HC Deb 12 December 1960 vol 632 cc38-110

3.40 p.m.

Mr. Desmond Donnelly (Pembroke)

I beg to move, That this House, in the interests of world peace, censures Her Majesty's Government's consistent failure to press for the admission to the United Nations of the People's Republic of China, as representing the Government of China. I shall have to ask for the indulgence of the House again later tonight, because on the principle of this period, in particular, of our weather, that it never rains but it pours, I shall have the Adjournment debate on a problem affecting my constituency.

It may appear to be a far cry from Peking to Pembroke, but there is this connection, that when I was first returned to this House, when I was setting off, by the courtesy of the great transport system we possess, I was assured by those who helped to elect me that the worst part of the journey to China was the bit as far as Carmarthen. When I came to undertake the whole journey to China I found that this assessment was absolutely true. I make this observation to show that it is not only the third generation of the descendants of Scottish crofters who can produce a relationship between small affairs and great events.

I begin with a description of the main sequence of events which have led to the situation as it is today. On 1st October, 1949, the Chinese People's Government were proclaimed from the great Tien An Men Gate, in Peking. On 4th January, 1950, the Chinese Government accepted the recognition accorded to them by the Indian Government, which was the first Commonwealth Government to give it. On 6th January, 1950, the British Government of the day accorded de facto recognition to the Chinese People's Government in a telegram which was despatched to Mr. Chou En-lai, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Chinese Government. The next day the British representative in Nanking was instructed to make his way to Peking and present himself.

About that same time the United States Government, which had been contemplating recognition, were inhibited because of the arrest by the Chinese Communists of the American Consul General in Mukden and by the requisitioning of the American Embassy compound in Peking. However, the British Government had decided to go ahead, and in justification of that decision which the Government took at that time the British Government spokesman later said this: I could not bring myself to believe it was the right policy to adopt a line such as, I am afraid, we adopted with Russia in 1917–18. … When the Russian Revolution took place, I am afraid we acted for too long in a way which made Russia feel she was a nation at bay.… One has to learn lessons from the past".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1950; Vol. 482, c. 1457.] Those were words in the last speech made in the House of Commons by Ernest Bevin, one of the great Foreign Secretaries in British history, a man whose stature now begins to rank with that of Canning, Castlereagh and Palmerston.

I turn now from the position of the British recognition to the story as it is taken up with the wider recognition and admission to the United Nations. In the middle of January, just before the requisitioning of the American compound by the Chinese Communists, the issue came before the United Nations. It was deferred at that time and the United Nations undertook no action to recognise the Chinese People's Government. However, because it was deferred Russia and one other Communist country on the Security Council walked out.

The position of the British Government was explained later that year in a statement made in this House by Mr. Ernest Bevin, in May, 1950, in which he said that it was the British Government's policy to work towards the admission of the Chinese People's Government to the United Nations. Mr. Bevin explained that it was necessary to have seven countries to give himself a majority in the Security Council; he had five there already; because two Communists were absent, it was the Communists who had prevented him from getting a majority to enable the admission of the Chinese People's Government to take place.

Then took place an event which changed the whole political situation. That was the outbreak of the Korean War on 25th June, 1950. In November, we had General MacArthur's advance to the Yalu River. In late November we had the Chinese involvement in the Korean War. In January, 1951, we had the proposal to brand China as an aggressor, the proposal by the United States at the United Nations. A resolution was put forward by the United States, but two very significant modifications were made to that resolution through pressure by the British Government. On 30th January, that modified resolution was carried by the Political Committee, and on 1st February by the General Assembly.

That remained the situation until the ending of the Korean War. It is no part of my case that China should have been admitted to the United Nations whilst there were hostilities taking place in Korea. That is not my case at all, but with the signing of the Korean truce after Stalin's death, in 1953, a new situation was created. In 1954, China was present at the Indo-China Conference at Geneva and represented by her Prime Minister. This added to her claim to be admitted to the United Nations in her rightful place. On 17th June, 1954, the Prime Minister of the day, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), announced that the Chinese Government were proposing to open their Embassy here in London and that there would be an exchange of charge d'affaires.

What has been the situation since? Over a period of time this issue has come before the United Nations again and again. The inhibition which, as I said just now, was placed upon the Government by the fact that there had been no reciprocity by the Chinese People's Government was removed in 1954. The difficulties stemming from the Korean War were basically removed by the signing of the Korean truce. What has been the case of the Government?

I take three statements over the years—the later years, because I am anxious to make the best case I can on their behalf—by our representatives in the United Nations. In 1956, this was what our representative said: Her Majesty's Government recognise the Government of the People's Republic of China as the Government of China. They consider that the question of Chinese representation in the United Nations is one of the issues that will have to be settled before normal relations can be re-established in the Far East. Nevertheless, my delegation has decided to support the United States' draft resolution. This decision has been taken because the United Kingdom Government believe that the time is not ripe: In 1959 we moved on to another statement: Her Majesty's Government have again carefully considered their attitude. … On the other hand, we have, of course, taken account of the fact that the United Kingdom Government recognise the Government of the People's Republic of China as the Government of China. But the overriding consideration in the view of Her Majesty's Government is that the deep division of opinion has in no way lessened. One would have thought that nearer the present day they might have found some new form of words, but in 1960 this is what was said: As the General Assembly is aware, Her Majesty's Government recognise the Government of the People's Republic of China as the Government of China. The same form of words. We realise that one day the question of China's representation will have to be considered by the General Assembly.… It is our opinion, however, that the subject of China's representation is one on which the opposing views are so strongly add that discussion of them now in the General Assembly would not contribute to a solution. It has gone on year in and year out—the same form of words—and I suspect that we have made a new discovery, a kind of Parkinson's law of fatuity, the Government's case for opposition to China's admission to the United Nations. This has an additional dangerous corollary when we consider the voting figures in the United Nations. In 1957, they were 43 against the admission of China, 29 for, and nine abstentions. In 1958, there were 41 against, 29 for, and eleven abstentions. In 1960, there were 42 against, 34 for and 22 abstentions—a majority of eight. Of the 22 abstentions, the majority were countries newly drawn from the African Continent. The British Government must realise that this is probably the last year in which Her Majesty's Government can continue with this folly of procrastination without suffering a humiliating defeat in the United Nations.

What are the arguments against our admitting China to the United Nations? It might be argued by some hon. Members opposite that our original recognition did not accord us any special position and that it did not receive any responding answer from the Chinese. That is perfectly true, but that was not the purpose of the initial recognition. It placed this country in a better posture as far as the Afro-Asian bloc was concerned, and whatever may have been Chinese reaction it gave us a better position, as far as India and the Afro-Asian countries were concerned, than that of the United States in those early days of the Chinese revolution.

It may be argued by some hon. Members opposite—and I see one or two representatives of the forces of darkness here today—that there has been Tibet that there is the present news from Laos, and that there has been no overt regret expressed for the Korean War. All this is perfectly true. It is no part of my case to defend the Chinese Communist Government, to condone what goes on in China, or defend any of her policies. That is not the point. But if we take the same point to its logical conclusion—that China has expressed no regret for the Korean War, that she has been guilty of a number of inhuman crimes, and that overt incidents on her borders have exacerbated the situation—then, on that very basis, Her Majesty's Government's criminal folly at Suez would have led to our expulsion from the United Nations.

Then there is the position of Formosa and what is to happen to it. I am not suggesting for a moment that Formosa should be handed over lock, stock and barrel, to the Chinese Communists. What I am saying is that the Government of the mainland of China is the Peking Government. I would also suggest that to bring in the problem of Formosa is to say that some settlement should be arrived at by which the Formosan people should be allowed to decide their own fate under the auspices of the United Nations. But what we cannot expect the Chinese to accept is a United Nations judgment on Formosa while, at the same time, we deny the Peking Government's admission to the United Nations.

The next argument against my case is the American position over the years. I know that the main case of Her Majesty's Government is that President Eisenhower told Sir Anthony Eden on his visit in February, 1956, that if this was pressed to a vote and carried at the United Nations the Americans might consider leaving the United Nations. I do not believe that that was a practical possibility, and I certainly do not think that it is a practical possibility in 1960. The United States' stake in the United Nations is too great for any responsible American Government to take such a step in the present situation. Though it might have been possible in the early years of McCarthyism, I do not think that it is a sound defence for Her Majesty's Government to mount in the House today.

If we take that argument to its logical conclusion, on the same basis the United Kingdom Government should have withdrawn from the United Nations because of American opposition to us over Suez. No responsible member of the Government opposite, and only a few dark troglodytes opposite, have ever suggested that we should leave the United Nations.

What are the arguments for admission? There is the statement which I read out from Mr. Ernest Bevin, there are the political relations with the Afro-Asian bloc, but, increasingly important, there is the growth of China as a world Power. There is her new, dangerous belligerency in her approach to international affairs. There is her growth as a potential nuclear Power. It may be that within a year or eighteen months we shall hear of China exploding her first nuclear weapon.

There is China's declared programme of military training. The Chinese Government are intending to arm and train with small weapons every one in three of her vast population, including women and children. In other words, she will have a territorial army of sorts of over 250 million people at the end of the 1960s, allied to nuclear weapons the greatest and most dangerous military force that the world has ever seen. How do Her Majesty's Government propose to conduct disarmament negotiations without that kind of country being present at the conference table?

Then there is the recent argument that has taken place within the Kremlin among the Communist Parties of the world. This is a very significant development indeed. I notice how the "Kremlinologists" have been waiting to see what would emerge from the conference. The most significant thing emerged from the very beginning and became even more apparent at the conference dragged on. It is that for the first time there is a major division within the Communist bloc and that for the first time in history the bloc no longer speaks with a single voice.

The corollary of that is that if we are to discuss world peace we must talk to both voices. We cannot avoid it. In addition there is the further emergence of China in a dozen other ways. There is her new interest in Africa. There is the development of the New China News Agency as a far more efficient instrument of political propaganda than Tass can ever be, with highly efficient Western-trained journalists operating throughout Latin American countries and in Africa. These are all indications that we can no longer go on as we are.

My view is that, originally, China was desperately anxious to be admitted to the United Nations and when she was spurned it hurt the pride of this great ancient country. The characteristics of her people have not necessarily changed over the centuries with changes of Government. It is possible that if she were admitted now she in her turn might spurn the United Nations.

If we are to help this country, with which we must deal in the second half of the twentieth century, towards international responsibility it may be that the best way would be for the United Kingdom to support her admission unconditionally. If she refuses, it may be true that, accepting the particular characteristics of the Chinese, the best diplomatic manoeuvre would be to allow the admission offer to lie on the table and in time let her leaders learn the folly of her actions. But there certainly is no case for pre-fixing her folly by the perpetuation of greater folly by Her Majesty's Government. I see no case whatsoever now for the duplicity of Her Majesty's Government in recognising the Chinese Government in Peking and failing to support the admission of China to the United Nations.

This, I submit to the House, is a very critical time for future relations with China. Part of the problem is related to the change in the American Government. A very significant and very important speech was made in Kansas City on 1st December by Mr. Dean Acheson, to which I should like to draw the attention of the House. The report in the New York Herald Tribune says: Former Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared last night that President-elect John F. Kennedy's first problem upon taking office will be to define United States policy towards Formosa. Mr. Acheson recently conferred with Senator Kennedy. 'We have to stop pretending that Chiang Kai-shek is still the leader of the Chinese nation,' he told a lawyers' group here. 'We should enter into a treaty which could guarantee Formosa against aggression; withdraw from Matsu and Quemoy; and try to urge Chiang Kai-shek to demobilise part of his army so that the economy of the country would again be viable. 'We should get the United Nations,' he continued, 'to provide some guarantees for Formosa. Having done that, we can deal with Red China on a different basis. Red China should be admitted to the United Nations now …'. I submit that that is a very significant change in American foreign policy thinking. I should like to ask the Joint Under-Secretary of State what Her Majesty's Government are waiting for? I suggest to him that his task is to take the lead now and that what Her Majesty's Government should do is to make a clear proposition to the United States that this should be the first item of a conference with the new Administration, and I submit, too, that unless we do this we shall find ourselves in very grave difficulty indeed.

All this is not a new argument. It is an argument which has gone on over a long period of time. But if we are trying to achieve some sort of modus vivendi in this world we must recognise the changes which have been taking place. The original argument about China and China's recognition took place exactly 100 years ago this year, and an interesting speech was made by Lord Elgin at that time. He said in 1860: I am confident that if we intend to maintain permanent pacific relations with some 400 million of the human race, scattered over a country some 1,500 miles long by as many broad; if we intend that our merchants shall conduct their trade and commerce with that vast population in peace, in some shape or another, under some modification or another, we must establish direct diplomatic relations with the Imperial Government of Peking. Lord Elgin got his way and the Convention of Peking was signed 100 years ago.

We have exactly the same problem in another way today. What we are asking for is a pronouncement from the Government Front Bench today which will show that Her Majesty's Government are proposing to take positive action. But on the record of events so far the Government stand indicted of procrastination over a period of years, of folly through failing to realise that one cannot go on with one-quarter of the human race as the great outsider, of duplicity for one thing in Peking and for another in Washington, and, finally, of cowardice in not making her voice heard at a time when the world is waiting to hear it.

4.4 p.m.

Mr. John Tilney (Liverpool, Wavertree)

I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to catch your eye. I should like to explain to the House why I think that the Motion in the name of the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) is wrong. I had the privilege of visiting China this autumn for all too short a time. I regret that a long-standing Commonwealth engagement later this evening will prevent me from hearing the full arguments in this debate.

After staying in Peking, I went by train throughout the heart of China. I had already met the leaders of China in the Foreign Affairs Institute. I went round a steel mill and a big rural commune. In doing that I got a slight chance of understanding a little of the mixed-up patterns of modern China.

It seems to me that there are three facets of China which ought to be borne in mind. The first is the long-term hope for the future that the Chinese have in their afforestation programme on the dusty western hills and the great dam-building schemes to try to prevent their mighty rivers from bringing the scourges of pestilence, flood and famine regularly to that great continent.

