purports to be a full account of the speech in Westminster Hall. There are many of us who do not accept it as a full record, and the point of order I want to put is this: in view of what the Prime Minister is now saying, will we on this side be in order in referring to those parts of Mr. Dean Acheson's speech in Westminster Hall that do not appear in the report that was published?
I can only judge on a point of order when it arises. There has been no point of order at the moment.
§ The Prime Minister
I am bound to say, if I may make a diversion, that I do not think there is any practice of the House which is more a subject of abuse than this raising of points of order of an unreal or even fraudulent character.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
On a point of order. I do not know, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, whether you share the right hon. Gentleman's contempt for the procedure of the House or his readiness to abuse his position in order to offer insults—
§ Mr. Silverman
I am exceedingly grateful to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for reminding hon. Members that points of order, or other things, might be put in a temperate way. I would ask whether the use of the word "fraudulent" with reference to other Members of the House and their conduct in putting points of order is, in your view, in order, and whether the suggestion that you permit fraudulent points of order is not a quite unjustifiable attack upon the Chair.
I am in absolute agreement with the first comment. The points of order raised at the moment can certainly be described as fraudulent in my opinion.
§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)
On a point of order. I should like to have your guidance, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, in this matter. A very large number of Members of Parliament of all parties attended the meeting at Westminster Hall. We were given to understand that the whole thing was off the record and that it was entirely private and could not be reported. I understand that a certain report has been made purporting to be a report of what occurred at that meeting. All of it, however, has not been reported and, as no shorthand notes were taken by any official persons at that meeting, so far as I know, are we, therefore, in a position to put any interpretation and to give any report we like about what we think happened at that meeting?
I cannot, of course, judge on what was said and what 276 happened at the meeting, but those matters certainly do not arise as points of order.
§ Mr. Bevan
May I respectfully submit that this is an extremely serious matter? It might be possible—I have never known this happen before—for very grave damage to be done to relations between two peoples if interpretations not supported by objective fact can be made purporting to be what the spokesman for foreign affairs in America said at a private meeting. What we want to know is are we free to do it? If so, then we must all take the consequences.
If a matter is serious, it does not necessarily mean that it is a point of order.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
In the hub-bub of what has since occurred I am not quite sure whether I heard your answer to the point of order which I raised a little while ago, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. The point of order that I put to you was whether the Prime Minister was entitled, within the rules of the House, to accuse another hon. Member of having done something fraudulent. I did not hear the answer to that.
I do not think that the Prime Minister accused anyone of doing anything fraudulent—[Interruption.]—I should be grateful if I could have the courtesy of the House to allow me to finish my sentence. The Prime Minister did not refer to any hon. Member as being fraudulent. He referred to the raising of fraudulent points of order. In my experience that has been happening frequently of recent years.
§ Mr. Silverman
It is, of course, perfectly true that the right hon. Gentleman had not the guts to say what he had to say about any individual Member by name, but he used the phrase about the fraudulent raising of points of order in a context which could only be related to the point of order which had just been raised. The point which I raised with you is whether, as reference to this speech had been made on one side, it would be in order when the time came for other Members to refer to other parts of that speech. I can see nothing fraudulent about that, and I should be sorry to see that anybody else can.
The word "fraudulent" was not used in that context at all. The word "fraudulent," as I understand it, was used against points of order which hon. Members raise, when the Minister or the hon. Member who is speaking refuses to give way, and think that the only way that they can get their word in is by raising a point of order. It happens time and again and, in my opinion they are fraudulent points of order. I hope they will be stopped.
§ The Prime Minister
I should like, if I may, to read the version which has been published in Washington—the version which the hon. Gentleman was not aware of.
§ The Prime Minister
One would not have thought so from what has been said. The version of what Mr. Acheson said in Westminster Hall. It is open to hon. Members to say so if they heard something different, but I hope that they will wait until the speech has been concluded, and then they can raise that point. This is what I am informed he has said. I am quoting him now:If I may digress for a moment I shall make some remarks about a matter which is one of controversy and which I would not speak about in England were it not for the fact that this is off the record. I shall restrict my remarks to what I think it is my duty to say to you at this time. This is about the matter that you have been debating during the last two or three days.You would ask me, I am sure, if I did not say this, two questions, and I should like to reply very frankly to both of them. One question you would ask is: Shouldn't the British Government have been informed or consulted about the bombing? To that, my answer would be: Yes, it should have been indeed, it was our intention to do it. It is only as the result of what in the United States is known as a 'Snafu'"—which word I have had to add to my vocabulary—that you were not consulted about it.I am sure that you are wholly inexperienced in England with Government errors. We, unfortunately, have had more familiarity with them, and due to the fact that one person was supposed to do something and thought that another person was suppose to do something, you were not consulted. Therefore, you should have been. We have no question about that.If you ask me whether you had an absolute right to be consulted, I should say no, but I don't want to argue about absolute right. What I want to say is that you are a partner of ours 278 in this operation, and we wanted to consult you; we should have, and we recognise an error.There could not be a more full and generous statement than that, and the fact that it was said off the record, and that, afterwards, the speaker had waived all the secrecy which attended his remarks and made it public property, because he thought it in the public interest, only pays a higher tribute to his courage—[Interruption.] I would be hours if I am going to argue with everybody. Not that I mind it; I do not at all, but I must consider a little the wishes of other hon. Members who wish to speak.
I said that that is a complete answer—the statement I have just read—to the vote of censure which the Opposition have placed upon the Order Paper—a complete answer, certainly.
§ Mr. C. R. Attlee (Walthamstow, West) rose—
§ Mr. Attlee
I gather from the right hon. Gentleman that the American Secretary of State thought this was a mistake, as we may understand, owing to one person having thought that the other had reported us the information, and the other had not done it. What the right hon. Gentleman has not explained, and a point on which we should like an explanation, is why two Cabinet Ministers, who ought to be fully informed about operations, have themselves told us that when a major operation—something quite exceptional—came about, they never knew a word about it.
§ The Prime Minister
That is a point which I will come to in due course, but I am on one point at a time, and I say that a more complete answer to the vote of censure which the Opposition have placed upon the Order Paper could not have been given than was given, and given in the hearing of so many who are here, by the American Secretary of State.
Now, it has sometimes been said that we should meet force with force, but that is by no means always true. There are other and better methods often, but what is always true is that generosity should be met with generosity. It will, I am sure be the true opinion of the House and of the country that Mr. Acheson's statement, 279 made to so many hon. Members, should have ended this matter, so far as the past is concerned. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If it had not been for an accident, as he said, we should have been informed and, therefore, where is the point of censure that our relations with them are such that we should not be informed upon this matter.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ The Prime Minister
The former Minister of Defence said at the week-end that nothing like this breakdown in contact ever happened under the Socialist Government, or words to that effect. The most serious mistake that was made in the Korean campaign was the advance by General MacArthur, who has so many fine victories to his credit, not only beyond the 38th Parallel, but beyond the waist of the Korean Peninsula in November, 1950.
This involved an enormous scattering of our power and the lengthening of the front, and caused a most fateful setback to the operations of the United Nations. The Chinese were given a deadly opportunity to recover, of which they took full advantage. But nobody thought of moving a vote of censure on the Government of the day because they had not been consulted by the United Nations Supreme Commander.
So far, we have worked on the basis which we found on taking office. As for the future, the United States had expressed their willingness, as my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State has told us, to receive a British Commonwealth military representative upon General Mark Clark's staff, and we have accepted this offer. The matter is not, however, as simple as it looks. I am trying to be perfectly candid with the House. Fifteen other Nations are represented in the United Nations Army, and military operations can hardly be conducted in a Babel of conflicting voices.
The question arises: to whom would the loyalty of a British representative be due? Would it be to the chief under whom he is serving, or to the country to which he belongs? If, for instance, he is told something of a secret character, is 280 he to report it home, or is he merely to be permitted to express an opinion or give a warning, while keeping his information secret from us? The second course, I must express the opinion, would appear to be the right one, but it would not necessarily have perevented the bombing of the North Korean plants, nor would it have added to our information about it.
I hope that the House will realise the difficulties involved in the various proposals that are made to strengthen the representation of the United Nations when one country is performing this vast preponderance of the toil. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker) spoke of the situation in the previous war, and we all remember that which prevailed in North Africa in 1942–43. There, it is true, we had a political adviser to General Eisenhower—my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Town Planning—["No."] Give it me again.
§ The Prime Minister
I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman: there is nothing like getting it accurate.
There was also an American advisor, Mr. Murphy, but the Forces were soon very evenly balanced, and, after that, we became nearly three times as strong when we still accepted General Eisenhower's command. I doubt very much whether a similar machinery could be set up in Korea. However, we have decided to accept the invitation courteously extended to us.
I must say that I was surprised to read the bitter personal attack made upon Lord Alexander in the official newspaper of the Labour Party by the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Foot). When General Mark Clark was appointed to succeed General Ridgway in Korea, I was very glad that one of his first thoughts was to invite his friend and former commander, General Alexander, to come out to see him. I was sure that nothing but good could come out of friendly talks between them.
The idea was welcomed in most quarters. His journey acquired more formality by the decision to send my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State along with him, but the 281 mission, as it now became, in no way possessed the power to take decisions of policy. We wanted to be informed and to interchange our thoughts with our friends and Allies. I must say I thought it was a hard ordeal for Field Marshal Alexander to have to step out of an aeroplane on a dozen occasions and be surrounded by reporters asking any question that came into their heads and picking up any phrase or casual expression.
This was a task which might well have tried a most hardened and practised politician. Even the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), in spite of all his experience and tact, might have made a slip here and there. He spent the week-end explaining some of his slips away and creating new ones. I think that the House as a whole feels, as the Government do, that Field Marshal Alexander discharged his difficult duties with the utmost tact and discretion.
On Monday we received a telegram from General Mark Clark in which he stated that he himself did not know that these plants were to be bombed while Field Marshal Alexander was with him, and that if he had known he would certainly have told him. [Laughter.] I thought hon. Members would like to know the facts. I had to be rather careful, because I was not quite sure what might or might not have passed, and therefore I walked as cautiously as I possibly could.
But I am sure that this visit did nothing but good and that the friendly contacts which the Minister of Defence established, not only in Korea but also in Washington and at Ottawa, have been very helpful to our relations at this difficult time. Moreover, I personally feel comfort in having at the Cabinet table one whose eye in military matters I have learned to trust and whose judgment of values and of difficult events has so often shone in courage and in wisdom.
To come to the second question of the right hon. Gentleman—prisoners of war. As he said, many difficulties have been settled at Panmunjom by concessions, mainly on the part of the United Nations, but in the early months of this year the exchange of prisoners, of which we held 132,000 and the Chinese Communists 12,000, became the crucial issue. There is a great deal about this in the White Paper, which I trust hon. Members will 282 have perused, and the facts disclosed should be shown in their true light. What is a prisoner of war? He is a man who has tried to kill you and, having failed to kill you, asks you not to kill him.
Long before the Christian revelation, the world had found out by practice that mercy towards a beaten enemy was well worth while and that it was much easier to gain Control over wide areas by taking prisoners than by making everyone fight to the death against you. Julius Caesar gained far more by his clemency than by his prowess. We therefore are much in favour of encouraging prisoners to surrender by giving them good treatment, and the United Nation's command have voluntarily accepted the principles of the Geneva Convention.
§ The Prime Minister
That has absolutely nothing to do with it. It shows the confused mass of tangled irrelevances and disjointed thoughts with which the hon. Gentleman's head is filled, or almost filled.
It would he most disastrous if we were to adopt the methods of the Soviet Government of keeping prisoners of war to be toiled to death as slaves. The recent Report by N.A.T.O. on the three million prisoners, most of whom have perished in Russian hands, will certainly be in many people's minds. I have no doubt that in the present cold war struggle with the Communists, mercy and consideration towards prisoners of war is the wisest as well as the most honourable course we can pursue.
In April last—this year—I noticed the lengths to which the Americans were going in their screening of prisoners in the camps over which they still had effective control. The questionnnaires which were put to the prisoners, as the White Paper shows, were very severe. They were designed to persuade the prisoners, almost to coerce them, to choose to be sent back to Communist China or North Korea by warning them that their families might well be made to suffer and that the United Nations could offer them no future maintenance or employment.
How can we be accused of wishing to prolong the truce negotiations? Their anxiety was visible, in every communication that we received from that quarter, to 283 bring things to an end—and naturally, when you are paying so much and losing so much and gaining nothing out of it; naturally, there is a great desire to bring things to an end.
§ Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East) rose—
§ The Prime Minister
One can easily go too far along such a road. When people say that they would rather commit suicide or would resist forcibly being sent back to the Communist zone, due consideration must be given to their wishes. Terrible things happened after the end of the Second World War about the repatriation of Russian prisoners. But, after all, we had been the ally of Russia, and many of these Russian prisoners had fought against their own country when it was in dire struggle. Moreover, the shape of the world was not defined as we can see it now.
But this I will say: that to force an anti-Communist prisoner of war, in spite of his threat to commit suicide, to go back to Communist China or North Korea would be inhumane and dishonourable. It would also be most short-sighted and unwise. Behind the Iron Curtain there are millions of people who long to escape the awful tyranny and terrorism under which they lie. We must be very careful that the gates of hope should not be closed upon them. We do not think that any prisoners of war in Korea in our hands should be forced to go back to the Communist area, especially now, after they have committed themselves, if they are still resolutely and sincerely resolved not to do so.
I was very glad to see that this view, which I hold myself and with which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary was in full accord, was simultaneously and spontaneously expressed by the United States and that it has been approved by all parties in this House, including, in energetic and even eloquent terms, the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker).
It is remarkable that the strongest refusal to go back to the Communist area was expressed by the Chinese 16,000 out of 20,000 refused to go back. The American officers concerned saw very clearly how much this refusal would affect the truce negotiations. It would 284 hit Communist China in its weakest point, namely, that so many of those who had lived there would want to get out of it and did not want to go back there. The Americans put pressure on these men to the fullest extent that decent humanity would permit, and still at the present moment upwards of 16,000 say they would rather die than return to their native land.
That is a considerable fact in world history and those who seek to discern the truth should let it sink into their consciousness. Who were these Chinese prisoners? We were assured that they were all volunteers—volunteers! They were not ordinary soldiers sent by their Government to perform some military task. No, they were the passionate volunteers, we were told, who, without involving the Chinese Government in the slightest responsibility, plunged forth to the rescue of South Korea from American aggression.
That is what we were told. That has been the stuff, similar to that which is sucked up so avidly in various quarters in this country. That is the fiction on which we maintained our diplomatic representation. Sixteen thousand out of 20,000 would rather die than go back. They must have undergone a very considerable conversion since they became prisoners of war; or perhaps the whole story of their being volunteers is wholly humbug from start to finish.
The Communist view is, of course, that they are being held back under duress, and have been coerced into changing their political convictions. No? I thought I would have got a cheer at this point. If this be so why cannot the offers we have made for a full screening by the Red Cross, or by any impartial or two-sided body that may be agreed, be accepted? That is the offer that has been made and has been rejected because the Chinese Communists 'and their Russian guides and puppet-pullers know quite well that they would not get the answer they want, and which to them is of the very first importance. I must say that this episode of the refusal of the great bulk of the Chinese prisoners to return to China, and the willingness of great numbers of them to take their own lives rather than do so, may be regarded as one of the most significant events of our time.
285 One practical question remains. Has harm been done to the truce negotiations by the bombing of the North Korean plants? It has been well said, "Never prophesy unless you know." There are some, like my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. F. Maclean), who contend that even good has been done. All that one can say at present is that so far no change in the existing unsatisfactory deadlock has occurred, but that the military security of the United Nations and United States Forces has been substantially increased by the destruction of plants that would have aided a heavy and formidable offensive against them.
There are other dangers that should be borne in mind. I read in this week's issue of the "New Statesman and Nation," for instance, thatMr. Truman should be told that unless, as Commander-in-Chief, he imposes his policy on his subordinates, and puts a stop to the provocative re-armament of Chiang Kai-shek on Formosa, Britain will withdraw her troops from Korea.
§ The Prime Minister
In my opinion, in the present electioneering atmosphere across the Atlantic there might well be Isolationists who would take such threats at their word and say, "Let the British take their troops away and let us conduct the affair ourselves. We could easily replace their division with one of ours in Europe." There are many Americans who think that China is more important than Europe. It certainly would be a great misfortune if that line of thought were to prevail. Indeed, it might easily lead to the ruin of the whole European structure of defence which is being built up with so much effort and sacrifice and would expose us all to mortal danger not only of war but of destruction.
Everyone knows our main policy and that is in full accord with the United States. At all costs avoid being sprawled about in China. That is and has always been our basic policy. That could not have been expressed more forcibly than by President Truman himself in his broadcast in April, 1951.
I was, I think, the first in this House to suggest, in November, 1949, recognition of the Chinese Communists. I thought at that time that the Americans 286 had disinterested themselves in what had happened in China, and as we had great interests there and also on general grounds, I thought that it would be a good thing to have diplomatic representation. But if you recognise anyone it does not mean that you like him. We all, for instance, recognise the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). But it is just at the time when things are disagreeable between countries that you need diplomatic relations.
But there is one thing which usually severs diplomatic relations, and that is the shedding of blood on a large scale by war-like action. It is remarkable that in spite of the fact that the Chinese have in no way responded to our diplomatic gesture and have, on the contrary, treated us with scorn and have shed the blood of our own soldiers and that of our Allies, we should not only continue—our Government has continued the policy of the previous Government—to accord them diplomatic recognition but, if we followed the advice of the party opposite, we would make it a major effort of policy to persuade the United States, with their 20.000 dead, to do the same while the fighting is actually going, on.
I have endeavoured—no, not to answer the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South, because in the main I have only been preaching his theme by a parallel method. I can see hardly a point of difference between us, except that he has to do his best to move a vote of censure. We ask the House to cast this censure back upon those who have moved it. The attitude towards the United States of many of the Socialists below the Gangway is devoid alike of wisdom and of prudence. We denounce their wanton and reckless conduct, seeming to care nothing for the peace and freedom of the world and the safety of this island; and there is no one who cannot feel ashamed at the deference which has to be paid to them by their leaders on the Front Bench opposite.
§ 5.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Plymouth, Devonport)
The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister began his speech, and also concluded a part of it, by professing some disappointment at the way in 287 which the Motion had been moved from the Opposition Front Bench. The right hon. Gentleman almost seemed to suggest that he had come here prepared and fully armoured to submit to a vote of censure and was deeply disappointed because he had not been able to go through that process.
He almost complained that he had been let off scot free. I think that in saying that he was guilty of some exaggeration, but I must confess that I see what he means. At a later stage I should like to explain the reasons why I and many of my hon. Friends believe that this Motion of censure should have been expressed in much stronger terms, should have been expressed in terms which would have enabled the right hon. Gentleman at least to have had the experience which he told us he was expecting when he came into the House.
The second main claim of the right hon. Gentleman was tied up with a general consideration which he put before the House, and which he said should partly govern our views and decisions on the matter we are debating. The right hon. Gentleman asked us to recognise that when the peace or truce discussions had begun, the Chinese forces were in a desperate military state; that during the whole period of this armistice they had been able to build up and recover their strength; that we should recognise the monumental patience which has been shown by the United States commanders in the field who were conducting the military operations.
I think everyone recognises that there has been some display of patience during that period, but I think it is a most false picture for the Prime Minister to present to the House to suggest that there has been a build-up on one side of the line but no build-up on the other. If that is the kind of suggestion which the Prime Minister is presenting his information does not accord with that brought back by his own Minister of Defence—[HON. MEMBERS: "He never said it."]
The right hon. Gentleman was suggesting that great military advantage for the Chinese had been secured during that period. All I am saying is that if the Prime Minister holds that opinion—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If hon. Members will 288 listen to what I am about to say they may be able to discover whether they agree with me or not.
There has, of course, been a military build-up on both sides and it is by no means certain—certainly, it was not indicated either in the speech made by the Foreign Secretary last week, or in the report of the Minister of Defence—that the truce period has been of such great advantage to the Chinese and of such disadvantage to the Allies. [Interruption.] It may be that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House do not wish to agree on this subject, but perhaps they may listen to a quotation from a statement on this matter which was given by General Van Fleet, the United States Eighth Army Commander in Korea, and following on the statement quoted by my right hon. Friend on this matter. This is what the General said about the situation:The Allies hold a terrific advantage on the plus side of the ledger. We are more powerful than ever.If that is true, and that is what suggest, then instead of asking the House to bear in mind that the background for this discussion should be the consideration that the truce talk period has been only to the advantage of the Chinese, it should be remembered that it has also been an advantage for ourselves; and that in some respects it might be claimed that both sides have shown patience, because both sides have made concessions. Indeed, as I believe, and as I still hope, both sides have an interest in securing a truce. It is because our belief is that that possibility has been injured by the actions which are supported by the Government that we take such a strong view on this matter.
