Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [1st March],
That this House approves the Statement on Defence, 1955, Command Paper No. 9391—[The Prime Minister.]
Which Amendment was to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and add:
regrets that the Statement on Defence, 1955, while recognising that thermonuclear weapons have effected a revolution in the character of warfare, and that until effective world disarmament has been achieved it is necessary as a deterrent to aggression to rely on the threat of using thermonuclear weapons, fails to make proposals for the reorganisation of Her Majesty's Forces and of Civil Defence, to indicate what future defence expenditure may be called for; or to explain the grave and admitted deficiencies in the weapons with which Her Majesty's Forces are at present furnished, in spite of the expenditure of some £4,000 million for defence purposes over the past three years ",—
§ Question again proposed, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ 3.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
On a point of order. Before the debate is resumed, may I ask, Mr. Speaker, whether you would be kind enough to offer some guidance to those of us who are not quite clear as to the way in which the Questions will be put this evening? You will have noticed, Sir, that there is another Amendment on the Order Paper which has not been moved and which proposes to leave out the same words as my right hon. Friends wish to leave out, but for the purpose of inserting quite different words.
I assume that the first Question put tonight will merely be whether the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question, but what is not clear, at any rate to me, is what will happen on the assumption that that Question is carried. Will the Question then be put again as the main Question, or will the vote on the first Question be regarded as being decisive of that matter?
§ Mr. Speaker
The Question has already been proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question." That is the Question before 2067 the House, and will remain the Question before the House until it is decided. If that is decided in the affirmative, there will, of course, be no possibility of any further Amendment, because the words will have been declared to stand part, but then it will be my duty to put the main Question.
§ Mr. Silverman
So that there may be no misunderstanding about it, Mr. Speaker, assuming that the first Question were carried affirmatively, there would still be the possibility of a Division and a vote on the main Question?
§ 3.37 p.m.
§ Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)
In rising to support the Amendment now before the House, I certainly would not—even if I remotely could—attempt to emulate the sombre eloquence with which the Prime Minister yesterday afternoon displayed to us the consequences of the hydrogen bomb and the hideous situation—it is his adjective—in which the world finds itself today. That is not because I deprecate in any way the use of the right hon. Gentleman's eloquence on this subject. On the contrary, I think that his eloquence in bringing home to the peoples of the world the situation in which they are at present is most valuable.
Nevertheless, it seems to me that my task today is to look at the actual White Paper on Defence which is before the House and on which the right hon. Gentleman yesterday cast hardly a glance. After all, it is rather an important document, and one which puts out a plan and a programme which are costing us £1,500 million a year, a programme which, if continued in its present form, must ultimately cost the country a much greater annual sum even than that.
We believe that the programme and plan contained in the White Paper are profoundly unsatisfactory in that after verbally recognising the thermo-nuclear revolution which has taken place in the world's affairs, they then entirely fail to face the military consequence of that fact. We do so upon several grounds. First, the White Paper seems to us to spread many grave illusions about the charac- 2068 ter of any future war. It starts off by saying that a hydrogen bomb attack would be an absolutely decisive event; that there would be limitless destruction and all the rest. Then come two paragraphs upon the subject of disarmament, to which I shall return in a moment, and then its real theme, which is that of deterrents. It tells us, as did the Prime Minister, that we are to develop our nuclear programme and nuclear weapons simply and solely in the hope of deterring the outbreak of a third world war.
Hon. Members on this side of the House do not challenge that, but for heaven's sake let us not deceive ourselves. Let us realise what we are doing and all that we are doing. In doing that, we are doing nothing that can possibly save us if a third world war breaks out. I am afraid that the White Paper contains great illusions upon the subject. Quite early, in paragraph 7, we get the phrase:so organise the country as to enable us to survive and to defeat the enemy …It is quite true that we must do everything humanly possible to organise the country in such a way that it can survive. I do not know what other hon. Members felt about the statement of the Home Secretary upon that subject, but I felt it to be the reverse of reassuring.
But when the White Paper goes on to speak about "defeating the enemy" is it not using pre-nuclear language? Is it not time that we all faced the fact that if a third world war does break out there will be no question of victory or defeat? There is nothing in a third world war but mass destruction, mass suicide and mass murder for this country and any country which is engaged in it, and we had better face up to that terrible situation at the outset. If hon. Members opposite find it difficult to accept the conclusion from hon. Members in this side of the House, let me quote the words of an entirely independent military commentator who, I should imagine, certainly does not share the political views of my hon. Friends and myself.
I refer to the military correspondent of the "Economist," who contributes to a most striking defence supplement in this week's issue of that newspaper. He writes:But with H-bombs, there is little or no defence. … For the time being … the 2069 certainty of retaliation on a mortal scale renders thermo-nuclear warfare useless as an instrument of national policy. It would almost certainly destroy the social structure of the belligerents and dissolve their régimes.This is the same conclusion as that which I have just stated, although it is not put in such brutally frank language.
Is it not the fact that the development of our own nuclear programme can do only one thing for us? I express it in the same words that my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) expressed it during one of the Service Estimates debates last year. The development of our nuclear weapons can put this country in the position of the bee. The bee has a sting, but if it uses that sting it dies. It is quite certain, therefore, that the bee will never use the sting except in the ultimate necessity. On the other hand, as we all know from experience, the possession of the sting by the bee deters us if we are minded to maltreat it in any way. That, no more and no less, is what the development of a nuclear programme can do for this or for any other country today.
Now I come to the actual defence programme which is sketched in the White Paper and is based upon the hypothesis which I have just stated, which is really common ground to all hon. Members. The astonishing fact is that, having accepted those facts, the White Paper goes on—and it is confirmed in the Service Estimates—to sketch out just the same old programme of the division of very much the same total sum in very much the same way between the three Services. That is surely the most extraordinary non sequitur. It is buttressed by a really preposterous sentence—I can call it no less—in the White Paper.
Paragraph 33 says:This broad review of the strategic implications of the thermo-nuclear weapon does not radically alter the role of any of the three fighting Services.It is almost incredible that that sentence should be there, but it is there, in black and white. Surely everyone in the world except the authors of the White Paper must have known that the thermo-nuclear weapon revolutionises the role of all three fighting Services. [HON. MEMBERS: "Explain the statement."] If hon. Members do not like accepting that conclusion, I shall again quote from the military correspondent of the "Economist."
2070 Speaking of those same implications, he says:They mean the end of military strategy as the world has known it; the end of conventional air defence; of vast movements of armies; of battles at sea.Then the White Paper tells us that the thermo-nuclear weapon does not change the rôle of the three Services.
§ Mr. Strachey
Which quotation? I cannot read the whole of the "Economist" supplement, but what I have read seems to me a very effective quotation.
§ Mr. Macmillan
Would the right hon. Gentleman mind reading the sentence which follows that which he has just quoted?
§ Mr. Strachey
I have not the full supplement with me, but if anyone likes to supply it I shall do so.
§ Mr. Macmillan
In the White Paper, the sentence after that with which he ended runs as follows:Each has a contribution to make to the three main aims of our defence policy—to build up the deterrent against aggression, to fight the cold war, and to prepare for a major war in case that should come.
§ Mr. Strachey
Certainly. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that I was going to argue that the Services had no function? I was arguing that the rôle of the Services had been altered. The White Paper says that it has not been. If hon. Members opposite really think that the invention of the hydrogen bomb has made no radical change in the role of the Services, I find it very difficult to believe that I can open their minds to reason at all.
What does that preposterous sentence really mean? It means that the great military interests are still writing White Papers and Defence Estimates—and they are vested military interests. I do not want to attack them; in many ways they are perfectly legitimate and natural interests. Anybody who has worked with distinguished generals, admirals and air marshals knows that they are very able men, who have given many years of their lives to their own Services. In many respects they are selfless men, and nothing could be more natural than that they should fight to preserve what seems to 2071 them to be the interests of their respective Services. That is what has happened, and that is how the present defence programme has been drawn up.
It cannot be doubted that what is called the agonising reappraisal of the rôle of the Defence Services has not been carried out. I always imagined that it would take a hydrogen bomb to shift the dead weight of military tradition, but we see now that even the hydrogen bomb does not do it. What, then, should be the shape— [Interruption.] —Yes, certainly. If the hon. and gallant Member for Bedford (Captain Soames) will give me a moment to develop my argument he will hear it. He will not agree with it. What should be the shape and size towards which we ought to begin the process of remodelling Her Majesty's Forces?
This is a very rough approximation, and I will put it like this: we shall find over the years that we have to have, first, for the purposes of deterrence to the hot war, of the third world war, a nuclear weapon and whatever turns out to be the current method of delivering it. Secondly, we shall need conventional land and sea forces mainly designed for what we broadly call the purposes of the cold war and Commonwealth police forces; that is to say, the type of operation of which the Korean War or the Malaya emergency is the type.
It would be quite unfair to suggest that in one year or in one White Paper the Defence Forces could be completely reshaped in that respect. I am not suggesting that for a moment. I am suggesting that it is profoundly disappointing and disastrous for defence policy that the Defence White Paper does not give us any indication that that is the goal, the objective. It does not give a start in shaping our Defence Forces in that respect, but, on the contrary, says that their role is not radically changed by the arrival of the hydrogen bomb. This matters very much. What we are getting is the old, full, conventional arms programme, and superimposed upon that the attempt to create a nuclear programme and the means of delivering it.
What are the consequences that we are beginning to see in the defence field? The consequences are that the Government are trying to get something of everything and are succeeding in 2072 getting enough of nothing. It is the old business of trying to be strong everywhere and succeeding in being weak everywhere. This is a small island with limited resources. We are living in a world, as the Prime Minister is always telling us, of deadly peril. If we divide up those limited resources fundamentally in such a way that no admiral, general or air air marshal is offended, we shall not get a very happy result.
That, surely, must be the fundamental explanation of the extraordinary arms failure of the Government, which had been referred to again and again from both sides of the House in this debate. Their inability to get any new arms into the hands of the Armed Forces goes quite beyond any inadequacy or inefficiency in any of the defence Ministers.
I feel no inclination to attack personally any defence Minister or any Minister of a Service Department in the way that the Prime Minister and his colleagues attacked us when we were in office, or anything approaching the way in which they would now attack us if we had made one-tenth of the mistakes made by the Government. The Prime Minister should remember that this is the third year in which his Government have been in charge of the defence programme. [HON. MEMBERS: "The fourth."] It is in the fourth year. The third year has been completed.
Does the right hon. Gentleman remember one of those great, characteristic phrases of his, when he described an arms programme? He said, "The first year, nothing. The second year, very little. The third year, as much as you will." Can we possibly describe the results we have today—80 Hunters, no Swifts, 10 Valiants, no new rifles and no guided missiles—[An HON. MEMBER: "And no foreign policy."]—as "as much as you will"?
Is not the real reason for this extraordinary slowness, which sticks out a mile from the White Paper, that there is no real concept of defence and of the shape and size of the forces at which we are aiming; and, because there is no concept, therefore there are no priorities of one Service over another and one arm over another? There is no real order. There is simply an attempt to get something of everything.
2073 Very shortly, we shall be debating the Service Estimates. The paragraphs on manpower in the Defence White Paper which affect the Army are not very encouraging. They are rather dispiriting on the subject of Regular recruiting. They seem to contemplate a two-year period of National Service in perpetuity. The result of this is found to be a large, short-service, moderately trained, moderately equipped, and somewhat static army. Is not this precisely the opposite kind of army that we are likely to need in the new age that will face us?
I suggest that the thermo-nuclear revolution enormously strengthens the argument for review of the period of National Service and its progressive reduction and, in the end, probably a return to the long service, much smaller, highly trained and highly equipped professional army. I am not saying that we can get that this year or next year, but that it is the obvious goal to which the trend of events should take us.
I shall be told that something which stands impossibly in the way of that is our commitments. That is one subject on which I can sincerely congratulate the Government. They have done well in getting out of some of the burdensome commitments which this country had. In the nuclear age, I do not understand why we still retain some of our commitments.
I wish some Minister or other could explain what we are doing in Cyprus, in view of the hydrogen bomb. I visited that country. It is not a question of the political issue. Whatever we do in regard to the political issue it is perfectly easy to retain the bases there, and there may be a case for doing so; but is it right that we should pour £8 million into the building of a new Middle East headquarters? What is it going to administer in Cyprus, and in the Episkopi Base? It is difficult to see why we are squandering our very limited resources on it when we are making such terribly slow progress with the essential defence elements at home.
The subject of commitments brings me at once to N.A.T.O. and to what are in some ways the most important paragraphs in the entire defence White Paper, paragraphs 22 and 23. There may be some ambiguity, and perhaps the Government will correct me if I am wrong, but, as I read them, those paragraphs, I think quite 2074 clearly, lay down the doctrine that if there is any aggression in Europe, and however we are attacked, whether by nuclear weapons or not, we should certainly reply with nuclear weapons. We are committed, it seems, to doing so. That is a very grave decision indeed.
§ Mr. Strachey
My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey) tried to qualify it, and asked the Government to qualify it, by putting it in the form that we should reply with nuclear weapons only on tactical targets. That is a suggestion, but I do not really believe that it is a practicable one. Let us realise that if we do commit ourselves to that view, that in whatever form, to whatever extent, there is aggression we shall certainly reply with nuclear weapons, we risk, to put it at its very least, the fullest counter reply with full nuclear weapons against this country.
That brings me, naturally of course, to the question of Civil Defence. The two subjects are linked.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Before my right hon. Friend comes to his next point, would he explain what is the attitude of the Opposition, of himself and his right hon. Friends, to the proposition that we should reply with thermo-nuclear weapons to any form of aggression, even though that aggression were limited to aggression with conventional weapons? What is the attitude of the Opposition to that?
§ Mr. Strachey
I am coming to it. I put it as what seems to me to be the answer. I do not think it is the complete answer, and I do not think that any one of us has the complete answer. However, Lord Montgomery, whatever we think of the rest of his statements, was surely right in linking this question with the question of Civil Defence in this country, and Lord Montgomery—
§ Mr. Strachey
I am doing so. My hon. Friend should not be so impatient.
Lord Montgomery was, I believe, perfectly right in saying that unless effective Civil Defence measures could be produced in this country it was a decision of the utmost gravity—and, I should have thought, a decision of the utmost rashness—to commit ourselves to the use of nuclear weapons whatever the circumstances of an act of aggression in Europe.
We see what is said in the White Paper about Civil Defence. We may say that a start has been made of some sort. We heard what the Home Secretary said last night. However, if anyone thinks that what is proposed now or is now being done would make any appreciable difference to the casualties which we should suffer under thermo-nuclear attack on this country, he is very much more optimistic than I am. I put this proposition to the Government, that unless they can produce measures which sound, which seem, at any rate, reasonably effective for Civil Defence in this country, then on Lord Montgomery's own showing it is a wildly rash decision to commit ourselves to nuclear reply whatever the circumstances in Europe.
Would it not be considerably wiser, while developing our nuclear programme, simply to say nothing about the circumstances—hypothetical, and in the future that none of us can exactly foresee—in which those weapons would be used?
§ Captain Christopher Soames (Bedford)
Surely the deduction to be drawn from what the right hon. Gentleman has said is that the moment has not yet come when the rôle of conventional forces has changed.
§ Mr. Strachey
I may be dull, but I can see absolutely no consequential logic whatever in that interjection. I should have thought that the rôle of the conventional weapons had "radically" changed—to use the word of the White Paper.
I turn from the Army to the Royal Navy. I do not pretend to have any specialised knowledge of any sort of the Navy, but to the layman, at any rate, it is there that the White Paper least faces the facts of thermo-nuclear weapons. I am not denying for one moment that the big ships which we are building and maintaining today are a powerful force. Of course they are. Is that, however, the 2076 question? Is not the real question which we must ask this, whether the resources, the money and the men, being devoted to the building and the upkeep of a big ship Navy today are giving as much security as that possible from the same amount of resources devoted to other purposes? For my part, I find it very hard to believe that they are.
I am quite aware of the naval arguments of the necessity, which, of course, was a necessity in terms of a long war such as we had to endure in the past, of bringing—what is the amount?—80 million tons a year of supplies to this country through the sea lanes. Let us, however, face the facts. What is the use of bringing 80 million tons a year to a cinder? And that may be the state of things in this island to which we bring the supplies if we neglect or limit the resources for the absolutely critical deterrents which we think now overshadow all other forms of arms.
According to this White Paper what small shift there is—and there is only a very small shift, if any at all—in the balance of expenditure and, therefore, of effort between the three Services is from the Army to the Royal Air Force, but although the actual amount of expenditure on the Navy is down the percentage of expenditure on the Navy is very slightly up. That seems to me not a tribute to reason but a very great tribute to the power of our admirals.
I come to the Royal Air Force. There, of course, is the least doubt about the utility of the weapons, but it is just there, in the case of the Royal Air Force, that the Government's failure actually to produce any weapons has been the most marked of all. I do not need to repeat the statements made by my hon. Friend the Member for Aston (Mr. Wyatt) last night on that subject.
§ Mr. Strachey
He may have been right or wrong, but his points certainly need answering.
In sum, is not the Government's extraordinary inability actually to get new weapons into the hands of the Armed Forces a reflection of their inability to have a rational concept of defence—even to grope for one—in the new era? And ought that concept not to be, I repeat, a 2077 thermo-nuclear programme and its means of delivery as the only hope of the deterrence of a hot war, and, secondly, conventional forces, much smaller, highly efficient; and a small ship Navy rather than a large ship Navy; and a small, long-service professional Army rather than a large conscript Army, a small Army designed mainly for the purposes of the cold war rather than of a hot war?
Of course, I shall be told that if we redesigned our forces on those lines we should be taking great risks. Do we think we are not taking risks by not doing that? Do we think we are not taking risks as it is today? I believe that we are taking the most frightful risks by failing to do that. I believe that we are skimping the essentials, I repeat again, in order to have a little bit of everything.
The Prime Minister told us yesterday that, on his information, he thought we had a period of three or four years during which the Russians would be unable to deliver a nuclear attack upon us. I know nothing about that. I hope the Prime Minister is right. All I would say is that our experience is that hitherto we in the West have consistently underestimated the speed of Russian technical military development. We did it with the original production of the atomic bomb, and the date was much earlier than we thought. We did it over the MIG. 15, which was produced much earlier and much more effectively. It was done most seriously of all by the Americans over the production of the dry hydrogen bomb itself. Therefore, I feel no very great confidence in the Prime Minister's estimate on that subject.
It seems to me that it is of the utmost urgency to begin the process of reshaping our forces on these lines. Be all that as it may, I would be the first to agree that this is merely the best that we can do in the military field; that the building of national military forces of that general kind, is the best thing we can do in our own field, and that we most certainly must do. But do not let us deceive ourselves into thinking that building national military forces of this character, or of any other character, will in itself save us in the nuclear age. I am reminded of two lines of the great pessimistic poet of the Prime Minister's generation, A. E. Housman: 2078As I strap on for fighting My sword which will not saveIn this age, swords by themselves and in themselves will save no nation.
So I return to the subject which is so transiently referred to in the White Paper—the subject of disarmament, pacification and negotiation. I know very well what a stale sound that word disarmament has in many quarters. In our time, of course, it is perfectly true that disarmament has been very largely the battle-cry of the stage army of the good. Everybody has been for it, and nobody has been willing to do the slightest thing about it.
If one thinks of disarmament in the abstract and in isolation, then it is a futile and hopeless thing. Disarmament can only come about if it is one part of a general pacification, of general negotiations and of general improvement in the relations of the great Powers. It can only come about if these desperate problems which are rending and racking the world today can be solved. It can only come about if there is a revolution in the fundamental attitude of the great Powers to each other.
When I think of what the Russian and American Governments mutually have to accept, and put up with from each other, to make nuclear disarmament possible, one is almost apt to despair, but if one does despair, let us remember that one is despairing of the whole future of the human race. After all, are there not some equally strong forces in the world which might be set against these almost insurmountable obstacles which undoubtedly stand in the way of disarmament and pacification today? Is there not an ever-growing, ever-mounting aspiration and impulse in the whole living generation of mankind—in the whole 2,500 million of us—to escape somehow from the nuclear death trap in which we find ourselves?
I believe that there is. I believe that if one great nation—and Britain, surely, is that nation—were to persist in pacification by all means and at all times as the supreme object of national policies, and if we were to do that steadfastly over the years, these apparently insurmountable obstacles might be surmounted. Surely, the time to begin negotiations is now, for there is one thing which we cannot say in the West: we cannot say that we are met with a stony refusal on the part 2079 of our opponents, the Russians, to negotiate.
Whatever their motive may be, the Russians make offer after offer to negotiate, and, so far, what has the West done with those offers? It has written them off and has ridden them off on the grounds that they are all propaganda. The Foreign Secretary told us that it was a statement and not a Note. It was delivered on the wrong kind of notepaper, apparently. We are told that at this Disarmament Conference the Russians are very indiscreet and let out secrets.
All these complaints may be true. I do not know, and I do not pretend to know, the motives behind the Russian Government's offers. It may be that they are propaganda. But I would say this, that if we do not take them up, test and try them, we shall find that they are terribly good propaganda. We shall find that the man in the paddy fields—and it is the man in the paddy fields who is decisive in this respect—will say only one thing. He will say that it appears to be the West that refuses to negotiate. Therefore, I specifically demand that the Government should take up consistently each offer that is made, test and develop it, and make counter-offers; it shall do so at the present Disarmament Conference, at the highest level, at the lowest level, and at every level. The Prime Minister would have done it, but they stopped him.
I always hear ringing in my ears these words, which I think perhaps the Prime Minister will know. They are some words of Petrarch which were used by the ill-starred Walter Rathenau, thirty years ago at the Genoa Conference. I do not think I can correctly pronounce the Italian, but their meaning is:I go on my way crying 'Peace, peace, peace'.Io vo gridando. 'Pace, pace, pace'.Is not the rôle of this country, in the years to come, to go on its way through the world, not in weakness, but in its maturity and in its healing sanity, crying, "Peace, peace, peace"?
§ 4.19 p.m.
§ The Minister of Supply (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
As Minister of Supply, I particularly welcome this debate, because, after a period of harassing fire and sniping 2080 from the Opposition, it is satisfactory to come to the full engagement.
I do not think, however, that the fields of fire of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have been very carefully co-ordinated. It is not at all clear to me how many Members of the Opposition agree about how much. Should we have the hydrogen bomb or not? Should we have conventional forces or not? Should we resist an attack by conventional forces only by conventional defence? I do not think that their attitude to these questions was made any clearer by yesterday's debate. [HON. MEMBERS: "What is the Government's attitude?"] To any hon. Member who asks that question, I would offer the advice that he should read the speech of the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton), who quoted from the White Paper, I think in an approving manner, exactly what our position is on that matter.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman, speaking, as he does, for the Government on perhaps the most important occasion in the life-time of the Government, at any rate make the Government's position clear on one all-important matter—that is, the matter on which I asked my right hon. Friend just now: are the Government committed or are they not committed to the proposition which my right hon. Friend quoted yesterday from Field Marshal Montgomery: namely, that this country, in common with N.A.T.O. generally, would resist by thermo-nuclear weapons any aggression, even if that aggression were limited to conventional weapons?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I will put the answer shortly by referring the hon. Gentleman to the passage in the White Paper which was quoted by his hon. Friend yesterday.
The only practical course to follow under these circumstances seems to me to build up a nuclear deterrent and to develop and modernise our conventional forces, and in both these tasks, development and production, the efforts of the Ministry of Supply are vital. I therefore propose to deal, in the main, with the latter part of the Amendment, the so-called "grave and admitted deficiencies" and the expenditure of the £4,000 million.
I want to say something to the House of the achievements of British scientists, technicians, managers and craftsmen in 2081 the establishments and factories over which I, as Minister of Supply, have control or with which the Ministry has dealings. I propose, if I have time, to say something about guided weapons, aircraft, aero-engines, radar and electronics, tanks, guns, vehicles and ammunition. I concede that those who believe that all defence expenditure is a waste of time will not be very interested, but I believe that they are a very small minority of the House and, indeed, of the country.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I think most people are anxious to hear the facts.
Before I come to these topics, may I say a word about the speech of the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey)? About disarmament: if I may introduce a personal note, I have been negotiating with the Russians upon these matters for three years, and on 6th December I made a speech in detail showing that again and again Her Majesty's Government have taken the initiative in putting these proposals forward to the Soviet Union.
If there is any sincerity in this talk on disarmament at present, the Soviet Government have only to make the discussions going on at Lancaster House a success. Mr. Vyshinsky said that they would accept the Anglo-French proposals as a basis, and I should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman might have given this country and the French Government a little credit for having put those proposals forward. If the Soviet Government will only discuss these proposals in a reasonable manner—and I put definite questions at the discussion with Mr. Vyshinsky in the General Assembly at the United Nations—then progress can be made and can be made quickly on a practical scheme for disarmament. It is not enough just to say,Peace, peace, peace.Turning to matters within the field of the Ministry of Supply, I will begin, if I may, with the supply of military aircraft. May I remind the House of certain basic factors? The first of these is the rate of advance in aeronautical achievement. The Wright brothers' first flight in 1903 was at a speed of 30 miles per hour. Twenty-eight years later we won the Schneider Trophy with a 2082 speed of 340 miles per hour. Today, aircraft have been produced which can do the speed of sound at sea level—761 miles per hour. It has taken roughly fifty years to get from scratch to the speed of sound, but it looks as though it will take only another seven to ten years to develop fighting machines which will go two to two-and-a-half times the speed of sound.