The second facet is their construction of the present, be it with their modern offices, their factories, their People's Congress Hall, their massive education programme or their organised dedication and sense of purpose, which frightens me as it has done the hon. Member for Pembroke.

Lastly, there is their desire to preserve the beauty that they have inherited from the past, allied with their pride in their very ancient civilisation. All that applies to between one-fifth and one-quarter of all the people on earth.

I would agree that it is absurd that China should be represented by a hostile island off her coast and that she should not be a member of the United Nations. Without China, how can one begin to argue or discuss disarmament, a ban on atomic weapons, the inspection or control of arms, even a permanent international police force or, for that matter, peaceful co-existence?

But I deplore the phraseology of the hon. Member's Motion. Had he worded it in milder terms I might well have found myself in the Lobby with him. What is the good of hailing China as a friend if, by so doing, one immediately makes the United States one's enemy? It would be a disaster if the United States were to leave the United Nations or turn inwards on herself in isolation, and it is quite a possibility that that would happen.

Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)


Mr. Tilney

Well, the United States has certainly said that she would do that in respect of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, although that is a much smaller organisation, if China were brought into that body. That is just a sign of what may happen in a very much wider sphere.

I believe that the Anglo-American alliance is vital to us and that we must have some understanding of the very difficult position of the United States in the Far East. I must say that I hope that under the new Administration and under the new President the policy of the United States will change. But it will not be easy for the Americans to make such arrangements. How can they abandon millions of people who have entrusted their freedom in Formosa largely to the United States? One has also to remember the Chinese invasion of Korea, and, much more, one has to remember what the leaders of China this year have said about nuclear war, for what they have said does not help to put people at their ease.

It may be possible at some time in the future, under a permanent international police force, to have a plebiscite in Formosa to find out what the Formosans themselves really want, but until that time surely we have to make certain that there is asylum for those who have fled the Communist terror. I believe, therefore, it would be utterly wrong to hand back Formosa to the mainland.

It might be—and I would agree with the hon. Gentleman on this—that, without Formosa, China might refuse a seat at the United Nations even if it were offered to her. She is violently xenophobic and she might well prefer to go it alone. I believe that it would be a world disaster if she did, but this is a decision which is largely, at the moment, in the hands of the United States and her allies. There are, however, certain things which we in this country can do.

I have a little sympathy with the Chinese objection to our quota system, because few of their exports have even got up to the increased levels of the quota, and in any case I believe that a Communist country trading as a unit must be treated differently from a capitalist one. It might be possible to deal with trade on the lines of an economic agreement similar to the arrangements we have with the U.S.S.R. What we can do now is to remove the embargo which, the Chinese say, poisons the atmosphere and is quite ineffectual. China can either make the embargoed goods herself or ask many nations in Africa or Asia to get them and then pass them on to her.

I urge my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to see, behind the scenes, whether our friends on the other side of the Atlantic would consider sponsoring Red China as a member of the United Nations, and, at the same time, see what we can do to prepare the ground for a World Bank loan to China. She started in the late 1940s below scratch. There was drought this year in the North and floods in the South. These have left her desperately short of both food and money. She has tremendous need for development capital.

It is a world interest that China should come into the comity of Nations. We must find her a place at the United Nations, but not on Chinese terms, for she must accept the ideals of the United Nations. If we made an offer to her it would be, at least, a test of China's good will. What would be folly, however, would be to accept the Motion, openly quarrel with the United States, and show our cards to the Red Chinese. It would remove all possibilities of any diplomatic finesse, and I urge the House to reject it.

4.14 p.m.

Lady Megan Lloyd George (Carmarthen)

I must ask for the indulgence of the House, and I can assure hon. Members that I shall not submit them for very long to the unpleasant croaking sound emanating from my lips.

When I listened to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) telling the House how impossible it was, without China, to come to a disarmament agreement in the world, and how it was in the interest of the world to bring China into the United Nations, I thought that we were quite certain to have him voting with us in the lobby tonight. I find it difficult to understand how he can justify his speech with the vote which he will, no doubt, cast later today.

I am sure that the House is very grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) for giving us this opportunity of discussing this extremely important matter. He has traced the events over the past few years. He has reminded us that it is now nine years since this country gave de jure recognition to the People's Republic of China. [An HON. MEMBER: "Eleven years."] Eleven years. That makes it two years worse.

The reason that the Labour Government gave at that time was that the Communist Government were in effective control of by far the greater part of the territory of China. That decision was confirmed by the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), when he was Prime Minister, in his decision that the Chinese People's Republic should be represented in this country by a chargé d'affaires.

So recognition of the Communist Government has been made by both the major political parties of this country. Government and Opposition are alike committed to the decision. Yet in spite of this, for successive years, instructions have been sent out by Her Majesty's Government to our representatives at the United Nations not to vote for the effective Government of China, not to allow her to have a seat at the United Nations, but to vote that China be represented by a Government that, by their own act of recognition, cannot speak for China, cannot enter into commitments on behalf of China, cannot, obviously, be a party to a disarmament agreement, as the hon. Member for Wavertree pointed out, and cannot, finally, be held accountable for China's behaviour either in Tibet or anywhere else.

Why do we, and why have we, for so many years, lent ourselves to this pretence? It certainly is not because of ideological differences. A considerable number of countries round the United Nations table are Communist. It is not because the Peking Government do not subscribe to the Charter of Human Rights, for a great many Governments seated at the United Nations represent police States.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke pointed out, it is not because Communist China has been adjudged guilty of an act of aggression. If States were disqualified for membership of the United Nations on that account, there would be quite a few empty seats—including Russia, India and, unhappily, after Suez, our own country.

We had from the hon. Member for Wavertree the old familiar argument. He asked: what is the good of making a friend of China, however important that may be, if we make an enemy of the United States? If he really believes that at this stage, he will believe anything. I do not think for one moment that that could have been said of the Eisenhower Administration. Even the United States, powerful as she is, could not afford to leave the United Nations. But even, if such an argument could have been used in the days of Dulles, it cannot reasonably be used in the days of Kennedy.

It is the same old argument: we must not allow a wedge to be driven between the United States and this country. Does this mean that we are unable to express a contrary view to the United States? Does this mean that we cannot express a view of our own? We are not hangers-on. We are, after all—and for goodness' sake let us remind ourselves, even occasionally, of this fact—in spite of everything, the most powerful ally that the United States has. Why should we be so frightened of expressing our opinion?

In the Sunday Times yesterday, we were reminded of a historic flight across the Atlantic by Mr. Attlee, as he then was, when he was Prime Minister in the days of the Labour Government. He went across the Atlantic to express strong, uncompromising views to the then President of the United States and he came away not having driven a wedge between this country and the United States of America, but having brought them closer together than before. What is more important, he came away with agreement on two vital points—that the West must not be bogged down in a major war with China, and that bombing of Chinese cities must be ruled out.

How different is our attitude in the United Nations now! We must be careful about South-West Africa, because we may offend Pretoria; we must be careful about Algeria, we must abstain in case we offend de Gaulle. Anyone looking at the voting recocd of the United Kingdom representatives on these various controversial issues would think that they had no convictions at all. If they have, they keep them strictly under control. The stiff upper lip and the poker face are in danger of freezing into a mask of anomymity.

What is the Government's policy towards China? I hope that we shall hear from the Under-Secretary when he replies for the Government. All we know is what the Lord Privy Seal told us in his speech on the Address, when he said: As to the future, then our task is to work for the reduction of tension which will remove this great divide between the nations which are members of the United Nations.".—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 4th November, 1960; Vol. 629, c. 529.] That is a tranquiliser if ever there was one. It is a tranquiliser to numb the senses and deaden the nerve centres.

How do the Government propose to reduce the tension? Will the Under-Secretary tell us? What are the Government's specific proposals? What proposals will they make at the United Nations for the reduction of tension which will make it possible to bridge that great divide? My hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke said that the argument was always that the time was not ripe, and the Prime Minister, in answer to a Question on this subject last week, said that the question of bringing China into the comity of nations was a matter of timing.

What time could be better than this—unless it was yesterday, or the day before yesterday, which would have been better still? What time is better than today with a new President of the United States, a new Secretary of State, a new American representative at United Nations and, above all, a change of front in the Communist world?

The latter is probably the most important factor of all. We have much evidence about the meeting of the Communist Powers when the policy of coexistence won the day. There is much evidence on this point. I quote to the House what Mr. Gomulka said: The great importance of the Moscow Conference was in the fact that the Communist Parties had fully confirmed the policy of co-existence". That is not only a tremendous advance, but a reorientation, a revolutionary change in their attitude. What is the answer of the Government to this change to be? To slam the door of the United Nations in their faces? Is that what they call bridging the great divide? I should have thought that in a world of unbridgeable differences the United Nations was the one meeting place for the West and Communist China.

I agree with the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. C. Osborne) who, on his return from China recently, told us, after his contact with the leaders of China, that too much time had been given to the risks which would arise from Soviet Russia while too little attention had been given to what was happening in China.

I believe that the exclusion of China from the United Nations makes it impossible for the United Nations to be an effective international force in the Far East. I hope that we shall not wait for the next meeting of the Assembly, not wait for eleven months before we take a decision, but that we will take the earliest opportunity to propose that Communist China be brought into the United Nations, because I believe that her exclusion constitutes a grave threat to ourselves and to the peace of all mankind.

4.26 p.m.

Mr. Gilbert Longden (Hertfordshire, South-West)

I respectfully congratulate the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) on having brought this matter before the House this afternoon, but I very much regret the form in which he has done so and I shall have to disappoint the noble Lady the Member for Carmarthen (Lady Megan Lloyd George), which I regret, by saying that I, too, must go into the opposite Lobby.

The question before the House is whether a nation of 700 million people should be represented at the United Nations by the Government which, in fact, rules that nation—and which is a Government which has not been imposed upon it from without—or by a Government which rules a neighbouring island with a population of 10 million, not by any means all of whom are truly Chinese. There are many arguments both for and against the admission of Peking to the United Nations. The most cogent argument against is that her whole behaviour and philosophy are directly contrary to the spirit and letter of the United Nations Charter; but so is that of many other States which are members and which, unlike the People's Republic, have signed the Charter.

The trouble is that these arguments for and against are never aired. The "question of China", as it is called in New York, is never allowed even to reach the agenda. It is not only Her Majesty's Opposition who are exercised over this issue. In Athens, last April, it fell to me to introduce a British resolution to the Disarmament Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The report of the meeting of that Committee in Athens, which, as rapporteur, I had to submit to the Plenary Conference at Tokyo in October, stressed that the resolution urged: 'that all other Nations having significant military capabilities'— should be invited— 'to become parties to these Treaties. For', asked Mr. Longden, 'did anyone seriously believe that either the U.S.A. or the U.S.S.R. would disarm unless, for example, the People's Republic of China were to submit to the same controls?' In Tokyo, I ventured to advise the conference that if it was thought necessary and useful to pass a resolution at all, it had better be realistic, and I added: If we are realists, we must surely recognise that at least two conditions must be fulfilled before the world will genuinely disarm; and that neither of them is yet within sight of fulfilment. We read in yesterday's paper that Mr. Khrushchev has now arrived at the conclusion which our Disarmament Committee reached in Athens last April—namely, that no disarmament agreement is possible unless the People's Republic of China is a party to it. I then repeated the passage from the Committee's report which I have just quoted, and asked: Does anyone think that war will be less likely if the rest of the world disarms and China does not? None of the 50 nations there assembled did think so; and it has long seemed to me that these successive disarmament conferences are liable to waste everybody's time unless and until China is seated at the table too; and it is very unlikely that she will consent to be seated at the table unless she comes first to the United Nations.

I therefore agree with the hon. Member for Pembroke that the People's Republic of China should be invited as soon as possible to join the United Nations, but I am glad that he made it—at least, I think he made it—conditional on one thing. In my view, the invitation must be absolutely conditional upon Peking's renouncing all claims to the Island of Taiwan, which island should also be admitted to the United Nations as an independent sovereign State. There are many smaller nations than that which are members of the United Nations today. To my mind, it is unthinkable—and I regret that there should be any hon. Gentlemen to whose mind it is not unthinkable—that we should hand over 10 million people to the tyrannous rule of Peking.

Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that if that formula were presented in that crude way there would be no hope at all of China accepting a pre-condition like that? I, too, have had the privilege and opportunity of discussing with the Chinese leaders their attitude to the Taiwan situation. Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that the Chinese leaders have shown a lot of tolerance, and that the Labour Party has put forward a formula by means of which we might get the United Nations acting in a transitional period? Would not that be a better thing to do than to come to some decision such as the hon. Gentleman suggested?

Mr. Longden

It would not be put to the People's Republic of China in that way, but would be put by a diplomat. I am a politician.

Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)


Mr. Longden

Perhaps I might finish answering one question before I attempt to answer another. The final part of my answer is that I would accept the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that the United Nations should conduct a referendum.

Mr. Mayhew

The point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) is valid. If the hon. Gentleman seriously suggests that the Chinese Government should formally renounce possession of Formosa, he is saying that they should never come into the United Nations at all. Whether it is put by a diplomat or by a politician, is that the hon. Gentleman's suggestion?

Mr. Longden

I do not accept the hon. Gentleman's assumption that that is what it would mean, but it would not be put in that crude and somewhat brutal way. All I meant to make plain is that we cannot sacrifice the 10 milion people of Formosa to bring China into the United Nations. I very much regret that the hon. Gentleman does not agree with me.

When the hon. Member for Pembroke "censures Her Majesty's Government further consistent failure," I cannot follow him. I regret that his tactics should have led him to propose his Motion in this form, because I believe that the majority of the House of Commons agrees with his main contention; but, unfortunately, the world will never know that. If he had put before the House a Motion, "That this House believes that the time has now come for the People's Republic of China to be invited to join the United Nations," certainly I, and, I think, most of us, would have voted for it: and it might have made some impact. But I cannot censure my right hon. Friends because I believe that they have done all that they could, short of an open—

Mr. Harold Davies

That is completely untrue.

