HC Deb 30 July 1953 vol 518 cc1547-610

4.0 p.m.

Mr. C. R. Attlee (Walthamstow, West)

I make no apology for having asked for the business for today to be changed. Indeed, I think that I should have been remiss in my duty if I had not taken that action, because the House is about to rise for the Recess and very serious issues of foreign policy have arisen. It was quite clear that these matters had come somewhat unexpectedly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He could not give a full answer at Question time yesterday nor, I think, has a full answer been given in another place. Therefore, it is right that we should debate these matters here. I do not intend to take up much time. I have already spoken recently on the general position, but the point which I wish to bring before the House is the statements made by the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Foster Dulles.

In view of the interjections that sometimes come from the other side of the House, I had better make it perfectly plain from the start that I am not anti-American. There is nothing anti-American in raising this matter. Indeed, I have endeavoured to co-operate to the full with the Government of the United States. I believe that it is essential that we should do so, but we must also remember that co-operation does not come from one side only. There is a two-way traffic in this.

We have very recently had our Ministers in Washington discussing foreign affairs and the noble Lord, the Acting Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, has returned from Washington. He has given his account in another place and an account has been given here, and yet we suddenly have a number of statements made which would seem to us to run contrary to the policy of the present Government; and I think that it is right that the Government here should have the opportunity of stating where they stand.

I think that everybody was disturbed by the report of the statements made by Mr. Foster Dulles to a Press conference. It is always difficult to judge of what happens at a Press conference. It is not like the kind of considered speech that is made by a Secretary of State in this House. But this has been very fully reported. I think that the leading article in "The Times" of yesterday expressed very much the opinion of the ordinary citizen of this country when he read that report, because the report seemed to be of a laying down of conditions by the United States Government, the taking of a line by the United States Government in regard to the political consequence of affairs in Korea, without taking into account the views of their colleagues.

The whole of this affair in Korea has been an undertaking by the United Nations. It has been a vindication of the United Nations. We all gladly recognise that the greater part of the heat and burden of the day has been borne by the Americans and we are duly grateful, but we have also taken our share in it and it does seem a peculiar thing that, just when the Assembly is to meet and when we are looking forward to those discussions, there should be this unilateral declaration of policy.

I think that Mr. Lester Pearson, a very distinguished chairman of the Assembly, expressed the common view as to what should take place—a general round-table conference at which all these matters could be considered in a spirit of give and take. But it seems to us that the American Secretary of State limited it to the one question of Korean unity. We all wish to see Korean unity just as we all wish to see German unity. We may wish for it but it may not be easy to achieve, and it is a question of what kind of unity we shall get. It may well be that Korean unity may not be achieved at once. That does not mean that there will then be a reversion to war. There might be some modus vivendi for a considerable time.

But it seems extraordinary to me that a declaration should be made that in this conference Korean unity must be achieved and that, failing that, the United States representative will walk out of the conference. That seems to me to be quite contrary to the whole of the spirit of the working of the United Nations, and we all recognise the magnificent support of the United Nations which has been given by the United States Government from its inception. We are very grateful to them. This seems to be quite out of tune. There is a further general underlying suggestion that if everything does not go exactly as Mr. Dulles wants it, then the United States may go on on its own. I think that is a very dangerous matter.

We did not enter into this contest with any desire to go to war. We entered into it, as indeed did the United States Government, in order to vindicate the principle of the United Nations. We certainly did not enter into it on behalf of Mr. Syngman Rhee, to make him ruler of a united Korea. That might or might not come about, but Mr. Syngman Rhee now seems to be consulted and there seems to be a desire to co-ordinate policy with Mr. Sygnman Rhee rather than with the other members of the United Nations who are taking part in Korea. I fully recognise the sacrifices made by the South Koreans. They have put up a fine fight, but other people have to be consulted—the Australians, the Canadians, the Turks and ourselves and the rest of the United Nations, because the whole basis of this matter was the United Nations.

It seems to us strange that after policy had been co-ordinated at Washington we should have statements of this kind made. Further, we are concerned in this matter hot merely from the point of view of Korean unity but from the general point of view of securing peace in the Far East. I will not enter further into that, except to say that another disturbing factor is the emphasis laid on the continuance of economic measures against China. An economic blockade of that kind is a double-edged weapon. It may be that China feels the edge. We feel the edge as well. Apparently America does not. We do not suggest that immediately we begin those talks we can at once get a lifting of the blockade, but it ought to be a very early consideration.

In the same way, we do not suggest that before we have started the armistice talks we should have recognition of the de facto Government of China. But it is a matter that must be considered. To leave all these matters out, to narrow this down to one question, the unification of Korea, seems to me dangerously likely to make the whole conference infructuous and certainly to disregard the legitimate views and interests of other members of the United Nations, including ourselves.

I do not want to make a long speech on this matter, but I want to give the right hon. Gentleman the opportunity of making clear what is the British position. There are many things that one might say on this. There have been some very shrewd comments in the American Press. That very distinguished publicist, Mr. Walter Lippmann, suggests that Mr. Dulles is immobilised by his own promises. That is a very dangerous thing. We are not immobilised by those promises. We have the duty to put forward our point of view, and I hope that we shall press that, when this conference comes along, it shall not be bound within some narrow limits, that there will be a full give and take, and that we are aiming at something more than putting Mr. Syngman Rhee in command of Korea.

We are out to try to get a peaceful settlement throughout the Far East, so that this should be the beginning, and the settlement of the Korean question is only the beginning. Unless this is taken in a broad and statesmanlike way, it will not be the beginning of a new era of peace. Therefore, I hope the right hon. Gentleman will make it plain that we cannot subscribe to these narrow policies, but that we shall put forward our point of view and claim that that should have full consideration and, above all, that we should insist that this is a United Nations matter and not a matter of purely American concern.

4.13 p.m.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. R. A. Butler)

I well understand the reasons why the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has raised these matters today. As he says, it is almost impossible to give a proper picture at Question time by Question and answer, and, if I may say so to those hon. Members who have questioned me, I am only too glad to do my best to be at their service today and to give some picture as best I can of the attitude of Her Majesty's Government.

We welcome the opportunity before the House rises for a clarification of future policy on Korea and on Far Eastern problems generally, and so, while I shall try not to speak very much longer than the right hon. Gentleman, because other Members no doubt wish to state their views, it will be necessary for me to cover several matters if I am to do justice to what I have just said. It is, of course, important that we should try to get a little clarity and some sort of skein of thread which we can follow in what is undoubtedly a very complicated situation.

Before I come to some of the detailed points raised by the right hon. Gentleman, perhaps I might answer quite definitely, for the sake of this House and of the country, that the policy of Her Majesty's Government is firmly based on the United Nations and the United Nations Charter and its principles. The right hon. Gentleman also asked whether we intend to use the machinery of the United Nations, and I can answer that question with an equally emphatic "Yes."

Further, to make matters even clearer, I, too, have read the statement of Mr. Lester Pearson, and I will say that it is our objective to enter these discussions, to compare notes with our partners and allies, and altogether to conduct ourselves as a member of the United Nations itself and take full advantage not only of that opportunity for discussion but of the spirit of the Charter itself. We based our policy on that, and I may say in passing, as it is a very important element in this problem, that so have the United States Government. It was the United Slates Government that introduced into the Security Council on 27th June, 1950, the resolution which constitutes the authority for the United Nations action in Korea itself. It recommended—I would remind the House of the terms— that the members of the United Nations furnish such assistance to the Republic of Korea as may be necessary to repel the armed attack and to restore international peace and security in the area. Not only do the objectives remain as stated by the right hon. Gentleman, but we are seeking international peace and security.

It is, however, in our view, essential that the same machinery should remain, that not only should we have carried through the struggle under the auspices of the United Nations but the peace settlement should be made under the auspices of the United Nations also. It has been essentially a United Nations action, and the right hon. Gentleman is quite right in saying—we all endorse what he has said—that the United States have borne a vast burden; but we have also borne a share of the burden ourselves. The first thing to make absolutely clear, therefore, is that our policy has in no way changed.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to certain reports of a Press conference with the Secretary of State in the United States. These Press reports are necessarily truncated, and fuller reports often modify the impressions received. I do not doubt though that some of the news received yesterday from the United States may have cast doubts on the position of the United States as regards future Korean problems.

The right hon. Gentleman and the House, therefore, may be glad to hear that even before the right hon. Gentleman and his friends voiced their apprehensions on this score—long before, in fact, the right hon. Gentleman raised the subject today—my noble Friend and Her Majesty's Government had exactly the same reaction and had already decided to make our position clear to the United States Government. Accordingly, instructions were sent yesterday morning to Her Majesty's Ambassador in Washington to make our position clear. I have already amplified those instructions by my statement, which I am sure will be fully reported, that we base our attitude and policy on the United Nations itself.

I would go further and give the House a very short statement of the nature of these representations, because I believe that if we are to clear up the position I must be absolutely frank with the House. In view of the obvious interest and feeling of the House, I will tell them that my noble Friend urged the United States Government to make every endeavour to induce President Syngman Rhee to abide loyally by the purposes of the United Nations both at the forthcoming meeting of the Assembly and at the Political Conference itself. We made that quite clear to the United States Government.

The House will want to know more than that. They will want to know what is the position of Her Majesty's Government if the South Korean Government break the Armistice. Let me make this clear beyond all shadow of doubt. Her Majesty's Government are in no way committed before the event to any action they may take. We reserve ourselves to be completely free to adopt whatever attitude we think right in the circumstances which may prevail at that time.

The right hon. Gentleman raised the question of the statement in the Press interview referred to about the decision of the United States Government after 90 days to walk out of the Conference under certain conditions. I am not going to attempt to make any explanations of the actions of another Secretary of State. I have quite enough to do under present circumstances in my present situation. Nor would the House wish me to comment on or to attempt to influence the policy of another and very friendly Power. I think it is legitimate to say that there are certain clarifications, at any rate, of these statements which have now come in from the United States Government which do give a rather better picture of at least one or more of these statements than we have already had in the very short Press reports.

For example, the right hon. Gentleman expressed some anxiety whether, after Mr. Dulles had made this statement about the 90 days, the United States would automatically resume the war. The report which we have now had from the State Department, and which gave us a full account of the Press interview, goes on to make clear—and this answers another of the right hon. Gentleman's points—that the question of what the United States Government should do, if anything, would then be a matter for discussion and agreement at that time in the light of the surrounding circumstances. That part was not included in the original Press summary, and that indicates that discussion and agreement are intended—and we take that to mean discussion and agreement with the partners and allies in this business. That is our interpretation of those remarks. If that be the case, it gives a clearer picture of what was intended, and what was reported in a somewhat truncated manner.

I should like to go further in stating the attitude of Her Majesty's Government about this statement on the "walkout," as it is called. We are in no way committed to any such statement. Furthermore, I want to make it absolutely clear—and in this I express the view of my noble Friend and Her Majesty's Government—that we should expect definitely to be consulted before any such action was taken.

Now I come to another aspect of the statement, in relation to the veto. Some anxiety has been expressed about the statements in the Press concerning the vetoing by the United States Government of the entry of China into the United Nations. While I shall be dealing more fully with this question of Her Majesty's Government's policy or attitude towards the entry of China into the United Nations, I think it only right to state that in the fuller account we have now asked for and received of this interview, Mr. Dulles was asked, "Would you do it?"—in relation to the veto—and he answered that he was reluctant to see such a step taken and he did not think it would be necessary. Those are clarifications both in relation to the statement about the 90 days and in relation to the veto.

There I leave the statement of another Secretary of State and another Government, and come to a discussion of the action which will be taken and the attitude adopted by Her Majesty's Government. I have stated that we would expect to be consulted before any action such as a walk-out took place, but we should like to consider—and no doubt the House would like to hear—what would be the attitude of Her Majesty's Government if any action were taken by President Rhee, for example, which might result in the breaking of the armistice. Then, clearly, a situation of the utmost gravity would arise.

The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly legitimate in saying that the House is about to rise, and that is why I am trying to enter into all these points and give the House a picture before it rises. In the view of the Government, the first step should be consultation between Her Majesty's Government and the fellow members of the United Nations. Indeed, I would go further and say, in answer to the point which I am sure will be raised from the benches opposite, that we consider that in such an eventuality it is inconceivable that the United Nations itself should not meet. Hon. Members must not muddle that statement with the fact that the United Nations is in any case going to meet to deal with the particular matter of Korea in about a fortnight's time.

