HC Deb 17 April 1957 vol 568 cc1981-2059

Question again proposed.

6.28 p.m.

Mr. Crossman rose

Mr. Julian Snow (Lichfield and Tamworth)

On a point of order. With very great respect to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the history and tendencies of this House, is it not possible to make a commonsense arrangement by which Black Rod could come at a more convenient time to ourselves? It should not be too difficult to arrange. Here we have had an important speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) interrupted. After all, we slam the door in Black Rod's face. Could not we keep him waiting a few minutes until the speech which is in progress is finished.

Mr. G. B. Drayson (Skipton)

If a speech were being made from this side of the House the party opposite would not be taking the same point of view.

Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)

Since this interruption is to suit the convenience of another place, could not there be discussions behind the scenes to suit the convenience of both Houses?

Mr. Speaker

There are always discussions to try to suit the convenience of both Houses. That has always been done. The hon. Member who is addressing the House should be greatly flattered at the fact that the interruption of his speech has caused such a commotion—but it might have been anybody's speech that was interrupted.

Mr. Crossman

I should like to thank my hon. Friends for their support. This is not a question of the speech of any particular hon. Member, but rather a feeling that we should have an arrangement which would be of benefit to us all.

May I sum up to the Prime Minister the point which I was seeking to make about atomic tactical weapons? If we equip our forces with these atomic tactical weapons, and rely upon these weapons to make up for Russian conventional strength, are we not going to he in a situation where we either start a world war even from a purely local disorder, or are left defenceless? This applies, by the way, in the event of a quite small disturbance run by a satellite Government from the other side? That is the question which I wanted to put on the subject of atomic tactical weapons.

I wish now to turn to another part of the White Paper, where reference is made to the Middle East. I am disconcerted to find that the Government propose to keep Cyprus as a base, where, as part of our contribution to the Bagdad Pact, we shall have bombers equipped for nuclear warfare. I seriously say to the House that the belief that we shall retain the oilfields of the Middle East by telling the Arabs that we would commit nuclear warfare on their behalf is the strangest notion of a way to make our position less insecure than it is today in that part of the world.

The idea of nuclear warfare in Europe may be tolerable, but to spread the idea of nuclearising warfare to the Middle East and Asia is merely to ensure that the people of that part of the world—who are already deeply disturbed by the connection of atomic warfare with the West—will more and more come to the conclusion that their lot is not on our side but on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

These are the reasons why I cannot understand how, on the purely military side, the Government suggestion of the nuclearisation of our forces will add to our security either in Europe or in the Middle East, unless of course, they intend, in addition to this vast expenditure on nuclear warfare, to retain conventional forces of a very large size.

Here I come to the second argument for the White Paper economy It has been used a great deal by hon. Members on the Government side of the House. They say that to cut down expenditure on the forces we must nuclearise them. I believe it to be true that the Government have undertaken large-scale economies. I welcome the withdrawal of our forces from places like Libya and elsewhere. I am an anti-colonialist and I am delighted to see us liquidating all these imperialist commitments. But I want to be sure that the Government and their supporters are fully aware of what is meant by this White Paper. The provisions contained in this White Paper mean that, when they are carried out, this country will be incapable of waging any large-scale colonial war again.

I want to repeat what was said yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) about the idea of transporting troops by air us an alternative to overseas bases. Do not let us have any illusions about this. The number of people who can be moved by air is negligible compared with the type of operation we had in Malaya. Let us consider the Malayan operation. We could never get men to Malaya again by air transport unless we crippled this country with an air transport command which we could not possibly afford. The size of the air transport command we are likely to have would be capable of moving troops by battalions and not by divisions.

This means—I am surprised that we have not heard speeches from hon. Members opposite on the subject—that under this White Paper the switch over to nuclear weapons which are totally unusable for colonial police operations make it virtually impossible—I personally welcome this—to sustain overseas colonial commitments in the traditional way.

The White Paper talks about policing Aden, but does not tell us how the troops are to be got there. There are a lot of places left over. Let me assure hon. Members opposite that they will go on winding up the British Empire under this White Paper strategy by the same ignominious method—being kicked out —as we saw after Suez. The difference is that we Socialists want to get out on principle, but the Tories get themselves kicked out, after pretending to themselves that they have the conventional weapons to defend the Empire.

This Government will not last for five years, but if they were still in office—or a Tory Government were in power in five years' time, when the results of the policy contained in this White Paper begin to work themselves out—they would find that we shall have spent vast sums on nuclear warfare; and then, when there is trouble in a place like Kenya we shall find that we have not the forces to do the job. We shall have a rearmament programme of the conventional type and we shall be faced again with a most colossal arms estimate. I am afraid of that happening if the House does not realise the foreign policy conclusion to be drawn from this White Paper.

That conclusion is that once we accept the logic of this White Paper we cease to be an imperial Power. Either that, or the economies are unreal. I put that dilemma to the Government. Either the economies are real, in which case we cease to be an imperial Power, or they are bogus economies.

The third argument is the political argument in which it is argued, "All right, suppose nuclear weapons are not much good militarily. Suppose they do not save economically. Yet we must have them for the sake of our political independence." Here, I hope that the House will forgive me if I speak frankly. I think that we had better face it. Whether or not we have these weapons makes very little difference to our military dependence on the United States of America. The Government's attitude to "Thor" proves that up to the hilt. There is no question of geting rid of the Americans. On the contrary, they are here, "for keeps" and we are to become a rocket base instead of being a bomber base as now. The notion that because we have built a few H-bombs marked B for Britain," we therefore thereby achieve political independence is something which, I am ashamed to say, I was taken in by two years ago, when Earl Attlee told me that it was so. Now I do not believe it and 1 suspect that Earl Attlee believes it even less, having seen what has happened to us in two years while we spent the money on building our H-bomb.

Can we be militarily independent of America? On the contrary. The Suez fiasco revealed that. Within four days of attempting to "go it alone" we were brought to heel by economic sanctions of the politest and most efficacious sort. What is the use of going on saying that by building these weapons we achieve independence? All we do by building them is to compel the Germans and the French to build them as well. That is something upon which we should reflect very seriously. I was in Koenigswinter last year with several colleagues; and a Conservative colleague whose name I will not mention made a charming speech to the Germans. He explained how we had to build the H-bomb in order to be independent of the Americans. He said that we could not trust the Americans to choose the right targets but he added that of course we should always choose the right targets for the Germans.

That does not work. If, as members of N.A.T.O., we claim that we cannot trust the Americans, do hon. Members think that the Germans will not say the same? They will be driven to say the same by the same notions of national prestige which operated on the Government Front Bench in the drafting of this White Paper; the feeling that to prove that we are a big Power we must have some of these weapons. Can we blame the French and the Germans if they get together and produce a European H-bomb? They are bound to. Once we get out of the two-Power stalemate with the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., the only nuclear Powers, H-bombs will be produced by Frenchmen, Germans and Swedes. Yes, and Colonel Nasser will be given one by the Russians. [Laughter.] Do not let us laugh, these things can happen—and what hope is there then of world disarmament? By this White Paper and by this policy we are leading the Gadarene swine down the slope. It is our decision which makes everyone else feel that they must "go nuclear" as well.

Therefore, we have to weigh it up and ask ourselves whether we shall help the cause of peace more by adding to the Western deterrent 10 or 15 of these things marked "B for Britain" to put alongside the ones marked "A for America". There is not much difference between them when they go off. We must ask ourselves whether we shall make a greater contribution to peace by having a little British deterrent than by renouncing the deterrent and giving an example to France and Germany which those countries want to adopt.

I came back from Germany convinced that there is not a responsible German who will not sigh with relief if the British pressure for making the German H-bomb is removed. The German knows that he has to follow us, if we do it. There is not much nationalism in Germany at present; there is a much better mood. Unfortunately, we told them: first, not to make weapons; then, that they could have an army but it must be a conventional army; then that they could have a tactical atomic weapon army; and, finally, an H-bomb army.

Could we not stop this foolery? Could we not say to the Germans, "You are in a mood not to have H-bombs. We will make it possible for you not to have them by renouncing them ourselves". That would be an immense contribution to peace and to European unity. We should lead European unity. Let me assure the Government that this is the biggest thing that we can do for Europe. We should go into Europe as peace makers and say, "We set this example of renouncing something which, at best, adds slightly to the American shield and, at worst, aggravates the danger of war breaking out".

That is the theme I want to leave in the thought of the House. I think it most dangerous, after Suez, to remain in a "go it alone" mood. Surely we must have learned that this is political nonsense, moral nonsense, military nonsense. There is no "go it alone" for an island of our sort any more than there is for France or Germany. We must either be members of an alliance or neutral. If we join an alliance, we may be not a senior member any more, but a junior member. The nuclear balance is best left at the moment as a stalemate between the Russians and the Americans, both having their nuclear deterrents and wasting their resources upon it. We shall be well advised, both in terms of genuine economy and in the interests of defence, to opt out of that race and do what the Government themselves have said, concentrate on disarmament.

For that purpose, the fact that we began to make the H-bomb has a certain advantage. We set our hands to it and we then had the moral power to say, "We can do it, but we are the first people to prove we can and then to say that we will not do it." Therefore, I can see some good in the two years we have spent on this bomb. We have strengthened our ability to give a serious lead in the world. I agree with the Government that there is no defence except world disarmament. There is no security of defence in the nuclear world except disarmament.

We should take risks for disarmament, I cannot see how merely straining our resources, to see whether we can turn out a few of these things, and permitting the nuclearisation of our forces in Germany, can be considered a defence policy. That is why we should possibly go a little further than the Labour Amendment has gone. I hope that in a few months we should be in the situation of being able to say, "There is an alternative Government with an alternative policy, which is a real peace policy."

6.44 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)

The hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), to whose speech we all listened with great interest, in spite of the interruption, has joined thevia dolorosa,the steps towards party unity. The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) yesterday started out on thisvia dolorosa,and, indeed, at one point seemed to have the whole Socialist Party, 300 strong, balancing on the point of a pin in regard to metaphysics of the atom bomb.

The hon. Member for Coventry, East is committing the fault or error, of which I am going to suggest that the Government are partially culpable, of basing strategy entirely on weapons. There is a great danger in these considerations, for the very simple reason that the interest of the country remains the same while the weapons may vary very greatly and quickly.

If we look back over the past ten years, it is clear that there have been three distinct phases, and if we project ourselves into 1962, to which the White Paper carries us, there is another phase. The first of these phases was when the atom bomb was held by America alone, which gave America the advantage. The next stage was that the atom bomb was held by the Russians as well. Obviously, this gave the Russians an advantage against the concentrations of population in this country. The third stage was the hydrogen bomb stage, which again put us at an advantage over the Russians. The fourth stage, into which we are moving now, is the inter-continental ballistic-missile stage, which will mean that the Russians and the United States are equally threatened.

At the moment, the United States are in the position to use this country and other places as a landing stage—to use the expression of "1984"—and therefore themselves to be remote from the fears which must obsess people like the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell). I make no imputations upon the right hon. Gentleman's courage. He is a most courageous man and made a courageous speech.

If there is to be this change, in the 1960's the United States of America will be as much menaced by atomic warfare and by the hydrogen bomb as is this country. What are the conclusions which flow from that fact? It is not impossible that, by 1962, when "Atlas"—which is the technical word for the American rocket—and the Russian inter-continental ballistic missile have been developed, the N.A.T.O. Commander may have doubts —that is to say, the American Congress or Senate may have doubts—whether to press the button for the use of the atomic artillery.

At present they would have no fear. In fact, I am informed that an instruction was handed to the N.A.T.O. Commander that if there were a minor aggression inside Europe he had perfectly within his control the power to release the local atomic artillery. That would fire off a series of explosions as large as the Hiroshima bomb.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In Germany?

Mr. Fraser

Wherever the occasion might arise. We have to consider that fact in reaching our various conclusions. I am not prepared to say what the future will hold, or what precisely the policy of the Government should be, but there are two considerations which should bear heavily on it. One is that, in the circumstances which will exist after 1962, it is vital that we should be as close as possible to Europe. There may well be a change in the balance of power after 1962.

In face of the intercontinental ballistics of the Soviet Union, it is not impossible that the type of speech in which Mr. Dulles has indulged will no longer be able to fall from his lips, for the simple reason that the Americans will be as much menaced by these things as we are. The time may arrive, as Field-Marshal Smuts said ten years ago, in a great speech, when the greatest danger to humanity and to the world is that there should be only two super-Powers. We can and must avoid that.

It might well be that over this period we can and should get much closer to Europe. A moment or two ago the hon. Member for Coventry, East spoke of the fear of the Germans and the French going in for the construction of atomic weapons and so forth. It may well be that it is with them we should share atomic secrets rather than with the United States. That is not an impossible projection of what might happen, and it is a consideration which people should bear in mind.

The second consideration is that we should be careful of what the run-down in our men with conventional arms amounts to. I think the Government have quite rightly cut their coat according to their cloth, but there is the danger, or there was the danger, of being found wearing Imperial garments of the latest type; and hon. Members are familiar with the fairy story of the emperor and his fine clothes who was, in fact, wearing no clothes at all. That is another consideration that should be borne in mind. A great deal of that has been put into proper perspective this afternoon by the speech of the Minister of Labour, who made it perfectly clear that the Government stand by paragraph 48 of the White Paper, a thing about which I was not perfectly clear yesterday. Paragraph 48 says that should there be a failure to produce a sufficiency of troops, other means will have to be found.

I commend the suggestion of the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) that this question of conscription should be kept outside the bounds of party politics altogether. If it be a question of needing some form of continued call-up, by whatever means, that would have to be because national safety is far greater than the advantage of any political party. Speaking as a farmer, I know that at a price one can grow strawberries on Ben Nevis. Equally, if we pay enough we can produce an Army of the requisite size, and that has to be done; but it is a process which has its limits.

Something which has been frequently stressed by my hon. Friends and myself might be worth considering, the question of an African Army. There seem to be a great many surplus officers and warrant officers knocking about, and something could be thought of on those lines. Quite properly, the Government have said that the control of local units of the Army in Kenya, Uganda, East and West Africa and so on, should be under local commands as such countries come fully into the control of their own affairs. That is perfectly proper with the advance of colonial peoples. I think we should adopt something similar to the Gurkha Battalions, which after all come from the friendly and independent State of Nepal. The hon. Member for Coventry, East said that Imperialists like me—I am an Imperialist and very proud of it—would be greatly distressed by what goes on. I am glad to see that the Government in their wisdom have said that there will be a base somewhere in East Africa. I assume it will be in Kenya.

On the whole, provided the balances are kept right, the Prime Minister is perfectly right in his general overall policy for carrying out economies. That is right so long as the balances within the programme are correct, but it is difficult for hon. Members on the back benches to know when they are correct. If we are to make these economies we should consider further what we are defending. I have bored this House again and again on the question of oil supplies from the Middle East. We have now lost control of the bridge between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, and we have to see that in times of trouble oil can be brought round the Cape to this country. I believe, therefore, there should be something in the nature of an office of war mobilisation—somewhat similar to what the American Government have established—to deal with the strategic aspects. the ordinary civilian industries, so to speak, outside the war industries.

If we are to maintain ourselves as a great Power, or as the centre of a series of Powers making a great concentration of power, far more attention should be paid to the question of the provision of tankers and other means of getting that oil. The provision of tankers today may be more important than the provision of battleships. We must sec that this oil flows to us. I believe the private companies and the great oil companies are not now capable of taking the necessary steps. If we have to cut £150 million off defence expenditure, we should seriously consider the reshaping of certain British ports, setting up sections of the steel industry, especially for heavy plate, and the creation of a fleet of tankers which can go round the Cape and be independent of local politics in or near the oilfields. That could result in a peaceful influence and in the bringing to this country of oil supplies on which we so vitally depend.