Secondly, it is one thing to make flying machines which will travel at these tremendous speeds and another thing to produce a fighting machine. I have a feeling that when the man in the street hears that a machine has travelled at twice the speed of sound he at once feels that the Royal Air Force ought to be equipped with such an aircraft and he does not realise that those speeds have probably been achieved by a research aircraft carrying only a pilot and a minimum of equipment, an aircraft perhaps being lifted off the ground by another aircraft, flown at a high speed for a short time and then glided down to a runway ten miles long.
Producing a weapon system, that is to say an aircraft which can fight at such a speed with the appropriate armament, radar and wireless, capable of combat manoeuvre, with reasonable endurance, forming a stable gun platform and able to take off and land at any reasonably-sized airfield is a totally different matter.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The third factor is the increasing complexity of military aircraft themselves. A pre-war bomber carried less than 150 lb. in weight of radio and electrical equipment. The latest bomber carries 9,000 lb. weight. The length of electrical cable in a modern fighter is about six miles, compared with two miles in a last-war type. The figures for a bomber are 19½ miles compared with six miles. The number of radio valves has risen from 50 in wartime to 1,000, and in a fighter from 20 to 140.
And all this equipment has to operate with greater reliability and under much more difficult conditions of temperature and stress. The electric power required by a bomber in the last war was 10 kilo-Watts, and in a modern bomber it is 90 kiloWatts. In 1940, a fighter weighed 2¾ tons. A modern fighter may weigh today four or five times as much.
2083 This has greatly increased the complexity, and the much higher performances required involve new problems in aerodynamics, structures and other fields. The approach to and the progress beyond the sound barrier, and no doubt in due course the so-called heat barrier, is one of the most serious problems facing those designing aircraft.
Another basic factor is the length of time which it takes to develop a new breed of aircraft. To take an example from twenty years ago, the evolution of the Spitfire began with the Schneider Trophy monoplane of 1927–31. The specification which led up to the Spitfire was issued to industry in 1935 and large-scale production was not achieved until 1940. The corresponding period in the case of the Hunter was from 1948, when the specification was issued, to 1955.
To take a modern bomber, the Canberra, which was not an aeronautical revolution but, because of the application of jet power, was a very important advance, it was conceived in 1944 and it went into service in1951. The specification of the Valiant was issued in 1948 and it is now just beginning to enter service. To take an example from the other side of the Atlantic, it has recently been announced that the contract for the B52 bomber was placed in 1946, and it is not yet fully in service.
One of the major matters which is constantly agitating everybody on both sides of the House, I should have thought, is how to reduce that time. It is always possible to achieve greater speed of development but at the expense of quality. It is quite true that the Russians appear to have produced the MIG 15 remarkably quickly after British Nene engines reached them in 1947, but it is not known for what period of time before that the aircraft had been designed and developed. But the MIG 15, despite some good aspects of performance, has plenty of defects. As everybody knows, it did not do at all well in Korea against the Sabre.
We have been considering ways to reduce this time without sacrificing quality, and I propose to deal with some of them, if I may, a little later—shorter steps in design, the development batch procedure and a firm policy on modification. But the broad conclusions which 2084 I have formed is that it is impossible to avoid having to plan six or seven or eight years ahead, and this involves the difficulty of long-range assessments of the nature and quality of a potential threat and it also involves equally difficult judgments of what may be technically possible within such a short space of time.
The positive action begun by one Administration may not bear fruit during their period of office, although it may well be that their sins of omission or commission may handicap their successors. It will also be seen that we have not unlimited resources in this country. The field for manoeuvre is restricted, and when a large development and production programme is well under way the scrapping of it is a very serious matter.
Against that background of the speed of aeronautical advance, the complexity of modern aircraft, and the length of time required for development, I want to examine Her Majesty's Government's record over the last few years. I put these points forward not to make excuses, but because they are the background and it is only fair to the Opposition, who had responsibility for so much of the time, that they should be understood by everybody.
I confess that I was a little surprised at the choice of players for the team being fielded by the Opposition this evening. I understand the great indictment and culmination of this major political campaign is that the Government have failed to produce military aircraft. It is odd, to say the least of it, that the Opposition have dropped two ex-Ministers, the former Minister of Supply and the former Secretary of State for Air, who held the primary responsibility. I suppose they are handicapped by knowing something about the matter under discussion.
Those two former Ministers have not been asked to play, but, instead, the forward line has been reinforced by two rather erratic performers, the hon. Member for Aston (Mr. Wyatt) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee, West. Perhaps it was the only way to get the right hon. Gentleman into the Lobby in favour of the Amendment. But there is one player still undisclosed in the forward line, and that is who is playing outside left? Is it the hon. Member for 2085 Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), or is it someone higher up? Perhaps we will learn in the course of the debate.
What is the charge against us? The Opposition cannot have it both ways. They cannot smirk smugly when anything good is said about British aircraft or equipment and claim the credit, and, at the same time, say we have no defence, no aircraft. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) showed signs of realising where all this propaganda was going to lead him, and he was much more cautious than some of his colleagues. But the general case was put up by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee, West on 23rd February when he put this supplementary question to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence:Should not the Minister be pleased that no formal machinery exists to allocate the aircraft, as no aircraft exists either."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd February, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 1255.]There was no uncertainty or ambiguity about the hon. Member for Aston for, quite clearly, at the end of his speech yesterday, he said:The Government, on their own showing, have failed in production. …Today, we live in a completely defenceless island. … They have spent some £700 million on the development of aircraft and have practically no aircraft."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 2009.]That is the case which is put against us.
Just a word about the situation when we came into office in November, 1951. There were an astounding number of aircraft on order. Many of those orders were placed since the Korean War had broken out, and they were placed in an emergency. I do not think that anyone could complain about any panic action taken if it were taken in an emergency, but, looking back, one wonders how they thought it was financially or physically possible for such a programme to be achieved.
Mr. R. H. S. Grossman (Coventry, East)
That is what we said.
§ Mr. Lloyd
A certain amount of sorting out and tidying up had to be done when we came to office. There was considerable overloading and in the light of the international situation and the country's economic capabilities progress had to be reviewed and changes made. As I told the House the other day, of over 1,000 Venoms ordered in the first months of 1951, 750 were cancelled. To take another example, of the Canberras ordered before November, 1951, about one-third were cancelled. I am stating facts. I am not making any complaints.
Now we come to the production record since this Government came to office. The indictment is that we have produced no aircraft, but between November, 1951, and the end of January, 1955, the total number of aircraft delivered to the Services was 5,500, and if the estimated deliveries for February and March are added the total is nearly 6,000.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I will in a minute.
It is spread fairly thinly over the three years. The types supplied include Canberras, Meteors, Vampires, Venoms, Sea Hawks, and Sea Venoms. About one-eighth are jet trainers, the vital backing to a jet propelled front line, and they include over 200 Hunters. The super-priority scheme which we introduced in 1952 undoubtedly contributed greatly to the results achieved by removing bottlenecks at a time when the supplies of many raw materials were extremely scarce.
The hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) said yesterday that only recently, and certainly never before, had he heard that super-priority had been extended to the Canberras or to other bombers. He said that all that my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Air had done was to make some very vague reference to it in another place in April, 1952. What my noble Friend said on 3rd April, 1952, was:The super-priority system will cover, in addition to these three fighters, the Canberra, the Valiant and the equipment for the control and reporting system."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 3rd April, 1952; Vol. 175, c. 1404.]
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
At least the Minister will admit that the Prime Minister told the House of Commons that super-priority applied to fighters. He said not one word about bombers. The House of Commons was not told that fact until yesterday.
§ Mr. F. Beswick (Uxbridge) rose—
§ Mr. Lloyd
No, I will not give way, I have a long speech to make.
It is contended that many of the aircraft delivered are obsolete aircraft. If that is true one wonders why they were ever ordered. For example, if the Venom night fighter is as ineffective as some hon. Members wish to represent, why were 400 of them ordered by the late Administration in 1951. Over 200 were ordered in September and October, 1951, at a time when delivery dates were well known to extend up to the middle of 1954.
§ Mr. Beswick rose—
Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles Mac-Andrew)
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not give way, the hon. Member must resume his seat.
§ Mr. Lloyd
In fact, they are not obsolete aircraft. The majority of them are useful interim types. Some, like the Canberra and the Hunter, are very much better than that. It may be said, of course, that every aircraft delivered into service is obsolescent. It is in every country, in the sense of getting out of date at the time it goes into service since there is, or there should be under development its successor. There are many people in this country who do what the Prime Minister referred to yesterday, that is, compare what we have now with what a potential enemy will have in three or four years' time.
I remind the House again of the limitations within which this production has been achieved. The White Paper on the Supply of Military Aircraft refers to some of them—the limitations upon the research and development programme, the decision that 1957 should be the planning date, the decision about manned supersonic flight, the fact that no interim swept-wing fighter was developed for operational service and the ordering of only a few prototypes.
In 1950, 156,000 people were employed on the manufacture and repair of aircraft. In 1952, that figure had risen to 200,000, an increase of almost one-third, and that at a time of full employment. This is a skilled industry and a dilution to that extent in two years meant tremendous problems for both management and labour. Anybody who knows anything about industry will realise the force of that fact
In some quarters it has been suggested that what is now needed is a kind of "Big Brother" Beaverbrook to hustle on and energise our production. That is a complete misunderstanding of our needs. At present, our difficulty is essentially one of development and not of production, as my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery) pointed out last night. Of course, there are 2089 deficiencies in our defence, in the sense that there are things which we should like to have but which we either cannot have or have not yet got, but that is quite different from saying that we are defenceless. We are far from defenceless against the present threat.
As far as bombers are concerned, the Canberra light bomber came into service in 1951. Its success is well known and is confirmed by the American adoption of it for the B.57.
§ Mr. Arthur Henderson (Rowley Regis and Tipton)
I am quite sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not want it to go out of the House that the decision of the present Government to cancel orders for 750 Venoms and 300 or 400 Canberras, to which he referred, was taken because of any lack of faith in these types of aircraft. Will he make it clear that it was taken because, as an alternative to "Plan H," which was operating in 1951 when the change of Government took place and which provided for a very large front line of between 3,000 and 4,000 aircraft, decisions were taken, rightly or wrongly, by the present Government to have a front line strength much lower than that of Plan H and, therefore, a good many of these aircraft were not necessary and that is why the orders were cancelled? I should be grateful if the right hon. and learned Gentleman would make that point clear.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The cancellation certainly does not represent any lack of faith in the Canberra or the Venom and I was making no criticism of the fact that the orders had been given. I was saying that some of them had to be cancelled.
I am sure that the performance of the Canberra is considerably better than that of which its Russian equivalent is believed to be capable. The Valiant is now entering squadron service with the R.A.F. Although less advanced in design and performance than the other two V-bombers, it will add greatly to the United Kingdom's deterrent strength. As a medium bomber, the Valiant's performance is superior to that of any comparable aircraft in service.
The Victor and the Vulcan are progressing well both in development and production and, before long, I hope will materially reinforce the deterrent, since their performance will be substantially 2090 superior to that of the Valiant. I have seen the production lines of both the Valiant and the Vulcan and I am certain that every possible step is being taken to press on with the production of these two aircraft.
In the sphere of day fighters, I believe that the Hunter is now over its main development troubles. Some R.A.F. squadrons are equipped with Hunters and some are being equipped. The hon. Member for Aston made some adverse comments about the Hunter yesterday. He said that he understoodthat the Ministry of Supply has now told the firm to cut down the building of this aircraft from 30 a month to 25 a month until certain alterations and processes are completed.On that piece of information the hon. Member is over two years out of date.
The second point which he made was thatIt has never had adequate supplies of parts, and super-priority has not been able to give it even a smooth flow of copper piping.The hon. Member is wrong about that. There have been no shortages which have affected production.
He said that there had been too many modifications and thatThere have been 325 modifications of the Hunter Mark I alone.That is more or less accurate. It is a normal process of development to make these modifications. During the development of the Canberra up to 1951, 323 modifications were made. Anybody who knows anything at all about it, knows that these processes go on all the time.
The hon. Member's fourth point was thatWhen this plane first flew in the autumn of 1951, it was discovered that the air brakes were completely unsatisfactory, and it was not until last summer, nearly three years later, that manufacture began on the modification to make the air brakes work."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 2002.]The inference to be drawn from that is that nothing was done in the intervening period. In fact, three different types of air brakes were tried until one was found which was successful, and that is the one which is incorporated now in the aircraft.
The hon. Member's fifth comment was about the modification to the wing. This modification is an arrangement for carrying extra fuel. It is not true to describe it as a modification of the wing, but it 2091 enables later marks to perform certain alternative rôles. It is part of the normal process of development within the specification.
Then we come to the question of the Hunter's guns and whether they fire or not. The problem of engine stalling caused by the firing of the guns has been very much exaggerated. In the first place, it affects significantly only certain marks of Hunter and those are not the latest marks. It is only liable to happen in certain conditions of extreme altitude. The nature of the problem is well understood and measures to eliminate it are well advanced.
If war were to begin tomorrow the Hunter could go into action as an extremely effective fighter, comparing favourably with any other in general service in any other country and capable of dealing adequately with anything any enemy can send against us in the next few years. I submit, therefore, that the campaign by certain Members of the Opposition to denigrate this fine aircraft has been proved a complete flop.
§ Mr. Woodrow Wyatt (Birmingham, Aston)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that my information was two years out of date. It was given to me two days ago by a deputation of shop stewards from the Hunter factory [Laughter.]. I do not know why it is thought funny that men who carry out the work on the aircraft should give accurate information. They themselves had been told only last week by the firm that the Ministry of Supply had told the firm that it was to cut down its aim of manufacturing 30 aircraft a month to 25 aircraft a month until June. That was the excuse given to them by the firm for various rearrangements which it was making.
These men also told me that they did not have a sufficient supply and flow of copper piping to carry out much of the work which was required on the aircraft. They also gave me much of the other information which I gave yesterday to the House. It would be a very good thing if the Minister of Supply sometimes looked behind the information which he receives from managements, who are in receipt of comfortable subsidies from the Government, and really found out what was going on.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The hon. Member did not reveal the source of his information at the time which would have enabled me to check what was alleged to have been said, but on such information as he gave yesterday I have made my checks this morning, and I understand that what I have told the House is accurate and in accordance with the facts.
The Fleet Air Arm is almost entirely equipped with turbine-engined aircraft. The Sea Hawk and Sea Venom, although interim types, are capable of giving a good account of themselves as day and all-weather fighters, respectively. The Sea Hawk is already in service in substantial numbers and the Sea Venom is coming into Service in increasing numbers. The Gannet is also in squadron service with the Royal Navy and is operating satisfactorily. It is extremely well-equipped for its role of submarine detecting and hunting.
Now, I come to the Swift. I will endeavour to give the House the fullest possible information about this aircraft. As was explained in the White Paper on aircraft production, Messrs. Vickers Super marine had completed by 1948 a research aircraft with a Nene engine. That had not been taken up by the Government for development as an operational aircraft. When the Korean war broke out and the previous Government were looking about for combat aircraft, they decided—I have never failed to say that I think they were right to do so—to develop a swept-wing fighter out of this research aircraft. They decided, however, to take advantage of the extra power offered by the Avon engine and to substitute that engine for the Nene. The structure of the research aircraft had been designed for the possibility of carrying four 20-millimetre Hispano cannon in the wings.
When the then Government ordered, in 1950, an operational version of this aircraft, they decided to put four 30-millimetre Aden cannon into the nose of the aircraft. These decisions—I quarrel with none of them—about a different engine, the introduction of an armament quite different from that for which struc- 2093 tural provision had been made, together with the installation of the full range of equipment needed for operational use, obviously made it necessary radically to alter the original design.
The Government were told that the first mark of the aircraft could be built to take only two Aden guns but that after that a second mark could be produced to carry four Aden guns. It was also early decided that a third mark could be produced in which the engine would have a device known as re-heat to give a greater rate of climb; re-heat, whereby additional fuel is burned in the tail-pipe to add thrust. In the course of the development of these versions, it was concluded that better control would be obtained by having a variable incidence tail, and it was decided to incorporate that in the Mark IV.
At the time that these early decisions were taken, only two prototypes were ordered. The first production order was placed in the same month as the order for the prototype—that is, in November, 1950. This, indeed, was an aircraft ordered off the drawing board with a vengeance, and it was largely to these early decisions that the intolerable delays to which the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss) referred have been due.
Work was put in hand. It was not until May, 1953, that the first aircraft representative of the Swift Mark IV flew, and this was the mark to which the greater part of the orders for Swifts for the Royal Air Force relate. I do not think any reasonable person would suggest that any order should have been cancelled before that date.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss (Vauxhall)
I should like this to be made quite clear. I gather from what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said so far that he has endorsed every single decision and step taken by the previous Administration in deciding which aeroplanes were to be ordered and when they were ordered.
§ Mr. A. Henderson
Is it not also a fact that the present Government ordered quite a large number of Swifts after they came into office?
§ Mr. Lloyd
It is quite true that the number now being built, or recently being built, was brought up in, I think, August, 1952, by the present Government. It was not quite as large as the order of the previous Government. There was a later order, which was not put into execution, early in 1953, and it was in May, 1953, that the first representative aircraft flew.
I will now say what happened after that date. May and June, 1953, were occupied by flight testing. In July, there was an engine compressor blade failure, which caused all the Swifts to be grounded for two months. Testing was resumed in September and in November it was possible to send an aircraft to Boscombe Down. That aircraft had the misfortune to crash, and the pilot was killed. It was replaced in December by the next available aircraft off the production line, and Boscombe Down was able to begin its acceptance trials.
In January, 1954, there was a limited release of the Marks I and II to enable crews to get practical experience of the aircraft as early as possible. That was done in the expectation of substantial improvements in later marks, and one Royal Air Force squadron was equipped with Marks I and II. Continuous testing and trials went on with a view to curing a major defect—tightening in turns—which had been found at Boscombe Down. This involved the re-design of the wing, and this re-designing took until October, 1954.
There would have been nothing very abnormal about these troubles in the development of the aircraft had they taken place on a development batch. The difficulty was that the production orders had already been placed, to give a sufficient output of aircraft to enable the Royal Air Force to be equipped speedily should the aircraft prove to be successful, and should it be accepted for service.
It has already been announced that Marks I to III of the Swift will not be used operationally. About 60 aircraft of those three marks have been produced. Although improvements have recently been made to the Mark IV, it is not considered that more than a limited number 2095 of them should be completed. Further Hunters will be ordered to replace the cancelled Swifts.
It may be said that the extent of the disappointment with the Swift should have been realised earlier and that steps should have been taken at an earlier stage to reduce the money spent upon it. Such steps were taken. Follow-on orders were not placed, as they would have been placed had the development been proceeding with complete success. The manufacturers themselves did not begin production of the total number ordered and during the past few months, in close consultation with us, they have been reducing the industrial effort on the Swift with a view to saving public money in case a later cancellation should be necessary.
As I pointed out earlier, when a programme of this magnitude is begun and is well under way, it is most serious to make a major cancellation. In these matters it is always necessary to rely upon the best technical advice available, and it was only in February this year that those whose responsibility it is to give that advice were able to say that it was no longer likely that within a reasonable time—that is a very important point—the Swift could be made to match the Hunter in its performance as an intercepter fighter.
To sum up, the production of this aircraft was ordered off the drawing board, only two prototypes were ordered, there was no development batch, and a number of accidents retarded the development processes. There is one further point. When I came to my present office in October, the Hunter, as well as the Swift, was still in difficulties, and the decisive factor, apart from what I have said, about the Swift in the Government's present decision has been the success of the Hunter, which was not fully assured until the end of last year.
Of course, it is an unsatisfactory story. Any comparative failure is deeply to be regretted, but it is most foolish to believe that every plan will succeed. I believe that the United States Navy cancelled over £300 million worth of orders only the other day because aircraft did not come up to expectations in aerodynamics. It is impossible to embark on a programme of the magnitude of that 2096 which right hon. Gentlemen opposite began, and which we have carried on, without there being comparative failures of this sort. But the decisive element in the decision that has been taken has been the success of the Hunter.
§ Mr. Shinwell
This is a very interesting story, but would the right hon. and learned Gentleman not agree that in view of the difficulties, which must have been apparent to the then Government, because of what he has said about the lack of development of the Swift, and because of the Korean emergency, we did the right thing by ordering Sabres, F86s, to deal with that situation? The right hon. and learned Gentleman has not said a word about that.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I think the right hon. Gentleman was quite right to do that. I hope he will be equally generous in praising the decisions taken by us. As I indicated earlier, we seem to get on a little better in these matters with the two right hon. Gentlemen who know something about them than with many other hon. Members.
When I said that we endorsed every decision taken by the previous Government, I must make a qualification with regard to the number of orders for prototypes, but I agree that it is easy to be wise after the event.
§ Mr. Strauss
On this important question of the number of prototypes ordered, the right hon. and learned Gentleman said that that was one matter on which he disagreed with the decisions of the previous Government. Will he not agree that until last year this was the accepted practice of all Governments, accepted by all technicians, and it was never challenged when we ordered two prototypes?
§ Mr. Shinwell
Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman replies, is he aware that at no time have I sought any approbation for what we have done? I would remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman that only the other day, in 2097 reply to a Question I put, he accorded unsought approbation. Moreover, I had in mind all the time what the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister used to say of us when we were in the Government, and now I discover that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has to concede what was well known to the people inside, namely, that we had done everything possible in the then circumstances—[Laughter.] I do not detect anything remarkably humorous in the fact that the right hon. and learned Gentleman at long last has conceded the point that no mistakes were made by the previous Government.
§ Mr. Shinwell
It is what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said. He cannot try to have it both ways.
§ Mr. Lloyd
What I said was that in the situation of 1950—and there was a good deal of history before 1950—in the light of decisions which had been taken beforehand, at that time the Government were right to do what they did to try to get a Hunter and a Swift as quickly as they could. With regard to the point which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Vauxhall mentioned, I will come to that, if I am allowed, a little later.
§ Mr. David Logan (Liverpool, Scotland Division)
I thank the Minister for giving way. Perhaps I can now get something that I did not get yesterday. Incidentally, there seem to be superior persons in this House who think that, when they get up, they ought to be answered. I have been here for 25 years, and yesterday I had to go through the ordeal of cries of "Order, order," by people who knew less about the subject than I knew. The question I want to ask is pertinent. Do the Government really think—whether there has been a deficiency in armaments or not—that they are now on the right lines as regards equipment, and are therefore able to give protection to the British people and to the people of Europe through the steps that they are taking today? That is all I am concerned about.
2098 I am not concerned about my generation but about that of my grandchildren. My day, like that of the Prime Minister, is very short now, and there will not be many future birthdays. I want to know if we are now doing the best we can to ensure full liberty. When we approach other people they ought to be made conscious of their responsibility. They may say they are willing to sit down at a table and sort things out but, if they are not willing, then we must protect ourselves. So I ask the Minister, are the Government giving proper protection? Is it to be with bombs or is it to be with bladders?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I am very glad indeed to give way to one who, if I may say so, is a very old friend. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that it is my honest conviction that we are taking the necessary steps, and that this country is at present capable of defending itself against what a potential enemy is capable of directing against it. That is my honest opinion.
Before I leave that aspect of the matter, may I deal with a point which was taken up about defence by night? I admit fully that our Venom and Meteor night fighters are interim types, that they are slower and more lightly armoured than the latest fighters, but they are a great advance on their predecessors—which is no doubt why the late Government placed the orders for them. Other countries may have aircraft capable of taking the air by night and which may be in some respects superior. However, in the assessment of air defence by night, various factors have to be taken into account.
First, with regard to the aircraft themselves, one has to consider the crew carried—in our conditions two-seaters are much more effective than single-seaters—the type of engine, the maximum speed at various heights, the rate of climb, the armament, and the rate and the weight of fire, the radar equipment carried in the aircraft itself, including range and sweep, the ground equipment directing the aircraft towards its target, the control and warning system, and the serviceability of all these items of equipment. There is also obviously the point of the geographical extent of the area to be defended, and the ease with which resources can be deployed to defend that area.
Taking all these matters into consideration, I repeat categorically that it is the 2099 view of the Government, on the best advice obtainable, that the statement in the White Paper is a truthful and accurate account of the present situation, however irritating and unpalatable it may be to certain people.
Now I pass to the subject of aero engines. Not much has been said so far about them. I should have thought that those who spend so much time and energy in drawing attention, not always on a factual basis, to the areas of development where we have encountered difficulties, might have had the fairness to refer also to the almost unqualified success of our aero engines. In the 10 years following the introduction of the turbo-jet into service, power has increased six-fold, specific fuel consumption has been reduced by a quarter, specific weight—weight per lb. of thrust—has been halved. Thrust per square foot of frontal area has increased six-fold, and service life between overhauls has increased three-fold.
The pre-eminence of British gas-turbine engines is perhaps best shown by the fact that about 20 manufacturing licences have been negotiated in nine different countries for nine different engines. More are pending, and American manufacturers have taken options to manufacture the majority of United Kingdom turbine engines. Several different British designed turbine engines have been adopted for service with the United States forces.