In the alternative event of there being a renewal of aggression by the Communists, our view is that it must be within the framework of the United Nations that any risk of renewed aggression, or renewed aggression itself, should be resisted. Into that picture falls the gloss upon the statement made by the Secretary of State in relation to the 90 days' issue, which I quoted in our fuller report. The House may like further to hear what are our views on how we think events may develop. Here again, I shall try to give them as much information as I can, bearing in mind that we accept at once the advice of the right hon. Gentleman that in matters such as this it is wise—as, indeed, "The Times" leading article said—to keep the situation as open as possible, and just have the one rule that we shall discuss with our partners and work within the framework of the United Nations.

Subject to that, I shall give the House some idea how we think events might develop. The first event will be the meeting of the General Assembly, which has been convened for 17th August. The House will be glad to hear definitely that my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State will represent Her Majesty's Government at the meeting. A request was made by the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) that our representation should be at Ministerial level. I am glad that we have somebody with such great experience of the United Nations, who will go straight from this House, knowing the impression of the statements that have been made on both sides of the House, in order to represent Her Majesty's Government at this meeting.

It may be necessary, if there is a debate and points are raised, for my right hon. and learned Friend to wind up the debate in a short speech later tonight. My right hon. and learned Friend will note all the points that may be raised and they can be answered before we go on to the next subject of debate. We hope that the General Assembly will pass a resolution setting up the Political Conference, which is the next step, and prescribing broad terms of reference. So the second event will be this Political Conference.

I should like to say a word as to its composition. Here again, we should like to clarify the attitude of Her Majesty's Government. The composition can be settled only after consultation with the various Governments concerned, but we have certain preliminary views, and as I am stating the views of Her Majesty's Government I should like to state these. We consider that there is a very strong case for urging that the following should be present: the United States of America, ourselves—I have already indicated in answer to Questions that we expect that—France, Soviet Russia, the South and North Koreans, the People's Republic of China, Australia, India, Turkey, and perhaps others. That is the most comprehensive statement of our views made so far, and I thought the House should have it.

As regards the agenda, it is quite clear, as the right hon. Gentleman said, that the Korean problem must come first. It is too early to forecast the precise terms of a permanent settlement for Korea. The right hon. Gentleman referred to unification. All we can give is an idea of our general aim, which must be a permanent solution, which alike secures freedom and unification in Korea and the safety of her neighbours within the conception of the Charter of the United Nations. As the right hon. Gentleman will be the first to realise—and as, indeed, he hinted in his remarks—this may not all be practicable immediately. In that case there may have to be an interim period of pacification and rehabilitation. Here I should like to pay tribute to the sufferings of Korea in this dreadful struggle, which has lasted so long. It should be the object of all civilised nations to do their best to help in this rehabilitation.

The aim and object of the Political Conference will be to make progress with Korean problems, but we hope for something further—and this takes up some answers given at Question time and attempts further to clarify them. We hope that the success achieved and the atmosphere created, against the background of the general situation in Asia—where we hope to see the same sort of relief of tension as we hope for in Europe—will lead to consideration of the other outstanding major problems in the Far East.

This brings me to the question of Chinese representation in the United Nations. This matter, strictly, can be decided only by the United Nations, and not by the Political Conference. All the Political Conference can do is to make agreed recommendations. I used the word "decided" in connection with the Political Conference, in answer to a question by the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South yesterday, and I must therefore make it clear that the decision, naturally—as it is a matter for the United Nations—must be for the United Nations. Otherwise, the tenor of my remarks is not altered.

Our conception of the United Nations is that of a family of nations and not of an anti-Communist alliance. The hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick) put down a Question today, which was not reached. I do not want to dodge it. I saw some Members looking anxiously at the clock as Question No. 45 came up. I was equally anxious. I was asked by the hon. Member for Uxbridge a Question about the three Powers' common policy towards China referred to in the communiqué and I want to give an indication of my answer to that. It was agreed at the talks in Washington that, while any immediate change of policy would be impracticable until the situation is clearer, this question could be further examined in the light of experience gained after the armistice. That seems to me to coincide with the attitude adopted by the Leader of the Opposition that we have to do one thing at a time. That is why we have not adopted any rigid attitude on this question, and the position in this matter, which is of such interest to the House of Commons, is open, as it should be.

I want further to describe the attitude of Her Majesty's Government. The Government's views on this question of Chinese representation in the United Nations have been stated from time to time and I should like to give this resumé of them; and these were the words of the Foreign Secretary, the right hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden) on 18th June, 1952, when he said: I am in complete agreement with my predecessor's observations of last June, which I may, perhaps quote."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 18th June, 1952; Vol. 502, c. 1183.] He then quoted the words of the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South on 27th June, 1951, as follows: His Majesty's Government … believe that … the Central People's Government should represent China in the United Nations. In view, however, of that Government's persistence in behaviour which is inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter, it appears to His Majesty's Government that consideration of this question should be postponed."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1951; Vol. 489, c. 1371.] I can take that matter further, because that statement was made before the armistice was signed. I should like to endorse the spirit behind that statement made by the Foreign Secretary and say that the accretion or addition which I can make to it today is that we hope and trust that the day for settling this and other problems will have been brought nearer by the armistice.

A word about trade with China. The right hon. Gentleman said he did not wish us to lift the blockade at once. My attitude and the attitude of the Government towards trade with China has frequently been stated. Our policy is based on the embargo on the supply of strategic goods, and any change in this policy can be made only in co-operation with other Governments which maintain similar strategic controls. Again, the fact that an armistice has been signed, that the United Nations is meeting and that the Political Conference is coming on means that this attitude, like the other which I mentioned, is open, and if a situation arises when it can be envisaged that it should be altered, then we shall be ready to consider that matter. At the same time it is our policy to carry out strictly, while it is in being, this policy which we have agreed upon, and secondly it is our duty to develop trade in non-strategic materials. That is not only in the interests of the country from the international point of view, but I can endorse it as being vital in the interests of the country from the economic point of view.

Mr. Woodrow Wyatt (Birmingham, Aston)

I think we should like to be clear on this matter of the policy both about the admission of China to U.N.O. and the removal of the embargo on strategic materials. What I do not quite follow is this: does the right hon. Gentleman expect to pursue both those matters only at the Political Conference or before he pursues then at U.N.O.? Supposing the Political Conference were to last as long as the truce negotiations, does that bar us from proposing at U.N.O. that both these things should now be altered?

Mr. Butler

That will depend on the circumstances of how long the Political Conference lasts and what progress it makes with the first item on its agenda, the main item, namely, the settlement of the Korean problem. I would not exclude anything which is based on statements already made by Her Majesty's Government about their attitude on those matters. I should not like to be pressed to go further today because we must take one step at a time and further, as the House will be aware, on both these subjects we must have some consideration for our allies and partners and we must behave as a loyal member of the United Nations in approaching these important matters, otherwise my opening remarks would not be binding and we should not be acting within the concept of the Charter of the United Nations.

Mr. Geoffrey Bing (Hornchurch)

Would the right hon. Gentleman not now consider the relaxation or at least the reexamination of the strategic list? There are included on it a great number of things which have only the most distant strategic value, such as streptomycin, which was denied to China on the ground that it might be used to cure somebody of trench fever. Japan has voted for complete freedom of trade. In those circumstances, we should at least review our list to see that it is not more stern than the lists of other countries now in the United Nations.

Mr. Butler

There is no embargo on streptomycin; it is permitted only in small quantities. This is a question which I undertake would be looked at from the point of view of need, but I cannot go further than that today.

I have attempted to cover most of the points raised by the right hon. Gentleman. Hon. Members may wish to have a detailed and absolutely accurate account of exactly how the policy of this Government is going to develop over the summer. That is really impossible. It contrasts with what I said originally that we have to work as a loyal member of the United Nations, but the fact is that we are going to approach the summer and all its responsibilities in the spirit which I have indicated.

I have been only too glad to give the House as good a picture as I can before we rise, but in considering these problems I think we should bear in mind some words which were used by the Foreign Secretary on his landing after his illness and before he leaves to complete his recovery. He used these words: I know and the Americans know that there are bound to be differences between us—political issues we shall have to argue. They would not respect us if we did not argue them strongly and firmly. That remains the attitude of Her Majesty's Government and that is the spirit in which we shall conduct our partnership. My right hon. Friend went on to say: As long as we try to understand the point of view of the other, no great harm will be done. I want to conclude by saying that whatever opportunities there may be can only be taken, as they should be taken, and not missed, as they might be missed, if we maintain the absolute unity of front with our American friends, with our allies in N.A.T.O., with the West German Republic and all the countries of the free world; if we base ourselves on the spirit and concept of the United Nations Charter; and, lastly, if in this House, despite the natural bickerings which we all have to put up with and the natural difficulties which we face, we have a little less of politics and a little more of the united front. Then we shall get through this exceedingly difficult time and come to our goal of peace.

4.39 p.m.

Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has answered some of the questions put to him by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, but he does not seem to have answered them all. He has assured the House that Her Majesty's Government's policy will be based on the United Nations. That is extremely satisfactory, but surely we did not expect anything else. What we wish to know is what Her Majesty's Government's policy is to be in the United Nations, and on that point the right hon. Gentleman seemed to me to be very much less clear.

There is no question, of course, and no one from this side of the House is urging for one moment, that Her Majesty's Government should now take unilateral action either on trade with China or on the matter of the recognition of China in the sense of her membership of the United Nations. We know that we cannot do that. We cannot attempt to "go it alone" in this matter. What, in fact, my right hon. Friend was complaining about was that the American Government showed distinct symptoms of trying to "go it alone" in the diplomatic field. Of course, it is perfectly right of us to base all our actions on the United Nations, but for that very reason the House does deeply desire to know what the policy of the Government is to be at the meeting of the General Assembly and subsequently to that at the meeting of the conference, and I cannot say that the Chancellor seemed to me to tell us at all clearly what we were going to urge there.

It will not be very easy. We know from the statements of the American Secretary of State that they are approaching this conference with a very different attitude from that which has been put forward by the Chancellor. All the more reason, surely, why the Government should speak in the firmest possible way and tell the House at the earliest possible chance what their policy is going to be. The two crucial issues are the ones raised by my right hon. Friend today. Are we going to press, not by unilateral action but by action by the United Nations itself, for the easing and subsequently the raising of the trade restrictions on China, and, beyond that, for the membership of the United Nations of the actual Government of China?

We know from the statement of the American Secretary of State that it will be exceedingly difficult to persuade America on these two issues, and we have, no doubt, got to exercise great patience. We cannot have our own way on these issues immediately any more than America will be able to have her own way. We realise that to the full, but is not all this all the more reason for the Chancellor's going much farther than saying that these matters are open?

This is surely the occasion on which he should have told the House quite clearly that we should press at the meeting of the General Assembly and at the meeting of the subsequent conference our own policy, which has always been the policy of successive Governments of this country, that as soon as the shooting stopped in Korea we should raise the issue of the easing of trade with China and subsequent to that of Chinese membership of the United Nations.

Surely it would have a real and wholly beneficial effect if the Chancellor or the Minister of State told us today that, in principle, these were the two things we were going to urge in the vital negotiations which are ahead of us during the forthcoming Recess. We can take our time in doing it; we can do it in the most tactful way; we should use every method of persuasion with our American allies; but surely, at the outset, we ought to make it clear that those are our objectives.

We can understand the American mood. We have had a distinguished American here in this country in the last few days, a liberal American, Mr. Adlai Stevenson, and he has made us understand American feelings on this matter; and they are very natural; but they are not wholly rational. They are emotional, and we have the difficult task, the Government's representatives have the difficult task, of overcoming those natural American feelings and of making them see that membership and representation of the Chinese Government in U.N.O. is not a reward: it is the simple fact that the United Nations, if it is to work at all, must be an assembly of all the real, actual Governments, good, bad or indifferent, that exist in the world. To deal with Far Eastern issues so long as the real, actual Government of China is excluded from the counsels of the United Nations will be exceptionally difficult.

