§ 3.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)
The purpose of this debate, provided out of Opposition time, is to permit a final exchange of views between the House and the Government before the Summit talks, to enable hon. Members on both sides of the House to tell the Government what we expect them to try to achieve at the Summit, and, so far as we are agreed on the objectives, to give them our support and encouragement in their efforts.
Reaching the Summit has been a very slow business. There have been doubts in many quarters. There have been laggards. There have been false horizons, and there have been disappointments. Now, at the last minute, on the last slope, a sudden unexpected storm has threatened the whole expedition. The episode of the U2—the destruction by the Russians of an American intelligence aircraft engaged on photographing Russian airfields and military installations—has caused very great concern throughout the world. It could have stopped the Summit talks, though I am glad to say that that seems 631 unlikely now. But this episode also highlights the very great dangers of the present world situation and, therefore, emphasises the need for success at the Summit.
I see no purpose in being hypocritical, or mealy-mouthed, about intelligence work and espionage. Every large Power engages in it. Sometimes spies are caught. Sometimes they are killed. Sometimes these things happen at awkward moments. We remember the episode of Commander Crabb. Governments do not usually acknowledge espionage, or take any interest in their agents if they are caught. There is a tacit understanding to keep this kind of thing under the rug, the reason for this tacit understanding, of course, being the risk that it might prejudice normal diplomatic relations between Governments. If it were not for the fact that so many of those engaged in this business were men of great courage, I should say that it was the tribute that vice pays to virtue.
Moreover, it is undeniable that the Soviet Union practises espionage, and does so on a grand scale. It is undeniable that the Russians have a somewhat easier job in obtaining intelligence from the democratic countries than we do from the Soviet Union, because we happen to have an open society. It is undeniable, also, that the development of nuclear weapons gives a terrifying advantage to the surprise attack and, therefore, produces an overwhelming case in favour of agreements to safeguard all countries against surprise attack. It is undeniable, too, that, in the absence of such agreements, the danger of surprise attack produces an urgent and natural need for intelligence to guard against it.
All this must be admitted, but, having said it, I feel, and I believe that very many Americans feel, that it was a singularly inept and stupid thing to allow flights of this kind to take place just before the Summit talks. I should have thought that it would have been wiser had the President of the United States given instructions some little time ago that they should be cancelled.
Moreover, one cannot but be concerned with some of the statements made by the United States Government—by 632 the Secretary of State and others—about the whole matter. I hope that I am wrong, but certainly some of the things said by State Department spokesmen have suggested that the United States Government regard themselves as legally entitled to send their planes over Soviet air space and, further, that they intend to continue to do so.
This seems to me an almost untenable proposition. I should have thought that it was quite clearly a violation of international law, and I hope very much that the Government will give us their opinion on this and that they will confirm what I have said. I hope that they will also urge second thoughts on the United States Government if it is the case that they propose to continue these practices.
This particular type of intelligence work is peculiar because it involves risks not only for the pilot or photographer conducting it, but for the whole world. Such forms of espionage do not merely discover, or fail to discover, enemy secrets, but the process of attempting to do so could conceivably trigger off a nuclear war. It is a very different matter from the old-fashioned spy with field glasses, counting the number of lorries moving along a road.
For these reasons, I must record my view that this kind of thing should not be done without consultation with, and knowledge and approval of, the whole Atlantic Alliance, because it involves the risk of war; and it is not right that one country should take such risks in the absence of the consent of its allies. I hope that these lessons will be learnt and that, meanwhile, the episode, despite its peculiar character, will not be allowed to prejudice the vital need for success at the Summit. It is reassuring, I think, that, despite Mr. Khrushchev's sharp comments in part of his speech, he has not indicated any desire to suspend the Summit talks. It is good news that his remarks about President Eisenhower's forthcoming visit to Moscow appear to have been censored from the Soviet newspapers.
I think that the thing that we most want to see achieved at the Summit, starting with what I regard as the most practicable step, is agreement to ban nuclear tests. Even in this field, as everywhere else, progress has been slow. It has taken eighteen months at least to get to the 633 present stage, but we can say that the progress has been quite perceptible and, relatively speaking, substantial. The three Powers—America, Russia and ourselves—are now ready to sign an agreement to make no more nuclear tests except those below ground with a seismic magnitude of less than 4.75. That is how I understand the position. In practice, this means that they agree to make no more tests above ground, in the atmosphere, in, I think, the stratosphere or underwater, and no more tests below ground with a greater seismic magnitude than that I have mentioned.
Furthermore, the three Powers are agreed to make unilateral declarations that for a period to be agreed they will make no other nuclear weapon tests, even the smaller ones which are not detectable, those not covered by the rest of the agreement, pending a joint programme of research in order to establish better methods of detecting the smaller explosions. Thus, two major problems alone seem to remain unsolved in the negotiations on nuclear tests—the number of on-site inspections to be permitted in a given period, and the length of the moratorium.
With regard to the first problem, I know very well that there is a difference, which is sometimes described as a difference of principle, on whether the number shall be determined on political grounds only, as the Russians wish, or whether it shall be determined in relation to the number of unexplained explosions of all kinds or, rather, seismographic incidents. I say only one thing on that. It seems to me that all that is needed to settle the number of on-site inspections is to have enough to deter any Power from trying to evade the agreement. So long as there is a risk of detection, it is extremely unlikely that any one of the three Powers will do this because it would know that this would mean a breach of the agreement and quite probably the starting of nuclear tests all over again by the other two countries.
The length of the moratorium surely is a matter of common sense. It has been said that the British Government have proposed two years. If that is so, I think that that is a quite reasonable period. I would not be fussy about whether it is two or three years. It would be a great mistake to allow the 634 chance of agreement to break down on the narrow issue whether the moratorium should be just that length or just this length.
In view of all this progress, the recent United States declaration about their forthcoming series of underground tests in the autumn is decidedly puzzling. It has not been cleared up by the answers given by the Minister of State yesterday, nor, I fear, by the statements, reported in the Press this morning, of President Eisenhower. I must, therefore, ask the following questions to which, I hope, the Foreign Secretary will give answers.
First, does the moratorium cover all underground tests below the 4.75 level? Does it cover so-called civil as well as military tests—civilian research as well as military research purposes? If, as I rather fear, the moratorium is intended to relate only to so-called weapon tests, is there not a very great danger of a loophole being left, because how exactly can we distinguish between civil tests, or tests for civilian purposes, and tests for military purposes?
Secondly, do we understand that the only tests to be allowed after the agreement has been signed will be those which take place under the co-ordinated programme of research to improve the means of detection or, at least, if not wholly confined to those, can they be limited to those together with any other very specific civil ones for which approval is sought and given?
Thirdly, may we take it that these tests are to be carried out jointly or at least with complete freedom for the other two Powers concerned to send their observers to see what they like?
Finally, can the Foreign Secretary say why the United States Government made this statement just before the meeting of scientists in Geneva—which, I think, is today—to discuss the details of the programme? Did they intend it to be simply part of the co-ordinated programme? If so, does it not seem a little strange that they did not wait until the meeting in Geneva to put it forward? If it means more than that and something outside the programme, may we have an explanation how it fits in with the proposed moratorium?