We are being blamed for mess and muddle in the production field, but I chink these facts ought to be known. Since 1st November, 1951, more than 12,300 engines will have been delivered for use in military aircraft in this country, and this has been achieved at the same time as intensive development of aero engines for civil aircraft and for sale overseas.
I now come to the question of guided weapons—
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not give way, the hon. Member must resume his seat.
There can be no point of order on that really, but I will listen to the hon. Member.
The hon. Gentleman knows perefectly well that that is not a point of order. Mr. Selwyn Lloyd.
§ Mr. Wyatt
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has now given way to me. At the beginning of his speech, he admitted that there had been certain deficiencies with regard to Government planning in relation to modifications to aircraft. He told us he was going to say something about the new system for putting modifications into effect and checking too great a number. He has said nothing about it. Will he do so?
§ Mr. Lloyd
That shows how wrong I was in trying to be fair to the hon. Gentleman. I ought not to have given way to him. I shall be coming to that point.
With regard to guided weapons, we have none in operational service at the present time. It has been stated that the United States has some guided weapons. Is that a "grave and admitted" deficiency. Is that one of the matters for which the Opposition are blaming the Government? Yes? No? Or do they not know?
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that most of the criticism that has come to him about the lack of aircraft and the delays and so forth has come from his own side of the House? The criticism has come from hon. Members opposite just as much as it has from this side of the House.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware—by the way, I wish the Prime Minister would not always assume that nobody but himself knows anything about this subject—that 18 months ago—[Interruption]—why cannot the Prime Minister be quiet for a change?—the present Minister of Works came to the House and asked permission to make a statement on guided missiles, in the course of which he pretended that the guided missiles were not only in course 2101 of development but would soon be in production? That is on the record 18 months ago. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) asked the right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) a question on the subject, and he repeated that statement. Therefore, we are entitled to ask the Government where the guided missiles are.
§ Mr. Lloyd
This is a motion of censure for "grave and admitted deficiencies." I am asking whether this is one of the "grave and admitted deficiencies." Does not the right hon. Gentleman know what deficiencies he is talking about? He nods his head, and so he means "Yes." Then this is one of the "admitted deficiencies". I shall, therefore, proceed on the assumption that this is one of the matters for which we are being blamed.
I do not propose to praise or to blame the decisions of the previous Government in this field. It may have been right to do practically nothing at all about guided weapons until 1947. It may have been right to decide, in 1947, that only research should be undertaken, and that that research should be done almost entirely in Government establishments. It may have been right not to place the development contracts until 1949 and then only for two weapons. It may have been right for right hon. Gentlemen opposite to leave office in October, 1951, without any production contracts placed and without even development contracts for certain important types of weapon. It may have been right to lag back three or four years behind the United States. It may have been right in relation to the circumstances of national resources to do all those things.
However, what is wrong is for those who have been responsible for all that to come along and blame this Government because we have not got guided weapons in service. The hon. Member for Aston talked about certain American cities being ringed with sites for guided weapons. He 2102 knows, or ought to know, that the development contract for that weapon was placed in 1946—nine years ago. That is the length of time. One cannot get guided weapons by making speeches and asking questions about them. There has to be research. Industrial resources have to be built up. There have to be development contracts, and protracted tests and trials have to take place, and then there have to be production contracts.
We are now making reasonably good progress, the pace of which has been governed by the decisions of six or seven years ago. Technically, the programme is going well, although there are many difficult problems and snags ahead. There is a useful exchange with the United States under the arrangements made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government when he held my present office.
In spite of the lead of the United States in this field, I do not think the lead has been increased. I have seen for myself some of the work that has been done. I have met the leading representatives of the major firms which are engaged in the task, and I have surveyed the whole programme with them. They are satisfied with their capacity to carry it out in spite of the other growing demands upon them.
I am anxious about one matter, and I will tell the House frankly what it is. It is the capacity to carry through without delay the extensive trials and tests which will be necessary. I think the capacity for that has to be enlarged. We are most grateful for the help which has been given to us by the Australian Government over the all-important range at Woomera. I assure the House that in this important field there is a sense of real urgency. Production orders have been placed for one weapon. I expect other orders to follow this year. Although my advisers and I sigh for the lost years, every effort is being made to achieve success.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is now bringing in his advisers and trying to criticise the Opposition by suggesting that his technical advisers, his civil servants, are complaining of the action or inaction of the previous Government. That is really a very serious thing, parliamentary, to do, quite apart from the general constitutional 2103 position. Is he not aware that the actions which we took on these highly technical matters were on the advice of, apparently, the same technicians and technical advisers who are now regretting the advice which they gave to a previous Administration? Is not that a ridiculous situation?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The right hon. Gentleman has not correctly quoted what I said. I said that I was not going to praise or blame the decisions that were taken. I also said that it was wrong for those who had been responsible for those decisions to blame this Government for having no guided weapons in service. The reasons for the earlier decisions may have been right; the years may have been lost for reasons which are right, having regard to the national resources.
§ Mr. A. Henderson rose—
§ Mr. Henderson
I do not want to raise an unnecessary point, but the right hon. and learned Gentleman has made a statement to which, if it were made by a Labour Minister, he would have taken the greatest exception. I challenge him to produce any evidence that any of the advisers in the Air Ministry came to me with propositions for the development of guided missiles and that they were turned down. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has talked about the "wasted years." He has now brought in the advisers. I ask him to withdraw his statement that the advisers that he has today stated to him that they were blocked by the inaction of the previous Government.
I hope that hon. Members will not shout "twister" across the Chamber. It is most disorderly.
§ Mr. Lloyd
It is extraordinary how certain hon. Members opposite are willing to give it, but are very reluctant to take it.
The development of the guided weapons effort can best be measured by a financial comparison. For the financial year 1955–56 we should spend in industry on the guided weapons programme 10 times more than in 1951 and 100 times more than in 1949.
Now I come to electronics, another aspect of defence development. This includes airborne radar, radio communications, navigation aids, and ground equipment, which is an essential part of any defence chain. Production for the year ended 31st March, 1954, was five times that of the year ended March, 1950. This increase has been accompanied by larger exports of the electronics industry, £29.3 million in 1954 as compared with £18.2 million in 1950 which is an increase of more than 50 per cent. I think that these figures make the remark of the hon. Member for Aston about T.V. sets last night sound very silly.
The United Kingdom control and reporting system is the best in the world.
§ Mr. Wyatt rose—
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not give way, the hon. Member for Aston must resume his seat.
That is the same question I was asked before, and I said that it was not a point of order.
The custom is that if the hon. Member who has the Floor of the House does not give way, then the hon. Member who has risen to interrupt him must sit down.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I was dealing with the United Kingdom control and reporting system, which I stated was the best in the world. In view of the campaign of denigration which has been going on, I have no hesitation in stating that fact. It may sound boastful, but on the other hand I do believe that the British people who have made such sacrifices for the defence of the free world during the last few years are entitled to know of our successes as well as of our alleged failures.
Completely new control and reporting equipment has been installed since 1952, giving big improvements in both performance and reliability. It is manned by Royal Air Force operators whose training and experience are second to none, and whose skill enables them to handle the complex equipment with high efficiency. A new navigation and bombing system of very high performance has been developed since 1948, and production has begun. Another aircraft navigation system based on entirely new principles has been developed and is in production.
Electronic equipment is the essence of modern anti-submarine war. Not only is the British Sonobuoy system in service with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, but so successful has it been that the United States has decided to purchase a large part of the system for use by their own Forces.
Electronics are of great importance to the Army. There is a very large development programme involved in the conversion of all regimental wireless communication to very high frequency. New ground radar equipment of greatly improved performance has been supplied to the Army and the N.A.T.O. countries, to whom about £5 million worth has been supplied.
2106 Other matters with which I should like to have dealt had I not been assisted so much in this speech, would have included re-equipment of the Army with Centurion tanks and the sale of over £100 million worth of these tanks overseas. After plenty of development difficulties, the Conqueror is now beginning to be issued to the Army. Ammunition production is now five times what it was in 1950. We have delivered over 50 million dollars worth of ammunition under the American offshore purchase programme, and design and production of the new Battalion antitank gun is proceeding fast, and production began within two and a half years of design—a project inaugurated by the right hon. Member for Easington. Over £200 million worth of work on wheeled vehicles has been done since November, 1951.
In spite of some disappointments and some delays and many difficulties, in general the production effort of British industry and in particular of the aircraft industry during the past three years, is not deserving of the sweeping censures that have been directed at it. I believe that any fair-minded person considering the figures which I have given to the House this afternoon—
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
What about the "Daily Telegraph" and the "Manchester Guardian"?
§ Mr. Lloyd
As to the future, I think that it would be quite foolish to suggest that the processes of development are not capable of improvement. The appendix to the White Paper on aircraft supply sets out some of the issues which have to be considered. First, there is the question of research. It is essential to maintain a research programme sufficiently far ahead of current development to provide a general fund of knowledge upon aerodynamic problems so that as they are encountered during development processes the problems can be understood and solved. I think that in this country 2107 we have some of the best brains in the world working upon these matters, and I need refer only to the quality of the work revealed in the Comet inquiry.
Secondly, we have already put into operation the development batch procedure about which I was questioned. If one had to select a single factor which more than another has led to difficulties and disappointments it is the inadequate number of prototypes ordered in case after case. That mistake will never be made again. In the only case with which this Government was concerned, the P.I. Fighter, a development batch of 20 was ordered.
Some reference was made at Question Time on Monday to the question of modifications. There are some modifications which have to be made, those which are essential for safety and those which are essential to bring the aircraft up to an acceptable operational standard. These are those which have to be done however much they delay production. If one did not make safety modifications, we should unnecessarily be risking lives. If the aircraft are not brought up to an acceptable operational standard, then one may end with the aircraft not being brought into service at all. The Hunter airbrakes are examples of that type of modification.
There is a second category of modification which is designed to extend the performance of the aircraft. It is with regard to this second category that great care must be exercised. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that they must be phased into the production stage only when they do not delay production. As I stated on Monday, it has been found possible to make certain modifications to the three V-bombers without delaying production.
Then there is the wisdom of taking shorter steps. It is clear that a step of ten years between an aircraft and its successor is too long; the swept-wing fighter story has proved that. We have indicated earlier the particular projects upon which we are working. We are working on a variety of supersonic projects. There are some 11 projects with supersonic aircraft now being worked on. We have the plans drawn up, and technical resources, but we must guard against having too many projects, and also avoid again being left in the lurch if certain projects have to be eliminated.
2108 We are at present, I think, striking the proper balance between straining technical and financial resources by too many projects and ensuring something being developed in good time. We have to secure the greatest possible co-operation between the manufacturers, the Ministry of Supply, and the Air Ministry, or the Service Ministry concerned.
Yesterday the hon. Member for Aston said something about the development of the Javelin, and I will deal with that in order to dispose of what he said. We believe that the Javelin will be the most advanced all-weather fighter. Development on it is making good progress. On the other hand, as everyone knows, three aircraft have been lost in accidents during the last 2½ years.
When an aircraft of that size and weight is approaching the speed of sound aerodynamic problems are bound to be encountered. For example, the effect of shock waves on particular features of design can only be determined by flying experience. When hon. Members opposite urge us on to greater speeds they should bear in mind that these aerodynamic problems can only be discovered by testing. We have not at the present time the large-scale wind tunnels—we shall not have them for a short time yet—in which experiments may be carried out.
These machines can only be tested at high speeds by the courage of the brave men who fly them. When it is said, "Get on, get on with the programme," one has to remember that vital point. There is a field of knowledge about aeroplanes which can only be discovered by flying them under those conditions, and the whole business is not a precise process.
We believe that the development problems of the Javelin are soluble within the range of existing knowledge, but time is taken by quite minor alterations and caution is necessary with regard to the forecasting of the date for coming into service of that aeroplane. But the estimate which we have given in the White Paper is our reasonable expectation, on the best technical advice, that this aeroplane should become available in substantial numbers during the coming year.
2109 I believe that the problem is not one of the production of stereotyped articles. It is a development problem. Since the Korean war broke out both Governments have had to do the best they could in the light of previous decisions on aircraft development and production. Those decisions have gravely affected the ability of the country to provide sufficiently ahead of time a sufficient number of aircraft in service with a large margin of technical superiority.
The prevailing criticism of what has been achieved has been unfair and unbalanced. Without doubt, mistakes have been made. Any system dependent on the human factor is obviously imperfect. The Government are well aware of the urgency, and at the same time of the need to avoid overstraining our resources, our scientific knowledge, skill, manpower, and material. We are determined, so far as it is within our power, to ensure that there shall be a real spirit of co-operation between the three partners in the enterprise in this respect, the manufacturers, the Service Ministries, and the Ministry of Supply.
I do not think that there is any reason to lose faith in our scientists, technicians, and craftsmen, in spite of the complexities and uncertainties inherent in the problems to be solved. It would be very foolish of hon. Members on either side of the House to attempt to disguise those complexities or difficulties.
Without being complacent or satisfied, I believe that a worthy effort is being made, and will continue to be made, to achieve the deterrent power and defensive capacity appropriate to our standing as a world Power. But of course all this is a means to an end, the maintenance of world peace and the creation of a situation in which this effort of mind and matter may be diverted to peaceful endeavour.
§ 5.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)
The speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Minister of Supply reminds me of the story of the young speaker who went on and on until the chairman of the meeting, after a while, pulled his coat and said, "Why don't you end it?" The speaker replied, "I would, but I am no longer master of it." The right hon. and learned Gentleman has very nearly submerged the defence debate in a morass 2110 of undigested detail. We have spent a very long time listening to a highly detailed statement which, I should have thought, could have been made known much more advantageously on another occasion, or in the White Paper itself.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has been levelling an accusation at the Opposition because they have put down a motion of censure on the record of the Government, and reviling them for what they have done. The fact is that the record of the Government has caused great alarm among the supporters of the Government and in newspapers which are normally 101 per cent. supporters of the Government. It is not sufficient to say that these statements have been put about by the Opposition. The "Daily Telegraph," which is not highly critical of the Tory Party, states thatThe capacity of the aircraft industry needs examination to find out whether too much is being attempted."The Times" talks ofTrying to take too many steps.To summarise:The all-weather Javelin fighter arriving a year hence; the Swift on the point of abandonment as a bad job; the Valiant, an interim bomber first thought of seven years ago, only just coming into service; the Wyvern still not satisfactory for the aircraft carrier—it is a sad picture.It is not enough for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to say that all this happened because of decisions taken, or not taken, by the Labour Government more than three years ago. That will not serve the Government and the country. One cannot keep on saying it all the time. The country is tired of it—the country is getting tired of the Government. In fact, it reminds me more and more of the kind of debates we used to have before the war, when the present Prime Minister used to lash his own Front Bench for spending enormous sums of money and not providing us with the weapons; and he was proved to be correct when war broke out in 1939. The Conservative Government are going too far. They are showing their increasing incapacity to preserve the peace and their failure to provide weapons with which to fight a war.
Exactly the same thing happened before the last war, and it is a grim picture. The Prime Minister said yesterday that we were playing party politics. I must say that he has some cheek sometimes. Just a few months after the first programme in 2111 1950—in February, 1951—everyone knows that the right hon. Gentleman himself said that before the Korean War; that we did have problems of development and research and experiment and we should have been extremely unwise to have gone in for mass production of unproved prototypes. Of course we should. But when the Korean War occurred, a decision was unanimously taken by the whole House to have a rearmament programme of substantial size within three years amounting to £3,600 million, of which £500 million was to be found by the Americans.
We had hardly taken our breath when the right hon. Gentleman, who was then the Leader of the Opposition, put down the following motion:while supporting all measures conceived in the real interest of national security, has no confidence in the ability of His Majesty's present Ministers to carry out an effective and consistent defence policy in concert with their allies, having regard to their record of vacillation and delay."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th February, 1951; Vol. 484, c. 623.]That was within a few months; this is now very nearly three and a half years, and yesterday the right hon. Gentleman, with his usual Churchill an impudence, suggested that we were playing party politics because, three and a half years afterwards, we had put down a much more modest Motion.
The fact is—and it is now being increasingly recognised—that the decisions of 1950 and 1951 were, to some extent, based upon wrong political assumptions. Those assumptions were very soon revealed as being invalid. They were based upon advice, presented to the Ministers and to the right hon. Gentleman, by the heads of the Armed Services in America and in Britain, that within three years at most the Soviet Union would reach the summit of its power and that a threat of invasion of the West of Europe would mature, and that we had to do everything we could to meet that eventuality. That is to say, that the peril would reach its summit at the end of 1953.
It is now 1955, and, if the peril had eventuated in 1953, we should have had nothing with which to meet it. We have not very much now, but we should have had nothing then. The fact is that if the Government believed that we were to meet a peril of these dimensions by the end of 1953, then they ought now to be 2112 indicted for high treason for not taking the necessary steps to meet it. In point of fact, we all knew then—if I might remind the House of something which I said in a speech on defence in February, 1951—that there was all the difference in the world, and the Government have realised it since, between inserting a great arms programme into an economy which is at full stretch and an American programme inserted into an economy with a surplus productive capacity and an army of unemployed. That was the difficulty.
I say at once that, apart from the incompetence of Ministers, the Government have been faced with a very difficult economic situation, because when, in peacetime, we try to insert a great armaments programme into an economy already at full stretch, we must make a place for it. We have to allow for its physical displacement. We cannot do it merely by manipulating figures at the Treasury. We must move workmen in the workshops. The only way in which that programme could ever have been carried out—and especially the one which succeeded it—at that time, in time of peace, would have been by the direction of labour and by using physical controls which the Tories will never allow. That is why they have gone wrong.
It is characteristic of a Conservative Administration that it will never take the necessary industrial steps to give effect to the decisions of this House. The Tories will not interfere sufficiently with private enterprise to carry them out. That was really the matter. It was the same in 1937, 1938 and 1939. The Government of the day had all the money and all the Parliamentary sanctions which they needed. They had complete Parliamentary power and an army of 2 million unemployed, but they did not carry out the paramount needs of the nation because they would not interfere with the prerogatives of private enterprise.
That is exactly what has been happening in the last three and a half years. The Government have set the people free, have abolished all the controls and have allowed people to make profits where, as much and how they liked. Because they have done that, and, at the same time, have attempted to carry out a large arms programme, the result has been mounting profits by armaments manufacturers and belated supplies of arms.
2113 That is a true statement of the picture, and, indeed, there is nothing new about it. We all realised what was going to happen. I will, if I may be allowed to do so, quote what I said in 1951:The fact of the matter is, as everybody knows, that the extent to which stockpiling has already taken place, the extent to which the civil economy is being turned over to defence purposes in other parts of the world, is dragging prices up everywhere. Furthermore, may I remind the right hon. Gentleman that if we turn over the complicated machinery of modern industry to war preparation too quickly … we shall do so in a campaign of hate, in a campaign of hysteria which may make it very difficult to control that machine when it has been created. … We want to organise our defence programme in this country in such a fashion as will keep the love of peace as vital as ever it was before, but we have seen in other places that a campaign for increased arms production is accompanied by a campaign of intolerance and hatred and witch-hunting. Therefore, we in this country are not at all anxious to imitate what has been done in other places."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th February. 1951; Vol. 484, c. 736.]That was in 1951. Can anyone suggest that the events which have occurred in the United States since then are not a complete vindication of that prophecy? We have had campaigns of hate and hysteria, and we now have a war machine which is almost out of control, as I hope to be able to prove before I sit down.
The fact is that we have never recognised that, if what we said was correct, we took inadequate steps to meet it. Fortunately, we were wrong. Fortunately, the assumptions upon which we based our programme were inaccurate, as inaccurate, I believe, as the assumptions underlying the speech of the Prime Minister yesterday. In 1950 and 1951 we said that we had three years. It has turned out to be more. Yesterday, the right hon. Gentleman said that we have another three years—[HON. MEMBERS: "Four years."] Yes, four years, and it may be longer.
There was not very much justification in what we said then. There is none in what the right hon. Gentleman says now. He is merely making wild guesses. If I may be allowed to say this in parenthesis, the difficulty of the right hon. Gentleman in making a speech in this House arises out of his virtues and out of his extraordinary capacity for presentation. The mediocrity of his thinking is concealed by the majesty of his language.
When, yesterday, the right hon. Gentleman addressed us in sombre accents 2114 about the menace of the hydrogen bomb and the possibility of its terrifying potentialities conducing to peaceful discussions, he was saying nothing new. In February, 1951, I said:If there is one thing of which the Russian people are aware it is the existence of the atom bomb. Therefore, if there is fear of the atom bomb, it is a mutual fear, and out of that mutual fear mutual sense may be born. Therefore, we ourselves consider—we have always considered on this side of the House— that every opportunity must be eagerly sought in order to try to bring about an alleviation of international tension."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th February, 1951; Vol. 484, c. 735.]I am not suggesting for a moment that that language was as scintillating as the language used yesterday by the Prime Minister. The words are shorter, but the sentiments are the same. I said that three and a half years ago, so, when the right hon. Gentleman spent the time of the House of Commons yesterday telling us, the nation and the world that the hydrogen bomb and the atom bomb between them produced a situation in which negotiations might be more fruitful, he was echoing a thought that has been with us all the time. What we want to know is, when do the negotiations start?
My right hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) made an admirable and well-balanced speech, in which he put the position of defence in a proper relationship to policy. We cannot discuss this White Paper as though what we are really doing is providing the instrument of policy alone—because, when the instrument which we are proposing to create is absolute, policy is intrinsically the instrument itself. We are discussing policy when we are discussing the hydrogen bomb. We are no longer discussing a weapon alone, because, the weapon being absolute, it is also policy. Therefore, the debate upon defence today must concern foreign affairs as well as defence. As has been pointed out by military experts, neither the scientists nor the military men have an answer to the problem of the world. The scientists have spoken. We have had enough science. It is now time to have a little more wisdom.
The right hon. Gentleman yesterday made a speech which astonished me, because, fundamentally, it had no sense in it at all. I admit that it was well garbed—but let us look at what the right hon. Gentleman told the House. He said 2115 he believed that the principle of deterrents, intrinsic in the existence of the hydrogen bomb, would make negotiations possible and might even result in peace, because the use of it would mean mutual suicide. If that be the case, why wait for three years, until the Russians have the bomb to deliver?
We have always been told that we wanted to talk out of strength. That has been the argument all the while, "The stronger we become," said the right hon. Gentleman, "the more willing the Russians will be to be conciliatory." In the next breath he went on to say that today the Russians have not got the hydrogen bomb and the bombers to deliver it, and that the power to do so rested with the West. So we have the power from which to negotiate. In those circumstances, one would have thought that we would be sending Notes to the Kremlin asking the Soviet leaders to meet us, because we can talk out of strength.
But the contrary is the position. The Notes to negotiate are coming to us, from the Soviet Union all the time. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Hon. Members opposite ask "Why?" I tell them—and this applies not only to the Socialist and Conservative Parties, but to the country as well—that the ordinary man and woman is beginning spiritually to contract out of the quarrel. We are all displaying the posture of little men before big events, and the ordinary man in the street is beginning to sense it. He is beginning to realise that we have not got the stature of the occasion.
If what the right hon. Gentleman said upon this subject yesterday is true—as I think it is—will he tell the House why it is that he does not insist upon meetings with the Russian leaders? It may be that they are not sincere in what they say, but there is only one way of finding out—and that is to meet them. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman would like to do it, but that the United States will not permit him. That is a sombre thing to say, and a wicked thing to believe—that we have now reached the situation where Great Britain can, in a few short years, run the risk of the extinction of its civilisation, and we cannot reach the potential enemy in an attempt to arrive at an accommodation with him because we are now at the mercy of the United States.
§ The Prime Minister
It is absolutely wrong to suggest that the course which we have followed here has been at the dictation of the United States. It is quite true that I would have liked to see a top level conference, with the three Powers, and I would have liked to see it shortly after Mr. Malenkov took power—as I said at the time, to see, "Is there a new look?" I wanted to do that, and my colleagues agreed. I had charge of the Foreign Office, owing to my right hon. Friend's illness. I prepared in every way to go over to see the President, and I hoped to persuade him to arrange with me to invite a three-Power conference. However, I was struck down by a very sudden illness which paralysed me completely, physically. That is why I had to put it all off, and it was not found possible to persuade President Eisenhower to join in that process.
I have also considered the possibility of a dual meeting at some neutral place, such as Stockholm. While I was thinking about these matters—because I have really not been dithering on the subject; I have tried my very utmost, and I would not retain the headship of our Government upon a subject of this kind if they were not acting in what I thought was a sincere and honourable mood—I did hope that after my last visit to America something like a dual meeting might take place at Stockholm or somewhere similar, and that it might be a sort of go-between prelude to a meeting of the three, because we cannot settle anything alone that would be decisive.
But then the Soviet Government began a very elaborate process of trying to stop the ratification of E.D.C., which I thought had been more or less accepted. It was certainly a very harmless form of protection. Therefore, all this other matter has come up now and has stood in the way of a further general talk. When the ratification is complete, any Government who are responsible at that time will be perfectly free to take up these negotiations and to hold, either on the Foreign Office level or on the heads-of-Government level, a perfectly open and free discussion. I am much obliged to the House, and I apologise for this long intervention.