Mr. Longden

—short of an open and public quarrel with our principal allies, to have this question at least discussed. I was a delegate at the Twelfth and Thirteenth Sessions of the United Nations Assembly, so I do know something of what they have done. I am confident that my right hon. Friends will continue to press this point of view, and, as has been suggested already, perhaps with much greater success.

I am all for realism in foreign affairs and it is unreal to the verge of farce that Taiwan should occupy a permanent seat on the Security Council as "China." But surely it would be less realistic still if, faced with a choice between one of our best friends and allies, on the one hand, and an openly declared enemy of everything we value, on the other, Her Majesty's Government were to choose the latter. We must hope that the time is coming soon when we shall no longer have to make that choice, and it is because this debate may help to hasten that time that I welcome it.

4.35 p.m.

Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)

I am amazed at the speech not only of the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. Longden), but the speech of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney). If this is the best that back benchers on the opposite side can do to support their Front Bench, I shall be sorry. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Wilson) usually drools about transport. It is characteristic that he never gets to his feet, but drools complete incomprehensibility from the bench opposite.

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)

Is the hon. Gentleman not concerned about the 10 million people in Formosa?

Mr. Pannell

If the hon. Gentleman had allowed me to start my speech and develop my argument, I would have dealt with that. I am probably far more sensitive to this consideration than he is. The hon. Gentleman and his two hon. Friends will go into the Division Lobby as so much unthinking lobby fodder, and he is presumably prepared to predict what I was not going to say.

As I understand the case so far, if there is a case, it is that the Government have done all that they could. What evidence has the hon. Gentleman for saying that? He says, "I was in on these things. I was a delegate at the United Nations. I listened in at all the keyholes. I was the dogsbody for the Joint Under-Secretary of State". That is what we have heard. I think that it is pretty disgraceful that the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has been brought to the Box this afternoon. If he gets to his feet and tells me that the Lord Privy Seal is still in Paris, my answer will be, "Yes, but the other nonentity is in another place."

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)

Who is he?

Mr. C. Pannell

If the Government cannot produce the body, I will not tell my hon. Friend.

I am a great admirer of the American people. If it were a matter of choice between the American Government and the Peking Government, I would be prepared to put a case for the American Government on general grounds of humanitarianism as against the Peking system.

Mr. Farey-Jones (Watford)


Mr. Pannell

There is a rule in the House—and the hon. Gentleman had better sit down before he is made to do so by the Chair—about tedious repetition, and also about tedious interruption.

I have a great regard for the American people. When I was in the United States, in 1956, I tried to get at what was really behind the feeling of the American people about China. I did not go to the politicians. They would have given me the usual clichés that are repeated from the Tory benches. A party of high school boys and girls asked me, "Why do you recognise Red China?" I said, "When I was a little lad I used to sing missionary hymns which said that every fifth man was a Chinaman. The Chinese are lusty people, and I should have thought that by now nature would have put that figure up to a quarter".

When one is considering one quarter of the world's population, it is obvious that they must be considered as a factor of great importance. The United Nations is not a club that was opened only for our friends the Americans. It was opened also for people whom we do not like. The United Nations must represent people whom we do not like, as well as people we do.

The Americans said, "We have been investing a lot of emotional capital in China." When I asked what they meant by that they said, "We started in the missionary field in China." They seemed to think that it would be almost a betrayal of the Almighty if they recognised Red China. They said, "Of course, China is to us what Africa was to you." I said, "At least we have set them on their way." When I asked whether that would be the case with them and China I could not get any more out of them.

To anyone watching the television appearances of Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kennedy it was apparent that there is a breach in American thinking about this sort of thing. The Americans know that they cannot, for too long, maintain this façade of not recognising Red China. If a person goes to San Francisco and starts speaking about this they will show him the headquarters of the China lobby, which is a bank. Everybody will tell him tales about corruption and the misappropriation of funds by Chiang Kai-shek's Government. This is a commonplace which is known all over the United States.

What is the latest position in the United States? It is merely that at long last, after much consideration, they have begun to adopt the face-saving device of telling the electorate that it might be possible to recognise Red China. Hitherto, they have always thought that such recognition was something up with which the average American elector was not prepared to put, and that it was almost a gospel of cowardice.

The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West could not say anything against the Motion except the way in which it was drawn.

Mr. Longden

Except that it is a censure Motion on Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Pannell

I have no doubt that the hon. Member could not conceive of any circumstances in which he should censure his own Government. He gave his whole case away. He showed that he was resolved only to be irresolute, and that he has decided that he must go into the Lobby as his hon. Friends did before. He told us what happened at the meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. I want to face the question of Formosa quite frankly, because I think that it has been put forward unfairly. In the 1950–51 Government, this question arose in an acute form. I remember that at that time the view of the Prime Minister, Mr. Attlee—as he then was—was that we would not hand over Formosa. I would say quite flatly to any of my hon. Friends that if it were merely a matter of handing over Formosa, with its 10 million inhabitants being put at the mercy of the Peking Government, I should look upon that proposition unfavourably and would not support it—

Mr. Farey-Jones


Mr. Pannell

I keep getting stopped in the middle of a sentence. How can I develop my argument?

Mr. Farey-Jones

Does not the hon. Member realise that it has been publicly stated by the leaders of modern China that they would not be prepared to discuss or to negotiate the position of Formosa?

Mr. Pannell

Does the hon. Member also realise that what is dimly apparent to him is blazing daylight clear to me? He is the master of the obvious. We all read about these things; we read the newspapers. If the United States Seventh Fleet did no more during my lifetime and that of my children than sail between the Island of Formosa and the mainland to stop any unpleasantness breaking out, I should be in favour of it.

In the arguments between Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Nixon on television they spoke about the Islands of Quemoy and Matsu as not being worth the outbreak of a nuclear war. My hon. Friend the Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies), who is a great enthusiast for modern China, would not imagine taking any action which would mean handing over to the Chinese Communists 10 million people who did not want to be handed over. The point at issue is different from that. The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West has suggested that, as a sine qua non. we should ask the Peking Government to declare that they would never, never request that Formosa be handed back to them. That is a price that no one could expect them to pay.

We remember what happened in the case of Cyprus. Somebody said that we would never give up Cyprus—

Mr. G. Wilson


Mr. Pannell

I wish that the hon. Member would sit down.

It was said by the hon. Member who later became Lord Colyton. I heard him say it. My hearing does not betray me. I do not want the hon. Member to remind me of what I heard at the time. The former Minister said that we would never give up Cyprus, but eventually the Government had to eat their words. And then, whom did we send out to negotiate? We sent one of the prime Suez rebels, who backed up the original assertion that we should not give up Cyprus. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West would expect that we should insist upon terms like that.

I would agree that the Formosan trouble should be settled by the United Nations—through occupation by United Nations forces if we were ever able to approach that stage. I do not know why the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West should think that it is inherent in our Motion that we propose to hand over Formosa just as it is. We have always envisaged that there would be a period of time in which this sort of thing would have to be settled. I supported the right of Ulster to attain its present position, and I am hardly likely to be the sort of person who would expect a very much larger land mass, with a much larger population, to be handed over lock, stock and barrel to Red China on any terms.

I cannot understand the point of view of some hon. Members opposite who seem to think that the administration of Chiang Kai-shek is pristine pure, as against the administration of the Peking Government. That argument will not stand up. There are certain practical considerations why China should be given a seat at the United Nations. It has been said that the question of world disarmament can be discussed only between Soviet Russia and America, but we must visualise the rise of a third great Power.

I am not as optimistic as some people are about what happened at the recent Communist conference. The differences between China and Russia are probably as superficial as certain differences which exist in the Labour Party. I understand the nature and doctrine of Communism, and I understand its timelessness. My hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) thinks that the deepest dyed Communism is in Peking rather than in Moscow. He tends to look upon Mr. Khrushchev as a liberator.

Mr. Mayhew

A revisionist.

Mr. Pannell

A sort of Crosland of the Communist set. [Laughter.] That shows how far some hon. Members are deceived.

I want to say a few words upon one consideration that has not been raised. I believe that our British motor car industry has grown too large, in terms of Britain's economy. That does not mean to say that I lack sympathy for all those people in Coventry at present, but I am more concerned with the long-term view of the way in which these people should be given work, and what they should do. There is a limit to the number of motor cars we can put on British roads, inadequate as they are at present, with 370,000 casualties each year. In 1956, I had an opportunity of studying the motor car industry in the United States. I noted that when their industry had reached saturation point in larger cars they turned to the provision of the compact or smaller car, to fill up the pocket in their market which, until then, had been filled by European cars.

It is as important to the American industry as it is to us to grow and grow, and to catch on to things, and to take in everything that it possibly can. The future of the British car industry in the United States is of a far more long-term nature than some of our trade optimists seem to believe. Some aspects of that market have been lost never to return. But if we were the same as the United States—a great land mass which can put up tariffs to protect itself—and if we could have free trade within a territory as big as the United States, we should react in the same way.

Where, then, is the future of the British motor car industry? I suggest that it is not in motor cars any longer, but that the growing need all over the world is for commercial vehicles and tractors. I do not expect that the Chinese in any foreseeable time—any more than the Africans—will have private motor cars to the extent which we do, or the Americans. What they badly need is tractors, and we are probably in the best position of anyone in the world to supply them with tractors and lorries. I have preached the gospel of East-West trade. I was the only person taking the view that I did at the time when a Government of my own party were in power. One of the things we do not answer—I have mentioned lorries and cars, but it applies also to the British engineering industry—are the questions which arise due to the fact that the whole pattern of world trade has been distorted by the exclusion of Peking.

I do not believe that any hon. Member opposite will introduce much morality or ethical arguments into a discussion the pattern of world trade. We do not moralise about that sort of thing. We sell where we can and we are not concerned with the gospel of the man who buys. That time has gone. This applies even in Germany where, earlier this year, I found that although the West Germans and the East Germans hate each other perhaps more than any other people in the world, the amount of underground trade that goes on is remarkable. That is because people have to live by trade. Even considering the question of trade by itself, it seems that this is a matter in which we are vitally interested.

All the other points have been given to us. The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West said that it was absurd that China should be represented—at present—on the top council of the United Nations by puppets. Another argument used by the hon. Gentleman was that this is an attempt to get China as a friend at the expense of the United States becoming an enemy. But it is really a matter here of the United Nations, and I wish to emphasise the point made by the noble Lady the Member for Carmarthen (Lady Megan Lloyd George). Surely we cannot take part in the councils of the world on the tolerance of the United States. I do not believe that the Americans appreciate that kind of attitude in any case, the curious sycophantic attitude which we seem to adopt on any possible occasion. I should have thought that, with the coming of a new President of the United States, we should strongly emphasise that we are a nation with the right to be heard on these matters.

If we do not stand up to the United States, unless we are prepared to have some backbone in our attitude in the United Nations, I do not think that there is much hope for the future. The United States will take us at our own valuation and look upon us as a sort of satellite. They are recognising, even in European affairs, that the West Germans are the best boys in the class. There has been a great deal more respect for West Germany since the West Germans dug in their heels over the currency issue recently. We always appear to be completely sycophantic where the United States is concerned.

I hope that the debate will have the effect of indicating to the Government not only that the Opposition put down this Motion because we are uneasy, but also that there is no speaker on the Government back benches who can put a logical case against it. Apparently, the morality and practicability of the Motion is admitted. The only ground on which so far it has been opposed by hon. Members opposite is that of drafting, on the dotting of an "i" or the placing of a comma.

Mr. Longden

May I make it clear to the hon. Gentleman that it is not only a question of the drafting? It is also that the Motion is couched in terms of a Motion of censure, and I do not believe that on this matter the Government deserve to be censured.

Mr. Pannell

I am sorry, but we were elected to censure the Government—

Mr. Longden

Hon. Members opposite are entitled to, but they must not expect hon. Members on this side to follow them.

Mr. Pannell

Surely the hon. Gentleman does not expect us to be as mealy-mouthed to the party opposite as it is to the Americans. I do nor believe that the Americans are as thin-skinned as the hon. Gentleman thinks, but I did expect that if anyone on the benches opposite was put up as a "stooge" for the Government Front Bench he would make a better case against the Motion than we have heard so far. The Government's case has gone by default and I do not think that the ex-Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, who is sitting on the Government Front Bench, will add much to the debate.

4.57 p.m.

Mr. Cyril Osborne (Louth)

Let me make it clear to the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) that I have not been put up as a "stooge" by anyone. I should not allow anyone to put me up as a stooge anywhere—

Mr. C. Pannell

The hon. Member has now declared his interest.

Mr. Osborne

—whether they like it or not. I wish China were represented at the United Nations now. I think that would be a good thing. It is stupid to pretend that the Peking Government does not control the 650 million people in China. The Motion says, That this House, in the interests of world peace, censures Her Majesty's Government … So far as I am concerned, there is no truth at all in that statement. Hon. Members opposite have asked for a reply to their arguments, and I will give one. It would not be in the interests of world peace if this Motion were to be carried, this Government were to be destroyed and the hopelessly divided crowd opposite were to take over. That is the answer. On every issue of importance—foreign affairs, N.A.T.O., unilateralism—the party opposite is hopelessly and completely divided and in my opinion—I am entitled to my opinion—it would not be in the interests of world peace, as this Motion says, to censure and destroy the present Government and replace them with men who can hardly speak civilly one to another—

Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)


Mr. Osborne

No. Hon. Members opposite asked for an answer, and I am giving the answer they asked for.

It may help hon. Members opposite if I make one or two extra points on the questions that were asked. As the House will know, I had the privilege of visiting China a few months ago. The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly looked at me during his speech and said that we were the representatives of the forces of darkness—

Mr. C. Pannell


Mr. Osborne

The hon. Member for Leeds, West did not introduce the Motion, so will he please be quiet.

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Pembroke is not in the Chamber now. I understand that the Chinese Government refused to give him a visa to visit their country. They gave me a visa and so if the Chinese Government will give a visa to representatives of the forces of darkness—as the hon. Member for Pembroke alleges—I give them credit for it.