I hope that it will be possible for the Foreign Secretary to clear all this up. I hope, even more, that when the Prime 635 Minister goes to the Summit, although I am well aware that because the French are not taking part in these negotiations the subject of a nuclear test agreement may not be on the agenda, he will do everything in his power to get this agreement signed.
Such an agreement among the three great Powers to ban nuclear tests is important for various reasons. In the first place, as has often been said, it involves setting up international control posts in the three most powerful countries of the world. That itself is a tremendously significant development, if it occurs. Secondly, at least it puts an end to the pollution of the atmosphere by those three countries. Thirdly, it will mean in large part the freezing by them of their nuclear weapon development.
But one must, of course, recognise that the agreement has to be negotiated and will—in the first instance, at any rate—be signed only by three Powers. We know very well that the French have said, and said repeatedly and consistently, that they will not be party to an agreement on tests unless and until there is an agreement to stop the production of nuclear weapons and to destroy nuclear stocks, or the means of delivering them.
The French attitude may seem to us irritating and tiresome, but it is hardly for us to put the French in the dock on this issue. They are perfectly logical in saying, "It is all very well for you to tell us that we must not make any more tests; you have made your tests; you have your weapons; you have plenty of weapons, and more, to enable you to blow up the whole world many times; but we are not in that position and we do not see why we should stop just at this point in our progress towards becoming a nuclear Power."
It could be said, at any rate, that we would certainly have used just the same argument in previous years ourselves. There are only two ways by which we can meet the French argument. One of them, if we can persuade them, would be to follow the proposals which we put forward last year for establishing a non-nuclear club, apart from Russia and the United States. I will refer to that later. The only other way, and the way which we have always recognised as superior 636 and as the first priority, is through general disarmament, and to that subject I now turn.
To start with, I quote a few words which I used about multilateral disarmament in a recent speech. I said:What are our chief aims in international policy? They are quite simply peace and freedom. There is only one secure way of achieving these—by all-round comprehensive controlled disarmament. It must be all-round, because if even one powerful nation keeps its arms, the others will do so, too. It must be comprehensive, because even if we have nuclear disarmament, conventional weapons can produce a terrible war.One might add that unless conventional weapons are covered, the probability that one country or another will regard the other Powers as having some special advantage will almost certainly prevent an agreement.It must be controlled, because without controls to make sure an agreement is kept, there will be no agreement.I make no apology for underlining those facts, because this is the most important thing in the whole sphere of international negotiations today.
Because of its complexity, and because we so often have to discuss the subject, we tend to get bored with it and allow it to become stale and consequently to underrate it. We must try to avoid that danger. It is supremely important, and none of us can ever afford to allow our attention to be deflected from it for a moment.
If one contrasts the immense importance of multilateral disarmament with what has been achieved in the first stages of the Ten-Power Disarmament Commission, it is a very distressing result. Reporting on the first six weeks, The Times said, on 30th April, about that Conference:The first session of the 10-Power disarmament conference ended today in full disarray. So far it repeats the doleful fate of all such negotiations since the end of the war.That can hardly be better illustrated than by the fact that the Powers concerned failed to agree even on the final statement when they adjourned. Mr. Zorin, the Russian representative, thought that we could say that it could be said that there had been a certain rapprochement. I understand from the Press that the Minister of State was not 637 prepared to accept that. He thought that there had not been a certain rapprochement, but only a clarification of ideas. Those were the things they argued about.
I do not want to reproach the right hon. Gentleman. I draw attention to that to show the kind of atmosphere which must have existed at the conference at that time, an atmosphere in which almost anything that one side said was bound to be contradicted by the other side, because one side got suspicious because it thought that in some way or another the other side was trying to get one jump ahead, because it thought that if it agreed to anything which the other side said it would thereby lose a certain amount of prestige and that that might prejudice further negotiations. There is nothing peculiar about this. I expect that most of us are familiar with it in some small way in even quite minor negotiations in which we have become involved. Most of us are aware that it happens time and time again in international affairs.
We see it happen when we see the various countries coming together and the ritual performance beginning, the ritual performance of propaganda and counter-propaganda—or, not counter-propaganda, but parallel propaganda. When one has had several weeks of that, each side really ignoring the main issues and concentrating on trying to impress some unknown outside world, one waits for the bargaining to start, but when the bargaining starts one can be sure that neither side will seriously put forward anything which it thinks that the other is likely to accept. One side begins the process by asking in a completely Oriental fashion—I hope that I say that without offence—for something which is quite clearly unacceptable to the other side, because it shifts the balance of power against it. The parties go on like that, and the process goes on and on and round and round and the rest of the world looks on astonished. It is astonished and worried because there is no progress.
I find it amazing that anybody should think nowadays that a country or Government makes successful propaganda by this sort of thing. The fact is that the most successful propaganda which any Government or country can put across today is to be able to say, "I put forward the proposals which the other side accepted".
638 There are other things, apart from those underlying difficulties, which seem to me to be wrong about the Ten-Power Commission. To start with, the procedure seems to be highly chaotic. There is a change of chairman every day. There is no agreed agenda and no apparent order. I take the report for one day as an example of this, the report of 22nd March. M. Jules Moch began by putting forward the familiar French thesis that a ban on tests must be linked to the cutoff of nuclear weapon production and the diversion of nuclear material to civilian purposes only.
The Rumanian delegate talked about the dangers of reconverting nuclear weapons to peaceful purposes. The Canadian and Soviet delegates talked about other aspects of nuclear disarmament, and the American delegate began to talk about the importance of retaining foreign bases until peace was really secured. I am sure that they made admirable speeches, but there is no sign whatever that they began to get to grips with the problem.
Then there is the question of the privacy of the proceedings. The proceedings are supposed to be private, but, of course, they are not private, because the delegates tell the Press whatever they want. They issue some of the speeches to the Press. By acting in this way we get the worst of both worlds. I think that there is much to be said for purely private diplomacy on these occasions, although, as has often been said, the agreement must be published eventually. But if we are not to have purely private diplomacy, then it might be better to have purely public diplomacy, because then, at least, the rest of the world would know accurately what was going on.
The United Nations staff is there to assist, but its only job appears to be the production of minutes, and what happens about the minutes? Do we get them regularly and can the rest of the world discover from them exactly what progress is being made? It cannot. They are not published until after a month or so following the proceedings. I should have thought that either it was best to have these discussions in private, in which case there surely could be an understanding between the delegations to keep them private, or let them be public, or, at least, let the minutes be published 639 every week so that we may know exactly what is going on.
There is another important matter which cannot be ignored in the composition of this Disarmament Commission. I very much doubt whether the two sides facing each other—although I admit that there was something to be said for enlarging it from the basis of four as it used to be, to ten, five on each side— I very much doubt whether this direct confrontation, without any neutral personality present, will lead anywhere. I ask the Government to consider very seriously whether it would not be wise to propose the appointment of a neutral chairman to take charge of these proceedings and to act in that capacity permanently.