How long it will take, I do not know, but it may take a long time to make the American nation realise that, but that is all the more reason surely why we should in the calmest but also the firmest way begin the task of doing it. Because we have got surely to consolidate the achievement—and it is a great achievement—of this armistice. This armistice makes it possible some day, not, I think, in the very immediate future, but some day, to achieve peace in the Far East.

I am not suggesting that the new Government of China will be an easy Government to deal with. Very few young revolutionary Governments are easy Governments to deal with. But again that is all the more reason why they should be represented in the United Nations, because that is the place where they can be dealt with. The obvious argument is that as long as Russia is a member of the United Nations there can be no logic in excluding the other large Communist Government in the world. Therefore, it is a matter, I think, of the greatest regret that at the very end of this Session we have not yet, at any rate, had a clear statement from the Government of their objectives in these negotiations.

Cannot we be told not simply that these questions are open—we know that—but that our objective will be to persuade the majority of the United Nations and, above all, of course, the American Government, because they are the most important Government concerned, that as a part, at any rate, of a settlement in the Far East it is necessary to modify our economic relations with China and to secure the representation of the actual Government of China on the Security Council of the United Nations? A clear-cut British declaration that that is our policy would have a considerable effect in the world today.

We know we cannot impose that policy on our fellow members of the United Nations or on America, but we can say that those are the two objectives towards which we work. Cannot we hope that before the House rises we shall have a statement in that sense from the Government?

4.47 p.m.

Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)

I want to say only a very few words. First, I thank the Leader of the Opposition, and I think the whole House would desire to do so—indeed, the whole country—for taking the opportunity to raise this matter today before we separate. It is a very great service not only to the country but to the world that we should have a clear statement from the Government. Secondly, I thank the Chancellor of the Exchequer for his very clear statement, his very firm statement. I do not see that he could have gone any farther today. He has made it quite clear that the object of the Government is the same as that of the previous Government, and that is to work within the United Nations.

I would just add this to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey). I regard the main object of the United Nations as being contained in the famous preamble of the United Nations Charter. That is what we all desire to achieve. Nobody could have gone any further than the right hon. Gentleman has gone today. He has made it quite clear where we stand, and that our desire is for peace and understanding with everybody. So long as we adhere to that, we shall earn the gratitude of everybody.

4.49 p.m.

Sir Victor Raikes (Liverpool, Garston)

I find myself entirely in agreement with what my right hon. Friend has said in regard to our working within the common fabric of the United Nations, but I am not by any means satisfied that it would be advisable for the Government at this moment to make a declaration which roughly amounted to this: having once got the armistice, irrespective or almost irrespective of what happens in the near future, we propose to accept the aggressor straight away in the comity of the United Nations.

The main difficulty with Southern Korea at the present time—and I think it is right that someone should say just a word in regard to the difficulty of our Southern Korean allies—is not merely that Dr. Syngman Rhee is a very difficult man, which undoubtedly he is, but the fear, and the not entirely unjustified fear, in South Korea that she may become a pawn of the great Powers and be left out on a limb at the end of the negotiations.

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

Is the hon. Member bearing in mind the appeal that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has made to the whole House in regard to this?

Sir V. Raikes

I quite appreciate the appeal of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but when we are facing this sort of issue it is not a bad thing for a moment or two to consider what are the anxieties of certain persons who have had their country destroyed and who we want to bring into the general spirit of a lasting settlement.

I do not think I should be saying anything which could embarrass anybody if I were to say that, obviously, any country in the position of Southern Korea would have the same anxiety as to whether they were going to have their position secure or would have sufficient confidence in the representations to secure their future. After all, there have been instances in the past where countries have been left on a limb. Not least was the case of the Treaty of Yalta and what happened later to Poland.

If we want to give to the Southern Koreans confidence in the future, would the first move towards that be to take the step which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) more or less indicated? That was, that we should make it clear that practically as a result of the armistice, we were looking almost as the next step to the bringing of China into the United Nations, irrespective of the kind of steps we were taking in negotiations after the armistice had taken place.

What we really want to see is a united Korea. That may take time, but I am certain that if as a result of our negotiations within a period of time we could get free elections throughout Korea, with troops of neither side in any way within Korea during that period, we would have a precedent which might be of enormous value in a great deal of Europe in the years ahead. I should have thought that at this time it would be in the interests, both of our future negotiations with China and also of the future position of Korea, if our first step were to see how far in the Political Committee the parties who have signed the armistice can move forward in the direction of some sort of peaceful unification of Korea by means in due course of elections.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)

Of course, everybody wants a united Korea, as, indeed, the Chinese and the North Koreans profess they do. Everybody wants to do that by free elections. But would the hon. Member also consider that it is very important as from now that we should persuade all the Koreans, including the South Koreans, that they must have a friendly China if they are ever to be secure, and that it is greatly in their interests that China should be a member of the United Nations and recognising that they are bound by the restrictions of the Charter?

Sir V. Raikes

Obviously, for a small and rather weak country like Korea, however she is unified, a friendly China must be of enormous advantage. But it is no good merely saying that we want a friendly China. The first step towards creating the spirit in which Korea could appreciate the possibility of a friendly China—she has had a bitter time from China in the last two or three years—would be some sign that China herself, as, I hope, may be the case, will be prepared to co-operate on the lines which have already been laid down by the United Nations for working for that end. If there are signs that China really is working for that end and that there will not be a million troops indefinitely in North Korea, it would then be very much easier, with the confidence of the Southern Koreans and everybody else, to begin to consider the question of China vis-à-vis the United Nations.

I only raised that issue because great suspicions and anxieties could be caused if the thing was turned the other way round and the South Koreans were to feel that the moment the Armistice was signed, the interests of China, as apart from their own interests were to be the immediate line and the immediate attitude of Her Majesty's Government. I welcome what my right hon. Friend has said because I think that in the framework of the United Nations we must be somewhat elastic until we see how far things develop towards the lasting peace which we all wish for.

4.56 p.m.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

I hope that the hon. Member for Garston (Sir V. Raikes) will not take it amiss if I say that it seems to me—I say it with some diffidence, because I have my own tendencies towards controversial speech—that the kind of speech he has just made is not the most helpful kind of speech to make at this moment. It depends upon raising the highly controversial questions—however little controversy there may be about them in this House, they remain highly controversial questions in the world—about the origins of the Korean war.

The hon. Member must not suppose that there are not two very strongly held opinions about those origins. There are many people in the world today who have more doubts about the rights and wrongs of that question, especially in the light of Mr. Syngman Rhee's recent performances, than they had in 1950, when nearly everybody thought that it was so clear a matter that it was not even necessary to hear the North Korean delegates and their point of view.

If the kind of debate that the hon. Gentleman had in mind was to take place, it would necessitate longer speeches than anyone has the right to make in a short debate like this. I only say that to him because I think we can, at least, all agree that if the most and the best is to be made in the shortest time of the opportunity afforded by the armistice, the less that either side says about the past, the better for the moment.

Bearing that in mind and looking towards the future, as we are all trying to do—how to rescue the world, if it is to be rescued, on the very brink of what might be a world-wide catastrophe absolutely unparalleled in all history—it is perhaps as well to see what the problems are, and not try to burke them or evade them or think that they can be settled by an eloquent demonstration of self-righteousness.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said two things. Taken separately, each of them would command a wide measure of acceptance. One is the view that we must always, in all reasonable circumstances—I know that the right hon. Gentleman would not say in all circumstances; but in all reasonable circumstances—maintain a common front with the United States. Another thing that the right hon. Gentleman said is that the Government base their policy upon the United Nations Charter. Without wishing to be highly controversial about it, it is quite plain that there are circumstances in which there might conceivably be an opposition between those two policies.

For instance, take the question of the admission of China. No one at the time of San Francisco regarded the United Nations as an anti-Communist club. If it were so, the Soviet Union could never have been a member of it, and neither could some other nations. If that is so, then the mere fact that the de facto Government of China today is a Communist Government has nothing to do with its right to represent its country in the United Nations and in the United Nations institutions in accordance with the United Nations Charter. I am sure that in this country, at any rate, there would be no doubt about that.

The next point is that we shall not have a United Nations constituted in accordance with the United Nations Charter until China is represented there. The Charter clearly provides that there are five permanent members of the Supreme Council and that China is one of them. While we have a situation in which the Chinese people are not represented on the Supreme Council, it is a mere abuse of words to talk about the United Nations at all, because we have not got it. It is possible to say, "Oh yes, but in a technical, legal, documentary sense we have got it because the Government of Chiang Kai-shek is still recognised by some nations, its representatives are there, and therefore there is no such imperfections as you have been describing."

This may be a perfectly logical and consistent answer for the Americans to make because they still recognise, rightly or wrongly, the Government of Chiang Kai-shek as the Government of China. It may also be a perfectly valid answer for any other nation to make which still recognises the Government of Chiang Kai-shek as the Government of China. It is not a position which this country can tolerate because we do not recognise the Government of Chiang Kai-shek as the Government of China and we do recognise the People's Government in Peking as that Government.

It is perfectly true that so far it has been possible for us to avoid bringing that matter to a head because of the existing Korean situation. It is equally true, or nearly so, that so far we have a mere armistice in Korea which could conceivably break down, and therefore one can follow the Government when they say that the mere signing of an armistice does not automatically—the emphasis is on the word "automatically"—mean that this problem can be solved. It does mean, however, that assuming that the Political Conference were to fail through no fault of the North Koreans or of the Chinese Government, we could not go on indefinitely, and could not go on very long, prentending that we were basing ourselves upon United Nations principles or the United Nations Charter in present circumstances; that is to say, without the admission into the United Nations of the representatives of the de facto Government of China.

I recognise the difficulties, but all the same I think the Government could have gone much further in declaring their policy on that matter than they have gone; not merely because of the mere legal or technical points that I have been making, but for the much more important human reason that there can be no settled peace in the world unless we have peace in the Far East, and there can be no settled peace in the Far East until China is inside the United Nations.

It is not good enough to say that we will maintain our common front and our common policies with the United States of America and, at the same time, to say that we are basing ourselves on the United Nations Charter and the United Nations principles in circumstances where the major American parties—the Government party and the chief representatives of the opposition party—have both said, "We cannot conceive of any early circumstances in which this conflict can be resolved and the Chinese Government can be brought in." I think the Government might have gone a good deal further without embarrassing itself in future negotiations, in making it clear that they, too, believe that peace in the world must ultimately depend on peace everywhere in the world. Peace remains indivisible and it is impossible of achievement in the Far East without the proper recognition of the proper representatives of those who are de facto in control of the Chinese people and their resources.

That is one thing. The other thing is about the Korean development and the Political Conference. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had a good deal to say about the unification of Korea, and so had my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. With the unification of Korea the United Nations has nothing whatever to do. When it intervened, it was in order to repel an aggression by one half of that divided country upon the other, or at any rate on the facts as it then knew them. When, later, the Assembly went further and passed a resolution about the political unification of the country, most of us recognised that it was travelling quite outside its jurisdiction.

It would be hopeless to expect a Political Conference in Korea to succeed if one major participant in those negotiations were to take the view that it must get in the negotiations a unification of Korea which it failed to get by its armed forces improperly used under the so-called authority of the United Nations. That would be to do the very thing we have always complained of in the others, namely, to seek to obtain without war the results of a successful war.

When Mr. Dulles talks about walking out unless he gets his way about this, it is a threat to wreck the whole negotiations. We ought not merely to say that we are not bound by that declaration but to make it perfectly clear that, except by agreement for which everyone would hope, there shall be no attempt to enforce upon anybody a political unification of the country because in the circumstances as they exist this does not really come within the ambit of practical politics.

Finally, there have just arrived back in this country the representatives of an important business mission which has just been travelling in China in an endeavour to improve our trade with that country, even within the restrictions of the present political understanding. I want to reinforce strongly what my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) intervened to say, that even if we feel bound in present circumstances to maintain some kind of embargo upon strategic materials, at least let us examine that list to see whether it is not so wide that all we are succeeding in doing is blockading our own trade rather than theirs.

The right hon. Gentleman said in a speech he made the other day—I forget the exact phrase—that he was at his wits end looking for export markets. Here is a useful one ready to be used, and one that could develop into a very important means of redressing the faulty economic balance of world trade. Do not let us neglect our opportunity, and if it is not too immoral to say so, do not let us wait until everybody else gets in first.