There are some facts which the House should realise. It is a great pity that China is deliberately isolating itself from the rest of the world. Visas are almost impossible to get to visit China, especially for people from the capitalist West. Wherever I went in China I saw great delegations from Afro-Asian and Latin-American countries, but practically none at all from Europe and very few from the Soviet. This self-imposed isolation is one of the greatest dangers, not only to China herself, but to the world. The sooner China becomes a member of the United Nations and joins the family of nations the better it will be for the world.

Mr. Harold Davies


Mr. Osborne

No, I shall not give way. I want to warn the House that, as I found in discussing the matter with many leading politicians there, China is not bursting with enthusiasm to join the United Nations. She might even refuse a seat if one were offered her. Even if she got a permanent seat she would not go in while one is held by Formosa. At the moment the Chinese authorities would not look at it. That is the problem we have to face. The Chinese would not look at accepting even a permanent seat if Formosa were still represented. Heat in debate will not clear that and a lot of public argument will not clear it.

As I talked with them I found that it was not so much a question of a seat in the United Nations but that they are obsessed with the question of Taiwan and of what they allege to be the American occupation of Taiwan. They talk of nothing else. I beg hon. Members opposite to believe that giving Red China a seat in the United Nations will not solve the awful problem of Taiwan, Formosa, but that the great China problem will remain.

I also remind hon. Members that it is difficult for us here to envisage what conditions in China are like at present. As a boy fifty years ago I was brought up in a very stern puritan home, but even my father would not have lived in the world of China today. There is a central control of the George Orwell type which imposes a fanatical puritan spirit on the people which is hard to believe unless one goes there and lives among it.

Mr. Harold Davies

That is not true. Will the hon. Member give way?

Mr. Osborne

I have Just come back.

Mr. Harold Davies

I have been there several times too.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Gordon Touche)


Mr. Harold Davies

If it is true, it is exaggerated.

Mr. Osborne

I am trying to give hon. Members my impressions.

Mr. Harold Davies

The hon. Member always does this. He twists the truth.

Mr. Osborne

This is not good enough. We listened patiently to hon Members opposite when they spoke.

Mr. C. Pannell

Will the hon. Member give way?

Mr. Osborne

No, I will not. The Chinese have this purposeful, almost fanatical, idea, for which I give them credit. I wish we had a little more of it here. When I got back from Peking I found the English newspapers full of nothing but Lady Chatterley's Lover. I would rather have the stern morality which I found in Peking than what I found here. Unless one goes to the country frequently, it is almost impossible to realise the determination of the Chinese to drive their people on to a better and finer world for themselves and their children. It is a world such as we cannot envisage.

While I was in Peking I had the chance of speaking to one of the most important men there, Chen Yi, who is Foreign Secretary and Vice-Premier. I listened to him for three and a half hours and during that time he scarcely ever mentioned the United Nations. The sole topic was Formosa. All the time he spoke of Formosa—Taiwan. The United Nations does not occupy nearly so important a position in the minds of the Chinese Government as hon. Members in this House sometimes think. He said that if, after ten or fifteen years of peaceful patient negotiations with the Americans, the Chinese were unable to get a peaceful evacuation of what they alleged to be American occupying forces, China would be justly entitled to go to war to throw them out.

I put this to hon. Members opposite. If the Chinese Government, through the mouth of Marshal Chen Yi, say that they are prepared to wait ten or fifteen years in patient negotiation on this terribly difficult problem, surely hon. Members opposite could wait a month or two and not censure the Government in this way. After all, the Chinese regard it as a much more important problem than we do.

I wish to give another warning to hon. Members opposite. It is suggested, and the opinion is shared on this side of the House, that if we could only get the Chinese into the United Nations we could have unbounded trade with them. Unemployment and short time in this country would end because an immense amount of trade would be done.

That is not possible, for a simple reason. At present China is desperately short of foreign exchange. The things she would like to buy are oil, heavy capital goods and, above all, food; and imports of those she is unable to finance. In the next six months China will go through perhaps the most difficult period since 1949. I was told that her harvest this year will be worse than it was in 1957. When a nation is short of food, desperate measures are taken.

I asked Marshal Chen Yi if increased trade would help his country and if a trade treaty similar to the one the Swiss have with China would help. He said "No", and added that trade with the United Kingdom had increased by about 50 per cent. over last year. He said, "We are quite satisfied, keep on with that". The greatest need in China at present is for long-term credits. I do not believe that her Russian allies can give her many more substantial long-term credits. I believe that the Russian economy is stretched as far as it could comfortably go in helping the Chinese. I would not minimise what the Russians have done for the Chinese, but I think that they have reached the limit.

It is no use pretending that the United Nations has vast sums of money under its control. The only place from which those vast sums can come is America. Only America, which has a free economy, could send China such things as tractors, buses, heavy equipment and transport for ordinary people. While we are not going to kow-tow to the Americans—we are not doing that—it is foolish not to take note of American susceptibilities if we are to go to America for financial help in order to pull China out of her difficulties.

Mr. C. Pannell


Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Order. If the hon. Member who is speaking does not give way, the hon. Member who wishes to interrupt must resume his seat. [Interruption.]

Mr. Osborne

May I have your protection Mr. Deputy-Speaker? May I have protection from the remark which has just been made, that I have not the courtesy of a louse? I deeply resent that from an hon. Member who has only just come into the Chamber and not heard the debate.

Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)

I have heard a lot of the hon. Member's speech.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I heard no remark from which the hon. Member requires the protection of the Chair.

Mr. Osborne

I am entitled to defend myself.

Mr. C. Pannell

On a point of order. Mr. Deputy-Speaker, you rebuked me for being on my feet whilst another hon. Gentleman was in the midst of his speech. May I make it plain that the hon. Gentleman referred to remarks I had made in my speech and addressed his references to me. I thought that it would merely meet the courtesy of the House if I rose. The hon. Gentleman need not give way, but he need not rebuke me for rising. At least my hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) paid me the courtesy of listening to what I said, and he has remained in the House ever since. The hon. Gentleman is handling the truth loosely when he rebukes him.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Member should not accuse another hon. Member of "handling the truth loosely". If the hon. Member who is speaking does not give way the hon. Gentleman should resume his seat.

Mr. Mellish

Further to that point of order. It is probably my fault, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but I said that the hon. Gentleman was not observing the courtesy of the House—spelt "House".

Mr. Osborne


Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

That is exactly what my hon. Friend did say.

Mr. Osborne

If that be the case, which I accept, it must be due to my advancing age. I am getting deaf. I apologise most sincerely. I must now cut my remarks short, because other hon. Members wish to speak.

I want to conclude by making two suggestions about what we can do. Instead of pressing for China to be admitted to the United Nations despite what the Americans think, what the Government can do, first, is to replace our present most excellent chargé d'affaires in Peking. I do not say this because he is not doing a good job. He is doing a fine job, but he has not enough power. We should send a first-class ambassador. We should send either someone who is at the top of the ambassadorial career list or a top public servant. Relations with China are of the greatest importance to us all.

Mr. William Teeling (Brighton, Pavilion)

Is not my hon. Friend aware that the Chinese have refused point blank to accept an ambassador?

Mr. Osborne

I am not interested in what happened months ago. I am interested in making this practical suggestion. Mr. Stewart, who represents us at the moment in Peking, is doing a line job, but there should be someone with greater status.

Mr. Harold Davies

He cannot have any more power than he has.

Mr. Osborne

I think that he could, but it is a matter of opinion. Our best course is to do that and, secondly, to do all we can behind the scenes to persuade the Americans to agree to the inclusion of Red China in the United Nations, if Red China will go. It is just nonsense to censure the Government as the Motion does, in the interests of world peace. I shall gladly oppose the Motion.

5.13 p.m.

Miss Jennie Lee (Cannock)

The Government richly deserve to be censured for the votes they have cast at the United Nations and for the fact that they have taken practically no step to help to illuminate for the people of Great Britain the seriousness of the argument which has been going on between the leaders of China and the leaders of Soviet Russia. It is foolish to think that that argument applies only to the Communist countries. It affects us profoundly. However, I should have been quite willing to vote for a Motion which merely asked that China be now admitted to the United Nations; for what matters is that we get to the point of action, and do so backed by unanswerable arguments.

Nothing could be more horrifying to me than to think that, while the Communist world is at least arguing about great international issues and issues involving war and peace, we in the West are apparently expected to take up virtually a monolithic attitude, especially in our dealings with the United States of America. This is for me a fantastic reversion of all the things I believe in. I have always advocated Anglo-American friendship, but if the price of American friendship is British subservience, that is too high a price.

However, I do not believe that this arises. Those who advance that kind of argument completely misunderstand the psychology of the Americans. I deeply deplore the fact that there has not been a great deal more plain speaking about this, and not only from Her Majesty's Government. I should have liked to have seen a little more enthusiasm earlier on from the leaders of Her Majesty's Opposition. I am glad that a back bench Member has given us the opportunity to discuss the subject today. I should have been still more glad if the opportunity had come sooner and from my own Front Bench. I do not see why in common sense we could not have had an entirely different attitude. Indeed, even a Conservative Government should have been actively advocating China's admission to the United Nations if they had not lost their nerve.

Mr. Healey

My hon. Friend will surely remember that during the debate on the Gracious Speech I spent some time dealing with this question, but she upbraided me for speaking at too great length at that very point.

Miss Lee

I know that my hon. Friend is a very important member of Her Majesty's Opposition, but my references were rather wider than to him alone. If we are to address ourselves seriously to the problems of war and peace, we must realise that it was not an artificial or shallow argument going on between the Communists who took Mr. Khrushchev's point of view and those who took the point of view of the leaders of Communist China.

Since my hon. Friend assures me that he has real enthusiasm for these issues, I suggest that he might care to sign the Motion standing on the Order Paper in my name and the names of many of my hon. Friends asking that we should send a message of appreciation to Mr. Khrushchev for the stand he has taken in maintaining the principle of peaceful co-existence.

Mr. Healey

While I fully sympathise with the motives in the Motion, it seems to me that the terms in which it is couched tend too much to take the side of the Soviet Communist Party against the Communist Party of China. It seems to me that a British Member of Parliament is not justified in taking up such a position.

Miss Lee

My hon. Friend seems to argue in rather the same way as some hon. Gentlemen opposite. They are in favour of China's admission to the United Nations, but will not vote for it in the Lobbies. If we are to be inhibited in anything we do by the question, "Will this be anti-Russian or anti-American?", this country's position in the world will be reduced to a complete negation.

Nothing has been more exciting than the response which has been obvious from South American countries, countries from all over Africa, India and the East, sometimes from old nations with established democratic constitutional governments, and from emerging nations which have hardly yet learned how to form governments. They have listened to the argument which has been going on between the leaders of a Communist country which has been established for forty years, with a great deal inside Soviet Russia that they want to enjoy and conserve, and the leaders of a more recent Communist revolution, aware of their strength and, still more, of their potential strength. Forty years ago Russia was arguing as China is arguing today. What we are up against is a very dangerous situation. Russia has become a more helpful factor in the affairs of the world as Russian poverty has receded. In the same way, China will become less of a menace to world peace as her poverty recedes.

That is why there is no difference—in fact, there is the most cordial agreement—between all of us on this side of the House and the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. C. Osborne) when he says, "Let us do two things. Let us get China into the United Nations and, at the same time, let us see if we can give her long-terms credits". Also, he argued, "Let us respect the pride of the Chinese as well as their material interests". I cannot think that the hon. Gentleman was making an unsubstantial point when he said, "Let us increase the status of our representative in Peking China. Let us look at the attitude we are adopting towards China both in regard to trade and to cultural and every other kind of relationship".

We have reached the stage when we are no longer even giving leadership to the American people. I believe that the American people are now ready for a move to be made on this front. But, whether they are ready or not, there ought surely to be a British voice in international affairs—a British voice at the United Nations. We really must not be humiliated by Her Majesty's Government saying when fighting an election that they favour the inclusion of Communist China in the United Nations—the whole nation agreed about this—while year after weary and dangerous year that same Government find reasons for doing nothing.

I hope that when the Minister puts his point of view he will not talk to me about the fact that there was an American election. India was just as aware as we were of that election. India has a common frontier with China. India has been bitterly disillusioned and worried by the Chinese aggression in Tibet. But with all these dangers and knowing all those factors the Prime Minister of India has sufficient wisdom to understand that it is in his country's interests, as well as in the interests of world peace, that we should as quickly as possible bring China into the maximum communication with the Western world.

I do not under-estimate the difficulties of Formosa. It may be that the biggest contribution that we could make to disarmament in the Far East would be to remove all American arms in Formosa. We are talking about a Polaris base in Scotland. The Chinese are very well aware that Formosa is for them a dagger held practically at their hearts. They regard Formosa primarily as a base that America can use in order to hold Red China at bay.

I hope that there is going to be a sufficient sense of responsibility and a sufficient loyalty to our own standards and values, that we shall not hesitate to debate great issues and, when need be, give our best advice to our American friends as well as to everyone else. I hope that we are not for very much longer going to be represented in the councils of the world by a Government which, on issues of such supreme importance, either have no point of view or are afraid to state their point of view.

5.24 p.m.

Colonel Tufton Beamish (Lewes)

It is very pleasant to see the party opposite united for a moment even if the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) spent as much time censuring her own Front Bench as she did in censuring the Government Front Bench. I very much welcome the fact that the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) has raised this question today, because it is one that needs airing and I think that the airing has done it good. I am glad, too, that it should have been a good Social Democrat who raised the matter in the moderate way he did. However, I am very surprised at the extremely thin attendance of hon. Members opposite on such a very important issue.

I am in line with all my hon. Friends who have so far spoken in the debate in that I think that there is a strong prima facie case for Chinese membership of the United Nations. I remember as a very small child—and others will remember it as well—asking a rather silly question. I asked, "What is it that goes ninety-nine bonk?". The answer used to be, "A centipede".

Mr. Healey

A centipede with a wooden leg.