The other thing I want to suggest is this. We are concerned here with the disarmament of the world. Even supposing that we were to make progress and get to the stage of agreement, or if an agreement were to be signed, should we really have achieved all that we want? Of course not. We should be covered in respect of the ten Powers concerned, but we should have left out the two most populous countries in the world—China and India. I think that the idea of saying to the Chinese, "We will negotiate first, and afterwards, at some unspecified time, we will bring you into the proceedings," is not enough. What reason could we have for supposing that the Chinese would simply sign on the dotted line after that? If, as President Eisenhower has admitted, they must be brought in at some time, why not bring them in straight away? To preserve some balance, I strongly urge that not only China but India be brought in, and I should like to press the Government specifically to put forward this proposal at the Summit talks.
On the substance of the disarmament negotiations, or arguments, as it would be better to describe them, I do not propose to say very much. It is a complicated subject. But I think that it will be agreed that the great issue which really divides the two sides here is the issue of controls in relation to disarmament. We can all agree that we should not and cannot have disarmament without controls, and that we cannot and will not have controls without disarmament. I believe that this original phrase 640 of M. Moch was very generally accepted by all, but the way in which it is interpreted is fundamental.
Here I think that the Western Plan suffers from a fairly serious disadvantage —that it is not adequately balanced in time in these matters, because the whole of the first part of it is concerned with the establishment of controls, rather than with the securing of disarmament. The Foreign Secretary himself, in our last debate in February, said that we were going to put in manpower ceilings. Up to then, these limitations on manpower were excluded, but the ceilings that were subsequently put in were very high ones —2½ million as the figure for Russia, 2½ million as the manpower for the United States. I understand that this is in excess of what they have at the moment, or, at any rate, not very much above it and likely to be reached before long.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. David Ormsby Gore)
Mr. Khrushchev announced in his speech in January of this year that the present level of the Soviet Union forces was 3.6 million.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
Exactly, over two years, but we are dealing with disarmament negotiations. If the Minister thinks that they will be completed in two years, I should only be too delighted, but very surprised.
In 1955, we brought forward a ceiling of 1.5 million. Why cannot we go back to that? It is not only sensible, but it would at least give the Russians the clear and correct impression that we were trying to get disarmament at the same time as we had control. Indeed, in considering the absolute failure to make progress in the present conference, I cannot help wondering whether it would not be better to go back to the 1955 plan. The tragedy is that on that plan the two sides were nearer agreement than they have ever been before or since; the tragedy was that we in the West withdrew the proposal as soon as the Russians accepted it. I know 641 very well the reasons for that. There was this problem of detecting stocks of nuclear weapons. Of course, it is a very real problem, but I suggest that it should be brought into a reconsideration of the 1955 proposals.
That leads me to one other point of equal substance. It is becoming increasingly realised that the way in which we deal with this hideously difficult problem of nuclear stocks is quite fundamental. Let it be agreed that we cannot detect them. Then, there is only one way in which we can deal with the problem and that is to bring under control and limitation all possible means of delivery. Another criticism that we have of the Western plan is that it does not seem to place nearly enough emphasis upon that point.
I trust that the Summit statesmen, in relation to disarmament, will, as I have already suggested, invite China and India to join, will, at any rate, explore the possibility of a neutral chairman, and, above all, will issue a joint directive to both sides to put an end to the propaganda, bring the ritual to an end and finally and genuinely get down to brass tacks.
Meanwhile, there remains the danger, which must surely be all the more evident to our minds, in view of the absolute absence of progress on general disarmament, of the spread of nuclear weapons. I will not today go over again all the arguments for our proposals last year. I merely reaffirm that this is a tremendous danger to the West and that a special responsibility rests upon Britain, and now, I think, upon France. I should like to propose that the Foreign Secretary, although he has always opposed our suggestion, might now get together with the French and try to work out with them some plan to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, pending the conclusion of the general disarmament negotiations.
I do not think this is altogether hopeless. The British Government are in a new position since the decision to abandon Blue Streak, and the French Government have shown signs recently of doubts whether they really intend to proceed along the path which they originally contemplated. It seems to me that this might be the psychological moment when Britain and France could together 642 put forward proposals for the benefit of the world.
I have spent much time in this speech on the subject of disarmament, but that does not mean that I underestimate the other issues. I will not say anything about the Middle East, but will leave that to my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), who will wind up the debate from this side of the Committee, and who has recently been there. Nor will I say anything, important and vital as it is, on the subject of aid to underdeveloped countries, except that if we could get these same Powers agreeing on general plans in this field it would be of immense importance and give confidence to the world.
But I should like to say a few words on Berlin and Germany. On Berlin, we must recognise that there is not much prospect of a long-term agreement. There will be no agreement on Berlin unless there is agreement on Germany—no long-term one; and I do not see myself that there is much chance of an agreement on German reunification so long as neither side is prepared to put forward realistic and practical proposals.
It may be that the Russians do not want it at all, but, certainly, they will not have it on the basis that a reunited Germany is free to remain in the Western camp. We have said that again and again, and it is perfectly obvious, and it is really nothing more than hypocrisy to go on talking about any proposal for reunification unless that problem is dealt with first.
Meanwhile, however, we cannot accept that West Berlin should be swallowed up, or that unilateral action by the Soviet Union can be regarded as affecting our rights of access and of our presence in West Berlin. I think that the best that we can hope for is an interim agreement such as was nearly reached in Geneva last summer. The Committee will be familiar with the details and I need not go over them again. I mention only two points. First, I hope that in such agreement, or any negotiations for such agreement, which should not be too difficult in view of the long discussions which have already taken place, the British Government will support the proposals for improving the access to West Berlin.
643 I think that the West Berlin people are entitled to be rather surer than they are at the moment that, for instance, their export trade, on which they depend, is not held up by what is nothing more than sheer bureaucracy on the part of the Russians or East Berlin officials, whichever they may be.
The other point is this. The great difficulty at the end in Geneva was that we could not agree on what the juridical position would be of each country after the interim period was over. The Foreign Secretary proposed some words used by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), but the Russians refused to accept them.
I think that the Committee knows that we discussed this matter at length in Moscow last summer, first, with Mr. Gromyko and, later, with Mr. Khrushchev. Mr. Khrushchev indicated to us there that the proposal was, after all, reasonable. I cannot disclose private conversations although these facts have been made known, and they would not, of course, bind Mr. Khrushchev, but they lead me to hope that we could now get an agreement on this basis.
What else can we do? On this side of the Committee, we want to see a start made with the establishment of a zone of controlled disarmament in Central Europe. I dealt with this proposal in detail in our last debate, and I will not repeat it all again. The story is a depressing one, of timidity and evasion. We all remember the Moscow communiqué, and the hopes raised by that —the phrase that the possibility of this kind of thing would be the subject of joint study. We all remember that it was then put on one side; sat upon, if hon. Members like, by Dr. Adenauer. We know that the German Government have opposed this steadily ever since.