Taken as a whole, I believe this White Paper is a great step forward. Within it there are certain points which need to be cleared up. Above all, if we are to have economies, it is absolutely vital that those economies in the military field should be supported by advances in the field of carriage of goods and the support of oil flow vital to the needs of this country.

6.57 p.m.

Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)

I wish to bring the debate back to the speech made by the Minister of Labour this afternoon. Although we are concerned with a weapon which we hope we shall never use, and which will destroy us if we do in the war which we hope will never happen, we as a nation have still to live.

I suppose that most of us in this House and all the people in the country want to know the answer to the question, "Where do we go from here?" I wish to thank the Minister of Labour for the speech he made this afternoon. I recognise, and he recognises from his position, that he has almost assumed a quasi-judicial office, not an office in which one can make belligerent and truculent speeches.

I want to take part in the general forward look on the British economy, particularly in regard to labour relations. Although much has been said about officers who are to be "bowler hatted", they will not be the majority of people affected by these changes. They may be the people most disastrously affected, but, as one with no Service experience, I want to talk about the trends in the economy which we shall have to face.

I have been concerned—it is a great indictment of the past—about the waste of resources in National Service and the creaming-off of young men at the peak of their productive powers. This afternoon, we want to know what those young men are to be released for. I do not think that we should ignore the fact that mass unemployment between the wars existed until we started to rearm about 1935. Let no one misunderstand this. The arms programme since the war has been a factor in the overfull employment of our economy.

Paragraph 7 of the White Paper says: Over the last five years. defence has on an average absorbed 10 per cent. of Britain's gross national product. The White Paper says: One-eighth of the output of the metal-using industries, upon which the export trade so largely depends, is devoted to defence. If, in the course of my speech, which, I hope, will not be too long, I stress the metal-working industries, it is not only because of their size, but for the very good reason that perhaps I know more about them than about other industries.

We ought to be told whether it is our economic position, our loss of face after Suez or the ultimate deterrent which is responsible for the sharp shift in Government policy. I shall probably be told that it is a little of all three.

I want to talk about the "Switch of Resources," mentioned in paragraphs 67 to 69. 1t will be noticed that in paragraph 67 the White Paper says that In carrying it"— meaning the policy— through a certain amount of disturbance is unavoidable. This means not only disturbance in the Armed Forces. The White Paper says: The volume of defence work of many kinds will be curtailed and some establishments will have to be closed. The manpower and industrial resources released must be absorbed into productive use as quickly as possible; and the Government Departments concerned will do all they can to secure that this switch is effected smoothly. I have gathered a great many papers for my speech and I have been surprised to find how much of a switch has been going on over the last few years. The Minister mentioned 15,000 people as being affected in a period of 12 months in the aircraft industry. I have in my hand a questionnaire which has been sent to branches of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, and the degree of redundancy which this questionnaire has revealed is remarkable.

Apart from the switch in the aircraft industry, there has been a closing down of Royal Ordnance Factories; there. were 44 at the end of the war and there are 22 now. In addition, a great variety of Admiralty and War Office yards have been closed down. Until I began to look at this matter with a view to making this speech, I did not appreciate that there had been so great a shift of emphasis.

The aircraft industry will, of course, be affected. The Minister of Supply has said that some reduction of orders is inevitable. He went on to say that this should be set off by increased civil and export work and that the industry should shape itself to that end. Of the Royal Ordnance Factories he said that some contraction is inevitable. It is already taking place. I will mention purely the local case of Dalmuir, which seems to be largely closing down, while at Barnbow, within the City of Leeds, there seems to be apprehended an invasion of displaced persons from Scotland.

It will be said of the aircraft industry that most of the larger engine and electronic companies are already in the guided missile field and that they are well prepared for their new role, but more than this will be needed to mop up some unemployment, bearing in mind that there are to be no more land-based fighters and that the supersonic bomber project has been dropped. If we consider all these things together we ought to ask the engineering industry what are the most worthwhile tasks which this industry can carry out and what are the priorities if money and manpower are to be released.

I do not want to debate this at length, but I submit that there is no doubt at all that we need more steel. The industry is still far too traditional, both the employers and the trade unions. I know that it is part of the set-up of the industry and that this exists even after nationalisation and denationalisation and with possible future renationalisation. My right hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) has told us about the difficulties of his firm, caused by the allocation of steel for the armaments programme. He has had to import steel for British projects which are subsequently exported at a much higher price than would have been the case had British steel been available.

If I were to put my finger on one industry to which the Government should pay the greatest attention it is the machine tool industry. I do not want to make a political point of this, but there is a good deal of rumour in the air—certainly, when considering the programmes of the Labour Party—about nationalising parts of the machine tool industry. Unless this industry is stimulated, those cries to do something with the set-up of the industry will become more and more insistent.

The industry needs to be much expanded. After all, it is the industry which, above all, is likely to make us more efficient. One does not need to have to visit America or to be a technician to appreciate that the average American worker has three times as much electricity at his elbow as has the average British worker.

The statement that American production is achieved by harder work, by the sweat of the brow of the operative, is the greatest nonsense. There is no doubt that the average worker on the bench in this country works rather harder than the average American, because the American does not have to work as hard. The American machine tool industry produces far more single-purpose machines for the benefit of the operative.

The average American businessman writes off his machinery far more quickly than we do. He will tell you, "I had all this machinery new last Fall, but it is out of date now". He often writes it off at the rate of 50 per cent. That, of course, is a matter of fiscal policy.

As I have told the House on previous occasions, I am Essex-born, a near-Cockney, domiciled in Kent and represent a Yorkshire constituency. I left the fitters' bench in London to represent part of the great City of Leeds in the House. One of the things which staggered me most in going round Lancashire and the West Riding, which is the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, was to see the factory slums and the old machinery which ought to have been thrown out years and years ago.

I have said this before: if ever a recession takes place in this country it will take place in Lancashire and the West Riding, because so many of the factories there are not tooled up to be efficient in the sense that we look upon efficiency today. In London, where we have 28 per cent. of the engineering industry, the industry is relatively modern; as is the car industry in the Midlands. The efficiency of our industry is a vital matter and we ought to take steps to increase it.

This comes within the ambit of the White Paper, for it is not just a matter of saying where we are to switch the men and resources; it is necessary also to switch them intelligently. I do not know how we shall do it. There may be several ways. We might consider trying to raise efficiency by fiscal policy or by allowances or even by direct grants and loans to factories which are prepared to make themselves more efficient than they are at the moment by taking in more modern plant.

Of course, we have to develop this industry abroad, too. Incidentally, this is the key industry if ever we were to embark on any new armaments programme. We can do our best to export to the United States, but the Americans are themselves great machinery and machine tool makers and it might be well for us to remember, when we are considering foreign policy in connection with full employment and trade, that in the early 'thirties, in the most disastrous economic period of our history, 80 per cent. of the exports of the British tool industry—and I am not at all sure that it was not 80 per cent. of the product of the British machine tool industry—went to countries which are now behind the Iron Curtain. We must, therefore, look into the question of the strategic list and we ought to ask what is the present position about trade with the U.S.S.R.

Air Commodore A. V. Harvey (Macclesfield)

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman wants to be fair to the machine tool industry. It is generally recognised that in the last ten years the British machine tool industry has come on by leaps and bounds. If he went to the industry's exhibition in London last year, or explored many of the factories, he would see that that is so in finish, design and output. It would not be good if the impression went out from this House that the industry was not efficient.

Mr. Pannell

I have not mentioned anything about its technical efficiency. I am talking about its size. It is not big enough. It tends to hang back. I do not want to be dragged into parenthesis, but I have read a technical report prepared within the A.E.U. about the machine tool industry. It reads: The machine tool industry is conservative with the rigid features of tradition. Less than half the industry's orders are fulfilled each year. That is a terrible backlog—and we are considering now the men who will be switched from the armaments programme.

The report goes on: During the post-war rearmament programme demand outstripped capacity. Machine tool imports increased from under £6 million in 1950 to £59½ million in 1952. These imports revived the German machine tool industry, and Britain now faces a major challenge from Germany. That is because we have refused to develop the industry—and I can tell the House that I started my apprenticeship in this sort of thing. The report continues: The Government have admitted a 'Disturbing increase in machine tool imports in the first half of this year'". The year was 1956. It goes on: The industry is handicapped in foreign markets by extended delivery dates, and German under-bidding. The R.O.F.s could assist the industry, especially in the manufacture of single-purpose and transfer machines—orders which British firms refuse to accept. The hon. and gallant Gentleman will appreciate, therefore, that I am not speaking about the excellence of the industry's products at all.

Air Commodore Harvey

Complicated and difficult machine tools which took two-and-a-half to three years to deliver some years ago, can now be delivered in about six months.

Mr. Pannell

It is still most unsatisfactory. The hon. and gallant Member will appreciate that my union has 900,000 members. It has a well-furnished research department and gets this information by questionnaires, and we are anxious that our members who are now working in the Royal Ordnance Factories will find worthwhile work. The backlog in that industry is far too great.

Following the Soviet leaders' visit in 1956, a few long-term contracts were received. I hear that in March, 1956, Messrs. Mather and Platt received an order worth £250,000. We were told that the value of the list of things needed by Russia was from £800 million to £1,000 million—but we can all allow for the illegitimate exaggeration of advocacy by Russia in these matters.

What the Russians said they have in mind is the production of such things as ships, electric furnaces, machine tools, galvanised plate, tinplate and the like. I want to know how much is left of the embargo on these things. The strategic list is still a reality, though there is misunderstanding about it, and if there is to be a switch the Government Departments will have to let us have more information.

I do not want to say much about the motor car industry. I do not really believe that the switch can take place there. I repeat my firm opinion that that industry's obsession with the home market has made it difficult for manufacturers to develop cars suitable for export. Never- theless, it should be remembered that there is a great and hopeful market for tractors. China wants tractors. Ours are the best in the world, and whereas the Chinese peasant does not need Austin Sevens, the Chinese economy needs tractors. I understand that the four-wheel drive is still on the strategic list. That is a matter for many Departments to get together to consider.

I should like to know how much of all this work—and the Minister will be concerned with this—can go into the R.O.F.s. What is their rô le? Are the Government to say, at the end of the day, that they intend merely to switch to private trade and just let the R.O.F.s rot? We are very much concerned about that, because the R.O.F.s make a most amazing variety of things, and make them successfully.

The R.O.F.s must not be confused with just one old factory like Woolwich Arsenal. I ask hon. Members not to be dogmatic and doctrinaire about nationalisation, because, during the war, and under the impact of war, the ordnance factories made ceramics, concrete railway sleepers, locomotive conversions for China, steel railway wagons, laundry machinery, wood-cutting machinery, overhaul lorries for U.N.R.R.A., and other lorries, oil well drilling equipment, stocking looms, clock mechanisms, automatic machines—and at the moment they are producing a limited number of steam turbines.

It is, therefore, evident that factories like that could mop up the backlog in the economy—and I suggest that in that we might even include the machine tool industry. The Minister of Labour will not, I think, adopt the rigid Tory doctrinaire attitude here. If our industry has this terrific backlog of orders, the Minister will not be so dyed-in-the-wool Tory about this, or look at the whole business from the doctrinaire angle which characterises the Tory Central Office. I hope that he will do what is necessary for the sake of the industry, and not just for the sake of slogans.

What about alternative work? We have a nationalised coal industry which is considering the manufacture of its own machinery. This is a matter of high policy with hon. Gentlemen opposite. Only the other week, in the Electricity Bill, they withdrew from the Authority power to manufacture its own machinery. Nevertheless, I should have thought that the R.O.F.s might make mining machinery.

I come to the point which worries me most, and which I say, with respect, most concerns the right hon. Gentleman's own Department. Even more than machines, I am worried about men, and the switch of manpower in a peaceful, orderly fashion. On 23rd June, 1955, I protested in the House that the engineering industry is only organised for battle between employers and employees. I said that this had been brought out in Lord Monckton's inquiry of 1954—that the two sides only met head on to argue about increases of wages, strikes and lockouts. I said that this history went back for a hundred years, and that under the threat of automation something better was needed.

The then Parliamentary Secretary, now the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, gave me the "brush off." He suggested that if I did know what I was talking about I was hagridden by old fears, because I had been a trade unionist since my apprenticeship days. He will not say that this evening.The Timeshas been writing leading articles about the labour scene, and other papers have asked whether something cannot be done. They have asked whether the recent disturbances could not have been anticipated. Of course, neither the Minister nor anybody else would say, after the Briggs dispute and the recent shipbuilding and engineering strikes, that labour-management relations should not be the subject of a complete reappraisal.

There is a weakness in the Government machinery for dealing with the switch-over. I have the impression that the Ministry of Labour comes in only to clear up the mess it never comes in beforehand. The Minister flits in, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) said, "like a cupid from room to room", when a great labour dispute is imminent.

I suspect—if this is untrue, I hope that somebody will deny it—that the Treasury and the Board of Trade have all the "know how" and the statistics about industry and about the economic state of the nation. Why do they accumulate all that information? Do they do it so that the Chancellor is able to make a good Budget speech? Is that why the chief gag and script writer to the Chancellor, Sir Roger Makins, is employed? Nobody could doubt the other evening that he was enjoying the Chancellor's jokes even more than the Chancellor himself, and that he had all the assurance of a man who had written them. It is probably because the gentleman has been an ambassador that he is a good protagonist for the Chancellor. No doubt, he will be just as good a protagonist for our Chancellor when he assumes office.

Let us consider what resources the Chancellor and the Board of Trade have. There is the census of production. There is all the information on Inland Revenue and profits, and the census of future trends of budgetary estimates. There is all the information about the transfer of employment. I do not think that, generally speaking, any of this information goes to the Minister of Labour.

While the Minister of Defence speaks about the need for a general staff to redeploy the Services, we need an economic general staff to redeploy the civilian population. It may be that the situation presents a field of activity in which those excellent people who assist the Treasury may be employed. I believe that the Ministry of Labour should be lifted to the level where, with the statistics of the Board of Trade and the Treasury, it should enter into labour disputes before a crisis. Anybody with a nodding acquaintance with the engineering industry knew that the dispute in that industry was coming months before it did. It is a reflection on the machinery of government that that sort of thing was allowed to happen.

These statistics and services should be freely at the disposal of the employers' organisations and the trade unions. We need a completely new conception so that both sides of industry march in step with the economy. Otherwise, in this great switch-over we can be in very great trouble. In addition to the switch-over, we must also bear in mind the automative processes which are coming upon us.

The right to strike will always be the last weapon of desperate and disappointed men. It is part of a tradition. It will never be given up. We should strive to create conditions which render the right to strike completely unnecessary. Sir Norman Angell said: Wars are not fought by bad men, knowing that they are wicked, but by good men—on both sides—passionately believing that they are right. That is true of strikes, too.

I have always deplored the sort of aberrations which have tended to taint the great Labour movement with the smear of Communism whenever we have challenged the employers. Hon. Members opposite do not know the nature and purpose of Communism. The Right never has to fight Communism. Communism always attempts to fragment the forces of the Left before turning to its main attack. It is people like myself in the trade unions, along with my colleagues on this side of the House, who have fought the Communists.