Colonel Beamish

Yes, a centipede with a wooden leg. The modern answer to that question is, "The United Nations."

Several hon. Members have drawn attention to how illogical it would be to try to exclude China from the United Nations simply because she does not comply with the rules of the club. I do not know how many members of the United Nations could place their hands on their hearts and say that they comply with all the rules. Certainly very few indeed.

I agree also with what the hon. Lady the Member for Carmarthen (Lady Megan Lloyd George) said earlier, that mere distaste for a system is no reason for trying to exclude from the United Nations the country which has that system. That, incidentally, was one of the reasons why I thought it illogical for the Labour Party to be opposed to Spain becoming a member of the United Nations.

This question is not as simple as all that. The United Nations is going through an extremely difficult period, probably the most difficult period in its history, and the decisions made in the next year or two about this and other questions may make or break it. I hope—and I think that most hon. Members on both sides of the House hope—that it will be possible to admit China to the United Nations without accentuating these differences.

These differences are very deep indeed, and I thought that the hon. Gentleman who raised the question underestimated them. He reminded us of the voting figures for a moratorium on 9th October last, which were 42 nations in favour and 34 nations against, with 22 abstentions. But he did not remind us of the fact that forty-five members of the United Nations still recognise the Formosa Government as the mainland Government. That is practically half the membership of the United Nations—a very substantial number indeed.

By way of tempering that remark, perhaps I might remind the House that the proposal on which the vote was taken on 9th October was one put forward by the Soviet Union for the complete exclusion of Formosa and the replacement of Formosa by mainland China as a permanent member of the United Nations. That was different from the terms in which the motion had been put forward in earlier years—I think by India. This is a substantial point, and I think that the House will agree with what I am saying.

It may well be that there would have been more countries in favour of the motion had it not been worded in such a way as to exclude Formosa. I think it true to say that many Afro-Asian countries as well as many European countries are not happy about the possibility of excluding Formosa completely from the United Nations and thus making it appear, in theory at any rate, that Formosa is part of mainland China.

The hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) accused us of being mealy-mouthed towards America. I could not help feeling that the hon. Gentleman was confusing being mealymouthed with loyalty to our great friend and ally—two very different things. He also, I thought, underestimated the importance of understanding American feelings about China. After all, the Americans poured vast sums of money and vast quantities of material into China when Chiang Kai-shek was in control on the mainland.

That is the background against which we have to understand the way in which the Americans look at this question. After all, not so very long ago Chiang Kai-shek was our trusted ally doing a magnificent job in Burma. These things change very quickly, but this is part of the background against which we have to try to understand the American view.

We have to take a balanced view of the matter. Formosa, in the opinion of the American chiefs of staff, an opinion shared by many others, is clearly regarded as part of the free world's defences, rightly or wrongly.

We have next to remember the Chinese intervention in Korea. This has coloured American thinking to a large extent. I wonder how many hon. Members know the number of casualties the United States suffered in Korea. Was it 10,000, 40,000, 60,000 or 90,000? The answer is 150,000 killed or wounded, or died in action.

Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)

Why did they go there?

Colonel Beamish

They went there to fight in the United Nations cause with the support of the Assembly by a very large majority. That is why they went to Korea.

Mr. S. O. Davies (Merthyr Tydvil)

What about the Chinese casualties?

Colonel Beamish

Casualties on the other side were very large indeed.

Mr. Davies

They were two and three-quarter million.

Colonel Beamish

I am simply saying that it has affected American thinking; they had a terribly long casualty list in the United Nations cause while fighting in Korea. There is hardly a village in the United States that has not lost a loved son. That has coloured their thinking, as it would ours if we were in the same position.

The next event, fresh in the memory of many of us, is the occupation of Tibet. How many hon. Members realise that there are 20,000 refugees from Tibet in Bhutan alone, in desperate poverty? We cannot forget these things. They are not present only in American minds. Nor can we forget the nervousness of the fringe countries such as Assam, Bhutan, Sikkim, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal and India itself about Chinese intentions. We have been reminded by the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. C. Osborne) that he was himself told by Marshal Chen Yi that if China is not able to settle the Formosan question peacefully she will have to settle it by force. That is not something which we can lightly shrug aside.

I wish I could agree with something said by the Leader of the Opposition, which was reported in today's newspapers. He was drawing attention to two reasons why he feels fairly optimistic about 1961. The first reason was the election of Mr. Kennedy as President of the United States. The second reason—I quote—was that despite the hostile and bitter propaganda of the statement issued after the Moscow meeting of eighty or ninety Communist parties the really important point is that the Russian theory of co-existence, and not China's doctrine of the inevitability of war, has been accepted. I hope that he is right; in terms of Formosa, but I very much doubt it.

The defiance of China on the United Nations' decision to reunify Korea must not be forgotten, nor must the growing subversive activities of China all over the world, to which the hon. Member for Pembroke drew attention. I have just returned from five weeks in Africa and I can tell the House that there have been more than a hundred deputations from African territories to Peking in the last eighteen months.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Why not?

Colonel Beamish

The answer is simple. They are inviting to Peking subversive people who are sworn to overthrow all ordered forms of society in which we believe. That is why we must look on this as a very menacing move.

Commander Anthony Courtney (Harrow, East)

In that connection is my hon. and gallant Friend aware that the Vice-President of the Kenya Africa National Union was recently in Peking on an invalid passport and the Chinese scene had a most salutary effect?

Colonel Beamish

I remember that when Mr. Oginga Odinga returned to Kenya recently a Press statement was issued following a speech he had made in Peking in which he had praised Mau-Mau as being altogether praiseworthy and "glorious". This is something which we must take into account in trying to understand the background of this problem. I mention these things only because all the points which I have mentioned have coloured American thinking on the problem, rightly or wrongly—some of them rightly, without any doubt at all.

In conclusion, it is nearly as easy to argue that to admit the Peking Government to the United Nations, in default of promises of no further military aggression, would be to make a mockery of United Nations principles as it is to argue that China's very bellicosity emphasises the need for her membership so that moderating influences, including those of the Afro-Asian countries, may be brought to bear. I could argue either way, easily. I agree with the second, and that is why I should like to see China a member of the United Nations. It is because I believe in the second argument that I hope that it will not be long before the American and British viewpoints come together. We shall then be able to tackle together the biggest problem ever faced by our two countries: how China's legitimate hopes can be achieved within a peaceful Far Eastern framework. I am sure that this Motion will be rejected by a large majority because it has been couched in terms of censure—which, incidentally the hon. Member for Pembroke, who moved it, found very difficult to drag into his speech. They were brought in only in his peroration and then were much overstated. Apart from this, he made a very reasonable speech. But I feel sure that the Motion will be rejected by a large majority.

5.37 p.m.

Mr. Donald Wade (Huddersfield, West)

Although I was third in the Ballot for Private Members' Motions to be discussed today, I do not for one moment begrudge the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) his fortune on having been drawn first in the Ballot. I welcome the subject which he has chosen.

In the few observations which I have to make I shall endeavour to be realistic as well as brief. It is clear that there are two possible objections to the proposed admission of Red China to the United Nations, and I do not think either of them stands up to examination. One objection is that it would involve a serious loss of face for the United States. However, one cannot go on keeping up the pretence that the de facto Government of China is not really the Government, and, whatever loss of face may be involved, I think it will be all the worse the longer the decision to admit Red China is put off.

The last vote, whatever the wording may be, on the point whether the Question should be on the agenda displays figures which must be considered very seriously. There were 42 votes in favour of not allowing the question of Red China's admission to be on the agenda, 34 against and 22 abstentions. That was on 8th October this year. I do not believe that it will be long before the majority is against the United States and Britain. It may be that Red China will refuse. We do not know, but that is no argument for not allowing this subject to be debated at the United Nations. I do not think that the argument of loss of face is sound.

Secondly, it may be argued that Red China has not observed the principles of the Charter. That is all too true. The way in which China has behaved in Tibet is to me abhorrent, and nothing that I can say is strong enough in condemnation of what I have heard of events in Tibet. I go further and say that I doubt whether the admission of China to the United Nations would necessarily bring about any sudden change in Chinese behaviour. It would be oversimplifying the situation to regard her as a bad boy who will be immediately reformed if admitted to the United Nations. I do not think that that is necessarily so. But her continued isolation is a danger to the world. It is unnecessary to pursue this line of argument, because practically every hon. Member who has spoken in the debate has recognised the need for admitting China to membership of the United Nations.

Is it possible to bring this about with some compensating benefits and with the least loss of face? I think that it is possible if the proposal to admit China is part of a larger policy which the British Government should put forward. First, we should come out boldly in favour of universal membership of the United Nations rather than these periodic package deals. That would mean that automatically a de facto Government would become entitled to membership.

Some difficulties would follow from that. If every nation were automatically a member of the club, we could not have rules which involve expulsion from the club. On another occasion, when we were debating United Nations affairs, I attempted to meet that point and suggested that there might be some other way of dealing with those who disobey the rules, for example by introducing a provision that a nation which had flouted the decisions of the United Nations should not be entitled to vote until a two-thirds majority of the Assembly passed a resolution enabling it to do so. But I will not pursue that this afternoon.

In this wider programme, we might propose some modification of the veto. I should like to see the veto on the Security Council abolished, but I think that that is out of the question. At least I should like to see some modification, for example, in decisions which do not involve the sending of a military police force. I understand that Britain has proposed that there should be an inspection in the Congo of the conditions under which Mr. Lumumba is held and under which whites are held in Stanleyville. There are many other decisions by the Security Council which do not involve the sending of a military force or the activities of a military force, and I should like to see this kind of decision brought outside the realm of the veto. That would be a step in the right direction.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Order. The hon. Member is getting rather far from the Motion.

Mr. Wade

I bow to your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and I will return to the point which I was trying to make. We shall involve the least loss of face over the admission of China if we try to include this proposal in a wider programme. One item which I have suggested might be some modification of the veto. Another which I should like to see would be acceptance of the principle of the inspection and control of nuclear weapons by all member nations, so that it would automatically apply to China when she became a member of the United Nations. Thirdly, I should like to see individual recruitment to the United Nations Force instead of nations providing contingents which can be withdrawn at any time.

It is most unlikely that all these proposals would be accepted. I recognise that. But some of them, I feel, would be looked upon very favourably by a large number of uncommitted nations. If Britain would come out with a bold policy for some reform of the United Nations Charter, including the automatic admission of all nations as a right and not as part of a package deal, then in putting forward such a policy she would gain considerable support from many of the smaller countries. China would be admitted and America would avoid some of that loss of face which she fears. But if we pursue a policy of drift, as we have for a number of years, we shall very soon rue it.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Campbell (Moray and Nairn)

I agree with a large part of what the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade) said when he was referring to China, but there are other parts with which I do not agree, and I shall refer in my speech to the general points which he made about membership.

When the problem of which of the two contending Governments should represent China first arose in the United Nations eleven years ago, it became clear that this situation had not been expressly provided for in the Charter. Article 4 of the Charter refers to the entry of new members to the United Nations, and there were no articles dealing with a situation in which two delegations were contending. Since then, this question has been dealt with as a matter of credentials, both in the Security Council and in the General Assembly. I agree with the view which has been expressed that the Peking Government would not be satisfied to be admitted as a new member under Article 4. I believe, from the statements which have been made by the Communist Government, that China wishes to take the place of the Nationalist delegate now sitting in the United Nations and to take the position of a permanent member of the Security Council, with a veto.

The credentials question at the United Nations has been considered as one to be decided by the members themselves and not to be left to the Secretary-General. A guide to the general position has always been the proportion of countries which have recognised Communist China to those which have not. The present position is that 45 of the 99 members of the United Nations still recognise the Nationalist Chinese Government on Formosa, 34 recognise the Peking Government and 20 new nations have not yet made up their minds.

Since early 1950, the United Kingdom view has been that the Peking Government ought to represent China and to sit in the Chinese seat, and that has been founded on our fairly well-known principle of recognition—that the Government which commands authority over most of the people of the country and the Government which has control over most of the territory is the one which is, in fact, the Government of the country whether we like its policies or approve of the manner in which it arrived in that position or not.

The first two years of this period were under Labour Governments, and since then there have been Conservative Governments. These Governments have taken the view, with which I personally agree, that the Peking Government ought to represent China. But to criticise the Government of the day in the terms in which the Motion is couched is grossly to oversimplify the situation, to ignore many of the facts and to imply criticism of the Labour Government during the first two years.

Let me remind hon. Members opposite that when this question came up in the Security Council on 13th January, 1950, it was put in the form of a Soviet Resolution that the credentials of the Nationalist Chinese delegate should not be recognised. The United Kingdom, at that time, under a Labour Government, abstained on this resolution. To explain this, the United Kingdom delegate said: I am instructed by my Government that, in its view, it is premature to discuss the Soviet Resolution before even a majority of the members of the Security Council have recognised the Communist Government. At that time five members of the Council had recognised the Peking Government and five members had not. So it was very even. The eleventh was China herself.

The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) referred to formulae of fatuity when he referred to wording such as the time not being ripe, or being premature.

Mr. Donnelly

If the hon. Gentleman had followed my remarks carefully, he would be aware that Mr. Ernest Bevin at the time, in 1950, explained the British Government's abstention. We had not then completed arrangements for the exchange of envoys and so on, as the hon. Gentleman himself has said. But my reference to the formulae of fatuity dates to the statements in 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959 and 1960.

Mr. Campbell

I listened carefully to what the hon. Gentleman said, and I noted that he was referring conveniently to the dates 1956, 1957, 1958 and later, but not to 1950. He gave the early history at the end of 1949 and the first few days of 1950, but he quickly—and conveniently—passed over the intervening period. This meeting was five months before the Korean war broke out. I am not trying to make any particular point. I am just recognising the difficulty of the situation by pointing out that the party opposite, when in power, had the same sort of difficulties, and the United Kingdom delegate certainly said nothing about envoys and difficulties of that kind. He made this short statement which I have just quoted. [Interruption.] I hear the hon. Member for Pembroke saying that he was here when Mr. Bevin spoke. I was not here, but I was sitting behind the United Kingdom delegate in the Security Council at the time, as a member of the permanent delegation, and my memory is not at fault.