We know that the British Government have tried to wriggle out of the Moscow communiqué by saying that this was fulfilled in the package proposals put forward at Geneva. But how can anybody seriously suppose that the Prime Minister and Mr. Khrushchev really meant, when they talked about "further study" of the proposals, a totally different plan dependent on political conditions put forward by the West at Geneva? It simply does not make any sense at all.
644 I hope that the Foreign Secretary will not give the sort of answer he gave last time he spoke, that all this was connected with the neutralisation of Germany, and so on. I can argue that with him at any time on other occasions. The fact is that we can have a zone of controlled disarmament in Central Europe and need not have any further disengagement if we do not want it. It can stand on its own.
It is important for these reasons, first, because it is easy to ensure that the balance of power is preserved, and this, of course, is the difficulty in all these negotiations. Secondly, both sides are fully committed at least to something of the kind. The Rapacki plan, the Moscow communiqué and the Eden plan before are all involved. Thirdly, because it is surely much easier to get acceptance of control in Eastern and Central Europe than it is in the Soviet Union, or, for that matter, in the U.S.A. Fourthly, because the establishment of international control posts and disarmament in this area will remove the danger of surprise attack from this part of the world, and certainly reduce the possibility of friction. Finally, because if it were achieved it would be a valuable pilot scheme for general disarmament.
I have tried in this speech to show the kind of things that we hope will be achieved at the Summit—a nuclear tests agreement, a new directive to the Disarmament Commission, an interim agreement on Berlin, the beginnings at least of a zone of controlled disarmament in Central Europe. Even so, when one adds something on the Middle East and economic aid, I know that there will be many who will say that this is far too much to expect. They will say, "Do not be impatient. You cannot get there quickly. International negotiations depend on confidence. Confidence is a plant of slow growth. It cannot be forced." All these things have been said and, no doubt, said by wise, experienced men whose sincerity one does not question; and in quiet times this may be enough when one can assume that the status quo is not likely to be disturbed, or when natural changes are not likely to be unfavourable.
I cannot say today that we could make that assumption, that we could let 645 the Summit Conference and perhaps further conferences and the disarmament negotiations move along in a leisurely way with all the full ritual and paraphernalia, while nothing else is happening outside, except, perhaps, that the skies were clearing. There is nothing more difficult than to peer through the mists of the future. I would not deny that in the past some things which have happened have been unexpectedly favourable. I think of the changes in Russian policy and outlook since 1953, for example.
Nevertheless, looking ahead as clearly as possible, I can see many things which are likely to disturb rather than maintain the status quo. First, we cannot honestly say that the balance of terror, as it is called, is a stable equilibrium. It is a very unstable equilibrium. Could there be a better example of that than the U2 episode?
Secondly, nobody really can deny the danger that, if nothing is done to stop it and there are these long delays, nuclear weapons will spread to more and more countries—and not only in Europe. China is expecting to produce a nuclear weapon, I understand, by 1962. Will India be indifferent in those circumstances? Or Japan?
Thirdly, there is the position of China herself. Here is this immense country, already with over 600 million people, whose population is expected to rise to 1,000 million. Can we regard it as a sated Power? Is it not time that we were thinking really of persuading our American allies to change their attitude to China? It may have been justifiable. One could understand that at the time of the Korean War, and afterwards, because of the losses and casualties the Americans sustained, they would not recognise Red China. But if one is working for peace and disarmament it is no use leaving out the most populous country in the world, which will, in a decade, be one of the most powerful countries in the world.
In the face of these grave dangers the world can no longer take the leisurely displomatic progress of the nineteenth century. There must be a speed-up. We do not ask that the Government should give way on vital points, or fall into any trap which may be laid. We understand the need for defence, and we under- 646 stand the need for alliances in present conditions, but, because we are realists, we also see the danger of delay to the world. We ask, then, for a greater sense of urgency in every participant of this Summit Conference, and greater unity between the participants in the struggle for peace. Let the Government say to their colleagues at the Summit: Hurry, hurry. That is what the peoples of the world demand.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
I welcome this debate. I think it is extremely important that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I should be made aware of the opinions of the Opposition and of all quarters of the Committee before going to this Summit meeting. As for the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, as I think he will know, there were certain specific points in it with which I am in disagreement with him, but I do not quarrel at all with his general approach to this question of the Summit meeting.
The right hon. Gentleman referred in the early part of his speech to the recent incident and disturbances in the international atmosphere. I will not go into the merits of that matter at all, but it is on the whole perhaps a good thing that it happened before and not immediately after the Summit meeting, because it seems to me to show that the Summit meeting is all the more necessary. It may perhaps have served another purpose—and this is very much in tune with what the Leader of the Opposition said towards the end of his speech. It may have served a useful purpose in shaking people out of their complacency about the Summit.
We have never believed that the cure for all international problems is just to have a Summit meeting. We have never believed that everything will be solved just at one Summit meeting. There has been built up—and I am not talking; particularly of hon. Members in the Committee—in certain areas of opinion the feeling that one has just to arrange a Summit meeting and have it, and then that it is a nice free-wheel down an easy gradient to peace and better times.
§ Mr. Lloyd
That feeling of complacency is ill-founded. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I do not want to be unduly polemical but it really was the Opposition that said again and again, "All you have to do is to have a Summit meeting." [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Again and again we have been asked, "Will you suggest a Summit meeting? Why don't you have a Summit meeting?" Every time, to every problem, the answer was, "Have a Summit meeting." And we have always taken the view that it was a good thing to have, provided that there was adequate preparation for it. We stick to the opinion that the creation of better relations between the nations is uphill work and we have to work steadily and patiently for it, not expecting too much from the first meeting.
The hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus), writing in the Daily Worker the other day, said that our purpose was to have a stalemate at the Summit. He is quite wrong. We want results. We mean to do our best to get them, and I repeat that I think that recent events have shown this meeting to be all the more necessary.
§ Mr. K. Zilliacus (Manchester, Gorton)
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman at least repudiate the doctrine that we are entitled to violate international law and treaty obligations? Unless he does that, there will not be a stalemate but dead failure at the Conference.
§ Mr. Lloyd
The hon. Member's argument in the newspaper article was that our purpose was to get a stalemate, and I repudiate that.
I will tell the Committee what are the three purposes which Her Majesty's Government have in mind. First of all, we want to sustain and develop the move towards a relaxation of tension that had been apparent for the last fourteen months or so, since the visit to Moscow in February last year. Secondly, we want to push on with the seeking of specific agreements in the field of general disarmament and also during the Summit we seek progress over agreement with regard to the suspension of nuclear tests. Our third purpose is to see further evidence of support for the principle that disputes between the Powers should not be settled by war or the threat of war, but by discussion and negotiation.