When I hear sneers from the other side of the House, I condemn hon. Members opposite for the ignoramuses that they are. That is why I became annoyed when it was once suggested that when something went wrong in a certain part of Lancashire the whole dispute was engineered in King Street.

Mr. Douglas L. S. Nairn (Central Ayrshire)

The hon. Gentleman said that there are good men on both sides.

Mr. Pannell

The hon. Member is displaying the brand of ignorance of which I complain. When I was speaking about good men on both sides I was referring to the good men on both sides of industry. I reiterate: show me a Communist and I will show you a crook. I do not recognise any good men among them.

Let us then, as we turn our modern swords into ploughshares, see that we do so intelligently, not only giving every man who requires one a new job and new hope, but ushering in a new era not only of peace but of permanent industrial peace.

7.26 p.m.

Miss Joan Vickers (Plymouth, Devonport)

I hope the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) will forgive me if I do not follow him in detail. I want to deal with the White Paper on Defence, with particular reference to the civilian aspect of the matter.

It appears to me that, if we are to implement this White Paper successfully, we must have the confidence of the civilian population and we must watch their morale. I have never had anything to do with planning for defence, but I have had considerable experience with workers in Royal Ordnance Factories and in the dockyards. One appreciates that these people have a great deal of the future in their hands.

Hon. Members may also know that I have considerable experience of victims of aggression both in this country and overseas. In my opinion, the last war was won to a major extent by the civilians in this country. If at any time they had shown fright at aerial attack or had slackened in their production, no armed forces would have been successful. One knows only too well from letters which were received from men overseas how great were their anxieties for the safety of their relations in this country.

I hope that the overriding policy of the Government is represented by paragraph 13 of the White Paper. In welcoming that paragraph, however, one must recognise the truth in paragraph 14, which says: … pending international agreement, the only existing safeguard against major aggression is the power to threaten retaliation with nuclear weapons. The hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Fienburgh) said: … it is still necessary to possess some limited … degree of thermo-nuclear H-bomb deterrent."—[OFF IC I AL REPORT. 16th April, 1957; Vol. 568, c. 1868.] If that is so, the civilian population must be given full information on this matter. I agree with many hon. Members opposite that, among all sections of the community, irrespective of politics, there is a genuine fear of the consequences of H-bomb attack. It is necessary that confidence should be given to the civilian population in the same way as the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) did when he encouraged them during the last war. He gave people full details of what was expected of them, and they responded.

The civilian population during the last war were genuinely frightened by the possible use of mustard gas and other gases. But we were able—and many of us helped in this—to give instruction and to provide them with some form of protection. I should like to know if there is to be any protection on the civil defence side such as we were able to issue in the last war in the form of gas masks and protective clothing.

At the present time a great many meetings are being held in the country where people are discussing certain problems to which, I think, the public have a right to know the answers. I will not discuss all of them. One which I think is too technical is, for example question No. 1—the famous equation "E=Mc2, a blessing or a curse"? Questions Nos. 4 and 5 are very important and should be answered. "Which is the most dangerous—internal or external radiation? Can you protect your children, your wife or yourself from the hazards of nuclear radiation."

I listened on 1st April to the speech of the Prime Minister, and I thought that he gave a fairly satisfactory reply to these points. But they have not got over to the general public, and I hope that more effort will be made to instruct people in regard to this in the future. If our whole future is dependent on the statement in paragraph 14 of the White Paper, and by this means we are going to be able to hold our position as a free country, it is very dangerous to put about the type of propaganda which is now being published in such papers as theTribune.

I should like to read the "Letter to my grandchild," which appeared in that paper and begins: My dear grandchild. If you are blind, then let someone else's grandchild who is not dumb or imbecile read this to you. Because I am going to explain to you why we couldn't stop your generation being born backward, deceased, malformed and mutant. It is very distressing that this type of propaganda should be put about the country. This type of article is far more likely to have detrimental effects on the unborn child than a bomb exploding on Christmas Island. It makes a mother over-anxious and nervous, and it may have far more reaction at the present time on the unborn child than any sort of bomb being exploded thousands of miles away.

Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)

Would the hon. Lady prefer the type of propaganda of the Ministry of Supply which says, "Don't fear the H bomb"?

Miss Vickers

No, I think that one must have a realistic approach. I asked my right hon. Friend to tell people, when I read out the previous questions, to give answers to the questions people are worried about. I do not think it is fair to exaggerate and to put these ideas into the minds of people who, in many cases, are not able to think these points out for themselves. It gives them an unnecessary fright before they have any proper knowledge of the matter.

Dr. Stross

Does not the hon. Lady agree that if we are taking steps which, in effect, may mean the pawning of the future or crippling it, there are no words too strong to use to warn the nation?

Miss Vickers

I think that there is a great deal in what the hon. Gentleman says. One should warn them. We can discuss these things among scientists and doctors like the hon. Gentleman, but we ought not to put them in front of the public as something which may happen when we still do not know that it will happen. That is why I think that we are creating during the year a great deal of anxiety which may be detrimental to the children of this country at the present time.

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) referred, in HANSARD, column 1791, to his being a Christian, and I must say that we respect his views. I do not think it is a question of Christianity. It is a question of whether one is an idealist or whether one believes in practical action. I have had quite a lot of experience, particularly overseas, and I have found, as a Christian, I am afraid that it is necessary to come down on the side of being practical—God helps those who help themselves."

Throughout history war has always meant great danger for civilian populations. I has meant that many have been forced to fly from their country and become refugees. In past wars many civilians have been besieged in towns and castles, but never before has a whole population been in the front line. That is why I am particularly interested in paragraph 18 with regard to civil defence.

I should like to ask my right hon. Friend the size of the force he intends to recruit. Is it to have local or national organisations? What type of training equipment is to be provided? How is essential research to be carried out? Are we to face the question of evacuation? Is this policy of evacuation really practical? We know in the West Country that it is contemplated at the present time that there should be the evacuation of thousands of people to Cornwall. Is this giving people false hopes that they will be able to get away and make themselves feel more secure than they are? Personally, I feel that in this small island this evacuation policy is one which we should drop.

I should like also to discuss the question of warning. Paragraph 19 refers to Fall-out warning and monitoring system. Are those warnings going to be any good? I remember quite well one morning, when I lived near Marble Arch, having my breakfast, when a V 2 fell. The first thing I knew was that I was on the floor surrounded by glass. Will there be any chance to have adequate warning in regard to future bombs?

I should like to suggest that the practical way would be to concentrate on training all sections of the population through such organisations as the Red Cross, W.V.S., civil defence courses and St. John on how to treat people when they come into contact with radiation. There should he courses similar to those we had on gas instruction. I suggest that we might start on this in the very near future.

I welcome paragraph 33, because I have had experience in Indonesia, where we had a great many troops from overseas, and in Malaya. I should like to stress the particularly excellent manner in which they fought for their country in Malaya. I agree with the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) that people when they are protecting their own country will obviously become a much better fighting force for that purpose than when protecting themselves as a Colony.

With regard to paragraph 44 concerning, the cutting down of the Forces, there will be a great number of civilian employees who are redundant. I hope that those who are established, particularly in the Admiralty service, will get the same consideration—I am referring now to established industrial civil servants—as their counterparts in the Services. I hope that if they become redundant they also will receive compensation.

I note that paragraph 50 deals with recruitment, which is not, in my opinion, dependent only on the amount of money that is paid over.

Mr. Walter Monslow (Barrow-in-Furness)

Is the hon. Lady referring to the administrative workers or also taking into consideration the industrial workers?

Miss Vickers

I thought I had made that clear; I referred to established industrial civil servants, in whom, as hon. Members know, I am particularly interested. I have about 19,000 of them in my constituency. Many of them are established, and because of their age and the fact that they would not be able to turn readily to other types of work, they may be put in a difficult position if they become redundant. I want to be assured that they will receive the same compensation and consideration as others in the Services are to receive.

Turning to factors influencing recruitment, I should like to know whether it is possible for the majority of regiments to be stationed near towns. Pay has already been improved, but it is important in Service life that the stations should be in a living community and not be an isolated unit. There are many Service towns at the moment, and it is essential, if there is to be a cutting down, that those in the stations in the "wilds", as it were, should be cut out first. People in the peacetime Army and Air Force, particularly in the Army, should be in contact with a community and not have to live an isolated life. I would advocate, therefore, that the garrisons near the towns should be kept and that those in the country should be done away with.

I hope that the Service towns will keep their identity. The inter-relationship between, shall we say, the Royal Navy and the Army is very helpful. I should like, if I may, to suggest that there should be more playing fields provided. One, of the great difficulties in the life of the Service people in the West Country particularly lies in the fact that they have so few forms of recreation and few playing fields are available.

I hope it will not be out of order for me to say something about the Women's Services, although they are not specifically mentioned. I presume that, in the cutting down of the Services, some reorganisation in the Women's Services will take place. Speaking entirely for myself at the moment, although I recognise the excellent service which they have given, I wonder whether there is any real need for the Women's Services in the future. I should prefer to see women not in uniform in our peacetime Services. The War Office employs civilians and the Army authorities in Singapore employ civilians. I would prefer immobile civilians to be used for this type of work in the future. If, by any chance, their numbers have to be augmented in distant parts of the country where there is need for extra help, we could perhaps provide something like the excellent hostels run by the Y.W.C.A., as was done for Royal Ordnance workers during the war. I would prefer that there should be no women in uniform.

The use of women in the Services is extravagant. One does not really get the full service of the individual in an economic way, because there have to be the ancillaries, cooks, batmen and so forth, thus creating a far larger force of women than is strictly necessary.

Finally, I wish to remind the House that there are towns which have, some for many hundreds of years, been dependent upon the Forces. If I may be parochial for one moment, I want to say something about Plymouth. For over 300 years, the town of Plymouth has been entirely dependent on the Services. The spending of personal money when men are ashore and the work of the Admiralty has provided employment for the majority of the population. For a great many years we have tried to get other industries there, but the Admiralty has been against any form of heavy industry. What policy is to be followed in the future? We are told that there is continuous work available for five to ten years, but that is not enough to guarantee the future economy of any town such as Plymouth.

Whatever the feelings of hon. Members, I hope that we shall agree on one thing in this debate. We must, in the light of what is decided, try to stop the undue anxiety which today presses upon the civilian population. If it is exaggerated, it will do great harm and will have a detrimental effect on the whole country.

7.45 p.m.

Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)

The hon. Lady the Member for Devon-port (Miss Vickers) has brought to the attention of the House some very important questions. In the course of what she had to say, she quoted from my good friend Michael Foot, from, I believe,The Tribune.I took it that that quotation—

Miss Vickers

It was from his paper, but he did not write the article.

Mr. Thomas

I am obliged.

The hon. Lady seemed to think that any reference to the consequences of tests and radioactive material from the sky falling upon people far removed from the explosion is something which is wrong and ought not to be made. The hon. Lady also referred to Civil Defence. I am reminded that, in 1939, the experts told us to put strips of brown paper on our windows, and we should be all right. But the houses went with the windows and the brown paper. I do not put much reliance upon experts.

Some people, if they have been in the Army, seem to regard themselves as military experts. Some, if they have been the Navy, think that they are naval experts. It is astonishing how people have the impertinence to think that a little experience in an occupation entitles them to be regarded as experts upon the whole subject. Those who have been teachers—I say this though I was a teacher—sometimes seem to think that they are experts in education. It is a conceit to which people are not entitled, and especially is that so when we consider major issues of the kind we are discussing tonight.

We heard from my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Cross-man) a first-class speech. It was followed by what I thought was a first-class speech by the hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. H. Fraser). They were two speeches of high quality. One is not bound to agree with the conclusions to admire a speech. Yesterday's debate was almost monopolised by Privy Councillors on this side of the House. The back bench speeches today have been of a much higher quality. I only wish that they could have had a chance of being delivered yesterday.

Our debate yesterday was characterised by two basic assumptions: first, that we must have the hydrogen bomb to defend our people; and, secondly, that it will be used only as a deterrent. The House listened with respect, as it always does, to sincere speeches. They were speeches clouded with anxiety. I much admired, and followed with deep interest, the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and the speech of the Minister of Defence himself.

My right hon. Friend made a moving reference to the words of Jesus on the Cross, a thing we do not often do in this Chamber. They were words which silenced us all, because my right hon. Friend, having quoted the words: Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. continued by saying We do not know what we do, We do not know the consequences. We do not know that we may not be using the devil's means to interfere with the Creator's purpose."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th April, 1957 Vol. 568, c. 1791.] There is sufficient in that, I should have thought, for us to say, "Let us halt. If we do not know what we are doing, let us not take another step towards such a purpose". The logic of my right hon. Friend's argument would be that we should remove ourselves from the present policy, where fear dictates to our judgment. Such terrible anxiety and doubt, sincerely expressed by my right hon. Friend, fortifies me in what I want to say to the House tonight.

The White Paper signifies a military revolution equal in significance in our history to the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century. Sovereignty in defence is gone. This little nation no longer will rule either the waves or anything else. It will be very lucky if it can keep on its own even keel. As the Minister has said, we now depend upon our allies. Hydrogen bomb or no hydrogen bomb, there is no independence for this country. We depend on people outside in a world that accepts the military way.

The White Paper bravely attempts to face up to the challenge of this new world from the military point of view. It is not necessary to accept the conclusions of the White Paper to acknowledge its virtues. It is a great temptation to me, as to any other hon. Member, to select the parts of the White Paper with which I can play and to leave the other parts, but this subject is much too serious, for we cannot afford to ignore any of the unpleasant facts which are brought before us.

For the pacifists and for the non-pacifists there are questions that we must ask, for the nuclear age requires fresh thinking on the part of everyone. The militarist tries to deal with his problems in the White Paper. The pacifist has to ask whether the hydrogen bomb is so terrible that it will avoid war in future. Is it such a terrible deterrent that we will never have war again? He has to ask himself whether, if we do not manufacture the hydrogen bomb, we shall he overrun with Communism and become slaves to the philosophy of the Soviet Union.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) rather amused me yesterday when he divided the world into two parts in this great struggle—Communists and Catholics, the struggle between the Vatican and Moscow. A few of us come under neither of those headings. I must say, seeing the presence of my hon. Friend the Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern) in front of me, that we can all seek to make our contribution. Not only pacifists, but all of us, have to ask ourselves whether the rejection of the hydrogen bomb would mean that we must continue with conscription, for that is an argument which has been advanced. I propose to look at these questions and to seek to answer some of them, but also to look first at the military arguments of the White Paper.

We acknowledge in paragraph 15 that we never can compete with America or the U.S.S.R. in the matter of military strength. We acknowledge that we can never be a first-class military Power on a level with those countries, yet we say that we are to have a modest contribution of hydrogen bombs—a modest contribution! I presume, since the White Paper leads to this, that we are to manufacture a stock of these weapons here and that ultimately they are intended to be delivered by rockets, if they are to be deilvered at all.

Is it our intention, when we have a store of hydrogen bombs here, to sit back and say, "Now, peace is secure" and to rest on the store; for with this appreciable element of nuclear deterrent power I would presume, on the argument of the Government, that then we would not need to go to the next step with whatever other new weapons come about.

The Government have accepted the American policy of massive retaliation as the way for peace, and in paragraph 17 of the White Paper they lay the claim that peace depends on fear of the deterrent. All the Government's strategy is based on fear being sufficiently strong to deter people from resorting to war. All history warns us of the futility of depending on fear as a basis for peace. The Pope, in a pronouncement which has been followed by Church leaders all over the world, said that fear is an inadequate basis for peace. It certainly is an inadequate basis for a Government policy.