By the time the Conservative Government had considered the situation it was much more difficult because of the Chinese intervention in the war in Korea. The Chinese so-called volunteers had taken part. The next General Assembly after that was in 1951, and, as has been described by the hon. Member for Pembroke, the position at that time had naturally become more difficult because there was not much, if any, support at the United Nations at that time for the Communist Chinese Government being admitted while they were fighting against the United Nations in Korea.

More recently there was the invasion of Tibet, and more recently still the Chinese invasion of the frontiers of India. It is very notable that the Indian Government have not been prepared to sponsor their usual resolution at the United Nations as they have done in the past. When censure is aimed at the United Kingdom Government for apparently not exercising pressure, let it be remembered that India, who in the past has been the sponsor and friend of China, herself withdrew from this position in the light of what was happening on her borders.

In view of these developments, I can quite understand why some people may consider that the Peking Government are not eligible to represent China at the United Nations. Under Article 4 a country is supposed to be peaceloving and willing and able to take on the obligations of membership. But my own view is that Article 4 has already been so debased that the United Nations has assumed the character of a concourse of all the States in the world without much attention being paid to their qualifications under Article 4. I am prepared to accept that.

At present there are only two applicants outstanding in the whole world. The countries outside the United Nations are Switzerland, who does not wish to apply and who wishes to stay outside, and the divided countries of Germany, Korea and Vietnam. The only two countries who are applicants are Outer Mongolia—and the argument there has been whether she even exists as a separate country—and recently Mauretania, whose application has been vetoed by the Soviet Government because Mongolia has not been admitted.

In this assembly, where we find the Kadar régime of Hungary and other Governments whom we ourselves would not consider could be members without some strain of Article 4, the Chinese Peking Government ought to take their place as representing the authority de facto in China. The practical reasons in favour of this are: first, that it can be argued that if Communist China were inside the world's councils we should make faster progress towards the settlement of international problems and particularly of disarmament. Secondly, Communist China is likely to be less truculent and less resentful if she is inside rather than outside. Thirdly, and most important—a point which has been made by several hon. Members—Communist China would be less dependent on the Soviet Union.

However, the difficulties of the United States must be recognised. First, their form of recognition implies some degree of approval. Secondly, there is the question of American public opinion, particularly after the Korean war, as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lewes (Colonel Beamish) has pointed out. Thirdly, the defence system in the Far East and of the free world is largely American, and that has to be borne in mind in considering the future of Formosa. That brings us to the fourth and perhaps most important point, that if the Americans were to appear to be throwing overboard an old friend and ally, it might have a very disturbing effect in the Far East. None of us wants to see Japan or the Philippines go Communist. This is the sort of thing which might cause disquiet and start a feeling in the Far East that they were on the wrong side, the weak side, the side which might throw them away.

Therefore, I agree with hon. Members on both sides of the House who have said that some international guarantee for Formosa must be a part of the agreement, whether it is open or behind the scenes, that Communist China should be allowed to take the Chinese place in the United Nations. That international agreement would neutralise Formosa and would stop attacks not only against Formosa but the other way, too. This would allow the 2 million Chinese who have supported Chiang Kai-shek to live out their lives in peace and without the continual threat of intimidation, extermination and a continuation of the old war.

I would support moves to break the deadlock, but I believe that these need careful preparation. Otherwise, there is a danger of very serious misunderstanding with the United States, and I do not refer simply to misunderstandings between the Governments. This is a matter on which public opinion in that country could very quickly, though wrongly perhaps, be inflamed against us.

The mechanics of any entry by the Peking régime into the United Nations ought to be considered. I do not think they have been yet today.

It has been considered—and this is a general view at the United Nations—that the General Assembly and the Security Council are separate and independent bodies for this purpose and that the General Assembly might act with the necessary majority and accept the Chinese Communist delegate, while the Security Council might continue for some time before the same thing happened there or vice versa. It is not clear whether, in the General Assembly, a two-thirds majority or a simple majority would be required, because it is not clear whether this subject would come under Article 18 as an "important matter" or not. In the Security Council, it is clear that a majority or seven members out of the 11 would be required for this decision to be taken.

It is worth noting that, in 1950, the American delegate at the time stated that if seven members of the Security Council did vote in favour of the change in Chinese representation, he would not vote against it. Thus, in 1950, the American Government made it clear that they were not then proposing to use the veto and, presumably, they regarded this under the Charter as a procedural matter.

Once the decision has been taken in those two bodies, the question of Chinese representation in the many other bodies of the United Nations would fall into place because many of them are subsidiaries of those two bodies or for some other reason would take their guidance from them.

This is a very complicated question, but I believe that progress can be made. It must be made, however, taking fully into consideration the special difficulties of the United States. I do not believe that it would be helpful to try to make any advance by the kind of pressure visualised in the terms of the Motion.

6.1 p.m.

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)

The hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell) always speaks with great authority on these topics and we listen to him with respect because he has been behind the scenes and has seen the technicalities of the United Nations operating in a way denied to most of us. We must take note of much of what he has said and welcome in many ways some of his remarks. There were, however, one or two points he made in regard to which I must enter a caveat.

The hon. Gentleman referred to the Korean War. This has figured as a theme in many of the speeches today. Surely, we shall not live continually in the atmosphere of the Korean War. In my view, we ought not to attach too much significance to it in the circumstances of the 1960s. The hon. Gentleman said that the defence of the Free World in the Far East was largely an American job. I am certain that, if we regard it in that light, the Chinese Government are bound to feel that they too have a say in that matter, particularly having regard to the behaviour of the American command in Laos. At the moment, as the hon. Member must know, there are very many people who are not anti-American but who are very disturbed at some of the things being done in South-East Asia today.

The hon. Member said that he wanted to break the deadlock. I hope that that is what we all want to do. He went on to qualify that by saying that the matter needed careful preparation. Surely, this Government, after being in power for nine years, have had ample time in which to give the careful preparation that is necessary for this step. I feel, therefore, that on those three points one must accept with reservation the comments of the hon. Member.

He said that this was a problem of two Governments. I have had the opportunity of discussing that problem with Chou En-lai, because, like some hon. Members on both sides, I have been to China. I have moved through China from Shenyang, visiting the mining villages and the co-operative villages in that area, to Peking, Shanghai, Hankow, or to Canton, and many smaller places in between. Not only have I met members of the Chinese community in these parts, but I have met members of the British community, including British business men.

I remember particularly a gentleman from Inverness who had all his property taken over by the Chinese on Liberation Day. Incidentally, I tried to raise the matter with the Foreign Office. I asked him why he remained in China when the Chinese has treated him in that way. He replied, "When a man has lived here as long as I have and found it such a happy place to live in, he just cannot leave China. I have come to like these people" That is an attitude from our own side, an individual one, but one which I have found expressed in other ways, and it is something which we must think of when we say that this is a problem of two Governments.

Chou En-lai takes the view that Taiwan is a part of China, historically and geographically, a part of the province of Fukien. While he is not intransigent in his attitude and he is willing to come to some sort of agreement about when and how Taiwan should again become a part of China, he will not yield one inch on that score; namely, that Taiwan is a part of China partly occupied by people who had to leave China as a result of military defeat and who are now in Taiwan because they have no other place to go. The idea of regarding the Taiwan régime as a Government in any way parallel to or having an authority as a Government to be compared with the Government of Peking is rejected completely by the present Prime Minister of China.

In my view, our Government are pursuing a policy of procrastination. Not only is procrastination the thief of time; it is the thief of opportunity. It is not unfair to say that many hon. Members sitting on the Government benches understand this aspect of the matter better even than we do, because some of them, in face of difficulties presented by their own Government, are conducting quite a large trade with the present Government of China. They are glad to do so and they have been doing so for many years. They realise how foolish is the policy of procrastination being pursued by the present Government.

It is right to say that two large scale attacks have been made on the Government of China in order at least to cripple them if not to destroy them. These two attacks were not cushioned by the sort of philosophical attitude which has been part of the atmosphere of this debate. The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. Longden) pointed to the difference between the Chinese philosophy and ours. He said that we should, as it were, be careful because their behaviour and philosophy were so different from ours. Of course, they must be

Mr. Longden

I said that their behaviour and philosophy were so utterly different from the spirit and message of the Charter.

Mr. Rankin

Yes, their behaviour and philosophy were very different, he said. I am afraid that I just could not read the other word or two of my own writing. I had to note down what he said very quickly. I am sorry if I misunderstood him. I have no desire to misrepresent him.

Of course, with two nations whose religions are so different there is bound to be a different attitude. One has only to go into a Buddhist temple to see that every worshipper makes his own time for worship. It is there all the time, and one person can be a congregation. One can go in at any hour of the day or night because the temple is always open. There is bound to be a different attitude, in the philosophical sense, to many of the problems that present themselves to us.

If one talks about behaviour, how delightful it is to see two dignified Chinese approaching one another and greeting one another. I wish we saw a little more of that type of behaviour here, instead of, sometimes, a grip of the hand that almost brings one to one's knees and "Good-bye" before there is time to say "How do you do?"

I have said that two large-scale attacks have been made on the present Government of China. These have affected her way of living and her reaction to us, and they have produced a bitterness, perhaps, which I hope every one of us here wants to see overcome. First, we made an attack on her trade. We know about the instrument, the Co-ordinating Committee which has sat in Paris for so long to decide with whom we shall trade, how much we shall exchange and all that sort of thing. That instrument, under American domination, had one purpose, and that was to destroy Chinese trade with the West and to harm it wherever it was found possible to do so. There is no doubt about that. A long series of questions and Adjournment debates in the House have shown it to be true that the purpose was to limit and ultimately cripple, if not obliterate, the trade of China with Western countries.

Consequently, it revealed the ignorance of the Chinese position, which I was able to see for myself. For instance, in the College of Iron and Steel in Peking, I saw some of the latest and most up-to-date instruments for electro-magnetic work and so on. I saw them there stamped with the mark "Made in West Germany" at a time when we were agreeing with West Germany in Paris not to conduct trade with China. Outside my Peking hotel I saw far more American cars than any other type of car, proving that despite the barriers we were trying to put up trade was going on through other parties. I do not know about that, but there were the goods that we were trying to keep out. And they could be seen in Peking and elsewhere.

Not only that, but, despite all our attempts to prevent the Chinese from accumulating sterling balances, I saw the failure of this policy when I went from Canton to Hong Kong. There, because by accident I happened to be the guest of a gentleman who was the agent of the Chinese State Bank, I was assured that at that time the Chinese held, in sterling, in Hong Kong, £150 million. When I asked the President of the Board of Trade if he would not use some of that money for trade with China, he denied its existence. The right hon. Gentleman said that China would need to get her loans from Russia; but the money was there. Within a year, it had almost filtered away, because it was being used by buy the goods that we should have been selling, using our own money. We were allowing it to be used by third parties.

Then, there has been the large-scale and massive political attack made on China, which, again, has been largely the inspiration of the United States. While we in this House have been professing a definite policy towards China politically, on every occasion when we had a chance of standing on our own feet to support such policies with regard to China, we succumbed to the pressure of the United States Government. I think that that is a most unfortunate record indeed, and I shall be glad to find that the Joint Under-Secretary of State who will reply now has a clear and sure answer to that part of my charge.

These two attacks have been made, and the trade one is still going on. My last Question to the President of the Board of Trade, and others from this side of the House, revealed that we are still carrying on this petty little warfare. The Minister of Trade and Commerce in China said to me: "Now, we are beginning to export from China some of the things that you refuse to send to us." Everyone who has been there agrees about the remarkable progress that has been made—the tremendous change in the flow of the Yellow River, the changing of that great delta where flooding took place year in and year out for centuries into a land which is growing grain where it never grew before; the work of electrification and hydro-electric dams that are going up in the great bend of that river, the work on the Yangtse and, most important of all, what is being done in the North-West province of China.

Between Hankow and Canton, I had my most interesting experience. I met the Far Eastern correspondent of one of our greatest daily newspapers. He said to me, "Have you see the North-West?" I replied, "No, I do not think we shall get there." He said, "I have been sent out by my editor to report what is going on in China, and I have been to a part of China which was for centuries regarded as a desert. Now, it is growing all sorts of foodstuffs. I have sent home pictures and reports to my editor." Not one single word of his reports on what he had seen in China was allowed to appear in the daily Press in this country, even in his own newspaper. He told me that, and he showed me the only pictures that have been published. I hope that in this debate this evidence of concealment will perhaps impress hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite.

A great deal has been said about what sort of conditions should be imposed upon China if she is to come into the United Nations. Surely, there is one thing on which we shall all be agreed, and that is that China ought not to be subjected to any conditions other than those that are applied to any other nation which wants to become a member of the United Nations. We cannot expect China to be treated differently. Surely it would be unfair to apply to China, if she seeks admission to the United Nations, conditions which we have not applied to other members now in the United Nations or countries which may hope to get into the United Nations. This debate will have its most fruitful conclusion if hon. Members opposite who agree with some of the things which have been said in it will follow us into the Lobby and vote with us.

6.21 p.m.

Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)

We must be grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) for again raising this matter, about which all my right hon. and hon. Friends feel as strongly as he does. I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) spoiled an excellent speech by trying to manufacture a disagreement on this matter which does not exist and never has existed.

I think that there has been a general welcome from both sides of the House for this opportunity to debate the matter of China's admission to the United Nations. There is no disagreement on the desirability of Peking's entry. I think that this has been brought out in all the speeches from the Government benches. The question which we are debating is not so much the desirability of Peking taking the Chinese seat in the United Nations as the wisdom of the Government's behaviour in consistently refusing to press for Peking's admission.

I noticed this morning that the United Nations had just made a new estimate of the population of our planet—3,000 million people, of whom almost one-quarter are Chinese. China has a larger population than the next two largest countries in the world put together. During the last ten years she has made tremendous economic advances. She is now by any standard, whether economic, military or population, one of the world's very greatest Powers, and I suggest that nothing has shown this more clearly than the extent to which her leaders have compelled the Soviet leaders to compromise on many important issues, not only of policy but also of doctrine, in the last few years and, very conspicuously, in the last few weeks.