5.10 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)

We are embarking on a very important course of policy, and it would be a pity if it developed into a simple argument about the merits or demerits of Mr. Syngman Rhee or how much of our view we should insist upon at the coming conference as compared with our allies, the United States.

This is the first attempt that our generation has seen and almost the first attempt that the world has seen for a century and a half to negotiate a peace. Since the end of the dynastic wars it is the first attempt so to do. Even in the Napoleonic wars, though an attempt was made by the Treaty of Amiens to call a halt in the middle of the struggle, it failed; and the nations concerned were forced to go on to the kind of conclusion with which we are all familiar, namely, the forces of one block occupying the capital of the other and its ruler driven to death or into exile in distant lands.

This is an attempt to stop the guns, before they cease from exhaustion. This is an attempt to conclude a peace when the two sides are each in command of great resources both of materials and of morale. In the present struggle there is still the will to continue fighting as well as the will to stop, and what we have got to see is that the will to stop the fighting prevails over the will to continue the fighting.

The omens are certainly dubious. There is a chance that the sons of Zeruiah will prevail and that the dangers of war will overpower the attractions of peace. In those circumstances, I think it would be a terrible pity if we in this House were to try to lay down exactly what we have complained about others attempting to lay down, namely, the sine qua non of the terms which we will accept. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) said that if a certain course of action were adopted it would be intolerable to this country.

Mr. S. Silverman


Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

"Intolerable" was the word used. I wrote it down. It would be intolerable, he said, if the position were to go on without the recognition and admission of the People's Government of China. Exactly, but the United States might say it would be intolerable if this were conceded. If the two intolerances clash we might get a shipwreck of what we hope, namely, the commencement of negotiations for a real peace. For this, as the hon. Member said, is indivisible, and links up closely with the initiative for peace with the Soviet Union as well.

Mr. Silverman

The right hon. and gallant Gentleman is slightly wrong, but I do not think intentionally. I quite agree that it cannot be done automatically. What I said was that it would be intolerable if the situation would go on indefinitely or too long.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

Indefinitely or too long, those are just the points at which the argument begins to break down. What is too long? I think we should all agree that a rigid 90-day limit would be unreasonably short to demand the termination of these discussions one way or another. I think that the danger of one side or the other laying down terms in advance, and saying that it must have them accepted by a given date or else it will not agree to anything, is a danger that we should avoid. My right hon. Friend went far indeed in the statement he made in the House today. I do not know whether the House fully grasped the significance of the suggested composition of the political conference.

Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)

Yes, we appreciate that.

Lient.-Colonel Elliot

It almost seemed to me as if it were not appreciated. It laid down without any hesitation not merely that it should consist of ourselves and the United States, but should include France, Soviet Russia, South Korea, North Korea and China. On one of the most difficult points which we have to discuss, my right hon. Friend said, without any hesitation, that the policy of Her Majesty's Government was to urge that in the forthcoming conference the present Peking Government was to be represented. That was a step of the very greatest importance. He also stated that India should be included. I myself should think that Pakistan might well be invited also, though far be it from me to suggest an alteration to a declaration which has obviously been most carefully come to and is of such high importance.

The declaration of Her Majesty's Government carries us really as far as we can go this afternoon. It is suggested that we might have gone further, but, in fact, I find it difficult to know how we could have gone further without doing what we object to other people doing, that is, laying down rigid requirements beforehand which it would be impossible for the other side to accept.

We all read and heard the speeches here of Mr. Adlai Stevenson with the greatest interest. He is a man who nobody could accuse of being reactionary or of being unduly insensitive to the opinions of other peoples. He is a man who has just returned from a most extensive world tour. Yet he pointed out how difficult it would be for his country to accept the membership of the Peking Government in the United Nations. In America, Mr. Stevenson stands well to the left of that country's present position.

I have had the unusual experience of debating this subject with Senator Knowland. It was shortly after the declaration of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister followed by the declaration of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. We had a wireless and television debate across the Atlantic upon this matter. Naturally, I defended to the utmost of my power the speech of my right hon. Friend. I defended, also, the speech of the Leader of the Opposition. That did not go down at all well with Senator Knowland. He made specific reference to the recognition of China. There, it seemed to me that perhaps my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer went a little too far when he said that what we want is a family of nations. At any rate, we want a forum of nations. It may be too early to hope for a family of nations.

Mr. Harold Davies

The right hon. Gentleman said it might be too early to give way, but I would remind him that it did not take the United States very long to recognise Japan and make a Treaty with her despite the dastardly attack upon America by the Japanese just six years before.

Lient.-Colonel Elliot

If the hon. Gentleman is willing to wait six years I am afraid that he will come into conflict with his hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne, who, no doubt, would think that six years is an undue length of time to wait.

Mr. Davies


Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

It is not casuistry. One hundred and ninety thousand dead and wounded men cannot be called casuistry. There is a difference between six days and six years. I was only trying to put forward the case that the immediate presence of the Peking Government in the United Nations was not the kind of point on which we should stand out of the negotiations. It takes time for all that blood to flow away and be merged in the sea.

But for our part we recognise Red China as we recognise Mount Everest, or as we recognise a wet day in the middle of summer, not because we like it but because it is there. It is no use the umpires coming out and saying that they will not recognise a cloudburst over the pitch at Old Trafford or elsewhere; they go out there to see what has happened, and report. In the same way, we recognise the existence of a Government as a fact. We wish that to be admitted because that would be a most convenient place of meeting. It is very inconvenient that we should all have to go to Panmunjom if we want to talk to the Chinese Government. From our point of view and from the world's point of view, it would be more convenient if that Government were in some forum of nations where the arguments on both sides of any question could be put. But we have to convince the United States of that. Arguing that case with Senator Know-land is not nearly as easy as arguing it here on the Floor of the House.

We have always to remember that this is very closely linked with the talks which we hope to enter with the Soviet Union, first of all, the talks on the Foreign Secretaries' level, if they can be brought about, and subsequently the talks at a higher level which Her Majesty's Government have suggested and which have met with such universal acceptance. Oddly enough, nobody on the other side seems to have noted that that idea was put out by the Prime Minister during both the two last General Elections.

The whole Conservative Party fought solidly behind my right hon. Friend in the General Elections of 1950 and 1951 on this very same declaration of high level talks to try to solve some of the difficulties of the world. If I might permit one small incursion into more controversial matters, it seems very odd that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite should now be so keen to keep his finger firmly fixed on the trigger.

My right hon. Friend is in control of these initiatives. We are most anxious to see them, on both sides of the world, come to fruition. But they cannot, either of them, come to fruition if we start laying down the law beforehand too vigorously. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has, as I said, stated very clearly some most important desiderata which Her Majesty's Government will strive for at coming conferences, such as not only the composition of the conferences but also our attitude towards trade. That Her Majesty's Government is to press for even a further development of trade in non-strategic materials is a statement of the greatest importance, not merely to this country but to other units in the Commonwealth. For instance, Ceylon would find herself in great difficulty if the rice-rubber deal were not in operation. That may well be further developed.

These are matters to be brought forward with great care and great understanding of the views of other people, and with great sympathy for the enormous efforts which the United States has put out. Ninety per cent. of all the manpower provided by the United Nations was provided by the United States; 95 per cent. of all the casualties suffered by the United Nations were suffered by the United States. In addition, there are the sufferings of the Republic of Korea, which, though not itself a member of the United Nations, has certainly mobilised much greater forces than anyone else and has suffered, of course, infinitely greater hardships in every possible direction.

This is a matter in which we are in an unusual position. This has been a great war in which we have not played the major part. Such a thing is almost unknown. We are usually the chief protagonist, the first in and the last out, the people who carry on when everyone else has gone out; and when it comes to the end of the day and the negotiations begin, we usually come forward with the right to speak with most authority and above all the other voices, because we have borne the heat and burden of the day.

That is not the position in this case. We are present as peacemakers, who can adopt a very detached view, because in this war we have not suffered the wounds, either material or moral, that the other two countries engaged in it have done. Therefore, let us not take up a self-righteous position. Nothing annoys us more than to find other people, who have not suffered as much as we, coming forward at the end of the day and giving us wonderful advice about how things should now be arranged. We have felt very resentful about this more than once in many fields of activity. In colonial activities, for example, we have been lectured by those who have no experience of the problem, and we have resented it very much indeed.

Let us remember that in this case we are now going forward as partners in an argument concerning a war in which we have not undergone the greatest of the hardships and the severest of the wounds and suffering. That is not to say that we should not insist with the utmost vigour upon our point of view and upon our right to be considered in the matter. But we should not do it with an air of self-righteousness and intolerance, the air of those who say, "Unless we get exactly what we want, the whole thing should come to an end."

We shall be there, with others, to try to negotiate peace for all the world. It is a great opportunity. Let us see that we in this House rise to the height of the opportunity and encourage to the utmost our representatives to the talks. Let us give them as far as we can united backing from this House. We are 90 per cent. united in these matters. Do not allow our inevitable bickering to cloud over the fact that in this great opportunity we are solidly behind the cause of a lasting peace. We believe not only that that will be to the greatest advantage of this country, but that it is indispensible if the world is to escape the frightful disaster and doom which we see looming over it, and approaching more closely every time we open our daily newspapers.

5.27 p.m.

Mr. Tom Driberg (Maldon)

Short speeches are appropriate for a short debate, and I hope, therefore, that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) will excuse me if I do not attempt to traverse in detail his very interesting speech, except just to say, in passing, that we sometimes get even more illumination about the realities of a situation from the Scottish Conservative newspapers than from Scottish Conservative Members of this House. I wonder if the right hon. and gallant Gentleman happened to read the Glasgow "Daily Record" on 20th July. It contained a very interesting news story about trade with China as it affects Western Germany. I was rather startled by the news it contained, to this effect: West Germany is pushing a trade offensive with Communist China, which already ranks just behind Eastern Germany as the Federal German Republic's best customer behind the Iron Curtain. West German trade with China has doubled in the last year … and German trade experts estimate that it can be increased tenfold without running foul of the Western embargo on shipments of war materials. I would also say to the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, arising out of some passages towards the end of his speech, that those of us who have been critical of the American attitude on the recognition of the Peking Government have never underestimated the difficulty of persuading our American friends to change that attitude. We do not underestimate what they have suffered, their immense sacrifices and casualties. We only say that, proportionately to the respective sizes of our populations, we have also contributed and suffered casualties, and that we are therefore entitled to be treated with consideration and to be consulted in the same way as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman said we have to consult and consider the views of our allies.

It might be of use to the Minister of State, when he is discussing this very difficult problem with our allies, if he were to refer them to a book which was cited by a noble Friend of mine in a recent speech. He said: There is a most interesting book by a learned American jurist, who makes out that there is an obligation in International Law, plainly laid down by the United States themselves, that once the factual question of who is in control is answered, there arises an obligation in International Law to grant recognition to the person so in control. In other words, the People's Government of China ought to be in the Security Council as of right, unquestionably, not simply as a prize for good behaviour: as the Chancellor of the Exchequer rightly said, the United Nations are not an anti-Communist alliance nor are they a club of people with whom we happen to agree. They are an association—for mutual discussion, for making peace if possible—of people who may disagree with each other very strongly about a number of subjects.

This may possibly be a suitable moment, in our discussions with America, to suggest a course which, I think, was first suggested by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan)—that the difficult process of transferring recognition from the Formosa Nationalist Government to the People's Government might be accomplished at Washington in two stages; that first of all our allies might be induced to de-recognise General Chiang Kai-shek, and that, after a suitable, decent period in which there would be a sort of vacuum of recognition, they might then recognise the new Government. It may be that the Political Conference now pending will provide an occasion for, as it were, the de facto derecognition of Nationalist China by the Americans, if—as I am sure we all hope—the list of countries read out by the right hon. Gentleman today is accepted by our American friends and by others as a suitable composition for that conference.