§ Mr. Bevan
I think that the whole House is grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his intervention and for the 2117 frankness he has displayed. I am bound to point out, however, that it is complete confirmation of what I have said. The right hon. Gentleman visited President Eisenhower in the hope of converting him to the project, and he failed to do so. He fell ill then. We all regret that.
The right hon. Gentleman has for many months been in his usual robust health, I am glad to say, and, therefore, there has been plenty of opportunity for him to do this. The opposition of the Soviet Government to E.D.C. was not new. The Soviet Government had been opposed to E.D.C. ever since it was first mooted. They only increased their opposition to it by propaganda when it seemed to be near consummation. They were against it all the time.
The nation will read with considerable apprehension what the Prime Minister says. His reasons seem to be very trivial to stand in the way of such projects. We are not dealing with a treaty with the German people or with the ambitions of Dr. Adenauer. We are not dealing with the possibilities of Western German rearmament. We are dealing with the preservation of the human race. That is why I say, when the Prime Minister frankly gives the reasons that he has now given for not giving effect to last year's April Resolution of this House, that those reasons will seem to the country to be trivial and unimportant, compared with the importance of the matter that we are discussing.
I want to come to the matter of Western Germany in the White Paper. I am very sorry that neither the Leader of the Opposition nor the deputy Leader of the Opposition is present. I would like my hon. Friends to listen. We are very worried. Since the Amendment to the Government's Motion has appeared on the Order Paper a change has taken place in the interpretation of the White Paper. We now want to know what it means. We are given to understand that the White Paper means that when we speak about hydrogen and nuclear weapons as deterrents we mean that they will be used at once in the beginning of any sort of hostilities. That is a very serious matter indeed.
Paragraph 19 of the White Paper, on page 6, says:This deterrent must rest primarily on the strategic air power of the West, armed with its 2118 nuclear weapons. The knowledge that aggression will be met by overwhelming nuclear retaliation is the surest guarantee that it will not take place.It does not say "knowledge that nuclear aggression will be met," but "knowledge that aggression will be met." That seems to make it even clearer.
In paragraph 22 of the White Paper is a discussion about the German contribution. The paragraph says:Even allowing for the essential German contribution the free world cannot put into the front line anything comparable to this strength in conventional forces. The use of nuclear weapons is the only means by which this massive preponderance can be countered. … If we do not use the full weight of our nuclear power, Europe can hardly be protected from invasion and occupation—with all that this implies both for Europe and the United Kingdom.When the Minister of Supply was asked a question about this matter he was less than frank with the House. This is too serious a matter for lawyer-like dexterities. He should have been a more sober-minded witness on the matter. When he was asked a question he should have answered it, and not have referred to another question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South (Mr. Shackleton). The right hon. and learned Gentleman was less clear than the White Paper itself. In fact, the White Paper is quite clear.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
I referred to the hon. Member for Preston, South because he referred to the particular paragraphs of the White Paper which deal with the matter.
§ Mr. Bevan
But we want to know what the right hon. and learned Gentleman means by it. The Amendment of the Opposition reads thus:…. it is necessary as a deterrent to aggresion to rely on the threat of using thermo-nuclear weapons.I want my right hon. Friends the Leaders of the Opposition to answer me. Do they mean by that language what the Government mean by the White Paper? [An. HON. MEMBER: "Yes."] Do they mean that nuclear weapons will be used with the support of the British Labour movement against any sort of aggression? I want to know the answer. If my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition says that that is the interpretation of that Amendment, then I do not propose to vote for it this evening.
2119 We have never stated at any time, indeed it would be plain insanity to state it, that wherever aggression occurs in Europe, no matter of what sort, we answer it by the use of nuclear weapons which, the Prime Minister said yesterday, would involve the destruction of the British nation. I want to know from the Prime Minister what it means. If, as has been said, absence of ambiguity is the best kind of deterrent, we ought not to have the slightest ambiguity. We should let the enemy know exactly what he might expect.
§ Mr. Wigg
If my right hon. Friend will forgive me for interrupting, may I say that at the conclusion of the Prime Ministers' speech yesterday my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) put the same question to the Prime Minister. Subsequently, the same question was put by the hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey) and after that it was put by the right hon. Member for Solihull (Mr. M. Lindsay). Subsequently I spoke, and I offered to give way to the Minister of Defence in order to get an answer. So far, we have failed to get an answer from the Prime Minister or the Minister of Defence on the question whether, if aggression takes place with conventional weapons, nuclear weapons will be used. Will the Prime Minister be good enough to answer it?
§ The Prime Minister
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence will refer to this point tonight when he winds up the debate.
§ The Minister of Defence (Mr. Harold Macmillan)
I propose to deal with this question and many other questions at the end of the debate. Possibly the Leader of the Opposition may wish to elaborate it a little and it would be more courteous to answer it after he has spoken.
§ Mr. Bevan
This is not a complicated question that requires long elucidation. 2120 It is a simple question. The question is whether we intend to use nuclear weapons at once in the event of aggression of whatever type. The reason why we are afraid is that we are told by Lord Montgomery that that is what he has in mind.
We are told so even more seriously in some words which appeared in the "Manchester Guardian" yesterday. I wish the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence would listen to this. Here is a report of an interview with General Grunter:A retired and very responsible officer, Brigadier-General Thomas Phillips recalls a conversation he had in October with General Grunter, Supreme Commander in Europe. He reports in a sober way General Gruenther's rather devastating assurance that the Western Powers had already 'passed the point of no return' in the use of conventional weapons. 'He has no choice,' he told me, 'except to use atomic weapons whether the enemy does so or not.'This is very serious. We are told here that, in an atom war, whatever happens, we die; that despite all the armoury the Minister of Supply described to us, which he said, might be available in a few years' time, we shall use the bomb that will wipe us out. That is us. The Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces, has said that whether or not the enemy uses the weapon we shall use it at once: if attacked, at once. So we are immediately to use the weapon whose use results in our extinction. Does the Prime Minister think that the people of this country understand that? Does he think that if they understood it he would be in office for a week? He said yesterday that he thought he would have the unanimous support of the people of the country behind his decision to make the hydrogen bomb.
I am not concerned with converting this defence debate into a defence of or an attack upon the hydrogen bomb. The right hon. Gentleman was extremely skilful yesterday in attempting to do that. I myself cannot see that there is any logical difference between the hydrogen bomb and the atom bomb. Nor can I see any moral difference between the two. They are both weapons of imprecision. Nor, indeed, can I see any difference, except scientifically and technically, between the two of them and saturation bombing, which is also indiscriminate slaughter of human beings. They are all 2121 immoral. So I am not going to take up my stand on saying that I am for the atom bomb and not for the hydrogen bomb.
However, that is not what this argument today is about. This argument is about what policies the Government are developing to save us and the world from this grim alternative. So far, we have had none. All that the right hon. Gentleman has said now is that he is postponing a discussion with the Soviet leaders in order to be able to get a German army, which now everybody knows is of no use. That is a stubborn point of view, which he keeps on repeating because it has been said no frequently before.
What is that German army to do? What will any of the armies do? What have they to do with it? All the generals are telling us that armies will be no use. It is true to say that if such a war broke out the armies would be farther away from each other at the end of the war than at the beginning of it, because they would all have to march away from the radioactive centres they would create. They cannot march into the radioactive centres. So if we want to be safe let us join the Army.
The nation is watching, and we want to know what policy the Government propose to pursue. The right hon. Gentleman said yesterday that he would meet the Soviet leaders and talk tough and then have supper. The last supper, I presume. Because if those Soviet leaders can talk tough now, and he can talk tough, they can talk tougher then. If he meets them and they will not give in, what does he do? Does he pout and say that he is going to commit suicide?
That is precisely where we have got. We have either to agree with our enemy or commit suicide. That is what we have come to. The world has already reached the point where either international difficulties are negotiated upon, or else mankind gives up. That is the point of no return. That is it. It is no use hon. Members arguing now that the situation is going to change. It will be no different—except worse; because the deterrents in the hands of the Soviet Union will be greater than they are now.
If, therefore, we are to negotiate then, why not negotiate now? Why not find out if we can? That is the situation in 2122 which mankind is. It does not require experts to understand it. We do not require scientists to tell us. We do not need to employ expensive soldiers to advise us. They are out of date, they are outmoded; they are no longer of value. We are spending millions and millions of pounds on foolishness.
The issue is simply this. Are we to conduct a peace policy or a war policy? We could do it. We could meet the Soviet Union representatives at once. I therefore beg the Government to measure up to the magnitude of this problem. Let the Prime Minister do deeds to match his great words; not attempt to delude the country by the majesty of his language, but inspire it by the dedication of his behaviour. That is what we want from him.
We want from my right hon. Friends the leaders of the Opposition an assurance that the language of their Amendment, moved on our behalf, does not align the Labour movement behind that recklessness; because if we cannot have the lead from them, let us give the lead ourselves.
§ 6.19 p.m.
§ Mr. John Maclay (Renfrew, West)
It is through no calculation of my own that once again, by pure chance, I follow the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) when he has made a speech, like an earlier one I had reason to criticise, which I must describe as nothing but pure mischief-making on his part, and mischief-making on a very large scale. I hope that some of the hon. Members who have cheered some of the remarks he made will listen for a few minutes while I try to argue what the right hon. Gentleman has really been trying to say.
What has the right hon. Gentleman been trying to say? He has apparently fallen back into that absurd fallacy of his that the only purpose of the Paris Treaties is to get 12 German divisions. Does he believe that that is the only purpose of the Paris Treaties?
§ Mr. Maclay
I will tell the right hon. Gentleman. I tried to once before, but he walked out and would not listen. A purpose of those Treaties is certainly to obtain a German contribution to the defence of the free European 2123 nations, but, as I said then, the far more important purpose is to bring free Western Germany into the comity of the free European nations.
§ Mr. Maclay
That is a complete turning of my point. I can deal with that perfectly well at a later stage. Let us deal with the first point. I repeat my question. Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is vast importance in a free Western Germany coming into the comity of the Western European nations?
§ Mr. Maclay
Again, the right hon. Gentleman will not answer my question. The implication must be that he does not much care whether the German Federal Republic is united with the other free nations. He says that the essential problem is the reuniting of Germany. I will give him the answer. I agree that the reuniting of Germany on terms which the Western Germans could possibly accept if they value freedom is undoubtedly not for the immediate future, because the Russians, who control Eastern Germany, have made it absolutely clear that the only terms which they would accept are terms which cannot possibly be acceptable to people who value freedom.
When will the right hon. Gentleman answer the questions which his hon. Friend the Member for Coatbridge and Airdrie (Mrs. Mann) put to the House last week, which was what is meant by the Soviet proposals broadcast on 15th January by Moscow Radio? Does he accept their definition of free elections? Is it a free election to put forward electoral rolls on the basis of Eastern Germany? Does he also accept what has been said, but which he seems to forget, that the purpose of Russia at the moment, as it has been expressed on this subject, is to urge that national armed forces for all Germany should be created? Does he agree that the Russians are not proposing to keep Germany disarmed?
§ Mr. Maclay
The right hon. Gentleman is sliding out of the main issue. What he really wants, what he would really like to see, is postponement of the ratification of the Paris Treaties. According to something which he said earlier, he would also like to see an increasing split between the United Kingdom and the United States. That is precisely what the right hon. Gentleman is after. If there are two methods of betraying the free Western world in today's conditions, one is to prevent, or take any steps which might prevent, the unification of a free Western Europe, and the other and major one is to take steps which could achieve the splitting of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth from the United States.
§ Mr. Maclay
The right hon. Gentleman cannot take it. I have some respect for the right hon. Gentleman, but to hear from him that he wants argument and not abuse is almost ludicrous. It is too much. I speak with some very strong feelings, not because I am bothered about the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's words in this House, because we know him, but because I am bothered about their effect outside, not only in this country but abroad.
Of course, we all agree with the right hon. Gentleman that if we could have negotiations which are likely to be successful we should go for them as quickly as we possibly can. It is absolutely clear from the White Paper that our desire is disarmament, but let us review this word "disarmament" for a moment or two. Another of the misconceptions which are very rife in this country is that disarmament in itself is something good. Disarmament does not necessarily mean peace. When we get the kind of agreement on disarmament which we get 2125 between Governments—and we had experience of this before the war—it does not necessarily mean peace. We cannot get really effective disarmament while lacking the conditions which will make permanent peace possible. That is the real objective, and it is no use going back to the Russian proposals for various disarmament conferences which have never recognised that.
§ Mr. Crossman
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that we cannot get disarmament until we get suitable conditions for it, but may I ask him whether he thinks that the most suitable condition for disarmament is the rearmament of Western Germany, the rearmament of Eastern Germany and the creation of competitive armaments in Germany? Does he think it possible to get disarmament under those conditions?
§ Mr. Maclay
I have said before, and I think the hon. Member was here, that the main thing is that Eastern Germany is already rearmed. That is the whole extraordinary fallacy of the position taken up by certain hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. One would imagine that it was we who were advocating the rearmament of Germany, but Eastern Germany is already rearmed. There is no question of the Russian Government proposing to disarm Germany, even a united Germany. They are proposing an armed united Germany, and perhaps the hon. Gentleman will make that clear in his writings and speeches, because there are grave misconceptions about it in the country.
§ Mr. Crossman
Surely we all agree that if we are to have a Germany which is reunited and made independent we cannot possibly deny such a Germany the means of self-defence for ever. No normal person who wants to see a peaceful world could possibly say that a reunited Germany should not have its own defences. I say that there are dangers in having competitive armaments in two pieces of Germany, each being a satellite of great Powers.
§ Mr. Maclay
The implication of that is that we have to give way to the Russian point of view. It is quite clear from his argument that he is suggesting that we can help to achieve the reunification of Germany on suitable terms to the free 2126 people of Western Germany and of the free Western world by postponing the ratification of the Paris Treaties. Is that the hon. Gentleman's argument? How are we to do it? By insisting on postponing ratification of the Paris Treaties which hon. Members opposite have suggested. Surely the Russian object in postponing the ratification of the Paris Treaties is simply to try to prevent free Western Germany being integrated into the Western European community. I can understand why they are doing it, but let us face the fact that they are doing it. Holding high-level talks sounds good, but it is no use having them until the immediate conditions which exist in relation to the Paris Treaties are cleared up. The reason is quite clear. The reason that it has not been possible to have high-level talks with the Russians is that it has been made quite clear that the Russians wish to prevent the reuniting of a free Western Europe before they go into any discussions at all.
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Is the right hon. Gentleman repudiating the Prime Minister, who said he would have taken part in those talks had it not been for his own physical break-down?
§ Mr. Maclay
That was before the Russian attitude to E.D.C. and to the Paris Treaties had been made lamentably clear.
Let me come to the White Paper. I will not detain the House for long; there have already been long speeches, unavoidably. I welcome the White Paper for two main reasons. One is that it makes absolutely clear our will to move into a proper and genuine disarmament conference as soon as that is possible. That we all believe is of prime importance. The second reason, and the major reason, is that it shows that we are accepting with a full sense of responsibility our position as a great Power in the world. That has importance far beyond the defence of our own shores.
Whatever may be the position of the United States in the world today, whatever her strength, the rest of the free world cannot avoid looking to us for clear guidance as to the line we are taking in an age which has come under the shadow of the hydrogen bomb and the other nuclear developments. The encouragement which will be given to the other 2127 nations of Europe and of the rest of the world by the clear statement in the White Paper, the decision to proceed with the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb, is, I believe, one of the most important points of the White Paper.
I will pass very quickly to some minor comments on what is not in the White Paper rather than what is in it, because these are, I believe, important. The White Paper would be very disturbing to me if it attempted to lay down with any finality what the pattern of the three Services should be in the future. It could not possibly do so so soon after a complete revolution in thinking has been made necessary by the advent of the hydrogen bomb. The very flexibility of the White Paper is encouraging.
Having said that, however, I must add that some of us are in the difficulty of not knowing how to think about it. The right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) made, in many parts, an interesting speech, but he started straight off on one of the problems which are worrying many of us, for he suggested, if I understood him correctly, that it is necessary to revise all our views of the functions of the Services and that it will be necessary to think of the Royal Navy in completely different terms.
I agree that, clearly, the advent of this new method of war makes re-thinking essential, but I suggest that we must be very careful in deciding that, because in the event of a three-day war, or whatever it may be, this island may be incapable of receiving supplies into the ports, then the Navy should have its functions completely altered. If that were the concept behind the thinking, we should cease worrying about convoys and about the whole question of the defence of merchant ships and should concentrate all our resources on the major deterrent weapon.
It is very tempting to think that way, but I suggest that there is another consideration which must always be in our minds. We cannot tell how war will start, if it starts. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale made a great fuss in asking what the words mean in the White Paper about when we should use the hydrogen bomb. It seems to me that his words were just words. The hydrogen bomb exists; it is there. Somebody will have to decide to use it in war, if it is 2128 to be used in war. We cannot forecast the conditions which would result in the hydrogen bomb being used. One thing which it would be lunacy to do would be to lay down a large number of conditions in black-and-white in which the hydrogen bomb would not be used.
§ Mr. Stephen Swingler (Newcastle-under-Lyme) rose—
§ Mr. Maclay
I must get on.
It is very tempting to think of economies in relation to the convoy system and the defence of merchant ships, but surely one of the points we have to remember is that war, if it starts, will probably not start in a dramatic way but in a small way. It could start with the sinking of ships. Perhaps some submarines will get out of the Baltic. Then the danger of the hydrogen bomb would be that it would have to be dropped because what might have been only an incident developed into a major war.
We have to be dead certain that if there is any tension of the kind which might lead to war, then our defence of merchant shipping—and I am using that merely as an example among other things—is in good condition so that the risk of the small and the slow start which produces the ultimate big war is minimised. That is the argument for conventional forces, and I deal with the merchant marine and the defence of the Merchant Navy only because it happens to be mentioned very little in the White Paper.
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Barkston Ash (Sir L. Ropner) yesterday touched on other aspects of merchant shipping problems in the event of war. I only add to what he said, and to what I have said already, that at some time in the not too remote future—probably it is not possible this evening, but perhaps it could be done tomorrow—we should be told what arrangements are being made in the new conditions for the immediate and effective convoying of ships if a period should arise when there was clearly a risk of hostile action against them.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
Of course, nothing can be absolutely certain, but if anything is certain it is that if we reach a stage in which we have unrestricted war at sea, that is atom war; 2129 and that would mean that every Soviet submarine base would be atomised within 24 hours. The one danger which I should have thought we did not have in an atom war was the danger of submarines, because the atom is the complete answer to the submarine.
§ Mr. Maclay
I was specifically talking of the period before the atom war started. That is the dilemma which we face. We have to visualise the possibility of war starting not in a big and dramatic way, but in some other way. We can visualise many possibilities. It is not too difficult to get large numbers of submarines out of the Baltic or wherever they may be and posted around the world, with supply ships or some kind of supply submarines. We could certainly have the Russian cruisers, which we hear about, scattered around the world. Why have they 30 cruisers? Why have they all these submarines? They must have them for some purpose.
All I am saying is that it would be wrong, because we have to concentrate a great deal of our resources on the great deterrent, to start thinking that we can minimise the watch on our conventional weapons.
There I come to one point which the White Paper does not and possibly cannot give us, which makes it difficult for us to form a clear view. We cannot tell, except perhaps with the Army, what are our true functions under the North Atlantic Treaty structure. For the Navy I do not think we can be told the answer at this stage. Obviously, we should not fight such a war all by ourselves. Indeed, if we devoted all our resources to it, we could not do it. But that is not the point. We have no intention of doing so for, unlike 1939 or 1914, we are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
At the same time, I think we and the public must be told more clearly what functions we are now being expected to undertake in relation to sea and air and, to some extent, in relation to the Army. I think that for the Army we know more precisely what we have to do, but until we get some information about this division of functions it will be extraordinarily difficult for the Opposition or for hon. Members on the back benches on this side of the House to think clearly and 2130 constructively about the defence problems which we face.
I had other things to say, but, as the hour is late, I feel that I must leave them.
§ 6.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
I thought that the massive speech made by the Prime Minister yesterday would rank—and probably it will still rank—as one of his greatest orations, but I think that the intervention which came from him this afternoon will be far more important, and will cause more discussion in the world than the statement which he made yesterday.
Yesterday, very rightly, in his own majestic language, he described the state to which mankind has now-brought itself—face to face with complete destruction and with the peril which is imminent upon us. But today he also brought out very clearly that, while we are face to face with that imminent danger from Russia, there is, unfortunately, a distinct division of opinion in the free world. That, I think, is the matter which concerns us far more tonight than almost anything else.
Our position is that, rightly, it is the desire of everyone that we should have peace, but at the same time in the free world we are anxious that peace should be in accordance with our ideas of a free people with free institutions, working a free democracy. Our anxiety is to defend our freedom, and we would, in defence of freedom, sacrifice even peace itself.
The threat is coming to us from what is now called the other side of the Iron Curtain. All the way from the middle of Germany right to the China Sea there is one control of policy, one control of all men and women, one control over finance, production, economy, policy, propaganda, and no criticism. On the other side is the rest of the world anxious for the defence of its own freedom.
The first pages of this White Paper are far more important to the general public and, indeed, to the world, than are the details contained in its later pages. I should like to refer to the conclusion contained in paragraphs 30, 31 and 32. In paragraph 30, we read:To sum up; there arc inescapable difficulties and dangers in this period of uneasy truce with the Communist Powers whose aims and 2131 policies are fundamentally opposed to our own. The monolithic nature of the Communist system seems to remain basically unaltered.That is obviously true, and the word "monolithic" is the right description.
Then, in paragraph 31, there are these words:These difficulties may, however, be overcome if we are patient and resolute, and these dangers avoided if we are united"—I would underline that word "united"—vigilant and prepared. We must not be lulled into a false sense of security, nor frightened into a state of paralysis, nor provoked into hasty or ill-considered action.Above all, if the free world stands together determined if necessary to defend itself with all its resources, then the nuclear weapon, in the words of the Prime Minister, 'increases the chances of world peace far more than the chances of world war.'But does it stand together? That is the question we are putting to ourselves today. That view is based upon the theory that we are all united. But are we united? I would remind the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan)—I am sorry that he has now left the Chamber—that we realised, somewhere about 1947 or the beginning of 1948 that, unfortunately, there was not one of us free nations in a position to defend our own freedom and it was, therefore, necessary to look round for allies, and ask for a united effort on the part of all nations which were willing to join together to defend freedom.
It was the Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was an honoured member which made the first agreement, namely, the Brussels Treaty, embracing nations like France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg, who were willing to join together in a common scheme of defence. That Treaty was followed by another Treaty, also made by the previous Government, known as N.A.T.O.—the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation—which has now developed into a combination of 14 or 15 States.
But is there unity of purpose, of ideas, of economy, and of policy amongst those who form N.A.T.O. in the same way as there is amongst the forces that are opposed to us? I wonder what the position really is, especially after the statement which was made by the Prime Minister today? We have all known of his desire. I have spoken of it time and time again, and not merely since the war but before the war and as far back as 2132 the early twenties when one began to realise what was the right hon. Gentleman's major aim—his interest in and passion for peace. We all knew of his interest in the freedom of the people, and especially his pride in the people of this country, but, above all, it was a permanent basis for peace throughout the whole world in which he was interested, and he dedicated himself to attaining that great object.
I was not a bit surprised at the great speech he made in May, 1953. That object has always been in his mind. And in order to try to attain that object in the really difficult situation of today, he first suggested the arrangement of bringing the heads of the great Powers together. Why has not that been done? No one can blame the right hon. Gentleman. He told us today that he was prevented only by illness from, at his great age, crossing the Atlantic to try to persuade the other great democratic people that his was the right course in order to try to save humanity.
What is happening today? We now know that the United States has a large quantity of hydrogen bombs. We are now, apparently, to start upon their manufacture. Do we transmit to one another the knowledge which we have? Do we tell one another our secrets? Do we exchange knowledge that is possessed by our great scientists, or does each nation follow its own policy without reference to anybody else?
This seems to me an extraordinary situation. We call ourselves defenders of the free people, not only here in this country or in the United States, or even among those countries which are members of N.A.T.O., but everywhere, and yet we cannot agree on a common policy. Someone very rightly suggested that this is not really so much a debate on defence as a debate on foreign policy. I agree, for it is primarily a debate on the policy of the free nations and of the policy which those free nations, once they have agreed together, should then present to our opponents in Moscow.
But are we making any use of the smaller nations? There is no monopoly of scientists or of great men in the United States or in this country. Some of the greatest scientists that the world has known have come from the smaller nations which are in greater peril than 2133 we are. Belgium never asked to enter either of the two great wars. Neither did Poland, nor Norway, nor Denmark, and yet, because of the mighty ones, the wars were fought above their lands, with the destruction of their homes and their lives. Are they not entitled to be asked to come in and participate in the pool of common resources for the defence of liberty, which is as much their concern as ours?
That is one matter which I should have liked to have heard debated in the House, instead of this wrangling that has been going on about who has the better plane and who the worst. There should be standardisation—
§ Mr. Davies
—of everything, because then we could see where we stood and know exactly where we were; the whole lot of us would know. But as I understand it, we cannot even agree on the standardisation of the simplest weapon.