We all agree that there can be no effective disarmament agreement in the world without full Chinese participation. No one in the debate, from either side of the House, has attempted to argue that the exclusion of the Peking Government from the United Nations is anything but absurd and dangerous. Yet for the last nine years Her Majesty's Government have taken no step whatever to end Peking's exclusion from the United Nations. On the contrary, again and again they have voted to prevent the United Nations from even considering the problem.

The only argument on merit which we have heard from the other side of the House in the debate to justify the Government's behaviour is that there is a large number of countries in the United Nations which do not at present recognise the Peking Government. But we know perfectly well that the failure of other Governments to recognise Peking is no more spontaneous than the failure of Her Majesty's Government, having recognised Peking, to press for the admission of Peking to the United Nations. We all know perfectly well that the reason why the majority of countries do not recognise Peking and why Peking is not a member of the United Nations is plainly and simply, as several hon. Members opposite have confessed, that countries have given in to American threats—threats that the United States might leave the United Nations and that their relations with her would be irremediably damaged.

There are, in fact, many countries which believe, as we do, that the Peking Government must be accepted as the legal Government of China and, being the legal Government, must be admitted to the United Nations, but have failed to support their convictions in action because of pressure. Her Majesty's Government have never admitted this pressure. They have tended to take one line or another. At times, when the Chinese Government are behaving themselves and there is no special tension in the Far East, the Government say that the problem is not an urgent one. When the Chinese Government are misbehaving themselves, they say, "We cannot possibly admit the Chinese Government at this time".

In so far as the Government have an argument at all—and I shall be interested to hear whether the Joint Under-Secretary of State has any other argument to put—the whole of the Government's case is based not on principle, but on timing. They say that it is never the right time to raise this issue in the United Nations. The right time has still not yet arrived.

The main burden of my speech will be to try to persuade the House that this year of all years is absolutely vital. We must get a solution of this problem during the next twelve months and, to put it concretely, we must see that China is admitted to the United Nations during the next Assembly at the very latest. That means that we must start acting publicly now to bring about Peking's admission.

There are many reasons why I believe that the urgency of solving this problem has never been as great as it is now. On the one hand, as several hon. Members have said, there is to be a new Administration in the United States whose advisers have shown themselves much more flexible in this issue than members of the present Administration. Mr. Dean Acheson's speech has already been quoted. We have had similar speeches from Mr. Fulbright, Mr. Chester Bowles and Mr. Dean Rusk, all of whom are possible Secretaries of State in the next American Administration.

Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)

Mr. Rusk has just been announced as Secretary of State.

Mr. Healey

America will not have another election for another two years. Therefore, Mr. Kennedy's Administration can take decisions on this matter during the next twelve months with almost no political anxiety whatever. But if we move in the matter in the year after next we shall be running into the mid-term elections and all these arguments of internal American politics will be brought up against us again.

Circumstances are peculiarly suitable for raising this matter not only in the United States, but in China. The Chinese Government's behaviour in the Far East has been noticeably less aggressive in the last few months than for many years past. If there was ever anything in the argument that we cannot bring China in under duress, at a time when China is making trouble, that argument cannot be applied at present. Yet, as we all know, there are same very serious crises developing in the Far East—in Laos, Indonesia and elsewhere—and unless we can start the process of bringing China into the world community now we may well find happening in 1961 what happened in 1950, namely, that through a failure to convince the Chinese that Western policy was to change we removed any possible inhibitions the Chinese might have had against aggressive action to pursue their aims by force in the Far East.

Another important factor which, I believe, should urge us to raise this matter now is that at the recent conference in Moscow the Communist parties accepted peaceful co-existence as the basic principle of their policy. I must, however, point out that they accepted it conditionally. Reservations were clearly entered by the Chinese Government before it signed on the dotted line and it was made clear that things might happen in the next few years which would render the generalisations in the Moscow communiqué untenable. In other words, the acceptance by China of the Khrushchev conception of peaceful coexistence was strictly conditional on advance being made towards settlements in the world during the next few years.

In my view, perhaps the most important single factor which should urge us to change Government policy on this matter in the next few months is the effect of present policy on the very survival of the United Nations. It has become clear during the present Assembly that the survival of the United Nations as an organisation may well be at stake during the next twelve months. The only argument put by Mr. Khrushchev, when he was in New York, which really got across to the uncommitted countries of Africa and Asia was the argument that the United Nations must be the tool of American imperialism, because America alone is capable of keeping the largest country in the world, which happens to be an Asian country, out of the United Nations. It is an impressive argument and it is not an easy one to answer.

Moreover, Mr. Khrushchev has also succeeded in persuading the Afro-Asian countries that he is quite justified in refusing to envisage any revision of the Charter to take account of the emergence of Afro-Asia so long as the Peking Government is excluded. The result is that by our own rigidity on this issue during the last few years, we have forged an alliance inside the United Nations between the uncommitted Afro-Asian countries and the Soviet Union which might be disastrous, not only to our own policies in the world, but ultimately to the United Nations itself.

As several hon. Members in this debate have pointed out, it is almost certain, in any case, that the American policy on China will be defeated in the United Nations General Assembly next year. There would be a majority in the Assembly for the seating of China, if only six countries change their vote or if any twelve of the twenty-two countries which abstained on the vote this year decide to vote for consideration of the matter. It is significant that only three days ago, on Friday, in New York, the Chiang Kai-shek Government was defeated for membership of the Economic and Social Council, one indication among many of a steadily widening gulf between the Western world and the Afro-Asian countries inside the United Nations, a gulf which is disastrous to world peace and to Western policy and which can be traced essentially to the unholy rigidity of Western policy as supported by Her Majesty's Government on the question of the Peking seat.

The choice facing us now is not any longer whether to get Peking seated or to keep her out. It is whether we in the West are to take the initiative to get Peking in under reasonable conditions, or whether we are to wait until we are forced to accept the unconditional entry of the Peking Government in circumstances which involve us in the maximum unpopularity all over the world.

There are certain difficult and complicated issues that will immediately require negotiation once the entry of Peking is accepted. There is the question of the future of the people living on the Island of Taiwan. It has always been the policy of my party that the people living on Taiwan must be given the opportunity to choose for themselves, under international supervision, what sort of future they want—whether they want to join mainland China, whether they want, perhaps, to go back to Japan, under whose sovereignty they lived for so long, or whether they want to be an independent State or a United Nations trusteeship. It has never been the policy of my party that Formosa should be handed over unconditionally to Communist rule without consulting its people.

I maintain, however, that unless we can initiate discussion of these problems ourselves on the basis of bringing Peking into the United Nations we may find that the tidal swell of support for Peking's entry will be so great as to sweep away all these other considerations before it. There is also the overwhelmingly important question of revising the structure of the Security Council so that the African and Asian countries, which did not exist as independent States when the Charter was drafted, have a fair share of the permanent seats and of those which change year by year.

I believe that if Her Majesty's Government make plain in the next few months that they will switch their vote on China's entry next year and that they will campaign in the United Nations Assembly for the entry of Communist China, we can persuade the United States Government to start negotiating with us and with other members of the United Nations on all these contingent problems, like the future of Taiwan and the revision of the Security Council, which must be solved when Peking comes into the United Nations.

There is reason to believe that although the American administration is much more flexible on this issue than its predecessor, it might well be glad to have its hand forced by a British initiative of this nature rather than itself have to initiate a shift in Western policy, given the feeling which certainly exists in the United States against it.

The big point which I would make is that there can be no question of getting China to pay a price for entry to the United Nations. I agree strongly with my hon. Friend who said that we cannot demand any more of the Peking Government than we demand of any other Government which is a member of the United Nations. Indeed, the reason why we want China in the United Nations is not essentially that we think that it will greatly help China. We want China in the United Nations because we believe that the present China policy of the West is a rotting albatross around our necks, and that the sooner we get rid of it the better.

Mr. G. Campbell

Would the hon. Gentleman consider as a price that could be asked the internationalisation or guaranteeing of Formosa separately? That is what the Chinese Communist Government have so far refused to accept.

Mr. Healey

Once we make it clear that we are prepared to support Peking's entry to the United Nations, we should discuss with our friends and also with our opponents in the United Nations the solution of the contingent problems. I believe that it would be possible to get a majority in the United Nations for a solution of the Formosa problem which would not involve its unconditional transfer to the sovereignty of Peking. Provided that we got a majority in the United Nations Assembly for such a solution of the problem, I think that the attitude of the Chinese Government subsequently would be much less important.

I say again, the biggest single case against our present China policy is the damage that it is doing to us in all the uncommitted countries. Any new policy that will get the support of the uncommitted countries deserves our support, even though it does not immediately get the full support of the Peking Government.

Mr. G. Campbell

It would be a price.

Mr. Healey

It would not be a price: it would be a solution of one of the contingent problems. As the hon. Member knows, we could argue whether or not Taiwan should be under Chinese sovereignty. It certainly is not now.

I do not think that there are solid grounds for being certain that the entry of China into the United Nations would have a revolutionary effect on Chinese behaviour in the world. I believe, however, with an hon. Member who spoke earlier from the Government side, that the self-imposed isolation of the Chinese régime is one of the great threats to world peace. Anything which enables China to see the world more clearly and which enables the world to see China more clearly would be of tremendous advantage to us all.

To sum up, we have all agreed so far in this debate, and I hope that the Joint Under-Secretary for State will say that he agrees, too—I hope he will say this because his hon. Friends have said it for him, but we have so far had not a clear Government statement on the matter—that the exclusion of Peking from the Chinese seat is totally unjustified and highly dangerous. If we believe that we must believe that continued support by the Government of the exclusion of Peking from the United Nations is not only a betrayal of the Government's express conviction but a humiliating and unnecessary surrender to foreign pressures, a surrender which deserves the severest censure from anyone on either side of the House who cherishes the United Nations or has pride in his country.

For that reason, I hope that there will be overwhelming support for the Motion when we vote at seven o'clock.

6.41 p.m.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. J. B. Godber)

This Motion is a Motion of censure, as the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) made clear in his last few words, but I would say that the discussion today has been conducted in the main with very studied moderation; and I think that that has been a very good thing. I think that we have had a very useful debate on this very difficult and thorny problem, but I would say that it does not really amount to a censure on which we shall vote in a short time.

I will try to show the Government's point of view in relation to this question, in response to the hon. Member for Leeds, East, but I must paint it against the correct background. This Motion seeks to censure the Government, as I said, for their consistent failure to press for the admission to the United Nations of the People's Republic of China, as representing the Government of China. Since we recognise the People's Republice of China as the Government of China the Motion therefore attacks the Government for failing to press for admission into the United Nations of a Government which we recognise.

It is, perhaps, well to begin by restating our position on the question of recognition. Generally speaking, it is the view of the Government that when, outside the existence of a state of war, a foreign Government are in obvious control of the territory which they claim to govern, they should be recognised as the Government of that country. This is a purely practical matter, and, in our view, has nothing to do with the way that Government assumed power or the way they control the people they purport to govern. It is simply a matter of recognising a fact.

As the House is aware, other Governments set themselves different criteria for recognition. They take into account the way the Government seeking recognition came into power, the way they behave themselves internationally, outstanding disputes that there may be between them and other Powers whose recognition is sought, and various matters of this kind. In fact, in the view of some States, political recognition is, as it were, an accolade of approval. The fact that Her Majesty's Government do not hold this view does not mean that they need pay no attention to the views of others.

On this point, I would emphasise that although the case is not exactly parallel the same differences of view exist over the question of admission to the United Nations. Generally speaking, the Government believe that a sovereign State in clear control of its territory should be admitted to the United Nations. Although all sovereign States are equal in international status it naturally follows from the Government's general view that a country so large in size and population as the People's Republic of China is better in the United Nations than out of it. I do not say that that country or any other country has a prescriptive right to be a member of the United Nations; I say simply that as a practical matter we think that it should be in. Here again, other States take different views.

In the specific case of the People's Republic of China it is argued that she has not yet purged herself of the aggression in Korea for which she was condemned by the United Nations and of which we have been reminded in the debate. [Interruption.] I am giving the view of other nations who hold this view generally and genuinely. It is argued that her international actions over the last ten years since she assumed power have not been such as to give any grounds for confidence that, if accepted into the United Nations, she would loyally and faithfully abide by the principles of the Charter. A recent instance is her activities in Tibet, about which I know many hon. Members feel strongly, and we have been reminded of that in the debate. These facts have led certain countries to maintain a strong opposition to the admission of China.

Mr. Healey

The hon. Gentleman has been arguing about the circumstances in which States must be admitted to the United Nations, but surely there has never been any argument about China's membership of the United Nations as such. The only argument is which Government represent the State of China. Surely the Government took their decision on that part of the argument when they recognised the Peking Government in 1947.

Mr. Godber

Yes. I was trying to show how certain other States were looking at this problem and I specifically said that this was not the Government's view. A nation which advocates that world war is necessary and inevitable can scarcely complain if some of those who are trying to organise peace are lukewarm about her admission to the United Nations. These are practical facts. Nothing that we can do and say in this House today can alter them.

The point on which this Motion seeks to censure the Government must, therefore, be that, in the light of these established and incontrovertible facts, the Government have failed to press for the admission of China into the United Nations. In the view of some people, and, perhaps, in that of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly), who moved the Motion, the reason for the Government's failure to press for this admission is simply their unwillingness openly and publicly to oppose the known views and position of the United States. This is what has been said by a number of Members today. This is the sort of easy answer that no doubt pleases some, but the issue is far more complicated than it might lead us to suppose.