I must at once say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer created a very much more satisfactory impression on my mind this afternoon than he did yesterday, or indeed than his noble Friend Lord Salisbury did yesterday in another place. Of course, whether my initial satisfactory impression is justified or not is a matter which I shall have to consider carefully when I have had the opportunity of reading and analysing the right hon. Gentleman's speech in HANSARD, because he is a very smooth operator and one sometimes feels that the things he says which are likely to be, and are, pleasing to my hon. Friends on this side of the House are said in a much more general and vague way than the other things he says which are less likely to be pleasing to my hon. Friends on this side of the House.

For instance, we were glad, as I have already mentioned, to hear his suggestion for the make-up of the Political Conference. We are very glad that the Minister of State, and not a noble Lord from another place, is going to be the nation's representative at the forthcoming deliberations. We were glad also to hear what the right hon. Gentleman said about the representation of China in the United Nations, so far as he went; but this is what—quite seriously, and without joking at all—I meant when I said that I was worried by the right hon. Gentleman's generalisations and vagueness.

After a tremendous build-up about how completely frank he was going to be with the House, this is what the right hon. Gentleman said about the admission of China to the United Nations: "We all hope and trust that the day on which all these problems can be solved will be brought nearer by the signing of the armistice. Everyone hopes and trusts that. That is not an announcement of any new initiative by Her Majesty's Government.

Would it be possible for the right hon. Gentleman—or may it still be possible for his right hon. Friend—to say something a little more definite than that? Cannot we be told tonight not merely that Her Majesty's Government "hope and trust" that these problems may be solved at some time in the indefinite future? Cannot we be told that they are going to take the initiative and urge that this problem should be high up on the agenda and that the views of Her Majesty's Government are the views that have been expressed from both sides of this House this afternoon? I hope very much, as was said by the right hon. and gallant Member for Kelvingrove, that what we say in this House today, even when we are critical of the Government, may have the effect of strengthening the hands of the Chancellor and of the Minister of State in negotiating with our allies and in discussing these matters with them.

After dealing in this indefinite way with the question of Chinese representation, the second main point which the right hon. Gentleman had to talk to us about, with this terrific frankness and candour on which he congratulated himself, was the question of trade with China. Here again, although he said nothing exceptionable, he did not say anything really new. He reiterated the familiar policy: for the moment we are "standing pat" on the strategic embargo, plus development of non-strategic trade. I think that is a fair description of the policy.

I do not see that that is a particularly candid announcement, in view of the fact that this has been the policy for many months; and I should have thought that it is just at this moment, just after the armistice has been signed and things are loosening up and tensions are easing, that we could afford to be a little less rigid and unyielding in the application of the embargo. One of my hon. Friends urged that the lists should be revised. I quite agree. But there are some kinds of commodity which are not entirely embargoed but are limited in quantity, such as one already mentioned—medical supplies, streptomycin, antibiotics, and so on.

I was glad to hear the Chancellor, in his short intervention, say that supplies of these could be determined by need, and I hope he will look at the short adjournment debate which took place on this subject a month or two ago and study some of the appalling statistics quoted there, and quoted also by several hon. Friends of mine—the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) among others—about the vast need for these drugs that there is in China, not primarily for military purposes at all, but simply for dealing with tuberculosis and diseases of all kinds among the civil population.

I should have thought that would have been a very useful way in which the Government could show good will and could, without any undue strategic risk or annoyance to our allies, act in the spirit of the Prime Minister's statement when he said, in effect, "Let us look around us for things to do which are agreeable to our opposite numbers instead of things to do which are disagreeable to our opposite numbers." This would be a harmless and humane thing to do—to increase the quantity of these drugs that can be exported to China.

One of the factors which made it necessary for my right hon. and hon. Friends on this side of the House to decide to have this further short debate on foreign affairs today was the very disturbing report of Mr. Dulles's Press conference on Tuesday. The right hon. Gentleman referred to that in his speech. I thought he seemed rather to be depreciating the importance of the Press conference in question. We all know that the Press conference in America is an institution of considerable importance and influence—roughly corresponding, in a sense, to Question time in this House in the opportunity it gives for every-day questioning of executive Ministers. The right hon. Gentleman said, or implied, either that Mr. Dulles had been misquoted or that he had not been fully reported by some of the newspapers, and we gathered that he had been in touch by transatlantic cable or telephone, to get clarification of some of the more disturbing things reported to have been said by Mr. Dulles on that occasion.

I hope that on one point the Minister of State can say a little more this evening than the Chancellor said. One of the most disturbing points made by Mr. Dulles at that conference was about the veto—when he said that the Eisenhower Administration is deliberately departing from, or holding itself free to depart from, the policy followed by the Truman Administration. President Truman and his Administration always took the view, that the question of which delegation for a country is recognised by the United Nations is not a subject for the great Power veto. Mr. Dulles announced that they now felt free to alter that policy. That, at first sight, seemed to be a clear threat, as it were, to sabotage any attempt to bring the Peking Government into the United Nations. I could not quite understand what the Chancellor said in his amplification. I thought he said that Mr. Dulles had explained also that he would be "very reluctant to see that step taken." Did he mean reluctant to use the veto, or reluctant to see Peking admitted to the United Nations? I hope the Minister of State can clear up that point, because it is of some importance.

Mr. F. Blackburn (Stalybridge and Hyde)

Reluctant to make a decision.

Mr. Driberg

Perhaps the Minister of State will make it clear. If it is merely that Mr. Dulles would be reluctant to alter the Truman policy or to use the veto, I do not see why he felt it necessary to refer to the matter at all, in this alarming way, in advance, at this Press conference.

The main point on which many of us have had some apprehension is this. We give Her Majesty's Government credit for holding what we believe to be sound views, realistic views, about the admission of China to the United Nations and on trade with China too, but we doubt very much their ability to persuade our American Allies that these are the right views. Naturally, we were disappointed—as was repeatedly said in the last foreign affairs debate—by the apparent failure of Lord Salisbury to persuade our allies of the views of the Prime Minister and Her Majesty's Government as they were thought to be. In his speech in another place yesterday Lord Salisbury, rather irritably referring, apparently, to some of us, said: It really is no use people in Parliament, or outside, behaving as if we have no Allies—or, at any rate, had no need to pay the slightest attention to them."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 29th July, 1953; Vol. 183, c. 1028.] Of course I quite agree with that, but the Noble Lord might with more point have addressed those remarks to Mr. Dulles, because it is Mr. Dulles who has shown signs of not realising that we are an ally with some right to be considered in these matters. What is disturbing to us is the frequent reiteration of phrases such as, "the common policies of the Western Powers"—in the White Paper, for instance; again yesterday—not quite perhaps in this context—the right hon. Gentleman said in one of his answers that there was absolute unity of aim and policy on behalf of the three Western Governments."— 29th July, 1953; Vol. 518, c. 1293.] If Mr. Dulles is not to take the salutary advice of Lord Salisbury and remember that there are such things as allies, "absolute unity" between Her Majesty's Government and the Washington Administration can only mean the unity of the young lady from Riga with the tiger on which she went for a ride. That is not a very satisfactory basis for a real partnership or a real alliance. Therefore, when the right hon. Gentleman refers to such "absolute unity," he seems either to be talking absolute rubbish—since obviously there is, in fact, no complete unity between ourselves and the Americans on the representation of China, the recognition of Peking, and so on, or to be announcing another serious surrender by Her Majesty's Government to the high-powered pressure which we quite understand Lord Salisbury met when he was in Washington and to which, unfortunately, he proved too yielding.

As I promised to be brief, I shall skip the latter two-thirds of my speech. There is one point, however, which I would beg the Government and the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove to remember. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman stressed the sufferings and casualties of our American friends. We understand and appreciate that. But I ask hon. Members to remember also that there have been casualties—many casualties, if one considers the size of the respective force—among our troops. In particular, I would ask them to remember the relatives of the prisoners of war who are now just on the verge of being released. As they witness the swaying to and fro of public policy, the arguments, the reiterated protests by the Chinese against alleged—perhaps wrongly alleged—violations of neutral territory, their anxiety must be agonising. It would be too cruel to them, and to all who have friends and relatives in that terrible position, if anything now were to go wrong and their hopes were to be still further deferred. Will the right hon. Gentleman please never lose sight of that simple human consideration, which is of great importance?

We go away tomorrow for nearly three months with, perhaps I can say, a rather less complete absence of confidence in the Government than we had yesterday afternoon, but still, I am afraid, with all too little confidence that they can really manage our affairs so as to establish real peace in the world and reassert the interests and the proud independence of this country. We have no confidence—this is really what it means—that they understand the whirlwind of history in which they are being tossed to and fro with, as it seems, so little power to voice the real views of this nation.

5.49 p.m.

Mr. R. Brooman-White (Rutherglen)

The intervention I am going to make in this debate will be considerably shorter even than the first third of the proposed speech of the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg).

I will follow him only on one point, which was his initial one. I could not quite see the significance he was trying to draw from the "Glasgow Daily Record" quotation about the expansion of West German trade with Red China. That surely is a phenomenon which is common over the whole world. I agree with him it is a disturbing one. German commercial competition is, in the widest economic sense, of great concern to us all in our export drive. But the fact that Germany is being successful, without transgressing the strategic list, in pushing her trade in China seems to me to indicate no more than is indicated by a German success in pushing her trade in Turkey, the Middle East, Greece, and many other areas where we are meeting her rivalry in the commercial field.

The main point I wish to make, follows what has been said by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kelvin-grove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot), that there is 90 per cent. agreement in this House on the statement made by the Chancellor about our main objectives. It seems extremely important that, when this debate is reported in the Press overseas and studied in other countries the difference on matters of emphasis and timing in our discussions should not be in the forefront of the news, and in particular, undue or exaggerated attention should not be paid to points such as those made by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) who laid such great emphasis on the point of the early admission of China to U.N.O.

We are agreed that the ultimate admission of China—the earliest possible admission—is the aim of our policy. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne quite rightly made the point that U.N.O. was not an exclusive club. Communist Russia was there, he said, and so why should not Communist China be there? We are agreed that the United Nations is not concerned with the internal regime of Member States. But it is concerned with the external behaviour of Member States. The preoccupation and hesitancy which arises, and naturally arises, is not because of China's internal regime, but the important aftermath of China's behaviour over the previous years.

It is quite easy to understand this hesitation among other member nations, when the smoke has scarcely cleared from the battlefields. It is also easy to see that people may not attach the same weight of importance to the effect it may have in China, and upon her behaviour in the future, if she be admitted. We took the lead ourselves in diplomatic recognition of China. It may have brought some benefit, but no one can claim it was very marked. One hopes that when China re-enters the United Nations there will be an early and more obviously beneficial effect on her conduct in world affairs. We are agreed that a lasting settlement in the Far East, or in the world, cannot be achieved until that entrance has ultimately been effected. But the entrance, in itself, will not necessarily make a great, an important and a sensational difference.

What is also important is that the machinery for admission is extremely complicated and delicate. I am speaking without having had the opportunity of checking up on the Charter itself before this unexpected debate, and I am open to correction, but I believe that admission is only upon the unanimous vote of the permanent members and the rotating members of the Security Council.

Mr. Noel-Baker

China is already a member of the United Nations. There is no need to go through the process of admitting China. The question is who represents China? Who shall sit in the seat now occupied by the representative of Chiang Kai-shek?

Mr. Brooman-White

I am aware of that, but surely that also is subject to a unanimous vote and if we are to see that a unanimous vote is given the operation requires a careful diplomatic approach. A rebuff might do more harm than good.

As my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Kelvingrove pointed out, in the speech of the Chancellor an important new statement has been made about the constitution of the Political Conference and the very wide range and power which will be given to Chinese, to the North Koreans, and others, to express their views at the Conference. That is the important consideration upon which emphasis should rest at the moment and not on other questions. If the emphasis is laid on that point, on the constitution and scope of the Political Conference, the whole effect on world opinion, on all the hopes and aspirations of free nations, and perhaps the attitude of the Communist nations also may well be favourable.

It would be wrong to emphasise the other points on which there are difficulties and differences, and put them to the forefront until we see how these negotiations go. It is analogous to the debate we had last week on the question of the discussions at the Foreign Ministers' Conference, when hon. Members opposite stressed the limited nature of the agenda. But, in these discussions the Communist Powers are at perfect liberty to make suggestions for broadening the agenda if they so wish. They can put forward their point of view, and I believe that we should be perfectly willing to discuss with them any questions they wish to raise. It is quite unlike the 2 o'clock race at Bath. We do not know in advance what the results will be, but we do know that the telephone line will not be cut, and that we can cover our position if we do not like the way things are going.