The right hon. Gentleman attempted to deal with the main argument, which is partly enshrined in this Motion, by calling in aid the speech of Mr. Dean Acheson. If we are to have published part of that speech delivered by Mr. Dean Acheson in Westminster Hall I think we should have the whole published. The right hon. Gentleman, according to his account, made a request, before he knew publication was taking place in Washington, that part of the statement should be published, because he was going to use it in the House of Commons to get himself out of a hole.
289 Why does he not ask that the whole of the statement made by Mr. Dean Acheson, together with the answers to questions, be published, so that the British people may be able to understand exactly what took place? I think the right hon. Gentleman has put himself under an obligation to the House to make that request to the American Secretary of State.
There is a much more serious aspect of the question, and this was the whole of the right hon. Gentleman's case. He said that this was a Government error in the United States. A Government error, And the admission, at what the American Secretary of State originally thought was a private meeting, the admission that this Government error has led to all these events, was regarded by the right hon. Gentleman as a most generous admission by the United States Government. If that is the state of pusillanimity in which he finds himself in dealing with the U.S. Government I have not much hope of how he will deal with any big matters.
This is a much more serious question than merely a Government error. The implication of saying that it was a Government error is that all the United States Government had an obligation to do was to inform the British Government that this was going to happen. They had no obligation to come and discuss major policy matters that were involved.
§ Mr. Richard Fort (Clitheroe)
Would the hon. Member apply the same argument to the other nations who are fighting in the United Nations Army in Korea?
§ Mr. Foot
I am certainly in favour of applying the same argument in references to other countries, and I am sure that our friends in Canada are as deeply concerned about this bombing as many of my hon. Friends on this side of the House—[Interruption.] If hon. Gentlemen opposite would listen; if they would try for a moment—I know it is difficult—but a whole new world might be opened before them if they would only try the novel experiment of trying to listen with their ears instead of with their mouths.
According to the Prime Minister, and according to the American Secretary of State, all that is provoking this great question on which we have had these two debates is a Government error in the 290 United States. There are many of us who regard this as being an issue of far greater importance.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to what I suppose he would now describe as a Government error: the drive of General MacArthur towards the Yalu River at Christmas, 1950. But in view of the events which have provoked this debate, and the other debate, I regard this as the gravest development in the Korean situation since General MacArthur made that drive to the Yalu River.
I do not suppose that there is any hon. Member of this House—certainly, no hon. Member on this side—who would defend the wisdom of the action taken by General MacArthur on that occasion. Indeed, if, instead of unleashing that offensive, the United Nations had been prepared to stop, either at the 38th Parallel or on the waist-line, and make then an offer of peace negotiations, we would have done it from strength; we would have done it in a moment of victory, and the whole course of history during this tragic year-and-a-half might have been altered.
Instead, we allowed the military authorities to assume [An HON. MEMBER: "That was your side."] I quite agree. But I am sure that my hon. Friends on this side would say that perhaps we might have learned from that terrible experience. Our charge against the Government is that they have not learned from it. Instead of allowing peace proposals to be made at that time, when no one in the world could have said that the United Nations were not in a strong position, we allowed authority to be usurped by the military chiefs, and we ran the very gravest risks of the enlargement of the whole war. Perhaps today, when we are discussing a similar situation, we may pay a little more attention to those who at that time advised us, and who gave us a warning of what might happen before General MacArthur made his offensive on that occasion.
Now we are faced with a situation where the military authorities, it appears to us, have again been given their head. As the right hon. Gentleman says, nobody can say for certain what will be the result of the attacks on the hydro-electric plants in North Korea. Nobody can say for certain. But we shall be fortunate—it will not be any decision of ours, but by 291 the reticence of the Chinese—if the Chinese are not tempted to display the same kind of reaction as they showed to General MacArthur's attack in 1950. We shall be fortunate if they do not do what we would probably do in the circumstances, namely, to answer force with force. We may indeed be fortunate if the Chinese do not counter the new display of offensive power by the United Nations with a display of offensive power of their own.
In my view this is much the most serious aspect of the whole affair. It may be that this action has precipitated an extension of the war—an extension which it would be increasingly difficult to confine within Korean frontiers and which would mean the destruction of the principle of seeking to limit the war, which was the principle upon which we were previously agreed. Even more serious, therefore, than any question of whether there should have been consultation before this deed was done is the deed itself.
But the Government approve the deed. There is no doubt about that. The Government have been perfectly open about it. First of all, we had the statement of Field Marshal Lord Alexander. The Prime Minister criticised an article which I wrote in the "Daily Herald" on this subject. He is perfectly entitled to do so; but what is the situation? The first information given to the British people about the British Government's attitude to this action—which provoked the Opposition Front Bench to seek to move the adjournment of the House—was from the Minister of Defence in Washington when he went to a Press conference. It was not done at some casual moment when he was stepping from an aeroplane, although I think even generals, like other mortals, might keep their mouths shut when they step off aeroplanes. This was said at a Press conference in Washington, after the bombs had been dropped and when there was very considerable concern in this country, in India and all over Asia.
What did the Minister of Defence say—as reported in "The Times"? He said that personally he was in favour of the bombing, as the power plants were undoubtedly military targets. Since when has a Minister of Defence, responsible 292 to the British Parliament—although, unhappily, not responsible to the House of Commons, it seems—been allowed to give his personal opinion on a matter like this at a Press conference in Washington?
It may be that this is an extension of the new constitutional doctrine of the right hon. Gentleman that overlords are not responsible for what they say either on this side of the Atlantic or the other. It is a shocking thing that a statement of this nature should be made by a Minister of Defence which might put the Foreign Secretary in an awkward position. If the Foreign Secretary believed that the action—that is, the bombing raids—was unwise he would have been placed in a position not only of having to make a protest to his Allies but also of repudiating his own Minister of Defence.
That situation was overcome by the Foreign Secretary rushing forward to declare his full support for the action taken. The Foreign Secretary says—and the right hon. Gentleman in his speech today has confirmed it—that the Government thinks that the bombing raids were right. He thinks they were wise. The Government thinks that the raids were well timed. That is the precise and only meaning of the declaration which was made by the Foreign Secretary last week. My claim is that such a declaration by a British Government marks a serious departure from a policy which had been previously agreed.
The policy which had been previously agreed had three strands or propositions implied within it. My right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker) argued about only one of those propositions. The first proposition was that we should resist, and join with others in resisting aggression in Korea. The second was that we should do everything in our power to limit the war in Korea and seek a negotiated settlement, and the third proposition—although the right hon. Gentleman, at the end of his speech, seems to have cast some doubt upon it—was that we should do nothing to seek to restore Chiang kai-Shek and his regime in China, that we would not wish to restart the Chinese civil war and that it would never be our purpose to transform the Korean conflict into a general crusade against Communism.
293 Those three propositions have been agreed, certainly by this side of the House and, we thought, by the other side; but we always knew that there was a considerable difference with the United States Government on some of these matters, particularly with regard to the last item. We always knew that there were elements in the United States which were seeking to use this war for the purpose of restoring Chiang Kai-shek. That was why the previous Government said that we must state our reasons and press our views against this doctrine.
There were many other occasions when the previous British Government pressed their views. They pressed them on the question of recognition. They pressed their case—though they did not get all they wanted—at the time when the sanctions resolution went through in January, 1951, and it has been revealed that the Labour Government pressed its views on the precise question of which targets should be bombed and in which particular circumstances.
The Labour Government did exercise some control, though many of us would have wished it had been greater. But on this major policy change which has taken place the Government, on its own confession, says that we have no influence whatever and that we were not even consulted. Immediately this situation arose the Foreign Secretary rushed to the House of Commons to pledge his full support for everything that had happened. In our view this is not the way in which we shall he able to assert any influence on matters on future occasions.
When the Prime Minister went to Washington in January the main complaint of hon. Members on this side of the House was of the way in which he had represented the British point of view when he spoke to Congress. Our charge against him on that occasion was that despite his eloquence he had failed to express our distinctive point of view on issues of Far Eastern policy. As a result of that failure we said that he might have encouraged great difficulties for the future. Unhappily, our prophecy has proved correct.
If the right hon. Gentleman had been a little more frank in January we might have escaped some of the dangers and difficulties which we face in July. In any case, if the right hon. Gentleman, on that 294 earlier occasion, had expressed his views with sufficient frankness to command attention in the United States there might have been proper consultation and he might have saved the Foreign Secretary from being placed in such an ignominious position as that in which he was placed last week.
What are the arguments which have been put forward as reasons for this action having received the full support of Her Majesty's Government? There are two main arguments. First, there is the military argument. It is said that these were legitimate military targets and that this was a normal part of the military activities which had been going on in Korea during the whole period of the truce. We have been given quite a lot of information on those lines. We have been told that the nature of the truce had been previously misconceived, and that there had been very considerable fighting—though I must confess that the report given today by the Minister of State seems to have destroyed some part of that argument and there appears to be some confusion whether the fighting was on a large or small scale.
We have been given some further information today. The Prime Minister has told us for the first time that it was due to weather conditions that this bombing took place when it did, and that if we had not bombed then we should not have been able to bomb later. That is all the more reason why there should have been further consultation. Perhaps the weather in this part of the world could have been foreseen. We have been told about the targets. We have been given military information describing how these plants had been put into operation again only in recent months and that was why they were not bombed before. I do not doubt that there may be very good military arguments for the bombing taking place when it did. I am not concerned to argue about that. But that was the whole of the case, as presented by the Foreign Secretary last week, for giving full support to this action, and that has been supported by the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon.
The political implications of the attack do not appear to have been discussed. I do not know whether any hon. Member has been convinced by the argument presented by the Foreign Secretary, or 295 whether anybody really believes that the reason for this action was the long list of military arguments which we have had paraded before us. That is the defence of the Foreign Secretary. That is not the defence of the United States Government. The reason of the United States Government for this action is based on entirely different grounds. They were read out to us in the last debate and have been referred to by my right hon. Friend this afternoon.
There is, first of all, the clear statement of the spokesman in the Pentagon to the effect that this was part of a new "get tough" political policy designed to improve the chances of an armistice. Therefore, that is an entirely different argument from the one presented by those who claim that it is the military argument which provided the excuse for this action. Of course, the Pentagon has said the opposite, and I think that this Pentagon statement should have been printed in the White Paper. Or is it the truth that the Foreign Office asked the State Department in Washington to supply them with a copy of the full Pentagon statement and that they have not yet been able to get it? Perhaps we shall be told when the Minister of State comes to reply on this point.
But this was certainly the official statement made by the Pentagon and it has never been repudiated by any high ranking official or statesman in the United States because it is the truth and because it is proved still further by the fact that General Mark Clark—although, apparently, according to the accounts received today, he did not know when the attack was going to take place—made application to Washington to discover when he should be allowed to make it.
That was the statement we had last week. Of course, if the application was made from Tokyo to Washington and also referred to the Secretary of State, Mr. Acheson, as I believe it was, then all these processes only took place precisely because of the political implication. This same argument is proved up to the hilt by the statements that have been made concerning the conversations which took place between the previous British Foreign Secretary and the United States Government last September.
296 These precise targets were discussed, and certain conditions were laid down as to when the bombing of them might be allowed to take place. One of the conditions was if there was a change in the circumstances of the fighting from Manchurian bases; the second condition was if the armistice had been made and then broken, and the third was if there was a complete breakdown of the armistice negotiations. None of those conditions has been satisfied, and yet the United States Government still went ahead with the attack on the hydroelectric plants.
Supposing there had been a fourth hypothesis in the conditions laid down by the previous Foreign Secretary when in Washington, saying that if the armistice negotiations drag on so much that there does not seem a way of getting out of them, then we will also have the right to attack those targets, it would have been different. The exclusion of that condition is the best proof that a decisive change of policy has taken place.
No one who reads the United States newspapers—the well-informed Military Correspondent of the "New York Times" has elaborated on the whole matter—doubts that this is an entirely new phase. This is a new policy with grave political implications, and it is undertaken at a time, not when the armistice negotiations have collapsed and not when these long-drawn-out negotiations appear to be absolutely deadlocked with no hope of ending the deadlock, but at the moment when the Foreign Secretary himself believed that there was still a good possibility of bringing the truce negotiations to a successful conclusion, and, indeed, at the exact moment that the Minister of Defence was sent out from this country partly to discuss whether there should be British participation in those negotiations.
It was a very extraordinary moment for such a change of policy to take place, and even more so in view of the information available about the fresh overtures and negotiations which were taking place on a very high level with a view to seeking an escape from the deadlock. There have been discussions with many Governments, including the Government of India. The Minister of State said that when he was on the way to Korea he met the Prime Minister of India. I wonder 297 what the Prime Minister said to him and what negotiations have since been taking place.
It would be a monstrous and terrible thing, and a heavy responsibility would rest upon this Government, if it later transpired, when the history of these days conies to be written, that at the precise moment when it really looked as if there was the possibility of opening the door to fresh negotiations and seeking a new initiative in those negotiations, the decision was taken in Tokyo to send out the bombers.
The issue becomes even more sinister when this possibility is coupled with the official statement by General Van Fleet, already quoted by my right hon. Friend this afternoon, saying:I wish the enemy would launch a major offensive against the United Nations. We hope he comes. I think such a battle would be decisive. He would limit himself to distinction, we would pile him on the barbed wire and maybe end the war.This is not the statement of a military commander seeking success in truce negotiations. It is a statement by someone inviting an offensive because he thinks there is a military way of ending the war, when, as the Prime Minister himself confessed, he does not think there is. A military attempt to end the war means a futile, wretched and bloody invasion of the Chinese mainland.
Therefore, it is proved up to the hilt that there has been a change of policy of the most decisive character, comparable, perhaps, in the consequences it may have with the original attack of General MacArthur up to the Yalu River. But if it is a change of policy, why is it not mentioned in the resolution put down by the official Opposition? What is the use of right hon. Gentlemen opposite saying that they must have the most perfect machinery for dealing with consultations in order to give full support to the United States Government when that Government conduct the kind of actions which they have carried out during the past week?
Perhaps the most charitable explanation of why this Motion has been put down in such tepid terms, and of the Prime Minister's solid defence of all these matters, is that the Government may think that if they had acted differently it would have injured Anglo-American relations. I am as deeply concerned as 298 anybody in this House about Anglo-American relations because I agree that the peace of the world may depend upon them. But I believe there is certainly one thing which could rupture Anglo-American relations irretrievably, and that is if we were to be dragged into a general war with China.
Our belief is that this action may have increased that danger. If we were to be dragged into a general war with China there would certainly be very deep cleavages in this country, and it would shatter the Commonwealth. It is no good right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite trying to disguise the fact. Everyone knows that the Prime Minister of India has been highly critical of many of the policies followed in Korea. He has expressed his condemnation of this action—not merely of the failure to consult, but of this action—in the strongest possible terms. If we were dragged into a general war with China as a result of actions such as these, then it would give rise not only to the greatest possible cleavage of opinion in this country but it would also, as I say, shatter the unity of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Therefore, we say it is the duty of the British Government to make this fact clear in the United States, and this is the best immediate service on this issue that the British Government can perform to Anglo-American relations, because if there is a deep divergence, and if the Americans do not understand this fact, there will be the gravest possible repercussions upon our future relations, and that war may be brought nearer which we are all so desperately anxious to avoid.
I would say, therefore, that there are many of us, certainly on this side of the House, who feel passionately about the action that was taken last week. We are concerned not only about the fact that there was a failure to consult. We feel that it was a wanton act, an irresponsible act, that could lead to the gravest dangers, and we want to do everything in our power to prevent such actions from being repeated in the future. We feel it is part of the duty—indeed, above all the responsibility—of the British Government at this time, at a moment when there are great sections of opinion in some parts of the world, particularly in the United States, which, for whatever reason, think 299 we must despair of any kind of negotiated settlement in the Far East, to make it clear that we will not accept that we have arrived at a situation where the only solution is war, but rather that we must at all times keep alive the possibility of negotiation; negotiation from strength, if hon. Members like, although here, we are told, we have strength in Korea.
But this action is certainly not one which accords with the idea of negotiation from strength. That is the reason why many of us feel so bitterly about it on this side of the House—that here, at one of the critical moments in our post-war history, when that moment came, the British Government failed to express the true view of the British people.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ Lieut.-Colonel H. M. Hyde (Belfast, North)
The speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Devonport (Mr. Foot) to which the House has just listened has been delivered with the vitriolic fervour which we have come to expect from him both in his written and his spoken words. His speech seemed to give much more satisfaction to his hon. Friends below the Gangway than to those above it. He said a great many provocative things; I thought some of them very offensively. I have no doubt that he will in due course be answered by his own Front Bench as well as by the Minister of State from this side. I myself do not propose to follow the hon. Member except in one or two small particulars.
My excuse for intervening in this debate, apart from the general interest which everyone in this House has on the subject under discussion, is simply that a few months ago I had myself an opportunity of visiting Korea, of visiting the front, of seeing something of the fighting at first hand, of seeing something of the conditions under which our Forces are operating and living there. My own view entirely coincides with that expressed by the Minister of State in his statement today, that, so far as the Commonwealth Forces are concerned, they are in good heart and working together in a really fine learn spirit.
There is, I think, general agreement both in this country and the United States that it was regettable that the British Government were not informed of the 300 decision about the large scale air attack which took place on the military targets near the Yalu River, and I think it is important that the House should appreciate the feeling in the United States—a feeling which, I venture to think, was very well expressed yesterday in the American newspaper the "Washington Post." This is what that journal said:While it is true that the United Nations Command had authority to bomb the Yalu power plants without notifying any of the Allies the political realities demanded that the British, at least, be informed. It is not a question of what was necessary but of what was sensible in the circumstances.Of course, there was no contractual obligation on the part of the United States Government to notify anyone about the impending raids, but there does not seem to have been any deliberate intention on the part of that Government not to notify the allies. The "Washington Post" goes on to blame the State Department, but we have heard—it has been published—that Secretary of State Dean Acheson himself admitted that he did not knout that the raids were going to take place.
We have heard, too, a good deal about the so-called "off the record" talk, and hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House have asked why we have not published the whole speech that Mr. Dean Acheson delivered last Thursday in Westminster Hall. I should have thought that the answer was that it was only a part of his speech which related to this matter and that it was that part which he, as he had every right to do, because, after all, it was he who made the speech, took the decision to release and publish it to the world.
We have also heard today from the Prime Minister that General Mark Clark, the United Nations Commander, did not know at the time the Minister of Defence and the Minister of State were in Korea, and that if he had known he would certainly have told them. I think it should be appreciated that the Minister of Defence and the Minister of State actually left Korea a week, or just more than a week, before those raids took place, and it may well have been that, although the decision may have been envisaged some time ago to make the raids, the decision was not actually taken to make them on the date on which they took place until after the Ministers had left Japan and Korea.
301 Last year the then Foreign Secretary, in reaffirming what our aims are in Korea—resistance to aggression, a free, unified, independent Korea, and no extension of the conflict—himself at the same time explained the machinery of consultation that had been introduced in Washington between the representatives of the Governments contributing forces to the campaign in Korea, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) said, in effect, that the British Government at that time were satisfied with those arrangements, and he paid a very warm tribute to the United States Government for their readiness to consult and discuss with the interested parties. His words were:Apart from constant exchanges of views with Commonwealth and other friendly governments through the diplomatic channels, there is continuous consultation in Washington between representatives of governments contributing forces in Korea. The views of His Majesty's Government are and have been made known to the United States Government whenever the need arises. Sometimes our views prevail, sometimes they do not. That is only natural in discussions of this kind involving a number of nations, and I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the way in which the United States Government, on whom the main burden rests, has at all times displayed its readiness to consult and discuss in regard to these difficult problems."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th April, 1951; Vol. 486, c. 1026.]Surely, therefore, the Motion we are debating today is really one of censure, not on the present Government, but on the late Government from whom the present Government inherited these arrangements with which the former Foreign Secretary declared himself so satisfied.