The fear of reprisals was thought in 1939 to be strong enough to have prevented a war. All the world knew that the cities of Europe would be laid low if a major war developed. Fear was present among the people, but it did not prevent the war. Fear never prevents war. The hydrogen bomb era means that a fear-stricken Power, believing that it was likely to be attacked, would be all the more likely to try to get its blow in first.

It is not without significance that the countries most fearful today are the nations possessing the hydrogen bomb. India, France, China—

Mr. Emrys Hughes


Mr. Thomas

—and other major countries in the world who do not possess the hydrogen bomb are not as fearful as we are or as Russia or America is. The strongest armed nations today are the nations who are all the time demanding an increase in their strength. It is a strange thing—I hope that my right hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) will bear this in mind—that the more military strength a nation possesses, the less secure it feels.

In the question of fear, we have before us the example of Russia, with America's defence lines pressed right up against the Soviet Union with her promise of rocket bases to attack the Soviet Union increasing the tension and not helping the atmosphere of peace in the world. Small wonder is it that Mr. Bulganin gave a broadcast talk to Asia in which he said, "Surely, no one can complain about Russia arming herself against those who bring their aggressive weapons right up to her frontiers." It is common sense. If the Russians were in South America or near to us—

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In the Isle of Wight.

Mr. Thomas

—we would be in a terrible state of anxiety.

The military philosophy of the White Paper, however, is so decadent that it measures our defence by the number of lives that can be taken in another country and its only consolation for the British people is that a lot of the others will die as well as ours.

The White Paper admits that there is today no defence of Britain. Some bombers will get through. Certainly, some rockets would get through. The White Paper refers to a dozen getting through, with a dozen hydrogen bombs —and we are now declaring as a danger zone for five months of the year an area bigger than the entire area of the United Kingdom for one of our tests. What would be left of this little country? The realist is the man who recognises that we have reached the end of the road. Small wonder that even a man like General Douglas MacArthur has said: Modern war has become total insanity. We have long since said that to prepare for war is to end in war, and all history has pointed to the fact that every armament race in history has ended in war.

The fact that if there were to be war it would wipe out Western civilisation makes us believe that it could not happen. I do not believe that it would end the world. I believe that it would end Western civilisation, and that the people in Asia are wise to try to keep out of this nuclear struggle. The greatest hoax of all is that if we are stronger than our enemies, we are safe. This philosophy has led to a lot of bloodshed through the years. Yesterday's debate played down the destructive power of the hydrogen bomb. In my judgment, both sides placed as little stress as they could upon the effect on the people of the tests that are taking place.

Russia has just made another test. We have had so far 86 nuclear tests by the U.S.A., 21 or 22, counting the most recent three or four, by the U.S.S.R., quite apart from our own. The hydrogen bomb is an evil thing. It is an offence against God and man. It spreads death and worse over neutral lands as well as belligerents. This weapon need not be used in war in anger to spread its malignant curse.

The scientists of the world are alarmed and warn the politicians of the danger of continued tests. The hon. Lady the Member for Devonport asked whether we could protect people from the radiation effects. Perhaps the House will allow me to quote an extract from what Dr. Coulson, who is the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and one of Britain's leading scientists, said recently: The grim part about this is that harm has already been done, and that nothing that we may attempt can now alter it. It is not easy to estimate how far reaching this is, but the experts, people like Nobel-prizewinner Müller and a British Professor J. B. Haldane, are agreed that the radiation already released will, before it has worked itself out, have caused the death of malformation of perhaps 30,000 people. These are not the exaggerated words of an excited speaker. This is the cold language of the scientist. In the name of all that is righteous, is the House not disturbed by this—that already there is enough dust up above to cause 30,000 people to be malformed, and that we know now that there will be babies who will be born sterile, idiots, or with cancer in their bones, as a result of our experiments for our physical defence? What cowardice this is that, in the name of our defence, we are willing to risk the well-being of unborn generations.

Professor Coulson continued by saying: After a test shot on 1st March, 1956, some of the affected areas in the Marshall Islands did not cool sufficiently within a period of twenty months to permit the resumption of normal life. I recall a debate a few years ago in this House when my hon. Friend the Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies), speaking from the bench just below me here, asked what would be the effect on fish and on sea life in the Pacific, and the House laughed at my hon. Friend. There is no laughing today. The Asians are worried and anxious and they believe that we have still that superiority complex that we are willing to take the risk of poisoning even the fish they eat, whereas we take no risks in the Atlantic with the tests on which we are about to enter.

Our proposed test is an arrogant disregard of the rights and well-being of other people, and we have no moral right, in the name of God or man, to declare that for five months of the year a great ocean of the world is unnavigable and a danger zone. I ask the question: what if the Soviet Union declared the Atlantic to be a danger zone for their tests? We should soon say that it was a breach of international law. This is the old pre-nuclear age mentality, when we were able to push the little peoples around all over the world. Suez has taught us that we cannot do that any more. We are faced with the certain knowledge that the unleashing of further radioactive dust will lead to the birth of babies who will suffer because of our short-sightedness.

The Prime Minister, in his report the other day, submitted two new arguments to the House. He told us that we can have hydrogen bombs exploded without them being detected, and straight away we heard that the Russians had tested another of their bombs. I want to ask on whose advice the Prime Minister was speaking. On the advice of the very people who, for the past year, have been concentrating their attention on building Britain's hydrogen bomb, and who want to test it? The advice of the leading scientists of the world denies the statement which the Prime Minister made. There is no reputable world authority that the Government can quote to say that a hydrogen bomb of any size likely to create this terrible death rate can be exploded in a dark corner, without the world knowing anything about it.

It is also submitted that the radioactive dust can now be controlled. Last year, we had a test of nuclear weapons in Australia in February, and 1,800 miles away from the scene of the test, radioactive dust fell on the mining town of Kudiralla, due to an unexpected wind. The scientist is not born who can control the wind, and this is a field in which I say there is a moral challenge which the politician dare not ignore, for surely there are times when moral considerations must have priority over military considerations, or we are not the House that once we were.

We pride ourselves that this House has been able to give a moral lead to the world. This is our greatest opportunity, for, as my hon. Friend behind me said, we have this weapon and we can manifest to the world that we are not prizing our physical security higher than the well-being of all the other peoples of the world and of generations now unborn. The White Paper says that we have reached a turning point in history, and I submit that the time has now come when somebody must break through the miasma of fear which has decided our policy and perform an act of faith. I am not afraid to ask for a clear lead by unilateral example by Great Britain. A moral lead is bound to be unilateral, or it would not be a lead. At present, we find that the alternative to giving a moral lead to the world is to despair and to enter the race for nuclear power.

How wrong the militarists have been. They persuaded us in this very Chamber that our physical security was menaced unless we rearmed the Germans. We were told that there was a terrible Russian threat. But the Russians were so polite that they have waited while we rearmed the Germans. Now the militarists are saying that they are fearful of these nuclear weapons in the hands of the German people. I am fearful of them being in the hands of any people.

I would like Russia and America to stop the tests. I have influence here which I cannot have there, and I must make my witness where I can. I do not believe that the people concerned are indifferent to world opinion. It was my privilege to undertake a long tour in the United States last year, and it has been my privilege to undertake a long tour in the U.S.S.R. as well. The peoples in those places are the same sort of people as those here, with the same fears and hopes and the same loves and hates. They ask no more from life than we do. I believe that we have clouded our own judgment by the propaganda of the cold war.

Therefore, I say that this little country should use its opportunity now to give an example to the world. The Vice-President of India said recently in a speech quoted in the India News, on 13th April: If nuclear powers wait for each other to give a lead, the race will not end. I move to my conclusion by reminding the House that this little country has been greatly blessed in past years. We have played a part in world affairs out of all proportion to our size. Our faith has made for the greatness of these islands and has decided our conduct. I believe that we are now called upon to abandon this racing after the military might of the bigger Powers and unequivocally and unilaterally to set an example to the world. In this way we shall be the better able to remove the real causes of war and ensure peace by tackling the causes of world hunger, illiteracy and disease by using our resources in the name of brotherhood. It is because I feel deeply on that question that I should like us to abandon the tests and thus take our stand with those peoples of Asia and Africa who look to us to do the right thing.

8.14 p.m.

Major Tufton Beamish (Lewes)

The hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) always puts his arguments in the House with clarity, sincerity and eloquence, eloquence which I am afraid I cannot match; but to give him that praise does not mean for one moment that I admire his judgment. I cannot help reminding the House that the speech which the hon. Gentleman has just made was made on many occasions in the House in 1938 and 1939 just before the last terrible war broke out. Many speeches were made at that time in almost identical terms. Some might even have been made by the hon. Gentleman himself.

The hon. Gentleman scoffed rather at the argument which he realises many other people use, that if we are stronger than our enemies we are saved. I hope he will not mind my reminding him that we were saved at the end of the 1914–18 war because, in the end, we were stronger than our enemies, and we were again saved in 1945 because, in the end, we were stronger than our enemies. I hope that is not too much of an over-simplification. Even if it is, it is none the less true.

The hon. Gentleman also said that the H-bomb is an evil thing. There is not a right hon. or hon. Member who does not agree wholeheartedly with that. Of course it is a terrible and evil thing.

The Rev. Llywelyn Williams (Abertillery)

If what the hon. and gallant Gentleman says is true, how can he justify the cuts in defence expenditure announced by the Minister yesterday?

Major Beamish

I appreciate the hon. Member's point and will come to it a little later.

The terrible thing about the H-bomb is that this evil thing is in the hands of evil people. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh".] Of course it is in the hands of evil people One has only to look at what happened recently in Hungary to know just how evil are the people in whose hands the H-bomb is.

Mr. Fernyhough

What about Hiroshima and Nagasaki? In whose hands was the weapon then?

Major Beamish

One of the oddest things about the debate has been this. For five or six years the Labour Party has been begging the Government on every possible occasion to abolish National Service or reduce it substantially. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] For several years the Labour Party has been asking the Government to slash defence programme expenditure. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Recently responsible Members of the Labour Party were asking for an immediate cut of £500 million.

Mr. Pargiter

It was £400 million.

Major Beamish

I am grateful for that correction. For a long time the Labour Party has been asking that we should reduce our garrison in Germany, or even withdraw from Germany. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] The Labour Party has for a long been asking that we should abolish or substantially reduce our overseas bases. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad that on those four items I have not been doing an injustice to hon. Members opposite, because when I have described each of the things that they have been advocating I have been greeted with "Hear, hear," from the Opposition.

The extraordinary thing is that although hon. Members opposite have pressed for these things for five or six years, now that we are taking some very modest steps in those directions we are apparently criticised for doing too much. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Hon. Members opposite who say "No" must read some of the speeches made yesterday, and then they will realise some of the anxieties which have been expressed on that side of the House.

Two former Ministers of Defence and a former Secretary of State for War have shown themselves to be profoundly unhappy about the terms of the Labour Party's Amendment. I should like to put one or two questions to the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) who is to speak later for the Opposition. I am sure he will agree with me that it is extremely important that the country should understand where the Opposition stands on these vitally important questions. Last night the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. Fienburgh) used a phrase which obviously needs some further explanation. He said that the Labour Party was in favour of some limited degree of … deterrent,"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th April. 1957; Vol. 568. c. 1868.] and he emphasised "limited." I do not understand that. I am sure it meant something, because those words were read from notes. and I have no doubt that they were carefully prepared by the official leadership of the Labour Party and that they have some important meaning. I should like to know exactly what those words mean.

I would also draw attention to something said by the right hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) in a speech which was as stimulating as most of his speeches are. He specifically said that he could agree to the suspension of H-bomb tests only if the Americans would lend us some bombs. I can only conclude from that that in default of that assurance from the United States he will not be voting for the Amendment this evening. I do not think that he is alone in his anxieties about the wording of the Amendment.

The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) made a very brave effort in opening the debate—nobody likes having to eat his words, but he apparently ate his with considerable relish—but he could not forget that it was only a week or two before that he used these words on the radio: We must be able to show any aggressor that we have got the bomb. He went on in that broadcast, presumably speaking on behalf of the Opposition, not only to say that we had been right to manufacture the bomb, but that we must test it. He used those specific words. Therefore, there has been a complete change of policy on his part.

It is also worth recording, although it has been mentioned once earlier in the debate, that only two years ago the Executive of the Socialist Party passed a resolution saying that it was undesirable that we should be dependent on a foreign Power for the production of this vital weapon. Yet it seems to me that the suspension of the H-bomb tests will quite inevitably make us more dependent upon the foreign Power which they must have had in mind when those words were agreed to. The right hon. Member for Dundee, West, speaking in the defence debate in 1955, described the policy of the deterrent as really common ground to all hon. Members." —[OFFICIAL. REPORT, 2nd March, 1955; Vol. 537, c. 2069.] I hope that I am right in assuming that the right hon. Gentleman has not changed his views about that.

The fact is that a very large section of the party opposite shares the kind of anxieties expressed by the right hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger), the right hon. Member for Ipswich, and the right hon. Member for Belper. I beg hon. Members opposite not to think that I am trying to make party capital out of this; it is legitimate to draw attention to differences in the party opposite upon this vital question, and it is important for the country to know where the Opposition stands upon this matter. Many hon. Members opposite feel that the kind of compromise advocated in the Amendment is most unfortunate. I sincerely believe that to be so.

I beg hon. Members opposite not to misunderstand what I am now going to say. I think that it should give considerable pause for thought by the party opposite—the vast majority of whom dislike and detest Communism as much as any of us on this side of the House —that for months past the key point of Communist propaganda in this country has been the suspension of the British H-bomb tests. Over and over again that line has been plugged on Moscow Radio. It has been plugged every day in the Daily Worker. I have an extract written by Mr. John Gollan in World News of 30th March. He said: Scientists, religious and peace organisations, trade unions and Members of Parliament are redoubling their protests which are now building up into a mass campaign for the suspension of the tests The Daily Worker has been plugging this line consistently.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Does not the hon. and gallant Member realise that this would have happened even if there had been noDaily Workerand no Communist Party?

Major Beamish

I believe that to be quite true. I quite appreciate that a very small section of the party opposite sees eye to eye with Communist views. I know that there is another section which has deeply sincere pacifist views, and yet another which sometimes allows its heart to rule its head, but all those sections, even added together, still make up only a small proportion of the Socialist Party.

Mr. Ellis Smith

There is still another section of this party which is sick of war.

Major Beamish

We are all sick of war—and those of us who have seen most of war dislike it most.

I should like to give one more quotation from the British Peace Committee—a Communist Front organisation of which the President is our old friend Mr. Pritt, who used to speak so often in this House. It says: The B.P.C. calls for the widest possible activity against the Christmas Island tests… Every M.P. should be urged to speak and vote against the tests. I am drawing attention to these things not because I believe that the attitude of the Opposition is in the slightest degree tainted by what the Communist Party or their creature organisations have suggested. Some people might suggest that, and in case I might be accused of it I want to say that I dismiss that possibility. I am simply drawing attention to the fact that when one finds oneself advocating something which is being consistently plugged by the British Communist Party, which is the creature of the Soviet Union, one must stop and pause to think whether one is doing the right thing.

It is true of most hon. Members that if we find ourselves advocating this sort of thing we do stop in our tracks and ask ourselves whether we are doing the right thing. It so happens that in this case the new attitude of the Socialist Party is exactly consistent with the line that has been plugged for months past by the Communist Party.

Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)

Very often the Communist Party drops upon the right line, by accident. Does not the hon. and gallant Member remember that during the Suez war the Communist Party clamoured for Britain to get out of Suez and eventually we got out? Are we to say that we have a Communist Government because they followed the Communist line?

Major Beamish

I cannot honestly see what relevance that remark has to what I am saying. I honestly regard the Amendment which will presumably be voted upon tonight as a very sorry and woolly compromise. It looks to me very much as if the Leader of the Socialist Party thinks that peace within his party is, in some ways, more important than peace in the world. I have no hesitation at all in saying that at this unhappy time in the world's history the power to retaliate against an aggressor is our only insurance against another holocaust.

There is another question which I want to put to the right hon. Member for Dundee, West. The Amendment asks for the suspension of the tests. I think we are entitled to know for how long. The right hon. Member for Ipswich said two or three months at the most. Another hon. Member spoke of the end of the year, and that is about eight months. There is a big difference between the two periods. I am sure that hon. Members opposite know what they mean when they ask for a suspension and that they must have put some kind of limit on the period. I feel it not unreasonable to ask that we should be told what is that limit.

There is another argument which has been mentioned several times during the debate, the argument about dependence on America. The Socialist Party has been saying for some time past that we are much too dependent on America, and a good many of my hon. Friends share that view. But surely it must be obvious that if we suspend the tests and leave for long a situation in which the United States is our only ally which has an H-bomb that has been tested, we are keeping ourselves dependent on the United States. After all, it was the Socialist Party which agreed to the establishment of American bases in this country. At those bases are stationed American airmen with American bombers, and they have stocks of American bombs. In other words, the vehicles, the men and the weapons all belong to the Americans and, presumably, they can be operated only on American orders.

After the Bermuda Conference and their criticisms of my right hon. Friend for the arrangements he made for the provision of American guided missiles, it comes strangely from hon. Members opposite when they say that we were thereby making ourselves more dependent on America. In my opinion, the Socialist Party must face the fact that if they wish to suspend the H-bomb tests they will keep this country dependent on the United States to a considerable extent.

On the subject of the H-bomb I should like to say a word about what is usually called the graduated deterrent. The hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) spoke about this in a very interesting speech with which I found myself in considerable disagreement. I feel that no one really knows the complete answer. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence chose his words very carefully indeed, and I am speaking only for myself when I say that, in default of an international agreement, with the sort of watertight guarantees for international inspection which any disarmament agreement must contain, we should be making a great mistake if we did not preserve our right to use whatever weapons we consider necessary in the national interest for our defence. At the moment I do not see how we can go beyond that point, and therefore I feel that we must make this reservation, while continuing to try by every possible means to ensure that a disarmament agreement is reached.

I do not understand the suggestion contained in the Amendment that some new initiative should be made. New initiatives are being made every day and every week and every month in an attempt to try to find a satisfactory arrangement for disarmament. The last paragraph of the communiquéfrom the Bermuda Conference made this clear. I refer to paragraph 5 in Annex 2 which I should like to read. It states: We shall continue our general practice of publicly announcing our test series well in advance of their occurrence with information as to their location and general timing. We would be willing to register with the United Nations advance notice of our intention to conduct future nuclear tests and to permit limited international observation of such tests if the Soviet Union would do the same. I very much hope that tonight my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, who has just come in, will be able to tell the House whether the Soviet Union have agreed to that simple suggestion as a modest step in the direction of some kind of disarmament agreement. I am sure that that is something which the House would like to know, and I do not think it is fair or reasonable for the Socialist Party to suggest that no new initiative has been taken.

Hon. Members opposite seem to forget that even today at Lancaster House a Disarmament Commission is carrying on a debate which has been going on for years, both during the time when the party opposite was in power and since we have been in power. The fact is that we have been no more successful in persuading the Soviet Union to take any real steps in the direction of disarmament than was the party opposite when it was in power. Let us face that.

I promised to sit down at twenty-five minutes to nine. I have only thirty seconds left. I must miss out some excellent passages which I intended to put into my speech. I will conclude by saying that the White Paper is logical, precise and blunt. I offer to the Minister of Defence my most sincere congratulations on the forthright and hopeful start he has made in outlining so boldly our future defence policy.

Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West) rose

Mr. Lewis

On a point of order. Before my right hon. Frined the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) speaks may I, as an hon. Member who has not attempted to get into the debate, ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, what safeguards there are for back bench Members of the Opposition? We have had a two-day debate. Only one back bencher was called yesterday and only three have been called today; that is four in two days. Right hon. Gentlemen have been speaking. I see that there will now be one and a half hours to be shared between the two Front Benches.

Would you put to Mr. Speaker the view I am putting, and which, I am sure, is shared by all hon. Members, that for the two Front Benches to take up two-thirds of a two-day debate is, from the back benchers' point of view, taking liberties with the House of Commons? We feel that half an hour for any Front Bench speaker is ample, and that Front Bench speakers should limit their speeches to enable back benches to get in.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Gordon Touche)

The hon. Member will be well aware of the rule of the House that Privy Councillors have priority. If Members of the House want to make any change in that rule it is for Members of the House to make representations on the subject.

8.36 p.m.

Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)

I would begin by taking up the point made by the Minister of Defence in opening yesterday's debate when he launched himself into a discussion of the different kinds of war: limited and unlimited war and conventional and nuclear war: and two kinds of nuclear war: the all-out limited nuclear war using the ultimate weapon of the H-bomb and the war using the tactical atomic weapon and not the ultimate deterrent.

This is unquestionably and undeniably the most difficult and perplexing problem. I doubt whether any of us knew quite how difficult and perplexing it was until the Minister of Defence tried to explain it to us. He made confusion worse confounded about this issue, which is an important one. If we look at the responsible Press this morning we see that the right hon. Gentleman confused and disturbed responsible opinion a good deal on this matter. He has only to look at the leading articles in The Times and in the Manchester Guardian to see that that was so, and particularly so when he dealt, or attempted to deal, with the exceptionally important issue of the tactical atomic weapon.

All I want to say about this to the House is: do not doubt that I sympathise with the Minister of Defence. It is obviously a subject of the greatest possible difficulty, but the more I think of it and the more events unwind the less chance there seems that a war, certainly a war in Europe, in which tactical atomic weapons were used, could possibly stop short at that point. It seems more and more likely—I do not say certain, because that would be going too far—that it would go to the ultimate length and involve the use of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Therefore, the use of the tactical atomic weapon becomes something which we should regard with the utmost reluctance.

A great deal of thinking has been done on this matter of which the Minister of Defence seemed signally ignorant. There has been all the thinking which has been done by the earnest advocates of what is called the "graduated" deterrent. I have studied all the things that they have said as carefully as I could, but I have never been able to believe—I wish I could—that they were right in thinking that some kind of Queensberry Rules for atomic warfare could be devised. I do not think that that is so.

If that is not so, if once we have used atomic tactical weapons which are enormously powerful and are well on the way to ultimate unlimited war, it seems to me that not only the philosophy of the White Paper in some respects, but also the military thinking of N.A.T.O., needs very careful reconsideration. I more and more feel that the conclusion towards which my mind, at any rate, is moving —I do not say that it is a firm one—is not that we do not want ground forces —by no means that conclusion—but that the real rôle of the ground forces of this country, of N.A.T.0.. and of our allies in Europe is in the so-called conventional rôle, the non-atomic rôle altogether.

I think Captain Liddell Hart, in his recent letter to The Times, coined a good phrase for that. It is what he called "the fire extinguisher rôle". I think that there is a vitally important rôle in Europe, as elsewhere, not for large, but efficient, highly-mobile forces, not using or dreaming of using at this stage atomic weapons, to act as a fire extinguisher, as he graphically put it, for what begin merely as frontier incidents and to quench potential fires; to vary the metaphor, to nip in the bud incidents which, if not nipped in the bud, can become extremely dangerous.

That is really the reason why, in our Amendment, we take the view that the Government have swung over and are now emphasising too exclusively the nuclear deterrent. They have gone to that extreme. That is why we criticise the White Paper in that respect for it seems to us to underestimate, or, at any rate, it gives the impression of underestimating, the remaining and vitally important rôle of conventional forces. I say "to give the impression" of doing so, because I am not sure that that is the intention of the Government, but I assure them that that is the impression which has been given to our allies in Europe.

The hon. Member for Scotstoun (Sir J. Hutchison), who is in his place, told the House that yesterday. Anyone who has been in Europe—we were together at a conference in Europe—knows that is so. Even if it were not true it is a very serious thing indeed to have given that impression to our allies. One thing which we really must not do is to get into the tragic dilemma in which, faced by a frontier incident, an episode quite small in itself—it is only too easy to think of instances—we must either accept a small but perhaps fatal fait accompli or blow up the world.

That would be a fatal position to get into. For lack of attention to and consideration of the remaining rôle of non-nuclear forces, that is a dilemma in which Mr. Dulles found himself when he spoke of massive retaliation. I do not say that the White Paper has got to that dilemma, but it points towards it and we emphasise that in the Amendment because we think the Government have swung too far in that direction.

Having listened to the speech of the Minister of Defence, I ask him and the Government to give the most careful thought to this desperately important issue of tactical atomic weapons. I could not go so far as the Manchester Guardian goes today and say that we should simply scrap the intermediate stage of tactical weapons. My mind has not reached that point. It might, in the end, be the right conclusion, but there are obvious and very great objections to that. The rôle of those weapons seems to me to become more and more doubtful and there is a higher and higher premium on keeping any conflict, any armed conflict even, which may arise on an altogether non-nuclear or conventional level.

That brings me to the main theme of our debate—it has necessarily been our main theme—of the other kind of war, the most dreadful kind of war, unlimited war. I think that the Minister of Defence became so confused on this issue mainly because he did not see that what differentiates unlimited war, all-out war, from limited war is not, in essence, the weapons which are used, but the aim: is the aim a limited aim or is it an unlimited aim? If it is an unlimited aim, if the aim of either side is the total destruction of their opponents, unconditional surrender, then no matter what weapons we start with, it will almost certainly go the whole length. This is the real issue and it is vitally important that it should be seen that this is what divides limited from unlimited war.

If we debate the issue of unlimited war, which obviously overshadows all our debates in the House and has certainly overshadowed this debate, we are debating it under a new official declaration of the utmost importance—the declaration in the White Paper, which has also been made repeatedly by Government spokesmen, that in the case of unlimited war there is no possible physical military defence for the people of these islands. That is stated in the famous paragraph 12 of the White Paper and it was said far more bluntly by the Minister of Defence in a broadcast on 5th April. His words are worth quoting: There is no longer any way of defending this country, or for that matter any other country, against the absolutely devastating effect of an attack with hydrogen bombs. Even more striking in some ways were the Prime Minister's words in his speech to the English-Speaking Union, when he said: Let us be under no illusion. Military forces today are not designed to wage war. Their purpose is to prevent it. Total war can only mean total destruction. The Prime Minister is perfectly right, but we must take him at his word, and we must be under no illusion what those words mean. When he suggests that we cannot think of or prepare for the waging of unlimited nuclear war, he is right for the simple reason that once unlimited nuclear war has broken out we shall not be here to wage it. That is a vital consideration. Every hon. Member must readjust his thinking to that. It brings something new in the history of this country, although some of us have suggested it in successive defence debates in earlier years.

To have that official pronouncement of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence and the White Paper presents us with a new position, and what the Labour Party have been doing in these weeks is to attempt to adjust our thinking and our feeling to that position.

In his opening speech, the Minister of Defence made a great deal of play—it was the main other part of his speech—of these strivings of the Labour Party to adjust its thinking and feeling on this matter. It might have been a very good knockabout winding-up speech, but was not so good as an opening speech. I do not know what kind of speech the Prime Minister will make in winding up the debate. He may reverse the process and wind up with an opening speech, or he may again point to these heart searchings, the deep disturbances of mind and spirit that exist in this party.

We give him that right away. It is all perfectly true. These things have happened. We have been deeply and profoundly disturbed about all this, and I am moved once more to ask right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite if they also have really had no heart searchings on this issue also. The Minister of Labour said that they had had none at all; that they were perfectly easy in their minds about it. We find that very odd. In our opinion, it is not very easy to find the right national policy for this country in this situation.

If we have been in travail, trying to find it, it is probably true that, in the short run, immediate capital can be made of it, and we might lose ground for a few weeks on that issue; but I think that, in the long run, we shall find that the country will prefer people who have tried to face the issue honestly, even if it has exposed disagreements among them, rather than a party which, as far as we can see, has passively and quite easily accepted the policy of the Government, which seems to be to press on first with the manufacture and then with the testing of the hydrogen bomb without any real attempt whatever to secure, not unilateral but multilateral disarmament agreements on the subject.

The Prime Minister has said, and, I dare say, will say again—and it is a serious charge, of course—that not only have we on this side had these disagreements and difficulties and arguments, but that, in the end, we have failed to come to an agreed policy. That, as I say, would be a serious charge, because we must run to an agreed policy, but the charge is simply untrue. The policy may be right or wrong, it may be criticised—any policy can be criticised—but we have come to a perfectly clear and definite policy, and it is easy to state. It has been stated repeatedly in this debate, and perhaps I may repeat it again. It may be stated in two short propositions—almost in words of one syllable.

The first proposition is to go to the other two nuclear Powers, and to the rest of the world—and already it is important to say that—and simply to say, "We will stop, if you will stop." That is, in its simplest and most coloquial form, the traditional policy of disarmament which this party has had for many years. We apply it simply in this new field of the thermo-nuclear weapon. We have now added to that a second proposition. It is that while we do that, while we make the attempt to get a real nuclear disarmament conference—and a convention to come from it—we suspend the test detonations.

Is that right or wrong? It is interesting to notice in the Press—and, I think, in some speeches in this House, also—the very strong criticism which has been made of the Russians. The Russians have been loosing off a whole series of nuclear detonations in the last few weeks, and, at the same time, they have been telling us, "We are all in favour of everybody stopping these tests." There is nothing at all illogical in the Russians saying that, but we have all felt, and said, that, psychologically, it spoiled the whole effect—that the Russians were, at the same time, loosing off a whole series of nuclear detonations.

If we really mean to make an effort to get the tests stopped, which is the first step—only a short one, but the first one—in stopping the nuclear arms race, if we really want to make an impression on the world, we must not do what the Russians have done. It is bad psychology. We must have a pause. We must suspend the tests, as we say in our Amendment, for the limited period necessary to make those offers.

That is exactly the policy of this party. It may be right or wrong, but it is simply not the case that we have not arrived at a definite clear-cut policy which can be stated, attacked and defended; it is simply not susceptible to the criticism that it is vague and undecided.

I want to say only one thing more about the tests issue, which is not the main issue. The nuclear arms race itself is the main issue. It may be asked, "What if that policy succeeds? What if you do get your nuclear disarmament conference; and what if America, Russia and the other potential nuclear Powers all agree not to have any further tests, and agree before we have had our tests? Would you agree to that? Do not let me burke that issue. That would be a very heavy national sacrifice for this country. The country would have to think many times about that before possibly agreeing to it.

I would, however, ask the Prime Minister this question, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition did the other day: would the Government commit themselves, here and now, to saying that in all circumstances they are determined to go on with the nuclear tests? For example, if, in such a conference, the Americans repealed the McMahon Act and gave us their information, and if nothing else stood in the way of an all-round international standstill on nuclear tests, would they now commit themselves, in the face of that, to a decision, whatever happened, to go on with our tests?

If they would, I think that they would be extremely rigid. They would be very unwise to do so in advance of the event. Far from my right hon. Friend failing to face the issue when he said he could not commit himself there, it seems to me that he was striving to face this exceedingly difficult and complex issue of the tests much more carefully and realistically than anyone else has done before.