I believe it is the wrong approach to seize upon any one specific issue, such as the early admission of Communist China, or early meetings between the leaders of States, and say that that is the touchstone or the yardstick by which we should measure progress toward world peace.

One of the greatest and most effective speeches in recent times on the question of the improvement of relations between the free world and the Communist nations was made by the Foreign Secretary just after he took office when he spoke of the piecemeal approach. He said any small benefit or advantage might open the way to wider benefits. The truce in Korea has been a major advance, and the constitution of the Political Conference and its agenda is a wide and more dramatic move forward than we had reason to hope for, even a few weeks ago. Surely the present discussions can do nothing but good, and the future can be considered as more hopeful than we have hitherto expected.

5.57 p.m.

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

I wish to reinforce the expressions of deep disquiet about the situation which have been voiced by hon. Members on this side of the House. I feel confident that it is not sufficiently realised in the United States how disastrous, in our opinion, was the recent statement made at a Press conference by Mr. Foster Dulles.

The Chancellor said that after a Press conference it is a common practice for fuller reports and amplifications to come through which sometimes give a rather different picture of the situation, and which are sometimes reassuring to some extent. But what we wish to know is what the Government understand to be American policy. I should be grateful if the Minister of State would indicate—because it is important we should know before we disperse for three months or so—what the Government believe American policy now to be upon the central issues of the problem.

For example, is it the policy of the American Government that they will accept no outcome of the Political Conference other than a unified Korea under Mr. Syngman Rhee? Are we to understand that that is now the declared policy of the United States' Government? If it is, then it is in my view impossible to exaggerate the gravity of the position. It is the duty of the Government to make it clear that that attitude of certain elements in the United States which seems at present to be the attitude of the American Government, is regarded over here as entirely indefensible.

It seems to me—and this will be a widely-held view in the country—that if the Americans were now to require that the Political Conference which formed a part of the armistice terms must result in a united Korea under Rhee, it was wrong for them not to insist that that should have been a term of the armistice. As a member State of United Nations we accepted the proposition at the time of the armistice that there should be a Political Conference within a given time. If what was really intended was a Political Conference out of which some thing already agreed upon between the American Government and Mr. Syngman Rhee must imperatively emerge, we as a member State were placed in an entirely wrong position.

The support which British public opinion was glad to give to the truce would have been in large measure withheld if it had been known that, before the truce was arrived at, it had been determined by so enormously powerful a country as the United States that the Political Conference proposed should have a certain outcome and no other, namely, the unification of Korea under Mr. Syngman Rhee.

We are discussing an issue which is above party. In the last analysis it is the issue of whether a third world war is to be avoided. A great deal will depend on the extent to which we prove successful at every stage in this first application by the United Nations of the principle of collective security. The Chancellor of the Exchequer in his statement, which was admittedly more forthcoming than his answers to Questions have sometimes been, asked for a united front between the parties upon this matter. He can only hope for a united front if he sufficiently appreciates the sincere and deepening anxieties held in this country over the recent developments of American policy.

If the American Government insist, all or nothing, upon a Korea united under Mr. Syngman Rhee, other member States are equally entitled, all or nothing, to insist on the admission of China to the Security Council. But it is wrong that any one member State should approach this matter in terms of insistence upon its own point of view. Our anxiety as we rise for the Recess is lest there should not proceed during the coming weeks, vital and important as they will be, a constant presentation of British and Commonwealth opinion on this matter to the American Government.

The plain truth is that the intervention of the United Nations against the North Korean aggressor was a turning point in history. It has been a successful intervention. The fact that it has been successful has not been sufficiently emphasised recently. It would be the most appalling tragedy if now at the conference table, at the insistence of Mr. Rhee of all people, the Americans, who have played the great part we all acknowledge, were to take up an intransigent attitude.

There must be millions of American citizens who would deplore such a frustration of our hopes as is now threatened. It is for the British Government to add their voice to the voices of those anxious Americans—and there can certainly be added the voices of all the Commonwealth Governments—to ensure that the situation develops more favourably than it threatens to do today.

6.5 p.m.

Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)

I am sorry that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) is not in his place. He said something which should be considered by every party in this House. He said that we had arrived at a point where it was a question of deciding whether to accept the will to stop the fighting or the will to continue. He said that it was our business to put all the support that we could behind the will to stop fighting and that we must try to prevent any reversion to the continuance of the fighting.

I am entirely with the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in that expression of view, though I agreed with little else in the rest of his speech. He was wise to start from that point and to admit or seem to admit—what I certainly admit—that all our fighting has really brought us to nothing and certainly to no victory. Many people are saying that there is a victory for collective security. That victory has yet to be won. That victory will come out of the discussions which have now started at the peace table. Unless it does come out of the discussions of free men one with another, there will be no security. Security can be obtained only in the processes that are now starting rather than in the processes which for the time being, and I hope for ever, have come to an end in Korea.

The only reason I strike a jarring note against the valuable point the right hon. and gallant Gentleman made is that we have in the Dulles speech, and in the gloss that has been placed on it by the Chancellor today, a threat to the efforts that will have to be made to work out a collective security based on reason rather than on force. The speech of Mr. Dulles, despite all that has been obtained by the Chancellor in his telegrams, is one that deliberately encourages in its worst courses all that Mr. Syngman Rhee has been threatening now for some weeks.

Mr. Dulles puts himself on the side of the man who threatens to overthrow collective security. Even now, when we have heard the new gloss put on the matter by the Chancellor, Mr. Dulles stands behind Syngman Rhee in threatening to break again into war and to smash up the armistice if conditions as he sees them are not secured. Because Mr. Dulles, speaking with the great power of the United States behind him, has said that, I shall go away for the holiday not with the sense of satisfaction and security which some of my hon. Friends seem to have. The situation is about as dangerous as it could be.

I do not think I can do any harm in that situation by speaking out quite frankly in this House of Commons and saying that if Mr. Dulles and Mr. Synghman Rhee between them wreck what has been done, there is a great public opinion in this country, so far as I can understand—and I may be as much mistaken as anyone else in judging public opinion; I leave America to speak for itself—which would not support any such procedure, and that, indeed, the whole of the unity that has been secured up to the moment would vanish like a dream.

I hope that we shall not permit this debate to come to an end without someone from the Front Bench saying that a great mistake has been made. Although I admit that there was much with which to be satisfied in the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and although I was delighted with the strength and vigour of the speech of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, I still want to hear from this House a voice more powerful than mine, with a greater influence than any that I could ever have, say quite frankly on behalf of this country, so that the Americans may understand it, that a very great mistake has been committed by Mr. Dulles, and that some new approach to the problem must be sought again by him and by his collaborators.

Dr. Barnett Stross (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)

Before my hon. Friend leaves that point, will he consider the possibility or the probability—or as I think, the improbability—of America, faced with that position and with a different point of view, "going it" alone?

Mr. Hudson

I hope it will not be so, and I would rather not deal with the American situation. I am speaking at the moment only of our responsibilities in a very great difficulty, and I am saying that the voice of this House of Commons ought to go forth very clearly to the Americans in order to help them to arrive at a very clear decision on the matter, as I have arrived at it for myself, and for no one else.

I am glad to observe that, in the speech of the Lord President of the Council in another place, the noble Lord referred to the day which will come when we can offer security even to Russia and China by their loyal acceptance of conditions inside the United Nations. The noble Lord's words were: And do not let us forget that Russia, as a member of the United Nations, if she is a victim of aggression, is as fully entitled to the support of her fellow members as any of the other members of the organisation, nor in such an event, were she the innocent victim of aggression would, I am sure, she be denied that support."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 29th July, 1953; Vol. 183, c. 1033.] That was a statement of view with which I entirely agree. If we get an effective system of collective security, with members loyally abiding by it, an aggression, however serious, could not succeed because of the whole will of the world being against the practice of that aggression.

My feeling at the moment in regard to America is that the speeches of Mr. Dulles and the speeches of others give the impression to Syngman Rhee that he could justifiably engage in aggression at the end of 90 days. He has said that he would do it himself, and it should be the business of the United Nations and of the United States, if they are thoroughly loyal to the idea of the United Nations, to tell Syngman Rhee now that they would consider that act to be an aggression of the most abominable kind.

That is all I really wish to say, except one word more in praise of something which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove said at the end of his speech, and with which I did agree, although I disagreed with much that he said in the middle of it. He said that we in this House today are making a contribution towards international peace. We have taken a small step forward towards that end, and I thank heaven that the armistice, for which I have prayed, has come. I cannot use words that would do anything to injure what has been secured, and I agree that, if we could go away on our holiday with the feeling that at any rate this country was going to stand firmly for the righteous condemnation of any attempt to break through into fighting once more, I would feel much happier about the situation than I am just now, but, at least, let us all re-echo the prayer of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that there may be peace, and peace in our time.

6.19 p.m.

Mr. Woodrow Wyatt (Birmingham, Aston)

Although I agree with others who have spoken this afternoon that the tone of what the Chancellor said is a great improvement on what he said at Question Time yesterday, one was left with a very definite feeling that there was confusion in the mind of the Government between what should be done at the Political Conference, which is supposed to settle the question of Korea, and what should be done at U.N.O. The admission of Communist China to U.N.O. is a matter for U.N.O. alone, and has nothing to do with any conference which might meet for the unification, peaceful or otherwise, of Korea.

We used to support the admission of Communist China to U.N.O., and we actively canvassed for that until China joined in aggression by entering Korea on the side of the North Koreans. At that moment when the United Nations passed a resolution condemning China we withdrew our support; but China has ceased to fight against the United Nations, and there is therefore no longer any reason why our support for her entry into U.N.O. should continue to be withheld. Our position should be back where we were before the aggression began, and, if our policy were still the same as it was about the admission of Communist China to U.N.O., we would now be renewing our efforts to get her in. But we are told instead that we must wait for the Political Conference.

The first thing we are told about this political conference by Mr. Dulles is that, if it does not come to a satisfactory conclusion or does not look to be shaping his way in 90 days, he will leave it, and the second thing was that in any case at the conference he will oppose the admission of Communist China to U.N.O. So that, even if the Political Conference or some members of it wanted to put Communist China in U.N.O. as a result of the conference, he will oppose it. He has also said, and his words were quoted this afternoon, that he would be reluctant to use the veto at U.N.O., but he thinks it would not be necessary. All that he means by that is that he hopes there will be a majority on the American side for refusing Communist China admission to U.N.O.

Are the Government now telling us that we should wait for the conference before presenting the case for the admission of Communist China to U.N.O.? It is perfectly irrelevant, superfluous and nugatory, because nothing is going to happen as a result of the Political Conference in regard to the admission of Communist China. Mr. Dulles has told us that already, and has announced his intention beforehand. In any case the Conference might go on for two years. The truce negotiations took more than two years. Why should anyone suppose that the settlement of this question of Korea is going to take any less time? If truce negotiations take two years, a peace conference is likely to take even longer.

We seem to have got ourselves very confused about this question of the admission of Communist China into U.N.O. and what it means. What is our objection to having Communist China in U.N.O.? If we want to talk to Communist China—and presumably we do—we want to discuss other matters with her also, her behaviour in Indo-China and other questions affecting the Far East——

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

Mr. Wyatt

The Joint Under-Secretary of State seems to indicate that we do not want to talk to Communist China, but if we do not eventually talk to her about Indo-China we shall not get very much farther.

Mr. Nutting

The hon. Gentleman is completely misrepresenting the speech of my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Wyatt

I am making my own speech at the moment; the Chancellor's speech will have to stand on its own feet, if it can.

As I was saying, there is no disadvantage to us in having Communist China in U.N.O. We behave as though something awful were going to happen to us as a result of that. On the contrary, if we are able to talk to her about matters in which we are mutually interested, we can exercise some sort of restraint on her if she adopts an expansionist policy in South-East Asia. In any case, Korean unity has nothing to do with whether or not Communist China is a member of U.N.O. There is another thing to be said for it. It would make it more difficult for China to commit aggression if she were a member of U.N.O.

