§ 3.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)
I beg to move,That this House, deeply concerned to ensure that the disarmament negotiations and summit talks shall result in real progress towards stopping the arms race and ending the cold war, regrets the failure of Her Majesty's Government to advance and sustain practical proposals to this end and, in particular, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to press for the limitation and control of forces and weapons in Central Europe as a first step towards a wider political settlement in that area and as a means of relaxing tension over Berlin; and further deplores the fact that Her Majesty's Government has consented to the steps that are being taken towards the arming of West German forces with nuclear weapons before the summit talks have been held, thereby prejudicing their prospects of success.First, may I say how much I regret the circumstances which have made it necessary for me to open this day's debate in place of my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). I hope that I can express the feelings 473 of the whole House when I say how much we welcomed the recent news that his recovery is more rapid and that it may not be long before we have him with us again to invigorate our proceedings.
§ Mr. Healey
In its interesting leading article this morning on this debate The Times complains thatThere is no central theme to discipline speeches; no imminent crisis or conference to provide a feeling of urgency.It seems to me that that remark is true in one sense, but untrue in another, because behind the complicated tangle of particular issues which we face in the world at present I think that there is an underlying theme emerging: it is the age-old theme of man's struggle with fate, the battle of the human will against hostile circumstances.
On the one hand, we have atomic weapons, rocket missiles, and all the other means of mass destruction which the scientist can invent, growing in number and destructiveness and proliferating almost, it seems, independently of human volition: and, on the other hand, there is a growing sense in all countries, among all parties, that this proliferation of destructive power presents a threat to the survival of the human race which can be mastered only by the combined efforts of all peoples and all Governments.
During the last year or two we have seen the first timid and tentative gropings towards such co-operation, in the approach towards Summit talks, in the negotiations for a ban on nuclear tests, in the long story of discussions for some more satisfactory settlement in Europe. But the intervention of old habits of behaviour—the search for national advantage, the desire to acquire the best possible bargaining position before negotiation begins, the preoccupation in all countries with questions of national prestige and precedence—obstructs these timid gropings. It seems to me and to my right hon. and hon. Friends that one factor is particularly dangerous at present, the search in all countries for an absolute, 100 per cent. military security through the building up of one's own armed strength at a time when in 474 fact absolute security is quite impossible without world-wide co-operation on the limitation and control of armaments.
I do not say that any nation is more guilty in this respect than another. Those who have read Mr. Khrushchev's recent speech at the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union cannot fail to be conscious of the way in which it echoed earlier speeches made by Mr. Dulles on the theme of massive retaliation. We are very conscious this week of the French hunger for atomic independence, but we must also bear in mind that that hunger has been aggravated by the precedent set by Great Britain.
I will freely concede at the beginning of this debate that, if we look at the Governments of the world, Her Majesty's Government have shown more readiness than most to face the need for worldwide co-operation in order to solve the overriding problem now facing mankind. I would congratulate them on that, but the burden of our Motion is that Her Majesty's Government have not fought hard enough, have not fought continuously enough, and have not fought consistently enough to achieve this end. In fact, it seems to us that a curious sort of political schizophrenia, a split mind, infects the Government's attitude to foreign policy and to defence. At present, their left hand does not seem to know what their right is doing. They combine demand for progress in co-operation with support for moves which are likely to make such progress quite impossible.
I think that the basic difficulty is this, that Her Majesty's Government have not yet grasped the fact that disarmament in its broadest sense, the limitation and control of weapons and force under international agreement, is not, as is so often believed, a sort of Utopian alternative to military defence and international diplomacy. On the contrary, it is today the only way by which defence and foreign policies can be made effective in the atomic age.
A genuine commitment to disarmament in this broadest sense must have repercussions on the whole of our military and diplomatic policies, so that an argument which may seem perfectly valid within the narrow limits of national strategic thinking may prove disastrously false in the larger context of 475 the world's need for genuine co-operation. This, I think, is the basic theme, which can give unity to our debate.
On the question of urgency, I would only say that it seems to me and to my hon. and right hon. Friends that this year, 1960, is certain to prove a turning point in the history of international relations, and perhaps in the very history of the human race, for two reasons. In the first place, a Summit Conference has finally been arranged, though after appalling delays, but there is as yet no sign that useful negotiation will take place at the summit; and if there is a failure to achieve results at the Summit Conference then there is a real danger that the destructive factors in international affairs will take control of the policies of both sides and we shall then see a revival of the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union in a new and even more dreadful form.
The second reason is that the arms race between America and Russia will soon cease to be the central problem facing the world. Perhaps before this debate is over we shall have the news that the French Government have just exploded their first atomic weapon in the Sahara Desert, and we know that within ten years at least a dozen more countries in the world, each with its own enemies and rivals, may start producing its atomic weapons, and join the so-called "Atomic Club". As each new country is added to the "Atomic Club" it will evoke fears or jealousies among its international friends or rivals which will enormously increase the incentive for others to follow suit. We have seen that already in the French reaction to Britain's own bid for atomic independence.
To give just one example. If China fulfils her boast of producing her own atomic weapons by the end of next year, nothing on earth will prevent the Indian Government or the Japanese Government from acquiring them either by gift—which they could—or by making atomic weapons for themselves. If they have them, Pakistan and Indonesia will also want them, too. The same chain reaction is certain to follow the acquisition of nuclear weapons by each country. Not only does this threaten to face us all with completely new possibilities of international instability and military 476 danger, but it will enormously complicate the problem of establishing any real control of armaments, because, as we know, and it has been admitted by the British Government, by Mr. Khrushchev and by the Government of the United States, there is at the moment no foreseeable means of locating and discovering stocks of atomic weapons.
There are various ways by which this problem can be approached and dealt with, and no doubt my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) will refer to some of them when he speaks later in the debate. But the plain fact is that control over existing stocks of nuclear weapons is, in the present state of events, well-nigh impossible. But it certainly is possible to control the production of nuclear weapons and, indeed, by various comparatively cheap and simple methods—by preventing the testing of the weapons, by preventing the production of weapon-grade material in atomic reactors, and by putting a complete stop on the spread of nuclear weapon production throughout the world in all those countries which have not already begun.
It seems to me that for this reason we face in 1960 a chance very similar to the chance we had in 1945, a chance we had and missed. In 1945, only one country in the world had produced an atomic weapon, the United States. At that time, the United States offered to give up control of its own weapon in return for the creation of an international system which would ensure that no other countries would start producing theirs. We all know that the Soviet Government at that time refused to consider the proposal, and so mankind lost its first big chance of dealing with the problem of nuclear weapons.
We have another chance now, not, I confess, to eliminate weapons from the stockpiles of the United States and Russia, but to ensure that no other countries start to produce stockpiles of their own. This time all the signs are that the resistance to a proposal which might be effective in this sense is coming not from the Soviet Union, but from the West. Therefore, 1960 is, to quote the words of the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), "a hinge of fate". It is bound to be a turning point in world affairs, for good or for 477 ill. The main purposes of the Motion which I have moved is to ensure that it is to be a turning point for good.
Let us look at the opportunities and dangers facing us, one by one. First, there is the fact that there is at the moment a total paralysis in the pre-Summit discussions of the Western Powers, so that there is little prospect that any agreement can be reached at the Summit Conference except an agreement to sit again after another six months or indeed twelve months, after the new American Government have been installed. Indeed, there are many signs that Dr. Adenauer and President de Gaulle agreed to the fixing of the date of the Summit Conference in May only when they were satisfied that there was no chance of the conference indulging in genuine negotiations.
Let us look at the problem of Europe, which, both sides agree, should be discussed at the Summit. The West, so far as we know, is still sticking rigidly to the so-called package proposals which it put forward at the Geneva Conference. Yet we know that the package proposals in their present form are totally unacceptable to the Soviet Government. Indeed, even the little progress made at Geneva on the European problem is now in doubt, and I should like to ask in this respect three questions of the Foreign Secretary.
First, does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree with the view expressed by the German Foreign Minister, Dr. von Brentano, that the Summit Conference must start negotiations on the German problem from the position which existed before the Geneva Conference took place? Secondly, what is the current position of Her Majesty's Government on the possibility and desirability of negotiating a so-called interim agreement on the position in Berlin? Thirdly, what is the view of Her Majesty's Government on the claim recently made by the Government party in Western Germany that Berlin must be considered an integral part of the Federal Republic and that the Federal Republic of Germany must have a veto over any four-Power negotiations concerning the Berlin problem?
If the Foreign Secretary, and, still more, if the Western Powers accept the position taken by the German Govern- 478 ment on these three issues it is a complete waste of time to talk about Berlin, or Germany, or Europe at all at the Summit Conference.
I hope that the Foreign Secretary will warn the German Government, or the Christian Democratic Party in Germany today, that its claim that West Berlin must be considered part of the Federal Republic would undermine the whole basis on which the Western Powers have so far been able to negotiate with the Soviet Union on the Berlin problem, namely, that the Berlin problem is not one for the Germans, but is one for the four countries which defeated Germany at the end of the Second World War. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will give us precise answers to those questions.
There are some people who say that it does not matter very much if we do not get an agreement on Europe at the Summit. They say that we have lived with the European situation for fifteen years now and we can live with it a little longer. They say that the status quo is all right for us even if it may not be in all respects satisfactory to the Germans or the Poles or the Hungarians. The trouble is that the status quo we are talking about is not static. Movement is taking place the whole time in the European situation, and steps are already being taken in Europe which will greatly increase the dangers of the division of Europe and greatly prejudice the success of any future negotiations.
The step being taken on which my hon. and right hon. Friends want to concentrate in the debate is the agreement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, supported by Her Majesty's Government, to take steps towards the supply of nuclear weapons to the Federal Republic of Germany. The facts here are not in dispute. Several batteries of the "Honest John" missile are already in the possession of the West German forces. The West German forces are being trained in the use of the "Matador" missile, which has a range of 600 miles, the West German Government have already made arrangements to be supplied as soon as possible with the "Sergeant" missile and, most sinister of all, with the "Mace" missile, which has a maximum range of nearly 1,000 miles and which could reach into the heart of European Russia.
479 It seems to us on this side of the House that N.A.T.O.'s agreement to these steps represents almost an abdication of reason. There is no policy which these weapons are intended to support. There is no agreement even on strategy inside N.A.T.O. to which these weapons would be relevant. It seems to us that what has happened is simply that the N.A.T.O. Council has given up the effort of trying to work out a collective policy—we saw the failure in this respect of the N.A.T.O. Council meeting in December—and has decided that in default of policy the best thing is simply to spread a few more atomic bombs around and hope for the best.
I imagine that when the Foreign Secretary speaks on this issue he will say that these steps have been taken in pursuance of an agreed N.A.T.O. strategy, and that no discrimination can be made against Western Germany in implementing this agreed strategy. I challenge both those arguments. In the first place, N.A.T.O. has never agreed that any conflict in which it is engaged in Central Europe must be a nuclear conflict. Yet all the steps being taken by N.A.T.O. as an organisation, and by the national Governments independently, are producing a situation in which N.A.T.O. will become incapable of anything but a nuclear response to any incident in Central Europe.
There is some argument for a nuclear response as a deterrent but, as we all know, the main danger of fighting in Central Europe is not the danger which might be created by a deliberate decision of the Soviet Government to commit aggression, but the danger created by the fact that ordinary men and women might take to arms in Central Europe, as they did in Berlin in 1953, and in Hungary in 1956, and that fighting might develop which it is absolutely vital that N.A.T.O. and the Russians should be able to bring to a halt without resort to nuclear weapons.
If N.A.T.O., and Her Majesty's Government, really are concerned about the state of our defences in Central Europe, then they should be giving priority to the build-up of our pitifully exiguous conventional forces and not to the distribution of atomic weapons, which, at the moment, are not capable of supporting any coherent strategy. This is a point 480 which has been made by many people far more expert than myself in these matters. It was made in a recent and interesting pamphlet published by the British Army League. It is an argument which has also been put forward by the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States, in one of its official publications.
That is the first case against the distribution of atomic weapons to Germany. The second one is that even if we accept present N.A.T.O. strategy, as it has been defined, the supply of long-range missiles to the Germans will make it impossible to operate. As I understand—and perhaps the Minister of Defence can enlighten us on this tomorrow?—the main purpose of N.A.T.O.'s ground forces in Central Europe, in case of a substantial Soviet attack, is to enforce a pause, so that during the pause the Russians have to decide whether or not to make it all-out war or to call the thing off. What kind of pause can N.A.T.O. hope to enforce if the German forces, on whose territory the battle is being fought, possess weapons which can drop a hydrogen bomb on Warsaw, which can drop a hydrogen bomb on Moscow? The plain fact is that the supply of these strategic weapons to the German forces makes complete nonsense of the major function of N.A.T.O.'s ground forces in Central Europe as defined by the N.A.T.O. Council itself.
It is often said—I heard the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) say so a few minutes ago—that we are not really giving atomic weapons to Germany, that we are simply giving them the means of delivery, and that the warhead remains under American control. So it does at the moment, but for how long? Last week the President of the United States gave a Press conference which might well be interpreted to mean that he will shortly ask the American Congress for permission to give atomic weapons outright to those of America's allies which are judged politically reliable. I agree that, as with many of the President's statements, the scope for various interpretations of this statement is almost infinite. I would at least ask the Foreign Secretary, when he speaks, to say what he thinks about this proposal if it means the supply of atomic weapons outright to America's allies.
481 It seems to me that this would be an extremely retrograde step, whose consequences throughout the world on both sides of the Iron Curtain could not fail to be disastrous. So I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will tell us that, whatever the President meant, he, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, would certainly oppose any step to give further countries outright control of the warheads of atomic weapons. So long as there is this ambiguity, the existing system of dual control cannot give any of us very much comfort; indeed, there is some doubt about the entire efficiency of the dual control system.
Units which control the means of delivery must from time to time have the opportunity of fitting the warhead into the delivery vehicle, and in the course of exercises in this respect they are likely to acquire information which would enable them to duplicate the warhead itself, given time, and certainly, in case of war, the physical obstacle presented by a very small American detachment might well, in certain circumstances, present very little difficulty to the Army which surrounded it and controlled the means of delivery.
The Foreign Secretary may well answer, "Yes, we do not want the Germans to have these weapons, but everybody else does." I suggest that that is not true at all. In the United States, which is now entirely responsible for providing these weapons, there is a large and growing body of expert opinion in the Armed Forces and in Congress which believes that this is the wrong direction in which to move. I should like to quote from a report published in December by the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate, which reads as follows:In addition to increasing the security of its own retaliatory forces, the United States should avoid such sources of instability as the deployment of highly vulnerable strategic missile systems in the territory of nations proximate to the Communist bloc. … It should continue to avoid any reliance on hair-trigger response mechanisms which might be conducive to war by accident. Other nations should be encouraged to avoid similar sources of instability.There is the growing feeling in the United States, in the centres of political and military opinion, that the whole trend of policy to which N.A.T.O. has been consenting in recent years is mis- 482 taken, and the Minister of Defence at least will be well aware that this is an opinion which is also widely shared in Britain, in both official and unofficial circles. I will not embarrass him by asking him to confirm this.
The final argument that might be used in favour of the steps being taken towards the supply of these weapons to the Germans is that we are all in one big alliance together, and that, so long as we have an alliance, there can be no discrimination inside it. I myself would certainly not wish to discriminate against the German people on the grounds of history, or in the belief that the Germans suffer from some form of original sin from which other peoples in the world are immune. I do not believe that, but I do believe that Germany, by the very fact of her physical position on the edge of the Western world, by the fact that she is politically divided, by the fact that she has territorial claims even beyond the frontiers of the East German State, by all these facts, is in a special political position which can and must be recognised in any military measures which are taken.
The argument of discrimination does not hold water at all. There is discrimination already inside N.A.T.O., between Britain and the United States, which keep their strategic bomber forces completely outside N.A.T.O. command, which possess independent nuclear weapons of their own, and all the other members of N.A.T.O. The very concept of interdependence, as the Prime Minister has so often advanced it, implies that some members of the alliance will have some special functions and others will have other functions. Discrimination in that sense is absolutely inevitable, and there is no evidence whatever that the German people themselves resent this particular form of discrimination. There is no evidence that they want to have nuclear weapons, but there is much evidence to the contrary.
Perhaps the best evidence to the contrary is that the spokesmen of the German Government themselves have never dared to say in the German Parliament that they want nuclear weapons. They have simply said that N.A.T.O. wants them to have nuclear weapons, and that, as members of N.A.T.O., they 483 cannot refuse them. How far this reflects their real feelings I do not know, but the fact that they present the argument in this form is a proof that they themselves recognise the strength of the popular feeling in Germany against the supply of these weapons to the German forces.
There is a final danger, and perhaps the most serious of all, dependent upon how great we consider its probability. The East German Government have already publicly stated that if these weapons are supplied to the West German forces they will seek the right to obtain similar weapons from the Soviet Government. I think that we are all conscious of the fact that the Soviet Government cannot be anxious to accede to such a request, but the fact that Dr. Ulbricht felt it possible to stake such a claim in public shows that the West could take steps in Western Europe which would make it quite impossible for the Soviet Government to refuse to follow suit. Indeed, the situation in Europe would be infinitely more dangerous than it is at present if both sides in a divided Germany, bitterly opposed to one another in their ideology, in their policies and in their economic and social structure, each had the power to start the type of atomic conflict which could engulf the whole world in war.
It seems to me that we cannot seek security this way. This way leads only to more insecurity, to a heightening of the arms race—an arms race which no one can win and which all must lose. If we reject this way to security, we must answer the question: what alternative means of security is there? I say again, as I said earlier, that there is no way to 100 per cent. military security in the atomic missile age, except by general, comprehensive, universal controlled international disarmament. That is the only way to 100 per cent. security, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South will be elaborating this point later.
On the question of general disarmament, I would, at this stage, ask only two questions of the Foreign Secretary about his own proposals which he put forward in the United Nations last autumn. It seems to us on this side of the House that, much as we appreciate the sincerity of those proposals, and the validity of many of the concepts they 484 enshrine, they have one basic weakness, and that is that, apart from a ban on atomic tests, which is, in any case, being negotiated at the moment outside the framework of general disarmament, stage one of the Foreign Secretary's proposals is concerned exclusively with collecting information and not with physical disarmament. We all know perfectly well, and indeed many of us appreciate the reasons for it, that the Soviet Government cannot agree to control mechanisms being set up without disarmament. The problem facing us in the negotiations is to try to develop a system for extending disarmament from the present situation to total disarmament which, at each stage, combines some form of disarmament with the appropriate element of control. This has often been conceded by Western spokesmen.
I should like the Foreign Secretary to tell us a little more about how he sees the time factor here. Frankly, the Russians would regard many of the steps embodied in the first stage of the British disarmament proposals as pure espionage, which they had no reason to accept, unless there were simultaneously some physical disarmament connected with them. The second question, on which I would not press the Foreign Secretary too hard, is this: what arrangements does he envisage for associating China with the negotiations for general international disarmament? It seems to be clear to everybody that there can be no general disarmament without the full participation of the Chinese Government.
China is already one of the greatest military Powers in the world, and its foreign policies have already given most of its neighbours grave cause for alarm. This month, I believe, the Chinese Government are calling up a million young men in the ordinary course of their conscription policies, and the Chinese Government have said that they propose to have atomic weapons by the end of next year. The Chinese Government say that they will not accede to any disarmament agreement unless they participate in the negotiations from which the agreement arises. We notice, and welcome very much, the recent news that the American Government recognise this problem, and have stated that at 485 some stage China should be approached for participation in the negotiations on general disarmament.
I should like to ask the Foreign Secretary whether he has any particular British view to put forward on this matter, and, in particular, whether he does not feel, in view of the urgency which general disarmament negotiations will take in world affairs, that the time has come to produce some new initiative in getting the Chinese Government into the United Nations, in which they could play their normal part, and their own character, good or bad, would come into the normal commerce of international relations.
If one looks at the Chinese problem alone, one can see that progress towards general disarmament is likely to be slow and difficult. Meanwhile, there are urgent problems in arms control which need urgent solution, and the search for general, comprehensive disarmament must not be allowed to distract us from the search for partial disarmament agreements which may be appropriate for dealing with the urgent problems. The most urgent problem of all in this field is that presented by the inevitable spread of atomic weapons.
President Eisenhower admitted at his Press conference last week that a ban on nuclear tests was seen by him, as it has always been seen by the Opposition, as one great step towards preventing the independent production of atomic weapons by further countries. We also see it as a major first step towards controlled disarmament in any field, and I must say that we in the Opposition have been gravely disturbed by reports in the newspapers during the last few days emanating from Washington. These reports all agree that the United States Government are not now prepared to conclude a universal agreement for a ban on tests. They also suggest that her Majesty's Government have agreed to drop the demand for a universal ban on tests and to settle for a ban on tests which is confined to tests above ground, in the sea, in the atmosphere and in the upper atmosphere.
Anyone who has followed these long and complex negotiations must be aware that there is not much chance of getting the Soviet Union to agree to such a partial ban, particularly as the Soviet 486 Government must rightly suspect that one of the reasons why the American Government want to exclude underground tests is that their military are clamouring for the right to test a whole range of new weapons.
Moreover, there is a grave danger in leaving this matter for discussion at the Summit Conference itself, because at the Summit Conference Britain, the United States and Russia will not be alone; they will be accompanied by France, and the French position on an atomic test ban is quite different from, and indeed incompatible with, the position on which the other three Powers have already agreed.
I must say in all earnestness that we on this side of the House very much hope that Her Majesty's Government will continue to press for an overall agreement on a test ban which includes a ban on underground tests. There are many possible compromises on the problem of underground tests, some of which, according to the newspapers, have already been put forward by Her Majesty's Government in the negotiations at Geneva. I will draw attention to two.
The Berkner Report on underground tests, which has been the basis for the American refusal to agree to include them in a ban, itself puts forward a proposal for the control of underground tests which might well be acceptable to the Soviet Government. It is the suggestion that small auxiliary seismic systems, perhaps unmanned, could be disposed round the territories of the countries concerned as a means of monitoring explosions. It is interesting to note—and I must confess, with apologies to my hon. Friends, that I would not put too much weight on this—that the delegates from the Soviet Union at an unofficial discussion in London last week, agreed to a resolution which included the recommendation of this system.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
My hon. Friend will be glad to know that that particular passage was included on the initiative of the American representative.
§ Mr. Healey
I welcome that news. Many of us know that there is a very strong body in the United States which bitterly opposes the attempt by the 487 American military and by some political interests in the United States to sabotage a universal test ban.
The other proposal, which I understand Her Majesty's Government have already put forward, is the proposal that the Powers should make an agreement not to carry out tests underground, perhaps for a period of five or six years, during which the scientists of all the countries concerned should co-operate in trying to improve the existing detection techniques. I very much hope that the Foreign Secretary will explain this proposal to the House when he speaks later this afternoon and will make it clear that Her Majesty's Government are sticking to it. The gain to be drawn from a test ban in starting on the process of disarmament and in starting on the process of stopping the spread of atomic weapons is so great that, contrary to what is so often said in this field, even an agreement which is not perfect is very much better than no agreement at all.
There is one other step which I believe could be taken soon to cope with this question of the spread of nuclear weapons. It seems to be agreed by all the scientists that nuclear weapon production can be stopped if countries can be stopped from producing weapon-race fissile material in their atomic reactors. At present, 42 countries in the world are committed to atomic power programmes which could ultimately, and in many cases will certainly in the next ten years, give them capacity to start nuclear weapon production. Quite a simple control system could ensure that none of the fissile material produced in these reactors is of the necessary quality for making weapons.
At present, the countries supplying these reactors, such as Britain and the United States, make bilateral agreements with the countries concerned to ensure that there is no divergence of fissile material to weapons use, but already there are signs that commercial competition between the supplying countries is putting some strain on these control systems, because they are expensive. I propose that the Foreign Secretary should abstract from his universal disarmament proposals those parts of them concerned with the control of the production of fissile material in phase one, two, three, four and five.
488 It seems to me that this is a problem in every way analogous to the problem of stopping nuclear tests. There is no reason at all why the countries of the world should not agree now to call their scientists together to agree on a system for controlling the production of fissile material, and, as in the case of nuclear tests, they should then proceed to draft a political treaty in order to enforce such a system. I very much hope that the Foreign Secretary will tell us that that is in his mind and that the appropriate organisation for controlling such a system would be the already existing International Atomic Agency in Geneva, one of whose functions is to draw up proposals for ensuring that peaceful reactors do not produce explosives for military purposes.