It is rather significant that that is brought out incidentally in paragraph 13 of the Statement on Defence, in which it is stated:Naturally it is within the Commonwealth that we look for the fullest co-operation in defence.Why? Why should we be limited in that way? The Statement adds:The closest liaison is maintained at the Service level with other Commonwealth countries between whose forces there is considerable standardisation of equipment, weapons and training techniques.Why be limited to that? If we are involved in war, all the nations will be involved at the same time. It will not be limited to the Commonwealth. Surely, these conferences should take place on a much wider basis.
I now want to refer to another aspect. Very rightly, the Statement calls attention, in paragraph 10, to the fact thatThe deterrent to aggression does not consist in military strength alone.I quite agree. I think that even the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) would agree with that. Also, it is stated,The political unity and resolution and the economic as well as the physical strength of the free world must be maintained.That is perfectly right. What is more, it was in the minds of those who drafted all the treaties which we have at present.
2134 The first three articles of the Brussels Treaty, which was made for the defence of the five nations—for mutual defence—do not refer to military equipment or the pooling of their military powers. They refer to exactly what I have just read from the Statement on Defence.
Article 1 of the Brussels Treaty states:Convinced of the close community of their interests and of the necessity of uniting in order to promote the economic recovery of Europe, the High Contracting Parties will so organize and co-ordinate their economic activities as to produce the best possible results, by the elimination of conflict in their economic policies, the co-ordination of production and the development of commercial exchanges.Article 2 of the Treaty states:The High Contracting Parties will make every effort in common, both by direct consultation and in specialized agencies, to promote the attainment of a higher standard of living by their peoples …Practically nothing has been done with regard to those articles, but they so impressed the people who drew up the North Atlantic Treaty that the second article in that great document emphasises exactly the same thing.
It is as follows:The Parties will contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being. They will seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any or all of them.I am not alone in saying that nothing has been done with regard to that.
Recently, both from Canada and the United States, from Norway, from Belgium, from France, and from this country, there have come protests that nothing had been done. Probably the most important signature on the document calling attention to the fact that nothing had been done was that of one as responsible as the head of one of the High Contracting Parties, ex-President Truman; and his signature was followed by that of Mr. Adlai Stevenson. The document, which was presented to N.A.T.O., asked that special attention should be given to this matter.
If the free nations are to defend themselves according to these articles which they signed, and which again are repeated in the new Agreement made between the 2135 nine countries, to which the Foreign Secretary called special attetion, we must obtain agreement in that way for the general defence not only of our freedom but of our humanity as well.
Now I come to the final and most important matter. The Statement on Defence very rightly states that what we desire above everything is to have a permanent peace. It states:The Government will continue to strive for a practical scheme of disarmament and a contribution to the alleviation of international tension and the avoidance of war. Their ultimate aim is abolition of the use, possession and manufacture not only of all nuclear weapons, but also of other weapons of mass destruction, together with simultaneous major reductions of conventional armaments and armed forces to agreed levels which would redress the present Communist superiority.The whole programme would have to be carried out to an agreed timetable, and an essential feature would be the provision of machinery to supervise and enforce agreed prohibitions and reductions.I call attention to the word "enforce."
How many more resolutions on disarmament are going to be passed and nothing more happen? How many more meetings are to be called? One is being held now in London. Obviously, it is agreed that there must be set up machinery sufficiently powerful to supervise and to receive recognition. In the words of the Statement, it must be sufficiently powerful… machinery to supervise and enforce agreed prohibitions and reductions.and to see that disarmament has taken place. Or, to quote the words of the Minister of Supply in a speech in New York, on 6th November last:… to see that there is complete disarmament of all the nations so that this crime cannot start again.I do not know what is the view of the Government. When can we know what the machinery is to be, what is in their mind, what is their plan? The whole world is waiting. The Government know perfectly well that the anxiety in every home is for peace. How do they hope to attain it? Cannot they put forward a plan and say, "This is what we propose. Let those who desire peace as we desire it come and join us to try to attain it."
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Brigadier O. L. Prior-Palmer (Worthing)
It is a very great pleasure to follow the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party in 2136 what was not an electioneering speech or a speech intended to create mischief between us and America.
I should not be able to follow him, but I should like to say one thing in answer to a question—a rhetorical question, I imagine—which he asked. I hope he will not think it presumptuous of me if I give what I believe to be the answer. He asked whether there was an exchange of information between us and the United States in the matters of hydrogen and nuclear weapons. I understand that the answer is in the negative. For constitutional reasons under the McMahon Act, the United States are not permitted to do that, much as President Eisenhower would like to do it. A certain amount has passed with regard to the results of any experiments which have been carried out, but at the moment that is as far as the United States is able to go without amendment of the McMahon Act.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is correct in what he says about standardisation, but the picture is not quite as bad as he has painted it. We have gone a very long way in this matter. I know a certain amount about this, because I have a near relation who is in Washington at the moment doing something about it. We have gone much further than most people would imagine. However, it is a most difficult problem because it means the retooling and rejigging of a whole industry in one country or the other, and, naturally, neither country is eager to do this. There is the problem of screw threads; in one country the threads go one way and in the other country they go the other way, which adds to the difficulty.
I want now to turn to the body and subject of the debate. I have a slightly different point of view on everything that has already been said. We have been talking for two whole days about what is to happen when the hot war breaks out. We have talked very little about the cold war. I am one of those who contend that there is not the slightest chance of a hot war breaking out for a very considerable period, and I will give my reason for that.
I believe there was not much likelihood of it in the days of the atomic bomb itself. There was, first of all, the reconnaissance in force in France by the Communists and then the reconnaissance in force in Italy, and then there was the action which 2137 led to the Berlin airlift. As soon as those moves by the Russians failed, the danger of an all-out attack followed by a global war in the West certainly diminished. I believe that it has now almost disappeared with the advent of the hydrogen bomb. I will give the reasons why I think so.
It is my firm belief that Russia realises that a global war, atomic or not, would destroy everything that she has built up in the last thirty years. If there was such a war, the Russians would have to start again from scratch. In the H-bomb era the Russians know perfectly well that the resultant state of the world would be no guarantee whatever that Russian Communism would necessarily emerge from it. In fact, it is very doubtful whether anything which could even be recognised as human would emerge from it.
However, this it not to say—I say this with all the emphasis at my disposal— that the object of Russian foreign policy today is not exactly the same as it was a hundred years ago. It is still world domination, only now it has the adjective "Communist" attached to it. Karl Marx, writing in 1867, stated that the dates might change, the names might change and the tactics might change, but:… the Polar star of Russian foreign policy, world domination, is a fixed star.His words are as true today as they were when he set them down.
The Russians have decided that the shortest way to world domination as the situation is now is through the cold war. Their attention has been taken away from the West. The whole of their emphasis is now on the Far East, and they are driving as hard as they can in that direction, towards Burma, Siam and India. They know that that is now the shortest cut to their objective. The Russians are in no hurry about it. They have been perfectly frank about it. They have said "Communism will come. World Communism is inevitable." Should we lower our guard and make world war the shortest cut to world domination, the Russians would take that cut. That is why it is essential for us to keep up our armaments in order to put off the evil day.
I believe that the Russians will continue with their subversion, their infiltration, their creation of discontent in the 2138 Colonies, the use of fear and the suppression of truth. As Lenin said:Success is the only test of morality.That is what is going to happen, and it is a very serious threat. Do not let us minimise it by any means. From time to time one of the footlights which surround the Iron Curtain will have a short-circuit and will burst into flames, and somebody will have to put the fire out. Other little fires will break out in other parts of the world, and in the Colonies.
Having now decided that the H-bomb is a deterrent to a global war, we should, I believe, concentrate all our energies and thoughts on how we are to deal with it, what sort of weapons we are to have, and what sort of Services we need to deal with the "forest" fires as they break out from time to time. We are to have four Regular divisions in Germany, and I am delighted that we are. From the Army point of view, it is about the only part of the world in which we really have a proper training ground where we can train the four divisions and practise the orthodox arts of war with the heavy guns, the heavy tanks and all the support that is required. When we have 12 German divisions, similar things can happen.
Those people must be there in case a short cut ever comes. The balance, the Regular Army—I am not including the Territorial Army in this—and the strategic reserve which we are at last to have in this country, should be trained and equipped on a light level, with light automatics, light machine guns, light carriers and mobile vehicles, all of them air transported.
Do not let us have any of the arguments about putting a division in South-East Asia, another division in the Middle East and another division in Iceland or somewhere else. Let us keep them concentrated. One of the first principles of war is concentration, and the whole of that reserve should be here. It should be capable of being flown with all the equipment that is needed to put out one of the small fires coming from the fused footlights. It must be a fire brigade and must be capable of travelling to the fire at 300 miles an hour. I emphasise that this is the place to keep the strategic reserve. To have it dotted about the world would mean that we should be weak everywhere and not strong anywhere. The French learnt the lesson of 2139 not having a strategic reserve at the beginning of the last war. Let us remember that lesson.
There is only one thing in the White Paper which disturbs me a little. I shall get support on this from the other side of the House and certainly from those elements below the Gangway. I refer to the use of nuclear weapons in the field in a tactical rôle. I believe that the whole previous situation has been completely reversed. Whereas, in previous wars, the battle started and then subsequently somebody had to make the decision, as a result of ourselves having been attacked in that way, that the bombing of civilians would have to take place, if there was an attack in the west now—I think I have already shown in what I have said that I do not think it is in the least likely—I believe that that situation would be reversed. I believe—it would be a terrible decision to have to make—that the Western Powers would have to decide whether or not they were going to use the major strategic H-bombs for the blotting out of the centres of industry and war effort of the enemy.
I do not want to see the tactical weapon used in the field first, because that would inevitably bring H-bomb retaliation on our own heads. Having said that—and I want to be realistic about it—I believe that it is essential that these weapons should be there. They should be kept and stock piled in rear areas in case the enemy should use them. I do not suppose that at this stage it matters for me to say that we had gas shells not very far behind the lines in the last war in case the enemy should use them. That is the way we should go about handling these atomic tactical weapons.
§ Mr. William Warbey (Broxtowe)
I think we ought to be clear about the point the hon. and gallant Member is making and know whether it is really the policy of the Government, or not. What he is saying is that if there should be an attack in Europe by Russian land forces, we should not reply with tactical nuclear weapons, but that we should reply with strategic thermo-nuclear weapons on Russian cities. He is really advocating that.
§ Brigadier Prior-Palmer
Will the hon. Member please read what I have said 2140 in the OFFICIAL REPORT tomorrow morning?
I think it is within the memory of the House that I said that it would be a most appalling decision for anybody to have to take—and it might have to be taken. It would be a decision that would have to be faced by the Western Powers. I did not advocate it and I hope that the hon. Member will not try, outside or inside the House, to suggest that I did. He asked whether I was speaking on behalf of the Government. I am speaking at this moment on behalf of the hon. and gallant Member for Worthing.
§ Mr. Warbey rose—
§ Brigadier Prior-Palmer
I have made it perfectly clear—as clear as the English at my command will allow—and I do not intend to proceed on that basis any more.
I believe that in the west our strength on the ground is at present a sufficient deterrent. I am fully aware that for an attack in the last stages of the previous war to be successful a five to one preponderance was necessary, and that was when we had complete and absolute air power. The Russians know it perfectly well. They are realists and as long as our strength on the ground is increased and consolidated and our air power maintained, then I do not believe that an attack in the west would be contemplated by the Russians, even though they intended to indulge in global war.
It was rather an anomaly that in 1914 we consistently prepared for advance and were in retreat from the very first day. I believe that it may be found that the Army in Germany, which has been preparing for defence ever since the war, may be asked to advance. The reason is that if the Russians attack, they will not come across the Elbe, but over the North Pole. What would be the good of taking France? I believe that it is not beyond the bounds of imagination that our Territorial Army, if it is mobilised, will not be sent to Western Europe. It will be sent to Canada. I throw that out as a possibility.
I hope that these new doctrines will be studied at the staff college, because everybody knows that it is difficult to teach old dogs new tricks. If one has been promoted on a certain set of principles and ideas of training and tactics, one is 2141 very reluctant to have to learn entirely anew.
I want to say a word about the production of weapons, aircraft and the rest, I do not want to make a party political point and say that this party did this, and that party did that. The whole fact of the matter—and it is a very sombre thought—is that the most appalling decision rests in the hands of the Government and the chiefs of staff. It is to decide at what date to go into full production of any weapon whatever it may be. It is a most terrifying decision. On that decision war can be lost or won. And on the information coming from foreign countries that decision must be made and none of us here, without top secret top level documents, can say that war is likely, or not likely, in so many years.
What is required in the meantime is a dribble of prototypes, just enough to give the R.A.F. practice in the new machines as they come along. That dribble should be kept going so that the decision need not be made until the very last possible moment. We had an example of the Germans with their Mark IV tank in the last war. They went into full production with it, because they thought that the war would be over in eight months. They were saddled with it for nearly four years before they were able to produce anything better. That should be a very great lesson to those on that side of the House who say that we ought to have 500, or 1,000 Hunter aircraft now. If the war did not take place for four years, those aircraft would be obsolete.
Is it too much to ask in a debate of this kind that we should start thinking of a vast scheme for the voluntary transfer of some of our factories—voluntary I say—and population to our great Dominions? There is the open air and vast resources as yet untaxed, the room, the space and the freedom. Is it not worth serious study to get our children, who have to play in mean back streets, workers who have to work in smoky factory areas, live in dank surroundings—and the clerks and some of the executives—out into God's fresh air? We have had the logic of it, the stark logic of it facing us for many years. Now we have the incentive. Let us see whether something cannot be done on those lines.
In conclusion, I believe that this or any Government have to continue as we 2142 are doing, with patience, striving to the end. I believe that a time will come when a change of heart may be seen among our enemies. I do not believe that any system can exist for ever which relies, for example, on political murder for its strength. I believe that, gradually, there will be a lining to the cloud which will eventually lift altogether. We must go on as we are going and I believe that in the end we shall achieve peace.
§ 7.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Tom Driberg (Maldon)
It is quite a pleasant surprise, Mr. Speaker, that the Front Benchers and Privy Councillors who have given us the benefit of their wisdom for so long today are at last listening to us for a change, and are thus making it possible for you, Sir, to see one or two humble back benchers. I shall do my best to keep my promise to you to be brief; and I can help to that end by refraining from reading out the Amendment on the Order Paper in my name and the names of some of my hon. Friends—
§ [Leave out from "House" to end and add "regrets the decision of Her Majesty's Government to proceed with the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb without full consideration by Parliament and the nation of the ethical aspects of its use; questions the practical value of the security likely to be provided thereby; refuses to assent to the development of a weapon, of immense and indiscriminate destructive power, whose effect on the life and civilization of mankind may be disastrous; and calls on Her Majesty's Government to regain for Great Britain the moral leadership of the world by taking an initiative, at the present disarmament conference or on other appropriate early occasions, that may lead to the general outlawing of this and other thermo-nuclear weapons."]
§ —I gather that you are not, in any case, going to put it to the vote—which does express some of my views about this matter.
§ I have considerable sympathy with the last point made by the hon. and gallant Member for Worthing (Brigadier Prior-Palmer)—his suggestion of mass emigration to the Dominions.2143
§ Mr. Driberg
Yes, but the hon. and gallant Member will be the first to appreciate that there are many difficulties even in that agreeable proposal. In the first place, they are not, as he called them, "our" Dominions. Sometimes people from the self-governing Dominions rather resent our tendency to refer to them as our Dominions. The Governments of Canada, Australia and the other Dominions would certainly have to be consulted about the movement of millions of people from this country, which is what I suppose the hon. and gallant Gentleman has in mind.
Moreover, a basic criticism of his proposal is one of the central themes of this debate—that the destruction caused by nuclear warfare on a large scale is likely to be almost universal. There would be no escape from it anywhere. We often think of this island as a target, but in that very remarkable article by "Cassandra" the other day, recording his interviews at Strategic Air Command H.Q. in Nebraska, he reported their view that the Russians were perfectly likely to ignore Britain as a secondary target and go straight by the Arctic route, over Canada, for Detroit—right over the wide open spaces and the fresh air to which the hon. and gallant Member for Worthing wants to export our slum children. I am not making fun of his suggestion, because it was a sincere and in some ways an attractive one, but, honestly, I am afraid that the hydrogen bomb provides a sinister parallel to the words of the Psalmist:If I climb up into heaven, thou art there: if I go down to hell, thou are there also.There is no physical or geographical escape from it anywhere in the world.
The speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) was notable both intrinsically and for the historic intervention that it elicited from the Prime Minister—with his shatteringly, almost tragically, candid account of the failure of his mission to Washington. I do not want to make a party speech tonight—indeed, I happen to be in disagreement with the majority of my own friends in my party on one important subject that we are discussing—but I could not help contrasting the failure of that mission with the comparative success of the visit to Washington by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, 2144 when he went to see President Truman in December, 1940.
However, I did not agree at all with my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale when he seemed to brush aside one of the central themes of this debate and of the White Paper—the rights and wrongs, the ethics, of the hydrogen bomb and of nuclear warfare, as in some way secondary or irrelevant to our main discussion. Quite the contrary seems to me to be the case.
The most important part of this debate has been concerned with the hydrogen bomb as a deterrent, and we ought to consider two aspects of this: first—and I put it first because it seems to me the more important and fundamental aspect—is it the sort of deterrent which we, as relatively civilised human beings, have got any right to use at all? Secondly, suppose we were to agree that that is so, is it likely to be effective?
The first is the more important consideration. I do not claim for a moment that my own position is perfectly logical about this. I do not pretend to be certain that I am right. On the contrary, this is a terribly difficult dilemma—for all of us, I should have thought. The individual conscience is no more infallible than a collective sense of expediency.
It is possible, I think, to make a case for saying that the hydrogen bomb is different in kind, partly because it is so immensely different in degree, from all other weapons that have preceded it. My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) drew a very interesting distinction last night between "finite" and "infinite" weapons, as he called them. I am not absolutely certain that I agree with him, but the point is certainly arguable; and the Prime Minister himself lent some weight to that view yesterday by emphasising that there is an "immense gulf," as he put it, between the atomic and the hydrogen bomb. But if that argument is not valid, I would still be prepared to go further and to say, "All right, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale said, perhaps we took the first fatal step during the last war when we agreed to—or, at any rate, did not oppose vigorously, except a few of us—saturation bombing, and then the second fatal step when we used and 2145 assented to the atom bomb in 1945."If we were wrong, we can still turn back—
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)
Will the hon. Gentleman make clear why he says that there is a difference in kind between the atomic and hydrogen bomb and not between conventional bombing and nuclear weapons?
§ Mr. Driberg
I advanced that suggestion tentatively, but I think that it is arguable that there is a difference in kind because of the immense difference in degree. It is often said in philosophic argument that there are differences in degree so immense that they become differences in kind. That was the sort of difference that I was suggesting.
The only two groups of people who are completely logical on this issue are, on the one hand, the absolute pacifists and, on the other hand, what I may call the hydrogen whole-hoggers. We all understand and respect the position of my hon. Friends who are pacifists. I myself do not feel able to share it, but certainly they have the advantage of being completely logical in their opposition to this new and most deadly of weapons.
On the other hand, the hydrogen whole-hoggers, if I may use that phrase, are perhaps not quite so completely logical. I think that my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) summed up their position yesterday when he said that, in certain circumstances, we would retaliate with everything we had got. Did he—or do they—really mean everything? Do they mean gas, which was referred to by the hon. and gallant Member for Worthing? Do they mean bacteriological warfare? Suppose that these instruments were thought effective, do they mean that we have now reached this point—no matter how appalling, how inhumane a method of warfare may be, we shall use it if it is effective, or threaten to if that may be conceived to be an effective deterrent?
It seems to me that people who advocate the use of nuclear weapons generally, and the hydrogen bomb in particular, cannot very well say of gas and bacteriological warfare, and other methods which we have always hitherto considered atrocious and barbarous, "Oh, no. We would never dream of using those; they are much too horrible"—because all the 2146 accounts given to us of the results of radioactivity show that no gas, no bacteriological warfare, no disease, could be worse, could be more utterly horrific. So that argument presumably falls: we have reached the point at which we discard all the last remaining vestiges of chivalry or decency in warfare that we did at least retain during the Second World War, at any rate up to nearly the end of it.
This is really part—the most crucial and urgent part—of the old argument about ends and means. I have heard, among others, my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition speak very cogently about this, saying that one of our quarrels with the Russians is that they seem to act on the doctrine, which we repudiate, that the end justifies the means, and pointing out that even if you have an end which looks good, which looks desirable, if you use absolutely impermissible and wrong means to achieve it, the end will be corrupted by those means, and will not in fact be attained.
This is not just abstract theorising. It is surely important to get our principles straight, to understand what we really mean before we proceed with these death-dealing policies and weapons. If only the Government would realise it, if only advocates of nuclear warfare as a necessary evil would realise it, they are simply paraphrasing the quotation from Lenin given by the hon. and gallant Member for Worthing. He quoted Lenin as having said:Success is the only test of morality.They say, in effect, I am afraid, "The effectiveness of the deterrent is the only test we apply. We do not bother about whether it is right or wrong, whether its use is otherwise permissible or not. If it works, we use it."
We have had the word "deterrent" discussed quite a lot recently in other contexts also. In the recent debate on capital punishment, there was a good deal of talk about whether it was an effective deterrent or not. I suppose that it is just legitimate to make a rather far-fetched analogy, and to say that we could devise a more effective and grim deterrent to murder in this country if we hanged, not only the murderer, but his whole family as well, or if even more appalling penalties were imposed on those associated with him. But, of course, such a 2147 proposal would be inconceivable. It would be condemned immediately by public opinion. It seems to me that there is a parallel here which we ought seriously to consider.
The second main argument is whether this deterrent, the hydrogen bomb, is likely to be effective, quite apart from whether it is right or wrong to use it or threaten to use it. Personally—and again I emphasise that I speak diffidently, and only for myself, because no one can be sure about these hypothetical matters—I think the danger of having the bomb is, if anything, somewhat greater than the deterrent effect of it is likely to be.
I thought that the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) was rather optimistic in his speech of yesterday when he said:At present, we are not faced with a crisis. There is no threat of war such as would involve the use of the hydrogen weapon."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 1973.]Well, there is, after all, a very serious crisis about Formosa. We all know that there are certain differences about Formosa, which I need not go into here, between the British Government and the American Government.
We know that a situation might quite easily arise in Formosa in which Chiang Kai-shek and his American supporters would start a war against the Chinese Communists on the mainland—if, that is to say, there were an occupation by the Communists, not merely of Formosa itself, but even of one or two other disputed islands. Under the A.N.Z.U.S. Pact, to which we are not a party, Australia and New Zealand might very well be involved in such a war, and the Prime Minister said the other day in this House that he could not conceive of any warlike situation in which we should not find ourselves at the side of Australia and New Zealand.
§ Mr. Driberg
I am obliged to my hon. Friend. It was the Foreign Secretary—at any rate, a spokesman of the Government.
In other words, if some dispute about some islands off the Chinese coast involved the Americans in a war with Communist China, we would almost certainly be dragged in, perhaps via the 2148 A.N.Z.U.S. Pact, or via the United Nations, or in some other way. It could hardly be suggested that a war against the vast land mass of China would be, in any sense of the words, a minor local war, or a war in which all these weapons would not be used from the start. There has been a great deal of discussion today about the exact meaning of the White Paper reference to our possible use of nuclear weapons from the start and not merely by way of retaliation. I think that the Prime Minister answered our questions about that in advance yesterday, in his speech, when he said:During that period"—that is to say the next three or four years—it is most unlikely that the Russians would deliberately embark on major war or attempt a surprise attack, either of which would bring down upon them at once a crushing weight of nuclear retaliation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1955; Vol. 537; c. 1905.]So that seems to me to answer in the affirmative the questions which, quite rightly, my right hon. and hon. Friends have been pressing on various Government spokesmen; and I do not know why the Government spokesmen were so cagey about answering.
I have already referred once to that remarkable article in the "Daily. Mirror." A point that was emphasised tremendously in that article was the insistence by the Strategic Air Command in America on the infinite value of getting in first, on getting that split-second start over your antagonist in nuclear warfare. Does anybody doubt that from the very word "go", if there were to be another major war—and I for one would certainly not say that a war in which China was involved was anything but a major war—these weapons would be used, and that we should be involved?
Therefore, I say to the Government, and this may be the last occasion on which we in this House will have the opportunity of saying it—alas, we shall not have the opportunity of saying it directly, but some of us will say it indirectly by abstaining from voting on the official Opposition Amendment—"For God's sake stop, and think a little longer, before developing this terrible weapon."
One or two other points, and I have done; I am sorry if I am over-running 2149 my time. The Prime Minister's speech contained an obscure and rather alarming passage about lunatics. He said:That is a blank.He said that everyone would have to admit that if some lunatic took over, if a psychopath, like Hitler in his last days, did have this nuclear weapon, he would probably use it in desperation. He also said:Happily, we may find methods of protecting ourselves, if we were all agreed, against that".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 1905.]I do not really know what that means. Perhaps the Minister of Defence will tell us.
It is, I think, relevant and just permissible to say that the only senior statesman in East or West in recent years who has been what could be described as a certifiable lunatic was not a Russian, or a German, or a European, but an American, who had held high executive position in the United States at a crucial time when the strategy and policy of the United States were being worked out.