We know that Governmental authority in Washington is dispersed over a considerable area and the liaison between various Departments is not, and may not have been, as effective as it should have been. That is something inherent in the system of Government of the United States, and it seems to me that we cannot do a very great deal to correct that. We have had certain liaison relations with the Supreme Commander in Tokio at the time the conflict began in the summer of 1950, in the time of the late Government. A liaison officer, Air Vice-Marshal Bouchier, was appointed, whose duty it was to report back to the Chiefs-of-Staff here on such information as he received from the United Nations' Commander. Perhaps when my right hon. Friend the 302 Minister of State replies we shall hear to, what extent he is satisfied or dissatisfied with the working of that liaison arrangement. Certainly, in spite of all the difficulties, it is very encouraging to know that the present United Nations' Commander has agreed to the appointment of a British Deputy Chief-of-Staff.
I should now like to refer to the scale of operations during the truce talks, to which reference has been made today. We have heard that United States casualties during the period of the truce talks have amounted to more than 32,000. That is very considerable, and certainly, gives the lie to the statements, which I know have been made by hon. Members opposite, that the front has been entirely quiescent during the period of the truce talks. I can speak from some personal experience because I had the opportunity, of which I was very glad to avail myself, to go into action with the Inniskilling Dragoon Guards in a tank, and I saw something of the fighting at first hand. I was also at the receiving end of the Chinese mortars from trenches 1,000 yards away opposite us.
Also during the period of the truce talks casualties have been suffered by others of the United Nations, particularly—and this was a point which the hon. Member for Ayrshire, South (Mr. Emrys. Hughes) raised—the South Koreans themselves, who have suffered very heavy casualties. In the early months of the-fighting they were virtually decimated; they lost half their strength, at least over 40,000 men, in the early months of the fighting. Now they have built up their forces and have something like 250,000 men under arms. I was very impressed with their toughness and keenness when I saw them, and I believe that was the impression formed by the Minister of State and the Minister of Defence on their visit.
In this connection, I would also mention that I visited the Commonwealth Divisional Battle School in Japan where troops who come out on the troopships have a period of training before going into the line, and I was rather disturbed, to hear the other day—only last week—that when the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch arrived by troopship at the base in Japan, they did not proceed to the Divisional Battle School for this interim period of training but went straight up into the line. As I am sure all hon. 303 Members will appreciate, troops who have been at sea for five weeks want a little bit of toughening up before going into the fighting line. Perhaps that is a subject which may be dealt with through the improved liaison methods about which we have heard.
Finally, I wish to say a few words about the political situation in South Korea. I had the advantage of travelling across the country from Seoul down to Pusan, where I was able to meet the South Korean President. A good many harsh things have been said about him; and it may be that he has not put up as good a case for himself as he might have done.
Personally, I hold no brief whatever for President Syngman Rhee, but in forming judgment upon him hon. Members should bear certain things in mind. He is an old man; he is 77; he has devoted the whole of his life to the cause of Korean independence, and he has suffered for it; he has been tortured, and he has been imprisoned for many years. He has got no personal ambition now apart from securing the unification and independence of his country. He has been criticised for imposing martial law, but before passing judgment on that, it should be borne in mind that there were certain guerilla operations in South Korea which in the opinion of his advisers—he may have been badly advised—made it desirable for this step to be taken. Certainly five American officers were murdered by guerillas on the very outskirts of Pusan, and that fact contributed to the decision to impose martial law.
President Syngman Rhee has stated that he wishes the people of his country to elect their President by democratic process, and that has brought him into conflict with the National Assembly. I do not propose to discuss the rights and wrongs of that, but it should be borne in mind that he at least is of the opinion that, rather than 184 individuals in the National Assembly electing the President, the decision should be taken by the seven million Koreans in South Korea.
Whatever we may think of President Syngman Rhee's lack of finesse in handling the political situation, we must agree that he has, up to now at least, the support of the mass of the people in South Korea, to whom he appears in the light of the 304 father of his people. If what he is trying to do is to guarantee the right of the Korean people to elect their President, it seems perhaps a little difficult to quarrel with that. He told me personally, as I remember very well, that it was his earnest wish that democratic government should flourish in his country. I am sure that everyone, on both sides of the House, will agree that that is a perfectly proper wish. By improved methods of consultation and information it should be our aim to see that this is achieved within the framework of a unified independent Korea in accordance with the ideals in defence of which the United Nations are fighting.
§ 6.29 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
I think that the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker), in opening the debate, performed a good and necessary service in reminding the House of the history of the events which led up to the present situation in Korea. There is no doubt about it that it was the desire of all that the Koreans who had been under the domination of Japan for so many years should now he one united free nation and should choose their own form of government and be completely independent. Quite rightly he reminded us of the frustrations which were occasioned by the actions of Soviet Russia which prevented that desire from being reached, and how the country became divided into North Korea and South Korea.
Then came the invasion of South Korea by armed forces from North Korea on 25th June, 1950, which was at once condemned, as he rightly reminded us, by the Security Council. There was no doubt that those armed forces which invaded South Korea had been provided, trained and armed by Soviet Russia, and there was no doubt in the mind of anybody that their object would be to obtain complete control over the whole of Korea and to put the whole of it under the domination of a Communst régime. He did not go on, although I wish he had gone on, to refer to the second Resolution which was passed on the 27th June, and I think that it is right that, in view of the discussion which is taking place today, we should remind ourselves of that Resolution.
The Resolution recommended that the members of the United Nations should furnish such assistance to the Republic 305 of Korea as might be necessary to repel an armed attack and restore them to national peace and security in that area. I would only add that it was passed by seven votes to one, India and Egypt abstaining as instructions had not been received, and later on it is stated that India later announced that she would have voted for the Resolution had instructions been received in time.
The point of this is that this was a new undertaking by the United Nations for a very limited purpose, namely, the repelling of the armed attack, the stopping of the aggression, and the restoration of national peace and security in Korea. I have reminded the House already that one who was very near to this area, namely, India, was agreeing at any rate to that part of the Resolution.
This new undertaking is one which puts a very considerable amount of responsibility upon all the nations taking part. Fifty of them at once agreed to carry out the recommendation that had been made on the 27th June, and I think that 31 of them have actually sent troops to Korea. Undoubtedly, we all know that the main burden has been borne throughout, right from the very first day, by the U.S.A., by her people and by her Government, and she has acted on behalf of the whole of the free United Nations in trying to carry out what was the expressed wish of all the nations in the United Nations Charter. We can never sufficiently fully express the gratitude that we must all feel towards the American people for the sacrifices they have made and are making. One can concur fully with everything said in that regard by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister.
I would come back to this—that quite obviously if a number of nations have to engage upon this highly-delicate task of working together for one common purpose within this very narrow area, it is very essential that the closest consultation should be established between them, because there are not only the military matters but there are also the political questions that are inevitably bound to arise. Any extension of the area in which the United Nations may be operating might lead to difficulties and consequences which one cannot possibly foresee.
At the present moment, without a doubt, and throughout the two years, the 306 main burden has been borne by the United States of America, but suppose, perchance, that the area was extended in some way or the other, then other nations might be much more deeply involved even than the United States are today. Certainly that applies to the nations which are nearest to this area and to all nations, such as India, who have already agreed that they would take part in this within this limited place and for this very limited purpose. It is upon that point that I think we ought to have further information from Her Majesty's Government.
That is the one thing that really does matter above everything else. We are all agreed that, so far as military operations are concerned, they cannot possible be conducted by a committee representing all the nations that are furnishing troops. All have agreed that there shall be one commander-in-chief and that he shall be responsible; but, quite obviously, while he is responsible for the military operations, anything which is likely to extend the political area or bring in reprecussions, such as were not contemplated when this Resolution was agreed, are matters beyond the military Commander and must come within the knowledge and bring in the consent of all the nations that have originally agreed to this. That is why a great deal of trouble and anxiety has been caused, and it has led to a great deal of criticism.
I now turn to the event which has brought about this debate, namely, the bombing of these electrical installations. There is not the slightest doubt that these were of extreme military value to the Communists. There is, again, not the slightest doubt that the military Commander, acting on behalf of the United Nations, is bound to take the best step he possible can in order to defend his own people and succeed. So far as the military point of view is concerned, there can be no doubt about that; but quite obviously a step may be taken which would extend the area of the operation or the undertaking, for example, if bombing were ordered by the Commander of Chinese territory or any other territory outside Korea, and that must have been in the minds of the Commander and the military people during the planning of this particular matter.
What do we find? With regard to one of these installations—the one on the 307 Yalu River, right on the border—they felt that they could not touch that as a purely military operation; that they could only do so after consultation with Washington; that it had gone beyond the military point and had by now got into the circle of politics. If that was so, that was only realised by Washington, and surely Washington ought to have said, "This is a matter in which we are acting not alone. It is not the United States alone. We are fighting together with our Allies and on behalf of all the free nations in order to try and uphold the rule of law and what was desired under the Charter of the United Nations." It was a grave mistake that the other nations were not consulted.
There seems all along to have been a confusion of thought. This action has been undertaken by the United Nations to stop aggression, not to punish Communism. It is not a war against Communists as Communists. The action has been taken against Communists who were engaged in an act of aggression which was condemned by the Security Council in June, 1950. Although it was known at the time that the troops who invaded South Korea must have been trained and armed by Soviet Russia and had the support of Soviet Russia, nobody suggested that action should be taken direct against Russia. When Communist China came in with its enormous army, nobody suggested that direct action should be taken against China or against Communists in general. We confined our attention to how we could restore the situation in Korea and settle the issues there peaceably.
§ Mr. Peter Roberts (Sheffield, Heeley)
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman suggesting that this is not part of the overall Communist strategy in the world and that at the moment this is merely action against aggression in Korea?
§ Mr. Davies
The United Nations are acting under the recommendation made by the Security Council on 27th June, 1950, and that has never been changed. There has been no extension of the area; no meeting has been held to propose that the war should be extended in any way.
That being so, what has happened in the last 12 months? There has been a 308 strong desire on the part of all the nations that the war should be brought to a close as early as possible. That desire was expressed by the President of the United States and by other leaders of the United Nations long before Mr. Malik made his broadcast, and the moment Mr. Malik made his broadcast the United Nations were ready to say that they would send delegates to see if the matter could be brought to a peaceful solution.
One cannot praise too highly the patience, the indulgence and the manner of the United Nations in handling all the difficulties, and one cannot too highly praise the delegates sent by the United States to represent the United Nations, for they have tried every way they can to bring about a peaceful solution. They have given way on point after point. The agreement covers about 38 pages and some 63 clauses, and accord has been reached on all but two clauses which relate to the return of prisoners of war.
It is agreed that the Geneva Convention applying to prisoners of war has not been ratified by all nations. Nevertheless, the United Nations have throughout applied the Convention to their treatment of prisoners. As has been pointed out, the Convention was devised for the protection of prisoners. It lays down how they are to be treated, fed, protected and inspected and states, in Article 118, that when hostilities terminate they are to be returned to their own country and that that is to be at the expense of both the country which captured them and their home country. It has naturally been assumed that the desire of every prisoner of war is to go home to his family, and the Convention provides that he should be given every assistance to do so. That is the basis of the convention.
What has happened? We are now told that a great number of prisoners did not want to go back and, fearing that they would be tortured, they are prepared to commit suicide rather than go back. It would be inhuman—
§ Mr. Mayhew
It has not been made clear that that is the reason why they will in no circumstances go back. Neither the White Paper nor the statement of the Minister of State said that. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that the prisoners whom he met said that, having 309 lived under the regime in North Korea, they would not go back to North Korea. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that nothing would induce them to go back and live under that regime again. That may be so, but it is quite a different matter from saying that they were under fear of reprisals being taken against them individually if they returned. It is a general dislike of Communism.
§ Mr. Davies
Whether they are afraid that they will be tortured or whether they just do not want to return to that regime, we are at any rate told that thousands of them have refused to go back. I am giving reasons which are sufficient to satisfy those who hold them that it would be inhuman to send such men back against their will to a regime which they fear; they must fear it, because the natural desire of every man is to return to his own home and live among his own people. There must be something terrible to compel a man to say, "I will not go there; I prefer to stay here." Anyway, that is what the men said, and it is on that that negotiations have broken down.
There is an impasse. We say that we cannot possibly send these people back. The other side say, "They are our people and therefore they must come back." It is on that that we have broken down. If that had only been settled a month or two ago the incident we are now debating would never have occurred and we should now be on our way to settling the true terms of peace and the future of Korea.
I am not satisfied that we have reached a complete impasse and that it is not possible to make some other suggestion. I appreciate that we have suggested that after the armistice has been signed there should be an independent inquiry once more and a re-screening of these people, but the other side will not accept that, and so the impasse continues. In "The Times" recently there has been some very interesting correspondence dealing with this matter. I commend to the House what has been suggested and urge the Government to put it forward because it is worth trying if it can bring the whole matter to an end. It may be rejected. If it is rejected, that will make the position of the Communists all the clearer and all the more indefensible.
A very interesting suggestion was put forward by Mr. John Lincoln in "The Times" on Monday, 23rd June. The 310 letter put forward three points. The first was that we should make a declaration that we are applying, and will apply, the Geneva Convention. The second was that we should state that for the time being the prisoners would be put under an international commission to be chosen not by Governments but by the international tribunal of The Hague so that it would be independent and everyone would be satisfied that it was inquiring into the matter judicially and independently.
Thirdly, there is the method of dealing with screening, asking questions and so on, and, finally, how to apply the terms of the Geneva Convention to these prisoners and their return. This might be settled by that tribunal and might bring the matter to an end. That is the thing that concerns me far and away above anything else that we are debating today. We want to carry out what has been the express wish of all parties in this House and of the leaders of the other nations taking part, how can we bring this war to an end so that we can get our boys home and try to resettle Korea.
One final word. We cannot maintain the peace of the world nor hope to achieve anything under the Charter of the United Nations if the free nations are all the time going to indulge in bickering and quarrelling. Instead of being united they would be disunited, and the very thing we all are hoping for, namely, peace in our time and goodwill amongst all men, would never be achieved if this kind of criticism goes on.
May I appeal to Members to remember what we are saying to one another and about one another and how we express the words that we use. I should like to quote the exact words which you, Mr. Speaker, use when you are asking for the ancient and undoubted privileges of this House. These are the words:That all their proceedings may receive from Her Majesty most favourable construction.May I suggest that the proceedings of all our allies engaged in this common effort of maintaining the peace of the world should receive the most favourable comment and construction from all of us.
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ Brigadier Terence Clarke (Portsmouth, West)
Hon. Members on both sides of the House seem to forget that everything 311 that is said in this Chamber is reported and will be read by our troops in the field. During the last war we were spared having to listen to any bickering that might have gone on in this House, because the debates were secret and luckily we did not know some of the things that were being said.
It is most discouraging to our soldiers in the field to find that within a week there have been two debates on the conduct of the war in Korea. Such debates hardly help our side to win the war. It must be remembered that we and the United Nations are at war, and our troops are fighting in the United Nations team trying to win the conflict. The more that politicians keep out of this sort of war the better. [Laughter.] I do not doubt that hon. Members opposite see something very funny in that, because most of them have never been near a war.
§ Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham)
Is it in order for an hon. Member to make the observation that most of the hon. Members on this side of the House have never been near a war?
§ Mr. Speaker
I did not hear the remark used, but it is not proper for hon. Members to cast aspersions on each other.
§ Brigadier Clarke
I am certain the hon. Gentleman made many messes and will continue to make many messes in the future, but I do not see why he should make them here.
I do not wish to offend any hon. Member on that side of the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] No, not at all. Politicians should not interfere with the day to day running of the war. We are not allowed to interfere with the day to day running of the nationalised industries. When we have committed our commanders in the field to a certain course, we should have sufficient confidence in them to stand by them. Politicians are responsible for limiting activities to certain targets, and they are at liberty to say what can or cannot be done. It will be remembered that when the former Foreign Secretary, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South 312 (Mr. H. Morrison), went to the United States it was decided that in certain circumstances we could even bomb over the border in Manchuria. Of course, he did not have enough confidence in some of the hon. Gentlemen sitting behind him to announce that in this House. He knew there would be an uproar in the ranks behind and he did not say anything about it. A war cannot be fought—and the former Foreign Secretary knows this only too well—if one's own side does not support him or the cause.
The commander in the field knew that these targets in North Korea were legitimate targets. It has been admitted by both sides that these targets were legitimate, and the commander had every right to make a snap decision if he liked, even after our Minister of Defence had left. Any commander worthy of the name has plans which he can put into operation to meet any sort of emergency or contingency that may arise, but if he has to discuss with Britain, Turkey, Greece and all the other members of the United Nations before he can bomb a legitimate target, how are we going to get on with the war? Often as I sit listening to hon. Members opposite it is difficult to know on which side some of these people are.
§ Brigadier Clarke
Yes, I have often thought that.
In the early stages of the last war, before the present Prime Minister took over the direction of the war, the commanders in the field had one hand tied behind their backs. I was in Norway and we were not allowed for political reasons to take over the Post Office in Norway. [Laughter.] Some hon. Members opposite may find it funny, but if some of them had been in Norway with me they would have found that for political reasons we could not take over the Post Office in that country. We were in constant communication with the Germans in Narvik, and the man with whom I was billeted rang up Narvik every night—[Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite should not interrupt. This man rang up the Germans each night and told them what price would be charged for oil in the next 24 hours. Every time our troopships came into port they were bombed and British lives were lost. Let hon. 313 Members opposite laugh at that too. Is that the sort of thing they want to laugh at? If not, they should listen.
If the bombing of these power stations in Korea saves one British life, then every hon. Member of this House should agree that it was a good thing that the bombing was done. Although I do not think that bombing of any kind is good, if it is necessary to bomb stations as military targets to save British lives I say it is well worth while to do it for that purpose.
I am surprised at hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House who have, during two debates inside one week, tried to chastise the Prime Minister for not having a much better direction of the war in Korea. After all, hon. Gentlemen opposite had 18 months of direction of the war. They had every opportunity of deciding which targets were legitimate and which were not, and I should like to know what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South decided were legitimate targets. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger) will tell us when he winds up for the Opposition, or perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South did not know about these power stations and was rather in the same position as he was about Abadan.
§ Brigadier Clarke
I have every confidence that the present Minister of Defence knew about these power stations.
§ Brigadier Clarke
He knew about them being there. I am quite sure that a Field Marshal in the British Army would know about these stations. [Laughter.] It is quite elementary. [Laughter.] Perhaps we shall have to go back to kindergarten to teach hon. Gentlemen opposite who are laughing about some of these things. It is all very well for hon. Gentlemen opposite to take this matter lightly. They started this debate about why the power stations should not have been bombed. If they do not like them being bombed they can do the other thing. [Laughter.] I know it hurts them.
I should like to make one small point in conclusion. Suppose the United States had consulted with us, and this had leaked out. What sort of a fuss do we think 314 would have been made by hon. Gentlemen opposite about the possibility of bombing these power stations, if they make this fuss after our side has had a tactical victory? Do we think that hon. Gentlemen opposite would not have made it extremely difficult for America to carry on the war in that way? Do we think that they would not have grumbled? I think the Americans had something, when they refused to let us know, in view of the fact that so many hon. Gentlemen sitting opposite are only too pleased to fly to Moscow. I would not trust one of them.
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
I do not like this Motion because, on its principal complaint, I believed we were all agreed. On this side, we regret the lack of consultation. I understand that everybody on the Government side also regretted the lack of consultation, but I now find that there is an exception. I also gather that the Americans regretted the lack of consultation. Since we all regret the lack of consultation, I find it a bit difficult to see what we are dividing about, excepting of course the hon. and gallant Member for Portsmouth, West (Brigadier Clarke).
It is said that the Prime Minister, on his visit to Washington, ought to have made a wider agreement as to consultation. I do not think that on his visit to Washington in January the Prime Minister was very clever, but since everybody agrees that this incident was within the existing agreement for consultation, I do not see why a wider agreement for consultation would have been of very much help to us. I believe that the foundations of the Atlantic Community must be, broadly speaking, a bi-partisan foreign policy on both sides of the Atlantic. I do not think that we should divide frivolously or factitiously on foreign affairs, and I cannot see that there is adequate reason within this Motion for a Division. If one were attacking the bombing as such, that might be an issue, but it is not raised in this Motion.