648 It may be said that these are three rather vague, almost platitudinous expressions of our objectives, but I want to show by dealing with each specifically, exactly what we shall try to achieve. First, as to the relaxation of tension, I hope that we shall get much more clearly defined what each side means by relaxation of tension, by détente and by co-existence. There was a time when it could be truthfully said that Communism and a free society had nothing in common. Now, owing to the destructive capacity of modern weapons, both nuclear and conventional, and the revolutionary developments in the means of delivery of explosives, applied to nuclear as well as conventional weapons, both systems have in common the need for physical survival and the prevention of mutual destruction. This means not only renunciation of war but also putting the relations between the two systems on the basis that each is not constantly working far the destruction of the other. Live and let live is an admirable principle, but how do we get it? How do we work it out in practice?
There is a strange paradoxical situation at the moment. Mr. Khrushchev loses no opportunity for expressing his dislike of capitalism. He loathes the capitalist ruling circles, monopolists and the imperialists, and he constantly predicts the collapse of the capitalist system, though I am not certain that he knows how it is evolving. On the other hand, when he visits capitalist countries he finds the people friendly and he is full of admiration for what he sees. I have been reading speeches he has made in Moscow about his visit to France and about the great things that are taking place in capitalist France. We, for our part, say that we have no use at all for Communism as a faith. We dislike its atheism, its materialism, its ruthless pursuit of world domination, and its exploitation of its subjects, but that is a system which is also evolving. When we go to the Soviet Union we find pleasant friendly crowds and physical achievements which we can admire.
Therefore, does this difficulty about peaceful co-existence lie with the Governments, with the so-called ruling circles on both sides? Is that the problem? If this détente is to be real, therefore, the first problem we must 649 tackle is to try to understand that genuine peaceful co-existence involves certain obligations on the part of Governments on both sides.
The first thing involved is non-interference. I know that the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) referred in a Question—and I do not know whether the Question was reached—to the indivisibility of the détente, which was the phrase used in a recent N.A.T.O. communiqué. Of course, that does not mean that one cannot have a détente anywhere until one has one everywhere, just as "the indivisibility of peace" does not mean that one cannot make peace anywhere until one makes it everywhere. The point which the users of this phrase had in mind is that one cannot genuinely improve relations with certain members of an alliance and at the same time unleash against other members of the same alliance a really virulent radio propaganda campaign which is both offensive and untruthful.
The first thing that the leaders of great Powers must accept as a principle to guide their conduct is non-interference in the internal political affairs of other countries. We must try to have accepted the principle that it is the countries themselves that must decide in their own way how their lives are to be led and that it is not for outside countries to attempt to do this for them.
The second principle concerns genuine exchanges of information and personal contact, in the belief that, as people get to know one another, the harshness of the differences between their political leaders may be mitigated. Finally, Governments must so conduct their trading policies, aid to underdeveloped countries, and supplies of armaments that their purposes are not, and are not seen to be, an attempt to destroy the other's system of society. I hope, therefore, that at the Summit meeting the first thing we will do is to have a very frank talk about what a dàtente means and try to get established between us whether we both mean the same thing by it, and that we shall then live up to this code of conduct among the Powers.
As to disarmament and the nuclear tests conference, we can take pride in this country that the conference originated from a British proposal to get 650 the experts to meet, a proposal which was accepted nine months after it was made. During these negotiations— which have, I admit, been protracted— there have been no tests by the three negotiating States. Twelve months ago, as I have stated before to the Committee, we reached the practical position when it was readily accepted that we could control the suspension of tests in the atmosphere, under water, and underground down to a certain threshold. But there was a threshold below which underground tests could not be detected in the light of existing knowledge.
It took a very long time to get the Soviet Government to accept that position. We have felt ever since that position became apparent that the only way round it was to get an agreement or treaty covering the area where there could be control, and to have a moratorium in the area where suspension could not be properly controlled. That method has at last been agreed to. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition that there are still certain problems outstanding.
The first set of these problems relates to underground tests and the second to the length of the moratorium. I do not quarrel with what he said about that. Perhaps a criterion as to the length of the moratorium might be the length of time that the research programme will take to carry out. We envisage that as that develops we may be able to lower the threshold stage by stage, and eventually we hope to get rid of it altogether.
I now come to the quota of inspections. This again was an idea which we put to Mr. Khrushchev in Moscow. The reason we put forward this idea of a quota of inspections was that it was felt, particularly on the Russian side, that if every single seismic disturbance was to be inspected, there would be continuous inspection going on in almost the whole of the Soviet Union. It was to meet that that we put forward this idea of a quota.
I agree that the quota must be sufficient to deter, whether we calculate it in relation to the number of seismic disturbances or take them into account in fixing it for political reasons. I agree that the purpose is to get a reasonable figure within the bounds of practical possibility, but sufficient to deter a potential wrongdoer. On both matters 651 —they do not seem to be particularly complicated—we might have a fair hope of getting an answer during the Summit meeting.
The second matter with regard to tests, is the problem of the composition of the control commission, of the teams manning the control stations, and of the inspection teams. On that matter there has been a great deal of discussion, and considerable progress has been made. There has been considerable movement by both sides. The Russians' opening bid about control posts on Soviet territory was that there should be only one or two foreigners in each team. Now they have agreed that two-thirds, twenty out of thirty, should be foreigners. From there we are, I think, in sight of agreement on these outstanding matters.
The right hon. Gentleman quite fairly asked why President Eisenhower's announcement about the United States' programme for tests was made. I think it was made because the United States Government had been under pressure to show that they were concerned about the efficient detection of tests. The President began the statement—and the misfortune was, perhaps, that the whole of the statement was not at once known here—by announcing a major expansion of present research and development directed towards improving the capability to detect and identify underground explosions. He announced that the sum of 66 million dollars was to be allocated for this. The whole context of this statement was an attempt to get on with the job, to improve the capacity to detect nuclear tests.
The moratorium covers, as I understand it, all civil tests except those provided for in what we hope will be an agreed article in the Agreement, because it is agreed in principle by the Soviet Union and us that there should be provisions in the treaty for civil tests, so the moratorium will cover any tests outside that.
With regard to military tests, I understand that there will be none during the moratorium, and the only tests, therefore, apart from the civil ones provided for, will be as part of a co-ordinated programme. I do not think that it is necessarily a joint programme, but a co-ordinated one. The President said only yesterday, in speaking of co- 652 ordination, that his view was that the Russians would and should see everything necessary. I hope that that puts the statement into its proper perspective. We warmly welcome it as a constructive attempt to develop the capacity for detecting tests.
§ Mr. Frank Bowles (Nuneaton)
Could the right hon. and learned Gentleman explain what an underground test is? We have seen pictures of tests in the air, and they are tremendous explosions. Does the same kind of explosion take place underground? What happens to that part of the earth where one takes place?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I have not actual knowledge of all this, but in all mining operations there are certain explosions underground. In this case case we can have either little or big ones. The whole problem is that a big one can be detected by instruments, but smaller ones below a certain level, cannot, with present instruments, be detected. The whole problem of the degree of control is to perfect the system of instrumentation, so that these little explosions can be detected and would not be assumed to be minor earthquakes or something of that sort.
§ Mr. Lloyd
They are of value because they enable the maker of the test to perfect certain processes in the use of the components in a nuclear weapon. They are of military value and the United States has engaged in certain such tests. It was data from these tests which went before the experts at Geneva.
§ Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)
Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman leaves that point, perhaps he could clear up one or two uncertainties in my mind. Is it quite clear now that any tests carried out, either as part of the research programme or as civil tests, will have to be agreed between the three parties to the agreement?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I have already said that we hope that civil tests will be covered by an agreed article in the treaty. The terms of that article have not yet been worked out, but there is agreement in principle. The scientists are meeting in 653 Geneva to work out exactly how the research programme can be formulated and co-ordinated.
I now go on to more general disarmament problems. The right hon. Gentleman put forward some of the old arguments about disarmament. He put forward the old 1955 heresy. The Soviet proposal would have meant the dismantling of N.A.T.O. without there being any kind of control. To say that that is the same thing as our proposal is just not the case.
I think that the right hon. Gentleman was a little unfair to my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, and when the accounts are published he will see that he was unfair. I agree that there is a dilemma about whether to have a meeting completely private or completely public. We would have preferred the meeting to have been completely private, but we found that to be impossible. We have been pressing for the records to be published as soon as possible, and the fact that it has been agreed that they should be published at the end of each month is due to British initiative. I hope that when the right hon. Gentleman reads those records he will see that on the whole he has not been quite fair to the Minister of State.
I would willingly accept a shorter period, but we have managed to get agreement, and April's should be published, I think, on 13th May, which is little more than a fortnight since the last meeting.
I think that on both sides there is a genuine desire for disarmament. The United States are spending 45 billion dollars a year on defence, and while that is happening I have no doubt that the Soviet Union will feel that they must wholly, or to a large extent, match that expenditure. That means obviously a tremendous drain on national resources which might be used for other purposes. I believe that both sides are genuine in wanting a reduction in that expenditure to a very much lower level.
Both sides have put forward disarmament plans. I think that the argument is which is the more practical approach. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition criticised the Western plan but I did not hear him devote any time to criticising Mr. Khrushchev's plan. The point I would put for his consideration regarding the Khrushchev plan is 654 that it contains no clear picture of how the measures which are prescribed in it are to be controlled. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that control is the essence of the matter. For example the Soviet plan saysThe scope of control and inspection shall correspond to the extent of the phased disarmament of States.It goes on:Upon the attainment of general and complete disarmament which must include the liquidation of all services of the armed forces, the destruction of all types of weapons … the international control body shall have free access to all objects under control.Unless there is access beforehand, how is one to know whether these things have been eliminated? That seems to me to show clearly that this is an unsatisfactory formulation. We must get the process of control going pari passu with a reduction and limitation of armaments. To say that there will not be control in the full sense until after these things are alleged to have been done, is a basis on which no great country will accept disarmament.
There is nothing in the plan about how the peace should be kept except that we should rely on the processes of the United Nations. We know that there is the veto, and regarding the General Assembly there is their voting procedure. In any event, it has no power except to make recommendations. We feel that, within the framework of the United Nations, there must be some peace-keeping authority which will be more effective than the Security Council has been up to now. Otherwise we shall not get complete disarmament. I feel strongly that as part of the peace-keeping apparatus there must be some kind of international force under international control. Otherwise we shall not get people to accept that they will be more secure in a disarmed world than in an armed world.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
I hope that the Foreign Secretary will not think that I was proposing that he should accept the Soviet plan. I did not make much reference to that plan, nor did I refer to the details of our plan. What distresses me is that we seem to be getting nowhere in the discussions which are taking place at the moment.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I am grateful for that intervention and I am glad that the right 655 hon. Gentleman does not approve Mr. Khrushchev's plan. [HON. MEMBERS: "That is obvious."] It was not so obvious at the time of the General Election.
Regarding the time limit of four years in Mr. Khrushchev's plan, we think that particularly unrealistic. If we look at the plan closely it will be realised that it will not begin to come into operation until every single country has reached agreement about what the level of disarmament of its forces is to be. Nevertheless, having voiced those words of criticism, we welcome the general proposition, and certain features in the plan which have been designed to meet previous Western objections.
We think our plan the more practical because it is based on our experience both at the Nuclear Tests Conference and elsewhere. On one point I want there to be no uncertainty. Please let us have no more propaganda about our not wanting general and complete disarmament. I accept the Soviet statement that they want it at its face value. We have made equally clear and definite statements, and I think there is no more reason for Mr. Khrushchev to disbelieve our statements than for us to disbelieve his.
I accept it as a beginning that both sides want general and comprehensive disarmament, but it seems to me that there must be stages in that process. In any plan there must be a balance between nuclear disarmament and conventional disarmament. Neither side must be prejudiced unfairly as the process continues. The reality of the disarmament will be governed by the progress in the establishment of effective controls as the right hon. Gentleman put it, and I agree. We can accept Mr. Khrushchev's thesis that there should not be control without disarmament. The Russians must accept the thesis that disarmament will not be effective or promote stability unless there is control.
We then come to the point—I make no quarrel about it having been raised—of how do we get on, particularly at the Summit? I think we must have regard to the precedent of the Nuclear Tests Conference, because there we have gone on for eighteen months gradually working to reach agreement, slogging it out on the question of what is controllable and 656 how it should be controlled. It seems to me that in the wider sphere of general disarmament there is a similar position. Take, for example, outer space. I hope that one thing on which we shall make some progress at the Summit is to get agreement here and now that outer space should not be used for military purposes. This is a new area of human activity and now is the time to try to achieve that. I should like to see technical discussions on the same lines as we had at the Nuclear Tests Conference about what this means, how we are to do it, what agreements are necessary and what are the technical considerations involved.
In the field of nuclear disarmament we say that we want to stop more fissile material being made for weapons purposes and to convert to peaceful purposes some of the material already made. How are we to do that? What are the technical considerations involved? What does it mean in terms of a control system? There has been no work done between the Russians and ourselves or the Russians and the United States on the matter.
Is the question of the control of means of delivery of nuclear weapons, whether by aircraft, submarine, warship or rocket, suitable for the first stage? I am not so certain. What I am certain of is that it is a matter which needs speedy technical examination. How is it to be done? What does it involve? What kind of control system should there be?
Regarding surprise attack—I am afraid this is the nearest I come to the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition on the question of limited zones—we have always believed, in the context of a surprise attack, that we must get agreement on particular arrangements regarding particular areas and that agreement with regard to any surprise attack measures might lead to some form of inspection in certain areas. Again, this is a matter on which there must be technical discussion and agreement. We hope that the heads of Governments will give specific directions that this matter should be one for immediate study. We shall not reach agreement unless this work is done and therefore in the first stage of a disarmament agreement these matters must be covered.
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman chat we must give some tangible 657 proof that we are in earnest about disarmament and go into the question of existing ceilings and levels of forces and, one would hope, and what I think more important, the level of armaments. This is a matter which again I hope will be the subject of discussion. If the Summit Meeting will discuss these realities of a disarmament agreement and make some positive suggestion to the Ten-Power Group to bring down its further talks to more specific matters, it will have done useful work. Experience of the Nuclear Tests Conference shows that if both sides approach this kind of technical discussion with a determination to get agreement there is hope that agreement will be attained. That is the least I should hope for.