I do not think that it is possible to exaggerate the importance and urgency of this problem, although, unfortunately, very few people in the world, even informed people, are yet aware of it. The fact is that we are now, and for another three or four years will continue to be, in a situation in which it will be possible, fairly cheaply and easily, to establish a major element of control over the whole development of the atomic arms race. If we miss this opportunity at this stage, then, within ten years, we shall face a totally different problem—a problem which, I confess, to me at this moment seems well nigh insoluble.
We are talking about partial disarmament agreements. There seems no doubt that if we want immediate progress we shall have to be satisfied with partial agreements. Yet there is also no doubt that any partial system of disarmament, such as a test ban or a ban on the production of weapons-grade fissile materials, involves discrimination against the countries whose military progress is stopped when other countries are already a little further ahead in the race. This raises extremely sensitive problems both of national prestige and military security.
We believe that the prestige problem could largely be met if Her Majesty's Government were prepared to put themselves on a level with all other Governments in this issue, except the Governments of the United States of America and Russia, who already have such an enormous stockpile of nuclear weapons 489 that their inclusion in the system poses problems of an altogether different magnitude and nature from that of the inclusion of Britain. I confess that the great majority of us still consider that it would be unwise for Britain to deprive herself of atomic weapons without the guarantee that the atomic arms race can be stopped at this point. Even if this difficulty is met, there remains the problem of security.
So long as the world remains divided into two blocs each led by a country with overwhelming nuclear power at every level—and here the United States and the Soviet Union seem to have adopted military doctrines and strategies which are extraordinarily symmetrical with one another since Mr. Khrushchev's speech—tere is a problem for the members of each alliance of security against the possible misuse of this power. This creates a grave problem not only between N.A.T.O. and the Soviet Union, but also inside N.A.T.O. itself.
Inside N.A.T.O. there is the fear that the validity of the American deterrent is declining and this is encouraging the spread of atomic weapons. The total failure of N.A.T.O. to meet this problem has led, as I said earlier, to an attempt to solve it simply by shutting one's eyes and throwing atomic weapons round to almost anybody who asks for them. In the case of Britain and France, it has led to an attempt to produce an independent strategical deterrent.
We on our side of the House do not believe that this problem can be solved by multiplying national deterrent forces. On the contrary, this can only lead to a great increase in general insecurity and is likely also to lead to the complete disintegration of the Western Alliance. This is a problem on which other hon. Members will have more to say at a later stage, but in our view the real problem of the strategical deterrent inside the Western Alliance is a question much more of the political solidarity of the alliance than of its military strength. It can be solved only if there are more precise arrangements than now exist for real control of the existing deterrent forces.
This is an enormously difficult problem. Perhaps it is insoluble in theory, but we believe that, in practice, it can be solved, but only on one condition, 490 namely, if it is tackled in conjunction with an attempt to reach agreement between N.A.T.O. and the Warsaw Pact countries on the control and limitation of forces in the area with which N.A.T.O. is concerned.
In this way the probability that the deterrent will be required can be reduced to the lowest possible level. We have discussed this question in the House for many years. We on our side have always considered that an agreement with the Soviet Union for the limitation and control of arms in Central Europe is a step towards a wider political settlement. The Government have always preferred to treat it as an end in itself. We do not complain of that. The Russians have made many precise proposals for such an agreement on Central Europe, not only the so-called Rapacki Plan in its various forms, but in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, in September, Mr. Khrushchev proposed the creation of a zone of control and inspection with a reduction of foreign troops in the territories of Western Europe and the creation of an arms free zone in Central Europe, and so on.
The second great complaint that we have against the Government's conduct and policy is that although at various times they have seemed to favour an approach along these lines they have totally and miserably failed to urge this policy effectively on their allies. The idea was put forward as long ago as 1953 by the right hon. Member for Woodford, in his speech at Fulton. It was put forward in 1955 by Sir Anthony Eden and, incidentally, he confirmed in his article in The Times the point which has often been denied by the Government—that his idea for a zone of arms limitation in Central Europe was not dependent on a prior political settlement, but he believed that that would lead to a later political settlement.
The idea was again put forward by Sir Anthony Eden at the conference on surprise attack, in 1957. It was hinted at by the present Prime Minister, in the communiqué that he signed with Mr. Khrushchev on his return from the Soviet Union a year ago. There was also an article in the Conservative Party General Election manifesto which, on the last occasion when we discussed this problem, was given the status of a document of State by the Foreign Secretary.
491 What remains of this proposal? Since the General Election we have heard less and less about it, and now nothing at all. Dr. Adenauer came to London in December determined to ensure that Her Majesty's Government would drop it, and when he went back he told the German Press, in terms which were rather contemptuous, that it was now sunk without trace and that we would not be hearing any more of it. Such a proposal is by far the best way of ensuring security for N.A.T.O. It has been supported by military people like Viscount Montgomery—which just proves that nobody can be wrong all the time. It has been supported by the American Commander in Germany, General Eddelman. It has been supported by people like Air Marshal Slessor. Above all, it is by far the best way of dealing with the dangers presented by the Berlin problem so long as Germany remains divided.
Let us face it. The real danger in Berlin arising from the extraordinary abnormal situation of the city and the country is that fighting might develop which would drag us into war. The likelihood of such fighting could be enormously reduced if Berlin as a whole were included in an area in which the arms and forces of both sides were reduced and restricted. Why have Her Majesty's Government been so pussyfooted on this issue? They may say that Dr. Adenauer opposes it, but the whole of the German Opposition, both the S.P.D. and the F.D.P., supports the idea. Much of the German Foreign Office supports it, and the right hon. Gentleman's opposite number in Germany, Dr. Strauss, supports it. Dr. Strauss, a member of the German Federal Cabinet, said in as many words the other day that he fully conceded the utility of a zone in Central Europe in which arms were controlled and inspected on both sides.
I believe that on this issue, as on so many others which I have tried to cover in this debate, there is a tremendous volume of potential support throughout the world which Her Majesty's Government could mobilise if they cared to do so.
§ Colonel Tufton Beamish (Lewes)
Would the hon. Member tell the House 492 how many N.A.T.O. allies supported this, and when it was last discussed at N.A.T.O.?
§ Mr. Healey
If there has been insufficient official support forthcoming for this proposal the blame rests overwhelmingly on the Government, who say that they support the idea fully but who have never spoken out in public in favour of it. The plain fact is that on this issue, as on all the others that we have been discussing, mankind is engaged in a race against time. Through a lack of vision and determination by its statesmen, and perhaps through the indifference of its peoples, it is drifting willy-nilly into thermo-nuclear annihilation.
We do not ask very much of the Foreign Secretary. He has often shown the sort of vigour, independence and determination that we desire—on doubtful issues. All we ask of him today is to show half the determination in dealing with the American Government on this issue, which concerns the future of mankind, that he showed three years ago in dealing with the American Government on Suez. All we ask the Foreign Secretary to do is to show a one-hundreth part of the toughness in standing up to Dr. Adenauer on this issue that he has shown in standing up to Archbishop Makarios on another issue.
The Foreign Secretary has shown that on some issues he is prepared to stand up for what he believes to be right in the face of disagreement from his allies. This issue dwarfs in importance all the others which we have been discussing, and if mankind misses the opportunity this year the responsibility will fall as heavily on those who knew what should be done, but failed to exert themselves sufficiently to do it, as it falls on those who were ignorant of the needs of the time.
To quote the words of our great national poet, the real substance of this debate and our charge against the Government can be summed up as follows:Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
§ 4.52 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:approves the steps taken by Her Majesty's Government to reduce international tension and make possible a summit meeting; expresses its earnest hopes for the success of this meeting and of the disarmament negotiations; and, while re-affirming its support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and of the policy approved by the House on 18th November, 1954, for obtaining an effective German contribution to Western defence, welcomes the outline plan for comprehensive disarmament put forward by Her Majesty's Government in September, 1959".The hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) began his speech with a reference to his right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). On behalf of my right hon. and hon. Friends on this side of the House, I certainly support what he said. We have watched with admiration his brave fight. We have a feeling of great sympathy with the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee), and we extend our sincere hopes for the right hon. Gentleman's complete recovery soon. I have suffered as much as anybody else in this House from the right hon. Gentleman's tongue, but this place is certainly a tame place without him. I shall be very glad to have him back, whatever he may say about me.
On another personal note, I should like to express a word of tribute to the late Mr. John Edwards. It was in our debate on foreign affairs on 29th October that I paid a tribute to his work as President of the Council of Europe Consultative Assembly, believing then that he had before him a full term of useful service. It was a great tragedy that he should have died so soon afterwards. He had, I think, so much to contribute to that work and to the work of establishing the unity of Europe. I should like publicly to acknowledge his services and express our sympathy to his widow. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]
This is a Motion of Censure against the Government, so we are told. Towards the end of his speech the hon. Member for Leeds, East got a little more into the terminology of a Motion of Censure. I am not certain whether, in view of his last metaphor, I should give him a "stinking" reply or a reply in honeyed words. At the beginning, he was not 494 talking quite in that tone. He said that we had done better than anybody else and that, in fact, we were top of the class but nevertheless ought to be caned. The Americans were not doing one thing; N.A.T.O. was not doing the other, but we deserved to be censured for our inability, our inflexibility and all the rest of it.
It is very odd timing, because it is a time when we are being criticised by many of our allies and are thought to be too flexible, too imaginative, too ready to compromise and too ready to take chances with the Communist powers.
To give some examples, some complaint has been made about our record over disarmament. Dealing with that matter first of all, the Tests Conference resulted from the Meeting of Experts at Geneva, which in turn was the result of the initiative which Her Majesty's Government took; it was accepted by the Soviet Union after a delay of about nine months. We have played a full part in trying to ensure the success of that conference. We originated, I believe, the major proposal for compromise, the idea of a quota of inspections.
I spent many hours with Mr. Gromyko in Geneva in the summer trying to persuade him to agree to another conference of experts. Finally, the Russians agreed, I believe after about five months delay, and the conference met in December, or at least the experts came to the Geneva meetings then. The work that they had to do was to have a technical examination of the difficulties of controlling a ban on underground tests. We still hope that we shall get agreement about a comprehensive ban. But there are difficulties about certain types, the smaller types, of underground tests. I am certain that we could, if we wanted, get straightaway a ban on tests in the atmosphere up to a feasible height of control. We could get a ban on underwater tests and a ban on all larger tests underground. The control machinery exists for that. But there is still the difficulty about the smaller range of underground tests, and that is a matter about which we must have further discussions in the meetings in Geneva.
With regard to the wider field of disarmament—
§ Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)
Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman leaves that point, could he tell us if the Government intend to take up the proposal in the Berkner Report for controlling small underground tests by a limited additional number of unmanned automatic control posts?
§ Mr. Lloyd
No, the difficulty is that we are not advised that it is technically efficient. The good part of this story is that the science of seismology is developing very quickly. I do not rule it out, but at the moment I am technically advised that it is not an adequate system of control; one which would be perfect.
We have to consider how we can handle that situation—dealing with certain ranges of tests where we cannot technically control a ban on them. That is the work to which the conference has to address itself. Today I have no more to say about it than that, except that I still hope we shall get a comprehensive agreement to deal in one way or another with this problem of the element of underground tests which cannot be controlled.
§ Mr. George Brown (Belper)
I am sorry to interrupt the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but this is an important point. The point on which my hon. Friend was pressing him was that an imperfect agreement which covers a wide area might well be better than no agreement at all. Could the Foreign Secretary say what is the Government's position?
§ Mr. Lloyd
If I may say so, the right hon. Gentleman has stated the obvious. It is obvious that it is better to get an agreement on some part of the problem rather than to get no agreement at all. What we have got to do is to continue what we have been doing, to try to bring the parties together and get an agreement which both sides will accept. That we intend to do. But this is a delicate and difficult negotiation which will do more to advance the cause that the right hon. Gentleman has at heart than criticising the Government. We are embarking on almost a critical phase of that negotiation at Geneva. But we have got over other critical phases before, and it is my hope that we shall get over this one.
In the wider field, dealing with this indictment of our failure to get on with 496 disarmament, we played a leading part at Geneva in getting agreement on the Ten-Nation Group, which was subsequently unanimously endorsed by the United Nations. In September, we alone of the Western Powers put forward an outline plan for dealing with comprehensive disarmament. That was unanimously referred to the Ten Nation Group. Since September we have been seeking to modify and improve that plan, taking into account some of the points that have been made. It seems to me that the essence of our plan is its acceptance of the goal of comprehensive disarmament with effective international control.
I was disappointed to hear the right hon. Gentleman lay such emphasis on partial agreement, because when I put forward a suggestion for a partial agreement in 1957 I was told that that was the wrong way to deal with it; and that by putting forward a partial agreement I was ruining the chance of comprehensive disarmament. Now, when we have put forward a scheme of comprehensive disarmament, we are told that the right thing to do is to go for a partial agreement.
This comprehensive disarmament agreement would involve the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and otherwise, and a reduction of conventional armaments and military manpower to levels required for internal security purposes. Obviously, having regard to practical matters, one must reach that goal by stages. We have tried to set out what we think is a practical programme. I agree with the hon. Member that in the first stage there should be some action as well as the collection of information. I think the action in the first stage should be reductions in armed forces and, what is more important, in the level of conventional armaments. There should be the taking out of circulation, so to speak, of specific quantities of designated types of weapons and placing them under international control.
Then there must be the collection of certain types of information. I quite understand the point the hon. Member made about the Russians and espionage.
Then there should be a study of the problems about the use of outer space for peaceful purposes and the control of nuclear arms. That was the problem 497 in 1957, and when we put our partial plan forward we associated with it the control of fissionable material. I wanted to get agreement for suspension of nuclear tests and also to cover what was called the cut-off of fissionable material for weapons purposes. That did not happen, but I still believe it is one of the essential features of a comprehensive disarmament programme. We have also to study conventional armaments. When one talks of international studies it looks theoretical and scholastic, but our belief is that this international exchange of information is extremely helpful, and I think that a great deal has been learned at the Tests Conference. It is essential to get on with the discussions, and international joint studies.
In addition, in the first stage there must be the additional feature to which I referred in the debate on 29th October. In the first stage, we should begin to apply international control over missiles, launching operations and programmes. The hon. Member asked about the time schedule. I think it difficult to be dogmatic, but I have in mind this first stage taking place in a period of something of the order of one year. I think we have got to set ourselves a pretty ambitious target for getting this work done so that we can then proceed to the second stage.
An important respect in which the outline plan I put before the United Nations differs from that of Mr. Khrushchev is in regard to the establishment of an international authority to keep the peace. It seems to us that as national armaments diminish the task of the international control organ within the framework of the United Nations becomes more important. We believe there must be control and means of enforcement for the protection of disarmed States because, if we get disarmament, that will be quite a problem for certain States whose rivalries and hostilities we know about.
We believe that an executive body of high calibre is required to keep the peace with an international security force answerable to it. Those were the arrangements I foreshadowed in the outline plan I put forward in September. We have succeeded in stimulating much thought by our Allies on these matters and we are now having useful discussions about 498 it in the preparatory meetings in Washington which the Minister of State is attending. So much for lack of activity on the disarmament front.
We were attacked for failing to try to stop the cold war. Again, I think the sense of timing and reality of the Opposition is rather peculiar. I read in the newspapers a reference to this. Mr. Ilya Ehrenburg, speaking in London, after paying a tribute to the work of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in helping to reduce tension, was reported to have said:In the Russian view Britain was playing a special Hart in creating better understanding between East and West.In fact, everyone knows that is true. There has been the visit to Moscow of the Prime Minister and myself last year; the British contribution to the N.A.T.O. meeting in Washington last April, which was well recognised at the time; our work for agreement at Geneva throughout the summer, our preparation of the way for the acceptance not only of a summit meeting but of a series of such meetings and, since the end of the Stalinist régime, we have been working, while maintaining our defences, for better understanding with the Soviet Union. As I say, the evidence I have quoted shows quite well that it is generally recognised that we have been doing our best to try to get an end to the cold war and to obtain a relaxation of tension.
The second part of the indictment, not in the timing of the hon. Member's speech but in the Motion, deals with disengagement and neutralisation of Germany. It has been stated, both in the report of the Scarborough Conference, 1958, and in the pre-election glossy pamphlet, that the policy of the Labour Party is the neutralisation of Germany.
§ Mr. Healey
I know the right hon. and learned Gentleman would not want to mislead the House, but when we prepared this Motion we took great care to use the exact words which were used by the Prime Minister on his return from Moscow last year, words which have always been taken and stated by the right hon. Gentleman to have nothing to do with disengagement. I wish the Foreign Secretary would read the Motion and address himself to the Question.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The question of disengagement is one of great interest at the present time, and the Labour Party idea is one which has caused considerable concern. We have always rejected the conception. We regard it as one fraught with danger. Germany would be neutral but armed, with imposed limitations on her freedom of choice of foreign policy and on the size of her armies. Such limitations, if at first accepted by Germany to get reunification, would very soon be repudiated. Anyhow, how would or could they be enforced?
§ Miss Jennie Lee (Cannock)
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman explain how it could be possible for German soldiers to be trained in the use of nuclear arms if the N.A.T.O. Powers refused them to Germany?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The hon. Member for Leeds, East was not interrupted once during his speech.
The dangers apparent in the long term view are also present in the short-term policy, because trying to put it into operation before there was a political settlement would leave in the centre of Europe a grey indeterminate area filled with problems between East and West Germany, between Germany and Poland, Germany and Czechoslovakia with no peace treaty. It would create a state of 500 uncertainty far greater and more dangerous than that in which the Powers are now confronting one another.
I want to refer to what a recent visitor to London, the Foreign Minister of Austria, a Socialist from a neutral country in the centre of Europe, had to say. We were very glad to welcome him here with his State Secretary and had useful talks with him about developing relations in the light of our association in the European Free Trade Association which, I believe, gives great scope for development in our relations. He said before he came here that he did not think much of this so-called disengagement. On the contrary, in recent years the responsibility of the two world blocs had, through rapid technological development, grown so great that even less could now be expected than in the past from disengagement. The only consequence of disengagement would be that small nations lying between these two blocs would get involved in situations of conflict. It was exactly this which might then compel the great Powers to intervene.
Coming from someone who is in a very good position to judge the dangers of such a policy, I think that is a very striking testimony. I also believe that any disengagement plan involving the neutralisation of Germany would be inconsistent with the maintenance of N.A.T.O. and the American presence in Europe. It is bitterly opposed by all our Allies in the N.A.T.O. Council.
During the last debate, the hon. Gentleman gave us a lecture on unity in the Alliance. He knows quite well that nothing would do more to weaken N.A.T.O. at the present time than this talk of disengagement. But he said that this vote of censure does not deal with disengagement but with a rather different conception and he attacks our record in regard to the Moscow communiqué and so on.
I made our position absolutely clear before the Adenauer visit to this country in the course of the last debate on 29th October. I said quite clearly that we believe in the idea of geographical areas where there is inspection and limitation of armaments. We believe that that is a feasible proposition. We have just accepted it in the treaty about Antarctica, about which far too little has been said.
501 As far as Europe is concerned, we have two propositions with regard to this, by which we still stand—the proposition contained in the Peace Plan of last May and also the proposition put forward in the N.A.T.O. surprise attack proposals in 1957. We stand by those proposals which are for inspection and limitation of armaments in Europe. That is the second part of the indictment.
The third part is probably the real reason for this debate, and that is the question of German rearmament. The arming of West German forces with nuclear weapons before the Summit talks are undertaken is said to prejudice the success of those talks. I readily acknowledge that German rearmament is a difficult topic and one on which there are deep emotional feelings. One possible policy might have been to oppose any sort of German rearmament, to try to keep Germany apart, a nation apart, unarmed and powerless in perpetuity. That in my view would not have been a wise policy, but it was a possible policy. I will certainly say that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) and certain others have been perfectly consistent all the way through in this dispute. They have had the courage of their convictions, and in that November, 1954, debate they voted as a small group against the proposals.
I do not think that that would be a wise policy, but it is a controversy which has been decided. In 1950 it was decided by Mr. Ernest Bevin and the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) and the Labour Cabinet of the day, and I think that they were absolutely right. I imagine that the feelings that inspired them to take that decision were, first, that East Germany was already being re-armed by the Soviet Union; secondly, that N.A.T.O. needed a Western German contribution; and, thirdly, that it was right that an economically resurgent Germany should play its part and bear its part of the cost of Western defence; and that Western public opinion would not stand for a position in which the whole burden was on other than German shoulders.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman fails to recall the conditions which were very limited in character in respect of German rearmament.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I am not sure that they were so limited, but the right hon. Gentleman can develop that point later if he wishes. My point is that Western public opinion would not have stood for carrying the burden of Western defence on its own shoulders, with the Germans making no contribution and with the other nations being heavily taxed and physically extended to provide the means; and with the Germans competing against us on easy terms. So at the end of 1950 and early in 1951 the policy was decided.
That policy was translated by us into treaty form in the Paris Treaties of 1954 It was not opposed by the Opposition, and many Opposition Front Bench speakers spoke in favour of it, although a little group was always against it. Under that policy the German armed forces have been built up. In fact, their build-up has been very slow; during the debates in 1954 there was talk of 12 German divisions and of 300,000 armed men in the German forces. Now, over five years later, we are about half-way towards those goals. That is the position about German rearmament in general.
Nuclear weapons, I agree, are however, specifically referred to in the Motion. That really is the nature of German rearmament. The proposition having been accepted, we come to the nature of German rearmament. The German undertaking, given in 1954, not themselves to seek to manufacture nuclear weapons, stands. There are also provisions in the Paris Treaties dealing with the quantity of weapons which each country can hold. But, subject to that, I maintain that people must accept the natural and probable consequences of their actions. That means that once German rearmament was accepted, in the course of time Germans would become armed or would have made available to them the same weapons as other members of the Alliance.
In that debate in November, 1954, the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale said that that would be the position. He was opposing it; he said that one of the consequences would be that the Germans would get the nuclear weapons, and the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) when speaking on German rearmament said:Surely the position is this. Both the petrol and the ammunition is controlled by N.A.T.O. 503 Atomic weapons are part of the ammunition. They will be sent up by N.A.T.O. to the troops, including the Germans, who will use them."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th November, 1954; Vol. 533, c. 598.]I maintain that that debate showed quite clearly the accuracy of my contention. People must expect the natural consequences of their action.
In 1957 a decision was taken at the N.A.T.O. Council meeting, at heads of Government level, on nuclear stockpiles in N.A.T.O. As I clearly—
§ Mr. Lloyd
This is an important announcement. The hon. Member for Leeds, East was allowed to make his speech without interruption. With the leave of the House I shall be winding up, so perhaps the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) can, if he catches Mr. Speaker's eye, make his point then.
As I was saying, the decision was taken at the N.A.T.O. Council meeting on nuclear stockpiles. On 20th December, 1957, I told the House of that decision, and it has been progressively implemented. In my view, it is impossible and unwise to exclude the German armed forces from the consequences of that decision. For these weapons to be available to the Turks, the Greeks, the Italians and the Dutch, for example, but not for German units is not the way to build an alliance or a partnership.
I believe it is absolutely right that the nuclear warheads should remain under United States control, and that this should be a reality and not a formality. At present, the nuclear stockpiles are held under Saceur's personal control. He has not delegated his control to any subordinate commander. I think that that is the correct position, and it is one to which we attach great importance.
The hon. Gentleman asked about President Eisenhower's statement. I will study his question and I promise him an answer in the course of the rest of the debate.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I am sorry, but I cannot give way.
504 I am not going to be specific today about the number of nuclear weapons available to the German forces under these arrangements, although I think the hon. Gentleman quoted some information in The Times newspaper today. I can say that they are minute in relation to anything which the Soviet Union has. In addition, we have Mr. Khrushchev's word for the importance in these times of basing effective defence on rockets and missiles of every sort. These actions all flow from the decisions of 1950, 1954 and 1957, and there has not been the slightest evidence that they have helped or hindered the calling of a Summit meeting, or the prospects of its success.
I am not accusing the Opposition as a whole or any particular members among them, but there is no doubt that there has been a campaign against the German Government, a sustained propaganda campaign against Chancellor Adenauer and against the Government of the Federal Republic. It is part of a campaign, I believe, to disrupt N.A.T.O. by detaching Germany from it. It has been done very skilfully and has been done by playing on the emotions of the past.
I can understand people taking part in that campaign who are in favour of disruption of N.A.T.O. and against any alliance between the Federal Republic and this country and want the Americans to leave Europe and the future arrangements in Europe to be conducted by a consortium of Left-Wing Governments. But I cannot understand that those who do not accept those purposes can play any part in that campaign.
I think the leaders of the Federal Republic have done notable work in producing a State based on a democratic constitution which is making some financial restitution for the past—it has already paid more than £1,000 million to victims of Nazism and expects to pay that much more again. It wishes its military future to be within the Western Alliance. It wishes its troops to be under non-German command, integrated with the forces of its allies. It also wishes its economic future to be tightly bound up with that of its Western allies.