So much for the tests. Of course, they constitute only a first step in nuclear disarmament as a whole. I can only imagine an international standstill on the tests as a temporary halting point which would either then break down or would lead on towards general nuclear disarmament. I should be asked there—and it is a perfectly fair question—whether I couple that with general disarmament, with disarmament in conventional weapons as well, because of the old point—I think there is much less in it than there was, but there is still something in it—that nuclear disarmament by itself would give a differential advantage to the Russians rather than—to the West.

I am bound to say that I thought the Minister of Defence hugely overstated that argument today, but there is obviously some force in it. What I say is, "Yes, of course we should lead in that general disarmament. Far more than that, why have we not, during the past few months, put forward proposals for conventional disarmament?"

The most extraordinary thing about this whole White Paper is that here we suddenly announce that we are, quite unilaterally in this case, to reduce our conventional Armed Forces to 375,000 men and we make no effort whatever to use that as a bargaining factor for conventional disarmament in the rest of the world. I really am curious about this, and I hope that the Prime Minister will tell us why, after we made our announcement in the White Paper, we went on talking, at Lancaster House, about a limit of 750,000 men. Surely this showed that we are carrying on the disarmament negotiations, such as they are, really quite in the void without any reference to what we are actually doing with our own arms at all.

That gives me more than anything else the impression that the Government are not taking disarmament seriously at all. They arc just saying that that is a sort of quadrille which has to be danced at Lancaster House. The proposals which they put forward have no real reference to their defence policy. I think that that is w hat at heart they think. They feel that we are sentimentalists and unrealistic when we think that the two ought to be really brought together and some attention paid to the disarmament issue. That seems to me to be the point where conventional and nuclear disarmament could have been brought together with tremendous effect and where we really might have had a chance of going forward.

Here, of course—let me say at once—I am not underestimating the difficulties of nuclear disarmament beyond the tests. They are not the difficulties mentioned by the Minister of Defence, of a differential advantage to the Russians, but they are the difficulties of inspection and control. They are very real and baffling. Therefore, if I may return to the tests for one moment, that is why we think that the tests, where these difficulties are, at any rate, far less, are incomparably the best first step towards nuclear disarmament.

The Prime Minister has, in recent weeks, made tremendous play with this new view that after all, and contrary to what everybody has said up to now, the nuclear tests cannot be detected and, therefore, the whole difficulty of inspection and control really arises. I should like to ask him a question on this and I am sure that he will give me an answer. Is it not still so that any test which is big enough to do appreciable harm to the health of the world is, ipso facto, big enough to detect?

I am not suggesting that there are no tests which cannot be detected. It is quite probable that there are. But when we are talking in terms of raising appreciably the radiation level of the world, of the lethal fall-out from tests, those are surely precisely the things that can be detected and, therefore, the fact that automatic detection, as it were, would not apply to all tests—may be it would not—is not really relevant to this issue. What we want to get, what the world wants to get passionately, is a stay, at any rate, to the tests which are doing physical harm to the people here and now.

Perhaps harm is not being done to very many, but scientists are not very sure about that. I see even, in today's newspapers, that one group of scientists has just revised its viewpoint and put out a good deal more disturbing verdict on the strontium 90 side of the issue. But that the tests are doing some harm is. I think, common ground to everyone. Those tests, at any rate, can still be detected internationally very much more easily than can the manufacture and storage of the weapon.

Here, surely, is the place to begin the process, and I hope that the Prime Minister will deal with that issue. Nuclear disarmament itself is the only thing that can really save the world, not the stopping of the tests. That can only be a halting point. But nuclear disarmament itself can obviously only come as a part—part cause and part effect—of a general amelioration and relaxation of tension in the world. Nobody denies that. But is that not precisely the reason why it must be the objective of the most sustained efforts on the part of this country, because that alone is of any real good to us?

I want now to say why we on this Bench and on this side of the House, the majority of us, cannot go further than that. There are, of course, as we know, hon. Members who take a different view. One of them is my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas), who made an admirable and moving speech in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament. There are some of my hon. Friends on this side, pacifists, as he is, who take that view. I should like to say a word or two to explain why we cannot go that far. There are hon. Members opposite also, I believe, who—

Mr. V. Yates

Non-pacifists, also.

Mr. Strachey

I was going on to say that there are other hon. Members, non-pacifists, who are in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament by this country, which amounts, in effect, to the scrapping of nuclear weapons by this country, whatever anybody else might do. I believe that there are hon. Members opposite who take that view, but for other reasons.

This view, the non-pacifist view, was put in detail by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Cross-man) in the debate today. The argument, putting the core of it, is that, when it really comes down to the point, it is not worth while for this country to try to make a contribution to the nuclear deterrent; what we can add to the forces of the West will make so very little difference that we should not attempt to have nuclear weapons, certainly not thermo-nuclear weapons, and probably not—my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East thought—nuclear weapons of any kind. It is said that we should concentrate what defence effort we can make on conventional arms while, as it were, sheltering under the American nuclear umbrella.

My first comment on that non-pacifist position is this. I hope that the House realises that there is no moral advantage whatever in that standpoint. It is not really any better to depend on somebody else's l hydrogen bomb than to have a hydrogen bomb of one's own. Frankly, I find it unpalatable when hon. Members, in any part of the House, express their horror at our producing the hydrogen bomb or testing it and then make it perfectly clear, in the next few sentences, that they are wholly relying for their safety on American hydrogen bombs.

I find this particularly unpalatable when it comes from hon. Members—this applies to both sides of the House, I think—who are foremost in advocating policies contrary to, independent of, and flouting the policies of the United States. If we take the line that we can depend entirely on the American nuclear umbrella, we really must not, at the same time, flout the United States and think that we can run a completely independent world policy. We cannot do things in that way.

Major Sir William Anstruther-Gray (Berwick and East Lothian)

The right hon. Gentleman will surely agree that that policy is not adopted by many hon. Members on this side of the House. It is to be found upon his own side.

Mr. Strachey

The advocacy of policies entirely independent of and contrary to the policy of the United States is certainly advocated by very many hon. Members opposite. Indeed, it reaches the Order Paper.

I think that most Members who take this view see and realise that it entails almost complete dependency on the United States, and I understand their point of view. They feel that Britain, resigned and a little weary, can, as it were, leave the world stage of the great world events, can leave it to the great Powers, America and Russia, to pursue, undisturbed and undeflected, their terrible nuclear duologue. That is a view which I can understand and in the post-Suez disillusionment it is certainly a view which will appeal to quite a number of people.

I do not attach great importance to the arguments which have been usually raised against it. There was the argument that we must have our own hydrogen bombs for the selection of targets. Of course, there is something in that, but it is contrary to the Prime Minister's point of thinking about waging an unlimited nuclear war; and that is a rather remote contingency for us.

It is true that in the present world situation it is fairly difficult to imagine any situation of unlimited world war—even its threat—in which we should have any particular use for our own hydrogen bomb as a part and as totally independent of that of America. One could imagine such a situation, but, again, it is fairly remote.

The real argument which sways me is different. If, in default of world nuclear disarmament in whole or in part—which, I repeat, is the only salvation—the other Powers insist on going on, with the utmost reluctance we cannot unilaterally and, by example, abandon the hydrogen bomb.

What one has to realise here is that what we are settling is the future of our country, not for just three or four years or a decade even, but probably over the whole remaining fifty years of this century. What we are really settling is the position of this country in the future world thirty, forty or fifty years hence. I do not know, none of us knows, what that world will be like, but I would say that we do, perhaps, know one thing: that it will not be at all like the present world situation.

We are much too apt to presuppose that the present world situation of the two great power blocs of Russia and America will continue for ever. In my opinion, that is very unlikely. What will Russia be like forty or fifty years' hence, or America, China, India or West Germany? None of us knows these things.

If, again, we have not succeeded in getting nuclear disarmament, if we have not succeeded in getting all-round agreement to ban nuclear weapons, it will be a fairly rough world. In such a world as that, in which the alignment of power is quite unforeseeable, can we take the decision now, which we should have to do if we went in for unilateral nuclear disarmament by example, that in such a world as that, this small and very vulnerable, but, to us, infinitely precious, island should be quite helpless? That is what it would be.

Those are the long-term reasons which seem to me decisive in the end, because what a tragedy it would be if this country, in this year, 1957, lacked the will and the nerve to preserve itself and its enormous influence for good in the world by taking that step of rendering itself negligible by unilateral nuclear disarmament by example. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]

Having said that—and I am afraid that hon. Members opposite will not like what I am going to say now quite as much—the decision, which was shared by both political parties, to equip this country with nuclear weapons, and I think that this has emerged over the last two years, can be nothing but a stop-gap, an indispensable stop-gap, perhaps, something which we cannot avoid, but it has no real salvation for this country in it. Once we realise both these things, surely the country is faced, and the Government are faced while they are the Government, with enormously difficult psychological problems.

On the one hand, it seems to me Britain cannot render herself negligible in the affairs of the world by a unilateral decision to undertake nuclear disarmament by example, but, on the other, the only really useful purpose, and the only really useful thing, which can save us is to devote our whole efforts to the achievement of all-round nuclear disarmament.

Brigadier O. L. Prior-Palmer (Worthing)

The right hon. Gentleman has touched on the point only lightly, but would he not agree that all-round multilateral nuclear disarmament, if it were not accompanied by all-round multilateral disarmament in conventional weapons, would set a light to the biggest arms race in conventional weapons that has ever been seen?

Mr. Strachey

The hon. and gallant Member should remember that conventional disarmament is going on rapidly on both sides. We have cut down our forces, the Russians have cut their forces, and the Americans have cut down their forces. I do not think that there is any difficulty on that score.

Of course, I shall be told that that position is too psychologically difficult—that the ordinary man will insist upon an "either-or" position. He will insist that either we must scrap all nuclear weapons, regardless of what everybody else does, or we must retain all nuclear weapons, regardless of what anyone else does. Of course, these are both far easier positions to argue, far more attractive positions, far more clear-cut, definite and forthright. There is only one objection to both these positions, and it is that they are absolutely disastrous.

Therefore, if this country is really to be what it claims to be—the most mature political country in the world—I say that it must go for the only objectively realistic position of seeking all-round nuclear disarmament, because that is the only thing that actually makes sense, however psychologically difficult it is to sustain.

At bottom, that is the real reason why we shall divide the House tonight. [Laughter.] Yes, certainly. It is not on the military criticisms which we have of the White Paper. We have made these, and I think they are important, but the real reason why we are dividing the House, and we say it in our Amendment in its last clauses, is because it seems to us—unless the Prime Minister can tell us differently—that the Government are not making a real effort to achieve all-round nuclear disarmament.

What are the Government doing? We have heard during the last few days that at Lancaster House the British representative has done no more than give rather tepid support to some rather tepid American proposals for the limitation of nuclear weapons. For Britain—this island which has just been told by the Government, by the Prime Minister and by the Minister of Defence, that it is indefensible from nuclear weapons and that it can be blotted out by nuclear weapons—to be doing only that is madness. Britain ought, in season and out of season, to be taking the lead in nuclear disarmament. That is the only practical, tolerable policy for this country.

Therefore, we divide the House because, above all, we see no sign of a recognition by the Government that the only salvation for Britain is to lead the nations of the world back from the abyss of nuclear suicide.

9.21 p.m.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)

I listened with great attention to the speech of the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey), as, indeed, did the whole House, and I am bound to say that I found a great deal in what he said with which I was in full agreement. I thought it rather a feat of mental acrobatics, however, to connect the main argument of his speech with the Amendment which he was supporting. I cannot help saying—I am sure he will not think it discourteous of me—that I feel that the real reason for dividing the House is an attempt to unite his party.

The Defence White Paper, which the House is asked to approve, has been generally recognised as an imaginative and constructive statement of military policy, perhaps the most imaginative and constructive that has been made by any great nation since the war. Naturally—I fully admit it—it has been the cause, like any radical approach to this problem, of some anxiety among our allies, especially on its first publication, for on a cursory reading it might seem to look forward to a diminution of British military strength. The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. de Freitas) both made this point.

I must make it clear that we did not confront our allies in N.A.T.O. or in Western European Union with sudden decisions. As long ago as October, 1955, the then Minister of Defence proposed a radical review of the N.A.T.O. defence effort, and he urged this again in N.A.T.O. in the following December and again in May, 1956. When I was Chancellor of the Exchequer, I specifically stated at the N.A.T.O. meeting in Paris in December, 1956, that for the last five years the United Kingdom have enjoyed the unenviable distinction of devoting a larger proportion of resources to defence and a smaller proportion to internal investment than any other European member of N.A.T.O., and I made it clear that we were reviewing the whole character of our defence expenditure, including the manpower demands of our Forces.

We have scrupulously followed our obligations to both organisations, and it is really a dis-service to this country to suggest anything different. We consulted our N.A.T.O. allies through all this long period, and we have obtained the agreement of our partners in Western European Union. I should like to express the gratitude of the Government to them for the understanding that they have shown. The more our proposals have been studied the more their true nature and value have been appreciated.

The hon. Member for Lincoln referred to some criticisms of the White Paper, made by a Washington correspondent, but I was glad to note that so experienced a soldier as President Eisenhower only a few days ago said that he admired the courage and nerve which this country had shown in drawing up this plan, and that it represented an effort to bring our military establishment into line with the military facts of today and to keep our economy viable. That is a higher authority than that of some newspaper correspondent, however distinguished.

There are really three vital aspects to the whole question: the size of the forces; the character of the forces, and the nature of the weapons with which they are to be armed. Upon the decision about the last of the three aspects the first two must necessarily depend, for if we are to accept anything like a cut of nearly half in our manpower force, and if we are to pin ourselves—as we do —upon the determination to raise all Regular forces, it is clear—to me, at any rate, and, I believe, to the House as a whole that not only must such forces be made mobile by the provision of modern transport, about which much was said today and yesterday, but they must be armed and backed by the most effective weapons which are available.

Therefore, whether we like it or not, the decision upon the weapons—and it is a terrible decision—governs the whole issue. Without the nuclear deterrent it is obvious that a reduction of forces of this kind becomes impossible. Indeed, much larger forces would be required if we were to rely entirely upon conventional forces. In that case there would be no hope of raising the necessary men upon a voluntary basis, and then it would be all over with any chance of abolishing conscription.

I looked at the Amendment in vain for some reference to National Service. It is quite an important part of these proposals.

The fundamental question which the House must face today—as it has faced it in recent debates, under Governments of both complexions—and face without "vacillation," if I may borrow one of the words of the Amendment, is whether or not the nuclear deterrent is to form the basis of British defence planning. If this is not faced, no one, except perhaps a genuine pacifist, has a right to urge the ending of National Service. There can be no doubt at all about this. Short of general disarmament—which is the ideal that we all seek—the end of conscription must depend upon the acceptance of nuclear weapons.

Before coming to this supreme issue, to which the right hon. Gentleman devoted the whole of his speech, and to which I shall devote the greater part of what I have to say, I want to answer some specific questions raised by the right hon. Member for Belper and especially the hon. Member for Lincoln. If I have misunderstood them, they will correct me, but I thought that they suggested that we had taken some risks—perhaps even some grave risks—in reaching decisions especially about the means of delivery of the bomb while so many problems of production and development were unresolved.