I think it is quite wrong for the Government to behave as though the Political Conference is to deal in a kind of horse trade with Communist China over the question of her admission to U.N.O. and the question of trade with her. We should stand by principles at the conference, and the main principle by which we should stand there is that the unification of Korea should be brought about by free elections throughout the whole of Korea. That is a point which the Communists would find difficult to resist in the eyes of public opinion throughout the world, and that, after all, is our only interest in Korea. It has nothing whatever to do with the restriction of trade with China because of her aggression, which has now ceased, or her admission to U.N.O.

I heard Lord Salisbury speaking this afternoon in another place. I gather that we are now allowed to refer to his activities with some freedom. He was saying that the question of trade with China must be settled at the appropriate time. What is the appropriate time? It is clearly at the moment when her action which caused trade to be restricted has ceased, which is now. Therefore, we should now be considering this matter.

I notice that in this matter the Government have supinely taken all kinds of insults from Senator McCarthy and the Senate Sub-Committee about British trade with Communist China. The Government should instruct their information services to inform the United States people about the purchase by America of goods from China last year for which they paid 28 million dollars to her, which represent the most potent implement of war one can have in the whole of that area. This has never once been said by this supine Government to the American people.

This Government are thoroughly afraid of the Americans and will not make any move without their approval, but the Americans are not afraid of us. Mr. Dulles suffers from no inhibitions about us as to what he says before a conference takes place or before U.N.O. meets on 17th August. It is time that we took a lead in this respect at U.N.O. How do we know that when U.N.O. meets on 17th August, India or some other country will not propose the admission of Communist China to U.N.O.? If they do, what is our attitude to be? Are we going to take a back seat because Mr. Dulles has not given us permission? Are we going to say that we cannot do anything about the matter on which we have clearly stated our policy over the last three years because the Americans have not given us permission?

The Government are going to U.N.O. without any prepared plan for that eventuality. We should go there determined to raise this matter, because this is a major division with the United States which is not going to be solved by the passage of time. It will not be solved by letting matters drift along for a few months and hoping for a change of attitude. Mr. Dulles has made it clear that there will not be a change of attitude. Even Mr. Stevenson was forced to take a similar stand here in London where he is not subject to persecution by Senator McCarthy.

When faced with a situation like that, there is only one way of dealing with it, and that is to show America and other countries that we are not going to be put into a false position by the bludgeoning of the United States. This divergence is symptomatic of the whole fallacious and inaccurate policy which the Americans have had towards Asia since the war.

It was remarkable that only a few years ago President Roosevelt was able to tease the present Prime Minister in front of Stalin—in an endeavour to placate Stalin—about British imperialism. This appeared to amuse and please Stalin. No American President could do that today. The roles are completely reversed, and the reason is that America has made no attempt to understand the course of events in Asia. She has consistently confused nationalism with Communism.

The other countries of South-East Asia have felt all along that in the Communist Revolution in China there has been a large element of nationalism. The Americans have assisted them to believe that and to believe Communist propaganda to that end by supplying large quantities of arms to Chiang Kai-shek and by trying to put back the clock. That is why they have placed themselves in a false position.

This is a tremendously important matter today because we have to make Asia feel that China has been given a fair chance. Asians quite understand that Communist China cannot be admitted to the United Nations so long as she is actually fighting against U.N.O. But if we insist on refusing to treat China as an equal once she has stopped fighting against U.N.O., then we are going to lose the sympathy of the neutral areas in Asia. Our prestige in Asia today is very high, thanks to the Labour Government. It is much higher than that of America. It is of vital importance to this country to maintain her leading position in that part of the world by taking a lead on this matter.

It is most unfortunate that we have this row of Conservative supine, resting bodies in office today, who just do not understand the movements of events in Asia at all. If they did, they would realise that in order to get Asia to undertake the necessary measures in her own self-defence and to see clearly what is nationalist, what is Communist, what is aggressive and what is imperialistic in the attitude of China towards the rest of Asia, we have got to be fair and correct with Communist China. Then only will they believe in the evilness of China, if such there should be in future. Otherwise, we shall not even be able to make them take the right measures in their own defence.

I hope that during the Recess when, unfortunately, we shall be unable to give any sustenance to, or help to bolster up this miserable, decaying Government, they will take a stand on this matter, and not just wait feebly behind the Americans before taking any action.

6.29 p.m.

Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham)

I enter this debate with a tremendous amount of temerity. It is the first time since I have been a Member of this House that I have attempted to intervene in a foreign affairs debate. But I am of the opinion, of course, that we democrats have the right to express an opinion when we feel that it should be heard.

I have the same feeling today as I had at school when waiting for the headmaster to make himself really known in an objective manner. We had to wait until the end of term, and it seems that we have done so on this occasion also. The headmaster opposite has been really forthcoming today, and we really know where Britain and the Government stand in this connection. One should give credit where it is due. The spokesman for the Government is not given to the idea of making statements which are based upon an effort at being over-popular. I give him credit for being a person who is prepared to take facts as he sees them and to make a statement accordingly.

The voice I want to put forward is the voice of the British trade union movement. I want to speak for a moment, as I have the privilege to do, to the American trade union movement on this matter. I was privileged in the middle of the war, in 1942, to go out to America to represent the trade unions of this country, when I had something to say pretty forthrightly to the Americans. I believe that the American mother and the ordinary American worker are just as pleased about today's happenings and the Armistice as is the British trade unionist and the British mother with boys out in Korea.

I do not intend to attempt to go into the details of this matter. I have listened till I have been rather perplexed and tired to what has been said about Mr. Syngman Rhee and the "rotten, corrupt government" and all about it. We have arrived at a day and hour in the history of the world when the future of the world will be decided one way or the other. That is how I see the situation. It will be decided whether we shall, from now on, gain the peace we have prayed and hoped for or shall drift and muddle and get into the unholy mess of a third world war.

I am pleased that the Government have made themselves very plain on where we stand about the Mr. Dulles incident. I do not want to be rude, but one could quickly misconstrue the word "Dulles" into "dull ass." I believe there are occasions when statesmen in this world get pretty dull, and a little bit like the quadruped to which I have referred. I was glad that we had the speech from our own Front Bench and that the Leader of our own party made the position of this party pretty clear in terms we all understand.

I want to say to our brothers in America, in the C.I.O. the A.F. of L., the Railway Brotherhood and the Miners' Union, that they should support us, support this House, both parties, through the means that they have at their disposal. They have never had a Socialist Government and have never worried so long as the pay packet was not too much political, although they are on the eve of so doing.

I say, on behalf of the ordinary, rough-necked back benchers, the navvy class—we are not ashamed of that—that we see an opportunity on this occasion to put our voice forward and to say to our opposite numbers in America that we hope and trust that they will support us and support this Government in what has happened here today. I am fortified in that request by knowing that a great capitalist leader of the employer class in the steel industry in America has announced himself pretty definitely on this subject. He has said in no uncertain terms that Dulles is wrong and that we are right.

I hope that this brief speech—once in a way—will do what I would like it to do, namely, say to our brothers on that great continent that we are with them in their desire for peace. I hope and trust as a result of this debate, of Her Majesty's Government's declaration and the declaration of the party on this side of the House, that Britain will continue to use all the forces that she can employ in the interests of world peace. It is not only the interests of Korea itself I am thinking of; that is only one small corner of a very large problem.

I hope that we shall go away fortified by believing that what we have been waiting for, something about which to be pleased and enthusiastic and for which we have had to wait until the end of the term, has come, and that our enthusiasm will not be misled. I hope that peace will make progress, and that when we come back we shall be able to concern ourselves with a world at peace and not, as in the past, with a world perplexed and wondering what would happen next.

6.35 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Henderson (Rowley Regis and Tipton)

I am sure that the statement which the Chancellor made at the beginning of the debate will have removed many misgivings which have exercised the minds of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House and, I am sure, of a good many Members on the Government side. I well understand his difficulties. The right hon. Gentleman has manifold duties at the present time and no doubt he thought that he had to consider the feelings of the United States. They played, as he pointed out, the greatest part of any of the United Nations in the conflict in Korea. I sometimes feel that, in spite of our differences of approach with them, we have not always recognised the difficulties of the United States in dealing with the recalcitrant President Rhee.

I wonder whether the Chancellor and his colleagues have been right in being so sensitive about expressing themselves frankly on this problem, on which we do not quite see eye to eye with our American friends. I do not see why our point of view should not be frankly stated. A very distinguished American said a few weeks ago that there should be the utmost frankness between friends. I am sure that the Chancellor would agree that friendship should not involve subservience. Why should we be quite so squeamish about expressing our point of view on matters of this vital importance?

The American Congress has had no hesitation. I believe I am right in saying that both the Senate and the House of Representatives have passed resolutions by great majorities indicating that they are opposed to the admission of China to the United Nations. That is their point of view, but it is not a point of view which is shared, I believe, by the great majority of Members of this House and of the people of this country. Therefore I see no reason at all why the Chancellor should have been quite so reluctant to face up to what he has done today.

The right hon. Gentleman and I have been opposite one another for a good many years. I remember his efforts in the pre-war days. I hope he will not mind my saying that he might have been much more forthcoming, when this debate might have been avoided. Questions were put by hon. Members on this side of the House on 16th July, 27th July and 29th July, and the right hon. Gentleman insisted upon taking rather evasive action and refusing to say more than that the matter would be considered now that the Armistice had been signed. In the debate yesterday in another place, so far as I can gather, not a single reference was made by the acting Foreign Secretary to the position of the Government on this matter. The only reference that got near to it was one by the Under-Secretary of State in that House, and all he would say was that the Government had a view on this subject of the entry of China into the United Nations.

The Chancellor has at long last spoken, and I am not sure whether he has been stimulated by the action of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition in giving notice that he was going to have this discussion today or was partly influenced by the language used by the American Secretary of State in his Press conference on Tuesday. I do not think that it matters very much which it is. It is the result that matters, and we have got results.

So far as the Chancellor's statement goes, I think that I can say on behalf of nearly all my hon. and right hon. Friends that we very much welcome the indication he has now given of the attitude which Her Majesty's Government is to take in dealing with these problems in the next few months. I should like, however, to raise one or two questions with the Chancellor, to which I hope the Minister of State will be able to reply. The communiqué which was published a few days ago contains the phrase: They considered that, in existing circumstances and pending further consultation, the common policies of the three Powers towards Communist China should be maintained. I should like the Minister of State, if he can, to say whether these consultations are, in fact, taking place. If they are, it is extraordinary that Mr. Dulles should have made those very strong statements, even though they have been considerably modified by what we have been told today. Are consultations taking place between Her Majesty's Government and the United States Government on all these problems that are now arising? It seems to me that if they are not we shall have very great difficulties arising between us and America. It may well be that we shall have them in any event——

The Minister of State (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

May I give a straight answer straight away? Yes, consultations are taking place.

Mr. Henderson

I am very glad to hear it. All that I can hope is that Mr. Dulles will remember that fact and that when he comes to give his Press statements he will have some regard to the effect on his friends and allies.

The Chancellor made a very satisfactory statement about the composition of the conference, but I was a little disappointed when I understood him to say that the question of Chinese entry into the United Nations would wait until the Political Conference took place. As I understand it, the non-Communist elements in this Political Conference are to be representatives of the United Nations. The supreme organ of the United Nations, the Assembly, is to meet in a fortnight's time and I hope that it will be found possible for this vital international problem to be discussed in that Parliament of the United Nations. I should like to know from the Minister of State whether what the Chancellor has said rules out any discussion of the China problem at the Assembly before we get to the Political Conference.

The hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. Brooman-White) referred to the legal or constitutional position in relation to the admission of Peking China, if I may so call it, into the United Nations. He thought that there was a difficulty because the seat was already occupied by another authority which was recognised as the Government of China. He may have forgotten that in 1948 there was a change of Government following a coup d'état in Czechoslovakia, but today the Government who carried out that coup d'état are members of the United Nations. The test has always been whether a Government are recognised as the Government of a country.

I admit that the Government of Peking China have not been recognised by the Government of the United States. They have been recognised by our Government. Provided that one day we get over the bridge with our American friends on the recognition of the Peking Government as the Government of China, there will be no difficulty, legal or constitutional, standing in the way of that Government taking a seat in the United Nations. That Government are in effective control of that great country and, as we have seen in the last two or three years, they have an army of three or four millions. We know how their army and air force have been equipped, but that does not alter the fact of the existence of that country of 400 million people with a great army and air force.