Having said that, I turn to an examination of where our interests lie in this matter. When I talk about interests I mean our interests as a nation, in a world which consists of national States. I am 315 not a believer in world conspiracies, whether they be Freemasons, the Elders of Zion, the Catholic Church or the Communist. All that confuses the question. This is a world of national States. We shall get a very much clearer picture if we look at it in terms of power rather than in terms of ideology.
In the Far East, for more than 2,000 years, the rivalry in power has been between the people who inhabit the Northern lands where once Jenghis Khan lived and where now the Russians have control, and the people who live in China. That is the natural power conflict in that area. At the present moment we see the Russians in possession of areas of Manchuria—we do not know quite how much—and of railways which, by wartime agreement, they had agreed to hand over to the Chinese. Do hon. Gentlemen imagine that the Chinese are feeling very pleased about that?
I ask hon. Gentlemen not to take the Chinese-Russian alliance too seriously or to imagine that it has much permanence, if only for one reason. It is that alliances as between equals are not available to theocracies. There can be but one Chosen People. You can have an alliance between Israel and the Gibeonites, where the Gibeonites are hewers of wood and drawers of water, and between the Russians and the Satellites but, except under immediate external pressure, no theocracy can have an equal alliance, for there can be no equality between the saved and the damned. Where you have Government by revelation, as there is within the Communist system, there can be but one revelation.
If we withdraw the pressures exerted by the West which are keeping Russia and China together, these nations will spring apart, as is the habit of bodies charged with a like electric charge. I believe that our general interest lies in removing the pressures which are holding China to Russia. If we remove those pressures, the natural conflict in that area, which is the conflict for power between the Russians and the Chinese, will very soon become operative.
Perhaps I may venture an analysis of what has happened in Korea. If I am wrong in any statement of fact, I will be most grateful if the right hon. and learned 316 Gentleman will correct me. As I understand the situation in Korea, after the war the Russians established themselves in North Korea. They set up there a puppet régime, and they kept the Chinese right out. There was no indication of the Chinese being allowed any finger in that pie at all.
The attack which was launched by North Korea was organised by the Russians. It was delivered by a Russian-trained and Russian-equipped army, and it was exclusively a Russian show. Again, I put this interrogatively: I understand that the Chinese were not even informed by the Russians of that invasion until after it had taken place.
The next thing that happened of importance, after the invasion had swept down, were the Inchon landings by MacArthur. Again. I am told that those landings took place at the least two months before the Russians thought them possible. They were a very remarkable achievement in logistics, and the resulting rout of the North Korean Army took the Russians by surprise. The Russians were, for military and logistic reasons, unable to intervene at that point, even if they had wished. Certainly they could not have intervened before the United Nations army was established on the Yalu River.
Faced with that situation, the Russians had to appeal to the Chinese to pull their chestnut out of the fire. From what we can see, they did so on pretty stiff terms. I would venture to suggest that the terms were probably the following. First, that entire control of the North Korean situation was to be handed by the Russians to the Chinese. So there was an immediate first effect, that the Chinese became in control, the Chinese got Korea from the Russians. Secondly, handing over various areas of Manchuria. Certainly, shortly after the Chinese intervention certain areas of Manchuria were handed over to the Chinese. Thirdly, deliveries of arms and equipment necessary for the Chinese armies to continue during the hostilities.
The next event was Mr. Malik, on behalf of Russia, proceeding to suggest a cessation of hostilities. Now that was not because of any kindness which Mr. Malik felt towards us; it was not because Mr. Malik wished our Forces to be released from Korea. The only reason 317 that can account for his action was that he was finding the performance of his agreement to supply and equip the Chinese too great an embarrassment and he wanted to bring that agreement to an end. Maybe also the Russians, who are realists, realised that sooner or later a conflict between themselves and the Chinese was a certainty in this area and had no desire to make the Chinese too strong.
Next we see the Chinese stalling those negotiations. I suggest that the Chinese stalled those negotiations because they wanted the continuance of Russian arms deliveries. This situation of war without fighting suits the Chinese down to the ground. They can hold the Russians to their agreement to supply the arms and equipment and, according to the old Chinese custom, they can use the arms which they get for one purpose for another: to build up their power position for a conflict which will eventually take place between themselves and the Russians. I venture to say that history will record this Korean war as being far more important as an incident in the conflict between Russia and China than in the conflict between East and West; that it has resulted in equipping the Chinese at the Russian expense and in enabling the Chinese to take Korea from the Russians.
If that is the reality of this situation, where do our interests stand? I venture to say that our interests stand here, as they do almost always, with the second strongest power in any area, and that second strongest power is the Chinese. It may not always be so. I think it was one of the Seven Sages of the ancient world who said that one should always mitigate one's hatred for one's enemies by the memory that they may one day be your friends, and moderate one's love for one's friends by the memory that they may one day be your enemies.
§ Mr. Paget
It applies throughout the life of the right hon. Gentleman to many of his political associations. At any rate, for a generation to come I believe that the Chinese will be the weaker of the two contestants in this area and that our natural interests lie with them as 318 against the Russians. I do not believe in the practicability of a genuinely independent Korea. I do not believe that an area of such strategic importance to Russia and China can ever really be independent. It must have a government which looks to one of these two contestants for power, and I believe that it is very much to our interests that the eventual government of Korea should look to China rather than to Russia.
If these be the basic interests with which we are concerned, it becomes immensely difficult to put them into practice because there is the question of prestige, there is the question of good faith to people in South Korea whom we have to consider, there is the question of the United Nations organisation. Quite frankly, as far as Korea is concerned I regard the United Nations question as having been largely bogus throughout. I think that Korea has been an instance of the policy of containment of Communism. It is like the organisation of the Atlantic Pact, an implementation of the Truman doctrine of containing communism. I do not think it is anything to do with the United Nations. I believe, however, that we should accept within the contemplation of our settlement, a Korea which would eventually be united under a government which looks to China rather than to Russia.
Finally, as to what we can do in these matters. Of course it is vastly difficult. It is a question of trying to get our friends and our potential friends to see where the long-term national interests of our communities lie. The American foreign policy has been too often an unfortunate combination of a rather naive idealism and of an adolescent violence, but books such as that recently written by the American Ambassador to Moscow indicate that America is growing up and is becoming a little more realist.
It is the job of consultation to get a more adult policy pursued by the Americans than has been pursued on occasions. Also, we should struggle with a new and not very experienced government in China to reopen communications and try to bring home there the real unity of our interests in this area. The more the Chinese get involved with the Russians, the less they will like it. Nobody likes having to work with Russians when they have done it. We did not in the war. 319 They are utterly intolerable people to work with.
Do not let us overlook the intense irritation and annoyance that must be building up in China against their Russian neighbour occupying their territory; in default on their agreements; arrogant in the assertion of their doctrines. There is a great opportunity here to be exploited, and I believe that it is on these lines rather, than in terms of an anti-Communist crusade, that we should direct our policy.
§ 7.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Roberts (Sheffield, Heeley)
I believe that throughout his speech the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) under-estimated the organising power of Communism when it really gets under way. I believe that the facts which he presented I could equally present to show that each stage has been one step further forward by the main strategy of Communism working from Moscow; that when one attack fails various other machines are brought into play to maintain this sore spot as a trouble maker in the world.
When we are discussing the question of aggression in the Far East there are two fundamental questions which each hon. and right hon. Member has to answer before he can launch into the arguments. The question is, first, whether we believe that the Communist-organised forces are willing and anxious to come to a negotiated peace and to bring peace to the world. If we believe that, a great number of the arguments of hon. Members opposite can possibly be sustained in argument. The argument of the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) equally can be sustained if we accept the principle that the Communists are prepared to come to a negotiated peace.
On the other hand, I put it to hon. and right hon. Members opposite, and particularly to the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Foot), who made a most vigorous speech, that there is the other argument to which they must address themselves. That is, that the Communist theory, that Communism in the world at the present time, has one objective only, and an objective which they have stated over and over again. That is, to maintain a war which they say is bloody and 320 bloodless, warlike and peaceful, against democratic capitalism which we as democratic supporters of the West on all sides say that we represent.
Hitler, in his writings in "Mein Kampf," gave very much the same statement. He said as his policy that he was seeking world domination. It was a number of years after that statement was made that it was appreciated by the people of the world.
The arguments which I wish to put forward are that there is no evidence in front of the House to show that the Communists really are desirous of bringing these negotiations to a peaceful conclusion. We have seen their policy since the war. There is the policy of the Austrian negotiations—I do not wish to go into them in detail—the policy with regard to the abolition of atomic weapons, and the policy with regard to Malaya and Korea. The evidence of all these is that the Communists are not anxious to bring these sort of matters to a negotiated conclusion.
If one relates this argument directly to the present position in Korea, what are the facts? First, that the Russian bases are very close to the scene of battle. Secondly, that the Communist bases in China at the moment are immune from attack. Thirdly, that they have easy lines of communication.
§ Mr. E. Carson (Isle of Thanet)
My hon. Friend's argument as far as I can understand it, is that the Communist powers do not want peace and are not prepared to negotiate it. If he follows that on, does not the third world war automatically follow?
§ Mr. Roberts
No, that would be the end of all things. I hope that my hon. Friend will follow my argument. Our whole policy must be to avoid that, and that is why I address this argument in its logical conclusion to the House.
I have said that those three factors are on the side of the Communists. On the side of the United Nations, we are fighting at the end of extremely long lines of communication far across the world. The United States are heavily committed. The figures that we were given this afternoon show that it is costing the Americans £4½ million per day and, if I understood it aright, £½ million a day for ourselves, which amounts, in a year, to £180 321 million. The casualties are grievous throughout. That is the price at the moment which we are having to pay for protracted negotiation.
The argument which I put forward to the House is that if those were the sole terms of maintaining the negotiations, they may be more favourable to the Communist policy and propaganda and more favourable to the wearing down of Western democracy and capitalism. Therefore, the Communists will be prepared to sustain these negotiations on those terms indefinitely. If one accepts that, it would appear that unless there was some change taking place, we would be committed indefinitely to a form of protracted negotiation and be unable to reach a peaceful conclusion.
I say to hon. Members opposite who have argued this point with some force and vigour that I have not yet seen any concrete evidence that, even assuming the prisoners of war point was settled, the Communists would not then produce another point on which to argue. They have done it over and over again. This is no new thing. I have mentioned the Austrian Treaty. As soon as one point has been removed, another has followed. My own view is that we have no evidence on which to base the assumption that assuming we came to a conclusion on the prisoners of war issue, that would be the end of the matter.
Having taken the argument that far, I come back to the whole principle which I have always felt with regard to this and any other act of aggression taken against the United Nations. That is, that if we wish to maintain peace, as we must do, we must make it perfectly clear that aggression does not pay the aggressor; that if a country or Communism, or the national State, or whatever one likes to call it, takes up arms forcibly, it must be demonstrated, and clearly demonstrated, that they will be the losers thereby.
That is why I always have some difficulty in following the argument about the recognition of China and the argument of the counter-revolution which was produced last week by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan). The difficulty that I have is that that original revolution was a revolution by force of arms introduced from outside from Russia into China 322 itself. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am talking about since the war. If any hon. Member can resolve the difficulties in my mind, I shall be grateful.
If I am to support, recognise, or in any way to bring into the United Nations the Communist Government of China, am I not at the same time thereby supporting the overthrow by force of the previous Government? Whether it was a good or a bad Government does not matter. That is a very great difficulty in my mind; that if we are to accept that sort of principle, the whole of the idea of the United Nations and of the democracy we live in is to be undermined.
§ Mr. Roberts
I quite agree. We are having to move forward into the realms of what I understand to be the doctrine of the League of Nations and now the United Nations. If the hon. and learned Member wants to go back to the old historical idea of one nation exercising its authority by force against the other he may do so, but I maintain, and my whole theory is, that peace must be based on the United Nations and the collective action of countries working through the United Nations.
§ Mr. Roberts
I am sorry, I cannot go into all the history of the Perrisites and Jebusites referred to by the hon. and learned Member.
The conclusion of the argument that I am trying to advance to the House is that we must make it quite clear that aggression, wherever it is started, will suffer. Hon. Gentlemen may remember that two years ago I voiced opinion about atomic weapons. Whether it would have been conclusive at that time no one can say. I think it would, and would have prevented the misery, the casualties, the destruction and the civilian misfortunes we hear about. At the present time, however, with enormous political machinery and forces already entrenched on either side, I do not believe that such weapons are practicable.
We have, instead, enormous tonnages of bombs—1,000 lb. bomb raids and 323 petrol bombs are used—which are equally odious. Nevertheless, the argument must remain that if we are to resist aggression we must make it clear that it does not pay. I believe that as a result of what has happened, and of the steps that the American Government and the American commanders have taken we shall see that the deadlock which has prevailed through the past year will be broken. I believe that it will be broken in the way we desire to see it broken, that the Communists will find that on these terms protracted negotiations will not pay, and will be prepared to bring them to a more speedy conclusion.
I would end by a reference to the argument put by my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Carson). I believe that so long as Communism is in existence in the world we cannot ignore it. I believe that it is our duty to keep the cold war, or the lukewarm war, or whatever one cares to call it, at the lowest possible temperature. Wherever aggression appears it should be beaten back by the firmness and determination of the United Nations. If that policy is followed successfully the internal decay in Communism will in itself bring about its destruction and thereby bring the answer to our problem.
If we are to allow the aggression of Communism to move step by step across the world our end will, I am certain, be disastrous. If we combine, as we must, through the United Nations to halt such aggression, that, I believe, is the way to our salvation.
§ Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)
Will the hon. Gentleman say whether, when that internal decay leads to the overthrow of the present Communist system, he will be prepared to recognise the Government that emerges?
§ 7.34 p.m.
§ Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn, East)
The hon. Member for Heeley (Mr. P. Roberts) has made a very important speech, because he has been telling us that the reason why we must accept the use of force in Korea to settle negotia- 324 tions is because it is the only thing which the Chinese will heed, as they do not genuinely want the negotiations to succeed on any reasonable kind of basis.
§ Mrs. Castle
Yes. The hon. Member's argument was that we therefore have to go on battering the Communists with all the military force at our command as the only way of settling the situation in Korea.
I suggest that the hon. Member is distorting the whole history of the Korean war when he makes that statement. Indeed, during this debate and on other occasions in this House, it has always been the assumption of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that all the sweet reasonableness has come from the side of the United Nations, that there have been no mistakes on our side, no evidence of good intentions on the side of the enemy, and that, therefore, we must in righteousness continue, however reluctantly, to batter them.
If anyone studies the course of the Korean war objectively, as I have tried to do and as I had reason to do as a member of the British Delegation to the United Nations on two occasions, on one of which Korea was a very live issue, he will feel, as I feel, a grave sense of responsibility about it. If we study the course of events objectively, we will find a background very different from the one which the hon. Member has pictured to us.
What we have had in Korea has been a see-saw battle of military forces as a result of which at various points there have been opportunities for a cease fire, some of which, in my view, the United Nations has neglected to the peril of the peace of the world. We all know bow dramatic the changes were in the military fortunes of this war. First in August, 1950, the United Nations Forces were pushed down to the Pusan bridgehead, when we all thought they would be swept into the sea.
Then came a dramatic reversal of fortunes, and the United Nations Forces swept triumphantly northward across the 38th Parallel, across the bottleneck and up to the Yalu River. General MacArthur was boasting that his troops would be home by Christmas, but as a result of 325 that drive north being carried too far he brought the Chinese forces into the war, and by Christmas instead of being home, his Forces were back at the 38th Parallel.
It was at that point that the first opportunity for cease-fire negotiations occurred. It is a great pity that, thanks to the lack of firmness of ourselves among others, that opportunity was not properly exploited at a time when there was an overwhelming feeling in the United Nations that an opportunity was there and could be exploited. With China in the war, everybody knew that from that moment we were handling dynamite and many nations had an uneasy feeling that there was responsibility on the United Nations Forces for the fact that China had ever been brought into the war, that she had suffered great provocation and had obviously come in with the greatest reluctance.
At that time, when General Wu went to New York, there was some evidence of genuine good will on the part of China. Suspicion, too, yes, but who could blame her?—suspicion as great as there was on the side of the Americans, but definite evidence of a willingness to make a response to any genuinely friendly approaches that were made to her.
It was at that time that a move was started in the United Nations to get a cease fire, and a cease-fire committee of three, consisting of representatives of India, Canada and Iran, were given the task of examining the possibilities. They discussed them with the Pekin representatives. At that time Pekin's attitude, not altogether unreasonably, was, "We will not have a cease-fire until we have had political talks. If we have cease-fire talks first all that will happen will be that the Americans will use the opportunity to build up their strength to give us a knockout blow. Let us have a settlement of the Far Eastern political problems before we start talking about a cease-fire."
There was a not unnatural feeling of anxiety on the part of China to protect her forces, such as we feel for our own troops. When we feel it, it is common sense, but when China feels it that is "sinister manoeuvring." The three delegates of India, Canada and Iran, with great patience and some optimism, proceeded with their talks and got the Chinese to the point of saying, "If a 326 seven-Power conference can be called to discuss a political settlement, we will agree to put the item of the cease-lire talks at the head of the agenda." Many members of the United Nations believed that this offered a real chance of closing the gap between the two points of view.
Let us be honest. I know I shall be accused of being anti-American, but do not let us make truth a casualty in peace as well as in war. It was the attitude of the United States which made it impossible for that Chinese response to be followed up because the United States had placed on the agenda of the United Nations a resolution to brand China as an aggressor in order to score a moral victory over her. All the sane voices in the world who had not been irretrievably lined up in the two blocs urged that we should be careful not to pursue the hollowness of a moral victory at the price of failures of substance in other directions.
It was a tragedy at that time that once again, following the arguments we have heard this afternoon that we must not break with the Americans and must not do anything to break up this great Anglo-American alliance which is the guarantee of the peace of the world, Britain reluctantly—and, in my view, most mistakenly—with the gravest misgivings on the part of everyone who knew what was involved and in face of grave warnings from India as to the effects of this on the possibility of a settlement, supported that resolution branding China as an aggressor.
From that moment every possibility of the cease-fire talks succeeding came to an end and shortly afterwards the United Nations started a new advance. In the Spring of 1951 once again they crossed the 38th Parallel. But the Communists, again not through any excess of original sin, but merely with the human desire to protect themselves, struck back and our Forces were driven south again.
It was because the military Forces of the two sides were deadlocked in a military stalemate around the 38th Parallel that Mr. Malik's proposal for a cease fire was broached and was accepted. We shall fool ourselves if we believe that these cease-fire negotiations started out of a military victory by the United Nations. They started out of a military stalemate. Thank heaven everyone had the sense to seize the opportunity to try 327 to end that military stalemate, but that is the fact and from that moment the long, sorry, story of the cease-fire negotiations started.
We must recognise, if we are to deal with objective historical facts, that time and again the Chinese, whatever their faults, did make concessions. They made a very important concession in abandoning the attitude they had taken up in New York a few months earlier, that there must be a political conference before cease-fire talks were held. They made a very important concession there.
Very shortly afterwards, they made another important concession. Instead of insisting that the cease-fire line should be the 38th Parallel, which was what they wanted in order to save "face"—it had great moral significance for them—they agreed, after long argument, of course, that the cease-fire line should be fixed at the actual battle front. At that time one of the United Nations spokesmen in Korea said that was "A big step forward. The biggest I have seen." It was a concession by the Chinese. Do not let us run away from that fact.
But, so obsessed have the United Nations representatives been all the time with the concept of winning by force, of battering the enemy into submission, that every concession by the Chinese has been greeted by the United Nations Command, not as evidence that a rapprochement with China might be possible, but by the suggestion, "She is weak, boys, put the pressure on. She will have to go back further still." After this great step forward had been made, there was a shock not only to Left-wing opinion in this House, but to American journalistic opinion, to British journalistic opinion and to the soldiers in Korea at a sudden change in the negotiators' attitude. The U.N. negotiators suddenly said, "We cannot fix the cease fire-line now at all. It cannot be fixed till the armistice talks have ended." This was a change in their whole attitude.
I wonder whether hon. Members have forgotten the storm which took place in the British Press at that time when men like Stephen Barber of the "News Chronicle" came out with stories such as the one published on 14th November, 1951, and headed, "Korea: why this muddle?" 328 They said that the soldiers had been astonished by the sudden change of ground by the United Nations negotiators in the light of the concessions the Chinese had made.