I assume that they were referring to the decision not to proceed with the supersonic bomber. The present family of V-bombers, with their normal developments, are expected to do good service for many years. If research and development upon the supersonic bomber were to go on now it could not be ready in under ten years—that is the information that we are given. Within that time, in addition to the remaining V-bombers we shall have the support of rockets.

The agreement which we have made in principle with the United States, when it is worked out in detail, will provide us with American missiles with American warheads. It is quite true that these warheads will be in American custody, as United States law requires. I am always being urged to try to get the United States law altered. It is quite easy to say that; it is not quite so easy to do. I have not quite so good a majority in Congress as I have here in the House of Commons. They will, therefore, be in American custody under what is called the "key of the cupboard" arrangement.

They cannot, therefore, be used—though I think they have a deterrent effect, because the object of a deterrent is really not to use it—without American consent. Of course, this applies even more strongly to the American bombing force over here, by agreement with the Labour Government, where both the bomb and the means of delivery are under the control of the Americans subject to our veto. That is the first thing we shall have. I am trying to justify the decision not to go on with the supersonic bomber. It is a big decision, but I am sure it is a right one.

Secondly, as I have already said, we are not precluded from making our own warheads. It may be that we shall make our own rockets and warheads before we make a British warhead for the American rocket—it may he. Thirdly, and this is very important, by the experience which British officers arid men will have in using the American missiles, and by our continued co-operation in this field of work, we shall be able to concentrate our research and development on more advanced types of our own. I thought it right to deal in a little detail with that, because it is a question which I know arouses considerable interest, both inside this House and outside.

I now come to the terms of the Opposition Amendment. It regrets and deplores the repeated "vacillation" and lack of "firm decisions"—words which I should have thought, in this context at any rate, it might have been wiser for the Opposition to eschew. The Amendment goes on to regret the undue dependence on the ultimate deterrent on which the policy … seems to be based. It seems to me that we must either depend on the deterrent to stop global war or not depend on it. It is quite true—and this was the point raised by the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) and other hon. Members—that to prevent the dangers of infiltration and the gradual seepage of aggressive forces into neighbouring territories, without actually bringing into play the massive counter-attack, conventional forces are necessary. Of course they are, as they are necessary for our manifold commitments overseas. Of course they are necessary, and it may well be that these forces, especially in Europe, will have, as they already have had, an element of tactical atomic weapons. I think the reason is that they serve a double purpose.

Their first purpose—it was well put by the right hon. Member for Dundee. West —is to prevent mere frontier incidents from developing into a serious situation; what I think the right hon. Gentleman called—quoting a distinguished military author—a "fire extinguisher." That is their first purpose. They have a second purpose, that if a real major attack were to develop—which, of course, might become known by other means, by the size and character of it—if the enemy were determined to launch a real major war with the aim of absolute victory, why, then, these forces must have this element in order to hold the position long enough for the nuclear counter-measures to become effective. Were these forces wholly withdrawn, there would be great danger to Europe which they avert by their existence in N.A.T.O. The hon. Member for Coventry, East devoted a good deal of a very skilful speech to trying to make this position absolutely precise I have heard it in other debates—to define exactly what would be the occasion when conventional resistance would he right and what would be the occasion when almost all-out war would be necessary.

This is very dangerous. We had it two years ago in a famous debate on a White Paper, and I venture to repeat what I said then—to define too closely seems to be almost to incite and invite aggression. Anyway, to provide all this is the function of N.A.T.O. The particular methods of carrying out these purposes must change from time to time as reassessments of the position are made; but this is N.A.T.O.'s broad function.

I want to make it clear here, and I hope overseas, that in making a reduction in the actual number of men we shall have in Europe I do not believe that we shall be reducing the striking power of our forces. I think this point was raised by the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), who is a former Minister of Defence. In replanning our contribution to N.A.T.O., we propose to make a very small reduction in the teeth to give them more bite and, by various means, to make drastic reductions in the tail. Anyone who looks at the figures will be rather horrified at the present proportions between the two.

When I knew that the right hon. Member for Belper was to speak yesterday, I wondered how he would set about his task. I will say for him that he put a very bold front upon it and adopted very good tactics, and I think we all admired him for it. There is a story about Disraeli with which all hon. Members might not be familiar which seems very apposite. One of his Governments got into a good deal of trouble; I think it was on a Home Office affair. Mr. Cross, who was the Home Secretary, had to defend the Government's position. He said to the Prime Minister, "This is a very difficult matter. We are in great trouble. What do you think I had better do? Shall I be short and clear?" Disraeli replied, "No. You should be prolix and obscure."

The right hon. Member for Belper told us at the end of his speech that he found the whole thing very confusing and that a lot of worthy people held different views about the question of the bomb. Of course, that is absolutely true, and not at all to be wondered at. The trouble is that those who carry responsibility, and perhaps even those who aspire to responsibility, must make decisions; and on this matter a decision must be made now. Individuals and private persons can enjoy the luxury of vacillation, but those who govern or wish to govern must boldly proclaim their opinions and act in accordance with their duty.

I said that I admired the bold and gallant effort of the right hon. Member for Belper. What about the Leader of the Opposition? What was his position? I do not understand it at all. The "lost leader" I might call him. In a debate a few weeks ago, he was almost forthcoming when I asked him, the House will remember, to answer a simple question, whether, if he were in my position, he would go on with the bomb test. Although he hedged the reply with a good many if and buts, the general impression is that he came down, gingerly and nervously, but still came down, definitely on the Government side of the fence. I will not charge the right hon. Gentleman with any clarity of expression, but I think that was generally the way in which the House and the country understood his statement.

In spite of the ingenious arguments and, if I may say so, brilliant arguments of the right hon. Member for Dundee, West, the Amendment really represents a compromise, and a compromise on a matter of principle between two sets of people who really hold diametrically opposite opinions never results in anything very satisfactory. There are a number of hon. Members in this House who sincerely object to the nuclear bomb either as a deterrent or to its testing, or to both. They say we should set an example by calling off the tests and abolishing any reliance on the nuclear weapon. They would like to leave all these horrors to the Russians and Americans. They say that if we were to give a lead by abandoning tests we have not yet made other countries would follow in due course. Of course, I appreciate the type of sentiments which inspire that view. It is one which has its roots and has been held in different forms right throughout our history. I respect it.

There is another form of semi-pacifism which is not quite so honourable. They seem to reserve all their appeals to our own Government and our own country and are not so critical of other Governments. They see clearly enough the Western mote but never seem to consider the Soviet beam. The right hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) dealt very forcibly with that yesterday. That is one school, and we respect it—the first school I described—and then there is the other school in the Labour Party. I think the right hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Stokes) in a robust speech last night made it quite clear where he stood, Amendment or no Amendment. Their position is, or was, first, that the nuclear deterrent is the only way to prevent global war, and, secondly, that although we must rely to a varying degree, as we have done in recent years, on the protection of American nuclear power, it is right and proper that a British contribution to the nuclear deterrent should be the basis of our defence.

That has been the other side. I am not sure whether this is still the official view of the Opposition Front Bench, but I believe it is the view which, in their hearts, a great number of hon. Members opposite really hold. We have what seems to be a compromise, and it is embodied in this Amendment. Let us con- sider what it says. We are to rely on the nuclear deterrent—but not unduly. We are to postpone our bomb tests—but not for very long. We are to ask other Powers to agree to abolish all bomb tests, and if by any chance they should agree, then presumably they would be left with the fully tested bomb and we should be left with a bomb which had not been tested at all. So, of course, we should have to rely on American nuclear power for our defence. In the same breath the same hon. Members tell us that it is humiliating to obtain, whether by gift or purchase, an American rocket because the warhead is under American control until we can make our own. Then, to crown it all, the House is asked to withhold its approval from a policy which lacks firm decisions.

I am bound to say that I find it all very confusing; so do they, and so does the whole country. A great appeal has been made to us to postpone the tests. Every day pressure has grown, sometimes from respectable and sincere sources, and sometimes, I think, promoted by definitely hostile forces. People try to make it impossible for us to hold the tests, but I ask hon. Members opposite to search their hearts. Is this really a practical proposition to postpone it?

Do lion. Members think that if the Government made this tremendous decision to postpone the tests for six months or a year it would be possible to put them on again like a dish at a restaurant`? [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I will explain to the House. What would be the position when these postponed tests took place not, as now, at a time when the disarmament conference is sitting, when we still have good hopes of the allied proposals in one form or another being agreed? They would be carried out only if this conference had definitely failed and at a time when international tension was heightened rather than relaxed. Everyone in the House knows, and the whole of the party opposite know—that is why it is a triumph for those below the Gangway—that if these tests are postponed they will never be held.

Mr. Gaitskell

That is a great misrepresentation of the Amendment and the point of view of the Labour Party. What we are asking the Prime Minister and the Government is to postpone the tests until the proposals, which we hope they will still put forward for all-round abandonment of the tests, have been considered by the other Powers and until replies have been received. If the replies are unsatisfactory, there is no reason on earth that we should not proceed to carry out the tests.

The Prime Minister

I will leave it at that. With a growing pressure from different quarters, all kinds of pressure, brought upon us to abandon them, it is my view that if they are postponed they will never be held. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] In my view, they will never be held, and I am bound to tell the House that this is a responsibility which I am not prepared to take.

Nevertheless, I recognise to the full the deep feeling which the coming of the nuclear weapon, to which the right hon. Member for Dundee, West referred, stirs in every heart and the anxiety, although I believe some of it may be a little over-emphasised, which has been raised about the radiation effects of the bomb tests which have already taken place or are likely to take place. Nobody in my position—and it is one of considerable responsibility—could fail to be moved by the appeals which are made to me from sources which are quite sincere in their anxiety, and I should therefore like to restate very shortly the Government's position in this matter.

First of all, as the House knows, we are in favour of general disarmament. We have worked for it, as did our predecessors, and we shall continue to work for it. We are not in favour of the abolition of the unconventional, that is the nuclear, weapon without such corresponding reductions in conventional forces as will make Europe secure from Soviet aggression. Nor, may I say in passing, are we in favour of war even by conventional weapons. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about Suez?"] I have been through two major wars fought by conventional weapons. Some people now talk as if those were quite harmless and quite respectable operations.

The contrast, of course, between the new and the old is great, but let nobody think that if we could ban all nuclear weapons it would be all right to have a massive third world war with conventional weapons. That is the reason I believe we must strive for full disarmament covering unconventional and conventional weapons alike. Until we get that we have only two choices—we must rely on the power of the nuclear deterrent or we must throw up the sponge. This is a harsh choice to make.

Mr. George Chetwynd (Stockton-on-Tees)

Is there a middle way?

The Prime Minister

I do not think there is. I believe that most of my fellow countrymen would prefer to stand boldy on the deterrent rather than to hazard all the traditions of our religious and civil freedom.

Now, Sir, we are worried about the possible medical effects of the tests in years to come, but we must not get even that out of proportion. Though we need to know whether the bombs will work, the object, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, is that they never should be used. The purpose of 'preparing the deterrent to global war is to prevent it happening. If we can do that, then there really is something on the other side of the balance sheet. Do not let us forget that.

Meanwhile, this is our position about the tests. I shall not repeat in detail what I tried to say to the House a fortnight ago, when I tried to set out as best I could, and with the best advice available to me—

Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)

I am very grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. This is a vital matter. It is vital that the nation should know what group of responsible scientists and geneticists gave the Prime Minister the information which he gave to the House in his last speech. The House is entitled to know who they were, and their status.

The Prime Minister

I gave it when I spoke a few weeks ago. It is a body called the Medical Research Council, which is the official adviser of the Government on this matter. It comprises, as I think everyone knows, some of the most intelligent, experienced, knowledgeable people that we have available to us. We have also to draw upon the work of the United Nations research authorities, who are employed on some of the same investigations. Those are the two major sources from which my advice is drawn.

Since I spoke a fortnight ago, our position has, in fact, been taken a little further than I was able to say then, owing to the recent meetings of the Disarmament Sub-committee. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) asked me, in an admirable speech, what our attitude was towards the proposals which Mr. Stassen has put forward there. I think that this is an important question, and the House may like to hear the answer.

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, these meetings are, in principle at any rate, private meetings, and therefore he would not expect me to divulge details, but it is known—and generally known—that these proposals deal with the general question of nuclear disarmament, both as to manufacture, as to stocks, as to testing, and as to inspection and control. They are, therefore, pretty comprehensive. These proposals put forward by Mr. Stassen were, in fact, arrived at in consultation with Her Majesty's Government, and we support them fully. They cover the wider field.

As regards the narrower question of nuclear tests and nuclear tests alone—though I want to make it clear that Mr. Stassen has dealt with stocks and the rest —on the narrower question of nuclear tests, which is perhaps more germane here, we are in touch with our allies, and hope at an appropriate stage to formalise certain proposals. Meanwhile, we have made inquiries of the Russians, on which we are awaiting clarification.

Perhaps I may say something more which I hope will give encouragement—it certainly gives me some encouragement. Our representatives at the Conference feel that the atmosphere there is better and less polemical than in previous years. We believe that the area of agreement between the major Powers may, perhaps, be widened as the work proceeds. Therefore, I have not at all given up hope that by trying new proposals, either over the wider field or the narrower field, we shall reach some ultimate basis. In many ways, the indications are better than at some of those long-drawn-out, tortuous, and rather hopeless arguments in the past.

I repeat, and I believe that the House as a whole will accept the view, that the policy laid down in the White Paper is both novel and sound. It follows, of course, the ideas to which we have been working up in recent years, but it is dramatic and it is sound. The efforts of the present Minister of Defence have received wide support in the Press and in the country. We shall get substantial savings in expenditure. We hope to get —and I believe we shall get—even greater savings in manpower, and these will be a great relief to our internal economy. We hope to reduce the pressure on the metal-using industries, and that in its turn gives more opportunity for investment and exports.

We hope to move to all-Regular forces, which will give us Services of equal, if not greater, fighting strength than those at our command. We hope to make them mobile and streamlined. We hope to civilianise where necessary the tail, while retaining the striking power of the fighting units. All this, if we can achieve it, will he a great relief to our economy and to our national life in every form.

I am not one of those who thinks that there are no compensating advantages in the system of National Service. There are. But it also has great weaknesses and

great wastefulness. There are too many people under this system learning and then leaving when they have learned, and there are too many people teaching. None of this can we afford to do without. But, of course, as I have said before, we have no hope of doing without National Service unless we will accept the nuclear armament as the basis of our defence. We are confident that we can achieve our purpose.

I want to say to the outside world that we shall certainly not fail to honour our commitments. This policy is not intended to weaken us. It is intended to increase our real strength both from the military point of view and from the point of view of the economy, which is the only basis upon which military strength can really ultimately depend. It is intended, I say, to make Britain stronger, and I therefore ask the House to reject the Amendment and to record its approval of the Government's policy.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 309, Noes 258.