I do not think that it is alleged by most people that the men of the Kremlin are lunatics. Quite the contrary. It is usually said that they are ruthless, hard-faced realists. But chronic fear has been the motive of strategy and policy in Russia and America alike over the last few years. Chronic fear can become acute at any moment. Fear tends to make people nervy, jumpy, trigger-happy. Worse than trigger-happy is hydrogen-happy, and if there is one thing which is precisely as bad as having a hydrogen-happy enemy it is having a hydrogen-happy ally. Therefore, I plead with the Government and with the House, even at this late moment, to turn back and to think again.
What practical advantage could there be in our possessing this deterrent in addition to the United States stocks of it? The Prime Minister said that we should have no influence with our allies or with the world without these nuclear weapons. I disagree. Is the Prime Minister seriously suggesting that British influence and British prestige in the world depend upon our material and military strength alone, or even primarily? If so, we have, of course, lost it already because we all know that for many years now our material wealth has been less relatively to that of the United States than it was in the 19th 2150 century. World supremacy in material wealth has passed across the Atlantic irrevocably.
Surely we have somewhat different and, I hope, higher values; it is not by nuclear might that we shall impress and influence our friends and allies. India does not have the hydrogen bomb, and Mr. Nehru repudiated with contempt the suggestion that she should have it. Yet India, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition will agree, has played a notable part in world diplomacy and international politics in the last year or two.
The Prime Minister referred movingly to God wearying of the follies of mankind. I can only say that, if we go ahead with these weapons as is proposed, I am reminded of Thomas Hardy's famous poem about the moon looking down on the earth and thinking that it is… a show.God ought surely to shut up soon …
§ 7.43 p.m.
§ Mr. P. B. Lucas (Brentford and Chiswick)
With the Opposition's official Amendment now on the Order Paper, one's first inclination in this debate is to retaliate. I must say that, having listened to nearly all the speeches which have been made, I have been surprised at their mildness, and I do not think that the speech of the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg) is any exception. I cannot say that I agree with many of his conclusions, but I certainly felt that he made a thoughtful and a sincere contribution.
It was not until the hon. Member for Aston (Mr. Wyatt) intervened in the debate late last night, and made what I thought were some wholly misleading statements, that one really felt that there was any motion of censure about this debate at all. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman is not in his place, but I only wish to refer to one remark which he made. He said that the Hunter aircraft could not easily be flown in formation. His actual words were:We have some 80 Hunters not yet fully airworthy. They cannot fly in formation, which is an indication that they are out of control."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 1998.]I just do not believe that to be the fact. Certainly, the view is not shared by some of the pilots with whom I have talked and who have flown these aircraft. Indeed, one of the remarkable things 2151 about these aeroplanes is that they can be flown so easily, even by new and inexperienced pilots in the squadron. I think that one has to be fair about this, both to the pilots themselves and also to the manufacturers.
In the few minutes that I shall detain the House, I shall confine myself to one or two general observations on some of the new problems of air power and the means of producing it. For those of us who, in the last few years, have been advocating the principle of the establishment of a strategic bomber force as the prime feature of modern defence, this year's Statement on Defence is most encouraging. At the same time, with the development of strategic power, which is two-sided, new problems arise. I have long believed that once we reach the stage where offensive aircraft can operate at heights above 50,000 feet and at speeds near the speed of sound, the advantage for a time may well rest with the attacker.
There is a lot of room in the sky at 50,000 feet, and today we are no longer thinking in terms of the great bombing fleets which could be seen from the air perhaps 15 and 20 miles away, but rather of the single lethal attacker flying at great heights, perhaps at night, and at great speeds. In such circumstances, the difficulties of achieving successful interceptions become very serious indeed, and I question whether they are fully understood.
The gap between defence and attack is being narrowed. No longer is the advantage necessarily with the well-equipped and highly-controlled defending force, but rather with the single lethal attacker. With the advent of nuclear weapons, only a few of these aircraft have to get through, to impair not only our chances of retaliation, but even, perhaps, survival. Thus, the most effective defence must be the one which offers the best chance of preventing an attack from ever taking place at all.
It was on such a basis that, four years ago, when very few people in this country were thinking on similar lines, that Lord Trenchard began his campaign for the establishment of a strategic bomber force. He wrote a letter to "The Times" which, in the light of this White Paper, contained a strangely prophetic observation. This is what he said in 1950: 2152The vital over-riding defensive measure to prevent war, and, in the event of war, to win it, is an overwhelming, unchallengeable air force of long-range machines.There were many at that time who violently criticised this opinion, but Lord Trenchard's premise is now accepted. The main base of our defence is to be the strategic arm of the R.A.F., just as lately the major deterrent to aggression has rested upon the United States Strategic Air Command in the hands of General Curtis Le May. One can hardly imagine in this country a more responsible military appointment than that which will vest in the hands of a single Air Force officer, the command and operational control of the V-Force.
Here I would say to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence that, when this force is established, I hope he will give his special attention to the way it is presented, for no one knows more about presentation than he does. The Air Force—and I say this to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary—by tradition, shuns publicity. The fear of being accused of what in the jargon is called "shooting a line" still haunts the Service. I am inclined to think that it has been carried to such lengths now as to prejudice its status.
The Royal Navy has been called, in the cliché, the "Silent Service," but I have never noticed anything particularly silent about its publicity. It has probably got to be good in these days, but I have always felt that it has been extremely good, and probably the best of the three Services. But no better example of the presentation of a military force can, in my opinion, be found than in the case of the United States Strategic Air Command. True, it has had the resources—the fleet of inter-continental bombers and a superb and imaginative organisation. But the glare of world publicity has been allowed to focus upon it and to add to its status as the greatest modern deterrent force to aggression.
The speed with which we can get these V-class bombers into the squadrons is now paramount. This leads me to my final and concluding point, and prompts the question: is the procedure followed by successive Governments for producing military aircraft really the most efficient and the most effective which can be 2153 devised? In particular, is it really necessary for the Ministry of Supply to continue to discharge its present functions, or could we not revert to the procedure which we had before the war—or a compromise of it—whereby the Air Ministry dealt direct with the manufacturers?
One fact has become clear. In the supply of aircraft since the war the user and the manufacturer have been too remote from each other. There has been insufficient liaison between the squadrons and the makers of their equipment. Moreover, there has been too great a delay in giving the Service its first opportunity to evaluate the latest types of aircraft. As a case in point, it was not until Wing Commander Bird-Wilson, one of the most accomplished of Service pilots, was able to test the swept-wing fighters, at the Royal Air Force's Central Fighter Establishment, that we began to know the truth about these aircraft operationally and could make a start on some of the necessary modifications. The work which he put in at West Raynham has gone unsung, but it was quite invaluable. The pity is that he was not given the chance to get his hands on these aeroplanes at an early stage in their development.
I believe that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply has done a great deal to bring user and manufacturer closer together and to give them a better opportunity to represent directly to each other their various difficulties and problems. I do not think that too much use can be made either of the Ministry of Supply's Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down or of the Royal Air Force's central fighter and bomber establishments in the early development of military aircraft.
I trust that with the Government's wise decision to order a development batch of 20 P.I fighters it may be possible to send one or two of these aircraft to West Raynham at the same time as they go to Boscombe. If it is not possible to send them at the same time I hope that they can be sent very soon afterwards. Much the same arguments apply to the two latest V-bombers. The sooner the user—the Service—can get its hands on these aircraft the sooner we shall have them in satisfactory squadron service. That is one of the outstanding lessons that we have learned from the last few years, and I hope that we shall profit from it in the future.
§ 7.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Percy Daines (East Ham, North)
When I listened to the Prime Minister yesterday I was very much impressed by the grandeur of his tone and the greatness of his words. That fact was brought very much to my mind again when my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) spoke this afternoon. I could not help thinking that his complaint about the phrasing and grandeur of tone of the Prime Minister sounded a trifle ironic. I suppose that even those of us who have reservations about my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale will agree that he, also, is a master of phrases. In my opinion, the difference is that whereas the Prime Minister's phrases are premeditated and stand the test of time, those of my right hon. Friend are unpremeditated and do not stand the test of time.
I do not object to frankness of expression—one takes everything in one's stride in this place—but I suppose that there is not a single hon. Member who, at some time of the day and every day, is not conscious of the terrible threat that overhangs civilisation because of the development of the hydrogen and atomic bombs. I frankly confess that not a single day of my life passes but that at some time during it I am, as it were, overawed at the terrible fate which may face mankind.
There are times in history where one can mark out the course of a revolutionary change. One that comes readily to mind is the change from the bow and arrow to gunpowder. The other great change which has come into our lives recently is that which we made when we decided, with the Americans, to make the atomic bomb. When I was listening to my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale I was very conscious of the fact that he was a Member of a Government which I supported, and which decided to begin the manufacture of the atomic bomb in this country. I cannot, therefore, see how he can claim any difference in principle between the hydrogen and the atomic bomb upon moral grounds.
Like many other hon. Members, I was not at all clear what my right hon. Friend meant when he spoke about the European position. I ask him quite straightly, so that he can read it—he rarely honours us with his presence when it is a question of listening to speeches and not making 2155 them—what is he proposing? If the overwhelming weight of manpower of the Russians and their satellites is moved into action, are we to be debarred from using any form of atomic weapons against them? I think that we should be told, in order clearly to understand his position.
I am not too well informed upon these matters, but I think I am correct in saying that among the armaments that we have created under N.A.T.O. we at least have atomic shells. Does my right hon. Friend mean that their use is ruled out? As far as I understand it, the logic of his position is that if the Russian objective of clearing the Americans out of Europe is proceeded with—when they think the cards are stacked favourably—we must not use that form of atomic weapon against them but must capitulate.
I reject that argument completely. I am prepared to face the facts and to state the position as I see it. If I had to choose between slavery under the Russian system and taking the chance of using a deterrent, I would use that deterrent. I have no illusions in the matter. I wish that hon. Members on both sides of the House would read some of the information which is coming from the United States. I would say to the United States authorities that it is a pity that they do not copy some of the propaganda of the Russians and make contacts with British people to the extent that the Russians and their satellites do, in order to help us to understand them.
Upon the published information—and I shall try not to overstate it—the position is that if a modern hydrogen bomb were dropped upon Portsmouth at a time when there was a south-west wind, the whole of these islands would be immobilised. According to the published information, the lethal fall-out from the explosion of one hydrogen bomb in the Pacific covered an area of 7,000 square miles. That is an awful fact, and one which I do not burke in the remarks that I am making.
I believe that only by unity and integration with America and other free nations shall we reach a position where our economic and industrial power can stand up to that of the Russians. In the long run, economic power is the reality of power.
There are confusing elements in this situation. There are the old-time pacifists 2156 of my party, a relic of the First World War. I respect them, and I make no comment against them. There is also a latent sense of jingoism, not only in my party but occasionally on the other side of the House, which resents the fact that America is No. 1 Power today while we are No. 3. That is one of the most important factors that sometimes causes us to misunderstand the position between ourselves and America.
It will be far more realistic if we spend some of our time today in dealing with the cold war, because it is going to go on. If the hot war comes—well, I have stated my position—it means obliteration. I want to face up, therefore, to the cold war which is now taking place. We are far more likely, if the balance were to shift against us in Europe, to see happen something like what happened when the Russians moved into Czechoslovakia. They maintained their army on the frontier while the subversion boys moved in and hived off the opposition. I am informed that the European strategic army of the Russians is in Poland. That is the background all the time to the West German position.
The Russians are aiming at complete control of Europe in order that the economy of West Germany can be added to their own, and give them economic parity with America. One of the most confusing factors is that we will persist in thinking of the struggle in terms of nation States. Every member of the Communist Party is a potential traitor to his country, unless he is in Russia, and every member of the Communist Party, whatever else he may be doing, is a potential fighter for Russian policy.
Some hon. Members still think they are back in the political climate of 50 years ago. I doubt whether we can go on much longer with that luxury. We keep the rules but we must not go on thinking that people who are political conspirators are going to keep the rules as well. I have spoken on this subject before in this House, and I make no apology. I believe that we grossly underrate the power and the menace of the Communist forces in this country. There is a small Communist Party getting a handful of electoral votes, but behind it is a powerful conspiracy in which, very often, 12 determined men can get a result out of 2157 all proportion to the total strength of the party.
I will go further. I could name industries in which, if the orders were given, strikes would automatically take place. It is not without significance that the two industries in which we have had the greatest demonstrations are one affecting the power of the country and the other the docks, almost the jugular veins of our economy. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It is all very well to say, "Hear, hear." I have made this speech before. I made it after an important strike, and the facts were published In a White Paper, but we have done nothing about it.
These things cannot be tackled by legislation, and I do not want them done in the American way. Why do not people in the trade union movement who know these things do something about it in a positive form so that it can be counteracted? Underneath the industrial machine is another part of the Communist apparatus which would swing readily into action if the cold war heats up. One has only to read the evidence of the various spy trials to see how the apparatus works.
When I listen to speeches in this House I sometimes ponder how even we, who call ourselves "democrats," do not get infected with some of the double-talk that is the Communist jargon. I do not think that Orwell's book "1984" is any exaggeration of our peril. On many platforms one hears that war is peace and peace is war, democracy is dictatorship and dictatorship is democracy, until we do not know where we stand. We all dismiss it very lightly, but do we realise that on the first day we came back after the Christmas Recess we faced an organised demonstration of mass intimidation? That was not a genuine peace demonstration but a powerfully organised Communist demonstration, using innocent people who are influenced by the word "peace." The purpose was to intimidate the members of my party to change their attitude on German rearmament. That is a luxury that we can hardly afford.
It was Communist demonstration right the way through. In the Lobby an ex-Communist Member of this House was controlling the whole of the proceedings. What would have happened to them in glorious Russia if anybody had tried to 2158 make that sort of thing happen? I have not the slightest doubt that, in the "Daily Worker" tomorrow morning, I shall be "plastered" as an enemy of democracy because I have had the audacity to bring these things to the light of day. The purpose of this organisation is to break down the will of the people to resist; but we must face the fact that Russia has an army in every country that moves to its dictates.
I would call attention to the very interesting book that has been published by Her Majesty's Government, "Treatment of British Prisoners of War in Korea." Much as I appreciate their doing this, I would say that they will have to go a lot farther. We want the documents on which the book is based. I do not say they do not exist but we want them, and we want all the facts. I want more than that; I want action against some of the people named. If these charges are accurate they should be put to the test of law. I refer hon. Members to the pages dealing with the visits to prisoner-of-war camps, and I say bluntly to Her Majesty's Government that men were executed at the end of the last war for crimes no worse than are alleged against these people.
It is not good enough for us to read all this while pretending that it is not what it is. When I read about the so-called "National Assembly of Women" I immediately thought, "What would we have done when the war was on with Germany if a German-controlled organisation had gone round to our prisoner-of-war camps and done exactly the same thing?" It is part of a campaign of disintegration to break us up. These are not pleasant or happy things to say. This is a dangerous world, and unless we have courage to face the facts honestly the Russians will have won their fight without the price of war.
§ 8.9 p.m.
§ Mr. Ian Harvey (Harrow, East)
We have listened to a profoundly interesting speech by the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Dairies), whom I am glad to follow. I have given my word that in this debate, which has been predominantly conducted by Privy Councillors, I shall be extremely brief. The hon. Gentleman has helped me, because there is nothing which he has said with which I am not in total agreement, 2159 and I would thank him for the very amiable tribute he paid to the Prime Minister.
I turn to one aspect of the debate which, I think, has gone unnoticed. This is, I think, the first defence debate in which the Home Secretary has actively intervened. That is an indication of the importance the Government attach to Civil Defence as the fourth arm of defence. I listened with the greatest interest to what my right hon. and gallant Friend said on the proposals the Government have outlined in the White Paper. I would say to him, with the greatest respect, that I regard these proposals as mostly interim ones, because I think they have to be taken very much further along the way to their logical conclusion.
We have debated this matter very often, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) has been with us on all those occasions. It must be quite clear by now that if any arm of defence is to be truly an arm it must have leadership, it must have organisation, and, above everything else, especially in this sphere, it must have morale. I submit very respectfully that the various elements now assembled under the umbrella of Civil Defence lack the essential leadership, lack the essential organisation, which will give to the whole structure the morale it essentially needs if it is to perform its function, which is the defence of the home citadel. The point has been made time and time again in our debates that if we are to maintain our defence structure throughout the world we must be quite certain that the home citadel is secure, because we cannot operate our Defence Forces elsewhere if the men in them feel that it is not.
We have taken measures so far to increase the mobile support which is to be given to the local defence, which is to go on as before. I am one of those who believe that there is no substitute for the local self-defence of our citizens. There must always be local self-defence under the local authority, as was conceived originally in the National Service Acts. I am sure that that is right. However, the supporting forces, which go to the assistance of the localities in the event of their being saturated, must be on a new model, and that new model must have a regular element, a voluntary 2160 element, and, under modern conditions, a National Service element. That is why I feel that we have to go further in this course to make it possible to call up National Service men as of right direct to Civil Defence.
I say "as of right," because that is a most important aspect of the matter, because the whole future of Civil Defence, the success of the Civil Defence organisation, depends upon the psychological approach of the nation towards this arm of home defence. It is no good maintaining the old ideas that active service in the field is the most important aspect. Home defence is now a front line operation, which requires men every bit as fit and able and trained as those who were drafted in the last war into the Commandos and the Paratroops.
That is a fact that has to be understood by the nation, and it will be understood by the nation only if the proper priorities and psychological approach are given by the Government to the Civil Defence organisation. I urge the Minister of Defence to discuss this matter more closely with the Home Secretary, because at the moment the measures which have been taken, though they have an effect on success, will not in themselves make for success.
Because of the lack of time now I do not wish tonight to deal with the other important aspects of the defence of the home front, or with aircraft. I think we shall have an opportunity to discuss them at a later date. I would, however, make this observation. We are aware that guided missiles are not available. That has been made clear in the debate. The structure into which the guided missiles have to fit is not available either at present. It is not outlined anywhere in any of the White Papers we have had. That structure ought now to be defined and established, and I wish to press the Under-Secretary of State for Air and the Secretary of State for War to tell us, when we debate their Service Estimates, what their detailed proposals are.
§ Mr. Harvey
I prefer to await the statement by my right hon. Friend of the reasons for the present situation before commenting on that. I am sure that there will be an opportunity for both the hon. Member and me to do so.
The Amendment which has been moved by the Opposition is tantamount to a motion of censure. However, we have had some variations on the theme from various quarters. Having sat through the debate, in which I have been profoundly interested, and which has been most important, it would appear to me, that while there are those who endorse the maintenance of conventional weapons, there are people in another camp who do not endorse the maintenance of conventional weapons.
§ Mr. Harvey
That has been very strongly suggested.
Then, again, there are those who object to all weapons. With their point of view we have sympathy, even if we do not agree with it. However, perhaps the most extraordinary division that has occurred is that which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelrnan) have made between the hydrogen bomb and the atomic bomb and conventional weapons.
To try to draw a line between the atomic bomb and the hydrogen bomb is ridiculous, because both are parts of nuclear development, though one is a greater nuclear development than the other. It is illogical to draw that line. I think that the reason why the line is drawn is that the Leader of the Opposition and the Government he led started the development of the atomic bomb and were supported by all hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite and that now some of them wish to draw back, and, to provide a suitable line behind which to withdraw, they draw a line between the atomic and the hydrogen bombs. That is a palpably ridiculous attitude.
The whole of this operation has recoiled upon the heads of those who started it. It is quite clear that the right hon. Gentleman opposite and his followers, and those who are sometimes his followers, and some who, quite clearly, 2162 are not his followers at all, are not in a position to criticise, either on the ground of their past record or on that of their future intentions.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) ended his speech in this debate on a most dramatic note, crying, "Pace, pace, pace." The right hon. Gentleman quoted a phrase from the late Walter Rathenau in defence of the argument that, if one pursues peace in that sort of way, one would eventually find it but what happened to Walter Rathenau? He went back to Germany, where he was promptly murdered by men of violence, who were very much the same sort of people with whom we are having difficulty in the world today. I did not think that it was a very happy selection on which to base the remarkable speech which the right hon. Gentleman made today.
Finally, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale, in an almost more dramatic climax, said "Let us take the lead." I would only say to the right hon. Gentleman, who, as usual, is not here to listen to anybody else, "What with, and with whom?"
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Victor Yates (Birmingham, Ladywood)
I could be tempted to follow the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Ian Harvey), who has introduced some rather interesting points, but I will comment on only two which he mentioned, because I, too, have promised to be very brief.
I thought that when the Home Secretary intervened yesterday he displayed the weakest part of the Government's case. After it was made clear that there was no real defence against the hydrogen bomb, I thought that his talk about the methods by which Civil Defence was to be organised was ridiculous. Now that the hon. Gentleman suggests that National Service men shall be more or less compelled to enter this service, it does not look as if conscription in this country is to be abolished for a very long time.
I should also like to take up his point about the hydrogen bomb being quite different from the atom bomb. It is true that both these bombs are evil, but I think that the hydrogen bomb is so disastrous that to renounce its manufacture is to renounce war altogether.
I have listened to defence debates in the House for the last ten years, and I 2163 think this is the first time for three years that I have managed to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. In some respects, the debate has certainly proved the grimmest debate which we have ever experienced. All the White Papers issued in the past ten years have shown how unrealistic are those who have written them, yet those of us who have attacked these statements from time to time have always been regarded as being on the lunatic fringe of the House of Commons. The same invisible pen is behind all these White Papers, and, up to last year, their main theme was that we were to achieve peace through strength. This year, it is not peace through strength, but peace through deterrents.
The Prime Minister, and, apparently, many hon. Members, are now justifying the manufacture of the deadliest of all weapons because they say that in this deadly weapon lies the hope of peace. I say that it is unadulterated bunkum to say that the hope of peace can lie in the manufacture, the possession or the use of this most terrible weapon. If the Prime Minister and the House believe that there is a deterrent effect in this machine of death and destruction, upon what evidence do they base their conclusion? I cannot discover any evidence in history that shows that by the threat of physical torture, by the threat of destruction, or even of death itself, communities or individuals are deterred from wrong-doing.
§ Mr. Yates
I agree as to poison gas and the rest, but, in fact, whatever we call the deterrent, which is the imposition of physical torture it has never prevented wrong-doing.
I have been following very closely the question of crime in this country, and I must say that I do not believe that any kind of physical torture really deters people from committing crimes. It is obvious that the threat of capital punishment does not deter people from committing murder, and I do not believe that the threat of mass destruction would, in fact, deter communities from taking wrong action when believing that what they did was right, whether they were directed by a madman or not.
2164 I should have thought that the last world war, with its most horrible results in 21 million men killed and 30 million homes reduced to ashes, as well as the cost in money which would have provided such great benefits for mankind, had demonstrated its evil result, but we are now told that we have to face an even more horrifying spectacle.
The White Paper is the most shocking document which has ever been produced. The Government can only point the way to this diabolical and terrifying horror. I was interested to read the remarks of Captain Liddell Hart in the "News Chronicle" yesterday. Here is a military writer who, after forty years' experience, tells us that all military knowledge is useless, and although, for some reason or other, he is prepared to keep the hydrogen bomb, he makes this most astonishing assertion:… it is appalling to depend upon a weapon such as the H-bomb which even as a deterrent carries the continuous risk of civilisation's destruction, and as a defence, if we came to the point of using it, would be no real defence. For it would be general suicide, as both air chiefs and scientists frankly tell us.Yet we are to pin our faith on spending thousands of millions of pounds in manufacturing the weapon and developing the most up-to-date methods of delivering a world knock-out bomb which will never be used. It reminds me in some respects of the patter of the late Sir George Robey, to which I called attention in the debate on the Army Estimates last year. The last words of his patter were:To round off the joke, they say we're all broke,But for armaments millions they raised.If it's all to take part in a war which won't start,I'm more than surprised, I'm amazed.He might well have said, "But for H-bombs millions they raised." It is in some respects comical, but there is also a great tragedy, and in my judgment the White Paper on Defence turns the House of Commons into a suicide club. We are supposed to be the best club in the world, but it seems to me that we are entering upon a new phase, because its only contribution is to suicidal mania. Why do I say that? The late President Roosevelt stated one of the most fundamental truths on 26th October, 1938, when he said:You cannot organise civilisation around the core of militarism and, at the same time, expect reason to control human destiny.2165 That is true, and if the late President Roosevelt were here today he would have to say, "You cannot organise civilisation around the core of atom and hydrogen bomb bases strewn from one end of the world to the other and expect reason to triumph." The madman has not been ruled out—of course not; but this kind of development produces the kind of people likely to act in a mad way and to cause this terrible destruction.
The Opposition Amendment seeks to delete words approving the Statement on Defence. Of course, I could readily agree to that, but I am asked to agree to delete those words only to insert what I consider to be the most obnoxious feature in the White Paper—that is, the necessity for the manufacture and the threat of using thermo-nuclear weapons—words which, furthermore, would give the impression that somehow or other my right hon. Friends can more quickly, more efficiently and more economically produce machines of death and destruction. In other words, they can reach the point of immense danger quicker than those on the other side of the House.