This is what the "News Chronicle" correspondent said:This kind of thing, coupled with evasiveness in answering correspondents' questions and such remarks as General Nucols' 'We insist, but we are not adamant,' have led many U.S. journalists as well as other U.N. nationals to wonder just how much sincerity there is here.This confusion even penetrated to the New York Press, which said that the American soldiers were alarmed at the apparent lack of sincerity in the negotiations and at the idea of "keeping up the battle pressure" about which their generals were talking at a time when the men were more pre-occupied with getting the matter settled so that they could get home.
I therefore ask the House, at this very serious time in international affairs, and in view of the consequences that are involved in our discussions, to realise that there have been grave faults on the part of our own negotiators in the United Nations as well as on the part of the Chinese. They are faults which, in my view, spring from the fact that increasingly, while the rest of the world has been willing to keep the door open for a political settlement in the Far East, America has been steadily closing the door and increasingly substituting for a policy of negotiation a policy of building a ring of military might around the Chinese people and the Russian people until they reach a point at which they have to accept her terms.
We know how greatly the American policy has changed during this time and how President Truman's brave remarks at the outbreak of the Korean war that Formosa was to be neutralised have given way gradually to a situation in which, openly and flagrantly, Chiang Kai-shek has been installed in Formosa as a base from which he is planning counter-revolution in China. We have had articles in the most responsible newspapers in Great Britain describing quite coolly—none of us turns a hair—how he is setting up his revolution implementation institutes there and we have seen articles in the "Manchester Guardian" of how he has been preparing for the 329 invasion of the Chinese mainland when the possibility of peaceful settlement with the Chinese Government has broken down.
Then, again, how can we believe that the settlement of the Korean issue has been made more possible by the conclusion of the Japanese Peace Treaty on the basis of the most cold-blooded exclusion of China from her rightful place in Far Eastern affairs? The treaty was rushed through for purely military reasons. The suggestion is, "Never mind if we are encouraging reactionary elements in Japan, who will scrap the new labour code and the legislation against the re-emergence of the old Japanese trusts. The important thing is that they should recognise Chiang and not Pekin. Never mind about the political content of the policy, build-up military might." Some of us are profoundly anxious about these developments.
Now we are being asked to become silent accessories to a policy which is purely military in content. And it will inevitably follow that if we have a political vacuum the military men will come in with their atom bombs. Some curious things have happened. What about the sudden blowing up of atrocity stories? That was very mysterious. But we do not hear any more about it now. Why did it ever have to be launched? We had Colonel Hanley, the Judge Advocate of the Eighth Army, startling the world last November by saying that 13,000 United Nations troops in Korea, including 10 British soldiers, had been murdered by the Communists since the war started. Washington said, "We have not heard anything about it."
That was another example of a mysterious lack of information and of a lack of consultation between the State Department and the military men on the spot. There were supposed to be British soldiers involved, but there was a flat denial in this House of any evidence that any British soldier was involved. We had Mr. R. M. MacColl saying in the "Daily Express," that the effect of that in America had been to create the "massacre mood" and that Senator Taft had said he was now in favour of using atom weapons on the battlefield. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the germ warfare charge?"] I am not approving that kind of story either, 330 but what I would point out is that we started this kind of talk.
The first atrocity story came from our side. I am not saying that we are black and they are all white. I am suggesting that we should realise that we may both be grey. Both sides may have made mistakes and it is imperative for the peace of the world that we stop striking moral postures.
Above all, we should look at this new development which has resulted from the recent raids and ask ourselves what it means? What does it mean? Suddenly, at a moment when there is only one issue left in the armistice talks; when the weary months of talks are at last beginning to bear fruit; when the Foreign Secretary tells us he is hopeful about the outcome of the armistice talks and when the only matter at issue between us and the Communists is one on which we are on very delicate ground, we have the United Nations command suddenly turning on the military pressure with new ferocity. Yet there are people on both sides of this House who are not satisfied that we have handled the prisoner of war question properly.
Then there was a recent article in the "Daily Mail" by Walter Lippmann, the American commentator, headed, "The Koje trouble could have been avoided," in which he analysed the business of the screening. Although he stood firmly by the view that there should be no sending back of genuine political refugees against their will, he maintained that the way in which the questions had been framed and put to the prisoners could only have led to one result; that instead of it being a case of our being willing to grant asylum to genuine political refugees in extreme circumstances it was rather a case of an open invitation to those who wished to find an easy way out of some of their difficulties.
Reading the White Paper and the questions put to the prisoners I must say I found no ground for doubting that Walter Lippmann was representing objective and sane opinion when he deplored the way in which this business has been handled. He points out that the vitally important questions put to the prisoners during the screening were not drawn up by those with experience of that sort of thing in the last war, but were left to the military 331 chaps on the spot. He said that we ought to submit every one of the cases of those refusing repatriation to an impartial tribunal and not leave the decision to the so-called impartial screeners, who were merely officers in the United States Army.
He is an American who is prepared to say that. May not it be that on this issue we are wrong, or at any rate partly wrong? Is this the moment when we should threaten the peace of the world by sending 500 planes to bomb plants which had not been bombed before simply because it was considered to be politically dangerous to do it? Is this the moment at which we should chose to be so provocative? If the Prime Minister does not draw any horrifying conclusion from this raid he is about the only person left in the country who is not shocked to the core.
The "New York Times" has no doubt about the significance of this raid; none whatever. It pointed out that it was the largest raid since the end of the Second World War. The largest raid; and this at a time when the armistice negotiations are being brought to a conclusion. What kind of insanity is this? And we have now on the Front Bench opposite a Government who are complacent about it to the point of approval.
As I heard the speech of the Prime Minister I could only draw one conclusion, which was that the terms of this Motion we shall vote on tonight are much too limited. It is perfectly clear that if we were to get the machinery of consultation for which we ask the Prime Minister of this country would merely use it to agree with everything that America said. We used to think of him as a bulldog sitting on the Union Jack. He has become a lapdog sitting on the Stars and Stripes of America.
I would leave the House with a word of warning. We are only at the beginning of a new phase of policy in Korea. We are only at the beginning of another attempt by the Americans to fill up the political vacuum with military might, something they have done before with dangerous possibilities. I would ask hon. Members to read the very serious article in the "New York Times" of 26th June, written by Hanson W. Baldwin. He has 332 no doubt at all that this is a new phase of the war. He says:These raids are definitely a first step of a programme to bring greater military pressure upon the enemy to force a cease fire.And goes on:The second step in this programme may be attacks upon Najin and the vital rail link that connects this port to the Soviet Union. And the third step, already in effect in a small way, is increased ground pressure against the enemy.Then he adds:If these measures are not successful in forcing a peace, the additional measures transcend the narrow geographic frame of Korea. They include, not only a naval blockade of China and bombing of the enemy's Manchurian and Chinese air bases, but political and diplomatic actions in the United Nations and elsewhere. Whether they will ever be taken depends, however, upon the repercussions of the power plant bombings and upon political events in the United States between now and November.That is a very tenuous thread on which to hang the peace of the world. Certainly, he has no doubt as to the logical consequences of the development of the policy we are being asked to condone here this evening. It leads, with a dreadful logic, step by step to what we have said in this House we would not be prepared to accept.
The Prime Minister went to Washington to cement Anglo-American relations and promised "prompt, resolute and effective action" to the Americans. He promised it only on the grounds that a truce had been concluded and deliberately violated by the enemy. Now we are being asked to carry out similar action not when the Chinese are aggressive, but when they are passive. Their only crime now is that they are standing still.
We in this country, if we gave the lead, could have a profound and salutory effect upon American policy without doing any harm to the cause of Western unity. Indeed, when General MacArthur was sacked, President Truman went on the air and told the American people that MacArthur's policy had been threatening the unity of the West and endangering America's alliance with the West. It had been threatening to leave America isolated.
I believe that the Americans would listen if only we had a voice with which to speak. Unfortunately, never has the influence of this country been so low in world affairs as it is at present. The right 333 hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister did not speak for Britain tonight. I ask the House to see that by passing this Motion the voice of Britain is not silenced at this hour.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Ian Harvey (Harrow, East)
The hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn, East (Mrs. Castle) claims that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister does not speak for Britain. I would say to her that he speaks far more for Britain than do any of the words that she has uttered during a most irresponsible and thoroughly dishonest speech.
§ Mr. Harvey
From the whole of her observations one would have thought that we were not committed to the support of the United Nations in practice as well as in principle. I remember that before the last war hon. Members opposite, some of whom are present now, accused the party to which I belong of destroying the League of Nations by not giving it the fullest practical support. I believe that the speech which the hon. Lady has just made was as big a contribution to destroying the effectiveness of the United Nations as anything that we have heard in this House for some time.
It was an incredible presentation and misrepresentation of the facts. Why did the conflagration in Korea start? It was because the rule of law was threatened by aggression—undoubtedly aggression from the Soviet Union. We did not hear one mention during the speech of the hon. Lady or that of the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Foot) about the influence of the Soviet Union upon this position.
I listened with profound respect and great sympathy to the observations of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). He said much that was true about the ultimate destiny of the Chinese nation, but I do not believe that, as matters stand now, his arguments were sound. What will 334 impress the Chinese nation at present in the Far East is who is, in fact, able to stand up to the test of events. We have been told that the truce talks were the result of a complete stalemate. That is not true. The truce talks were the result of the fact that the United Nations were gaining the upper hand and were prepared to use arguments instead of force.
We have been told that during this period of the truce talks there has been a build-up on both sides. Of course there has been a build-up on both sides. The United Nations commanders, rightly, are not prepared to allow their positions, and, incidentally, troops of the British nation, to be overwhelmed as a result of standing still while, on the other side, there is a clear military build-up.
What has been happening has been an attempt by the other side in this conflict to build up a political vacuum from which military activity could develop. The hon. Lady made the most insulting references to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. She said that he was a lap dog sitting on the Stars and Stripes. Well, we know upon what flag the hon. Lady is sitting, and she is no dog.
It has been a most interesting spectacle for us on this side of the House to see the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker) moving a vote of censure upon the Government and failing, and the hon. Member for Devonport and the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn, East moving a vote of censure upon the right hon. Gentleman and, so far as I can see, succeeding fairly well. While we are on the subject of the build-up, it has also been extremely interesting to see the build-up below the Gangway increasing very rapidly during the course of the afternoon and the build-up behind the Opposition Front Bench decreasing consistently throughout the course of the debate.
There are two clear issues in this discussion. The first is the question of whether or not the Yalu targets should have been bombed. I do not believe that there is any doubt at all that they were military targets identified as such which, in the interests of military operations, had to be destroyed. The argument has been used that as a result of their destruction civilians have been inconvenienced; but did those civilians or 335 anyone associated with them make any objection to the use of those targets for military purposes? That would have been the logical course for them to follow.
I believe that, far from encouraging the Chinese to react in a hostile way to the United Nations' cause, the fact that we are prepared to stand firm and to take firm action at this time will show them that there are forces in Asia prepared to stand up to the over-riding force of the Soviet Union in the background. At the same time, I support the hon. and learned Member for Northampton in the view that ultimately we must endeavour to divide China and the Soviet Union in the Far East. I do not regard that as a practical possibility now.
I turn to the extraordinary criticisms which have been made tonight of the United Nations Command. I find them most extraordinary coming from a party which, in the past, has talked so vigorously about the necessity for international sovereignty. Here is one of the realist attempts to place, in conditions of semi-peace, the Forces of many nations under united command, giving away national sovereignty under that command, and the party opposite are the first people to raise myriads of objections, carping, narking, disloyal objections, to the command under which those Forces have been placed.
That is a great pity. We on this side know from where those criticisms emanate. We remain unimpressed by the internal political differences of the Socialist Party which are being brought into play in a vast international problem which requires the support and attention of us all. I am certain that we are up against a vast plan of campaign—a vast Communist strategy. In dealing with Communism, as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has said on many occasions, there can only be one language for negotiation. It is the language of negotiation from strength.
It is because I believe that we require to give to our United Nations forces loyal and complete support, and because I believe that firmly, that I reject emphatically the most damaging observations about the United States which have come from the other side of the House. 336 I am sure that they will have the good sense to realise that those observations animate from one section of one party, and not from the British House of Commons.
I trust that tonight we shall reject this Motion, which is not really a Motion of censure, but merely a concession by the official leaders of the Socialist Party to the more vociferous and least responsible element, whose loyalties, not only to that party but to the sovereignty of this nation, are very much in question.
§ Mr. Fernyhough
On a point of order. Is it right for the hon. Member who has just resumed his seat to infer that some hon. Members on this side are not loyal to this country?
§ 8.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Woodrow Wyatt (Birmingham, Aston)
The hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Ian Harvey) seemed to imagine that the Motion which has been put down by the Opposition had something to do with a disagreement in the Labour Party. I think that that, coming from somebody who recently attended a luncheon at the Savoy Hotel given by the 1922 Committee to the Prime Minister in order to give him the opportunity of telling them how he was proposing to deal with the rising discontent in the Conservative Party, is rather like the pot calling the kettle black. I do not know that, although we have had our disagreements in our party, they ever rose to the crescendo which has been reached in the party opposite, when, in order to placate the leader, they have to give him a luncheon.
§ Mr. Ian Harvey
I know the hon. Gentleman will give way, because he realises that he is making a misrepresentation of what I said, because of the fact that this luncheon is an annual affair, and that we are always very happy to welcome our leader and extend to him the complete loyalty and support of the whole of the party.
§ Mr. Wyatt
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman's leader will be very glad to hear that declaration of loyalty from the 337 back benches, and I hope it may be echoed from other back benchers, because we regard the Prime Minister as something of an electoral asset. We are with him in his struggle with the back benchers of the Conservative Party, and we wish him well in the fight which he has so valiantly undertaken and which shows no sign of ageing him whatever.
This unhappy incident of the bombing of the power stations in Korea may have done some good in focusing more attention on the whole conduct of Anglo-American relations. I begin with the assumption that the Anglo-American alliance is fundamental to the survival of this country. We cannot defend ourselves in Europe without American aid. We cannot hope to help the underdeveloped areas of the world without large-scale American assistance. The free world will go under without American aid, and we will go under with it.
In this, America is as much involved as we are. If the free world collapses, then the collapse of America also becomes inevitable. None of the plans of the free world, either in economic or military matters, will come to anything if the British Commonwealth does not play its full part in implementing them, whether in Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia or the Far East. The British Commonwealth may not be as strong as it has been in the past, but its interests and influence still stretch around the globe. Britain and America by disagreements can destroy each other and ruin their common plans. The difference is that this destruction will come upon Britain before it comes upon America.
In this Anglo-American alliance, as I see it, Britain is bound to be the junior partner so far as economic resources and effort go. We believe in this country that Britain has a superiority in political wisdom and maturity. Our deficiencies in economic resources seem to make it difficult for the Americans to appreciate our superiority in the latter field. We in this country have reached the realisation that this alliance is vital to our survival before the Americans have reached an equal understanding that it is vital for theirs. I think there is still a temptation in America to believe that a breakdown between Britain and America 338 could be surmounted by the United States, but that is a delusion made possible by their greater strength and their greater distance from the land masses.
We cannot afford any delusion about the effect of such a breakdown upon ourselves. The Anglo-American alliance will not work effectively unless it works as a genuine partnership. In Europe, it has come very near to being a genuine partnership. Britain and America, in Europe, have pursued broadly a joint foreign policy, with the result that, in 18 months or two years, the whole spirit and face of Europe has been transformed.
In Europe, the transformation is quite startling, because, out of the despair and defeatism which prevailed, the European nations have begun to look with confidence on the future and to fear Communism much less. This has come about because Britain and America have worked together in harmony, and together have stimulated the resolve of Europe. In Asia, the Administration has not only failed to get a bi-partisan policy, but has got nowhere towards achieving a joint policy with Great Britain, and this failure in co-operation has led to many of our present difficulties.
In Asia, a few years ago, the Americans were looked upon as the great liberal supporters of independence and of Nationalist movements fighting for their nationhood, and we were looked upon as an imperialist country excluding millions of people from their freedom. Today, the Americans, from Karachi to the Celebes and from the Celebes to Hong Kong, are looked upon as reactionary imperialists of a monstrous and fearful kind. Today Indian newspapers carry headlines describing events in Korea, which habitually read—"The Americans kill over 4,000 Asians" or—"Americans destroy another Asian town."
Britain, on the other hand, is seen as a wise counsellor and advocate of moderation and restraint, as the sympathiser with the new nations and a believer in harmonious relations between Asian states and one another and between Asia and Europe. America, through the agency of General MacArthur, under the urgings of a misguided and misinformed Republican opinion, has pursued a policy which has dismayed and distressed a vast range 339 of Asian opinion. Asia, for instance, will not forget MacArthur's famous dictum:It is in the pattern of oriental psychology to respect and follow aggressive resolute and dynamic leadership.In other words, the language that the Asians respect is force.
This astonishing fall in the prestige and reputation of America has come about, in the main, through failure to accept British advice. It should be a terrible warning to America that she is no longer seen in Asia as the chief arms-bearer of the United Nations in a righteous stand against aggression in Korea, but as a reckless imperialist power prone to actions which may plunge the world into war. Even in this House there is a willingness to believe that the Americans, in recent actions, have been acting against a United Nations resolution. We had one part of that Resolution read out to us which said:Affirms that it is the policy of the United Nations to hold the Chinese frontier with Korea inviolate and fully to protect legitimate Chinese and Korean interests in the frontier zone.We were told at the time that it was passed by the United Nations. Of course it was not passed; it was vetoed by Soviet Russia. In the second place, the purpose of the Resolution, as explained in the White Paper of September, 1951, was to induce the Chinese to withdraw their troops from Korea and in the third place the paragraphs which immediately precede and follow the one read out to us last Wednesday should also have been given so that we could have had an accurate picture.
The first one called upon all States to withdraw their troops from North Korea and to persuade any other nationals who were acting in aggression against the United Nations to do the same. The one that followed it called attention to the grave danger that continued intervention by Chinese forces in Korea would entail for the maintenance of such a policy. In fact, the Chinese did not withdraw their troops, and therefore the offer to protect them in the frontier zone lapsed at the same time.
But, without doubt, the bombing of one of these five power stations, the one closest to the Manchurian frontier, was an operation of an exceptional and new 340 kind which could have an effect on the truce neogiations, and which could possibly lead to an extension of the war from Korea. Otherwise, why did the American Command in Tokyo consult with Washington before they bombed it? It it was not a new departure, and if no new policy was involved, why did the military command in Tokyo bother to consult Washington? And if Washington needed to be consulted, then London needed to be consulted as well.
It may not have had any harmful effect; we do not yet know. But it may still have a harmful effect, and therefore it called for prior consultation. If that operation did not demand prior consultation, then it is evidence of the failure of this Government to impress upon the Americans the importance of such consultation. The Prime Minister went to the United States in great style in the "Queen Mary" shortly after assuming office. He said he was going to avoid such things as this happening in the future and, if he did not go for that purpose, why did he go, because he brought nothing else back with him?
He said on his return:I was led to cross the Atlantic by my conviction that, in view of all that is going on in all continents, it was important for His Majesty's new Government to establish intimate and easy relations and understandings with the President and the governing authorities of the United States."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th January, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 195.]Are these the easy, intimate relations and understanding with the President and Government of the United States? Of course, the right hon. Gentleman failed miserably on that mission and that is why this Motion is fully justified. He completely failed to do what he set out to do, and to do what he said he had in fact achieved.
This afternoon the right hon. Gentleman relied on an extract from what Dean Acheson said to us at the meeting we had with him in Westminster Hall. But in that statement, Dean Acheson made no reference to an error which led to a failure to consult. He merely made reference to an error which led to a failure to inform us. There was no question of consultation in his mind. That is why he never even thought about it, and why, probably, it was left to some minor official to ring up the British Embassy and 341 say that this is going to happen tomorrow or in two hours' time.
That is not consultation, and that is not what we mean by consultation. The Americans say we are not entitled to be consulted, and, in fact, Dean Acheson said we have no absolute right to be consulted. They have 90 per cent. of the troops in Korea and the British Commonwealth have only 7 per cent. That is quite true, but we are entitled to remind the Americans that the Gloucesters fought in Korea and that the force we have there is the most efficient and best trained fighting force in the world, and, thirdly, that the burden Britain bears in Asia, and the implications of the spreading of the war in Korea are fully as great proportionately, if not greater, for Britain as for America.