I must mention the question of anti-Semitism. We are all shocked by it. It 505 is a repulsive thing, but we must maintain a sense of proportion and recognise that the vast majority of Germans were as shocked as we were. The President of the World Jewish Congress, Dr. Goldmann, on 21st January, said that the adverse reaction in Germany was satisfying and encouraging to a high degree, especially among the young people. On 2nd February, Dr. Adenauer said:I would ask you, and I ask the public not only in my own country, but throughout the world, to accept the assurance that we will do everything in our power, also in the education of our youth, to ensure that never again in this world, will such things happen as took place, alas, during the National Socialist era.If we think of the position of Germany fifteen years after the First World War, 1933, and compare it with fifteen years after the Second World War, what I have said is heavily underlined.
I agree that there are risks in everything, but it is impossible to underestimate the risk if Germany feels that she is being cast out or relegated to a third-class status. The danger of that is well realised in France and it is responsible for the remarkable rapprochement between France and Germany.
That is one of the most promising and hopeful features in Europe today and a development which we sincerely applaud. Our other Continental allies realise this risk, also, this grave psychological risk of forcing Germany on to a path which is precisely the one which we do not wish her to take—the recrudescence of narrow German nationalism.
It is against that, even his severest critics will agree, that Dr. Adenauer has fought with all his might, and I think we should be proud that the first impulse towards that act of faith came in the Zurich speech of September, 1946, by my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill).
Having said what I believe should be the attitude of this country towards the Federal Republic, I conclude my general remarks by saying that I think our policy at this stage must have a twofold purpose—first, the maintenance of our alliance and our Armed Forces for defence and defence alone; not that we believe that they can give us 100 per cent. security, but they are there to provide a deterrent.
506 We must do that pending comprehensive and controlled disarmament. We must also defend our beliefs and our conviction that we have a better system of society than the Communists. Although we do not seek to impose our democratic system on the Communists, wherever they are, we should staunchly try to resist attempts to infiltrate, subvert and disrupt non-Communist countries. Just as Mr. Khrushchev thinks that capitalism is a bad thing, we think that Communism is a bad and dangerous thing.
Having said that, while maintaining our defences, we shall try to have peaceful coexistence which is really peaceful. I hope, moreover, that we are slowly moving towards a common understanding of what peaceful coexistence means. Mr. Khrushchev said the other day that peaceful coexistence in his view meant the continuation of what he called the ideological, political and economic struggle between the two systems.
Whether this is peaceful coexistence or a continuation of the cold war seems to depend on the means used to wage that struggle. If the means are incitement to national or racial hatred, incitement to unrest, industrial strife, insurrection and revolt, it is still the cold war and we must be prepared to defend ourselves against such methods. I think that this is a point upon which we have been gradually moving towards a better understanding with the Soviet Union. This point of the means of continuing this ideological struggle without the cold war is precisely the sort of matter which should be discussed with high priority at the summit.
But the maintenance of our defences, the maintenance of our beliefs, is the negative side. The other side also has to be considered. These matters of controversial dispute can no longer be settled by a global war. Neither East nor West can tolerate a third world war. We have a common interest in preventing it and a common interest in preventing the risk of it.
I repeat to the House what I said in Strasbourg a week or two ago—the conclusion of this is that neither East nor West can afford a policy of crisis. For either side to go to the brink in the belief that concessions will be made by the other side at the last moment to avoid war is highly dangerous. It is 507 highly dangerous for us to put ourselves in that position in relation to others; and highly dangerous for others to put themselves in that position in relation to us. Neither side in present circumstances can afford policies which risk ultimate disaster.
To say that is not weakness or appeasement in the wrong sense of the word. It is the new fact of world affairs and it means that all the time we have to be trying to create conditions in which those risks will not arise. That is the positive side. The negative side is the maintenance of our defences pending comprehensive disarmament, but the positive side is that we have to be going on trying to create the process of negotiation and discussion of problems which will not involve a sudden crisis. That has been the theme of the policies and actions of Her Majesty's Government and over the last twelve months we have had some measure of success.
I say to the House that we will not suddenly adopt policies which would involve the break-up of our alliances or add to insecurity, but we will continue to try to shape developments in the twofold way which I have described.
In that knowledge, I am confident that the House will treat this extraordinary and untimely Motion in the manner it deserves and overwhelmingly approve the Government's Amendment.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Dr. Alan Thompson (Dunfermline Burghs)
The fact that I rise to make my maiden speech from the Liberal benches does not mean that I have seized the leadership of the Liberal Party. It springs from my ignorance of the seating arrangements. I must apologise to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) and assure him that I am making no bid at all for his position.
Some days ago in a very witty and able speech the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) suggested that Scottish Members are too parochial. As the new Member of Parliament for Dunfermline Burghs, succeeding the sincere, diligent and able Mr. James Clunie, I do not want to begin by apologising for being interested in local issues. In fact, shortly after the debate started I was handed a telegram from my constituency protesting 508 at its exclusion from the provisions of the Local Employment Bill. My constituents are concerned with local issues, but they are still intelligent enough to know that their future is affected by many things that happen not only south of the Border but south of the English Channel.
I believe that very few international decisions affect us so vitally and intimately wherever we may live as the one about which I want to talk—the provision of nuclear weapons to Western Germany. I want to make it clear that in order to oppose this one has not to be a Communist or a pacifist. There are thousands, indeed millions, of people in Europe who are not Communists or pacifists and who believe in close co-operation with America and believe in N.A.T.O., but who still have serious misgivings about the provision of nuclear weapons to Germany and believe that the provision of them is not merely a step forward in quantity from conventional armaments, which they support, but a dangerous step of quite a different kind.
Put simply, arrangements are to go ahead with equipping Western Germany with nuclear missiles which can strike 900 miles inside Soviet territory. I might mention that they could also strike at Birmingham, Leeds or Dublin, but it is very improbable, almost impossible, that they should ever do so. However, the last fifty years of foreign policy have shown us that nothing is impossible in foreign affairs.
President Eisenhower is already asking Congress to give the Western Germans outright control. If this is done, it will give Western Germany, perhaps not under the present régime, under Dr. Adenauer, but at some future date—the Hindenburgs pass away and give place to new régimes—complete possession of this deadly weapon and the possibility of using it independently of collective security agreements.
What lends a special and particular danger to the possession by Western Germany of these devastating weapons of destruction? Here I want to make my position clear. I support N.A.T.O. and the American alliance, but I still believe that there are special conditions, and I believe that the vast majority of my countrymen, regardless of their politics, and many people on the Continent of 509 Europe share this view. I would say that the particular danger lies in something which is going on in Germany at the moment, and that is the resurgence of nationalism. There is nothing inherently wrong in nationalism itself. Pride in one's own country and national heritage is good and right. It is only an uncritical patriotism that is wrong. However, the danger of German nationalism is that it may in a very short space of time seek its impulse and objective in reunification, in a drive to the East.
Dr. Adenauer is not Hitler and shares none of the vices of that unlamented leader, but he has one thing in common with Hitler in that he seems to believe that the Germans have some special destiny to protect Europe. Why else should he in his recent audience of the Pope say, "We Germans are the guardians of the West"? Those words would ring very hollow in the ears of, if they were alive to hear them, millions of British, American and European dead. I speak not only of those who died in the last war but of those who died in the four terrible years from 1914 to 1918. The more one reads the books of that period and the biographies of the military leaders, the more one realises the contrast between the dedication and heroism of many of the young soldiers and junior officers in that war and the intrigue, malice and stupidity of he war leaders.
I agree with a previous speaker that the Germans are not peculiarly vulnerable to original sin, but that their form of nationalism has a particular political and geographical basis. German nationalism, as distinct from most forms of nationalism which merely aspire to self-determination, has found its impulse and popular appeal in the advocacy of direct military expansion, and the effect has always been to create unease and fear among Germany's neighbours.
Speaking of this urge to expansion in December, 1942, Sir Anthony Eden stated:During the last 70 years—these are unpleasant historical facts that we have to face—successive German Governments have consciously and consistently pursued a policy of domination. This policy and the philosophy that is behind it is the first threat to enduring peace, and it will be the first and imperative duty of the United Nations on the morrow 510 of their victory to elaborate such a settlement as will make it impossible for Germany again to dominate her neighbours by force of arms. That lies at the root of the business, and it would be sheer folly …here is the crux of the speech—… to allow some non-Nazi Government to be set up, and then, so to speak, to trust to luck. The rooting out of the old false gods will be a long and strenuous business, but it must be accomplished."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 2nd December, 1942; Vol. 385, c. 1258–9.]Have we yet rooted out the false gods? Certainly much has been done. Let us not forget that we did it, the Allies, by our sacrifice and efforts. This gives us the right to speak about—although admittedly not to interfere in—the internal affairs of Western Germany and to point out that twice in our generation we and our allies have had to sacrifice our blood and treasure in war and thereby assume the obligations of keeping a just and permanent peace in Europe.
The task of defeating German militarism fell to us, but I am fully prepared to agree with the Foreign Secretary that much has been done by the Germans themselves. Much has been done in the way of genuine reform and de-Nazification. It would be absurd to argue that Dr. Adenauer is a Nazi. And no one remembering the dignified and humane speeches by President Heuss during his visit to this country can doubt that there are many Germans who want to build afresh and live in amity with their neighbours.
But we cannot be too complacent—this is not neurosis; it is legitimate apprehension and legitimate watchfulness—about the rooting out of the false gods. They cannot be rooted out by sentencing a few misguided young fanatics to imprisonment for daubing synagogues. The roots are deeper. The point was well put recently by the Catholic Bishop of Limburg, Mgr. Kampe, who said:It would be wrong to see ghosts everywhere. But there are enough embarrassing topics which nobody dares to broach because of a still prevailing panic fright at the secret power and brutality of the Nazi gang. What is lacking is an organisation of all anti-Nazi forces as a solid wall against the secret and underground attacks against our as yet insufficiently established democratic society.Or as a German teacher said in an interview recently when he was asked why so little is taught in the schools about the worst Nazi excesses:We do nothing in the Fourth Reich which will hurt us in the Fifth.511 He spoke in jest; but the words are no jest to millions of Europeans. They are probably not afraid of Dr. Adenauer, but they are afraid of the Fifth Reich; and in view of all that has happened in our lifetime, cannot we understand their fears and their very serious criticisms of the presence of former Nazis in high places in Germany? These are not ghosts or figments of the imagination but real people with real dossiers and real criminal records.
I saw the other day that the Americans are, at Dr. Adenauer's request, no longer to allow access to their archives on S.S. and Gestapo records. The reason given is that the Government are embarrassed. Why should they be? Why should not they be glad that all the free political parties of Germany have the right to inspect the records and satisfy themselves that no prominent Nazis are in power? This ban seems to be the act of a man who is, if not guilty, at least afraid.
Perhaps I might say that the danger is that these records will one day be destroyed. It will be just like "1984"; it will "never have happened". Fortunately, there is in Britain, free from the pressures of high diplomacy, a source of information available to us. If hon. Members ever care to take a short 'bus journey from this House to No. 4, Devonshire Street, they will find the building which houses an organisation known as the Wiener Library. It was founded by Dr. Wiener in Amsterdam in 1933 and was moved to this country before the war. Its purpose was to keep a complete and unique documentation of the Nazi era.
In this library will be found files on hundreds of S.S. and Nazi criminals, with photostat records, affadavits, pamphlets and books. It is completely unpolitical and is activated by no feelings of revenge. The library's workers are scholars. Its purpose is merely to preserve for posterity the history of a European political movement in the third and fourth decades of this century.
Here hon. Members will find not the outpourings of propaganda but cold legal facts. Yet, if they move along these shelves and look at some of the records, they will find documentation of such horror that, unless the proof were there, future historians would never believe that it had happened.
512 I said that the Wiener Library was connected with the mere preservation of records and was completely impartial. For instance, on the subject to Dr. Globke, a controversial figure in the Western German Cabinet, it believes that his war guilt has been exaggerated. His dossier shows him to have been largely a civil servant, a technician, who felt it his duty to serve any master.
Against Professor Oberlander, the other controversial member of Dr. Adenauer's Cabinet, the evidence is far more damning, and there seems little doubt that he was directly implicated in some of the most terrible atrocities in the Eastern territories. Fresh evidence of his complicity has come from Israel, from a refugee, Mr. Abraham Goldberg, who was among a batch of Jews who were made to run the gauntlet between rows of soldiers and bayonetted as they ran.
This refugee escaped by hiding under the corpse of a fellow Jew and, very unfortunately for Professor Oberlander, has lived to tell his tale. I say "unfortunately" because only a few weeks ago Professor Oberlander was saying the accusations against him were vile Bolshevik lies. Dr. Adenauer, if he sincerely wishes to preserve his reputation for prompt and firm action against ex-Nazis, is under an obligation to dismiss Professor Oberlander as soon as possible.
The cases of prominent Nazis in high office are too numerous to be detailed, but perhaps I might be permitted to mention one or two cases. The position of judges is even more serious. One understands the extremely difficult position of judges under Nazism. They had to keep their wives and families, yet, somehow, reconcile the principles of Western law and the deeply felt moral values so painfully established over the centuries with serving under a Government consisting of criminal gangsters.
Perhaps we can bring ourselves to forgive those who narrowly and technically exercised the law, showing mercy wherever possible, but it is very difficult to excuse those who were the enthusiastic hangmen of the Nazis, and whose judgments were delivered with political fervour.
One investigation concerns a judge, now in high office in Germany, who imposed the death penalty on anyone sheltering children who had escaped from 513 the ghettoes or camps. The position of children in camps was a terrible one. Mothers who were waiting to be taken to the gas chambers would make the most strenuous efforts to save their children—concealing them under bundles of clothes, suspending them under coats hanging on hooks. Usually the S.S. men unearthed the children and took them to the gas chambers, but sometimes they were smuggled out.
The judge in question showed no mercy to those who took these rescued children into their homes. On 25th June, 1943, he sentenced a Pole to death for giving shelter to two little escaped Jewish children, and on 4th April, 1944, he sentenced another Pole to death for Sheltering a 12-year-old boy who had escaped liquidation. Yet this enthusiastic hangman of the Nazi régime—and I do not use such words lightly—now dispenses justice in German courts.
The records of another judge show that in 1941 he sentenced an elderly Polish lady to death for being in possession of two sporting guns, formerly belonging to her father, which were family heirlooms. The offence was clearly a technical one—the old lady did not even know how to use them—but this judge sent her to the gallows as an example. Even the Nazi Ministry of Justice was shocked by the savagery of the sentence—and it was not easy to shock the Nazi Ministry of Justice in 1941. The records of the Ministry contain the simple comment:Since the condemned person has been executed. I believe further investigation to be useless.Yet the man who passed this sentence is now a prominent judge in Western Germany.
I could go on at great length—I have many such examples before me. I do not quote these cases in any spirit of revenge. I am not even asking that all of these men be brought to trial. We cannot relive for ever the battles and the bitterness of the past, and I believe as does the Foreign Secretary, that these cases are not representative of the majority of men in high office in Germany. Nevertheless, all these years later, their existence still disturbs us, not because we are vindictive or vengeful, or afraid of ghosts, but because we wish to see Germany, for its own sake as well as that of the world, hold up its head 514 among free nations, cleaned and purged of the bloodshed and tyranny of the past, and a sincere and reliable ally in the cause of freedom.
It is a tragedy that Nazi crimes have become a counter in the quarrel between East and West. They are forgotten or remembered according to the expediencies of the cold war. They have been cited here today merely to indicate that, deplore it as we will, there are tensions within the German State—the tensions described by the Catholic bishop whom I have mentioned. Furthermore these tensions make for fear and suspicion, and sometimes hatred, in Central Europe.
I believe that the proposal to provide Western Germany with nuclear weapons at this time will add to these tensions and will be against the interests of everyone concerned, not least the German people themselves. If my speech has any consistent theme it is that we should think of our foreign policy in terms of something more than the day-to-day and month-to-month strategical and tactical arrangements, though I do not deny that we must defend ourselves. We fought, through many sacrifices, to establish certain values and I think that it is the duty of Her Majesty's Government, and of this House, from time to time to draw attention to these values.
Let me take your memories back to December, 1942, when the long night had descended over Europe, and Nazi domination had stretched almost to its further limits, when the trains were bearing their cargoes of human victims from the eastern territories and elsewhere to the concentration camps.
News of the worst Nazi atrocities had just been received by this House. It was then that the House, in a memorable debate, declared its faith in, and its dedication to, victory and to eventual peace in Europe. Hon. Members stood in silence: but their silence was more eloquent than words. It told the world that the days of the Nazis were numbered.
I believe that, in the new task and purposes of constructive peace which face us today, this House and the Government should remember that our foreign policy is not solely concerned with tactical and strategic objectives.
We have the right to speak on larger issues, a right earned by blood and 515 sacrifice. And our own great traditions of freedom enable us to speak out clearly whenever we see, or suspect that we see, the resurgence of Nazism.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Kershaw (Stroud)
I am sure that the whole House will have been very impressed by the deep sincerity with which the hon. Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Dr. A. Thompson) has addressed us for the first time, and that his fluency will serve his constituents extremely well. The House will also admire the flexibility that enabled him to address the House for the first time from the Liberal benches, and to introduce into a debate on foreign affairs his constituency interest in the Local Employment Bill. I hope that we shall have many contributions from him, delivered with the sincerity and knowledge with which he has spoken to us today.
Everyone knows that, unfortunately, the terrible events that the hon. Member deployed to us actually occurred. The problem today is not to deny that those things happened, but how to prevent them occurring again, which is what I suppose this debate is really about. The hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), who opened the debate, complained, first, that N.A.T.O. had no strategy or policy with which to direct itself. That is so often said, but is it not policy to defend oneself? Surely that is the limited policy to which any military alliance in the Western civilisation must direct itself, and it is not a valid criticism to say that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation does not have a policy merely because its policy is to defend itself.
The hon. Member went on to say that the spread of nuclear weapons throughout the world will shortly take place. Is this, in fact, so? Is it a fact that any other country, except France and possibly in the remoter future China, will be in a position to manufacture its own nuclear weapons? Even if it were so, shall we stop these nuclear weapons from spreading merely by denying them to ourselves or to our allies? Is that a method by which we shall stop it? Quite certainly, my answer to that is that it would have no effect whatever.
If they do spread—and, of course, there is the possibility of it—will they in any way increase the danger of war? 516 Up to now, the answer to that question has, I believe, always been, "Yes". Having considered this at length, are we to assume that other countries when they have this fearful power in their hands will, in fact, prove less responsible than we have been, or be less deterred by the possibility of retaliation than we have been ourselves or the Russians on the other side? I do not believe that the spread of nuclear weapons will bring about a great increase in the danger of their use.
We have to envisage, also—and we know that this is among the policies possible in the near future—the regional spread of nuclear weapons and the spread, that is to say, of the control of nuclear weapons perhaps through the N.A.T.O. Powers, perhaps through other organisations, and perhaps through the Warsaw Pact. I should like to know what the Opposition would think of that. I know that not all hon. Members opposite are opposed to that. It has been proposed at Western European Union that there should be an increased spread of responsibility for control of nuclear weapons through N.A.T.O. and Western European Union.
All these queries which I am putting overlook the fact that the control and inspection of nuclear weapons is exactly what Her Majesty's Government have for some years been trying to do. That is why, in studying the Motion on the Order Paper, I am rather surprised by the terms in which it is couched. I cannot help thinking that the Opposition must consider that a great number of people in this country are not quite au fait with the disarmament proposals, which are, admittedly, very difficult to follow, that have from time to time been put up.
The history of recent years is absolutely littered with disarmament proposals, most of which have been proposed on the Western side and all of which have been opposed in detail by the Russians. The latest Western proposal was put forward by my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary at the United Nations, on 17th September last. I should have thought that, in spite of the wording of the Motion, this was a most practical proposition, because it sets out, in three stages, the sort of achievements which any disarmament proposals might be likely to gain in the present stage of international opinion.
517 This proposal has three stages. The first includes the accomplishment of the small gains which might possibly be made in the setting up of a body to collect military information, technical discussion about the cut-off of fissionable material and other details already long discussed at Geneva and other conferences and well within the capacity of the Powers to agree if there is the will to agree at all.
The second stage is the actual cutoff of fissionable material, the location of nuclear weapons under inspection and control, and the final stage which we all wish to see is the international control and inspection of arms. I should have thought that that is a most practical proposal and, contrary to the terms of the Motion, I should have thought, also, that the continuous way in which this matter has been carried on by the ten-Power Committee and by the Conference on the suspension of Nuclear Tests shows the continual application which Her Majesty's Government have given to this vitally important question.
The next point in the Motion castigates our approach to the Summit. I feel that on this point the Opposition Motion is really more unreal even than on the first point. Surely no one can doubt that it was largely due to the initiative of the Prime Minister, when he went to Moscow, that the talks about the Summit ever got under way during the last year. If anyone says that he should have gone further, or faster, or more determinedly, surely the reaction of our allies is sufficient answer to that.
Surely we went to the limit of frightening our allies in Europe and the United States into thinking that we might be going to make some separate deal with the Russians. If we had done anything further we might well have risked the grave displeasure of our allies and the disruption of N.A.T.O., and I would go so far as to say that during the past year N.A.T.O. has been running rather roughly because of the fears of some of our allies lest we might be "selling them down the river."
The next item in the Opposition Motion presses for the limitation and control of forces and weapons in Central Europe. That has already been suggested from the Government side over 518 and over again. The last occasion on which it can be most usefully summarised is by quoting the communiqué issued after the Moscow meeting of the Prime Minister and Mr. Khrushchev, which stated:That further study could usefully be made of the possibilities of increasing security by some method of limitation of forces and weapons, both conventional and nuclear, in an agreed area of Europe, coupled with an appropriate system of inspection.That part of the Opposition's Motion has already, I trust, been covered by the efforts of Her Majesty's Government and, therefore, I do not see why the Opposition should be disgruntled with it. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), referring to the Motion, said that they had taken great care to follow the exact wording of the communiqué. I am bound to say that the wording is different—perhaps some passage has escaped me—from the Motion.
I should like to inquire whether this suggestion about the limitation and control of forces in Central Europe does not, in fact, go a little further than one thinks at first sight. At first sight, it is rather a retreat from the proposition of disengagement which has been for so long close to the heart of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds. South (Mr. Gaitskell) and the hon. Member for Leeds, East and which has been received by our European allies, including the Socialist parties of Europe, with such universal disapproval.
I think it fair to say that disengagement is now almost a rude word. If I may parody the quotation of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, East I would say, "Lillies that fester smell far worse than Leeds", because it is not very respectable now to talk about disengagement in Western Europe.
§ Mr. K. Zilliacus (Manchester, Gorton)
May I remind the hon. Gentleman that the German Social Democratic Party's plan for Germany is based on the conception of disengagement and is very close indeed to the policy put forward by the Labour Party? That will remain the policy not only of the German Social Democratic Party, but of large sections of the Liberal Party and some sections of Dr. Adenauer's party.
§ Mr. Kershaw
I think that the hon. Gentleman will agree that there are differences of interpretation of what disengagement really means.
That brings me to the next question, what is disengagement in the sense that it is used or hinted at in the Motion? Is it to be a limitation of arms, "as a first step" as it says in the Motion, so that it would appear that military disengagement will precede any political settlement which may be arrived at in the course of the Summit meeting or other negotiations? Is that the right way to put the thing?
Let us take the question of Berlin. Will disengagement actually make the Germans more flexible? Will it really make the Germans more capable of being in a negotiable frame of mind about Berlin to see their allies withdrawing over the bridges across the Rhine? The hon. Member for Leeds, East thinks that there ought to be a demilitarised zone all round Berlin to induce a sense of security, but that would not appear so to me. I should want very good assurances that the military forces in Eastern Germany had been disbanded, or that it was not proposed to use them in any way, before we withdrew from West Berlin, or West German forces were disbanded.
I believe that if the West Germans saw their allies deserting West Germany it would have two possible consequences. Either it would steel them to desperate measures to regain their lost territories and independence in Berlin, or it might equally well—and more probably perhaps—induce them to despair and hand over to Russian control. Surely, in either case, by such a policy we should be throwing Germany into the melting pot outside the democratic community of nations, and, certainly, we should be losing a campaign without even a war. We should break up the system of alliances, and I think that we should endanger the peace of Europe.
I believe that the hints about disengagement such as we have heard this afternoon make the position of the West German Government even stiffer than at present. After all, in regard to Berlin itself, looking at it as an isolated problem, what is there that we can give away? Surely, regarding Berlin, we are in the last ditch. But, of course, if we 520 combine some sort of solution about Berlin with a wider solution of Central European affairs there is a possibility of something being done. But in considering Berlin by itself I suggest that there is no flexibility available.