I agree with those who have preceded me that the sooner we get China within the comity of nations, once the aggression committed three years ago is a thing of the past, the better for the peace and stability of the world. I hope that the Minister of State will make it quite clear that our representatives go to the United Nations meeting, recognising this fundamental difference that divides us and our friends in the United States but nevertheless taking a strong and courageous line in advocating what they and my hon. Friends on this side of the House believe to be the right course. If they do that they will carry the people of this country with them.

6.46 p.m.

The Minister of State (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

I should like to begin by referring to some of the opening remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. He began by paying a tribute to the people of the United States. He made it quite clear that we in this House were not anti-American. He said that it was essential that we should cooperate and that we were grateful to the United States for the great burden which they had borne in Korea, and, to quote his own words, for the "magnificent support given to the United Nations by the United States." I think that in all quarters of the House that tribute to the United States is endorsed. I hope very much that as there have been certain criticisms of the United States in this debate, and of certain representatives of the United States, that that background will not be forgotten by those who report this discussion—that the right hon. Gentleman began with that tribute to the United States which certainly we, Her Majesty's Government, wholeheartedly endorse.

I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that, of course, that co-operation is a two-way traffic and that at a time like this we are apt to think of disagreements and not to remember the very large measure of agreement that has been obtained. But I assure the House that we have not failed to express our views clearly and emphatically. Where I differ with some hon. Members who have spoken is that I think that it must be left to the Government of the day to decide whether those views should be expressed publicly or privately. Sometimes when dealing with friends public ventilation of views is not the best way to make progress.

Criticism was made of Mr. Foster Dulles by reference to what Mr. Walter Lippmann had written, that he was "immobilised by his own promises." I rather felt that some hon. Members opposite similarly would like to immobilise Her Majesty's Government but this is also a case for two-way traffic. If Mr. Foster Dulles is criticised for that, there is no good reason why we should similarly be immobilised.

The two main issues are Chinese representation and strategic controls. On the first, the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) said that he did not think the position of Her Majesty's Government had been clearly put forward. I would remind him of the endorsement which the Chancellor gave to a speech of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, who in turn was referring to a speech by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison), when the right hon. Gentleman said that His Majesty's Government believed that the Central People's Government should represent China in the United Nations and then, in a second sentence, qualifying that, said: In view, however, of that Government's persistence in behaviour which is inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter, it now appears to His Majesty's Government that consideration of this question should be postponed for the time being."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1951; Vol. 489, c. 1371.]

Mr. Strachey

May we take that as, a declaration, therefore, that Her Majesty's Government will press this matter at the forthcoming United Nations Assembly?

Mr. Lloyd

If the right hon. Gentleman will give me a moment to develop my point, that is what I am going to deal with. The point of principle is made perfectly clear, that Her Majesty's Government believe that the Central People's Government should represent China in the United Nations. The issue, therefore, is one of timing, and here I find myself again very much in agreement with what the Leader of the Opposition said. We do not say that recognition should come at once, but it is a matter which should be discussed. Her Majesty's Government entirely agree with that observation.

It is a matter for discussion, not necessarily for public discussion, but we have again and again indicated that as soon as the armistice occurred this was a matter which would have to be considered between us and our allies. I would say categorically that I regard the signing of the armistice as having advanced this matter. It has certainly brought us one stage further forward.

Mr. A. Henderson

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman clarify that point? He has stated that this is a matter which must be discussed between this country and our allies. I agree, but is that not also a matter of concern to the United Nations as a whole?

Mr. Lloyd

I shall come to the United Nations aspect of the matter rather later on, if I may. I shall first deal with some of the considerations which appear to me to affect the timing. The hon. Member for Aston (Mr. Wyatt) suggested, I think in conflict with the Leader of the Opposition, that automatically on the signing of the armistice there should be the recognition and admission of Communist China to the United Nations. We do not hold that view. To begin with, one has to see whether the armistice is going to be observed.

Mr. Wyatt rose——

Mr. Lloyd

I shall state all the points which seem to affect the matter, and then I will give way to the hon. Member. First of all, there is the question of the observation of the armistice agreement itself. It is an exceedingly complicated agreement. Speaking frankly, there is ample opportunity for friction between the parties to it; we sincerely hope that it will be honoured on both sides in good faith, but there is a great deal of opportunity for friction, and we have to see how the situation develops.

Then under the terms of the armistice agreement a Political Conference has to be set up, and until we see what progress is made at the Political Conference, with the very thorny problem of Korea, we cannot know whether the armistice is going to be permanent. We have to see how the Political Conference shapes. I do not say for a moment that we have to wait two, three or four years, but we have to see how the discussions take place, and whether there is really on both sides the degree of good faith which will make a success of the armistice. That will be shown in the course of the political discussions.

Then there is the question of the development of our own relations with the People's Government of China and the way in which our mission is treated there. Under conditions of great difficulty they have conducted themselves with dignity and have advanced our prestige, but they have not been treated in quite the way in which we expected them to be treated when China was recognised. I do not wish to say anything today which will make things more difficult, but I have certain material with me about the propaganda line which has been taken. That is a matter in which we hope that on both sides there will be a damping down of name calling.

Again there is the question of the treatment of our traders in China. They really have not had anything which could be described as good treatment, even if there is an ideological difference on the question whether there should be private enterprise traders there or not. They really have not had a fair deal. These are all matters which must be considered and which must enter into our judgment.

Mr. Wyatt

May I explain that I did not mean that automatically Communist China should become a member of U.N.O. on the signing of an armistice? What I wanted automatically to return to was the policy which we were pursuing of actively canvassing the other members of the United Nations to persuade them to get Communist China into U.N.O. Now that they have ceased the aggression we should go back to that position. We should automatically go back to the same position as before.

Mr. Lloyd

The hon. Gentleman has used the expression "actively canvassing." The only active canvassing that I know consists of going round the streets, knocking on doors and getting people to give their votes. That is not the way to deal with this question. Our view is clear, it has been stated again and again, and we shall continue to try to persuade people to think of this matter in the way in which we think of it. I do not know whether one could call that active canvassing, but our influence has been consistently directed that way.

I do not wish to go at great length into the question of the telegram about Mr. Dulles's speech about the veto. I will let the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg) see it some time, but it puts what was first reported into a different context. It does not seem as though Mr. Dulles said anything nearly as dogmatic on that matter as at one time appeared from the Press reports.

Mr. Noel-Baker

On the question of the veto, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman look into the point raised by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) as to whether the veto applies at all? Will he consider the Czechoslovak precedent of 1940 to which my right hon. and learned Friend referred, and see what really is the meaning of the Charter in this context?

Mr. Lloyd

I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman will see what Mr. Dulles said. He was, in fact, in one part of his statement, putting forward that very view, the opinion that this was not a matter for the veto, but he was not certain whether that was the position. In justice to Mr. Dulles, it would be right that the whole of the passage should be read.

Then I come to the question of strategic controls. This again, I submit, is a question of timing. The only point about that, as compared with the issue of representation, is that there is a little more flexibility over the question of strategic controls. Obviously, with regard to admission, it is either "Yes" or "No," but with regard to strategic controls there is obviously a little more scope for give and take. I repeat what my noble Friend said in another place yesterday, that if the need for some of these drugs can be shown, that is certainly a matter which we will willingly consider again.

Again on the general question of strategic controls, it seems to me that we have got to act in collaboration with our allies in the United Nations, and again something of what I have said on the question of representation also applies. We must see how these other factors develop.

I think that the next stages have got to be taken step by step. First of all, there is to be the meeting of the Assembly on 17th August. Our preliminary view is that that meeting should be a procedural meeting in order to get quite clear the procedure for the setting up of the Political Conference, to decide who is to be present at that conference, where and when it is to meet and what are to be its terms of reference in relation to the United Nations itself. That is a matter for negotiation and not so much for public debate.

I am not certain that we should advance the cause which we all have at heart if we were to embark there and then upon an acrimonious debate upon the admission of the People's Government of China to the United Nations. I think this will be appreciated by hon. Members who have been saddened, as I have been again and again during the United Nations debates on these topics, when one seems almost at once to get into an atmosphere of name calling, abuse and recrimination. We all hope that we are starting on a new phase, and we want to do everything we can to see that this new venture of the Political Conference goes on in the best possible way.

We do not want at this next meeting to force people out into the open on matters about which they have strong feelings. That applies to our own friends, to the Soviet Union and to other countries of the Soviet bloc. It is easy to say that that is one's view. When one gets there, one finds that circumstances are different. It may be impossible to do it as we want to. Putting the position quite frankly before the House, that is the way in which my right hon. Friends and I look upon this matter at the present time, and we shall try to get the greatest measure of agreement we can upon the setting up and the terms of reference of the Political Conference.

The next step is the Political Conference itself. I agree with the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) that its task should be to deal with the peaceful unification of Korea. But he then added that it was no business of the United Nations. He is quite wrong with regard to that, because it was one of the United Nations resolutions of December, 1948, which said that the General Assembly … resolves … that a Commission on Korea … be established to … lend its good offices to bring about the unification of Korea.

Mr. S. Silverman

I accept fully what the right hon. and learned Gentleman says, that in 1948 a resolution was passed; and, of course, it is the business of the United Nations to lend a hand and its good offices in regard to any question which might ultimately affect the peace of the world. What I meant was that it was no part of the business of the United Nations following upon the outbreak of the Korean war. It was not a necessary part of the settlement or of the armistice.

Mr. Lloyd

I am not quite certain what the hon. Gentleman means when he says it was not a necessary part of the armistice. In our discussions in the United Nations in regard to Korea we have said again and again that our object is the peaceful unification of Korea.

Mr. Silverman

I said in my speech that in so far as the Political Conference could agree upon unification that would be all right, but it ought not to be any kind of sine qua non on our side, and no attempt should be made to force it through.

Mr. Lloyd

I certainly agree that there should be no sine qua non in regard to this Political Conference. We must try to work out a practical way to unify Korea peacefully.

Mr. Silverman

By agreement.

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, by agreement. As my right hon. Friend said, there are difficulties about whether conditions are yet right for free elections or a free all-Korean Government. It may be a gradual process. We have had sufficient difficulty about trying to work out methods to unite other countries, where there have been no hostilities for eight years. It will be a very difficult problem, and there may have to be an interim period of different stages. The first and primary task of the Political Conference is to seek to get the peaceful unification of Korea. When that matter is tackled we shall probably see what are the prospects of a wider measure of agreement about other problems in the Far East.

We feel that there has been nothing to complain of in the tone of this debate. Only one speaker tried to bring in a little party politics. In all sincerity, I can say that the debate has been most helpful to me. The hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) gave expression to the feelings of very many of us. Legitimate doubts were expressed by hon. Members opposite as to our capacity to persuade the United States Government. As I have already said, it is perhaps the greatest psychological mistake to boast of success in persuasion.

Mr. Silverman

Especially when we have not had it.

Mr. Lloyd

Yes, but I think that our record over the issue of the repatriation of prisoners of war should count for something, when we were successful in our endeavours to get opinion in the United Nations mobilised almost unanimously.

Mr. A. Henderson

It came from public debate.

Mr. Lloyd

The right hon. and learned Member says that it came from public debate. It came from a process which took about six weeks, in which public debate, on the whole, formed the smallest part. But I do not want to go into that story.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Where are the prisoners?

Mr. Lloyd

We sincerely hope that the exchange of prisoners of war is going to begin almost at once.

Looking to the future, this is a new phase. I agree with the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. A. J. Irvine) that we should place on record more definitely our feelings that aggression has been successfully repelled. I also agree very much with the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson) that we now have to try to give expression to our collective will to stop the fighting, and that this armistice has happened., in some measure, because of that collective will to stop the fighting. I can promise the hon. Member that the whole weight of the influence of this country will be devoted to the prevention of a resumption of hostilities, whether the danger comes from the North or the South.

I shall go to this Assembly fully realising the responsibility of the task, and remembering the background to our discussions. There one has a great collection of politicians, diplomats, television cameras, reporters and the rest, but the background to all that is the wish of the ordinary people, in every country, for lasting peace.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.