We have Hong Kong and a garrison there. We have our responsibilties in Malaya and many troops engaged there. We have obvious obligations to the Commonwealth nations and to India and Pakistan, and we have a long standing connection with Burma. We have also to think of Australia and Japan.
How would America have liked it if the roles had been reversed and we had not consulted her before taking such action? When a delicate situation arises which might have international repercussions we do, in fact, consult America. We did so over Abadan. We did not take action by ourselves, but consulted the Americans before doing anything at all. If we did that about Abadan, then certainly the Americans ought to have done the same in this matter.
In the execution of a joint policy for the free world there are many other nations involved than Britain and America. But if America cannot even carry Britain with her, what hope has she of getting the support of the others? It is the job of the Government to maintain an effective liaison to that end. We have failed in Asia. We have no parallel organisation to N.A.T.O. or any of the other means of getting consultations that we have in Europe.
We have been told about the appointment of a British deputy Chief of Staff to General Mark Clark, but we have not been told what rank he is going to have. We have been told that there is some 342 hope that there may be a political adviser to General Mark Clark's staff. I believe we have got to go much further than that. We have got to set up, as my right hon. Friend said this afternoon, some form of organisation like N.A.T.O. in the Far East, and we have got to have an adequate political adviser on the staff.
But even this will not be enough because we shall still have left out the vital element in a common relationship, which is understanding. On the whole subject of Asia we do not understand the American point of view and they do not understand ours. In fact, until recently we in this country had almost forgotten that fighting was still going on in Korea, that the United States had suffered over 31,000 casualties since the beginning of the truce negotiations, that the fighting in Korea was costing them £4½ million a day and that they were flying over 800 sorties a day, and all the rest. But, equally, they put down our reasonable desire to protect our legitimate interests in South-East Asia and in those countries with which we have a long and intimate connection to appeasement. That is absolutely inaccurate as we all know.
We both have elected bodies by the means of which opinions should be formed in our respective countries. Yet Members of Parliament and Congressmen when they talk about Asia might be representatives of two different planets rather than members of the same alliance, so little appreciation do they have of each other's point of view.
I believe that much good can be done by setting up some kind of joint Congressional House of Commons Committee of a quite informal nature with perhaps 10 Members on each side which met once every two or three months, which had no right to form policy, because that is the job of Governments, but merely to talk to each other about the issues at variance in Asia so that we could know why the Americans take a very strange view about Formosa, and they would know why it is vital for us to go on trading with Communist China if we are to go on living.
If we did get improved machinery for consultation, and if we did get some means of understanding each other's viewpoints, then I think we might begin 343 to proceed to a joint foreign policy for Asia. If we do not get a joint foreign policy for Asia, we stand a very severe risk of losing the whole of Asia to Communism. I should like to spend a few minutes on saying what that policy ought to be.
First, we have to get out of Korea. We must find a way of getting out of Korea honourably. We must remember —I wish everybody would remember—that we went into Korea to resist aggression, and there is not any evidence yet found worth looking at that South Korea, without tanks or artillery, started war with North Korea. It was not we who started the conflict, and it was not we, in the conflict in Korea, who started the conflict with the Chinese. It was the Chinese who went into Korea. It was not we who went into China, which is an important distinction. I do not believe, as some people regrettably do, or seem to, that both sides are on a par in this matter. I believe that although we are not absolutely perfect we have the honourable part in this matter, for we have resisted aggression, and the other side are wrong, and there is no reason at all why concessions should be made to them, other than those which are strictly expedient.
I heard today about atrocity stories said to have been begun by the Americans. What happened? There were some loose, foolish stories. They were quashed at once, and public opinion in this country and America was outraged by them. But what has happened to the germ warfare story? That has not been quashed. It has been built up to a major, monumental campaign throughout Asia against the West, and there is not a shred of truth in it from start to finish.
If we had condoned the aggression in Korea I think it is highly likely that the Chinese would have reinforced Ho Chi Minh, that troops from China would even have attacked Burma, and certainly there would have been much more pressure on India. We cannot run away from this first act of collective security merely because it is becoming uncomfortable. And it is uncomfortable that so many of the free world's troops are locked up in this strategically unimportant peninsula, and that must be helpful to Russia and China, although, to offset that, I think the strain 344 on China in maintaining hundreds of thousands of troops in the field must be very great.
I believe we can get this truce. I think the argument about the prisoners is capable of solution. But when we have got the truce that will not get us out of Korea. We shall still be there, even although we are not fighting. In achieving a settlement with China as to Korea—a final settlement, a political settlement—there is much more to be discussed than the rights and wrongs of that unhappy country, and we must, I believe, remember, when we come to deal with the Chinese after the armistice, that we cannot isolate Formosa in the Chinese mind from Korea. I think that half a century may not be enough to wash away in their minds the connection with that. That is a fact.
I do not think we can isolate Indo-China from Korea in the French mind. That is another fact which we have to deal with. If we are going to get a general settlement in the Far East, we shall have to have a conference, with, on the one side, U.N.O., on the other side the Chinese, with a wide agenda, and it will be essential for the free world to have a common policy when they come to talk to the Chinese around the conference table.
I quite understand the American reluctance today to accept China in the United Nations so long as she is actually fighting against the United Nations, but once we get the armistice she will not be fighting against the United Nations, and that ought to go some way towards removing American reluctance upon that point, and towards making the Americans see the reality of the fact that there is a Communist Government in China whether they like it or not.
Formosa once again has become strategically important in the American mind. We feel that the fears of the Americans are exaggerated there, but undoubtedly they hold them, and I believe we have got to understand them. I believe that the decision to hand over Formosa was wrong. It was wrong because Formosa, oddly enough, ought to belong to the Formosans, not to the Chinese, whether Nationalist or Communist, and I think we should try to seek a solution of the problem of Formosa along the lines of a plebiscite, for the Formosans are the only people not yet consulted as to the fate 345 of their country. I think that in the plebiscite the Chiang Kai-shek administration and other nations in the Island should be entirely excluded. It may be necessary to neutralise Formosa for a decade under United Nations' trusteeship, but it will be worth it if we can remove that sore from the conflict area.
I think that the obtaining of any settlement in the Far East will be a very long and laborious job, and we should not delude ourselves in this House that there is some easy and simple solution, that in a matter of a few months if we settle the question of the prisoners the whole of this friction with Communist China will be ended. It will not be. There are many things which will have to be gone over, perhaps for 10 or 20 years, before we can reach any stability in the Far East. One reason why we can hope to achieve stability is because we took this act of collective security in the Far East, and I think that we have given a warning to Communist China that any further acts of aggression, whether by herself directly or through a satellite, will be met in the same way.
We need in these negotiations patient negotiators and restraint as well as firmness, but we shall not achieve anything in all this in this area unless this one thing of paramount importance—a joint Anglo-American policy for the Far East—is secured, and that cannot be secured unless we can force the Americans to see the wisdom of the British point of view. I believe that the failure of the Government in this matter has been that, after all the praise they have administered to themselves about getting closer and more intimate relations with the United States, they have in fact got a more distant relationship with the United States, in which they have not been consulted at all.
§ Mr. Frederick Gough (Horsham)
Before the hon. Gentleman sits down, I should like to clear up an impression which he gave, with which I am sure he would not himself agree when it is pointed out. I think I quote him correctly as saying that the Americans should remember the Gloucesters and many other of our famous regiments, or words to that effect. I am sure he will agree on reflection that senior American generals have time and time again given full praise to the conduct and quality of our troops; and, furthermore, that the 346 Americans have given to all the Gloucesters, every one of them, a very high commendation, which they all wear. I did want to put that right.
§ 8.37 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Reading, North)
I cannot believe that anybody listening to the last two speeches from the Opposition benches could any longer seek to deny or to doubt that there are two fundamentally different types of approach in the Socialist Party on this Korean issue, as on every other issue of foreign policy. Moreover, I think it right that this should be put clearly on record, because one does notice a tendency on the benches opposite to have great fun in showing their differences in this House while deeply resenting the efforts of hon. Members on this side to let the public know that this grave divergence in fact exists.
In the two points of view which have been put forward we ought first, I think, to deal with the attitude of that strange mixed cabal of pacifist extremists, fellow travellers and plain eccentrics who either strut or lurk under the banner of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). Their chief common denominator is the way in which their enthusiasm for active defence against aggression either waxes or wanes entirely in accordance with the political colour of the aggressor.
§ Mr. Percy Daines (East Ham, North)
Would the hon. Gentleman read the last two sentences of his brief again, so that we can get it all? I missed some of the adjectives.
§ Mr. Bennett
The hon. Gentleman will have a chance of looking at them in the OFFICIAL REPORT tomorrow.
That section of the Socialist Party below the Gangway which I have just mentioned is—I think it is fair to say—by no means certain that the North Koreans started the war at all and that it was not partly the fault, either of the Americans or some other mysterious 347 body, or of the South Koreans themselves. Secondly, I have no doubt that they believe, as they have shown in their speeches, that Red China only entered the war on the at least understandable if not entirely justifiable ground of trying to prevent United Nations' aggression against her, and that it had nothing whatsoever to do with the grand strategy of Communism, of which so many of my hon. Friends have spoken today.
These two falsifications of history were stressed to some extent in last week's debate by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Silverman) and even more so by an hon. Member opposite who spoke earlier in the debate today. I think that these hon. Gentlemen believe, whether they admit it or not, that we ought to make peace now on any terms in Korea that will enable us to get out, whether or not the cost is to be the complete collapse of collective security against aggression, which all of us have sought in our various ways to support since we learned, before the war, the lesson that appeasement is no good against aggressors, whatever the political colour of the flags they fly.
Lastly, on this aspect of the matter—and here I would say that this is not only my own point of view, but it was expressed in an excellent and very frank speech last week by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Scotland (Mr. Logan}—I think there is no doubt that some hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway are more concerned in supporting the interests of the Communists against whom we are fighting than in safeguarding the security of our own troops fighting in Korea.
That suffices for that section, and now I should like to deal for a few minutes with the more responsible section of the Labour Party, as exemplified by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker) who opened the debate today for the Opposition, and by the speeches of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Aston (Mr. Wyatt) and many other hon. Gentlemen opposite, for whose views we have a great respect on this side of the House.
Their very basic honesty on this issue has put them in some difficulty over the terms of the censure Motion. It is perfectly 348 clear that this is so because, unlike their hon. Friends below the Gangway, they are not trying to use this occasion for a general attack on our Korean policy, but, in some ways, are trying to patch up a compromise peace by making an attack on the Government for conducting a foreign policy almost exactly similar to that which they pursued when they were in power.
I would suppose that when one listens to that sort of speech it would be fair to say in their criticism of the Government they had dealt almost entirely with two issues. First, that the machinery for consultation is neither good enough nor sufficient, and, secondly, whether the raids that have taken place on the Yalu and other fortifications are, in fact, likely to have a bad or good effect on the prospects of concluding a truce in Korea, which we all desire. On the first proposition—that the consultative machinery is not sufficient—as one of my hon. Friends said earlier, if that is so then this censure should clearly be directed against their own Front Bench, because whatever machinery there is at the present time—whether it be good, bad or indifferent—it is an undeniable fact that it is identical with that which they brought into use and maintained when they were in office.
Therefore, to criticise that machinery at a time when we are doing our best to improve it because we have found it necessary to do so is palpably dishonest. That machinery is identical with what was in force before; indeed, I would say that if there is any blame attaching to the Government on this issue of consultation it is that our Ministers did not appreciate that, like nearly everything else which they have inherited from the party opposite, they have inherited in this field something which was inefficient. [HON. MEMBERS: "Put the blame over here."] I am prepared to put the blame where it belongs and where many hon. Members opposite know it belongs.
During our last debate the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) was challenged about the machinery for consultation and what has become known as the "MacArthur episode." He replied, "We took effective action." Everyone thought he was claiming on behalf of himself and his colleagues credit for the fact that General MacArthur had been dismissed. Over the 349 week-end we saw a Press statement by the right hon. Gentleman to say that that interpretation was incorrect and that what he meant was that he and his colleagues had taken effective steps to get improved machinery. I have checked every available document and I have not found a single step taken by the late Government which improves the machinery. If I have missed one and one such step was taken, it could not have been very effective because it has not worked in the last few weeks.
There are those who, quite understandably, believe that a bombardment of the power stations at this time may act as a form of provocation and make the truce talks less likely to proceed, particularly in view of the known capacity for stubbornness of the Chinese. There are others, with rather more evidence, judging from our past dealing with dictators, who believe that a show of firmness is much more likely to achieve a good result. In winding up our debate last week my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State hazarded what I believe to be the most likely result and that is that the raids will have little or no effect at all on the outcome of the truce talks.
The Austrian negotiations have now been going on for three years. Although there has been no provocation, several hundred meetings have not yet managed to achieve a settlement. Every time we have believed a settlement to be in sight the Russians have found a fresh reason for holding it up. The reason is fairly clear. I am sure I shall have agreement on this from the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), whose speech on the realities of power politics was an admirable exposition of the course which is most likely to be taken. We have failed in Austria not because of our inability to negotiate but because, in Russia, power politics means that Russia must maintain her influence and troops in and around Central Europe.
Exactly the same considerations apply to the truce talks in Korea. Whether we have or have not bombed the power stations and whether we do or do not bomb them or anything else in Korea will have virtually no effect on the outcome of the talks. I believe that the truce talks will reach a successful conclusion only if it suits the overall purpose 350 of the Communists that they shall reach a successful conclusion. If the Communists in both the Kremlin and Pekin come to the conclusion that their interests are no longer served by the continuance of the war they can very easily, and will very rapidly, bring the truce talks to a happy ending.
On the other hand, if that does not suit their book—who are we to judge exactly what is the grand design of Communism in this respect?—it does not matter whether we reach a settlement over the prisoner issue or not. If a settlement does not suit the Communist, Chinese or Russian, grand design, a fresh excuse will be forthcoming to maintain the war a little longer.
Very little has been said about the military aspect of these particular raids. I do not feel that what has been said does justice to that aspect. Hon. Members have spoken quite rightly of the military aspect, and said that whereas militarily the raids may have been justified there are greater political considerations. I do not think that we can dismiss it as lightly as that, because not only we but our Allies have enormous numbers of men over there and the great principle of collective security is also involved.
There is no doubt at all that if the military men on the spot feared that these power stations were playing a substantial part in the building up of a potentially aggressive effort which might result in the successful launching of an attack on our lines then they were entirely justified not only for the sake of our troops, but of the principle and for it we were having to take steps to bring that menace to an end.
Finally, I would refer only to the main consideration which I should have thought ought to guide our thoughts and those of hon. Members opposite on this main point. We did not go into the Korean war because we were allies of the Americans or because British interests were being threatened or for any of the other reasons that have been stated, including hatred of Communism. We went in simply and solely because we had learned in the West the bitter lesson that aggressors cannot be appeased and the peace of the world maintained. It was in a thorough honest, honourable and creditable effort to fulfil that principle that the late Government supported by 351 the United States and the United Nations entered the war.
It behoves all of us on all sides of the House, and particularly those below the Gangway and the peoples of the free world not to try now to sabotage the principle involved.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, South-East)
We are now engaged in a debate on one of the major issues of international affairs, and we will be listened to not only by the people of this country but by people all over the world. The debate is taking place at a time when the Soviet Government and the Communist Parties, their agents all over the world, are beginning a new political campaign which has a double aim. In the first place, it is to divide the Governments of the democratic countries, and in the second to isolate the United States from the rest of the community of the free world.
For that reason it is most important that two impressions should emerge from our discussions. First, in relation to the United States, the parties of this country share an area of agreement which is far more important than their area of disagreement; and, secondly, in relation to the Soviet Union and China, the United States and Britain share an area of agreement which is far more important than their area of disagreement.
What I am going to say will, I fear, be unpopular on both sides of the House, and may embarrass both Front Benches. In my opinion the hubbub which was artfully created by the Prime Minister early today was deliberately designed to conceal the awful truth that Her Majesty's present Government is following rigidly in the Far East and in most of the other parts of the world the policy that was laid down by their predecessors; that, in fact, the Prime Minister is following meekly in the footsteps of my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison). We could not have taken it for granted that Her Majesty's Government would follow this line if we remembered the statements which were made about Far Eastern policy When the Conservative Party were in opposition. I am very glad that the present Government have rejected the extravagant romanticism of some of the Prime Minister's statements at that time.
352 The fact is that the identity and continuity of our policy towards the Far East has very often been deliberately disguised by the Prime Minister. He disguised it during his speech to Congress in the United States, no doubt because he thought that he would commend himself to American opinion by so doing. I am certain that the American people find it rather distasteful to see leading members of the British Government adopting an air of conscious virtue in relation to the United States which must remind them rather of a priggish schoolboy currying favour with a rich uncle. I do not believe that the respect or cooperation of the United States can he won by those methods.
The other reason why I think the Prime Minister has disguised the continuity of his policy on the Far East is in order to raise the flagging spirits of his own supporters. I could not help noticing in his speech today how he made sardonic comment on the fact that the Labour Government had recognised the Communist Government as the legal Government of China, and yet later on in the same speech he admitted that he proposed to continue doing exactly the same thing.
I remember when the Labour Government left office an interesting article in a leading journal of Conservative opinion which said of Mr. Ernest Bevin that he met uncompromising logic with uncompromising logic and so squandered the most formidable instrument of British diplomacy, the national talent for confusing issues. I am glad to note that the present Government have reverted to tradition in this respect. I think that the Opposition have the right and the duty to compel the Government to be more precise on some of these issues than they would otherwise be willing to be.
Let us take this question of the bombing in Korea. Careful study of the speeches today and last week shows that there is no important disagreement between the parties on any aspect of this problem. Both parties regret the failure of the United States to consult the British Government before undertaking the operation. That was stated very clearly last week and this week by leading speakers.
Now we come to the Government's attitude towards the bombing itself, as 353 distinct from the matter of consultation. Last week, the Foreign Secretary outlined with great skill and quite fairly, I thought, the military case for the bombing of the Suiho power stations, but he did not say that he personally thought that the military case was so strong as to take precedence over the political arguments against the bombing of the power plants brought forward by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. Indeed, the Foreign Secretary went so far as to say, on this point:It is said that this action is going to prejudice the conclusion of an armistice, and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition made certain references to that, to which I take no exception.When his own supporters tried to defend the American argument that this was a get-tough policy which might lead to the successful conclusion of an armistice, the Prime Minister, in his remarks at Question time last Tuesday and in his speech today, rejected that argument absolutely. We are quite justified in concluding from this that Her Majesty's present Government disagree with the bombing of the plants at Suiho just as much as do Her Majesty's Opposition.
§ Mr. Healey
We are voting on the consultation issue, and not on the substantial issue of the bombing. Indeed, the Foreign Secretary used a very interesting phrase. When he referred to the question of bombing he did not say, "Now that the decision has been taken, although we are sorry we were not consulted, we believed it was a right one." He used the following form of words:Now that the decision has been taken … we give our Allies full support in it." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th June, 1952; Vol. 502, c. 2271.]In other words, he recognised the obligation which any British Government must recognise, to support the American Government in the consequences of this action, but he does not think the act itself was a wise one. It seems to me that in his reply to the debate the Minister of State should make this quite clear.
In my view, which I think is the view of both sides of the House, the bombing of the Suiho power plant was a risk not wisely taken, but the worst dangers which might have been feared from that risk 354 have not materialised. It appears from the events of the last week that it has not interfered in any way with the truce negotiations, and we may count ourselves lucky that we have got off so lightly.
Now, with the permission of my right hon. Friend who is to sum up for the Opposition, I want to deal shortly with the major issue which divides us from the United States on Far Eastern policy. It seems to me that the Americans should recognise, and should have it made clear to them from this debate, that on this major issue, too, there is no substantial difference whatever between both sides of the British House of Commons. I deplore very much attempts to obscure the essential identity of policy between the parties on the Far East, whether statements are made by the Prime Minister or by some of my right hon. Friends.
Like most of my hon. and right hon. Friends I believe that co-operation between Great Britain and the United States of America is essential, not only in Europe but also in the Far East, indeed in all parts of the world. It is, in fact, the paramount interest of this country, and will be so for very many years to come. Yet it is perfectly true, as my hon. Friend the Member for Aston (Mr. Wyatt) said in an excellent speech, that on the question of the Far East we have not reached anything like the same harmony of policy that we have reached in Europe. The disagreement we have with the United States centres almost exclusively on the problem of which government we should recognise as the legal government of China.