Personally, I cannot see very much difference between the two sides in this, and for my part I find myself unable to support and to vote for an Amendment which, I believe, contains the major evils stated in the White Paper. For that reason, together with some of my hon. Friends, I shall abstain in the Division on the Motion tonight.
There has been a good deal of talk about the circumstances in which nuclear weapons should be used, and no doubt that point will be made tonight. I must confess that I was somewhat horrified by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey) last night when he said, as reported in column 1938 of the OFFICIAL REPORT:… upon the Continent of Europe we must use nuclear weapons to halt a possible onrush of the Red Army …He also went on to say:If there is an advance by the Red Army we shall have to drop bombs on the Red Army wherever it may be. My point is that it is surely better, if the bombs are to be dropped, to drop them only on the Continent, and not on Britain and on the United States and the U.S.S.R."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 1938–41.]One of the reasons which caused me to vote against the Paris Agreements was because I believed that they would create 2166 conditions in which the hydrogen bomb would be dropped. I cannot think of anything more disturbing to the people of Germany and of France, for that matter, than that it should go out from either side of this House that, in fact, in our strategy nuclear bombs are to be dropped on to Europe and not here. I should have thought that that was the greatest argument against rearming Germany.
I regret that this White Paper has been introduced and I also regret the terms of the Amendment. To me, this is a strategic gamble. I realise that we have to take risks for peace and I am prepared to take certain risks for peace, but I prefer to gamble upon the unconquerable power of human brotherhood upon which eternal peace depends, rather than pinning faith on the most horrifying spectacle which can only destroy civilisation.
§ 8.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Richard Sharples (Sutton and Cheam)
I have sat through practically the whole of the debate, and I have had the opportunity of listening to almost all the speeches that have been made. In some ways that may be an advantage, because one has heard all the points which one wanted to make oneself being made by other people, and one has perhaps been able to hear the arguments against them.
A good deal of the argument and of the debate has been concerned with the definition of when we should use major weapons like the hydrogen bomb, but to my mind there is no doubt at all about it in the White Paper. It is clearly laid down in paragraph 24, in these words:Thus, until the Soviet Union agrees to participate in a secure system of disarmament, the free nations must base their plans and preparations on the assumption that if a major war were precipitated by an attack upon them they would have to use all the weapons at their disposal in their defence.Nothing could be clearer than that.
That statement is based upon the agreement of the 14 nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. I have myself worked for that organisation, and I know how difficult it is to get agreement upon anything in it. To get agreement on a policy statement of this kind is a very great achievement.
There is no doubt as to where the responsibility lies for deciding whether a 2167 major aggression has taken place or whether a mn started. It lies fairly and squarely upon the aggressor himself, no matter who he is, no matter from which side he comes. The aggressor in any war today must realise quite plainly that in taking any action of aggression, no matter where it is, no matter whether it is in Europe or in the Far East, he runs the risk of starting a major war and of bringing upon us the destruction of the world as we know it. It should be made quite clear by the House that that is what we mean, and that anyone who takes the risk of aggression, no matter how small it might be, runs a danger of that kind.
The Government are to be congratulated upon the major decisions which are contained in the Statement on Defence. There is the decision to make the hydrogen bomb. I do not think that there is anything more that I need say about it. But there is, in addition, the important decision, which is contained in paragraph 29, to concentrate upon the deterrent, and upon the winning of the cold war, and to give the continuing of operations after the initial phase, if war should come, a lower priority. That is an important decision indeed and one which has been somewhat obscured in the course of our debates.
I am very glad that the Government do not intend to neglect the weapons which we need—and it is conventional weapons that we need in the cold war. I am particularly glad that we are giving an entirely new look to home defence. The announcement made in the speech of my right hon. and gallant Friend the Home Secretary gave an entirely new complexion to that vast subject, which will need much further consideration. I have no doubt that these decisions will mean a very considerable reorganisation of our conventional forces over a long period.
There are also a number of decisions which are needed in the future, some in the near future and some which depend upon further scientific progress before the problems can be solved. There is the whole question of the maritime air and of naval-air relationships. That is a vast question upon which depends the future of the Navy and of the air forces themselves. There is the responsibility for 2168 the control of Army air supply and air transport. That is still to be considered. There is also the question of the control and development of guided missiles of all kinds, which today are of interest to the Navy and the Royal Air Force, and may well be eventually of interest to the Army. Not one of these big problems has yet really been solved.
The responsibility for making these decisions should rest with the Minister of Defence. At the moment he is in the position of a co-ordinator of the three Services. He has a very small staff and has a chief of staff, but he is not at the moment represented at the level of the Chiefs of Staff. He has a small Civil Service staff and a secretariat which provides the services for the Chiefs of Staff when they meet, and for the various joint Service committees.
It is with some diffidence that I would ever suggest the enlargement of a Ministry, but I am not sure whether the time may not have come when we ought to look again at the rôle of the Ministry of Defence to determine whether it might not be recast to a certain extent over a period to enable it to play a more positive rôle in the big decisions which face us.
There are many other points which I wished to make, but only a short time is left. However, I should like to leave that thought with the House. I also believe that it might be possible for the Ministry of Defence to assume direct responsibility for some of the subjects which are today the responsibility of various Service Departments. There are many subjects which might be considered for this purpose, such as certain aspects of intelligence work. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I believe that in that way we might make a saving in staff in the Service Ministries.
The Government are to be congratulated upon the Defence White Paper, which is a bold step and a contribution towards our policy of peace through strength.
§ 8.48 p.m.
§ Mr. C. R. Attlee (Walthamstow, West)
I have been listening with interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharpies). I would only say that I hope his remarks about the Minister of Defence were not correct, because he seemed to be harking back to the idea of a Minister for 2169 the Co-ordination of Defence, an appointment which we got rid of before the last war. I hope and trust that the present Minister of Defence is taking a positive role. I was Minister of Defence for a short time, and I can assure the hon. Member that I took a positive rôle, and I believe that my colleagues did the same.
To turn to the main subject of the debate, yesterday the Prime Minister set out with very great power the position in the world today. As everybody realises, it is a grim picture, no less than the danger of the destruction of civilisation if war should break out. It is just as well that everybody should know that. I think that that is the main point of the Prime Minister's speech, because I take it that all of us in the House are well aware of it.
I have lived with this sombre topic for some time; indeed, it is present in my mind everyday. We all recognise that there is no defence of this country in the ordinary and accepted sense of the word. That is, naturally, a great shock to the older Members of the House, who remember the time when we used to sit secure behind the guns of the British Fleet. We have to recognise that. The hope of averting the catastrophe of another war which would mean not only catastrophe to ourselves, but to civilisation, is the realisation that there will be no victor in another war.
We have to get right away from the idea of victory in war. We may continue to read of victories in the past, but there will not be a victor in another war. As there is no defence we are driven to rely on deterrents. That is simply the knowledge on the part of any would-be aggressor, or breaker of the peace, that retaliation would be devastating and certain. It is important to stress the word "certain," because in the past wars have broken out partly through uncertainty.
I do not believe that war would have broken out in 1914 if the Kaiser had been certain that we should have joined in. I am more doubtful about the war which broke out in 1939, because we were there dealing with a paranoiac. But there is at least the possibility—and I have always held it so—that if the League of Nations had been effective, if there had been an effective organisation which could have acted, and acted in time, in the early stages of aggression, that war might not have 2170 taken place. Therefore, I think that we have to be sure that in the knowledge of any would-be aggressor this retaliation is ever present.
We know that there is no likelihood whatever of aggression on the part of any of the free countries. But it is very difficult to get that into the minds of the people in the countries behind the Iron Curtain, because they are not allowed to know. Obviously, therefore, we have to try to take every opportunity of making contact with these people, because the trouble is that their rulers are not restrained by any force of public opinion. We have to face that fact.
How little that force of public opinion is one can see by the sudden switch that we had in Russia from terrific denunciation of Fascism to an alliance with Fascism. Such a thing would be quite impossible in a country with a really informed public opinion. Secondly, we must realise that the rulers of Soviet Russia are not moved by sentiment or humanitarianism. They have massacred hundreds of thousands of their own people.
I shall always remember the late Ernest Bevin saying to me how he always felt a dislike in even meeting the people who ruled Russia, because he thought of the millions of innocent people, the Kulaks, who had been killed. It is no good thinking that Russia's rulers are moved by sentiment; they are moved by self-interest. Somehow or other there has to be a meeting of the leaders of the great Powers to persuade the rulers of Soviet Russia that, in their own interests, peace must be preserved. I should like to see a growing prosperity in Soviet Russia, because the more they have to lose the less they will want to chance their arm with the greater strength of public opinion. Putting it on the lowest level, that is the materialist conception.
They must also realise, and this is essential, that the free peoples are resolved to preserve their freedom, and they have the means for instant retaliation and that they will use those means in the event of open aggression. That may lead to the acceptance by the rulers of Soviet Russia of co-d them, as the Prime Minister said, to an all-round reduction of armaments.
After all, that is the aim we must work for, because when one looks at this matter 2171 and sees the enormous piling up of what are called conventional armaments, and then, on top of that, of the hydrogen bomb, it looks even more foolish than any of the armaments of the past. The assumption is that if you go to hydrogen bomb warfare there will not be very much left for conventional armaments—an enormous waste in the world.
The fact of the recognition that this does mean the suicide of civilisation really gives us a gleam of hope. That is why I cannot take such a gloomy view as is taken by some of my hon. Friends, that this is the most terrible White Paper we have ever seen—frightening, if you like, but there is a hope there. It is really more hopeful than White Papers that contemplated wars with conventional weapons. Clearly, some people seem to think that there was not very much trouble about conventional weapons, but they are extraordinarily unpleasant.
We must accept the fact that our only defence is the power of a counter-attack, and hope that that will never occur, but it seems to me that we must look at our whole defence organisation in the light of this entirely new condition, because I think there is always a tendency to look back at the past at past wars instead of looking to the future. I am not condemning people with military minds. That was said to me by a very distinguished soldier who said that he did not want to see war again because he was always thinking of the last war instead of the next. I want someone to think of no war at all.
There is in the Government's White Paper the evidence of a divided mind. The acceptance of the main thesis is not really carried out to its logical conclusion, though there is an advance in this White Paper over the last because the conception of a broken-backed war has now gone. I always thought that that was an extraordinary illusion. Apparently we were to fight and destroy each other with nuclear bombs for a few days and then take up again a kind of broken-backed war with conventional weapons. That has gone. If this country were attacked by nuclear weapons it would not be a question of fighting any more for those who were left. It would be a question of mere survival.
2172 As I understand, with a hydrogen weapon, as it is now developed, an area the size of Wales could be made unsafe for human beings. I am not saying that everyone would be eliminated, but a comparatively small number of bombs would make this little island practically uninhabitable. I say that we have to take a very realistic view of this. Incidentally, I could not think that the statement of the Home Secretary was very realistic. He talked about getting people out of the towns. Where are we to get them to? Where is a safe area? It depends which way the wind is blowing. It depends on where the bombs are dropped—and no one knows.
Everyone must realise that the whole problem is different and, to do him justice, the Home Secretary did not profess that he had worked out the whole of this question. I see nowhere where people can go in advance to escape, and I think that the prospects of evacuation after the trouble has once started are very small. We must have our organisation for Civil Defence, I believe, but it has to be something very different from Civil Defence in the last war. I do not think that it has been clearly worked out to what extent it is not merely an ambulance worker trying to rescue people. We need widely dispersed depots of food, and so on, because it is not much use evacuating people to perhaps the only unbombed area in Caithness and Sutherland and having nothing for them to eat when they get there. We have to be much more realisticin this, and I must say that I do not think that the Home Secretary's speech was realistic.
I do not find, in the White Paper or in the statements of the Service Ministries, a real acceptance of changed conditions. There is a reluctant clinging to the past and I should like on that to ask the Minister of Defence to be rather more specific on the changes which are indicated in the White Paper in the future organisation of our Armed Forces. Although the Prime Minister dealt at great length with the hydrogen bomb, and its effects, he did not tell us very much about the rest of the White Paper. The Minister of Supply was mainly occupied with making a rather forensic case on behalf of supply and the Home Secretary's speech was limited to home defence.
2173 We had no explanation about the shape and form of the Armed Forces. I am sure that the Prime Minister recognises now that he was a bit unjust, when, as Leader of the Opposition, he charged us on this side of the House with changing our minds from time to time. He has had to change his mind a lot. In changing conditions one has to change one's mind. For instance, we had a flourish of trumpets about all the extra 14 battalions. They have had to go The right hon. Gentleman had to change his mind about the Suez Canaldefence. I am not blaming him in the least. It was because of changed conditions, and I wonder whether we are changing conditions enough now.
When we took office in 1945, the hydrogen bomb was not thought of; it was far away on the horizon. Even the atom bomb was only possessed by the United States. The threat at that time was thought to be a mass advance of what are called conventional forces right across Europe and the only hope there was to hold them was with a screen of troops and with big reserves built up behind. The main purpose of National Service was to provide these masses of trained reserves and that has been effective for that purpose. But how do we contemplate creating forces today?
I cannot conceive that in the event of a modern war breaking out we shall be able to send large masses of people and ammunition across the Channel. I think it is difficult to see how big, massed armies are going to operate at all. If, as I understand, the nuclear weapons are now able to be discharged from artillery, I do not see that we could possibly have large masses of troops, large installations and immense columns of supplies.
We shall surely need a far greater amount of dispersal of very light forces. We generally hear the old sort of talk about the division and all the rest of it. I should like to know something about the new talk on that, because we have to consider what really are the tasks today.
We have the Air Force and the nuclear weapons as the supreme deterrents. In this we work with our colleagues in N.A.T.O., who obviously need a very wide dispersal of aerodromes if that force should be ready. Then we come to the rôle of the Army. I can understand the need for a screen on the Continent, but it 2174 does not contemplate anything like the masses equal to the 400 divisions of the Soviet Union. As I say, we want a screen of some kind, but it must be the minimum necessary.
Then there are our forces for the general policing of the Commonwealth and Empire. I do not know how that has been worked out, but I suggest that the time has come when we need something like a combined operation consisting of small, highly-skilled and highly-trained forces of all arms and of all three Services which can be put in where they are wanted.
I am not quite sure whether in the Statement on the Navy Estimates there is not a kind of special pleading for the existence of the Navy, with a certain doubt in the minds of the writers as to how far it is really needed. I think that we must consider again how far the capital ships which we now have, and which are mainly aircraft carriers, would be useful in other parts of the world. It seems very doubtful whether they could operate in the narrow seas, and it is very doubtful whether we want cruisers.
It seems, again, small units and much dispersal, Therefore, we should have an unprejudiced review, because, in this country, we really cannot afford to have an immense mass of so-called conventional arms and, on top of it all, the expense of the atomic or hydrogen weapons. It seems to me that there is an urgent need, both in this country and in N.A.T.O., to see what is really necessary instead of the kind of reluctance that we see expressed in the Memorandum on the Army Estimates—how, for example, with great reluctance they had to scrap the second battalions which the right hon. Gentleman had created only a couple of years before. We ought to be glad to get rid of them, because they were of no use.
It is now said that the anti-aircraft guns are no good, but nobody says, "Let us cut them down." They try to shuffle off into something else. There must be a strong attitude on the part of the Minister of Defence to withhold everything which is not necessary in the way of manpower, because we have to remember the broad strategy of our efforts for peace. The more that we put into arms, the less there is for the constructive work which awaits us all over the world of trying to prevent 2175 the spread of Communism in the less developed parts of the world which is the most favourable ground for the sowing of the seeds of Communism.
We come, finally, to the point of disarmament. We all hope that something may come out of the disarmament conference which is going on now in London, but surely it is time that a very, very big effort was made to try torid the world of this menace of another war. I cannot think that there is anything so important as that. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman feels it as well. Every effort must be made to reach the stage where we can have all-round, thoroughly efficiently policed disarmament. That depends, also, upon the political outlook. It must mean—and I think that it is easy for us—that we renounce any suggestion that we should try to enforce our view of society upon others, but it must also mean that the rulers of Soviet Russia must give up their dream of enforcing Communism throughout the world, and must really accept co-existence.
One may hope that war may be avoided, but it will be a terrible strain through the years ahead. There is always the danger that a small incident, somewhere, may grow into the cause of another world war, and as long as this immense danger of world destruction exists there is always a chance that a spark may set it alight. This country, with its traditions and its position, is particularly well placed to make the greatest possible efforts for peace.
I think that we have influence in the world. That influence does not depend solely upon the possession of weapons, although I have found, in practical conversations, that the fact that we do possess these weapons does have an effect upon the rulers of other countries. It is quite an illusion to think that it does not have an effect. I am quite sure that we should not have had the influence we did have upon the events in Korea if we had not had the Commonwealth Division there. We have to make our contribution, but we have, besides, a very great influence in Europe, America, Africa, and Asia, and it is up to us to use it, so that we may look forward at some time to having a White Paper in which we shall not be faced with the grim outlook set before us today.
§ Mr. Bevan
There is a matter upon which hon. Members on this side of the House would like to have some clarification. The Amendment which has been moved by the Opposition speaks about the deterrent effect upon aggression of the threat of using thermo-nuclear weapons. Paragraph 19 of the White Paper says that we must rely upon this, and thatThe knowledge that aggression will be met by overwhelming nuclear retaliation is the surest guarantee that it will not take place.It does not say "nuclear aggression," but merely "aggression" of any sort.
In the meantime, General Grunter has said that he has no choice but to use atomic weapons, whether or not the enemy does so. What we want to know is whether the use of the words to which I have referred in our Amendment associates us with the statement that we should use thermo-nuclear weapons in circumstances of hostilities, although they were not used against us.
§ Mr. Attlee
My right hon. Friend is asking me that question. I am using this in the most general terms. I am not referring to anything in the White Paper, but to the general thesis, with which I think my right hon. Friend agrees, that deterrents, by the possession of thermo-nuclear weapons, are the best way of preventing another war.
§ 9.16 p.m.
§ The Minister of Defence (Mr. Harold Macmillan)
This has been a notable debate, distinguished by many powerful speeches, including a maiden speech of quite exceptional quality. It has been rather a queer debate, not a bit like an ordinary censure debate; indeed, at times it has not been clear who was censuring whom. The debate has ranged, as all defence debates do, from vast problems of foreign policy, down to minute details of engineering and armaments.
Of course, the Opposition has accused the Government of various sins of omission and commission. There is nothing very novel about that. It is what one might call conventional warfare. In point of fact, in the speech which wound up this motion of censure for the Opposition there was hardly a word with which anybody on this side of the House could be found to disagree. Since I suppose one 2177 should refer to the motion, perhaps I may take the various complaints.
The first is that we have not been able to indicate what future defence expenditure may be called for. That is not a very wounding censure. In a life where one has to give and take a. lot of hard knocks that does not hurt me unduly. It is, after all, the normal custom of Defence Estimates to cover the financial year, 1955–56 in this case. It is true that an attempt has been made sometimes to peer further into the future. For example, when the great rearmament programme was launched by the previous Government, something of the kind was done. First the figure was put at £3,600 million. Then it became £4,700 million. Then, as it worked out, the plan had to be slowed down. We had to substitute what is called "the long haul." Although I might indicate the right road, I am afraid I could not predict in this White Paper with any accuracy how long or how costly the journey would prove to be.
The second charge relates to the deficiencies in the weapons which are available to the Forces. Anyone who listened to the masterly not to say devastating speech of my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Supply—[Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite cannot expect me to waste any more time peering into the future.
I have always thought that the Opposition Front Bench were a little nervous about peering too far into this story. Their back benchers, sometimes elevated to the Front Bench, might start what might seem quite a promising explosion. Who could tell the precise direction, or what would be the secondary effects, or where the fall-out would go? The sad thing is that, in trying to injure the Government the critics have done scant justice to themselves, and by concentrating popular attention on ventures initiated by them which are in trouble, they are obscuring the credit which is due to their successes.
Apart from that, the hon. Member for Aston (Mr. Wyatt) allowed himself one or two remarkable obiter dicta. The first was that we did not need a strategic reserve. The second was that the Navy was as dead as Nelson. He had better tell that to the Marines, or perhaps even to the Russians, because they are building one of the largest navies in the world.
2178 The third charge is indeed a strange one. The White Paper, it is said, fails to make proposals for the reorganisation of Her Majesty's Forces or of Civil Defence. I should have thought that that was exactly what it did do. Whether our proposals are right or wrong is quite another question, but they have certainly been put forward in this White Paper with remarkable clarity; and I think, in view of the transitional period to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, that this has been accepted both at home and abroad as a State paper of considerable importance. Naturally, I am indebted for most of the preliminary work to my predecessor, Field Marshal Lord Alexander. Whatever may be said of the rest of us, at any rate nobody will venture to call him an armchair strategist.
Of course, all our critics do not agree with us, but the trouble is that they do not agree with each other. At any rate, during my first few months as Minister of Defence I have not suffered from lack of advice. A great deal has been said and written in speeches and pamphlets during the last few weeks, as well as said in this debate. I have had all these carefully collated. The trouble is that they nearly all cancel each other out.
Some say that the aircraft carrier is so vulnerable a weapon that it is useless. Others of equal authority say there is no substitute for the carrier either as part of the striking fleet or as a means of providing cover for convoys. Some say the Navy must be of small ships. Others demand the immediate construction of a large number of big ships. Some say that troop carrying helicopters will have a profound effect upon the whole structure of warfare, but others of great authority say they will be such easy targets as to be sitting ducks. So it goes on, and the truth is that, perhaps, the variety of these different views may lead many of us to approach this problem with discretion and prudence, as well as with resolution.
There is, however, one dangerous fallacy which, I think, this debate has done much to expose, and that is the fallacy of partial disarmament. There is no halfway house in disarmament. Of that I am absolutely sure. Indeed, a half-way house would leave us in mortal danger. It is very easy to start the cry, "Ban the bomb." It is no doubt proposed for the most humane reasons by the most humane 2179 people, but it is really an illusory conception.
Let us see what is involved. Is it suggested that we should, by ruling out nuclear warfare, be returning to some respectable and acceptable system for carrying on the quarrels of nations? Would war, as it were, cease to be a blackguardly affair and become a gentlemanly affair again? I was glad that the Leader of the Opposition rather helped me in the view that we look too kindly on the past. Some of us have been through two wars. Are we to say that, if we now rule out gas and nuclear warfare and all the rest, it would be tolerable to have those over again? I do not see it.
The First World War brought a degree of suffering and misery to Europe that it had not known for a century. Nearly two million Frenchmen lost their lives, and from that loss France has even now scarcely recovered. In our own country the flower of the youth of a whole generation was mown down by the scythe of death. Have we forgotten the loss of that Regular Army, the Old Contemptibles, or the 60,000 casualties of the greatest volunteer army in the world on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, or the 360,000 casualties in the long nightmare of Paschendaele? The loss of a whole generation is something that has struck so deep into the hearts of men of my age that, remembering the fallen, we have sometimes scarcely felt the right ourselves to be alive.
And then came the Second World War, with its terrible losses by land and sea and air, and the first great mass attacks upon the civil populations of the countries of Europe. Is this so tolerable an experience that it can be looked at even in retrospect without horror? If "Ban the bomb" means going on with war without nuclear weapons, I am against it, and I believe that every Member of this House is, too. So let us hear no more of that.
Apart from that argument, let us suppose there could be such a ban. If such an agreement were scrupulously observed on both sides, how could the conventional forces that we could recruit and maintain bear any comparison with the huge manpower of the vast Communist countries? Such a result would be fatal to the freedom of Europe and the whole world.
2180 Is it not obvious that if such a degree of international agreement between the two great rival forces could be reached as to give confidence in the scrupulous observance of any plan for ruling out nuclear warfare, that itself would involve a complete system of inspection and control of almost every detail of industrial production and scientific research?
If we could reach agreement on that, surely we should reach such a degree of understanding that it ought not to be difficult to reach agreement on the rest? If we can go some of the way, we ought to be able to go the whole way. What I say we cannot afford to do is to go half way and leave ourselves exposed.
We are told that the answer lies in the field of foreign affairs. I think it was truly said by one hon. Member who spoke today that a defence debate was more a matter for the Foreign Secretary than the Minister of Defence, and that one of the difficulties in these debates and in framing these White Papers was that the field is so big. When we are asked what we have done, I say that it is a good record.
Two wars have been ended, if not in peace at least in truce, in Korea and Indo-China. Three baffling and irritating problems have been solved to general satisfaction in Abadan, Suez, and—one of the most important of all—Trieste, by diplomatic means. When we talk of having high-level talks, it is worth recalling that the Foreign Secretary has had 2½ months of discussion with Mr. Molotov, first at Berlin and then at Geneva. More has been done to create the proper conditions for disarmament than ever before, and I claim that when free Europe is consolidated and is no longer vulnerable to disruptive propaganda, the next stage can begin.
Meanwhile, our representatives are working hard, and mean to go on working hard, at the talks now going on in London, in the hope of framing at least the first picture and preparing at least the groundwork for a system of disarmament to which—and it is an important point—a rearmed Germany will also have to conform. Although I was not in the House to hear the speech of the Leader of the Liberal Party, the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies), which was reported to me, I was very glad to know that he encouraged us 2181 to go forth on that task, and that we mean to do.