The third purpose is that we want evidence of international belief that certain problems can be settled by negotiation and discussion and not by war or the threat of war. We come at once in that context to the problem of Germany and Berlin. In his speeches Mr. Khrushchev tends to refer to the problem of Berlin. He says it is an anomaly left over from the last war. But the position of a divided Germany is an anomaly left over from the last war. If he will not permit the reunification of Germany except on his terms he should not insist on his solution of the anomaly of Berlin. He is trying to have it both ways. However, I think we shall discuss both these matters seriously.
We spent a long time last summer trying to negotiate about the wider problem of German reunification. We made very little progress. We came to the conclusion then that the best thing to do was to try to see whether we could put the problem of Berlin on the shelf for a time and have a kind of standstill agreement. We were prepared to do that on the understanding that such an agreement would be made on reasonable terms—and I entirely endorse what the right hon. Gentleman said about improving means of access to West Berlin because it is by no means satisfactory at the present time—and also that such an agreement would be without prejudice to anyone's rights at the end of the term of the agreement. The Government have always believed that if one talked to Mr. Khrushchev direct about that last matter it might be 658 possible to get agreement on it, bearing in mind what the right hon. Gentleman told me about his own discussions with Mr. Khrushchev.
Whether things will develop that way over Germany and Berlin I do not know. We have been over this ground many times and I would say only this, that I think the way in which Germany and Berlin will be discussed will be a test of the genuineness of the desire for the relaxation of tension. The present situation has been going on for a long time without excessive difficulties or tensions, but we are quite willing to discuss these matters again with Mr. Khrushchev, and I assure the Committee that we are prepared to do all in our power to ensure the genuine freedom of the 2¼ million people in West Berlin.
The right hon. Gentleman did not go into many other details. He specifically said that he was not going to, therefore I do not propose to volunteer what may take place during the discussions which I expect will, for a large part, be private.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
Will the Foreign Secretary say something about inviting China and India to the disarmament conference?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. In Geneva last summer I spent quite a long time trying to get agreement with Mr. Gromyko about a body to discuss disarmament. I tell the Committee frankly that this five-five body was all that we could get agreement about. We would have preferred something approximating to what the right hon. Gentleman suggested. It was the only body for which we could get agreement, and I do not think we will advance by trying to alter the position now. I am certain that we will not make real progress on a disarmament agreement without the participation of China. Therefore, we say that at the beginning of the second stage of our plan there must be a world conference. The first stage is to produce concrete evidence that we mean business, and these studies are essential. When we come to the real business, we say that that must start with a world conference in which other countries come in. Otherwise it will be a waste of time for a particular selection of countries to think that they can prescribe for the rest of the world.
659 We have tried very hard to arrange this meeting at the Summit. It has taken a long time to arrange, but now the meeting is to take place. We have never pretended that a single dramatic solution will be found at a single meeting. What is certain is that unless this meeting and others after it take place, we shall not make real progress. I think we must have the meeting. We must have other meetings, and thus gradually reach a better understanding of the reasons for the divisions between us. I assure the Committee that we realise the very heavy responsibility that rests upon us. The responsibility is a heavy one, but I believe that we have behind us the support of the whole country in what we are trying to do.
§ 5.4 p.m.
§ Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)
In following the Foreign Secretary in this important debate, may I start with one or two points that he contributed? First, his brief reference to the recent dangerous incident of the U2. Generally, I agree with the way in which this problem was put by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, but I hope that the Prime Minister when he winds up will say a little more than the Foreign Secretary did.
We are all agreed that, tragically enough, there is a certain amount of spying going on between nations who are suspicious of each other. It is also generally agreed, and it is only common sense, that this can only be done away with after many years of agreement and when people feel that they can live freely without being afraid of each other. But I hope that there is one aspect on which the Prime Minister will be able to reassure the country.
Happily in this case the pilot is still alive, but what will happen if on future occasions other American planes fly deep into Soviet territory, are shot down and the pilot dies? Does the Foreign Secretary believe that American public opinion will remain quiet and accept such loses without demanding further action? What will be the position of the takeoff countries, other than the United States herself? This has nothing to do with intelligence activities and is not, let me emphasise, a continuation of the debate that was started at Question Time.
660 It is an important political point. If the continued policy of the United States Government is to be as stated by Mr. Herter, the Secretary of State, the other day, it will put her allies in Europe and in other parts of the world in an impossible position. From the correspondence that I have received, and from the correspondence received by other hon. Members, it is obvious that there is a grave disturbance in the minds of many people, and the Prime Minister owes it to us to say more about the problem when he winds up tonight.
I turn now to what the Foreign Secretary said about further tests as announced by the President the other day. It is important to read the statement from beginning to end, but the full statement was available quite soon after the first agency messages came across, and in my submission it does not change the situation very much. On Saturday night I was listening to a television broadcast in which Lord Russell engaged in a long-distance discussion with Dr. Teller, who is one of the chief advisers of the President and of the Atomic Energy Commission. Dr. Teller spoke with a sense of triumph. It was clear that his opposition, and the opposition of other people who have important voices in these matters, against the plan, which I am sure the British Government support, of having joint tests in the future—not separate but co-ordinated tests as the Foreign Secretary said—has been successful. His sense of triumph was due to his obstruction of the success of the plan.
I urge the Foreign Secretary to use his influence to see that these tests are continued only for the limited purpose that he has described. The other side should be invited to take part in joint tests and joint experimentation. The President said that there would be experimentation rather than certain specific tests. If that is so, why not invite the Soviet Union to send scientists over for joint experimentation? After all, anybody who has any friends at Cambridge has known for a long time that the basic facts are commonly known by all the leading scientists. In fact, some of the people who take part in the work were together at various universities in the 'twenties and the 'thirties, and Cambridge was one of the places where they worked together.
661 There can be no security objection. The only objection can be on the part of those people who do not want to join tests and who do not want joint experimentation in future. Many of us believe that is the last obstacle to agreement on the cessation of tests at the conference. I hope that we shall hear some more about this when the Prime Minister winds up. Would it not be possible for Her Majesty's Government to use their influence in that way?
When the Foreign Secretary spoke about the problem of détente, he said that it was rather important that there should be some evidence that détente was desired on all sides. Nobody would disagree with that. The Foreign Secretary then went on to say that one of the tests would be the question of Germany. I therefore want to refer to this problem in some detail.
It is quite clear that while the first item under discussion will be the cessation of nuclear tests, it does not follow that other problems will not be touched upon before final agreement is reached on the cessation of those tests. I welcome what the Foreign Secretary said about the British Government's determination to have a discussion on the Berlin and German problems, and their hope that it will be possible to arrive at an interim agreement on Berlin. That is in contrast with the attitude of the Chancellor of the West German Government, who has indulged in propaganda over the last nine months against any serious discussion of the problem.