§ Mr. Richard Marsh (Greenwich)
The hon. Gentleman appears to base his whole argument on the assumption that the people of West Germany are violently opposed to a policy of disengagement. This does not appear to be the case among large sections of German opinion.
§ Mr. Kershaw
In my opinion, it is. I have given the reasons why I think so, and why I think that the departure of the allies and their forces from Germany would induce a sense of despair and frustration among the West Germans. I believe that they would either throw in their lot with the East European nations, or they might be induced to take a reckless or desperate step to regain their independence before it was too late. I believe that to be so. I believe that is the psychological position in which they stand. I believe the policy of disengagement is in the highest degree dangerous and I am certain that under the present Administration it will not be adopted.
The next point about the Motion—it is of extreme importance—is that it deplores the arming of West German forces with nuclear weapons on the ground that it prejudices the success of the Summit meeting. I think that that is a wrong approach to the psychology of the Russians. I do not believe that the way to get Russian agreement is to give concessions before starting negotiations. I think that anyone who has negotiated with them believes that that is not the way in which they run their affairs. But I assume that the advice which the Opposition give about this in their Motion is not so much an assessment of Russian psychology as a reflection of an unresolved conflict which still rages in the Socialist Party about whether or not the Germans should be rearmed at all.
We have had a clear expression of it this afternoon. I cannot put more aptly the position in which I stand, in thinking that if we are to arm Germany at all we must do so with the weapons which are 521 currently the weapons with which armed forces are equipped, than to quote what appeared in an official Labour Party publication in June, 1954, where was set forth the policy agreed to by the whole of the party with the exception of a small section of it. It states:In the current controversy about a West German defence contribution the fundamental question is this: shall we go forward with the European Socialist parties and with the European democracies in a policy of reconciliation and partnership with a democratic Germany far the peace and security of Europe? Or shall we wait upon a Soviet change of heart and in so doing weaken Western solidarity and security? Shall we hold out our hand to German democracy, or tread it under foot? The answer must surely be that we are ready to join hands and stand together in defence of Europe.That admirably poses the problem which we all had to decide in 1954 and which, in a modified form, faces us today, and I believe that the conclusion ought to be similar to the conclusion which was arrived at then.
§ Mr. G. Brown
But the British Army is not having these weapons. I understand that there is no provision to arm the British Army with the "Sergeant" missile—perhaps the Minister of Defence can confirm that—and that there is no proposal that we should have "Mace" missiles. Why, then, does the hon. Gentleman think that it is essential that the Germans should have them?
§ Mr. Kershaw
I was not saying that the Germans should have any particular missile. I am saying that the Germans ought to be armed with the appropriate defensive weapons which are necessary today.
§ Mr. Brown
I was asking the hon. Gentleman why he thinks that the Germans should have these weapons, which are what the argument is about. It is not about the weapons they are not to have, but the ones which they are to be given. Why does he think them appropriate for the Germans but, apparently, not appropriate for anyone else?
§ Mr. Kershaw
Perhaps that is a question which might be more properly addressed to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence. The relative ranges and different names of the weapons does not seem to remove the political point that we have to have 522 weapons appropriate for defensive strategy in Western Europe. If we are to have weapons of appropriate power we do not necessarily confine ourselves to weapons with a range of not more than 10 miles outside our frontier because the bases from which nuclear weapons would fire are usually a good way away from the frontier.
It is the height of illogic to say that if we are to arm the German forces we should arm them with inferior weapons—
§ Mr. Kershaw
That is exactly what the Motion does say. It says that the weapons with which the German forces shall be armed shall be inferior in character and nature to the weapons of other Western forces.
One must face the facts of life. We cannot ask art army to go to war armed with bows and arrows if to its knowledge its enemies have rifles and guns. That is not fair and reasonable. It does not make any kind of political or military sense, if we wish to have Western Germany in our camp as a military ally. I hope that I have established that there are a large number of people who think it essential that we must equip the German forces in the same way as other forces, with the weapons appropriate to their posture in a defensive position. Otherwise, we should be condemning the Germans to play no part in a democratic system in Europe and we should be depriving ourselves of a powerful ally.
Let us not imagine that in forbidding the Germans to have these nuclear weapons we should be separating ourselves only from West Germany. We should be separating ourselves from Western Europe as well. For these misgivings which we have are not entirely shared by our allies in N.A.T.O. After all, the Federal German Republic has given every possible guarantee, under Western European treaties and the control of armaments inflicted on them, that she will not manufacture any of the weapons known as A, B and C weapons—atomic, bacteriological and chemical weapons—and will submit to every possible inspection of her armaments manufacture which anyone wishes to make. We cannot ask for more than that in the way of control.
523 The hon. Member for Leeds, East says, correctly, that Western Germans do not want these weapons. In a sense they do not. We do not want these weapons in this country, either. But we have got them.
§ Mr. Kershaw
They are the facts of life, and there they exist. They are the military weapons of today, and although we may feel horrified at their power and at the situation in which we find ourselves, in which we must work out some means of control over them, it is the policy of this Government and the declared policy of the democratically elected German Government to submit themselves to the terrible discipline that these weapons impose upon us all in Western civilisation today. It is not the will of the German people not to have them. It is a necessary policy imposed upon them by the facts of life that they must have them.
Other nations, allies of ours in Europe, do not condemn the Western Germans in this way, and if we separate ourselves from them, we shall separate ourselves from our other friends, also. The United States, I am sure, is very willing to see part of the defence burden borne by Western Germany today. France, with her commitments in Algeria, would feel very naked, I have no doubt, if Western Germany and the strength she derives from her alliance with Germany were not there. Italy, too, with her tremendous problems of unemployment, and so on, must take some comfort for a similar reason. Finally, of course, the collective sense of the N.A.T.O. Council has often said that these weapons are, unfortunately, necessary and we must have them in the territory of the N.A.T.O. Powers, which includes the territory of Western Germany.
I believe that the policy of keeping Western Germany as a separate Power is impossible at this stage, with all respect to those who have suggested it. I believe that it is now impossible to achieve a sort of pupilage status for Western Germany, fifteen years after the war. My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary rightly said that, when we remember the posture of Germany in 1933 and consider her posture today, 524 we must draw a great deal of comfort from the difference between the two. I welcome very much the reference in the Amendment to N.A.T.O. and our determination to back it up. I welcome very much our efforts towards disarmament, which must, as is stated in the Amendment, be comprehensive and must include inspection and control.
The hon. Member for Leeds, East said that we have no policy and that time is not on our side. Is the hon. Member right about that? I believe that time is on our side in this matter, provided that we can maintain the status quo for sufficient time. Those who know Russia much better than I do have told me that there is a distinct movement in Russia towards the creation of a bourgeoisie, a propertied class, a class which has a stake in the country, a technological class. These matters are coming to the notice of the Russian leaders and will have to be settled one way or another during the next twenty-five years.
We should not, of course, exaggerate the importance of what is happening. The element of freedom in Russia today is, no doubt, very small. It can probably be compared with the element of freedom which was apparent to a visitor to Germany in the 1930s under the Hitler régime. There was all the apparatus of power, but any visitor could talk to individuals who would be able to tell him individually how much they disapproved of what was going on. Perhaps it is no more than that. The great power of the State is there to ensure that the shackles are not loosened too quickly.
Nevertheless, there will be a problem facing the leaders of Russian opinion. I believe that, if we can ensure maintenance of the status quo for a time, we shall, in due course, find that the pressure will be relieved and the cold war may draw to an end much happier than anything we may hope for at the moment.
§ 6.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Henderson (Rowley Regis and Tipton)
Both the Foreign Secretary and the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw), apparently, have thought it necessary to misrepresent the terms of the Opposition Motion. The Foreign 525 Secretary, for instance, interpreted the reference in the Amendment pressingfor the limitation and control of forces and weapons in Central Europe as a first step towards a wider political settlement in that areaas being in terms the policy of disengagement which the Opposition have frequently supported.
None of us would wish to run away from our belief in disengagement, but those words in the Motion do not represent the disengagement proposal. It has been made perfectly clear that disengagement presupposes a reunified Germany, progress towards disarmament, Progress towards a system of collective security for Europe, and various other conditions which have been defined in the statements which have been made. These words in the Motion mean what they say.
Both the hon. Member for Stroud and the Foreign Secretary seemed to want to take credit for the fact that what we suggest is already Government policy. If it is Government policy, why should they object to accepting it? It seems to me that they are seeking for self-justification and drawing a red herring across the trail to bolster their own position.
§ Mr. Kershaw
Of course, I did not want to misrepresent the Motion. I should like the right hon. and learned Gentleman to explain what is the exact meaning of the words "as a first step". They seem to me to envisage limitation and control of armaments, a purely military arrangement, within some area of Central Europe, and then a political settlement afterwards. That, surely, is disengagement.
§ Mr. Henderson
The hon. Member himself referred to the comprehensive statement on disarmament made by the Foreign Secretary at the United Nations in September last year. In that there was a reference to three steps. It does not mean that something is done in isolation, necessarily. There may be a comprehensive agreement, the first step being some form of disengagement, or, as Sir Anthony Eden proposed as far back as July, 1955—using the terms of this Motion—a proposal for limitation and control of armaments in Central Europe together with the establishment of a demilitarised zone.
526 It is very difficult to understand why the Foreign Secretary should object to this part of the Motion, except, perhaps, as an explanation of why he paid so much attention to the proposal for disengagement. We are quite prepared to discuss the full implications of the policy of disengagement. We have done so in the House on previous occasions, but we are not doing so in specific terms in this part of the Motion.
Referring to our objection to the supplying of nuclear weapons to the German forces before the Summit talks, the Foreign Secretary said that the Opposition are now meeting with the natural and probable results of their policy in 1950. I wonder what would have been said in the West if the Soviet Union, in the months preceding the Summit Conference, had handed out nuclear weapons to all the member countries of the Warsaw Pact. There would have been consternation and a great deal of criticism on this side of the Iron Curtain if that had happened. Why should not those on the other side of the Iron Curtain take exception to the Government's present policy in the months leading up to the Summit talks?
Some people, apparently, take the view that we would not object to the handing out of nuclear weapons to Germany after the Summit talks. I do not know about that. I support the Motion because I attach the utmost importance to these Summit talks and I do not desire anything to be done which would in any way prejudice or appear to prejudice their possible successful outcome. We therefore say that we do not want to be parties to any policy, whether it be the supply of nuclear weapons to Germany or any other policy, which may prejudice the Summit talks which are to take place in May.
The hon. Member gave a picture, quite accurately, of the three stages of the disarmament proposals put forward at the United Nations in September by the Foreign Secretary. I do not know whether I speak only for myself, but I certainly welcome those proposals. I have welcomed similar proposals during the last six years in our debates on disarmament. When the Government showed initiative and put forward constructive proposals for solving this great world problem, I was prepared to say that they would receive my support. I 527 say the same thing about the proposals of the Foreign Secretary at the United Nations, last September. I welcome just as cordially the proposals made by Mr. Khrushchev the following day. I think that it is just as idle of us to express doubts about the sincerity of the Russians as it is of the Russians to express doubts about the sincerity of the West.
We also welcome the resolution passed by the 82 nations at the United Nations expressing the view that disarmament is the most important problem facing the world today. Our trouble is that we have had so many declarations. During the past ten years, we have had hundreds of sessions of negotiations, dozens and dozens of papers, plans and memoranda, statements by Governments and heads of state, taking the view that disarmament is the most important problem facing the world. I propose to give some reasons why I think that they are absolutely right.
During the past ten years, not one agreement has been achieved. We have had unilateral action by the Soviet Union, the United States and the United Kingdom. In August, 1955, the Soviet Union announced a reduction of 650,000 men in their forces. In the following year, it announced a further reduction of 1,200,000. Early this year, Mr. Khrushchev announced a further reduction of 1,200,000, bringing the Soviet forces down to about 2½ million men. At the end of the Korean war, the forces of the United States totalled about 3¼ million. Today, that total has been reduced to approximately 2½ million. Even the United Kingdom has reduced its manpower unilaterally by about 37 or 38 per cent. since 1955.
All these reductions have been brought about unilaterally. Why could they not have been carried out by agreement? As far back as 1955, proposals were made in the disarmament sub-committee by both the Soviet Union and the United States to the effect that the manpower of those two countries should be reduced to 2½ million. No agreement was reached. Yet, as I say, unilaterally these two countries have brought their manpower down to 2½ million. There is a great difference between unilateral reductions and reductions by agreement under a system of control. Unilateral reductions can be modified or reversed.
528 We do not know whether the United States has, in fact, reduced its forces to 2½ million men or the Soviet Union its forces from 4½ million men to 2½ million. But if an agreement had been reached in 1955 and a control and inspection system set up, we should have had three or four years' experience in the functioning and operation of a system of inspection and control. This is essential in the view of most people if we are to make any real progress towards complete disarmament.
In my opinion, unilateral disarmament is unsatisfactory, because it is not controlled and cannot be checked by inspection. Moreover, the reductions which have been announced were in manpower. We all know that in every other branch of armaments the reverse policy has been followed. Today, in all spheres and classes of armaments there has been an increase—in nuclear bombs and thermonuclear bombs. All three Governments represented at the disarmament talks have increased the number of their hydrogen bombs and atomic bombs. Missiles with ranges from 20 to 6,000 miles and speeds of up to 16,000 miles an hour have been developed.
With other Members of Parliament, I have had the opportunity of seeing something of the overwhelming power of nuclear destruction at the disposal of the United States. Assuming, as we must assume, that the Soviet Union has equal overwhelming power of destruction, we can realise only too clearly that, while they have been reducing their manpower unilaterally, the weapons of mass destruction to which I have referred have been on the increase.
Some people say, "Get rid of the nuclear weapon and then everything will be all right". Will it? There are Members who remember the V1s and V2s, with high explosive warheads and the terrible destruction of which they were capable, who will realise that getting rid of nuclear weapons will not solve our problems.
I have here a quotation from The Times of 6th February, referring to nerve gas at Denver, Colorado, it says:Nerve gas … is stored above ground at an arsenal eight miles from Denver. Disclosing this in an interview today, the arsenal commander … conceded that there was 'a certain calculated risk' in this.There is said to be enough gas stored in that depot to kill every man, woman, 529 and child. We know that research work on bacteriological and chemical warfare is being carried out in our own country and in the Soviet Union. We were told the other day by a leading Canadian scientist that about 8 or 10 ozs. of a botulinis toxin would be sufficient to wipe out almost the whole human race. The power of mass destruction at the disposal of the three major Governments is greater now than it was before they reduced their manpower ceilings. The threat of mass destruction will not, in my opinion, be finally removed until the world rids itself of the whole armoury of weapons of mass destruction—nuclear and high explosive missiles and all forms of chemical and bacteriological warfare.
That is why I attach the greatest importance to the Geneva Conference on tests. I am glad that the Foreign Secretary has returned to the Chamber, because I should like to make one or two suggestions to which I hope he will give consideration. In my view, the Geneva Conference on tests is the best way out of the present disarmament deadlock. These negotiations have been going on for about eighteen months and I was very glad to hear the Foreign Secretary speaking, I thought, rather optimistically—and I hope he is right—about the prospects of a move towards an interim agreement. There was a time when it was expected that an agreement would be reached. Then the discussions became bogged down by the report of the American scientists. I do not know what other hon. Members feel, but I wonder whether we should not be prepared to take risks. I do not believe that we shall ever secure scientific apparatus which will give us 100 per cent. potentiality in the detection, for example, of secreted or hidden or undisclosed nuclear weapons.
The Foreign Secretary referred, I believe, to "small" tests. I do not know whether he referred to tests in the megaton range or in the kiloton range. I do not know whether the Foreign Secretary was referring to the size of the weapon, or the size of the explosive power when he said "small".
§ Mr. Henderson
I wonder whether that is so fundamental to this issue.
530 I am going to make a suggestion—and I am not sure whether the Foreign Secretary was not indicating that it was in his own mind, also. I should like to see an agreement reached on the complete banning of tests under water, on the surface, high altitude and low altitude—a complete and unconditional banning. That is what I might call Part 1. Part 2 would be a solemn declaration by the three Governments that they will not in any circumstances resume any tests underground. The difficulty there is that the seismographic controls that can be applied in the case of the other tests apparently are not effective in the case of small underground tests. That is where I would take a risk. I ask the Foreign Secretary to consider whether Her Majesty's Government could not agree to the second part being a solemn declaration by the three Governments that they will not resume small underground tests, and that immediately a committee of scientists will be appointed from the three countries to undertake investigations into the possibility of making sure that these small underground tests are not undertaken. I believe that this might be the way out of the present impasse.
Then there is the question of the ten-power Conference. I hope that both sides of the House agree that we must not allow the ten-Power Conference to continue in deadlock. After all, there have been ten years of endeavour. There have been 500 sessions, and it seems to me that the time has come when we really ought to be able to make some progress. Mr. Khrushchev talked about complete disarmament in four years. I very much doubt whether that is practicable. I think that what is most important—and here I thought the Foreign Secretary was a little ungenerous in his references to our advocacy or acceptance of partial disarmament measures—is that there should be a comprehensive agreement such as was put forward in September last by the Foreign Secretary, providing for complete disarmament to be achieved in three stages. But, certainly, we would not object to first steps along the road to disarmament.
At present we have not made any advance whatsoever. We have not secured one small disarmament agreement during the past ten years. There have been unilateral reductions in manpower, but there has been no agreement. 531 Speaking for myself—and I think this is the view of all hon. Members on this side of the House—we would welcome, as a first step along the road towards eventual complete disarmament, the achievement of agreement at Geneva in connection with the tests.
I want to deal for a moment with the question of nuclear arms for Germany. President Eisenhower is reported in The Times of 4th February as stating:The United States is moving towards a further liberalisation of statutory provisions which at present exclude American atomic weapons from the custody of allied countries.This suggests the possibility of atomic weapons coming into the hands of all N.A.T.O. countries, including Germany. I would be apprehensive—I do not know whether the Foreign Secretary would share my apprehension—that this would be almost certainly followed by the Soviet Union similarly equipping its allies in the Warsaw Pact. Instead of a non-nuclear club, we should have a nuclear club covering probably 20 countries. Instead of Central Europe being a nuclear-free zone, it would bristle with nuclear weapons. Both East and West Germany—and Germany is the main danger spot in Europe—would be equipped for a nuclear war, even though the warheads were locked in a cupboard.
Surely all these trends constitute disarmament in reverse. It seems to me an act of folly to plaster Central Europe with nuclear weapons. The prospect of both West and East Germany being equipped with nuclear weapons causes disquiet and anxiety in the minds of many people. Let us be frank about it; that feeling is shared by many people who do not share the political opinions of hon. Members on this side of the House.
Moreover, if Germany were ever to leave N.A.T.O. she would be left in possession of nuclear weapons, independent of any control by the present N.A.T.O. Powers. On the other hand, simply to deny such weapons to Germany or any other nation will not work. I do not believe that Germany will ever accept discrimination, or even what she thinks is a position of inferiority. But the position would be quite different if the nations would agree to start along the road to complete disarmament. In a disarming world there would be no justifica- 532 tion for Germany to ask for or to be given any nuclear weapons whatsoever.
Vice-Admiral John Hughes Hallett (Croydon, North-East)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said a moment ago that he did not think that Germany would ever accept a position of discrimination. Surely Germany voluntarily renounced indefinitely the manufacture of nuclear weapons. Does he suggest that she is chafing under that restriction, or wishes to change it?
§ Mr. Henderson
No. The point is that Germany is now to be supplied with nuclear weapons, such as the "Matador", and missiles of one kind and another, as well as nuclear artillery. The whole point of the Opposition's Motion is that it refers to the fact that the N.A.T.O. countries, including Germany, are being equipped with nuclear weapons.
What I am saying is that if the N.A.T.O. countries are equipped with nuclear weapons I shall be very surprised if the Soviet Union does not follow suit and likewise arm the Warsaw Pact countries. In my view the security of Germany or any country on the Continent is bound up with a system of security for all Europe.
I would suggest three things that could be done in the interests of European security. First, as is proposed in our Motion, a measure for ensuring the limitation and control of armaments in Central Europe; secondly, there must be European collective security based on the twin pillars of N.A.T.O. and the Warsaw Pact; third, and most important to my mind, the beginning of gradual, progressive world disarmament.
With this background, obstacles to German reunification would be very much easier to overcome, but I am coming to the conclusion—it is my view—that the possibility of German reunification is beginning to become a much more distant prospect than I for one thought it would be two or three years ago. The Foreign Secretary will be going to the summit conference very shortly, and I think he will agree with me that, whatever we say about the long term prospects of dealing with the question of German unity, the question of Berlin will certainly be one of the matters which will be discussed. I should like, therefore, to say a word about the Berlin problem.
533 We were threatened by the Soviet Union with a separate peace treaty between Soviet Union and East Germany if the Berlin problem was not solved. I hope the West will stand firm, but this does not mean that they should be rigid. Surely, some arrangements can be made without sacrificing the population of West Berlin. I should like to make the following suggestions. Again, I am giving my own personal views.
I would express the hope that the Government will at least consider that steps should be taken to secure the reunification of Berlin: not of Germany, but of Berlin. For this purpose I would suggest that an equal number of representatives of East and West Berlin city assemblies should meet to work out a system of free elections to an all-Berlin city parliament, which would have to be established. It would then become the municipal authority for the whole of Berlin. Representatives of the four Occupying Powers should be present at that meeting. Secondly, the East German Government should agree to withdraw their seat of government from Pankow in one of the East Berlin suburbs. Thirdly, the forces of the four Occupying Powers would remain for the time being, but possibly at a reduced strength. Lastly, I should like to see some form of United Nations presence in such a reunified Berlin, even though it might be only in the form of a limited number of observers. Although my suggestions may be quite impracticable from the point of view of one side or the other, I believe we have to think about how we are going to try to break the deadlock existing today over the problem of Berlin.
Finally, may I just say one word about a world security authority, to which the Foreign Secretary referred in what I thought was a sympathetic reference? While the road to complete disarmament may be long, it seems to me that it is time that some consideration was given to the question of organising peace in a disarming world. I think that is, possibly, the view of the Foreign Secretary.
When all the nations lay down their arms may be in the distant future; it may be in the near future; but at present, so far as I know, no consideration is being given to what is to be put in the vacuum. When the nations lay down their arms there must be institu- 534 tions within the framework of the United Nations to preserve international peace and security and to promote the rule of law. Some kind of security authority, as the Foreign Secretary indicated, backed by a world, a United Nations, police force will have to be established.
I should like, therefore, to ask the Foreign Secretary what action the Government propose to take during the forthcoming ten-Power negotiations and also at the summit conference to have discussions on this concept of a world security authority.
I believe that on many aspects of this great problem of disarmament there is not so much difference between the two sides of the House. Our main indictment against the Government is one which, I think, can be levelled against the other Governments who have been associated with them during the past ten years in these disarmament negotiations. We do not want merely lip service or declarations. Not one single agreement, or even the beginning of an agreement, which can be called a disarmament agreement has yet been achieved.
I agreed with my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) when he said in opening the debate that 1960 might well be the critical year for international relations. I should like to see the Foreign Secretary lead our delegation himself at the ten-Power negotiations, but possibly he will be in Moscow and will not be able to do so. The right hon. and learned Gentleman made a very good start and received the congratulations of the Opposition in 1954 and 1955 when he fathered with Jules Moch what is called the Anglo-French Plan. I believe he can make his name live in the memory of future generations if he will lead the Government and set an example by sacrificing energy and time to break this terrible disarmament deadlock which is holding everything up at the present time.
§ 6.47 p.m.
§ Dr. Alan Glyn (Clapham)
In rising to intervene in this very important debate I would claim the privilege of a maiden speaker and ask the indulgence of the House which it is always so generous in giving to new Members when they address the House for the first time. I shall endeavour not to be 535 controversial. I had hoped that my medical knowledge would be of value when I came to the House. So far, it has been a help in treating various members of the staff, but I must confess to you, Mr. Speaker, that I have completely failed to prescribe for myself some tranquiliser sufficiently effective to sustain me in front of the House tonight.
I have the honour to represent Clapham, and I can assure the House that, in Clapham, people are very cognisant of the importance of foreign affairs, because they say that whatever the Government do and whatever they themselves do, in an endeavour to improve their lives and the standard of living both for themselves and their children, it is all completely and utterly useless unless we can obtain a permanent peace settlement in the world and some degree of security, a framework of security within which we can all work.