On the whole question of disarmament, our purpose is simple and our record is clear. Genuine disarmament must be based on two simple but vital principles. It must be comprehensive and it must provide a proper system of control. It must be comprehensive, by which I mean that it must include all weapons, new and old, conventional and unconventional. The control must provide effective international, or if we like supranational, authority invested with real power. Hon. Members may say that this is elevating the United Nations, or whatever may be the authority, into something like world government. Be it so, it is none the worse for that. In the long run this is the only way out for mankind.
Of course, it will take time and patience to reach our goal. We have had disappointments, we have had setbacks, but we shall persevere. For disarmament is two things—and when we achieve it, it will be this double triumph: it will be both the symbol of peace and the means of preserving it.
But meanwhile we have to organise our forces for their two-fold task, directed, as they must be, to a dual purpose. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said that we sometimes have divided minds, but that is the great problem of the Defence Minister. There are two quite separate kinds of purposes for which we have to organise our forces—to prevent the global war ever coming about and to carry on the ordinary commitments of the Empire and the Commonwealth and of the cold war which, as the Prime Minister said yesterday, we hate but have to endure.
We have to prevent the hot war and to win the cold war. What are we to do? I was glad that the right hon. Gentleman agreed with our main theme. Until the passions of mankind can be cooled by reason or by love, they must be chained by fear, and there is no other way.
How is the deterrent to be made effective? What are its components? First, and obviously the most compelling, is the power to deliver against any aggressor nation an immediate and overwhelming counter-attack. Of course, it may be argued that because the main deterrent 2182 force is American, there need be and there ought to be no British contribution. I think that is a very dangerous doctrine.
It is doubly dangerous on two levels of thought. Politically, it surrenders our power to influence American policy and then, strategically and tactically, it equally deprives us of any influence over the selection of targets and use of our vital striking forces. The one, therefore, weakens our prestige and our influence in the world and the other might imperil our safety.
For this deterrent counter-attack not merely defends Europe from aggression, but the power of interdiction upon invading columns by nuclear weapons gives a new aspect altogether to strategy, both in the Middle East and in the Far East. It affords a breathing space, an interval, a short but perhaps vital opportunity for the assembly, during the battle for air supremacy, of larger defensive forces than can normally be stationed permanently in those areas.
In a word, it gives time—and from the very nature of things, that is what the democracies always need. The aggressor chooses his own moment. He punches when he will. The democracies can never be mobilised right up to the hilt. They sometimes need periods, especially in those distant theatres, to develop their full strength. The tyrant's ringer is always on the trigger.
If immediate counter-attack is the first element of the deterrent, there is a second of almost equal importance. These new and terrible devices do not mean that conventional weapons are altogether outmoded. I found it a little difficult to follow the argument of the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) on this point—and I hope he will forgive me if I have misunderstood him. At one moment he wanted us to cast away what he called the paraphernalia of conventional weapons and then, at another moment, he wished us to rely exclusively upon them if the enemy refrained from nuclear attack. I say that the aggressor must not imagine that his armies will be allowed to invade our territory or that of our allies unopposed.
It is equally vital to keep an aggressive force as far to the East as possible—vital for Europe and for her own safety. For this we need a firm shield of troops and 2183 tactical aircraft. Without it, the Communists would be tempted to overrun Europe with their vast armies. Once this was done, of course, they would hope that the West would not dare to use their nuclear weapons for the liberation of Europe.
We all remember with what frightful searchings of heart we had to drop our own far less destructive bombs upon the territory of our friends in the last war. Imagine, then, the disadvantage to which we should be put if large parts of Western Europe were occupied by enemy forces and we were called to clear them out, risking the subjecting of our friends to the effects of thermo-nuclear attack. We should face the terrible dilemma either of accepting that this hostage, prematurely seized by the enemy, because we had not conventional arms to protect it, would be used to drive us to a shameful peace; or, alternatively, of subjecting Europe to a liberation which would involve its own destruction. That is what we mean by forward strategy.
Those are the reasons which have led the Government, with the support, I am happy to feel, of the greater part of the Opposition to press on earnestly with the London and Paris Agreements and try to achieve the consolidation of the Western European Union. I know that the majority of us—I will not say all of us by any means, because I know there are strong feelings—
§ Mr. Macmillan
—despite bitter memories, are prepared to welcome a German contribution to this difficult task and those are the essential preliminaries both to defence and to disarmament.
I want to turn to a point of interpretation which was raised yesterday by the right hon. Member for Easington, the hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey), my hon. Friend the Member for Solihull (Mr. M. Lindsay), and, I think, repeated today by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). I was asked about the interpretation of certain words in the White Paper. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale tried to get the Leader of the Opposition to rise to his bait, but he was too wise a fish. Perhaps I am not so cautious.
2184 I think the words in the White Paper are very clear. In paragraph 22, there are these words:If we do not use the full weight of our nuclear power, Europe can hardly be protected from invasion and occupation—with all that this implies both for Europe and the United Kingdom.Paragraph 23 goes on to explain that the military planning of N.A.T.O. must assume the use, in a major war—and I underline the words "major war"—of nuclear weapons.
Paragraph 24 repeats the same sentiment in another way, and says this:Thus, until the Soviet Union agrees to participate in a secure system of disarmament, the free nations must base their plans and preparations on the assumption that if a major war were precipitated by an attack upon them they would have to use all the weapons at their disposal in their defence.That seems to me very clear.
I do not think anything would be gained by attempting a more precise definition. Members may well ask what will constitute a major war. Would some incident in one place or some minor attack in another count as a major war? That is a question very easy to pose, but very dangerous to answer. It is rather like the question, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes. If I say, "No, we will never use them," it is an encouragement, almost an enticement to the Soviet to attack, for example, some Scandinavian country. It would be cold comfort to those countries if I were to say, "No."
It is important, of course, that the aggressor should know what he may not do, but I think that it is equally important that he should not be told too invitingly what he may do. Surely, it depends upon what kinds of attack we are contemplating. Some small incident could be dealt with by conventional weapons, or even by diplomatic means. One would hope that it would be stopped and would never be allowed to develop. A great massive attack upon a wide front cannot be launched without some preparation which can be detected. A clash on such a scale would amount to total war.
Finally, let me remind the House that these decisions do not lie with generals or field marshals, however distinguished. They lie with the Governments of the free countries. We are not -talking about a 2185 sudden bolt from the blue, a nuclear attack, but a much more normal incident with much more preparation, where intelligence shows the probable movement of troops. That was the problem that was posed to me, and I say that this seems to dispose of the argument that we should abandon conventional weapons altogether. Indeed, they may prove the only means to prevent an incident from developing into a real war.
The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale argues that we should not meet conventional aggression with nuclear weapons. Presumably he intends us to meet that sort of attack with something. With what? Surely with conventional weapons. Then why all the talk about the useless Army and the millions of pounds wasted? This is certainly the Government's decision and I think the decision of the majority of Members in this House.
§ Mr. Driberg
The distinction which the right hon. Gentleman has been drawing, between a major war and a minor attack or local incident, is surely somewhat obscured by what the Prime Minister said yesterday, that in the next few years… it is most unlikely that the Russians would deliberately embark on major war or attempt a surprise attack,"—which presumably is less than a war and is one of those minor incidents—either of which would bring down upon them at once a crushing weight of nuclear retaliation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 1905.]
§ Mr. Macmillan
I think that what the Prime Minister said is exactly what I said.
A bolt from the blue would be answered, of course, by sudden counterattack, but developing movements such as those to which we have been accustomed in former wars give time for diplomatic and other moves to develop before what we have in mind. I think that I have made that clear, and that most of the House accepts it.
I turn now to the defence of our island base. The anti-aircraft gun, except in a limited and rather specialised field, can no longer contribute against the kind of attack which we would have to face in global war. The Leader of the Opposition asked us to get rid of what was no good or useless, and we have tried, in this 2186 decision to abolish Anti-Aircraft Command, to follow his advice. Naturally, we have done it with a certain sentimental reluctance, because the traditions of these regiments, both Regular and Territorial are indeed very fine traditions. But we are confident that the officers and men of both these categories will now carry forward into new opportunities of service the splendid traditions which they had in the past. I think that they would be the first to resent being asked to continue to give their services to what was an unrewarding and even purposeless effort.
The true defence, of course, is counterattack, and I speak now of global war. Apart from that, our defence rests upon the fighter squadrons which we have discussed already today. I do not want to add to what has been said except to venture to say, not in any hostile spirit, that I think it would be unfortunate if, in our natural desire to attack each other in the course of our normal political disputes we should let it be thought, either at home or abroad that the Royal Air Force is not equipped in such a way as to give a good account of itself against any attack that can be brought against it at the present time or in the near future. I believe that the aircraft now under development will take care of the years beyond.
I now come to the second line of defence—if the bomber gets through. This is generally termed Civil Defence. I have tried to have it renamed "Home Defence," because I do not think there is very much distinction now in that kind of defence between the military and the civilian. We are all in it, and everyone must play their part. Our proposals have been set out in the White Paper and they have been fully explained to the House by the Home Secretary. The Leader of the Opposition says that they are not complete. Of course they are not complete, but they mark a very considerable step forward in respects which I will summarise as follows.
What are we dependent on? The first echelon is the Civil Defence Service. It is the front line. The people in it are necessarily static. They are the people on the spot; they are the men who know the job. Behind them is the third echelon, which now consists of all Her Majesty's Forces, trained Forces, in the country at the time, with this difference. Since we intend to introduce training in the whole 2187 of this work into the normal routine of all the Forces, they will be trained. So we shall have behind them the formed forces, trained at any rate in good knowledge of the kind of work in which they will have to help.
Then as the link between the two—the Civil Defence Service and the Armed Forces at home under the officer commanding the Home Forces—we have the Mobile Defence Corps. At least, I claim, this is a clear and coherent scheme. It is a plan upon which we can build and develop as our knowledge grows.
There will be those who will say that all this is useless and that there is no defence at all against the thermo-nuclear attack. It may not be a complete defence, but it is a mitigation. Surely, to say that there is no mitigation, that there is nothing we ought to do except lie down, is to make an assumption that we have no right to make. I do not believe that any Government of any party could make such an assumpton. It would be simply taking a defeatist or disinterested attitude.
In a curious way, just as the first part of the deterrent is counter-attack, the second part is the maintenance, through N.A.T.O., of strong forces in Europe sufficient to hold the massive enemy at a distance while the vital battle for the air, if it has to be fought, is fought. So I think that to make these preparations for our home defence, and to make them proudly and boldly, to let the aggressor know what is the mood of a people who have been often bent but never yet broken, is an essential part of the deterrent itself.
So much for the hot war, as it is called, and the means to avert it. Yet, as has been remarked by several hon. Members on both sides of the House, the more terrible the deterrent becomes and the more rapidly the rival forces reach a kind of stalemate of equality, the more the Communist Powers may be encouraged to attempt by infiltration and subversion what cannot be obtained by open warfare.
In other words, the same forces which may make hot war or world war less likely will, by a strange paradox, serve to increase the tempo and the fever of the cold war. The cold war has, of course, to be waged by diverse means and military strength is only one part of it and not perhaps the most important. 2188 Economic development, political stability, the rise in the standard of living—all those are of equal, or perhaps greater significance.
Nevertheless the quiet steady sense of support and security which is provided by a well-planned distribution of the armed resources of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth is an essential element in fighting the cold war. It used to be said that the British private soldier was England's best ambassador, and I think that that is still true.
§ Mr. Macmillan
The airman runs him hard, and we all know that the presence of naval forces is often sufficient to provide a steadying influence in a delicate or uncertain situation. For these dual functions, preparations for and prevention of the hot war and the guarding of freedom in the cold war, all three fighting Services have to be always ready.
In my view, their roles are not competitive, but complementary. We hear a lot in debates and discussions about differences of opinion. Those there must be. Some hon. Members seem to think—I find it as I go about the world, or read the newspapers—that the Services are engaged not so much in preparing to oppose the enemy, but in bitter conflict among themselves. I am given pictures of infuriated admirals attacking angry generals, or trying to induce them to combine with them against the claims of grasping air marshals. But in the interests of accuracy I am afraid that I must tell the House that that romantic picture is not a true one. I am afraid that this warfare, or this kind of warfare, is mainly conducted by retired officers.
Sometimes there may be, as there ought to be, differences of opinion, but I am not, as many people suppose, surrounded and harried by the jealous demands of obsolescent Blimps. On the contrary, the Government—this Government and their predecessors—command the co-operative services of devoted and distinguished officers working loyally as a team, together.
I must now sum up. As regards the criticisms of the execution of our policy which are contained in this motion of censure, I appeal with confidence to the 2189 House and to the nation. They may have served some tactical purpose, or were no doubt intended to serve some tactical purpose, in gathering the forces of the Opposition into some semblance of order, but even that manoeuvre does not seem to have been very successful.
As regards policy itself, I am equally confident. The object of defence is security. We must avoid a false security. There is an old fable of the wolf who offered to make peace with the sheep, provided that they would send away their dogs. Let us beware of the fate of the sheep. Equally we must recognise that no negotiations for disarmament can be effective unless they are sincere. As with any other satisfactory bargain in life, both sides ought to be pleased with it. If one side tries to overreach the other, it will be in the position of the man who sold a blind horse and got a bad note in payment. Nor would it benefit us as a nation if we allowed these tremendous issues to become the sport of party warfare, either in this House or upon the hustings.
What we have to do is very difficult. It needs high intellectual qualities, perhaps, above all, high moral qualities. We shall have—all of us, whichever party is to do the job—disappointments. We shall need great perseverance. Yet though the journey is hard the prize is great. We sometimes flatter ourselves that we may be entering on a new Elizabethan age. That was an age, above all, of dangerous living and of risks.
The wings of man's life"—
wrote Drake to the Queen—
are plumed with the feathers of death.
§ We must seek a state, I will not say of friendship yet, but of tolerance at least, between the free world and the Communist world. Such tolerance, imposed by fear, may grow, bit by bit, into peace. If we can win peace for our children and our grandchildren, which we have not had ourselves, then I think all the risks, all the labours and the sacrifices of our people will be justified.
It may, of course, be that we shall not attain it in our pilgrimage. Let us then pray that they may reach it, and then indeed, in Bunyan's noble words, they will come into
the country beyond the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and also out of the reach of Giant Despair; neither will they from this place so much as see Doubting Castle.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. P. G. T. Buchan-Hepburn) rose in his place, and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question put accordingly, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of 'the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 303, Noes 196.2193
|Division No. 38.]||AYES||[9.58 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Black, C. W.||Cooper, Sqd. Ldr. Albert|
|Allan, B. A. (Paddington, S.)||Boothby, Sir Robert||Cooper-Key, E. M.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Bossom, Sir A. C.||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt, Hon. J. A.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hn. H. F. C.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Boyle, Sir Edward||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. 0. E.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Braine, B. R.||Crouch, R. F.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hn. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Brooman-White, R, C.||Davies, Rt.Hn.Clement (Montgomery)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Browne, Jack (Govan)||De la Bére, Sir Rupert|
|Banks, Col. C.||Billiard, D. G.||Deedes, W. F.|
|Barber, Anthony||BuIIus, Wing Commander E. E.||Digby, S. Wingfield|
|Barlow, Sir John||Burden, F. F. A.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.|
|Beach, Maj Hicks||Butcher. Sir Herbert||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Donner, Sir P. W.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Campbell, Sir David||Doughty, C. J. A.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Cary, Sir Robert||Drayson, G. B.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Channon, H.||Drewe, Sir C.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)|
|Bennett, Sir William (Woodside)||Clarke, Col. Sir Ralph (E. Grinstead)||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth,W.)||Duthie, W. S.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Cole, Norman||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Leather, E. H. C.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Fell, A.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lindsay, Martin||Robertson, Sir David|
|Fisher, Nigel||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lloyd, Major. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Fort, R.||Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Foster, John||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Russell, R. S.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Longden, Gilbert||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)||Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollock)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Savory, prof. Sir Douglas|
|Gailbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Gammans, L. D.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Scott, Sir Donald|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||McAdden, S. J.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Glover, D.||McCallum, Major D.||Sharples, Maj. R. C.|
|Godber, J. B.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbr'gh, W.)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Cough, C. F. H.||McKibbin, A. J.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Gower, H. R.||Mackle, J. H. (Galloway)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Maclay, Rt, Hon. John||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Grimond, J.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Speir, R. M.|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir p. (K'ns'gt'n, s.)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Hare, Hon. J. H.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Steward, William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Stoddart-Soott, Col. M.|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Hay, John||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Storey, S.|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Marples, A. E.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Heath, Edward||Maude, Angus||Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury)|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maudling, R.||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Medlicott, Sir Frank||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Molson, A. H. E.||Teeling, W.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Moore, Sir Thomas||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Heref'd)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Hollis, M. C.||Neave, Airey||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Holt, A. F.||Nicholls, Harmar||Thompson, Lt-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Hope, Lord John||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. P. (M'nm'th)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Thornton-Kemsley, Mr. C. N.|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Nugent, G. R. H.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Turton, R. H.|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Oakshott, H. D.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Odey, G. W.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Hughes, Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Wade, D. W.|
|Hulbert, Wing. Cmdr. N. J.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Hurd, A. R.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'le'bne)|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh.W.)||Osborne, C.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Hutchison, James (Sootstoun)||Page, R. G.||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Peake, Rt. Hon. 0.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.||Perkins, Sir Robert||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Jenkins Robert (Dulwich)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Jennings, Sir Roland||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Webbe, Sir H. (L'nd'n & Westm'r)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pitman, I. J.||Wellwood, W.|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Williams, Rt. Hn. Charles (Torquay)|
|Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Powell, J. Enoch||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Kaberry, D.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Profumo, J. D.||Wills, G.|
|Kerr, H. W.||Raikes, Sir Victor||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Ramsden, J. E.||Woollam, John Viotor|
|Lambton, Viscount||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Redmayne, M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Mr. Buchan Hepburn and|
|Adams, Richard||Hargreaves, A.||Pannell, Charles|
|Albu, A. H.||Hayman, F, H,||Parker, J.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Peart, T. F.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Porter, G.|
|AttIee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Herbison, Miss M.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Probert, A. R.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hobson, C. R.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Balfour, A.||Holman, P.||Pryde, D. J.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Holmes, Horace||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Bartley, P.||Houghton, Douglas||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Bellenger,Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hoy, J. H.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Benson, G.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Ross, William|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Shackleton, E, A. A.|
|Boardman, H.||Irving, W. J, (Wood Green)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Janner, B.||Short, E. W.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Champion, A. J.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Steele, T.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Keenan, W.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Coldrick, W.||Kenyon, C.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Collick, p. H.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Collins, V. J.||Lawson, G. M.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Swingler, S. T.|
|Dalnes, P.||Lindgren, G. S.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Logan, D. G.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||MacColl, J. E.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||McInnes, J.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Deer, G.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Thornton, E.|
|Delargy, H. J.||McLeavy, F.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Dodds, N. N.||McNeil, Rt. Hon, H.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Donnelly, D. L.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Viant, S. P.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Bromwich)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H, A.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mayhew, C. p.||West, D. G.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Mellish, R. J.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Messer, Sir F.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Fienburgh, W.||Mitchison, G. R.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Finch, H. J.||Moody, A. S.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Wigg, George|
|Follick, M.||Morley, R.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Morrison, Rt.Hn.Herbert (Lewism,S.)||Willey, Frederick|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Moyle, A.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mulley, F. W.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Gooch, E. C.||Murray, J. D.||Willis, E. G.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Nally, W.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Hale, Leslie||O'Brien, T.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Oldfield, W. H.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Oliver, G. H.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Oswald, T.|
|Hannan, W.||Paget, R. T.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hardy, E. A.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson|
Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.
§ Main Question put accordingly:—2194
§ The House divided: Ayes 303 Noes 253.2199
|Division No. 39.]||AYES||[10.10 p.m|
|Aitken, W. T.||Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Armstrong, C. W.||Baldwin, A. E.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Banks, Col. C.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Assheton, Rt. Hn. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Barber, Anthony|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Astor, Hon. J. J.||Barlow, Sir John|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Grimond, J.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Beamish, Mai. Tufton||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Hall, John (Wyoombe)||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Marples, A. E.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)|
|Bennett, Sir William (Woodside)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maude, Angus|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maudling, R.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Medlicott, Sir Frank|
|Black, C. W.||Hay, John||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Boothby, Sir Robert||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Bossom, Sir A. C.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Heath, Edward||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Braine, B. R.||Higgs, J. M. C.||Neave, Airey|
|Braithwaite Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Braithwaite, Sir Gurney||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Hollis, M. C.||Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony|
|Bullus, Wing-Commander E. E.||Holt, A. F.||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hope, Lord John||Odey, G. W.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Horobin, Sir Ian||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)|
|Channon, H.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Osborne, C.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Page, R. G.|
|Clarke, Col. Sir Ralph (E. Grinstead)||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Perkins, Sir Robert|
|Cole, Norman||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Conant, Maj, Sir Roger||Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J.||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hurd, A. R.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Craddook, Beresford (Spelthorne).||Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hn. H. F. C.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Crouch, R. F.||Iremonger, T. L.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Jennings, Sir Roland||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Redmayne, M,|
|De la Bere, Sir Rupert||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Kaberry, D.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Kerr, H. W.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. Mc A.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Donner, Sir P. W.||Lambton, Viscount||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Robertson, Sir David|
|Drayson, G. B.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Drewe, Sir C.||Leather, E. H. C.||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Duthie, W. S.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.||Lindsay, Martin||Russell, R. S.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Erroll, F. J.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Fell, A.||Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G.||Scott, Sir Donald|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Longden, Gilbert||Sharpies, Maj.R C.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbr'gh, W.)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Fort, R.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Foster, John||McAdden, S. J.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||McCallum, Major D.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Speir, R. M.|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Macdonald, Sir peter||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||McKibbin, A. J.||Spent, Rt. Hn. Sir p. (K'ns'gt'n, S.)|
|Gammans, L. D.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Glover, D.||Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Godber, J. B.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Steward, William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Gower, H. R.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Storey, S.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Gresham CooKe, R.||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Summers, C. S. (Aylesbury)||Turner, H. F. L.||Webbs, Sir H. (L'nd'n & Westm'r)|
|Sunnier, W. D. M. (Orpington)||Turton, R. H.||Wellwood, W.|
|Sutcliffe, Sir Harold||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Williams, Rt. Hn. Charles (Torquay)|
|Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Vane, W. M. F.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Vosper, D. F.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Teeling, W.||Wade, D. W.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Heref'd)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)||Wills, G.|
|Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'le'bne)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Walker-Smith, D. C.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. P. (M'nm'th)||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)||Mr. Buchan-Hepburn and|
|Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.||Mr. Studholme.|
|Touche, Sir Gordon||Watklnson, H. A.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Finch, H. J.||McKay, John (Walisend)|
|Adams, Richard||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||McLeavy, F.|
|Albu, A. H.||Foot, M. M.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Forman, J. C.||MacPherson, Maloolm (Stirling)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Freeman, John (Watford)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Awfoery, S. S.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Gibson, C. W.||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Baird, J.||Gooch, E. G.||Manuel, A. C.|
|Balfour, A.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Bartley, P.||Greenwood, Anthony||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Bence, C. R.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Messer, Sir F.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Benson, G.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Monslow, W.|
|Beswiok, F.||Hale, Leslie||Moody, A. S.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Morley, R.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hamilton, W. W.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Boardman, H.||Hannan, W.||Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewi'm,S.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hardy, E. A.||Moyle, A.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hargreaves, A.||Mulley, F. W.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Murray, J. D.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hayman, F. H.||Nally, W.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Herbison, Miss M.||O'Brien, T.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hobson, C. R.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Holman, P.||Orbach, M.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Holmes, Horace||Oswald, T.|
|Carmichael, J.||Houghton, Douglas||Owen, W. J.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hoy, J. H.||Paget, R. T.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hubbard, T. F.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Chetwynd, G, R.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Clunie, J.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Coldrick, W.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pannell, Charles|
|Collick, P. H.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Collins, V. J.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Parker, J.|
|Cove, W. G.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Craddook, George (Bradford, S.)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Peart, T. F.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Crossman, R. H. s.||Janner, B.||Porter, G.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Daines, P.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Probert, A. R.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Proctor, W. T.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Jenkins, Roy (Steohford)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech||Rankin, John|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Reeves, J.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Deer, G.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Delargy, H. it.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Keenan, W.||Rhodes, H.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Kenyon, C.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||Lawson, G. M.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Edelman, M.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brlghoute)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Ross, William|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caarphllly)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwlck)||Royle, C.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Lewis, Arthur||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Lindgren, G. S.||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Logan, D. G.||Short, E. w.|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacColl, J. E.||Shurmor, P. L. E.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Mclnnes, J.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wigg, George|
|Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Skeffington, A. M.||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Willey, F. T.|
|Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Thornton, E.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Snow, J. W.||Turner-Samuels, M.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T.(Don Valley)|
|Sorensen, H. W.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Willis, E. G.|
|Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Usborne, H. C.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Sparks, J. A.||Wallace, H. W.||Winter-bottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Steele, T.||Warbey, W. N.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightslde)|
|Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Weitzman, D.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Wells, William (Walsall)||Yates, V. F.|
|Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||West, D. G.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Stross, Dr. Barnett||Wheeldon, W. E,|
|Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Swingler, S. T.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson|
|Sylvester, G.O.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
That this House approves the Statement on Defence, 1955, Command Paper No. 9391.