Division No. 99.] AYES [9.57 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Brooman-White, R. C. Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)
Aitken, W. T. Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Bryan, P. Elliott, R. W.
Alport, C. J. M. Burden, F. F. A. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Errington, Sir Eric
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Carr, Robert Erroll, F. J.
Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William Cary, Sir Robert Farey-Jones, F. W.
Arbuthnot, John Channon, Sir Henry Fell, A.
Armstrong, C. W. Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Finlay, Graeme
Ashton, H. Clarke, Brig. Terenoe (Portsmth, W.) Fisher, Nigel
Astor, Hon. J. J. Cole, Norman Fletcher-Cooke, C.
Atkins, H. E. Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Foster, John
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Cooke, Robert Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)
Baldwin, A. E. Cooper, A. E. Freeth, Denzil
Balniel, Lord Cooper-Key, E. M. Garner-Evans, E. H.
Barber, Anthony Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. George, J. C. (Pollok)
Barlow, Sir John Corfield, Capt. F. V. Gibson-Watt, D.
Barter, John Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Glover, D.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Godber, J. B.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Crouch, R. F. Goodhart, Philip
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Gough, C. F. H.
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Gower, H. R.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Cunningham, Knox Graham, Sir Fergus
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Currie, G. B. H. Grant, W. (Woodside)
Bidgood, J. C. Dance, J. C. G. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Davidson, Viscountess Green, A.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Gresham Cooke, R.
Bishop, F. P. Deedes, W. F. Grimston, Hon. John (St Albans)
Black, C. W. Digby, Simon Wingfield Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)
Body, R. F. Dodds-Parker, A. D. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Boothby, Sir Robert Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Gurden, Harold
Bossom, Sir Alfred Doughty, C. J. A. Hall, John (Wycombe)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Drayson, G. B. Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.
Boyle, Sir Edward du Cann, E. D. L. Harris, Reader (Heston)
Braine, B. R. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Harrison, A. B. O. (Maldon)
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Duthie, W. S. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Macdonald, Sir Peter Robertson, Sir David
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Hay, John MoKibbin, A. J. Robson-Brown, W.
Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Roper, Sir Harold
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster) Russell, R. S.
Hesketh, R. F. McLean, Neil (Inverness) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley) Scott-Miller, Comdr. R.
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Sharpies, R. C.
Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Shepherd, William
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Maddan, Martin Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Hirst, Geoffrey Maitland, Cdr. J.F.W.(Horncastle) Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Hobson, J. G. S.(War'ck & Learm'ton) Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Holland-Martin, C. J. Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Soames, Christopher
Hope, Lord John Markham, Major Sir Frank Spearman, Sir Alexander
Hornby, R. P. Marlowe, A. A. H, Speir, R. M.
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E. Spence, H. R (Aberdeen, W.)
Horobin, Sir Ian Marshall, Douglas Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Mathew, R. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Maudling, Rt. Hon. R. Stevens, Geoffrey
Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Mawby, R. L. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Howard, John (Test) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Medlicott, Sir Frank Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Storey, S.
Hulbert, Sir Norman Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Hurd, A. R. Moore, Sir Thomas Studholme, Sir Henry
Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Morrison, John (Salisbury) Summers, Sir Spencer
Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Nabarro, G. D. N. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Iremonger, T. L. Nairn, D. L. S. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Neave, Airey Teeling, W.
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Nicholls, Harmar Temple, John M.
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & chr'ch) Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Nugent, G. R. H. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.
Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Joseph, Sir Keith Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare) Turner, H. F. L.
Kaberry, D. Osborne, C. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Keegan, D. Page, R. G. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Kerr, H. W. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale). Vane, W. M. F.
Kershaw, J. A. Partridge, E. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Kirk, P. M. Peyton, J. W. W. Vickers, Miss Joan
Lagden, G. W. Pickthorn, K. W. M. Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.
Lambert, Hon. G. Pike, Miss Mervyn Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Lambton, Viscount Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Langford-Holt, J. A. Pitman, I. J. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Leavey, J. A. Pitt, Miss E. M. Wall, Major Patrick
Leburn, W. G. Pott, H. P. Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Powell, J. Enoch Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Price, Henry (Lewlsham, W.) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Webbe, Sir H.
Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Profumo, J. D. Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Linstead, Sir H. N. Ralkes, Sir Victor Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Llewellyn, D. T. Ramsden, J. E. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Lloyd Rt. Hon. G. (Sutton Coldfield) Rawlinson, Peter Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Redmayne, M. Wood, Hon. R.
Longden, Gilbert Rees-Davies, W. R. Woollam, John Victor
Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W. Remnant, Hon. P. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Renton, D. L. M.
Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Ridsdale, J. E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Rippon, A. G. F. Mr. Heath and Mr. Wills.
Ainsley, J. W. Blackburn, F. Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)
Albu, A. H. Blenkinsop, A. Callaghan, L. J.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Blyton, W. R. Carmichael, J.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Boardman, H. Castle, Mrs. B. A.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Champion, A. J.
Awbery, S. S. Bowles, F. G. Chapman, W. D.
Bacon, Miss Alice Boyd, T. C. Chetwynd, G. R.
Baird, J. Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Clunie, J.
Balfour, A. Brookway, A. F. Coldrick, W.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Brown, Thomas (Ince) Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Burke, W. A. Corbet, Mrs. Freda
Benson, G. Burton, Miss F. E. Cove, W. G.
Beswick, Frank Butter, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
Cronin, J. D. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Crossman, R. H. S. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Ross, William
Davies, Rt. Hon.Clement(Montgomery) Kenyon, C. Royle, C.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lawson, G. M. Short, E. W.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Ledger, R. J. Shurmer, P. L. E.
Deer, C Lee, Frederick (Newton) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
de Freitas, Geoffrey Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Delargy, H. J. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Dodds, N. N. Lewis, Arthur Skeffington, A. M.
Donnelly, D. L. Lindgren, G. S. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brnwch) Lipton, Marcus Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Dye, S. Logan, D. G. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Snow, J. W.
Edelman, M. MacColl, J. E. Sorensen, R. W.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) MacDermot, Niall Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) McGhee, H. C. Sparks, J. A.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McGovern, J. Steele, T.
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) McKay, John (Wallsend) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Stokes, Rt Hon. R. R. (Ipswich)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Stonehouse, John
Fernyhough, E. Mahon, Simon Stones, W. (Consett)
Fienburgh, W. Mainwaring, W. H. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Finch, H. J. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.) Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Fletcher, Eric Mann, Mrs. Jean Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Forman, J. C. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Mason, Roy Swingler, S. T.
George, Lady Megan Lloyd Mayhew, C. P. Sylvester, G. O.
Gibson, C. W. Mellish, R. J, Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Gooch, E. G. Messer, Sir F. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Mikardo, Ian Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Greenwood, Anthony Mitchison, G. R. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Monslow, W. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Grey, C. F. Moody, A. S. Thornton, E.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Timmons, J.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Morrison, Rt.Hn,Herljert(Lewis'm,S.) Tomney, F.
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Mort, D. L. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Moss, R. Usborne, H C.
Hamilton, W, W. Moyle, A. Viant, S. P.
Hannan, W. Mulley, F. W. Wade, D. W
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Warbey, W. N.
Hastings, S. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.) Watkins, T. E.
Hayman, F. H. O'Brien, Sir Thomas Weitzman, D.
Healey, Denis Oliver, G. H. Wells Percy (Favershsm)
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Oram, A. E. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Herbison, Miss M. Oswald, T. West, D. G.
Hewitson, Capt. M. Owen, W. J. Wheeldon, W. E.
Hobson, C. R. (Keighley) Padley, W. E. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Holman, P. Paget, R. T. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Holt, A. F. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Wigg, George
Houghton, Douglas Palmer, A. M. F. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Wilkins, W. A,
Howell, Denis (All Saints) Parkin, B. T. Willey, Frederick
Hoy, J. H. Paton, John Williams, David (Neath)
Hubbard, T. F. Peart, T. F. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Pentland, N. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Hughes, Emrys S. (Ayrshire) Plummer, sir Leslie Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Popplewell, E. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Hunter, A. E. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Probert, A. R. Winterbottom, Richard
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Proctor, W, T. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pryde, D. J. Woof, R. E.
Janner, B. Pursey, Cmdr. H. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Randall, H. E. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Jeger, George (Goole) Rankin, John Zilliacus, K.
Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St. Pncs. S.) Redhead, E. C.
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Reeves, J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Reid, William Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson.
Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech(Wakefield) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.

Main Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 308, Noes 250.

Division No. 100.] AYES [10.10 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Alport, C. J. M. Arbuthnot, John
Aitken, W. T. Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Armstrong, C. W.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Ashton, H.
Astor, Hon. J. J. Godber, J. B. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Atkins, H. E. Goodhart, Philip Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Cough, C. F. H. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Baldwin, A. E. Gower, H. R. Macdonald, Sir Peter
Balniel, Lord Graham, Sir Fergus Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry
Barber, Anthony Grant, W. (Woodside) McKibbin, A. J.
Barlow, Sir John Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Barter, John Green, A. McLaughlin, Mrs. P.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Gresham Cooke, R. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Gurden, Harold Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Hall, John (Wycombe) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Bidgood, J. C. Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Harris, Reader (Heston) Maddan, Martin
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)
Bishop, F. P. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)
Black, C. W. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Body, R. F. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Markham, Major Sir Frank
Boothby, Sir Robert Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Marlowe, A. A. H.
Bossom, Sir Alfred Harvie-Watt, Sir George Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Hay, John Marshall, Douglas
Boyle, sir Edward Head, Rt. Hon. A. H, Mathew, R.
Braine, B. R. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W) Henderson, John (Cathcart) Mawby, R. L.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Hesketh, R. F. Medlicott, Sir Frank
Brooman-White, R. C. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Bryan, P. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Moore, Sir Thomas
Burden, F. F. A. Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Carr, Robert Hirst, Geoffrey Nabarro, G. D. N.
Cary, Sir Robert Hobson, J. G. S. (Warwick&Leamington) Nairn, D. L. S.
Channon, Sir Henry Holland-Martin, C. J. Neave, Airey
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Hope, Lord John Nicholls, Harmar
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hornby, R. P. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Cole, Norman Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th E. & Chr'ch)
Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Horobin, Sir Ian Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan
Cooke, Robert Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Nugent, G. R. H.
Cooper, A. E. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.
Cooper-Key, E. M, Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Howard, John (Test) Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Hughes, Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Osborne, C.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hulbert, Sir Norman Page, R. G.
Crouoh, R. F. Hurd, A. R. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.) Partridge, E.
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Peyton, J. W. W.
Cunningham, Knox Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Currie, G. B. H. Iremonger, T. L. Pike, Miss Mervyn
Davidson, Viscountess Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pitman, I. J.
Deeds, W. F. Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Pitt, Miss E. M.
Digby Simon Wingfield Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Pott, H. P.
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Powell, J. Enoch
Donaldson Cmdr. C. E. McA Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Doughty, C. J. A. Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Drayson, G. B. Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green) Profumo, J. D.
du Cann, E. D. L. Joseph, Sir Keith Raikes, Sir Victor
Dudgale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Ramsden, J. E.
Duncan Capt. J. A. L. Kaberry, D. Rawlinson, Peter
Duthie W. S. Keegan, D Redmayne, M.
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Kerr, H. W. Rees-Davies, W. R.
Eden J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Kershaw, J. A. Remnant, Hon. P.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Kirk, P. M. Renton, D, L. M.
Elliott R W. Lagden, G. W. Ridsdale, J. E.
Emmet Hon Mrs. Evelyn Lambert, Hon. G. Rippon, A. G. F.
Errington, Sir Eric Lambton, Viscount Robertson, Sir David
Errol, F. J. Langford-Holt, J. A. Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Farey-Jones, F. W. Leavey, J. A. Robson-Brown, W.
Fell, A. Leburn, W. G. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Finlay, Graeme Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Roper, Sir Harold
Fisher, Nigel Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Russell, R. S.
Foster, John Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Linstead, Sir H. N. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Freeth, Denzil Llewellyn, D. T. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Garner-Evans, E. H. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (Sutton Coldfield) Sharples, R. C.
George, J. C. (Pollok) Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Shepherd, William
Gibson-Watt, D. Longden, Gilbert Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Glover, D. Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W. Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Wakefieid, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Soames, Christopher Teeling, W. Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Spearman, Sir Alexander Temple, John M. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Speir, R. M. Thomas, Lesle (Canterbury) Wall, Major Patrick
Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.) Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway) Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P. Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Stevens, Geoffrey Thornton-Kemsley, C. N. Webbe, Sir H.
Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.) Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.) Tilney, John (Wavertree) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. Turner, H. F. L. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Storey, S. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray) Tweedsmuir, Lady Wood, Hon. R.
Studholme, Sir Henry Vane, W. M. F. Woollam, John Victor
Summers, Sir Spencer Vaughan-Morgan, J. K. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington) Vickers, Miss Joan
Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Heath and Mr. Wills.
Ainsley, J. W. Fernyhough, E. Lingdren, G. S.
Albu, A. H. Fienburgh, W. Lipton, Marcus
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Finch, H. J. Logan, D. G.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Fletcher, Eric Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Forman, J. C. MacColl, J. E.
Awbery, S. S. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. MacDermot, Niall
Bacon, Miss Alice George, Lady Megan Lloyd McGhee, H. G.
Baird, J. Gibson, C. W. McGovern, J.
Bellenger, Rt. Han. F. J. Gooch, E. G. McKay, John (Wallsend)
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)
Benn, Hn, Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Greenwood, Anthony MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Benson, G. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mahon, Simon
Beswick, F. Grey, C. F. Mainwaring, W. H.
Blackburn, F. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)
Blenkinsop, A. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mann, Mrs. Jean
Blyton, W. R. Griffiths, William (Exchange) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Boardman, H. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mason, Roy
Bowles, F. G. Hamilton, W. W. Mayhew, C. P.
Boyd, T. C. Hannan, W. Mellish, R. J.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Messer, Sir F.
Brockway, A. F. Hastings, S. Mikardo, Ian
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hayman, F. H. Mitchison, G. R.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Healey, Denis Monslow, W.
Burke, W. A. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Moody, A. S.
Burton, Miss F. E. Herbison, Miss M. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hewitson, Capt. M. Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hobson, C. R. (Keighley) Mort, D. L.
Callaghan, L. J. Holman, P. Moss, R.
Carmichael, J. Holmes, Horace Moyle, A.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Houghton, Douglas Mulley, F. W.
Champion, A. J. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Chapman, W. D. Howell, Denis (All Saints) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)
Chetwynd, G. R. Hoy, J. H. O'Brien, Sir Thomas
Clunie, J. Hubbard, T. F. Oliver, G. H.
Coldrick, W. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oram, A. E.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Oswald, T.
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Owen, W. J.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hunter, A. E. Padley, W. E.
Cove, W. G. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Paget R. T.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Cronin, J. D. Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Palmer, A. M. F.
Crossman, R. H. S. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Janner, D. Parkin, B. T.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Paton, John
Darling George (Hillsborough) Jeger, George (Goole) Peart, T. F.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn&St. Pncs, S.) Pentland, N.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Popplewell, E.
Deer, G. Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Delargy H. J. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Dodds, N. N. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Probert, A. R.
Donnelly, D. L. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Proctor, W. T.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Pryde, D. J.
Dye, S. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Kenyon, C. Randall, H. E.
Edelman, M. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Rankin, John
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Lawson, G. M. Redhead, E. C.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Ledger, R. J. Reeves, J.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Reid, William
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Lewis, Arthur Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall) White, Mrs. Elrene (E. Flint)
Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Stross,Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Ross, William Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Wigg, George
Royle, C. Swingler, S. T. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Short, E. W. Sylvester, G. O. Wilkins, W. A.
Shurmer, P. L. E. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Willey, Frederick
Silverman, Julius (Aston) Taylor, John (West Lothian) Williams, David (Neath)
Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Thomas, George (Cardiff) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Skeffington, A. M. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Thornton, E. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Timmons, J. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Tomney, F. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Snow, J. W. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn Winterbottom, Richard
Sorensen, R. W. Usborne, H. C. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Viant, S. P. Woof, R. E.
Sparks, J. A. Warbey, W. N. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Steele, T. Watkins, T. E. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Weitzman, D. Zilliacus, K.
Stonehouse, John Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Stones, W. (Consett) West, D. G. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. Wheeldon, W. E. Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson.


That this House approves the Outline of Paper No. 124.