I welcome this debate combining the subjects of defence and foreign affairs, because, to my mind, they are indivisable. It is no use attempting in any way to negotiate with the Russians unless we have behind us a strong force. It is only through strength that we shall have any bargaining power with the Russians.
I am influenced, I must confess, in my approach to foreign affairs by the events of 1956. At that time, I was fortunate—or unfortunate—enough to be in Hungary during the revolution. I witnessed the Russian armies invading that country, in contravention to a treaty and an agreement which had been made only three days previously by which the Russians guaranteed that they would leave Hungary and never invade it again. As I journeyed from Hungary towards Roumania, I saw the Russian armies advancing from Russia. It occurred to me then, and it has occurred to me ever since, that there was nothing in Europe at that time in the way of conventional forces which could possibly have stopped those armies proceeding westwards through Austria and right through Europe. There was only one factor which could stop them, and that was the fear of the atomic deterrent. I am quite convinced that that was the factor which deterred them.
536 Times have changed and I am genuinely convinced that Russian policy is altering as well. I think that the Russians believe that they can achieve their objects in other ways, first, by subversive activity, evidence of which I saw on my recent visit to the Middle East, and, secondly, by an endeavour to beat the Western world in the commercial sphere. It is for this last reason that I believe that Russia is so anxious to move many of her soldiers from the forces into industry.
I am quite convinced that the initiative of the Prime Minister led to agreement to hold Summit talks. The preparations made and the personal contacts which he has established will, I am sure, bring us eventually to an agreement at the Summit. I regard it as the duty of the Government to provide an adequate system of defence for this country until such time as that agreement is achieved. Recent events in France, the political crisis, combined with the very large forces which France is employing in Algeria, I should have thought, make up one of the reasons and one of the necessities, though only one, for the rearming of Western Germany.
The hon. Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Dr. A. Thompson) very rightly stressed the history of the three invasions by the Germans, but I am certain that many of these fears could be allayed, first, if people realised that we are working for some form of world disarmament and that Western Germany will be included in that agreement. Secondly, it would be as well if people appreciated that if Western Germany were to set out on her own on some aggressive war the object of which might be the reunification of Germany or something of that nature, we should make it perfectly clear to her and the rest of the world that in an enterprise of that kind she would not have the backing of N.A.T.O. and would stand alone.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary today stressed the importance of tests. I believe that in the three stages of disarmament on which he is working the only really important thing is a system of proper international inspection, because it is perfectly possible and feasible for any nation in a country as vast as Russia to carry out atomic tests and have an army of unknown size if some form of international supervision 537 is not undertaken. Until it is undertaken I do not believe that any form of disarmament is really practical or honest. If the Russians believe in disarmament, let them submit to a proper system of checks of nuclear tests and of inspection so that we and the rest of the world may be sure of the size of their forces.
This is particularly important in view of what Mr. Khrushchev said in January to the Supreme Soviet. He emphasised the importance of demobilisation and of moving men from the forces into the factories, but he went on to say that at a moment's notice these men could be rapidly moved into the field. That is an extremely important statement by the Russian Government. I believe that there is only one possible and practicable way of dealing with it and that is by making sure that if there is disarmament it is a proper disarmament and is not done under some other guise such as the moving of people into industry.
One of the greatest dangers we have to fight today is not only the problem of arms, but also the problem of the subversive war which the Russians are waging in the world. I saw evidence recently in North Africa of the strategy which they adopt, and I was very pleased that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary mentioned this as one of the great dangers which confront us.
I am quite certain that it is possible to have an agreement, and I am sure that when any agreement is made my right hon. and learned Friend and our Western allies will not forget the incidents of Hungary and Tibet in any negotiations which they carry out. The hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) said that this could be a remarkable year. I believe that the lifetime of this Parliament in which we are privileged to sit could be remarkable if we could undertake a system by which the world disarmed by stages and if, at the end of this Parliament or in the next few years, we could remove for all time the threat of war—and by that I mean the threat of all types of war and not only nuclear war.
I welcomed the signature the other day of the cultural treaty with Russia which comes into effect on 1st April. I am sure that the exchanges of individuals between this and other Western countries and Russia can be a 538 great advance towards a feeling of understanding between countries.
I should like to pay tribute to the Foreign Secretary. Two years ago, when I was in Ankara, I talked privately to Mr. Zorlu, and I said to him casually. "Is there anyone who understands these problems?" He replied, "There is one man, and that man is Mr. Selwyn Lloyd". I am quite certain that my right hon. and learned Friend's patient negotiations and hard work will be rewarded eventually in a Summit Conference and that we shall live, in the lifetime of this Parliament, to fight Russia not with arms, but with the only weapons with which I believe it is humanly possible to fight her, and that is with commercial competition.
I thank the House for listening to me with such indulgence today.
§ 6.57 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Idwal Jones (Wrexham)
It is a great privilege to congratulate the hon. Member for Clapham (Dr. Glyn) on his maiden speech. I can assure him that it is never easy to speak in this Chamber. After being a Member of Parliament for several years now, I still find it a very difficult thing to do, but after listening to him I assure him that we shall all look forward to hearing him speak on other topics in the future.
The debate has been a valuable one, as no doubt tomorrow's debate will also be. I believe that there is a universal desire not only in this country but in other parts of the world for greater security—a security based not on the piling up of arms but one which can be achieved only by laying the foundations for a just and lasting peace. The time has come to sweep aside quibbling technicalities, to strive for agreement on a broad basis and to leave time to work out the details. We should now set aside prejudices which have been nurtured far too long and assume that the Russian leaders are speaking the truth and mean what they say and that their proposals are genuine and sincere. That is the only assumption on which confidence can be created and headway made.
I also believe that we cannot carry on with our past policies; at least we cannot carry on with them regidly. I will explain what I mean by reference to one or two elements in our past policies. For example, there was the containment 539 of Russian policy, largely sponsored by the United States. That is at an end. Bases were established in the West and in the East. The plugging of the South was more difficult and the flabby structure of the Baghdad Pact emerged. It was a paper pact, a paper curtain, which could be outflanked, jumped over and torn through. But sputniks and luniks have blown this containment policy space high, and it is as well for us to appreciate that fact.
Then there was the doctrine of the position of strength. Even with conventional weapons no nation or any group of nations has ever known when the position of strength has been reached. The Imperial Kaiser thought he was in a position of strength. Hitler thought he was in a position of strength. Yet no group of Powers nor a single Power can be sure that at a given time it is in a position of strength.
That was true even of conventional weapons. It is far more true of unconventional weapons. The fact is that there has been a mighty revolution in the means of destruction. That position is already absolute, for there is no defence against the nuclear weapon. But there has been no corresponding revolution in thought. We still move along the old ruts. We still think in terms of balance of power, knowing full well that such a past policy has failed to preserve the peace, and knowing equally well that failure in the future must mean the suicide of nations. That is why our policy in the past in retrospect looks so very naive.
For example, let us take the policy pursued by the Government on the unification of Germany. How plausible, how feasible were the arguments presented to us; but how innocent! A schoolboy of average intelligence could have seen through them. A united Germany was to have full sovereignty. We heard the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister make this statement more than once. The argument went that full sovereignty meant full sovereign rights, and this in turn meant that the new Germany could enter either N.A.T.O. or the Warsaw group.
This was apparently a sound argument, but in the context of rival great Powers it had an essential flaw. The West always knew that Western 540 Germany outnumbered Eastern Germany. Sovereignty, in fact, meant Germany joining N.A.T.O., thus bringing N.A.T.O. forces to the frontiers of Russia. What a naive under-estimation of Russian intelligence! Is it really realistic to expect the Russians to do what we ourselves would not do? Would we support German unification, free elections or no free elections, if it meant that automatically Russian forces would move to the Rhine and to the shores of the North Sea?
One other example of the same policy was the package deal. This has been our traditional method, the presenting to Russia of a package deal. The procedure is familiar to all. The West have their Summit talks; there are differences, they argue, and at times feelings run high. After long and tortuous sessions, compromising formulae are arrived at, though not with a superfluity of enthusiasm. A neat package is then presented to Russia. The individual States of the West have their arms tied to their own package. There is no manoeuvreability, progress is slow and finally deadlock is reached. The wheels of negotiation grind slowly and eventually to a stop.
Surely there must be another procedure possible in our effort to come to a real understanding with the Soviet Union. Underlying the difficulty of East—West relationships are two factors, and we have had evidence of one of them in our debate this evening. One is the hatred of each group for the economic system of the other. The second factor is fear. It is time that we accepted the various economic systems, and accepted them finally. We cannot sacrifice universal peace on the altar of economic ideologies. Communism in Russia, whether we like it or no, has come to stay. Nor is capitalism in the United States on the way out, at least in the foreseeable future. This fact should be accepted.
The other factor of great importance is fear. Fear can be well-founded; on the other hand, it can be unjustified, it can be irrational. Whether fear is justified or not, whether fear is rational or irrational, the fact is that fear exists, in particular in Russia and in the United States of America. That is not so true in this country. The ordinary man and woman in this country is not paralysed 541 by the irrational fear of Russia. That is why this country can be a steadying influence at the present time. That is why we are in a position of strength. That is why a sound, vigorous policy by the present Government can do something to dispel the fear in the world and to inspire confidence. That is why I venture to say from these benches that it is gratifying when a Government on the other side assumes the initiative in international affairs.
If I may say so, we were pleased twelve months ago that the Prime Minister took the initiative and visited Russia with the Foreign Secretary in order to break the deadlock and to restore a measure of confidence. Speaking in the debate on 8th July last, the Prime Minister said:It is because we felt that a sort of deadlock had arisen last winter that the Foreign Secretary and I determined to break it. We knew, of course, that our action would incur a certain degree of suspicion and anxiety even from our allies, but these things have to be borne."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th July, 1959. Vol. 608, c. 1492.]Exactly. Whatever those suspicions were and from whatever sources they came, their home was not in this country, and the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary went to Russia with the goodwill of the nation behind them. Here at last was evidence of initiative and leadership which the Government could give and did give. This had its consequences on American and Russian policy. Mikoyan visited America, Khrushchev visited America and there—and I want to be quite frank here—he made one of the most tremendous statements on disarmament ever made by any statesman of any great Power in history.
The United Nations passed a unanimous resolution to commend disarmament to the Disarmament Conference to be held in Geneva this year. We felt that at last things were on the move, largely because of the initiative taken by the Government. But what has happened since? Are we forever to regard speeches made by Russian statesmen as mere propaganda? Is that the attitude of mind most conducive to creating confidence? Can it not be possible that the proposals were sincerely made? Is it not reasonable that Russia wants to reduce her arms budget in order to concentrate on that which is 542 of greater importance in her view, namely, success in the economic field?
What has happened to British initiative? Why have the British Government allowed the initiative to go to Dr. Adenauer, the leader of a defeated nation? Twelve months ago, the Prime Minister was prepared to adopt a policy of a measure of disengagement in Europe. To quote his words, he agreed, in the communiqué issued after the Moscow meeting, on… some method of limitation of forces and weapons, both conventional and nuclear, in an agreed area of Europe, coupled with an appropriate system of inspection.The agreed area of Europe would obviously have to include Germany, but Dr. Adenauer resisted. He insisted on the reunification of Germany, and refused to consider even a zone of disarmament in Europe, unless there was a general disarmament treaty or agreement. Whatever the consequences to world peace, Dr. Adenauer was not prepared to waive these conditions. German prestige was all that mattered to him. He does not appear to have appreciated that the world has a right to expect Germany to make sacrifices, even in prestige, to preserve the peace which she has shattered twice in a quarter of a century.
What is the position today? Rather than a modified form of disengagement, which we had a right to expect twelve months ago in the Government's policy, we have the exact reverse. The position today is that the Government have consented to take steps towards arming West German forces with nuclear weapons. Let us be quite frank. I rather admired the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Dr. A. Thompson), who made a remarkable maiden speech this evening, and I want to strike the same note.
Who in this country fifteen years ago would have imagined that he would ever have lived to see the day when the West would be rearming Germany with the most powerful and most dangerous weapons that modern science can provide? What puzzles me is that we are so very naive about it. Do we really think that this will not strengthen the claim of East Germany to be armed with similar weapons? We are being driven into this position because of the stubbornness of an old man who seeks the prestige of 543 a country which has a great deal to answer for at the assize of nations. It is all very well to say that these weapons will be under American control. That may be so at the moment, but I am not to be persuaded that it will always remain so.
Speaking in the debate in the House on 8th July last, the Prime Minister stated:It is no good stopping manufacture, unless we can stop possession. What is to prevent the great Powers that remain in the nuclear field from giving these weapons to their allies or satellites?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th July. 1959; Vol. 608, c. 1491.]This is exactly what we see happening at the present time, and the tragedy is that it is this Government who are giving the lead in this field.
Therefore, we arrive at this very sorry position, in which Russia can stand before the world and present to the world a comprehensive plan for disarmament, while Britain is consenting to give nuclear weapons to the traditional enemies of the peace of Europe. It is a staggering fact that, as relations improve between Britain and Russia and between America and Russia, relations between East and West Germany are deteriorating. As relations improve between the allies in the world war, they deteriorate in Germany, and in that deteriorating position we consent to hand over our nuclear weapons.
In conclusion, I should like to say quite clearly, and perhaps all my hon. and right hon. Friends on this side of the House will agree with me, that if in pursuing the plan for the reunification of Germany, we find that plans for disarmament and understanding are being jeopardised, we should look again at the desirability of German reunification. It may be best at the present juncture in world affairs to recognise the state of a divided Germany. There is nothing new in the idea of a divided Germany. After all, the unification of Germany did not take place until 1871. Germany worked through confederation to unification before, and Germany can do it again, in the fulness of time if she so desire. So far as I can see, disarmament at the present time is much more pressing than the need for the reunification of Germany.
§ 7.16 p.m.
Vice-Admiral John Hughes Hallett (Croydon, North-East)
Although I found the early part of the speech of 544 the hon. Member for Wrexham (Mr. Idwal Jones) very agreeable, and indeed found myself in agreement with a great deal of what he had to say in opening, I am bound to confess that I could not possibly accept the gloss which he put on the alleged action of this country, which, by the way, is not proposing to supply nuclear weapons to Germany. However, perhaps I may deal with this point a little later in my speech.
The point that I should like to make to begin with is that although it has become customary to hold a debate on foreign affairs round about this season of the year, there can seldom have been an occasion on which the debate has been conducted against a background so pregnant with hopes that have been so long deferred. Having said that, I must admit that people of my generation, who grew to mature years while Mr. Garvin reigned over the Observer, have become case-hardened against talk of crossroads and crises. Nevertheless, I agree with all those hon. Members who have said that 1960 is likely to be a critical year, and that opportunities are likely to present themselves in the coming months which might not occur again for a long time.
Three great and inter-related questions present themselves today. Will 1960 see the military threat of Russia recede and diminish? Will that be followed by a real détente? Above all, will it be sealed by a far-reaching agreement to disarm? The reason why these questions have suddenly, or quite recently, become real and practical questions is to be found in the very marked change in the attitude of the Russian leaders. After all, if we go back to the inter-war years let me make one quotation alone from something that Marshal Stalin once said—when speaking on what we should now call peaceful co-existence, he said:The limits of agreement between the U.S.S.R. and the capitalist Governments are set by the opposite characters of the two systems between which there is competition and conflict. Within the limits allowed by these two systems, but only within these limits, agreement is quite possible.Indeed, I think it would be true to say that both Lenin and Stalin regarded an ultimate war between the Communist and the capitalist systems as something that was inevitable, and certainly gave the impression that their idea of peaceful co-existence was something which would 545 delay this catastrophe until the situation became favourable, from the Russian point of view. Contrast that with some of the recent utterances of Mr. Khrushchev. In a speech which was reported only last October in Pravda. he said:Peaceful co-existence must be correctly understood. Co-existence is a continuation of the struggle between the two social systems—but by peaceful means, without war, without interference by one State in the internal affairs of another.Again, writing in an American magazine in the same month he said:What then is the policy of peaceful coexistence? In its simplest expression it signifies the repudiation of war as a means of solving controversial issues.It is very easy to dismiss that change of front as a mere artifice to make the West lower its guard, but I think that we should be quite wrong to do so. The reason for the change of attitude of Russia today is not very far to seek.
Mr. Khrushchev surely realises that the invention of nuclear weapons has introduced a new factor into world affairs which was unforeseeable by Marx or Lenin. Mr. Khrushchev, wiser, I think, in his generation than our campaigners for nuclear disarmament, wiser, perhaps, than some of our generals, has come to realise that, suicide or no suicide, credible or incredible, no great war can be waged without these terrible weapons being brought into use and without world-wide nuclear devastation.
Total nuclear disarmament, even it strictly enforced, could only delay and not prevent a catastrophe of that nature. Safety, as has so often been said, lies in nothing less than comprehensive disarmament down to a level which renders the waging of aggressive war a technical impossibility. I think that we are all agreed on that point. Of course, as has often been said, disarmament must be enforced by a properly conducted system of inspection and control. I think that it is the tardy realisation of the magnitude of the nuclear danger by both Russia and, perhaps, the United States of America which has brought large-scale disarmament into practical politics.
It is rather interesting to contrast the position of the two parties in this House in this matter today with their positions when disarmament was last debated I think nearly two years ago. The House may remember that hon. Members on 546 this side were then inclined to doubt whether very much progress could be made without concurrent political agreements. The Opposition took the opposite view and divided the House on that issue. Today, it seems that it is the Opposition who, by their Motion, are introducing a political element into the approach to disarmament.
Personally, I still doubt whether total disarmament could be achieved without a greater degree of political settlement and I very much doubt whether total disarmament could be achieved without the prior establishment of an international force. I was very pleased to hear my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary give such prominence to that point of view. Having said that, I have come to believe that disarmament down to what may be called the major aggression level ought now to be possible without any prior political settlement beyond that already achieved.
Such is the background of high hope at this time. In the light of that, hon. Members on this side of the House are entitled to ask whether the Opposition Motion is a sincere and helpful contribution to a solution of the problem or whether the Opposition are merely taking up a position, in case the disarmament negotiations fail, from which they would be able to pin the blame not on Russia, not on America, not on the known difficulty of the problem, but upon their own country and upon the Government. I find the Motion generally unhelpful, irrelevant in part, and in part actually mischievous.
Disengagement—using the term in its widest sense, because there are so many different kinds of disengagement—would be relevant only if there were the slightest prospect of its acceptance by the countries concerned between now and the Summit talks. Whether, even so, it would be beneficial is a matter on which the two sides of the House disagree, but anyone who has listened at the Western European Union Assembly to the manful and persistent attempts of the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) to sell the Gaitskell Plan and who has watched the unreceptive faces of 90 per cent. of the representatives will know that at present it is not relevant to the issue.
547 The reference in the Motion to German rearmament is mischievous. To the uninformed it implies that Britain and her allies are embarking on some new policy. That is not so. Nothing whatever is being done which is outside the letter and the spirit of the 1954 agreements. Nothing is projected which was not implicit, as my right hon. and learned Friend pointed out, in the entry of Germany into N.A.T.O.
There is no question whatever of nuclear explosives being supplied to Germany. What is intended is that a certain number of nuclear warheads shall be earmarked, as it were, for the missiles which Germany is about to acquire. If Russia were to attack the West and if Germany fought on our side, and if the political decision were taken by the American and British Governments to use nuclear weapons, then and only then would those weapons be supplied to the German armies. Nothing less would be consistent with the acceptance of Germany as our ally.
After all, Germany for her part has renounced for ever the right to manufacture nuclear weapons.
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
If the hon. Gentleman will contain his impatience, I am choosing my words carefully and I am speaking of Germany's renunciation of the right to manufacture nuclear weapons.
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
I did, indeed. There is no evidence, certainly my right hon. and learned Friend suggested no evidence, of a breach of that undertaking, preparation for a breach, or wish to break it.
§ Mr. Silverman
If the hon. and gallant Gentleman heard the Foreign Secretary make his speech, he must have heard that remarkable passage in which the Foreign Secretary said that it was wholly inconceivable—I do not say that these 548 are his exact words, they are merely a paraphrase—that a sovereign country claiming equality with others would for ever deny itself these weapons.
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
I think that the hon. Gentleman has chosen to misinterpret what my right hon. and learned Friend said. My right hon. and learned Friend was speaking in the context of a neutralised Germany outside these agreements. That raises quite a different matter.
When you were kind enough, Mr. Speaker, to allow me during the Christmas Adjournment debates, to raise the question of the control of arms in Western Germany, the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey) voiced the fear that the French Government might supply Germany with nuclear weapons. In this debate, there has been voiced the fear that America might supply Germany with nuclear weapons, and my right hon. and learned Friend was pressed about our attitude in that contingency.
As a humble back bencher, I can speak with a great deal more freedom than a British Secretary of State, and I can say at once that such an action on the part of the Powers concerned would be a breach of the spirit, if not, indeed, of the letter, of the 1954 agreements. It would create a new situation and this country would be fully justified in reviewing her military commitments.
§ Mr. Warbey
Is the hon. and gallant Member aware of the very important statement made by President Eisenhower at his Press conference last week about the possibility of new legislation being introduced by the American Congress? Would the hon. and gallant Member go so far as to say that if the American law were changed so that the custody of nuclear warheads could be handed over to West Germany he would then be in favour of the British Government putting a veto on that action and upon those weapons being supplied to Germany?
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
That is a hypothetical question and it relates to an interview at which I was not present and about which I have only read in the Press. As the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton said, there are many different 549 interpretations that can be put on statements made at Presidential Press conferences. I think that we had better wait and see. I have expressed my comments of what would happen as far as I intend to express them.
As I understand, the Opposition are going a great deal beyond a mere objection to the Germans being supplied with nuclear explosives, and are objecting to the supply to Germany of what have come to be called "weapons of nuclear capability." This is a new piece of military jargon and includes any weapon which might carry a nuclear warhead. Under this definition of what might be defined as weapons having nuclear capabilities I would include ocean-going submarines, because there is no difficulty in fitting a torpedo with a nuclear warhead, and more obviously I would include a cruiser which was deliberately made large enough to carry guided missiles. I do not think that anyone could dispute that within the terms of this definition they are weapons of nuclear capability.
Only last December, less than three months ago, the Assembly of Western European Union had before it a resolution urging members to ask their Governments to support any request that might be made to enable Germany to have these submarines and to build these larger cruisers. I hope that I am net misleading the House, but my recollection is that the right hon. Member for Llannelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) and the majority of the delegates from the Labour Party voted in favour of that resolution.
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
The one that I have just mentioned. I am not going to say it all over again for the benefit of the hon. Gentleman.
I think that they were right to vote in favour of it because a good case was made out, but I cannot understand how they can reconcile their vote on that occasion with their support of that part of the Motion which deals with the rearmament of Germany.
I have given my reasons for deploring the special reference to Germany in this Motion. It seems to me that the views expressed in the Motion run the risk of prolonging the fears and suspicions that 550 have divided Europe for so many generations. I should have thought that the growing unity of Europe was the one good thing that came out of the Second World War, and it would be a supreme tragedy if at the moment when the tension between East and West appears to be relaxing the old hatreds and animosities in Western Europe were revived.
I also deplore the Motion on more general grounds. It has been pointed out in the debate tonight, and not only from this side of the House, that all this country's influence will be needed if we are to achieve a successful disarmament agreement. Any idea that there is a serious division of opinion in this country on the matter, any idea that the policy being pursued by our spokesmen round the table at the international conference is not supported by the overwhelming majority of hon. Members of this House, can, or might, weaken our position when the negotiations take place. Fortunately, however, the British people—that is to say, the ultimate political sovereign of this country—have recently and decisively endorsed the leadership of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and the party he leads, and the vote that takes place at the end of this debate will be seen in its true and small perspective.
§ 7.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
The hon. and gallant Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett), at the end of his speech, perfectly justifiably, struck a violent party political blow for his side. No doubt it was part of his duty to do that, and I am sure that his duty chimed in quite aptly with his desires.
We do not grudge the hon. and gallant Member that, but I will not follow him in it, because those earlier speakers who said that we were having an important debate on foreign affairs at the beginning of perhaps the most critical year in all human history were right. It is much more important that this country, under any Government, should do the right thing at this moment than that we should discuss who should get the credit for it and who should take the blame if it fails.
§ Mr. Silverman
I will not be long, and I do not want to be tempted into personal controversy.
Many of the things that the hon. and gallant Member said were attractive and fascinating, and it would be a great temptation to follow him in some of them. I will not do that. I will confine myself to one thing only. One of the few advantages of having been in this House for a long time is that one remembers from personal experience some of the things that right hon., hon. and gallant, and hon. Members remember only from newspaper reports made long after the event.