It would be very wrong if we underestimated the importance of this disagreement or, on the other hand, if we exaggerated its relevance to Anglo-American co-operation in the Far East. The present Government, like the preceding Government, recognises the Communist regime as the legal government of China. It believes that it might be possible to have good political and economic relations with that government. It believes that China, by intelligent policy, might he separated from the Soviet Union in world affairs. It believes that, under certain conditions, the Communist regime in China might be prepared to devote its energies to peaceful development rather than to imperialist expansion.
355 On the other hand, the American Government and people refuse to recognise the Communist regime. In principle, they do not believe that good relations with it are possible, and they believe that that regime has decided already on a policy of imperialist expansion throughout the Far East. We should delude ourselves if we thought that there was any conclusive evidence that our attitude on this was right rather than the American, partly because, since the United States has acted on these assumptions which I have outlined, it has provoked Chinese reactions which may be considered either as justifying the American assumption or as a purely defensive reaction to Western policy.
I believe it is quite possible that the Chinese Government is, in Lenin's phrase, "dizzy with success." It may well be that of the two Communist partners in the world—China and Russia—China is the more aggressive and the more likely to adopt a militarily hostile policy toward the Western world. It may well be that at present the Soviet Government is restraining the Chinese Government, as it attempted unsuccessfully to do in 1948, when the Chinese Communists wanted to launch a final offensive to destroy Chiang Kai-shek and the Russians were very much against it because they feared the international complications which might ensue.
The only conclusive reason why the British people are quite right in their policy as against the American one is that, whatever the true facts of the case may be, neutral opinion—non-Communist opinion—in Asia believes that American policy is quite as responsible as any motives in China itself for the present attitude of the Chinese Government. Therefore, it is obligatory upon us to try to produce a situation in which China's real motives emerge quite clearly without risk of misinterpretation.
If, then, China's motives prove to be purely imperialist and expansionist, Asia will certainly support us in any measures which we are compelled to take to deal with such expansion. If, on the other hand, China's attitude then proves to be conciliatory and peaceful, we have every prospect of persuading the American people to join us in a peaceful and 356 conciliatory policy towards China in the Far East.
That is essentially the justification of the attitude which, I believe, both Front Benches share towards the Suiho bombing; that it has once again confused the whole issue of what China's policy really is. It has set back for many months—perhaps years—the slow crystallisation of Asian opinion towards China and has complicated the moral issues once again.
Now, one final brief word on the United States. The Americans are, of course, much less influenced by Asian opinion than are we. They do not have a Commonwealth, as we do. But I stress that their interpretation of China's motives and policy is perfectly permissible on the known evidence. That interpretation is held much more widely in the United States than some of my hon. Friends would like to believe. For example, the American Federation of Labour, by far the largest and most important of American trade union organisations, has adopted an attitude towards Communist China which resembles more closely the attitude of General MacArthur than the attitude of Secretary Acheson.
We must try to give sympathetic understanding towards the American attitude on China. I wish sometimes that some of my right hon. and hon. Friends could make one-tenth of the effort to understand America's attitude towards China which they rightly made to understand China's attitude towards the United States. After all, the Labour Government and the Conservative Government have made continued efforts to provoke some response to friendship from the Chinese Government and people, but they have met none whatever.
Our soldiers are still being killed by the Chinese in Korea. We are still locked in a struggle which could be ended at any moment by a word from the Chinese Communist Government. On the other hand, the United States is working closely with us all over the world. It is precisely because the failure to consult, which we noticed on the Suiho bombing, is such an exception in relations between Britain and the United States that it is taken so seriously in the House.
Let us remember that for the United States the Korean war has lasted much 357 longer than the First World War lasted for them; that American has had 110,000 casualties, one-third as many as it had in the First World War—in fact, one family out of every 400 in the United States has a member who is a casualty in the Korean war; that they have lost 1,000 planes and spent five billion dollars a year on the Korean war, which is more than their total expenditure on education, housing and social welfare put together. They have done this for no national interest, but for idealism, the United Nations, and collective security.
I should like, finally, to underline the Prime Minster's warning. There are, naturally, at present many Americans who feel that the whole Korean operation has been a disastrous, disillusioning failure. They would therefore like to liquidate the Korean commitments, either by a unilateral withdrawal or a unilateral "get tough" policy and remodel the United Nations entirely to make this possible. Those opinions are shared even by candidates for election in the Presidential Elections this year.
The tone in which some of us tend to criticise the United States policy in the Far East is a weapon for the opponents of British-American co-operation there. No machinery will ensure that there is good co-operation between us and the United States on this problem unless there is mutual goodwill and mutual trust. We shall get that only if the presentation of our policy on the Far East to the United States is both clear and courteous, without equivocation and without malice.
§ 9.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Kenneth Younger (Grimsby)
This debate, like so many of our debates on foreign affairs, has become inevitably, and I think rightly, very largely a discussion of Anglo-American relations. That is always a subject which it is a little difficult to handle in public at the same time with frankness and with tact.
It is perhaps especially so at this time in an American election year when Americans are especially sensitive to anything that is said about them abroad. But it has always been insisted—I think insisted by both sides of the House in many previous debates—not least by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, that the Anglo-American relationship is one of partnership and that plain 358 speaking between friends is actually wanted by both sides. I have heard that said from the Front Benches on both sides of the House on many occasions.
I hope, therefore, that if tonight I say in measured terms what I believe to be certain truths about our relationship as illustrated by the recent incidents in Korea which we have been discussing, I shall not be accused for that reason of attacking the Anglo-American alliance. Indeed, I feel a special responsibility, as I am sure many other hon. Members do in this debate, because the aspect of Anglo-American relations we are discussing is in an actual fighting war on which we are at this moment engaged together and in which our troops are fighting under American command.
The war in Korea is not only an Anglo-American enterprise; it is a United Nations enterprise which is of vital importance to all the members of that organisation, both great and small. I say, in parenthesis, in reply not so much to what has been said today as in reply to what was said in the previous debate last week, particularly by the noble Lord, the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke), that this operation, which started as an operation against aggression has not, in my view, lost, as I think he said it had, its moral content and moral purpose from the United Nations point of view.
Merely because in the course of two years of fighting some of the issues have become complicated and it has become more difficult to reach a conclusion on it, more costly, in many ways morally more difficult to see our correct path, than it was at the beginning, I do not think those reasons add up to the elimination of the moral content of this essentially United Nations enterprise against aggression.
We are determined, certainly my right hon. and hon. Friends on this side of the House, that as we began so we shall go through with it. It is in my view still an operation to resist aggression. Nevertheless, I do think it is far better that we should say, if we have any disputes as amongst Allies engaged upon it, what we all know so many people are thinking. In saying what I have to say I shall have a number of adverse comments to make on the record of our own Government in this connection.
359 There has been a great deal of confusion over the last week as to whether these bombing raids really represent a new departure or not. I do not want to argue that point. I hope the House will agree that I can take it now as being the considered opinion of almost everyone that, in fact, this is a new departure; despite certain early statements of a State Department spokesman, and even of the Secretary of Defence; and despite the initial statement of the right hon. Gentleman last week—when, I think he will agree, he had not full information—that he thought that perhaps this was not a new departure. He has not suggested today that he still thinks it is not. Despite those things, it is now considered by everyone that this did represent a new phase in United States' thinking about their tactics in the Korean war.
It was said at one time that there was no relation between these attacks and the Panmunjom negotiations. Frankly, we believe that there has been a change and we believe that it is related to the truce talks. As soon as one says that, it must be accepted, if it is related to the truce talks, that it is of paramount political importance, not only to us, but to all members of the United Nations.
General Clark himself, only a few days ago, said that the immediate mission of the United Nations is the securing of an honourable armistice at the conference table. He put that as the first immediate purpose, even the military purpose, in the Korean war. The Secretary General of the United Nations, when he was in London last week, said the Korean war was, in his view, the prime obstacle to a renewed effort towards a global settlement.
I think that those two statements should suffice to show that everything which occurs in Korea which may affect the conclusion, or failure to conclude, a truce, cannot possibly be regarded as a purely military decision. It is something with a very high political content indeed. I think that is something with which everyone in this House would agree, and probably a very large number of Americans, too. I believe that there would be some agreement on the proposition that there should, as a matter of common sense if not as a matter of right, have been con- 360 sultations, at any rate with us. We can speak only for ourselves. We do not know what the other Allies in this United Nations action may have felt about consultation with themselves.
I do not therefore wish to labour some of the points on which there appears to be virtually complete agreement. But I would like to say something about the question of consultations, starting, first of all, with the machinery for consultation. There has on this occasion been a failure, but that was not, I think, due to the absence of machinery. Machinery for consultation exists today, as it has existed for a long time past, both in Tokyo and in Washington. In fact, so far as I am aware, it has worked well for over a year, to say the very least. I think perhaps about a year is the period one can say when it had worked fairly well. We should realise, therefore, that the failure cannot be due simply to faulty liaison arrangements.
The Prime Minister referred to the previous earlier controversy between the United States and ourselves over the advance to the Yalu River at the end of 1950. With respect to the Prime Minister—
§ Mr. Younger
I am glad that the Prime Minister agrees. I only wanted to point out that while, of course, the outcome of the consultations between ourselves and the United States on that occasion was not satisfactory to us, it was not failure of consultation in the sense that there has been a failure this year. If my recollection serves me right, we were, in fact, informed, and had an opportunity to express our views.
We expressed ourselves as being in disagreement with what was proposed in Korea. The United States Command, acting for the United Nations, as they were quite entitled to do—whether it was wise or not—did go ahead against our advice. But the consultative machinery was there and we were consulted, whereas on this occasion, despite the existence of consultative machinery, we were not consulted. While we on this side welcome the proposals of the Government for improved liaison so far as they go, I think it would be wrong to imagine that the 361 mere appointment, even of a very high ranking officer to the staff of General Mark Clark, does more than perhaps assist slightly what is essentially a difficult problem.
This is not even a purely Anglo-American problem. It is a problem, which we have not as yet solved, of how we should run a United Nations' operation which may well, in theory, comprise anything up to 60 nations making a contribution. On this occasion there are something like 20. Obviously, all of them cannot be fully consulted about operations in advance of their occurrence.
This is only one part of a large problem to which I hope that the Government will give continued attention. I hope that they will consider the proposals made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker) in his opening speech today with regard to such matters as the possibility of having a political sub-committee of the United Nations and an advance towards some kind of integrated staff. The point I want to make is that this problem of consultation is not only one of machinery. It also depends on the state of mind of those who have to use the machinery.
I entirely accept the statement of Mr. Dean Acheson that failure to consult on this occasion was an administrative mistake.
§ Mr. Younger
I entirely accept that and I should like to join in what the Prime Minister said in appreciation of the very straightforward statement that Mr. Dean Acheson made about it.
But what is rather alarming is that I do not think that sort of accident can happen without a cause. It derives from certain states of mind. If the United States had judged this incident to be anything like as important as it has been judged to be by most people in this country, then I really do not think that this can have happened simply owing to an administrative oversight somewhere in the American machine.
We cannot escape the conclusion that either they themselves did not think that the implications of this operation were important or possibly, realising that they were important, nevertheless they did not think that the reaction of their Allies to 362 it was very important. One or other of those two considerations must have been the case—perhaps both. Frankly, of those two rather unpleasant possibilities I prefer the second.
If it is the first—that they themselves did not appreciate that there were implications in this—then I think that shows a terrifying obtuseness, and it is something which we are not in a position to remedy. If things of this kind can happen without anybody in the American machine seeing what the possibilities are, then I am bound to say that it is something which, to some extent, shakes one's confidence in their judgment.
There is still a good deal of confusion in my mind as to how seriously this was taken by the Americans. We had the statement today that, at any rate at the time when the Minister of Defence was with him, General Mark Clark did not know about the operation. I do not know whether that means that at that time he did not know the exact date. If this had been taken seriously it must have been under discussion as a project which might be undertaken at some fairly near future date. It must have been under discussion for some time if it was being taken as seriously as it should have been. I feel alarmed and uncertain as to whether the Americans regarded this as an important matter or not.
If the difficulty was the second one—simply that they did not attach very great importance to the reaction of their Allies—then, while that is not flattering to us, I find it much more understandable. The Americans have put much more into this effort than we have, and they have suffered more casualties. While it is not creditable in itself it is nevertheless a fact, which we must recognise, that this issue is, for them, also part of their internal politics, and that they are in election year.
It is understandable, if not excusable, if they are very much turned in on themselves in considering themselves and their Allies in relation to this war. That only puts a great obligation upon us, and the British Government in particular, to see that we are not forgotten by them. I think that there is a tendency in the United States—I have noticed it very much in the Press since this incident—to think that they only have a big stake in Korea. Many speakers have acknowledged the great contribution that the 363 United States has made. We all acknowledge that in terms of the Korean war they have the biggest stake, though we also have a big one.
It is important that they should understand that it is not only the outcome of the Korean operations which is at stake in this matter. I agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) who said that, if the war was extended, other nations might well be called upon to bear very much greater burdens—greater perhaps, certainly in terms of suffering, than the United States itself.
In fact, I believe that every Viet Namese, every French soldier in Indo-China, every Malayan and every British soldier in Malaya, the whole population of Hong Kong, and many others which I could quote, are as intimately involved in the success or failure of the truce talks in Korea as are the G.1s. themselves. We must recognise as one possibility that, if the Chinese reaction to what the Americans call increased military pressure should be to engage in increased military pressure on their side, there is no reason to assume that they will obligingly choose to exert that pressure only by hurling themselves upon the 8th Army's barbed wire in Korea.
There are plenty of other points at which they can strike. It may be at Indo-China, at Malaya or other places. One of the weaknesses in the conception of a sort of "limited war" against China which has cropped up from time to time has always been the too ready assumption that if we undertake a limited war we can in some way control the retaliatory measures of our opponents. At the moment, they are conducting a limited war, too, and they have a great choice of ways in which to extend it, if they think it right and fit to do so. All this gives us a very clear right to express our views forcibly upon these matters.
The Americans have been consulting us loyally and satisfactorily for many months past, and one is bound to ask why this lapse has taken place on this occasion. Here, I must say that I do not think that our own Government can entirely escape the blame. In January the Prime Minister, with a very large retinue, went to Washington. He claimed, and I have no doubt that he thought it was 364 quite true, that, although perhaps he had not brought back a whole series of signed agreements, he had greatly improved relations and understandings and liaison between the two countries.
We told him, as I hope he still remembers, that we thought that some of the things he had done, so far from increasing, had reduced British influence in the United States, and that that had been done because he allowed the British case over the Far East to go by default. Perhaps I may quote one sentence which I used in that debate:… leading AmericansI meant those who had spoken since the Prime Minister's visit—… are not taking more account … 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."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th February, 1952; Vol. 496, c. 1047.]I believe that there is truth in that. I thought so at the time, and it may well be that the reason why we have been accidentally ignored on this occasion is because of the weakness he showed on that occasion.
§ The Prime Minister
I must point out that the expression "accidentally ignored" is a contradiction in terms.
§ Mr. Younger
I am very ready to take lessons in English from the right hon. Gentleman, who is a master of it, but I doubt whether any hon. Member did not understand quite clearly what I meant by that phrase.
I must say that I have certain misgivings about the later mission of the Minister of Defence. There was, in the few remarks that have been quoted of what he said, a distinct note of complacency; indeed, nothing but sunshine talk. Now, when he comes back, we find that he was left in the dark on a matter of very great importance. The "Christian Science Monitor," one of the most responsible newspapers in the United States, is reported as having said:It would not be overstating the case to say that the British delegation has reported the Korean situation not only as better than journalistic reporters have presented it, but better, in fact, than anyone in Washington understood it to be.I hope that the Minister of Defence may be right, but I feel some apprehensiveness 365 lest he may have seen his mission as a pure goodwill mission, and perhaps also, like his right hon. Friend before him, failed to make the distinctive British view—and there is a distinctive British view—on Far Eastern matters as clear as he should have done.
I am afraid that in these ways our United States friends may have been somewhat encouraged to take our acquiescence in their policies entirely for granted. My hon. Friend referred to the remarks of the Foreign Secretary in the debate last week, when he said in one breath that we were not consulted and, in the next, that he did not know the arguments for arriving at that decision because we had not been consulted. He then said:Now that the decision has been taken, although we are sorry that we were not consulted, we give our Allies full support in it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th June, 1952; Vol. 502, c. 2271.]I want to associate myself with the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey) in saying that if all that was meant by that was that when two Allies are working together and one makes a mistake the other stands by him in the consequence, we are with the right hon. Gentleman there. But it sounded remarkable to say at a time when one did not know the arguments either for or against that one nevertheless approved the policy. I do not know whether that is the way to impress upon the Americans the importance of consulting with us and getting our acquiescence and agreement first of all. I hope that if the Foreign Secretary felt it necessary to say that in public, he speaks rather differently about it in private.
I now want to say a few words about the relationship of this operation to the main objective as given by General Mark Clark, namely, the reaching of an honourable armistice at the conference table. It seems to me that two courses are necessary for the conclusion of a successful armistice. First, one must be reasonable in argument at the conference table, and, secondly, firm in the military field. I have never under-estimated that factor. I think it is vital. I do not believe that during his tenure of appointment General Ridgway had anything with which to reproach himself in either respect. I believe that he was firm in the field and 366 that he and his negotiators were reasonable in argument.
Of course, there may be legitimate differences of emphasis as to what is meant by military firmness. It is as long ago as February that Admiral Joy said that military pressure was the only way to expedite a truce, and that may explain why, in recent months, there may have been a growth of military activity on our side. It may have been part of a deliberate policy to increase military pressure in order to get an Armistice.
There was no outcry in this country about those increased operations. Indeed, I think they largely escaped notice. I am bound to say there was also no visible effect on the Chinese, so I doubt whether this military pressure is really as effective a weapon as some people think. But it seems to me that this attack on the Suiho plant is different from that kind of increased military pressure mainly because of the relationship of that plant not only to Manchuria generally, but also to various places in Siberia. I understand that it is because of its relationship to the power requirements of those two areas outside Korea it has so far been immune from attack.
I am reminded of a phrase used by a leading American, Mr. George Kennan, in his book on American diplomacy when he was criticising an earlier phase of his country's policy in the Far East. He said the trouble had been that it did not really alter what was going to occur in any event, but it ended by coming dangerously close to the vital interests of some of the other Powers.
In a nutshell, it seems to me that is the reason why we have abstained from bombing Manchurian airfields and the Suiho plant hitherto. If we were intending to finish this war by a total victory, then, of course, it would be worth while to attack the vital interests of our adversaries. But that is not what we are doing. I understand that even those in America who thought that General MacArthur was right no longer think that his policy would be the right one to pursue now.
I am afraid that this action taken by way of additional military pressure may well be enough to enrage, but too little to subdue two nations of the temper and size of the Soviet Union and China. On 367 the one hand, I think it is too drastic a variation of the military pressure exercised during the past few months to contribute substantially to the truce negotiations, and, on the other, too small to affect the military policy of our adversaries.
Therefore, we on this side of the House have felt, to say the least of it, very grave misgivings about the merits of this operation. I want to repeat, and to adopt as my own, if I may, what was said about it by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition—[HON. MEMBERS: "Which one?"]—a few days ago. He said:It might be claimed that this will make the Chinese at once more reasonable and make them agree to an armistice. That can be argued, but I think it is a profound mistake in psychology, and it is not the first mistake in psychology that has been made in the course of the whole of these events. I think it will exacerbate; I think it will lessen the chances of an armistice and may lead us dangerously near to a general conflagration in the East, and if that happens no one knows where it may stop."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th June, 1952; Vol. 502. c. 2262.]I think that is a fair case by which we on this side stand, while fully admitting what the Prime Minister himself said, that it is always dangerous to prophesy unless one knows; but, on the evidence which has been put before us so far, I think we on this side of the House wish to stand by that statement of my right hon. Friend.
In addition to this policy of military firmness to which we subscribe, we have always insisted that one step towards a Far Eastern settlement should be to offer some prospect that, after the Korean truce—I emphasise that, after, not before—there would be a chance at least of the United States, and, consequently, of the United Nations, accepting as a fact the Chinese revolution and accepting that the present Government in Peking is the one with whom they have to deal.