Hon. Members opposite have said that over the last years the attitude of the United States towards China has been unnecessarily inflexible. That is an arguable point, but let no one forget that the attitude of China towards the United States, towards the free world, and towards her own admission into the United Nations has been even more inflexible than that of any of her opponents. The Chinese authorities have repeatedly made clear in their public statements that their interest in getting into the United Nations is qualified by other and stronger motives of which the principal—we must face this, and it has not been faced sufficiently by some hon. Members opposite—is the banishment of the United States, and, indeed, if one follows the argument logically, of all the free world, from the whole area of the Far East and the Western Pacific.

Before the Chinese will even begin to consider any negotiation for a settlement of the complex questions, they demand that the United States should completely withdraw from the Formosa area and leave that island with its 10 million inhabitants, 8 million of whom are indigenous Formosans, to be dealt with by the Chinese Government as they choose. The attitude of the Chinese Government is absolutely to refuse to negotiate a settlement for Formosa acceptable to both parties, and, what is more important, to the Formosan people. Hon. Members on this side have made that point abundantly clear in the debate today.

Hon. Members opposite have not, I think, faced up to this particular problem, and I say to them that this is really a difficult aspect of it which cannot be slurred over but which has to be faced. The Government have no evidence whatsoever to show that the 8 million Formosans, to say nothing of the 2 million mainland Chinese on that island, have any desire to cast their lot with that of the mainland. Yet that is what Peking demands. I doubt whether it is the feeling of the House that, much as hon. Members may like the Peking Government to be in the United Nations, she should gain admittance entirely on those terms. I do not think that I have heard that suggestion.

There seems also to be an opinion that it is the United States alone who stand between China and the United Nations. Indeed, it has been said in this debate. This is far from being the case. I frankly admit that, because of the moratorium, the United Nations has had no opportunity in recent years to show by a vote how many of its members are in favour of the admission of China and how many are against it.

It is certainly arguable, and I will revert to this point later, that instead of the annual moratorium which precludes even the debating of the issue, it would be more positive to debate the substance of the issue itself. The fact remains that each year the moratorium, that is to say the exclusion of the subject from debate, has been passed by the General Assembly. This year it was passed by 42 votes to 34 with 22 abstentions.

This means that, leaving out the countries which prefer to express no opinion, there is still a majority in the United Nations who agree with the view that Her Majesty's Government have maintained over the last several years, that to introduce this subject could lead to no satisfactory solution but only to profitless acrimony in the United Nations. It is perhaps also worth pointing out here that 46 members of the United Nations—I think that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lewes (Colonel Beamish) said it was 45—still recognise the Nationalist authorities in Formosa as the legitimate Government of China and only 34, including this country, recognise the Chinese People's Government in Peking. It is, therefore, by no means certain that if the moratorium were abandoned and the issue came to a substantive vote, a majority would be in favour of the admission of China.

There is the further complication, of which hon. Members will be well aware, that the Chinese Government in Peking have made it abundantly clear that they not only regard China's seat as theirs, but that they will not occupy it unless and until the Nationalists have been thrown out not only from that seat, but from the United Nations altogether.

In all these circumstances I suggest to hon. Members that if, over the last few years, Her Majesty's Government had pressed for the admission of the Government of China this would only have made confusion worse confounded. There was in our view no course open to us but to work patiently and unobtrusively for an easing of tension on either side, in the hope that the day would come when this question could be discussed on its merits without arousing all sorts of passions and fears which could not easily be allayed, and without doing violence to the rights and freedoms of other peoples.

Several hon. Members have accused us of not taking a dramatic stand and giving a dramatic lead. That is all very well. It is very nice to be in a position to do that and it can sometimes produce dividends, but in this case I do not believe that it would have done so. It would have exacerbated our difficulties. What we want is to make progress on this matter and not get bogged down again by raising unnecessary feelings.

In about six weeks a new Administration will take office in the United States. We do not know what the policy of that Administration will be, but we hope to discuss this question with them at an early stage, as we have done in friendly and workmanlike fashion with the present Administration. Hon. Members have called attention to the speech of Mr. Dean Acheson, which is certainly very interesting and which we have studied very closely. I note that he said at another stage in a television interview during the same Kansas visit that his rôle was as … a canvasser of informed opinion, and a flier of trial balloons. It is interesting to see that in connection with the speech to which reference has been made.

I should like to feel that it might be possible also to discuss this matter in workmanlike and practical fashion in the same way with the Chinese Government, but we are faced with real barriers. They say that they have a right to China's seat and the Nationalists have none. They say that the United States must be expelled from Formosa and Eastern Asia. They say that the future of Formosa is a matter for them only to decide. I would say that this is hardly a good augury for fair and profitable negotiations.

Since, for the reasons I have given, it would have been profitless and even damaging to press for China's admission to the United Nations, we have sought in other ways to maintain and expand contact with her. We have a diplomatic mission in Peking which functions, by and large, in the same manner as the diplomatic missions elsewhere. I was glad to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Louth (Mr. C. Osborne) pay tribute to it. Her Majesty's Government in the past sought to raise the mission to ambassadorial status. We should be happy if there were reciprocal arrangements to do the same now.

The range of the mission's contacts with Chinese officials and the Chinese public generally must depend, in the nature of things, on the willingness of the Chinese authorities to foster such contacts. The more they are prepared to do so the more useful our mission will be.

We seek, also, to expand our relations with China in such other ways as are open to us. Our trade relations have expanded and are progressing reasonably satisfactorily, but there are clearly greater possibilities here which we, for our part, are anxious to explore. For example, the Sino-British Trade Council has recently invited the vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade to lead a mission to this country. This is one example of the ways in which we can help.

But the Chinese have a tendency to suggest to us, as to other trading nations, that these commercial relations could be generally improved if our political attitude were more satisfactory. It follows from what I have said already that by this the Chinese mean that we should accept the Chinese position on all these complex issues of which I have spoken. I need not emphasise to the House the dangers to which the acceptance of this argument might lead.

Some people also argue that there is an indefensible distinction between the way we deal with the Soviet Union and other Communist countries, on the one hand, and the way we deal with China, on the other. But, as far as the United Kingdom is concerned, any difference there may be between our relations with the Soviet Union and our relations with China is not of our making. It is due rather to the doctrinaire ideological position taken by the Chinese themselves

There is no good reason why we here in the United Kingdom should not have the same relations with China as we have with the Soviet Union if the Chinese themselves want it.

We believe, in spite of our different ideologies, that we must and can live in the same world together in peace and achieve at least some measure of harmony. If the Chinese should take this view, I believe that the whole problem of our relations, which I know concern hon. Members on this side of the House as well as hon. Members opposite, would take a very marked turn for the better.

I hope that what I have said has indicated that we, on this side, and the Government in particular, are anxious to make progress in this field, but we cannot for one moment accept the charge in the Motion which censures us for our failure to press the admission. I suggest that the reasons I have given are cogent and that they show why we have had to proceed more slowly than some hon. Members wish. I refute the censure Motion and I ask my hon. Friends to oppose it.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that everything he has said about Formosa, about Tibet, and about other troublesome matters in which China has been engaged constitute the strongest of all reasons for giving China at the earliest possible moment the seat to which she is legally entitled in the United Nations?

Mr. Godber

It may well be that there are reasons for bringing China in. I thought that I had stated my view on that, but I also said that she was unwilling to come in unless we previously gave way to her on Formosa, and that we are unwilling to do.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 177, Noes 259.

Division No. 21] AYES [6.59 p.m.
Ainsley, William Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S. W.) Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)
Albu, Austen Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Castle, Mrs. Barbara
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Bowles, Frank Chetwynd, George
Awbery, Stan Boyden, James Cliffe, Michael
Bacon, Miss Alice Brockway, A. Fenner Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
Beaney, Alan Broughton, Dr A. D. D. Cronin, John
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)
Benson, Sir George Brown, Thomas (Ince) Davies, Harold (Leek)
Blackburn, F. Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Davies Ifor (Gower)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Reynolds, G. W.
Deer, George Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Delargy, Hugh Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Diamond, John Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Dodds, Norman Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Ross, William
Donnelly, Desmond Lipton, Marcus Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Ede, Rt. Hon. Chuter McCann, John Skeffington, Arthur
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) MacColl, James Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) McInnes, James Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Evans, Albert McKay, John (Wallsend) Small, William
Fernyhough, E. Mackie, John Snow, Julian
Finch, Harold McLeavy, Frank Sorensen, R. W.
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Spriggs, Leslie
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Manuel, A. C. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Mapp, Charles Stones, William
George, Lady Megan Lloyd Marsh, Richard Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Mason, Roy Strauss, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Vauxhall)
Gourlay, Harry Mayhew, Christopher Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Grey, Charles Mellish, R. J. Swain, Thomas
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Millan, Bruce Swingler, Stephen
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mitchison, G. R. Sylvester, George
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Monslow, Walter Symonds, J. B.
Gunter, Ray Moody, A. S. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Morris, John Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Hannan, William Moyle, Arthur Thomson, C. M. (Dundee, E.)
Hayman, F. H. Neal, Harold Thornton, Ernest
Healey, Denis Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Thorpe, Jeremy
Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)
Herbison, Miss Margaret Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Phllip (Derby, S.) Tomney, Frank
Hill, J. (Midlothian) Oliver, G. H. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Holman, Percy Oram, A. E. Wainwright, Edwin
Houghton, Douglas Owen, Will Warbey, William
Howell, Charles A. Padley, W. E. Watkins, Tudor
Hoy, James H. Paget, R. T. Weitzman, David
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Pargiter, G. A. White, Mrs. Elrene
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Parker, John (Dagenham) Whitlock, William
Hunter, A. E. Parkin B. T. (Paddington, N.) Wigg, George
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Pavitt, Laurence Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Janner, Barnett Peart, Frederick Wilkins, W. A.
Jeger, George Pentland, Norman Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Plummer, Sir Leslie Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Popplewell, Ernest Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Prentice, R. E. Wyatt, Woodrow
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Probert, Arthur Zilliacus, K.
Kelley, Richard Proctor, W. T.
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Randall, Harry TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
King, Dr. Horace Rankin, John Mr. Charles Pannell and
Lawson, George Redhead, E. C. Mr. Darling.
Agnew, Sir Peter Burden, F. A. du Cann, Edward
Aitken, W. T. Butcher, Sir Herbert Duncan, Sir James
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Duthie, Sir William
Allason, James Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Alport, Rt. Hon. C. J. M. Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Elliott, R. W. (Newcastle-on-Tyne, N.)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian (Preston, N.) Cary, Sir Robert Emery, Peter
Arbuthnot, John Channon, H. P. G. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Ashton, Sir Hubert Chataway, Christopher Errington, Sir Eric
Atkins, Humphrey Chichester-Clark, R. Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.
Barber, Anthony Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Farey-Jones, F. w.
Barter, John Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Finlay, Graeme
Batsford, Brian Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Fisher, Nigel
Baxter, sir Beverley (Southgate) Cleaver, Leonard Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Bell, Ronald (S. Bucks.) Cole, Norman Foster, John
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Collard, Richard Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Button)
Bidgood, John C. Cooke, Robert Freeth, Denzil
Biggs-Davison, John Cooper, A. E. Gammans, Lady
Bingham, R. M. Corfield, F. V. Gardner, Edward
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Costain, A. P. Gibson-Watt, David
Bishop, F. P. Coulson, J. M. Glover, Sir Douglas
Black, Sir Cyril Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Bossom, Clive Craddock, Sir Beresford Godber, J. B.
Bourne-Arton, A. Critchley, Julian Goodhew, Victor
Box, Donald Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Gower, Raymond
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Crowder, F. P. Grant, Rt. Hon. William (Woodside)
Boyle, Sir Edward Cunningham, Knox Green, Alan
Braine, Bernard Currle, G. B. H. Gresham Cooke, R.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Dalkeith, Earl of Grimston, Sir Robert
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Brooman-White, R. Digby, Simon Wingfield Gurden, Harold
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Doughty, Charles Hall, John (Wycombe)
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Drayson, G. B. Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.) Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Harris, Reader (Heston) McMaster, Stanley R. Roots, William
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Maopherson, Niall (Dumfries) Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Harvie Anderson, Miss Maddan, Martin Russell, Ronald
Hastings, Stephen Maitland, Sir John Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan
Hay, John Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Scott-Hopkins, James
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Markham, Major Sir Frank Seymour, Leslie
Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Sharples, Richard
Hendry, Forbes Marshall, Douglas Shaw, M.
Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Marten, Neil Shepherd, William
Hiley, Joseph Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Simon, Sir Jocelyn
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Skeet, T. H. H.
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Mawby, Ray Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Hinohingbrooke, Viscount Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Spearman, Sir Alexander
Hirst, Geoffrey Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Speir, Rupert
Hobson, John Mills, Stratton Stodart, J. A.
Holland, Philip Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Storey, Sir Samuel
Hollingworth, John Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Morgan, William Sumner, Donald (Orpington)
Hopkins, Alan Morrison, John Tapsell, Peter
Hornby, R. P. Nabarro, Gerald Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Noble, Michael Teeling, William
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Nugent, Sir Richard Temple, John M.
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Hughes-Young, Michael Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Hutchison, Michael Clark Osborne, Cyril (Louth) Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Iremonger, T. L. Page, John (Harrow, West) Turner, Colin
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Peel, John Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Percival, Ian Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Peyton, John Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Joseph, Sir Keith Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Kerby, Capt. Henry Pike, Miss Mervyn Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Pitman, I. J. Wall, Patrick
Kershaw, Anthony Pitt, Miss Edith Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Kirk, Peter Pott, Percivall Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Lambton, Viscount Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Watts, James
Langford-Holt, J. Price, David (Eastleigh) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Leavey, J. A. Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.) Whitelaw, William
Leburn, Gilmour Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Linstead, Sir Hugh Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Litchfield, Capt. John Proudfoot, Wilfred Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Longbottom, Charles Quennell, Miss J. M. Wise, A. R.
Longden, Gilbert Ramsden, James Woodhouse, C. M.
Loveys, Walter H. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Woodnutt, Mark
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Rees, Hugh Woollam, John
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Rees-Davies, W. R. Worsley, Marcus
McAdden, Stephen Renton, David
MacArthur, Ian Ridley, Hon. Nicholas TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.) Ridsdale, Julian Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe and
McLean, Neil (Inverness) Rippon, Geoffrey Colonel Beamish.