I do not share the hon. and gallant Member's view of the difference between, shall we say, Litvinov, in 1924, and Mr. Khrushchev, in 1960. I do not think that the difference is as great as the hon. and gallant Member said. In those days it was the Soviet Union, under Litvinov, who held the position of Commissar for Foreign Affairs, which was the arch apostle in the world of that very principle of collective security on which now, for thirty or forty years, all thinking people have recognised rests the only hope of preserving peace in the world. Peace broke down in 1939 because we all betrayed that principle. If we had preserved it there would have been no war.
The hon. and gallant Member's complaints bring me right into the heart of our Motion. He complains that it is mischievous, that it is striking party blows, and that it is making party points. If that were so, my right hon. and hon. Friends would be as entitled to do that as the hon. and gallant Member is, and while it is quite possible to say that nobody should do it, I do not think that it is even good debating to say that we must not do it but that the hon. and gallant Member may.
I prefer to approach the questions raised by the Motion on the basis of whether it was necessary or useful to raise them at this moment. That is what we are concerned with. If our view is wrong, no doubt it would be wrong to have raised them and caused the argument, but I ask right hon. and hon. Members opposite to suppose for a moment that we may be right. It is conceivable that we may be right; we have sometimes been right. Suppose we are right now, would it be consistent 552 with our duty as Members of this House to refrain from raising them because somehow or other at the end of the day, we might get a party advantage out of it? I think that it would be conceded that if the points we are taking in this Motion are well taken it was our duty to take them.
Let us look at the Motion, which few hon. Members who have spoken so far have done. The first line and a half is by way of a preamble. It says:That this House, deeply concerned to ensure that the disarmament negotiations and summit talks shall result in real progress towards stopping the arms race and ending the cold war,I pause there for a moment. Is there any hon. Member, even the newest maiden speaker who has made such a valuable contribution to our debate, who really dissents from this first sentence? Are we not all deeply concerned to ensure that the disarmament negotiations and Summit talks shall result in real progress towards stopping the arms race and ending the cold war? So we are approaching it in the right spirit. Sometimes, when listening to some of the speakers in this debate, I have wondered if they were approaching it in that spirit.
§ Mr. Silverman
No, I shall not give way. It is no discourtesy to the hon. Member, but I know I am easily tempted to give way and, when I give way, I am tempted to reply. Then my speeches inevitably get too long, so I hope the hon. Member will forgive me.
I was saying that in listening to some of the speeches I began almost to wonder whether those hon. Members wanted to end the arms race. There was an Answer at Question Time that peace was preserved because there was no defence against rockets, that this gave us a balance, that we must maintain that balance and that this maintained balance was the one thing which preserved the peace of the world. There is an element of truth in that undoubtedly, but we can exaggerate that element beyond all real content. Does it mean that we are never to look for defences to rockets in case we upset the balance which preserves the peace of the world? Are we really now, in 1960, still doubting 553 whether an uncontrolled, indefinitely continuing arms race can end in anything but universal catastrophe?
Earl Grey, at the end of the First World War, which I experienced, had no doubt about it. Hon. Members would do well to go back and read the memoirs of Earl Grey, the Foreign Secretary up to 1914 and a little beyond. He had no doubt, forty years ago, that an arms race, uncontrolled, must end in war. I do not know whether anyone doubts that now. I am sure that the majority of thinking, intelligent people everywhere in the world know that it is true, but in 1960 it is more important to realise the truth of it than at any other time in world history because in all previous wars, somehow or other, if we were prepared to pay the price in blood and destruction and suffering all over the world, we could, at the end, beat the other fellow and claim that we had won a victory. What we got out of it in the end might be more speculative.
From my experience in my lifetime it seems that the only people who gain anything out of wars are those who lose them, but we could hope, at whatever price we paid, at the end to say, "We have won. We have made the world safe for democracy. We have won the war to end all war." We cannot say that any more. No one will win the next war. Not merely is victory impossible, but survival is impossible. Anyone who tries for a single moment to divert the attention of responsible mankind from that hard, stark, brutal fact is rendering the greatest possible disservice to the human race and human civilisation. We have to stop the next happening, if only for the most selfish reasons. If we have to stop the next war, we have to stop the arms race.
§ Sir Beverley Baxter (Southgate)
Is it not a fact that neither the 1914 war, nor the 1939 war, was caused by a race for armaments, but the fact that in both cases this country was insufficiently armed? Is it not a fact that in these new machines of destruction we have it may be that the very evil of these weapons may stop war? I think that the hon. Member is far behind in his thinking, even if it is an unpleasant thought that he has to face.
§ Mr. Silverman
The hon. Member is agreeing with every word I say. He does not want the arms race to continue. He does not believe that there is any safety to be obtained by each trying to get the edge on the other forever. What he is saying is something quite different, that we have achieved an equality and that there is some safety in the equality, but if we go on with the race we shall lose that equality and try to gain the lead over the other fellow. Then we shall end where all arms races have ended. There is no doubt that the arms race up to 1914–18 was the true cause of that world war. There is no doubt that the arms race we incited the Germans to begin between wars—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Certainly we did. We broke our alliances about it. We broke our alliance with France and permitted the Germans to build a navy, but I am not going into that now. I knew I should not have given way.
Let me go back to the point I was making. I am advancing to the House the proposition that what we say in this preamble to the Motion is accepted by almost every thinker on this subject in every part of the world. Even the hon. Member for Southgate (Sir B. Baxter), when tomorrow he reads what he said in his intervention just now, will wish he had not said it. If we are right in the preamble, what are we saying in the rest of the Motion? We are saying that the hope—I do not say achieving disarmament, I do not say achieving the end of the cold war—of taking some practical, constructive and significant step towards disarmament and ending the cold war depends upon a successful Summit Conference. That, surely, is undisputed. If that is undisputed, is it disputed that two things must inevitably be discussed at the Summit Conference?
One is some form of disengagement. I hope that no one will take me up on the particular word. The words we have put in the Motion are not our words, but are the Prime Minister's words. They are:calls upon Her Majesty's Government to press for the limitation and control of forces and weapons in Central Europe as a first step towards a wider political settlement in that area and as a means of relaxing tension over Berlin;555 That, surely, is one of the matters which will be discussed at the Summit Conference. I grant, for the purposes of argument, that it is an open question at the moment, and that it is still to be decided. That is what the Summit Conference is, at any rate, partly about.
The other thing with which it is partly concerned is the question of arms in Germany. There will be discussion about that inevitably at the Summit Conference. The Motion which my right hon. and hon. Friends have tabled, and which we are supporting, does no more than appeal to the Government not to prejudge either of those issues before the Summit Conference is held. We are not committed as to what we shall do or think about either of them after the Summit Conference is over and, assuming the worst, the conference fails. But we are saying to the Government that it is damaging and may well be fatal to the success of the Summit Conference, on which the hopes of mankind are at the moment almost solely fixed, to prejudge in advance of the conference those things which we are committed to discuss at the conference when it occurs.
Ought we to go to the Summit Conference with our hands tied? Ought we to go to talk about the disarmament of Germany? I am talking about nuclear arms at this point. Are we to go and discuss the abandonment by agreement of nuclear tests, and disarmament—total or by stages or phases—progressively, or all at once, any way by which it can be achieved? Are we really rendering a service to agreement on those issues by giving the West Germans at this moment atomic capability? Is there anybody in the wide world who thinks that that is a good thing to do? If it is not a good thing to do, and if the Government are doing it, what option have my right hon. and hon. Friends except to put down a Motion urging the Government not to do it and to divide the House unless we get satisfaction on that point?
Hon. Members opposite may think that it is unfortunate that the House should be divided on an issue of this kind.
§ Mr. Silverman
I think so, but if opinion is divided is there any merit in 556 pretending that it is right to do these things? If these are fundamental questions that we are discussing, would we get any advantage in having complete unity and uniformity on the wrong side? The Gadarene swine almost knew better than that. It would be no good if one of them, having survived and returned, defended himself on the ground that he had voted with the majority because he did not want to divide the group.
If these things are unimportant, if the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) thinks that the questions here are not important, I can understand his resentment at dividing the House. But if they are important, we must go on record as expressing our own opinion. That is our duty. Otherwise, we are betraying the people whom we came here to represent, and we are betraying, perhaps, a great deal more than that.
Let me say a word about my own attitude towards German rearmament and German unity. My old friend, if he will allow me to call him so—the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Foreign Secretary—talked about deep emotions. I plead guilty to those. There are many people in Europe who are emotionally stirred by these questions. I visited Poland two weeks ago when there was a commemoration meeting of the liberation of Auschwitz, which, in the Polish tongue, is Oswiecim. I saw it—the huts, the incinerators, the crematoria, the death wall, the museum, the piles of shoes—men's, women's and babies'shoes—the glass case from floor to ceiling filled with human hair, the collection of eyeglasses, the battered old suitcases and handbags with the names and initials of the victims. These were the materials that the Nazis had no time to send back to Germany. I heard speeches.
There were 4 million people deliberately put to death in that camp; 3 million of them were Jews, but we claim no monopoly in persecution or martyrdom. There were plenty of others. Hon. Members must not think that emotions out of these memories are anything but hard facts with which we have to deal. The fear in Eastern Europe of renewed German arms is not a fantastic, imagined, psychopathic fear. It is a very real thing, based on very real memories, and we have no right to forget it.
557 Having said that, let me say something else. I am sorry if I am detaining the House a title longer than I had intended. I look around the House at this moment, and I do not see very many who were in it with me during the war years. Those who are will remember that I made myself very unpopular in those days because I would not have it said that all Germans were Nazis, because I was against the insane policy of unconditional surrender, because I was in favour of having a peace plan and peace aims and publishing them to the world at the earliest possible moment.
I do not want to see a poor, miserable, weak, dispirited Germany. Why should I? When we are against German rearmament and all that kind of thing, it is as much for the benefit of ordinary German people as it is for the benefit of anybody else. But when I said those things, or things like them, during the war, I was bitterly opposed by hon. Members who told me that there were no good Germans except dead Germans, that I was unpatriotic in making the speeches that I did, that I was weakening the war effort and was making it impossible to have a just or a right peace. It is with some irony and bitterness that I see those very right hon. and hon. Members today the keenest, most eloquent and most unyielding supporters of the right of Germany to be armed, united and dominant in Europe. That is what I do not want. I was against German rearmament altogether.
Some people think that my hon. Fiends are in some logical difficulty over this because they supported German rearmament and are now bothering about the atomic weapon. I do not think that they are quite so badly off as all that. One of the favours that my rebellion conferred on them was to give them the opportunity to demonstrate, by reference to HANSARD, that they never did support German rearmament, but only abstained—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]Well, that is better than supporting it.
In any case, in so far as they did support it, they supported it on the express undertaking that there would be no atomic arms, and they are perfectly entitled now to say, "The fact that we were in favour of a certain limited, controlled rearmament of Germany, in certain conditions, in 1954, and on the faith of certain undertakings and representa- 558 tions, does not disentitle us, but compels us, if these undertakings are broken, to see that we are not now forced, by some imaginary and false logic, into a position that we rejected then." They are not in the difficulty imputed to them.
I am not in any difficulty at all. I did not want to rearm Germany. I should like to see a united Germany—maybe on a federal basis. In view of what has happened since 1954 we can see the possibility of a Germany united on a federal basis but without interfering with the different ideological or economic systems in the two parts. If it is so wished, let us have a Germany united like that. Let it be prosperous. Let it develop and use its materials to the utmost, and let the German people do the best they can to raise their own standard of living and to contribute what they can to the improvement of conditions elsewhere. But let them not be armed, and under any re-formed political alliances contracted either with the West against the East, or with the East against the West.
The Foreign Secretary said that this was a feasible plan, but a bad one. Let me remind him that if it was a bad one, it was one to which we were all committed at Potsdam. Everyone was then committed to it; it was not thought to be a bad plan. If we ask people today, "Why do you not carry it out?" they say that it is because the Russians have made it impossible. I will not argue on that—I have spoken too long already—but even if one conceded that the fault was solely that of the Soviet Union it has nothing to do with my point.
The plan may have been a good one in itself, even if subsequent events made it possible to carry out, and when the right hon. and learned Gentleman says that the plan was always a bad one, he only succeeds in casting doubts on the sincerity with which the failure to carry it out is imputed to the Soviet Union. It was not a bad plan. It was a good plan, and it did no harm to German equality with other nations, or to her sovereignty. Any alliance or treaty that any country makes with another country means some limitation of sovereignty, and it is common ground that, without some universal sacrifice of some degree of sovereignty by all nations, we cannot organise peace at all. Joining the United Nations limits sovereign rights to some extent. It is certainly a voluntary limit 559 —that is why it is consistent with sovereignty.
We say to the German people, "For the sake of a peace treaty, for the sake of unity, for the sake of preserving the peace of the world, for the sake of removing the fears and suspicions of all the people who are your neighbours and have suffered from you so much, it is not too much to ask you to say, 'Let us be neutral, let us not be armed, let us not be tied to either side, let us not be a source of anxiety, of suspicion, of exploitation and terror all over again. Let us take our part, we German people, equally with the others—equal, certainly, but on the side of progress and not on the side of reaction.'"
When, today, one hears of Dr. Adenauer in Rome, having interviews with the Pope, and revealing, or stating what he said there, "We are the last bastions of Western civilisation against the barbarism of the East. Our German soldiers are the soldiers of God. We have a mission in the world"—when we hear that, hon. Members really must not wonder if people all over Europe and the rest of the world ask themselves, "Where have we heard that language before?"
This was Hitler's case, too. This was the case he sold to Chamberlain. This was the paper that Neville Chamberlain waved in triumph when he came back from Munich, having snatched defeat out of the very jaws of victory. Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany, and France and Great Britain, were to have a four-Power pact to preserve the peace of the world from the wicked Soviet Union. We know where it ended. That was the real Munich tragedy, and it is really very difficult to distinguish the ideology of that day from what Dr. Adenauer is saying today. Let the Germans not parade pride in their strength any more, let them not be soldiers of God—let them be God's missionaries for the peace of the world, and so atone for some of the crimes of the past German generation.
§ 8.7 p.m.
§ Mr. A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South)
No one doubts the very great sincerity with which the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) delivers his speeches in this House. I am sure that we have all listened with rapt attention 560 to all that he has said, although I think that some of us would have some reservations on certain of the arguments he adduced.
With one remark made by him at the very commencement of his speech I agree wholeheartedly—his suggestion that this should be a non-political occasion. But we must not forget that this is the House of Commons, and we ought not to be mealy-mouthed in stating the things in which we believe. My only reservation is that we should not say things that would damage our country's interests, and I believe that, in certain respects which I shall try to develop, this Motion does, in fact, damage our interests.
The hon. Gentleman analysed the Motion. He gave us a long dissertation on the merits of the preamble, and sought to show that everyone was in agreement. He was probably right. He then skipped the essential part of the Motion altogether and went on to the final four lines—the hon. Gentleman dissents, but if he will read his speech in HANSARD tomorrow he will find that the section of the Motion which says:… regrets the failure of Her Majesty's Government to advance and sustain practical proposals to this end and …was not mentioned by him at all. That, however, is the heart of this Motion, and it is the part that makes it a Motion of Censure against the Government. That is why we on this side will support the Foreign Secretary tomorrow night—
§ Mr. S. Silverman
The hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper) cannot have listened to my speech with too much attention. If he looks at the fourth line of the Motion he will see that it reads:… and, in particular, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to press for the limitation and control of forces and weapons in Central Europe as a first step towards a wider political settlement in that area and as a means of relaxing tension over Berlin …I read that out in the middle of my speech, and defended it as one of the objects of the Motion.
§ Mr. Cooper
The hon. Gentleman is quite right. He read out that part—I do not dispute that—but he did not read the preceding words, which form the nub of the Motion—
§ Mr. Cooper
No, the hon. Member must not indulge in that. If he looks at HANSARD tomorrow he will see that he neglected any reference to the fact that the Motion… regrets the failure of Her Majesty's Government …Our case is simply that the forthcoming Summit Conference would probably never have taken place but for the action of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in seizing the initiative about a year ago. The fact that he did go to the Soviet Union has been commented upon here tonight by quite a number of speakers, and not all on this side of the House.
It seems to me that the essential part of the Motion falls to the ground on the simple facts of history. The hon. Gentleman, following an intervention by my hon. Friend the Member for Southgate (Sir B. Baxter), talked very briefly of the history between the two world wars. I venture to say that history may well show that the extreme pacifist attitude of the Labour Party from, shall we say, 1925 onwards, certainly did not help the cause of peace.
There can be no doubt at all that the West Fulham by-election in 1938, which was a sensation at that time, did a great deal of damage to the strength of this country and created in the minds of our enemies overseas the idea that we would not stand up to our obligations.
§ Mr. Cooper
The hon. Gentleman says, "Rubbish". That is his opinion; mine is the contrary opinion. We must wait and see what history says.
It is very strange that the Soviet Government can take any action and strike any attitude without making more difficult the Summit talks, but almost any act by the Western Powers is sufficient cause for the Labour Party to put down a Motion of censure in this House. The West must always yield—otherwise, we are intransigent and damaging the prospects of world peace—but the Soviet Union can take up a rigid attitude on almost any subject and by abuse and threats seek to impose its will on the world.
We have a way of life in this country which, with all its imperfections, has 562 given us a standard of living and a method of Government which all can envy. Storms and stresses have been our lot for a thousand years, but, throughout it all, our national character has developed. Communism is anathema to us in this country and, in fact, is the very antithesis of everything for which we stand. We must make a greater effort to defend ourselves against the eroding forces which threaten us.
The position of Western Germany is indeed difficult. Here is a powerful nation and when the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne refers to them—they can think this and do this and so on—he must remember that we are not talking in this context of a second-rate country. We are talking of a great and powerful nation which has great ability, both technical and industrial, and I think that it is highly probable that much of the Soviet advance technically over the last few years may well have been due to German scientists who were captured or who moved over into Russia at the end of the war.
Germany has also contributed much to the world's culture, and it really is not realistic to suppose that the great talents which that nation possesses can be lost to the world. Unfortunately, the Labour Party has a dual fixation—Germany and Spain—and it is not open to argument on either subject. The crimes, if that is the right word, of those two countries live in the hearts of the members of the Labour Party for ever, but the sins which the Communist Party has committed over many years are glossed over and forgotten.
The graphic description by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne of all that he saw in Poland—no doubt completely accurate—creates the impression in people's minds that the only atrocities ever committed were those by the Germans.
§ Mr. Cooper
I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman has the slightest conception of the many millions of people who have been done to death in the Soviet Union since the Communist Party came to power for no other reason than that they did not believe in Communism.
§ Mr. Cooper
The hon. Gentleman should not sit there and say "Rubbish". He should remember recent historical events, such as Hungary alone.
§ Mr. Cooper
If that is blasphemy, words have lost all their meaning and the facts of history have passed over the hon. Gentleman's head altogether.
It is obviously politically sound for Western Germany to be part of the Western family. She has much to offer. Whatever her past errors, her people are entitled to security and if she cannot look after herself in the military sense she is entitled to ask other organisations or countries to defend her.
§ Mr. Cooper
Precisely. My right hon. and learned Friend made some reference this afternoon to an international body which would act as a defence force in this way, but surely we must all agree that that is a long way off. It is something nice to think about and work towards, but it is not practical politics in the next year or two. Germany, with 50 million or 60 million people, has to be given the security that her people expect and to which they are entitled. We have agreed in this House, and the Western Powers generally have agreed, that Germany must have a measure of rearmament, and it seems to me to follow quite logically, if we accept that she must be armed, that she must have the ability to get the modern weapons with which she would be confronted in the event of trouble. Would the hon. Gentleman's conscience be salved, to use the phrase used by my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw), if Germany were found to be literally using bows and arrows against tanks? That is, in fact, the situation in which the policies of the hon. Gentleman would force them.
§ Mr. Cooper
I am glad to see that the hon. Gentleman agrees that that is so. It is a fact, which cannot be glossed over, that in the event of trouble we would expect a German contribution on the side of the Western Powers and 564 we would expect that contribution to be practical and realistic Let us not forget that it is in the interests of the Communist Powers to have a weakened Germany and to get all the forces of the Western Powers off the Continent of Europe. The object of the Summit talks is not to yield to threats from the Soviet Union but to bring about ways and means whereby we can all live together and develop our countries peaceably.
History has shown, certainly the history of the last few years has shown, that the Soviet Union respects strength and despises weakness, and far from our policies having affected or destroyed the cause of peace, as is suggested in the Motion, I believe that the policies we have pursued, as a Government and as part of the N.A.T.O. Powers, have done much to bring about a situation where we can view the future with far more confidence than was possible, say, ten years ago.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)
The hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper) has made the sort of speech which he frequently makes in debates on foreign affairs, one full of small political points. I do not intend to follow him because I consider that a debate on this subject is far too serious to be used as an opportunity for scoring minor political points.
Two years ago in a debate on foreign affairs I set out my views on disengagement. I said then, and I believe it now more than ever, that disengagement is the only hope, one, for the reunification of Germany; two, for a reduction in the danger of war by incident or accident, and, three, for any kind of peaceful evolution in the states of Eastern Europe. I believe that the present juxtaposition of the two Power blocs in Europe is the biggest single threat to the peace of the world and the survival of civilisation.
I do not take second place to hon. Gentlemen opposite in my love for Britain and that applies equally to every hon. Member on this side of the House. So let us debunk this nonsense that the party opposite has a sort of monopoly on loyalty. At election time Members of the party opposite drape the tables at their party meetings with the Union 565 Jack and have the cheek to display the Union Jack on their motor cars. But we do not take second place to them in our loyalty to this country.
§ Mr. Short
As Nurse Cavell said, loyalty is not enough. At the present time the loyalty of hon. Members opposite is a particularly stupid kind of nationalism and nothing more. We believe that loyalty means a great deal more than that.
I believe the tragedy of 1950 is that as the danger has increased in Europe and the world through the development of new weapons, the Governments of the West have been largely composed of Right-wing parties, in Britain, the United States, Germany and France. When the Russian leadership, and, indeed, Russian society, has been changing profoundly throughout the 1950s; when the attitude of Russia has been more flexible than at any time since the Revolution, two things have been going on, the development of these hideous new weapons and an increasing unwillingness in the West to relax its military posture. Unless there is some such relaxation, I see no hope for the future.
What it has led to and what was exemplified in the speech of the hon. Member for Ilford, South is a sort of Maginot line mentality which, if I may mix my metaphors, is increasingly outflanked or bypassed by the impact of Eastern achievements in science and technology and, who knows, in a few years may be by the standard of living. I believe, and this is the main point I wish to make, that this rigidity of our military posture, of the N.A.T.O. military posture in Europe, is not based on any sound military consideration.
I believe that military considerations are put forward by the Right-wing Governments of the West, by Western politicians, to justify their attitude. In other words, they are putting up the generals to justify their unwillingness to take advantage of the changing situation in the world. This, of course, is a modern advertising technique. Those of us who have had commercial television inflicted upon us are familiar with the advertisement which baffles us with science. The Western Governments are baffling us 566 with military science and putting up military considerations, which I believe have no real validity, to justify their policies.
In support of my theory that there is no sound military basis for this view, I wish to quote three men who know what they are talking about or should do so far as military matters are concerned. First, I wish to quote Lord Montgomery. Whatever we may think about his views on politics, and I should not like to express myself about that, we must admit that he knows something about military matters. He said:I fail to understand those Americans who say they would leave Europe if their troops left Germany. … When conditions call for it a United States Corps of—let us say—two divisions will be transferred to France, and the same applies to a British Corps … and if Russia demands that the same number of Russian troops be stationed in Poland or some other Satellite state, then no one can object to this in my opinion … and then we can start to live next to each other peacefully in Europe.That was said by General Montgomery on 4th April, 1958.
Sir John Slessor, a former Chief of Staff of the Royal Air Force, in a series of articles in the Herald Tribune in New York in January and February of 1958, and on many other occasions, has argued again and again that in the first case, the shield task inside of a zone of limited armaments against limited actions in Europe could be undertaken by the German Army itself. He has also repeatedly demanded that the radar screens of both the two Power blocs should be moved to the opposite borders of the zones. He has always regarded that as something of great military importance. I wish to say a word about that later. It is one of the essential matters in a zone of limited armaments. It is important to note that both these men made their statements after they had left their military service. They said it when they were no longer subject to their political masters, and that is one reason why I say that the politicians put up the generals to justify their policies.
General Eddleman, the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Forces in Europe, said at a Press conference in Bonn on 7th May, last year:N.A.T.O. can fulfil its tasks in Europe even from positions West of the Rhine.567 That was said by the United States Commander-in-Chief. Even the Federal Minister of Defence, Herr Strauss, appears to have accepted the conception of the Federal Republic of Germany as part of a control and inspection zone. In all fairness to him, I must add that he said he would only accept this as part of an agreement for further steps to be taken in general disarmament. These people know what they are talking about. They say that N.A.T.O. could carry out its task west of the Rhine.