It is, I realise, a proposition which it may take the United States some time to come to accept. Nevertheless, I believe that there will be no real pacification until this is done. It may be that there will not be even then, but I believe it is an essential thing without which there will be no pacification. Therefore, I believe it is the immediate objective of our policy to keep the tension down month 368 after month, if need be, pending an evolution in American opinion which may lead to final pacification. That is why we view this sudden, drastic raising of the tension, which is a possibility, at any rate, as a result of these raids, with so much misgiving.
I wish to repeat that, in our view, the Government have not carried out their duty of keeping the United Kingdom view constantly before their United States colleagues. I know that is not an easy thing to do in any event, but I think it requires much more constant vigilance and more frank speaking than this Government have shown. I believe that the Prime Minister, because of his Washington visit, is the prime offender, because he had the biggest chance, and he missed it, and I believe the utterances of the Minister of Defence, and, to some extent, the remarks of the Foreign Secretary in the House last week, give a further impression that the Government's advocacy of their viewpoint has been quite inadequate.
I hope that the Government will learn from their unfortunate experience of the way in which they have been neglected on this occasion, and that this Motion may serve tonight to drive the lesson home.
§ 9.38 p.m.
§ The Minister of State (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
To some extent I have found this a perplexing debate, because it has been rather difficult to find out exactly where is the greater area of agreement and the greater area of disagreement, and I found myself very much in sympathy with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey) in some of his remarks in which he was dealing with the areas of agreement between several groups.
I do not wish to fish in troubled waters tonight or to increase any tension anywhere but, whatever conflicts we have to discuss in the wider world, there is one conflict which is very obvious in this House tonight, and that is the conflict between the two Oppositions. That is one quite definite disagreement in this debate, and, perhaps, it is the real one, but it is certainly a conflict in which the armistice talks show no signs of reaching a truce. So far as the Opposition below the Gangway are concerned, 369 this Motion is partly a Vote of Censure upon the Government and also partly a Vote of Censure upon the United States of America.
There have been two spokesmen of the Opposition below the Gangway. They referred to the step taken by the military commanders as a sensational change of policy, and gave expression to their profound distrust of the United States. The hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn, East (Mrs. Castle) said that the United States were closing the door; that the United States were the villains because they had branded China as the aggressor. On her most favourable view of the United States, she said there were two greys, the United States and China. In other words, she was classifying the United States and China in exactly the same category on the most favourable view towards the United States.
The hon. Lady went on to say that the Japanese Peace Treaty had been a disgraceful piece of work. I hope the Opposition Front Bench took note of that, because that was a treaty we inherited from them. It is quite clear that the view of the Opposition below the Gangway is that there is a fundamental difference of opinion between the United States and the United Kingdom, that the United States policies are leading directly towards a total war, and for that reason this means of censuring them had to be sought. I suspect that this debate would have been staged by them whether or not there had been these bombings on the Yalu River.
We do not believe those charges for a moment. So far as this incident was concerned, I believe that it was a sound military target. I do again bring to the attention of the House this very false idea that there was or has been a lull in operations in Korea. So far as air operations are concerned, the daily average of sorties flown has been 800, which shows a very substantial air war going on. I believe that this was regarded primarily as a military target and undertaken for that purpose. I do not believe that it was intended, as suggested, as a major change of policy. The right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Younger) founded his speech upon that contention. He said it was impossible for anybody to dispute that this constituted a major change of policy on the part of the United States. Well, I do not 370 believe that it was a major change of policy.
When we hear these quotations about people saying that it was part of the policy of getting tough, it is necessary to verify the quotations and the source to which they are attributed. For instance, I am not saying this is necessarily the only "get tough" statement, but reading the "New York Times" of 24th June, this is how I see it put:A statement attributed to a defence official, who declined the use of his name, that the raid represented a decision to get tough militarily speaking received this comment by a spokesman on a high Air Force level: 'We have no reason to say it is or it isn't.'That is a statement ascribed to someone who refuses to give his name, and that forms the basis for the whole suggestion that this is part of a "get tough" policy by the United States.
I really do suggest that more attention should be given to the statements of someone like the Secretary of Defence who, after all, is the responsible person, when he maintains that in his view this was entirely a military target and did not represent any change of policy. That is a quite categorical statement by the responsible Minister in the American Administration, and full attention should be paid to that disclaimer.
I do not believe that the American Government have departed from their previous conception, and when all these wild charges are being made, let me remind the House of some of the statements that have been put on record. The President of the United States said, it is true last year, on 12th April, 1951:We do not want to see the conflict in Korea extended. We are trying to prevent a world war, not to start one.I still believe that is the view of the American Administration.
A responsible official of the State Department, Mr. Allison, speaking on the 4th March of this year, said:It is our policy to confine the conflict to Korea. We do not propose to widen the scope of the war. That has been our policy from the start; that remains our policy.Mr. Acheson himself, speaking also in March of this year, said:We hope that our efforts towards a just armistice will succeed and make it possible for health, as well as peace and security, to be brought to all of Korea.371 I believe these are really the opinions of the members of the American Administration. So much for the views of the Opposition below the Gangway.
Now, with regard to the official Opposition, I hope that I shall not be considered uncomplimentary when I say that I did not detect in either of their speeches real ground for moving a vote of censure on the Government's policy. The suggestion was that we had not produced really effective means of consultation. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker), who opened the debate and who made a speech with which many people on this side of the House agree, said that Her Majesty's Government had got slack over the matter and were not devoting enough attention to Korea.
I must say that I found that criticism painful, to say the least of it, having just spent a considerable time in going there and in trying to see what was happening in that country, with my noble Friend the Minister of Defence. Whatever else may have happened over this incident, it may well be that it has helped to clear the air, and I think that we have obtained a great deal of useful information, however disappointing it may be to some hon. Members in this House.
Secondly, I think that the right hon. Gentleman said that we must not be at the mercy of the human element. That is a very wide pronouncement to make, and if he can ensure any system of human society by which we would not be at the mercy, at one time or another, of the human element he will have achieved a very great deal.
§ Mr. Lloyd
Then the right hon. Gentleman said that we should work for a fully integrated command set-up. On that ground we at least have achieved substantially more than the last Government did, because under our arrangements there is going to be a Deputy Chief of Staff—[HON. MEMBERS: "Going to be."] The announcement was made today. There was no British Deputy Chief of Staff when the last Government made the arrangements. I should have thought that on this issue of an integrated command 372 set-up we were at least taking a step forward which the last Government failed to take.
The next suggestion by the right hon. Gentleman was that we ought to have representatives upon the armistice commission. The time for us to have had representatives on the armistice commission was when it started work. If the set-up is wrong, it has been wrong from the beginning, and all we have said is that we do not think it a wise thing to swap horses just when we think we are beginning to cross the stream and climb out on the other side.
A suggestion has been made, which, I think, is as unfair to the last Government as to this Government, that there is no consultation upon these matters with regard to the truce negotiations. I think that the right hon. Gentleman who was Foreign Secretary will agree that during his term of office there certainly was continuous consultation between the Foreign Office and the State Department with regard to these armistice negotiations.
The armistice commission—the delegation—are the technicians simply handling the negotiations, but the policy directives come to them from the Governments, and upon these matters there has been continuous consultation both under the last Government and under the present one. It is a complete misunderstanding to think that there is no consultation about what goes on in the armistice talks at Panmunjom.
Then the right hon. Gentleman suggested that there ought to be a subcommittee of the nations contributing forces and that it should have some effective say in the control of the war. Again, if that is such a good idea it is surprising that it was never put forward by the late Government. After all, they had 16 months or more of this campaign. There are, in fact, practical difficulties which it is hardly necessary to name. There was also a suggestion about N.A.T.O. in this context, but this is a problem which requires very careful consideration and there are practical difficulties well known to right hon. Gentlemen opposite.
The right hon. Gentleman also suggested that it would be a good thing to have a political section in General Mark Clark's headquarters. There was a 373 political section in General Mark Clark's headquarters and it was disbanded not many weeks ago. It would have been very much better to put forward the suggestion that the political section should have something to do with the war in Korea when the late Administration was in office and before the section had been disbanded, for it would have been very much easier to pursue the point when the section was actually in existence. However, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman in that that was a point which occurred to us straightaway, and we must certainly explore whether, when we have the set-up of a supreme commander, it is possible for him to get political advice in a way in which it has been found possible in the past.
A suggestion was made with which I must deal in fairness to a man whom I believe to be a very fine commander. The suggestion was that General Mark Clark could not be a very good commander because he did not know about the bombing. The hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Foot) made the suggestion more or less in those terms.
§ Mr. Lloyd
We will see what the record says about that. Anyhow, what General Mark Clark has said is that when he saw the Minister of Defence for the last time in Tokio he did not then know that the raid was to take place. The Minister of Defence and I left Tokio five or six days before the bombing actually took place.
Very few points have been raised about Koje or the screening, because, I suppose, they are not strictly relevant to the subject-matter of the debate. There is, however, one point with which I should like to deal. The hon. Member for Aston (Mr. Wyatt) said that the Formosan question was a very urgent one which should be dealt with as quickly as possible. I would refer him again to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) when Foreign Secretary. He said:In the view of His Majesty's Government, this is a question which could usefully be considered by the United Nations at the appropriate time.374 We entirely agree with that.It is not however the urgent problem. The most pressing of the problems facing us in the Far East is that of Korea and in our view it would be premature to discuss the future of Formosa so long as the operations continue in Korea."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th May, 1951; Vol. 487, c. 2302.]
§ Mr. Lloyd
I apologise if I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman. If that is: what he said, there is not much between us. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is the, trouble."] That is a rather mournful interruption.
To recapitulate our position on the question of consultation, we wish to secure effective consultation and we are trying to improve existing methods of achieving that consultation. After the incident to which there has been so much reference, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary had discussions with the French Foreign Minister and the Secretary of State, and it is certainly a matter which the Government will pursue.
The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) said at the beginning of his speech that he thought it was of paramount importance to preserve a bipartisan foreign policy. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) said that he thought it was very necessary not to turn a debate of this sort into a series of complaints and bickerings about the actions of the United States of America. In view of Mr. Acheson's most generous statement about this matter, it would be very much better if this House were to leave the question where it stands at present. Our policy is perfectly clear. We do not wish to extend the war. We wish for a speedy armistice and then we shall have a political conference that reaches a solution of the Korean problem, after which we shall proceed gradually from that to establish peace in the Far East.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
In his statement this afternoon the right hon. and learned Gentleman stated that he met Mr. Nehru on his way out to the Far East. Could he, in the short time remaining, tell us, something of what took place at that interview?
§ Mr. Lloyd
Certainly. I do not think that the Prime Minister of India would regard it as breaking a confidence at all, but we did discuss the question of finding a solution to the armistice problem. As the hon. Member knows, we have made it perfectly clear that we are prepared as soon as an armistice has been arrived at to have an impartial screening by any reasonable arrangement which can be devised to see that these people are properly examined as to whether they have good reasons for fearing to go home. That was the matter which we discussed and how to get round this single obstacle to the truce talks and a successful conclusion of the armistice negotiations.
Our view has been that the armistice should be concluded first, and that there is no reason to let the warfare continue whilst this matter is being settled. It seems to us that if we arrive at an armistice, then the matter of how to deal with these 70,000 or 80,000 people can be dealt with. So far as the United Nations Command is concerned, I am quite certain that they will agree to any reasonable proposition that will give complete impartiality, and that any suspect guards or anybody of that sort will be taken away so that the people will have a free opportunity of deciding whether they have
§ good reasons for not wanting to be repatriated.
§ Mr. Arthur Henderson (Rowley Regis and Tipton)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has said something quite different from what was said by his right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary last week. The right hon. Gentleman made it clear a week ago that the question of re-screening should not be allowed to prevent the signing of an armistice.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I was dealing with my conversation with the Prime Minister of India, and I have only given my side of it. I should like to give the views of the Prime Minister of India, but I cannot do so unless I have his permission. I cannot say more than that. I understand there will be another opportunity of debating the armistice talks on the Motion for the Adjournment.
Returning to the Vote of Censure, I submit that as we are providing on the whole a rather better set-up for consultation and liaison, if the Opposition vote for this Motion of Censure it will, in fact, be a Vote of Censure on themselves.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 270; Noes, 300.379
|Division No. 187.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Callaghan, L. J.||Ewart, R.|
|Adams, Richard||Carmichael, J.||Fernyhough, E.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Castle, Mrs. B A.||Field, W. J.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Champion, A. J.||Fienburgh, W|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Chapman, W. D.||Finch, H. J.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Chetwynd, G. R||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Clunie, J.||Follick, M.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Cocks, F. S.||Foot, M. M|
|Ayles, W. H.||Coldrick, W.||Forman, J. C.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Collick, P. H.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Baird, J.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Freeman, John (Watford)|
|Balfour, A.||Cove, W. G.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S)||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon H. T N|
|Bartley, P.||Crosland, C. A. R.||Gibson, C. W.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Glanville, James|
|Bence, C. R.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Daines, P.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)|
|Benson, G||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Wakefield)|
|Beswick, F.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.)||Grey, C. F.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Blackburn, F.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Griffiths, William (Exchange)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Deer, G.||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)|
|Boardman, H.||Delargy, H. J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G||Dodds, N. N.||Hall, John (Gateshead, W.)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Donnelly, D. L.||Hamilton, W. W.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Driberg, T. E. N.||Hannan, W.|
|Broekway, A. F.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hargreaves, A.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hastings, S.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Edelman, M.||Hayman, F. H.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)|
|Burke, W. A.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Hewitson, Capt. M|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Hobson, C. R.|
|Holman, P||Morley, R||Soskice, Rt. Hon Sir Frank|
|Houghton, Douglas||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W)||Sparks, J A|
|Hoy, J H||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H (Lewisham, S.)||Steele, T|
|Hubbard, T F.||Mort, D. L||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Moyle, A.||Stokes, Rt. Hon R. R|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Murray, J. D||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Nally, W.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Hynd, J B. (Attercliffe)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P J||Swingler, S T|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Oldfield, W H||Sylvester, G. O|
|Irving, W. J (Wood Green)||Oliver, G. H.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A||Orbach, M.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Janner, B||Oswald, T.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D P. T||Padley, W. E.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Paget, R. T.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W)|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Paling, Will T (Dewsbury)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekrn)|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Pannell, Charles||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Pargiter, G A||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Parker, J||Timmons, J|
|Jones, T W (Merioneth)||Paton, J||Tomney, F.|
|Keenan, W||Peart, T. f||Turner-Samuels, M|
|Kenyon, C||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C W||Poole, C. C.||Usborne, H C|
|King, Dr. H. M||Popplewell, E.||Viant, S P.|
|Kinley, J||Porter, G.||Wallace, H. W|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Walkins, T E|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W)||Webb, Rt. Hon M (Bradford, C)|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Proctor, W. T.||Weitziman, D|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwiok)||Pryde, D. J.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Lewis, Arthur||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Lindgren, G. S||Rankin, John||West, D. G.|
|Lipton, Lt -Col. M||Reeves, J.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Logan, D G||Raid, Thomas (Swindon)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Longden, Fred (Small Heath)||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W|
|McGhee, H. G.||Rhodes, H.||Wigg, George|
|Mclnnes, J||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A B|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wilkins, W A.|
|McLeavy, F.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)||Willey, Frederick (Sunderland, N)|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N)||Willey, Octavius (Cleveland)|
|McNeil, Rt Hon. H.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Ross, William||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Royle, C.||Williams, Rt Hon Thomas (Don V'II'y)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W (Huddersfield, E)||Sohofield, S. (Barnsley)||Williams, W R. (Droylsden)|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley||Williams, W T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Manuel, A. C.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon H A||Short, E. W||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Shurmer, P L. E.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Mellish, R. J||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon A|
|Messer, F.||Simmons, C J. (Brierley Hill)||Wyatt, W L|
|Mikardo, Ian||Slater, J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Mitchison. G. R||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Younger. Rt Hon K|
|Monslow, W||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Moody, A. S||Snow, J W||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Morgan, Dr H B W||Sorensen R W||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Holmes.|
|Aitken, W. T||Birch, Nigel||Clarke, Brig Terence (Portsmouth W)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Bishop, F. P.||Cole, Norman|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Black, C. W.||Colegate, W A|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Boothby, R. J. G||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Bossom, A. C||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W J||Bowen, E. R.||Cooper-Key, E. M.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Boyd-Carpenter, J. A||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Boyle, Sir Edward||Cranborne, Visoount|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Braine, B. R.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C|
|Astor, Hon J. J. (Plymouth, Sutton)||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W)||Crosthwaite Eyre, Col. O. E|
|Astor, Hon W. W (Bucks, Wycombe)||Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G (Bristol, N W)||Crouch, R. F|
|Baker, P. A. D||Bromley-Davenport, LI -Col W. H||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr J M||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip-Northwood)|
|Baldwin, A. E||Brooman-White, R. C.||Cuthbert, W. N|
|Banks, Col. C.||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S)|
|Barber, A. P. L||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon P, G I||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Barlow, Sir John||Bullard, D. G.||Davies, Rt. Hn Clement (Montgomery)|
|Baxter, A. B.||Bullock, Cap. M.||De la Bore, Sir Rupert|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E||Deedes, W. F.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Burden, F. F. A.||Digby, S. Wingfield|
|Boll, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A (Saffron Walden)||Dodds-Parker, A D|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Donaldson, Cmdr C E McA|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Carson, Hon E.||Donner, P. W.|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Cary, Sir Robert||Doughty, C. J A.|
|Bennett, Dr Reginald (Gosport)||Channon, H.||Drayson, G. B.|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Drewe, C|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Duncan, Capt J. A. L.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K||Renton, O. L. M.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E||Leather, E. H. C.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Fell, A.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon A. T||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Fleetwood Hesketh, R F||Lindsay, Martin||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Flctcher-Cooke, C.||Linstead, H. N.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Fort, R.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Russell, R. S.|
|Foster, John||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Lockwood, U -Col. J. C.||Sandys, Rt. Hon D.|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Gage, C. H.||Low, A. R. W.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. 0. (Pollok)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Galbraith, T. G D. (Hillhead)||Lucas, P. B (Brentford)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Gammans, L. D||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Shepherd, William|
|Garner-Evans, E, H.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W)|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj G Lloyd||McAdden, S. J.||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter|
|Glyn, Sir Ralph||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Godber, J. B.||Macdonald, Sir Peter (I. of Wight)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col A||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Cower, H. R.||Maclay, Hon. John||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Maclean, Fitzroy||Spearman, A. C. M|
|Gridley, Sir Arnold||MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.)||Spier, R. M.|
|Grimond, J.||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Grirmton, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Stanley, Capt. Hon Richard|
|Grimslon, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Stevens, G. P.|
|Harden, J. R. E||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W)|
|Hare, Hon. J. H.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Markham, Major S. F||Storey, S.|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Harvey, Air Cdre A. V. (Macclesfield)||Marples, A. E.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Studholme, H G.|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Hay, John||Maude, Angus||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H||Maudling, R.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Heald, Sir Lionel||Medlicott, Brig. F||Teeling, W.|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Mellor, Sir John||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J P L. (Hereford)|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Molson, A. H. E||Thomas, P. J. M (Conway)|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Monckton, Rt. Hon Sir Waller||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr R. (Croydon, W)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N|
|Hollis, M. C.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Tilney, John|
|Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Nicholls, Harmar||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Holt, A. F||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Hopkinson, Henry||Nicholson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Turton, R. H.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Horobin, I. M.||Noble, Cmdr. A. H P||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Nugent, G. R. H.||Vaughan-Morgan, J K|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nulling, Anthony||Vosper, D F.|
|Howard, Greville (St. Ives)||Oakshott, H. D||Wade, D. W.|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Odey, G. W.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W)|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Antrim, N.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (Marylebonc)|
|Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W D.||Walker-Smith, D C.|
|Hutchison Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N)||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H M||Osborne, C.||Waterhouse, Capt Rt. Hon. C.|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H||Partridge, E.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Peake, Rt. Hon. 0||Wellwood, W.|
|Jennings, R.||Perkins, W. R. D||White, Baker (Canterbury)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Peyton, J. W. W||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Pilkington, Cap! R. A||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W||Pitman, I. J.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Kaberry, D.||Powell, J. Enoch||Wills, G.|
|Keeling, Sir Edward||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Wood, Hon R|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Profumo, J. D.|
|Lamblon, Viscount||Raikes, H. V.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Lancaster, Col. C G||Redmayne, E.||Mr. Heath and Mr. Butcher|
Question put, and agreed to.