I wish now to say why I believe that the conception of European disengagement cannot really be discarded for military reasons.
My views have altered a little since the last time I spoke about the matter two years ago. I believe that we must seek what can be agreed, and I shall put forward now what I believe could be agreed at the forthcoming Summit Conference. In my thinking of disengagement, I start from three premises. First of all, to achieve the three objectives to which I have referred—the reunification of Germany, some sort of peaceful evolution in the pattern of the East European States, and a reduction of the danger of war by incident—there must be a progressive reduction in the forces of the two Power blocs deployed along the Elbe in Europe today.
My second premise, which does not represent what I should like to see in the long run, but we are here, I believe, considering a first step which could be taken at the Summit Conference, is that West Germany and the Eastern countries involved in any zone of limited armaments must for some years be able to retain their links with the two major power alignments in Europe. I am, as I say, sorry to have to suggest that. My views have regressed a little from what they were two years ago, but it is no good talking about things which cannot be achieved. I believe that something could be achieved in the way I suggest.
Thirdly, I believe that the balance of power in Europe must be maintained. Otherwise, of course, no agreement can be reached. This, the third of my three premises, is the great military query which overhangs the conception of disengagement. Can we achieve any degree of pulling back on the part of the two Power blocs in Europe without disturbing 568 the power equilibrium on which, so it is alleged, the peace of Europe depends? Without convincing the Governments of the West and Russia about that, we could not, of course, hope to achieve any agreement about Europe at the Summit Conference.
The first question is, what is meant by the power we are seeking to balance? It is certainly not mathematical equality in divisions or mathematical equality in total fire power of the two sides. Of course, if it were, there would be a grave imbalance now. It is, rather, a balance between all the defence factors on either side. It is divisions and fire power, certainly, but it is also industrial strength, both actual and potential. It is population and productivity. One very important factor is territory and the features of the ground, especially major rivers. All these factors, and many others, add up to the total power of a country or bloc of countries.
§ Mr. W. Yates
The hon. Gentleman is advancing a very fascinating concept. Will he consider carefully in his argument what Mr. Khrushchev said, namely, that he might consider making East Germany neutral on the same lines as Austria was? I should think that would be a very valuable suggestion in this context.
§ Mr. Short
That is what I advocated here two years ago. The point I make now is that when we talk about a balance of power or use the word "power", we mean the total of all the strategic and tactical factors in the situation, including potential factors. Of course, in any settlement which is to last for some time, potential factors are very important.
I come now to the size of the zone of limited armament. If I am right so far, then obviously we could not hope for any agreement with only the two Germanies involved as a zone of limited armaments. That, of course, would be a very good bargain for Russia, but West Germany would never accept it and neither, I imagine, would this Government. Certainly, the American Government would not.
The Rapacki Plan was to apply to East Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. That grouping of countries, of course, would give N.A.T.O. a great advantage in territory, in population, in industrial potential and national armed 569 forces. It would certainly upset the balance of power in favour of N.A.T.O., and I cannot conceive of Russia agreeing to that particular grouping as a first step for a zone of limited armaments.
I suggest a very modest step but a step which, I believe sincerely, could be achieved at the forthcoming Summit Conference. We should make a start with West Germany, East Germany and Poland. I leave out Czechoslovakia. I do not think there is any great danger there. I do not believe that there are any Russian troops in Czechoslovakia now, although Field Marshal Montgomery's plan for disengagement which he carted round Europe had in it, I believe, as one feature the stationing of three Russian divisions in Czechoslovakia, where there are not any at all now. I think after Czechoslovakia has achieved her economic objectives there will be considerable political changes there. I leave Czechoslovakia out of the picture.
Agreement could be reached at the forthcoming Summit Conference on a zone of limited controlled armaments in West Germany, East Germany and Poland. This would give almost exact equality in the strength of the three rational armies involved, that is to say, the Federal Republic on one side, and the D.D.R. and Poland on the other. It would give a small advantage to N.A.T.O. in territory vacated and it would give a greater advantage to N.A.T.O as regards major rivers because the withdrawn forces of the East would be behind three major rivers while the N.A.T.O forces would be behind only the Rhine.
Having decided on the extent of the zone, what should we aim at in the zone to secure a reduction in the forces now facing each other? As I said before, I think that the ultimate goal—this links LID with what the hon. Member said—should be the withdrawal of all foreign forces in that area and the neutrality of the three countries concerned, perhaps on the Austrian pattern. But again I am sorry to say that I do not think that that can be achieved until more modest steps have been taken to reduce fear and tension in Europe. What I am advocating is something which I believe is possible and can be agreed.
I suggest that there are three things on which some agreement can be 570 reached. First, an agreement not to arm any of the three countries which I have mentioned, West and East Germany and Poland, with nuclear weapons. Yesterday, I was told by someone from one of these countries that if West Germany is armed with these weapons then his country will arm itself with them. We should then have all three countries armed with nuclear weapons. Agreement on these lines would not result in any change of the so-called power balance in Europe, because none of these countries has these weapons now and there are no rocket sites in Western Germany, Eastern Germany or Poland.
Secondly, there should be a phased withdrawal, over five or even seven years, of all foreign troops in these three countries. I admit at once that there would be a considerable physical and practical problem in accommodating the six N.A.T.O. divisions from West Germany west of the Rhine. It would be very expensive, and it would be a considerable political as well as physical problem. But the Russians are faced with a very much greater problem, because in the D.D.R. alone they have twenty-two divisions which would have to be pulled back.
The area between the Rhine and the Atlantic has virtually no combat troops in it at the moment. As I say. I think that the difficulty there would be largely political. One is, I think, entitled to ask what would be the position with regard to troops being there if the Lisbon standards for N.A.T.O. had been achieved. I am certain that if the countries involved west of the Rhine would play their part, there would be no difficulty whatever in deploying the comparatively small number of combat troops involved. That is the second point—a phased withdrawal of all foreign troops from these countries.
Thirdly, there should be some sort of equilibrium between the national armies of the three countries concerned. Indeed, that is almost the case now.
It is often argued that N.A.T.O. could not work if this were done. I have quoted Lord Montgomery, and I want briefly to mention five or six strategic advantages which I believe N.A.T.O. would secure by an arrangement of this kind.
571 An hon. Member opposite spoke about the motion at the Western European Union on the defence of the Baltic. The defence of the Baltic exits has been one of the troublesome practical problems in European defence for some time. I suggest that if Russian forces were withdrawn to the east of Poland the problem of the defence of the Baltic exits would be considerably easier. Secondly, as I have said, it would put the Red Army behind three major geographical obstacles—three major rivers. Thirdly, it would give us a radar screen in the east of Poland. I admit that it would give the Russians a radar screen in West Germany, but it would ensure that neither side gained an initial advantage.
Fourthly, N.A.T.O. forward strategy would be made very much easier in the event of Russian re-entry into the zone, because N.A.T.O. would have considerably more time in which to deploy eastward from the Rhine. Fifthly, the disparity between the conventional forces on the two sides which is now redressed by N.A.T.O.'s nuclear preponderance would be reduced considerably if Soviet troops were pulled back out of Poland. This is a matter of some considerable importance, since in the next few years N.A.T.O. will lose the ability to redress this disparity in conventional forces with nuclear weapons because the Russians are catching up on us. Thus, without some change of this kind, we could no longer attempt to equate N.A.T.O. with Russia.
Therefore, I suggest that there are considerable strategic advantages in an arrangement of this kind. International control and inspection would, of course, have to be worked out carefully beforehand. I have referred to the two essential radar screens on the opposite sides of the zone for either power bloc, but I am sure that that could be worked out, together with all the rest of the international control and inspection, both stationary and mobile, at ports, airports and the rest.
The three countries—I am sorry to say it, but it is essential to get agreement—would have to keep their strategic links with N.A.T.O. and the Warsaw Pact. In effect, however, the result would be that these two blocs would be denied the territories of the three countries in peace and in the initial stages of a conflict.
572 The greatest gain from this sort of first step towards disengagement in Europe would be that N.A.T.O., which is now forced to employ nuclear weapons from the start, would not be forced to do so, because such a zone as I have described would give N.A.T.O. time to stop a conflict before such a catastrophe as a nuclear war started. A pause, a breather or a hiatus—call it what one will—in the middle of a crisis of this kind would be an enormous gain, and what I have suggested would provide one.
If we think back over history, if only in the middle of a developing crisis there had been just one small pause for people to think, how the course of history might have been changed. I suggest that this pulling back of the two power blocs would give N.A.T.O. just that opportunity to pause to think before the nuclear war went off, as it would do now from the start. Above all, it would inject sanity to the European situation and it would enable some sort of peaceful evolution to begin which might, we hope, within a few years change the present hopeless frozen pattern of Eastern Europe.
I hope that the Foreign Secretary will read what I have said. I am sorry that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is not present. I do not often intervene in foreign affairs debates, but I think that an ordinary back bencher who is not mixed up in foreign affairs should intervene from time to time. I believe passionately that unless we act decisively in Europe in this decade, in the 'sixties, along these lines, there is no future for us, for our children or for our civilisation.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Mr. C. M. Woodhouse (Oxford)
No one will have heard without emotion the eloquent appeal to our feelings made a few minutes ago by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman). I would not like it to be thought that there is no echo of those feelings on this side of the House. I do not intend to follow the hon. Member on the same exalted level, but I would like to make three brief comments on what he said.
First, the hon. Member referred to the fact that there were few Members in the House today who had been in the House during the war and heard his interventions at that time. I should like to mention that at the time to which the hon. 573 Member referred, many hon. Members, on both sides, were engaged elsewhere in defeating and destroying the very evils which he had in mind.
My second comment on which the hon. Member said is that perhaps everybody, including many Germans, regretted the necessity for German rearmament in 1950. If anyone is to blame for that necessity, it was Marshal Stalin. That is something which I have said to Russians and I have said it without contradiction.
The third comment I would make is that in these matters, deeply though we feel, we must think with our heads and not with our feelings, and that is just wart I intend to try to do tonight, and I shall follow the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne in sticking closely to the Motion. I have just two comments to make on that Motion, one on each of the major parts into which it is divided.
Reading between the lines of the first part of the Motion I detect in it the implication that the present situation between the rival groups of Powers in Europe is precarious and intolerable, and that it is a matter of urgency that it should be changed. The hon. Member who opened the debate, the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) spoke of drifting willy-nilly into nuclear annihilation. We have heard similar descriptions of the situation in which we live today. It is also implied in the Motion that it is possible to change this situation for the better by one or two relatively simple steps.
With that I do not agree. I do not agree that the situation is intolerable. It could certainly be better, but it could also be a very great deal worse. If we look back over ten years we can see how very much worse it could be. To charge it is neither simple nor is it really, I think, overwhelmingly urgent. That is not to say that I am against any attempt to change it. I do not share the view attributed to the great Duke of Cambridge, in the last century, that there is a time for everything, even for change, and that the time for change is when it can no longer be resisted. It only means that I am against hasty or premature efforts to change the present balance just for the sake of changing it. I am opposed in particular to the specific change involved in disengagement. We 574 have, after all, though we did not use the name, tried disengagement before—in Korea in 1949; and in 1950 we had a major war there as a result.
The present balance of forces, although it is precarious and is based on mutual fear, has held good through a number of dangerous years. It has kept the peace between the major Power blocs for a decade and it leaves us today further from the threat of war, either a major war or a minor war, than we have been at any time, I think, since 1945. These are not negligible benefits. Equilibrium based on fear of force is better than no equilibrium at all. It will do till something better comes along. Of course, we all want something better eventually, but we shall not get it by rushing into it.
If we are to make changes in the present equilibrium—and I certainly think that we should—we should make them very circumspectly and cautiously. I think that till we are sure that they will be a real improvement and will bring real advantages not only to the Western alliance, but to the Soviet alliance as well—because if they do not bring advantages both to the one and to the other then it will only be a matter of time before any new settlement which we make is upset by one side or the other—there is still something to be said for an equilibrium based on fear, which we have now got.
At least, we now know—the Berlin crises of 1958 proved it, and a good many other crises over the last half dozen years have proved it—that none of the major Powers is prepared to take the risk of nuclear war even for prizes it holds very valuable, and—what is, perhaps, even more important—none of them is prepared to allow the minor Powers, which depend on them, to take the risk of a minor, local war which might engulf all the great Powers as well.
We cannot regard an equilibrium based on fear of force as very satisfactory or final, obviously, but let us at least not upset it till we can replace it with a better equilibrium and one which will fulfil at least three conditions, firstly, that it should be psychologically less tense than it is today, secondly, that it should be militarily more economical, and thirdly, that it should be politically likely to last. That is the general case.
§ Mr. G. Brown
This is an interesting argument. Does the hon. Member take the view that we are the only ones who might upset it and that the situation is bound to remain frozen but for us? Does he not think that there is a chance of its being upset anyway?
§ Mr. Woodhouse
Yes, I agree. I did not intend to stress that we were the only ones who might upset it, and if I did I am grateful for the correction.
The argument which I am developing is the general case against pressure for premature and hasty change, and change for change's sake. But there is also a particular case against the particular change of policy which is implicit in the second part of the Opposition's Motion. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that what is proposed in that second half is a Change of policy which would alter the status of the German Federal Republic in the Western Alliance. That status rests on the Agreements signed in London and Paris in 1954.
When the London Agreement was signed, by which the German Federal Republic was admitted into the Western Alliance, the Federal Republic voluntarily accepted certain restrictions on its freedom of action, particularly in the production of weapons and particularly of atomic weapons. No other ally was placed under any such unilateral restriction. Therefore, the German Federal Republic was from the start admitted on a different basis from that of any of the other allies, and the differences were defined in the Agreements of 1954. The German Federal Republic, therefore, had a right to assume that these defined discriminations were the only respects in which its status was to be different, and that no subsequent differentiation was to be introduced.
There is an important difference between the discrimination against the German Federal Republic in the 1954 Agreements and the discriminations proposed by the Opposition today. The limitation in the 1954 Agreements strengthened the Western Alliance by increasing the confidence which the allies felt in each other and particularly in the German Federal Republic. The limitations envisaged in the present Motion of the Opposition would weaken the alliance by reducing the freedom of 576 action of the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and reducing the utility of German forces. And in particular, since the discrimination in 1954 was made in the particular context of nuclear weapons, both SACEUR and the German Federal Republic had a right to assume that no further limitations in that particular context would be imposed. Nor was there any question of foreshadowing any further limitations in any of the debates at that time in 1954.
Yet such a limitation is now implicit in the Motion. It is proposed that a policy which is to apply to all the other allies, namely, that the potentiality of using nuclear weapons should be shared, provided that the warheads are kept under American control should not apply to Germany. This was not implicit in the Agreements of 1954 and it should not be expected now.
We should look, in these matters, to the intentions behind the words of the Agreements, and the evident intention in 1954, to my mind, was quite simply that the German Federal Republic should never be in possession of nuclear weapons under its own exclusive control. That is fully respected by the present policy of Her Majesty's Government, which is simply a continuation, and not even an extension, of the policy of 1954. It continues to deny to the German Federal Republic, as to all other allies who are not themselves producers of nuclear weapons, the right to hold such weapons under their exclusive control.
It will be when, and only when, any departure from that position of principle comes about, and when, and only when, the German Federal Republic is in the position of having nuclear weapons under its exclusive control, that the lines drawn in 1954 will have been overstepped and a new policy created. I hope that that will not happen. I do not think that it is likely to happen, and I do not believe that the Germans want it to happen. But it will be only then that a Motion such as that now tabled by the Opposition will stand up to serious scrutiny.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun (Salford, East)
The key issue in this evening's debate is whether we should give nuclear weapons to Germany. It is no use 577 mincing matters: this means atom bombs and hydrogen bombs. Supposing hon. Members here this evening asked their constituents if they would give nuclear weapons to the Germans, the answer, in nine out of ten cases would be, "We would not give them even pea shooters".
Not only are we giving the Germans weapons, but we are training them in their use at the present time. The "Mace" missile which will fire 950 miles east into Russia will also fire 950 miles west into Britain, yet there are some people who are eager for nuclear weapons to be supplied to Germany. Before the war they were eager to encourage Hitler. It would be a tragedy if, for the second time, the encouragement of Germany as an ally against Russia meant that Germany became the starting point of a world war. There are 138 "top brass" in the West Germany Army. All of them served as officers in Hitler's Wehrmacht. I think that our constituents would not like to see their fingers on the buttons.
I am saying this not because of any anti-German prejudice. I have been to Germany four times in the last few years, to both East and West. It is my belief that the German people want war no more than we do. Most Germans suffered terribly in the last war and I have seen some of the demonstrations and marches, and even strikes, against nuclear weapons in Germany. I can tell the House that conscription in Germany is as unpopular there as it is in our own country. The weapons have been forced into the hands of the Germans by ourselves. The people I fear in particular are the old generals. Hon. Members may remember the novel, written after the First World War, entitled, "The Kaiser goes, the Generals remain". A similar novel could be written today entitled, "Adolf Hitler goes, but the Generals remain". They are still filled with the old militaristic ideas.
Not only are we providing missiles for Germany, but we are making her by far the greatest military force in Europe. Already she has seven divisions which are to be built up to 12 divisions out of a total of 21 N.A.T.O. divisions. The Germans are already in control of British soldiers. General Hans Speidel, who was Commander of the Nazi forces in occupation of France, a very brutal 578 occupation, is promoting within the N.A.T.O. Army other German officers to commanding positions over British lads.
We do not need to be military geniuses to understand that if America gives nuclear weapons to West Germany then Russia will give nuclear weapons to East Germany. The thought of East and West Germany facing each other with nuclear missiles along the East-West frontier is a frightening prospect. There could not be a more fruitful source of a third world war.
The excuse of Her Majesty's Government is that they are giving missiles, but that the warheads will be kept under separate lock and key. First, the range and character of the weapons are such that they are intended clearly for use only with nuclear warheads. Secondly, this situation can be altered at the stroke of the pen. Thirdly, President Eisenhower's statement on 3rd February indicated clearly that he wished to authorise the handing of nuclear weapons to certain nations, and that complete control over them should be exercised by those nations. Fourthly, although forbidden by the Brussels Treaty to manufacture nuclear weapons in Germany, she is sending her technicians and her money to collaborate in the building of the French nuclear weapon, of which she can obtain possession.
General Norstad has himself said that these warheads should be kept in constant readiness at advanced stations. I think that this is most dangerous, particularly for the Navy. Let us suppose that a state of emergency arises. Surely, the nuclear warheads are not to be stored hundreds or thousands of miles away from German warships and submarines? They will be kept on board, and I cannot see the German commander hesitating to ask the American commander, "Please hand over the key of the cupboard." It is a very dangerous situation indeed, and I do not accept the Government's excuses.
What should be done? The steps are indicated in the Motion. On no account should missiles or nuclear weapons be handed to Germany. There should be disengagement in Europe, and disarmament starting, I believe, from a ban on nuclear tests and there should be a cut in the fantastic armament programmes in which we and all the other 579 countries of the world are now engaged. We have to realise that, as Lord Attlee said, the choice is between co-existence and non-existence. How are we to get co-existence if we supply nuclear weapons to West Germany, which means supplying nuclear weapons also to East Germany?
Finally, because I did not wish to take more than five minutes, I believe that we should go further than this. In my view, it is hypocrisy for us to ask other nations to renounce nuclear weapons if we proceed with them ourselves. These nations—France, Germany and the rest—can turn round and say, "What right have you to ask us to give up our nuclear weapons if you are proceeding with manufacturing and testing them yourselves?" That is one reason why I believe that we in this country should renounce the hydrogen and the atomic bomb.
§ 9.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)
Although neither of the hon. Members is present just now, I want to start by offering my personal congratulations to the hon. Member for Clapham (Dr. A. Glyn) and my hon. Friend the Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Dr. A. Thompson) on the maiden speeches which they have made in today's debate. For my part, I shall long remember the remarkable speech made by my hon. Friend, but I say to both hon. Members, on behalf of the whole House, that we shall hope to hear them again soon and often.
Last month, in his Message to Congress on the State of the Union, President Eisenhower said that mankind was approaching a state where mutual annihilation becomes a possibility. He also said:No other fact of today's world equals this in importance—it colours everything we say, plan and do.In a letter to Senator Humphrey last October, he said:The best and the most carefully elaborated disarmament agreements are likely to carry with them some risks, at least, theoretically, of evasion. But one must ponder, in reaching decisions on the very complex and difficult subject of arms control, the enormous risks entailed if reasonable steps are not taken to curb the international competition in armaments and to move effectively in the direction of disarmament.580 I quote these words because I believe that they are profoundly true. The danger of mutual annihilation is not only the most important fact in the world today, but it ought to colour everything we say, plan and do.
There are theoretical risks that a disarmament treaty would be evaded. They must be weighed against the enormous actual risks of allowing the arms race to go on. If those propositions are genuinely accepted, they mean, as many hon. Members have said, that international, all-round, controlled disarmament is incomparably the most important purpose that any Government can pursue.
The Foreign Secretary declared in his speech in the United Nations last September, and said again today, that this is the purpose of the Government, that at the third stage of his programme, all the nations, having abolished their weapons of mass destruction including stocks, would reduce their conventional armaments and military manpower to the levels required for internal security purposes only.
If that is really the overriding purpose of our policy, and if we are to embark on decisive negotiations in Geneva in four weeks' time, I find it hard to understand what we are doing in Germany, in Cyprus, in N.A.T.O. and elsewhere today. In Cyprus we are imperilling, as I think, the long-term peace of the Eastern Mediterranean in order to secure an aircraft base large enough from which to attack the Caucasus with nuclear bombs. In N.A.T.O., within four weeks of these negotiations, we are to give nuclear weapons to Germany and any other ally who will accept them.
With other hon. Members, I believe that the vast majority of the German people are against armaments and war, but I remember from my student days in Munich before 1914 the immense strength of the German militarist tradition. I remember how the German General Staff helped and protected Hitler, how the German arms firms, Krupp and Thyssen and the rest, financed his Storm Troops, paid for their uniforms, their drill instructors and their camps. I understand all too well the bitter resentment at our policy which is shown by nations which have suffered Nazi occupation. I think it lamentable 581 that we should lend ourselves to such decisions on the very eve of these new Geneva talks. It makes me wonder whether the Government really think of disarmament as a close and real prospect which should govern all they say and plan and do.
It looks to me as though the Government thought that disarmament talks would drag on for as many years in the future as the eight years which they have had since 1952, the eight years in which nuclear stockpiles have been built up From nothing, in which the supersonic bombers have been produced, in which the 1,500-mile missiles have been made operational, the poison gases and biologicals enormously improved and the nuclear-powered submarine, with all its menace to Britain, introduced.
The one thing that I want to try to do tonight is to urge on the new Minister of Defence that the disarmament problem is very urgent and that the arms race is not slowing down, that it is gathering momentum every year with vastly greater peril all the time. The Minister's predecessor told us in 1957 that the power of defence was at a very low ebb in relation to the power of attack. The predominance of attack is still growing every year and the devastation which can be caused by one bomb, one missile, one aircraft sortie, is growing greater. The number of weapons of mass destruction, incendiary, nuclear, biological, chemical, radiological, is constantly increasing. The speed of delivery is increasing. The possibility of active defence, of interception, is getting less. The hope of giving shelter or protection to the civil population, or even to the troops, is growing fainter.
That process will inevitably continue while the leading Powers give top priority to military research. I hope that the Minister of Defence will examine very closely our own expenditure on this vital item and what it means. I hope that he will consider the American figures—25 million dollars for military research in 1940; 1,570 million dollars in 1953; 5,300 million dollars in 1957; 8,400 million dollars in 1960, i.e., £3,000 million this year for improving their existing weapons and for developing new and still more potent weapons. No doubt the expenditure of the Russians is even greater. They have more scientists; they are ahead in missiles, and missiles are the 582 costliest line of all. There are all kinds of new and devilish perils hidden in these figures.
Scientists from eight countries at the Pugwash Conference in Canada last summer made it plain that biologicals of various kinds, all of immense danger, have become weapons of potential mass destruction in the last few years by which tens of millions of people could be killed. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) spoke this afternoon of the revelation by the Commanding Officer of the United States arsenal at Denver, Colorado, that the United States now has enough poison gas—nerve gas—to kill every man, woman and child in the world.
Nerve gas is what Goering used on goats. It drove them mad. They massacred each other until the few survivors died after hours of agonising pain. American generals have told us that their nerve gases today are at least ten times as potent as Goering's kind.
The other day General Power, the Commander of U.S.S.A.C., shocked the United States by saying that within two years the Soviet Union would be able to wipe out the American power of retaliation by simultaneously destroying 300 of their bases round the world. I have small doubt that in fact General Power was wrong, but I have no doubt at all that military research will soon produce the power to strike the total knock-out blow.
If the arms race goes on this power will not be confined to the two military giants of today. There are many senses in which we are a military giant. I believe it to be true that we could kill tens of millions of people in Russia in a few minutes if we made a sudden and unprovoked attack. And there will be other larger nations which will inevitably develop a devastating power. That is the background to the new negotiations in Geneva with which the Minister of Defence will be very intimately, and I hope constantly, concerned.
I welcome what the Foreign Secretary said today, that the objective of the new negotiations must be the total abolition of all weapons of mass destruction including stocks, and the reduction of all forces and other armaments to the level required for internal security only. 583 Unless that is the declared purpose, unless we seriously intend to abolish all war, it would be much better not to start disarmament talks at all.
I welcome also what the Foreign Secretary said on 29th October about the abolition of nuclear stocks. He spoke of the control of the means of delivery of nuclear weapons, and said:That may well be the answer to what we know to be one of the problems, that we cannot absolutely 100 per cent. guarantee the discovery of all nuclear weapons. The control of means of delivery is something which I think is a much more practical possibility."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Thursday, 29th October. 1959; Vol. 612, c. 393.]Of course it is, because missiles and bombers cannot be made in secret. They cannot be tested in secret. Troops cannot be trained in secret to use them. If there are United Nations inspectors there is no problem of control. We shall look to the British delegate to pursue that line.
The abolition of stocks, safeguarded by the abolition of the means of delivery, is far less a risk than allowing the nuclear arms race to go on with the absolute certainty, of which my hon. Friend spoke this afternoon, that within ten years there may be about a dozen nuclear Powers.
It was on the abolition of nuclear stocks that the Pentagon made Mr. Stassen smash the chances of success of the United Nations Sub-Committee in 1959. This time I hope that the British delegate will speak for Britain. It is no good leaving this question until some remote third stage at a distant date. I hope that I understood the Foreign Secretary this afternoon to say that this question will be faced frankly at the start, because unless in the first stage treaty we tackle the problem of nuclear stocks and of the means of delivery, unless we add to that proposals for major reductions of manpower and conventional weapons, such as the Western Governments urged on Russia in 1955, I do not believe these new negotiations will ever get off the ground.
Of course, we have always been agreed that at every stage there must be adequate inspection and control. But I was worried yesterday by a report in The Times from its Washington correspondent, where the Minister of State is now 584 discussing our line in Geneva with the four other Western Powers. The Washington correspondent said that the Committee of Ten… is expected to turn largely on the outcome of the current nuclear negotiations"—the conference on tests—which are viewed as a barometer for any system of inspection and control likely to function in the sphere of general disarmament.I confess that to me that has a rather sinister ring. The one thing that the Russians have made absolutely plain since 1957 is that they will accept far more inspection for general disarmament than they will for an agreement about tests alone. They have argued—Mr. Malik, Mr. Zorin and Mr. Khrushchev, all of them have told me—that while the general arms race continues, while the West is making new missile bases all around the Soviet Union, they will not allow teams of foreign inspectors to roam all over Russia at their will marking down their targets for our N.A.T.O. maps. I have always told them that we know their targets already, and I am sure it is true. But the one thing that is certain is that the conference on tests is not a barometer for the inspection which the Russians will accept for general disarmament.
Mr. Khrushchev and Mr. Kuznetsov could hardly have given us more assurances about inspection than they did in the Assembly of the United Nations. Only the other day Mr. Khrushchev repeated in detail that Russia would accept inspection from the very start of any disarmament process, with safeguards that at every stage any violation would be found out. Of course, we have got to see these promises turned into detailed treaty clauses, but I shall be very surprised if the Western delegates find an alibi for failure in Geneva in what the Russians say about inspection.
I pass to what I regard as a very important practical question, namely what kind of information we are going to have about the work of the Committee of Ten. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the great advantages of private conversations: we do not get propaganda speeches; delegates can more easily modify their attitude and thus reach agreement. No one who says such things can have read the minutes of the U.N. disarmament Sub-Committee. 585 Never in forty years have I seen such time-wasting, repetitive, vicious propaganda speeches as there were there. Certainly the delegates found it easier to be flexible, to abandon their previous proposals, but they did it, alas, in order to avoid agreement. That is what happened in 1955.
Let us look at the information which we have had about the conference on tests, now in the seventeenth month of its work. We have been given none of those documents, none of the records of those debates. Talking with people who are well informed, I find it difficult not to think that its chances of success would have been improved if the world had known from day to day what was being said. The obstructionists would immediately have been ex posed. I go further. I believe hon. Members, the Press and the public have the right to know what the delegates are doing in their name.
I take an analogy from events in a very different sphere. Last year, eleven men were beaten to death at Hola. We had repeated debates in this House and many scores of Questions about that lamentable occurrence. No one would have dreamed of trying to keep those discussions private. But it is reasonably certain that not eleven, but perhaps many thousands, of people have already died or suffered in other ways as a result of nuclear tests.
Last week, I met a woman in New York who was absolutely convinced that her husband had died of leukaemia at the age of 35, leaving her a widow with two young children to bring up, because he had had assignments in areas close to where nuclear tests were being carried out. She followed up other cases which convinced her that nuclear tests were causing deaths. The next day a high-ranking member of the United Nations Secretariat told me of a friend of his, a well-known correspondent, who had been on a lengthy mission near the testing areas in the Pacific. In a few months he suffered severe bleeding from his teeth. It was diagnosed as galloping leukaemia and in a few weeks he was dead. No one can prove that any given death is due to nuclear tests, but a world famous scientist, Professor Harrison Brown, estimates the extra deaths from leukaemia due to tests at 10,000 a year 586 in the United States alone. We know that deaths due to leukaemia among radiologists in the United States are ten times the number of deaths among other physicians. We know that the deaths from leukaemia at Hiroshima were nearly five times the normal number in Japan.
Besides leukæmia, Professor Rotblat of London University has told us:each test of an H-bomb will ultimately result in cancer of the bone being incurred by a number of people. … Whether this number is measured in tens or many thousands we shall not know until much more research is done.In matters such as this, surely people have a right to know what is being said in their name.
In the Tests Conference, there were only three delegations. Think of the question in terms of the Committee of Ten. With ten delegations, sixty or eighty people in the room, and with modern methods of journalism, nothing will be secret. But, if the records are not promptly made available, the public, including hon. Members, will depend on angled and distorted versions given by different delegations to suit themselves, partial disclosures and indiscretions leading to all the rancour and misunderstanding which this semi-secrecy involves. Already we have seen that in the Tests Conference. We have seen the United States delegation threatening to publish excerpts from the records to prove their case against the Russians. This provoked actual publication of long excerpts in the Washington Post which, I am bound to say, told in favour of the Russians rather than the American scientists.
In matters of life and death for all humanity like these new disarmament discussions in Geneva, such a system of public information is intolerable today. If we stand for real disarmament, and for truth and honest dealing in attempts to get it, the prompt publication of the records is a vital instrument in our hands. Concealment only helps the man who is wrong.
I say one last thing to the Minister of Defence. He and his Department will play a great part in the disarmament debates.
Years ago, in 1918, before the First World War was over, Lord Cecil, the greatest international statesman of his day, wrote a letter about the formation 587 of a League of Nations to Woodrow Wilson. He warned the President about the difficulties ahead. He said:All the European bureaucracies will be against the idea, including probably the bureaucracy of this country. Nor must it be forgotten that the heresies of militarism have extended beyond the limits of Germany, and all the militarists will be against the idea, They are very able and honourable, but they are past masters in the art of obstruction and resistance.For many years I watched Lord Cecil's predictions being fulfilled: the frustration of the Disarmament Conference of 1932, the betrayal and disintegration of the League, and the disasters that resulted for all the nations of mankind.
Last year, Mr. Anthony Nutting, writing of the U.N. Disarmament Sub-Committee on which he served, used these words:The student of this melancholy piece of history must always bear in mind—as the negotiators were never allowed to forget—that behind each disarmament delegation there hovers the gaunt grey giant of the Ministry of Defence.What is the Minister going to do with this "gaunt grey giant"? He will have immense influence on the disarmament debates. He can supply the technical answers and he can prepare the technical plans. This is, in President Eisenhower's words, incomparably the most important of his duties; the hope of disarmament should colour everything he says, plans and does. It should have the overriding claim upon his time and strength. Will he use it to resist and obstruct, or will he recognise that the arms race is a race without a goal, that the present weapon developments are collective madness, that military research will soon produce new methods and new devices still more destructive, and swifter and more irresistible in their action?
We ask him to recognise that the only way in which he can fulfil his function to defend the nation is by helping to secure all-round, drastic, controlled disarmament, in which alone there lies the hope of national defence.
§ 9.28 p.m.
§ Mr. Gilbert Longden (Hertfordshire, South-West)
The whole House has long known of the passionate sincerity which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) feels about these matters, and everyone 588 in the House respects that, and him. But I feel that sometimes this passion carries him to overstate his case. He must know that the reason why we are still striving for sovereign bases in Cyprus, with the agreement of the two other Governments concerned, is not so that we may bomb the Urals.
The right hon. Gentleman must know that it is not only within four weeks of a Summit that we are proposing to provide Germany with certain nuclear weapons. That was agreed long ago—in December, 1957. He must know that that decision does not cause bitter resentment amongst all the nations that were occupied by Germany because, amongst those nations, are Holland, France, Belgium and Denmark.
When he talks about the deaths possibly due to tests, he must know that no one has worked harder to achieve a banning of nuclear tests than has my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary, whose suggestion it was that a conference of scientific experts should first sit to decide if it could be done.
Without impertinence, I think we can say that we have had a very useful exchange of ideas in this debate and that it has thrown up some interesting suggestions. The hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) made one about fissile materials. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson), whose absence at this moment in unavoidable, made one about the reunification of Berlin. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South suggested that the Committee of Ten should conduct its proceedings in public. I am sure that all those suggestions will be considered by my right hon. and learned Friend. I think that is the object of this debating chamber. We have also had two excellent maiden speeches.
The debate was opened by the hon. Member for Leeds, East in a reasonable and reasoned speech, although towards the end he found it necessary to impart a little synthetic indignation. That was natural and human, but it was obviously synthetic. And what was all that about festering lilies and weeds? He was not comparing our Front Bench with his own, I hope, because if so, he cannot think much of either. I wish that the hon. Gentleman could have seen the face 589 of his hon. Friend below the Gangway when he talked about our national poet and then recited Shakespeare. This national poet also wrote another sonnet in which he said:But flowers distilled, though they with winter meet,Lose but their show: their substance still lives sweet.My right hon. and learned Friend may take that as some compensation.
The hon. Gentleman said that The Times newspaper this morning complained that there was no central theme to discipline Member's speeches in this debate. I would have said that the central theme was very clearly disarmament. But what an odd Motion it is. It is as if the Opposition had to clutch at any straw with which to make bricks to throw at the Government. I want to stick closely to the Motion. It is in three parts. First, Her Majesty's Government are accused of having failed to advance and sustain practical proposals which would result in real progress towards stopping the arms race and ending the cold war.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw) said earlier in the debate, it is difficult to imagine a more utterly unreal and unjust charge. It is as if the Opposition had said to itself: if a true bill does not exist it is necessary for us to invent one. I thought the whole world was agreed by now that the visit of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary to Moscow had broken the log jam, but here is one witness. In the Sunday Observer for 27th December last, writing about "The 1950s", Professor Arnold Toynbee wrote this:All the more welcome is the decided positive turn for the better, within the last year, in the relations between the Soviet Union and the Western countries … It has no precedent in the tragic history of the 1930's. Within the last year, the Russians and the Americans … seem to have recognised that both powers … are permanent fixtures on the map of the world. Each of them may sill reckon that it could wipe the other off the map, but neither now believes that it would not also get wiped out itself in an ordeal by atomic battle. They both now expect to co-exist, and to do it as each other's equals.This state of mutual tolerance, of peaceful, or at any rate of "non-warful" co-existence, has resulted precisely 590 because we accepted the challenge to rearm. We did not begin it, but if we had not responded to what the Motion calls the arms race, the 1950s would have had a precedent in the tragic history of the 1930s. So do not let us regret too quickly that the march of science has led mankind to the discovery of nuclear fission. There I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Clapham (Dr. A. Glyn), who made so excellent a maiden speech this afternoon.
But, of course, we do not want to go on rearming; that is the negative side. The positive side is to strive peacefully to co-exist without arms. Can anyone in this House truthfully maintain that Her Majesty's Government have not for long advanced and sustained practical proposals to that end? The latest of many such proposals was advanced by my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary on 17th September last to the General Assembly of the United Nations, oddly enough, the day before Mr. Khrushchev advanced his proposals. As we all know, the proceedings at the United Nations are not very widely publicised in this country, and I am certain that there are a great number of people in this country who do not even know that they were made, let alone what was in them. My right hon. Friend said:Our aim is to move forward by balanced stages towards the abolition of all … weapons of mass destruction and towards the reduction of other weapons and armed forces to levels which will rule out the possibility of aggressive war.That was our aim clearly stated, and not for the first time, to the General Assembly of the United Nations last September.
But it was not only the general aim that my right hon. Friend put forward. He made specific and precise suggestions about how that aim could be attained in three stages. The first of those stages which had several phases or subheadings in it was criticised this afternoon because it only demanded consultation. But of course that is and must always be a necessary preliminary. Among other things which he suggested were measures against surprise attack, the use of outer space and the nature and functions of an International Control Organ—which was referred to by the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and 591 Tipton and which would not only control disarmament but also have increasing responsibility for preserving world peace within the United Nations.
In the second stage practical progress would be begun, progressive and controlled reduction of conventional arms and manpower, the introduction of a cut-off of the production of fissionable material for weapons, the reduction of stocks of nuclear weapons by transference to peaceful uses, inspection against surprise attack, agreement to use outer space peacefully and further development of the capacity of the international organ. In the final stage the manufacture and, of course, the use of A, B and C weapons would be banned and the remaining stocks would be eliminated. A ban would be placed on the use of outer space for military purposes, military budgets would be internationally controlled and, finally, the reduction of conventional arms and manpower to a level required for internal security only.
The point is, of course, and it was clearly made by my right hon. and learned Friend, that all this is practical only if the will exists.
§ Mr. Longden
—particularly not with the Kremlin. Do the Opposition claim that they would have been more successful than Her Majesty's Government in persuading the Kremlin to agree to balanced disarmament effectively controlled? If so, that is a bold claim to make. Or do they advocate—I know that they do not—that we should go it alone?
I have here a publication from the United Nations Association, an all-party body, which says:Which would you rather spend your money on … On armaments, or on helping the world to grow more food … helping to wipe out disease … helping to build schools … or helping the economically and socially backward countries?Of course, there is no one in this House who would not choose to do one of the 592 latter, but the antithesis is false. It does not rest with us alone. We could make that choice only if one of two conditions were fulfilled, either that all the great Powers agreed—which is what we are striving and struggling for—or that we disarmed unilaterally.
Some hon. Members opposite, I know, would have us disarm unilaterally, but we are told, and we believe, that they are not the majority. It is certainly not the view of the right hon. Member for Derby, South.
§ Mr. Longden
I am all too well aware of it: and I am going to use some of that time by asking the right hon. Gentleman a question. I am sorry that I did not speak before he did.
The right hon. Gentleman, with really magnificent generosity, has just given away practically all his Nobel Peace Prize money. What I should like to ask him—I shall ask him privately and I am sure he will tell me—is how he expects it effectively to be spent. I could understand if it were to be spent on persuading other peoples, but does anyone in this country need to be persuaded that if our proposals were agreed, it would be better to spend our money on the four objects to which I have just referred, or on others, rather than on armaments?
Her Majesty's Government have constantly put forward practical proposals with a view to reducing arms, armaments and tension. When the heads of Government of the four Western Powers met in Paris last December, they again stressed the importance of placing controlled disarmament on the Summit Conference agenda. What more they can do now I do not know.
The second indictment contained in the Motion has to do with thelimitation and control of forces and weapons in Central Europe as a first step towards a wider political settlement in that area and as a means of relaxing tension over Berlin.In my opinion, the problem of Berlin will not be solved until the problem of the reunification of Germany is solved. Once the problem of reunification has been solved, of course, the problem of Berlin will cease to exist. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman for Rowley 593 Regis and Tipton made some interesting proposals this afternoon which, as I have already said, I am sure my right hon. and learned Friend will study. But the truth—it is better to face it—is that the reunification of the Federal Republic of Germany and Eastern Germany will be brought about only when the Kremlin agrees to it on terms which are acceptable t3 the Federal Republic and to the Western Alliance. The question now is: would limitation and control of forces and weapons in Central Europe help? If so, here again such a first step was suggested in the Western plan put forward at Geneva last May.
In the Anglo-Soviet communiqué which was issued after the Prime Minister's visit to Moscow, it was agreed—and I think that it had better be repeated—thatfurther study could usefully be made of the possibilities of increasing security by some method of limitation of forces and weapons, both conventional and nuclear, in an agreed area of Europe, coupled with an appropriate system of inspection.We have been told that the proposals made last May still stand and will be discussed at the Summit, but they do not include the disarming or neutralisation of Germany. This is not a red herring which I am introducing in order to use up time, because it formed the whole of the speech of the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short), and I am certain that it forms a large part of the wishes of a great number of hon. Members opposite.
I for one—I cannot speak for the party on this side—could never willingly agree to that. I believe that as long as it is necessary for us to have a Western defensive alliance, Germany must be part of it. It would be impracticable to try to treat a great nation of 50 million people, perhaps 70 or 80 million if reunited, in the same way as a nation of 8 million, like Austria. As Sir Anthony Eden asked long ago, if Germany is to be disarmed and neutral, who is to keep her disarmed? If she is to be armed and neutral, who is to keep her neutral? The answer to the last question is, N.A.T.O. and W.E.U., as long as they are not attacked, because they are both defensive alliances and Germany, enclosed like a kernel in W.E.U. within the shell of N.A.T.O., is far safer to all her neighbours and everyone else than if she were alone, disarmed and neutral.
594 The military sources, distinguished though they are, quoted by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central to the effect that N.A.T.O. and its defensive powers in Europe would not be affected if we were all to withdraw behind the Rhine are countered by many more equally reputable and respectable sources which say that it would be fatally impaired. I personally put my faith in the latter authorities. Furthermore, to treat Germany in that way—and here I am sure that I carry hon. Members who know Germany with me—would merely feed her inferiority complex. I agree with the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton on that point.
We remember Versailles. Versailles was said by the apologists of Germany to have led first to Hitler and then to the Second World War; but if the dissidents on the Opposition benches had had their way with Germany, how much worse it would have been for Germany than Versailles? Here I quote another extract from a sonnet of the national poet:When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes I all alone beweep my outcast state. …Germany is naturally prone to beweeping her outcast state and, if she were one, I think that we should find that that would happen.
Lastly—this has never been answered by any of the advocates of German disarmament and neutrality; perhaps it will be answered in tomorrow's debate—why should the Federal Republic of Germany, still less a reunited Germany, be free to compete in the world's markets relieved of the burden of sharing the cost of defending Western civilisation? I can think of no reason.
§ Mr. Davies
Some of us have sat all through this debate. Somebody had better wake it up. We are all going to sleep. We had this question ten years ago. All this stuff is ten years old. The answer to the question of what we do if Germany is demilitarised is that in a sane world we would make the economic "know-how" of Germany and her industrial goods go to the under-privileged 595 areas of the world and the United Nations—[HON. MEMBERS: "How?"]—much more intelligently than the damn-fool proposition of rearming Germany with nuclear weapons.
§ Mr. Longden
That would be splendid when general disarmament is achieved. Then we could all disarm and spend our money in that way.
Meanwhile, I agree with what the Labour Party wrote in "In Defence of Europe" some six years ago:Shall we hold out our hand to German democracy or trample it underfoot? The answer must surely be that we are ready to join hands and stand together in defence of Europe.I am perfectly sure that close integration of Germany with the freedom-loving, responsible nations is the best safeguard. But a modest experiment in reduction and control in a European belt—yes. That will be pursued at the Summit.
Thirdly, the Motion deplores thatsteps are being taken towards the arming of West German forces with nuclear weapons before the summit …One wonders what is the significance of those last three words. Why only "before the Summit"? What, by the way, has happened to the non-nuclear club? When the non-nuclear club was first put forward by a noble Lord on the Opposition benches in another place, it was, to coin a phrase, thrown out of the window by two other noble Lords from the Opposition benches of another place. But it was then picked up and put into the Labour Party's election manifesto. Now, however, it has apparently been thrown out of the window again. We have heard nothing about it.
§ Mr. Healey
The hon. Member obviously did not listen to my speech. I am glad to oblige him by filling up the time a little. Had he listened, he would have heard me dealing in some detail with it. Perhaps the fact that I used a phrase which has never been used by the Labour Party in referring to the proposal is responsible for the fact that the hon. Member dial not understand what I was saying.
§ Mr. Longden
I followed the hon. Member's speech with great care. I thought he said that we could discard our own nuclear armaments only if there 596 was a standstill in the other two nuclear Powers. That is slightly different.
§ Mr. Longden
I will read it tomorrow. I did not intentionally misrepresent the hon. Member.
What is certainly true is that the Labour Party delegates to the recent Western European Union Assembly in Paris, only last December, supported a resolution in favour of Germany building cruisers big enough to carry guided missiles. Therefore, I thought that I was justified in saying that the non-nuclear club seemed, temporarily at least, to have been discarded.
It is, of course, natural to feel doubts about Germany, and that is one of the things in which I disagree with the hon. Member for Leeds, East who said that he was not affected by past history. I think it is very natural to be affected by the past history of Germany. Ever since she was united originally as an Empire she has been nothing but a nuisance to her neighbours, and "nuisance" is a typical British understatement. Personally, I would think it perfectly right and justifiable for Members on the opposite benches and on these benches and for Germany's neighbours in Europe to be very distrustful.
I think that the hon. Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Dr. A Thompson), in his excellent maiden speech, was perfectly justified in bringing to our notice certain facts which some times may be forgotten. But the die has long since been cast. Long since, in 1954, the die was cast and in a free and equal alliance, which was what Germany was brought into in 1954, we cannot have first- and second-class troops. If armies are necessary, they must be armed with the best, especially armies which are willy-nilly in the front line. The argument about the Russians arming Eastern Germany with nuclear weapons is purely academic. Eastern Germany is filled with 22 Russian divisions so armed. Would anybody in this House allow our armies to go out armed with anything less than the best? Every self-respecting nation is bound to think like that.
I should like to enact a rôle of King Canute and take the hon. Member for 597 Leeds, East down to the seashore and show him that it is impossible to stop the tide with one's feet. Of course, if these weapons have been invented they will be gradually acquired by other nations. Our only hope is to disarm, and to disarm as soon as possible, before that happens.
§ Mr. Longden
Let us get the facts about Western Germany. As I have a moment or two more I will try to repeat them. First I wish to repeat something which was said by my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the debate last December, because I do not believe that this is known generally, even on the other side of the House. He said:It cannot be said too often that Germany possesses no nuclear weapons.He said that the missiles which it was proposed to give to Germany are without warheads. Here is a point which may, perhaps, have caused misunderstanding. I would put it to my right hon. and learned Friend. I know that those warheads are manufactured by and held in the custody of the United States, but who controls their use? That is the first safeguard. It is not Germany. Is what we were told last December still correct? We were told by my hon. Friend:The warheads are held under the personal control of the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, and in no circumstances could they be made available to any German unit other than on the Supreme Commander's direct orders."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th December, 1959; Vol 615, c. 1724–5.]Is that still correct? Because if so, it is not quite the same thing as being under American control. The Supreme Allied Commander is an American, but he is not America.
598 Second safeguard: under the revised Brussels Treaty, the Federal Republic agreed not to allow her armed forces to exceed a certain size; not to attempt unification by force; and not to manufacture atomic, biological or chemical weapons; and the treaty specifically lays down that it cannot be altered so as to permit her to do so. The Armaments Control Agency set up by the treaty gave her neighbours, including U.S.S.R., a guarantee against a revival of German militarism.
So I appeal to the Opposition not to press their Motion to a Division tomorrow. If they read their Motion, if they listen to what has been said, if they read the Government's Amendment, surely they will feel themselves able not to divide. Quite frankly, after some of the kind remarks made by the hon. Member for Leeds, East and the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton I do not think that they could find it in their hearts to do so.
§ Debate adjourned.—[Mr. Legh.]
§ Debate to be resumed Tomorrow.