I would emphasise the fact that there are two people, running the two Governments of Germany today, who are not interested in agreement between ourselves and the Russians. Herr Ulbricht, the head of the Communist dictatorship in East Germany, is as hostile to any such agreement as the Chancellor of West Germany. But when, recently, Herr Ulbricht applied to the Soviet Government for a supply of nuclear arms he was turned down. One of the few positive outcomes of the Moscow Conference was that the programme that Herr Ulbricht put forward was completely shelved.
This prompts me to raise a few points upon which I hope the Prime Minister will be able to comment later. Important though the cessation of tests and general disarmament are, unless, part passu—as 662 the Foreign Secretary said—we can also reach political agreement, I do not believe for a moment that the danger will be removed. The scientific "know-how" will remain, and if there is a continuation of suspicion for the next ten or fifteen years people will continue to be afraid of surprise attack, and even if war were to start with conventional weapons there would still be the ingenuity of the scientist, the availability of factory space and the ability of engineers for the manufacture of nuclear weapons once again.
Therefore, we must hope that at the conference progress will be made on the difficult German problem. I am profoundly convinced, from many conversations that I have had with members of the Supreme Soviet and Russians in more lowly positions, that Russia's one genuine fear is that Germany will build up an army equipped with atomic arms. They have not forgotten the siege of Leningrad or the fact that they were already in mortal danger of being destroyed by Germany when Germany fought against an alliance. They are afraid that if Germany is built up into a mighty military nation and provided with nuclear arms the time may come when she will again be in military conflict with Russia, and the outcome will be uncertain.
I therefore urge the Foreign Secretary to look again at the Labour Party's policy of disengagement. At no time has he produced more than a tactical argument against it. On the last occasion that he referred to it, during our last foreign affairs debate, he told us that to put forward a policy of disengagement would mean disunity in our camp. If the Foreign Secretary were convinced that this policy was a good and sensible one, and was in the interests of the British people, I am sure that he would put it forward, without advance approval being obtained of the other partners in the alliance. When this country was part of an alliance during the war, the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) was not certain whether everybody else in the alliance agreed with him before he put forward a plan, and it is therefore no answer to say that it would cause dissention among our friends if we did the same thing now. That plan is vitally 663 important. Unless Russia feels free from the danger of nuclear attack, combined with attack by conventional arms, there is no doubt that nuclear weapons will be supplied to both sides.
Here I touch upon a point upon which agreement exists among people in all kinds of Parliaments. In the last debate the Foreign Secretary confronted the House with a quotation from Dr. Kreisky, the Foreign Secretary of Austria, and used it as an example of Socialist opinion on the Continent. What he did not quote, but what is much more relevant, was the opinion of the Social Democratic Party of Western Germany. The Foreign Secretary has referred to the existence of a united German opinion demanding nuclear arms, but recently, in the Parliament at Bonn, there was a Budget debate which lasted for three days, during which one of the official spokesmen of the Labour movement in Western Germany put forward a Motion referring to the Vote of the West German Ministry of Defence and saying that:This sum must be spent to acquire conventional weapons only …He was saying that not a penny of the money voted to the West German Ministry of Defence was to be spent on nuclear arms; the entire sum was to be spent on conventional arms and on civil defence.
Here we have a representative German opinion—and not the worst German opinion—demanding a policy diametrically opposed to that being forced upon West Germany by a combination of the views of Dr. Adenauer and some of the N.A.T.O. Governments. When the argument is raised as to whether this has anything to do with our attitude towards Germany, it is important to remember that many hon. Members on this side of the Committee who put forward this point of view have a pretty good record in the matter of relations with Germany. I remember being stationed in Germany at the end of the war. There were many people who wanted to see a happy future for the German people, and who quickly made contact with them by accepting invitations to give lectures to German trade unions or to undertake lecture tours under the auspices of the office 664 which the right hon. Gentleman now runs. Several of us knew many people in Germany who wanted to ensure that Germany would not become a major militaristic nation again. This is nothing to do with our basic attitude; it is a question of people being disturbed and worried about the way things are going, and wishing the prosperity of the German people to be assured. This is nothing to do with the attempts being made in certain quarters of the Press to revive nationalistic and chauvinistic feelings. This is alien to members of the Labour movement and to decent people everywhere, on whichever side of the House they sit.
A serious and grave problem was touched upon by the decision of the Bonn Parliament. The Socialist Party's Motion was defeated because Dr. Adenauer's Government have a majority. None the less, it can never be said hereafter that the quotation which the Foreign Secretary read to the House in February represents in any shape or form united Socialist opinion on the Continent. The people most concerned want none of it. Further evidence is available in the shape of a report in the Guardian of 11th May. A four-point programme which the Social Democratic Party has put forward expresses their agreement to the renunciation of nuclear arms for Western Germany for all time, if necessary, provided that a beginning can be made to a zone free of nuclear weapons in the heart of Europe.
If when the question of Berlin comes up at the Summit Conference and it seems that there is a chance of an interim agreement being arrived at, the Government will have most people behind them when they argue that free access between the people of West Berlin and their fellow countrymen in the Republic must be improved and guaranteed. The Foreign Secretary will have us all behind him when he says that there can be no question of interfering with the freedom of the people of West Berlin.
Many semi-secret espionage organisations are working in both parts of Berlin, and this makes the situation extremely dangerous. I do not wish the Prime Minister to go into any detail on this point, but I would remind the Foreign Secretary that many of these 665 organisations are playing with fire. They make no useful contribution even to the side which they think they are supporting, and it will be the serious task of the Summit Conference to look into this question and come to an agreement which will curtail the activities of these organisations.
The Government are going to this conference with the good will of all people, but they are also going with the certain knowledge that some people in high places are not too keen on reaching agreement. We have to speak frankly about this. Recently it was stated in the American Press, and also in Congress, that the U2 incident, occurring at this time, may have had something to do with disagreement as between different departments.
The demand toy the Ullbricht Government shortly before the Summit Conference to be supplied with these additional weapons is evidence that there are some people there who do not want agreement. It may well be that Mr. Khrushchev himself faces opposition within his own Government on some of the policies which he is pursuing. The pro-Stalinists and those in favour of the dangerous policy which Stalin pursued may not want agreement either. There is a British interest in seeing that Mr. Khrushchev's policies succeed. They are better policies than some of those pursued by his predecessor. I hope that in the interests of all those who want to safeguard the future of this country we shall co-operate in those policies where co-operation is possible.
It is not always clear whether some groups are not arguing that we must not allow agreement to take place because then the division of Europe and also the influence of the Russians in Eastern Europe would remain for ever. I remember an hon. Member opposite making precisely that point in an earlier debate. He said that it was all very well to talk about agreement but would it not leave too much influence with the Eastern side?
We on this side of the Committee are as much concerned with the reintroduction of democratic liberties everywhere, in Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and other countries. But I am quite certain that the policy of 666 refusing to enter into serious negotiations, the policy of those who want to obstruct agreement, will not bring back those democratic liberties to any of those countries.
If people agree to a plan of disengagement and if they find after two or three years that they are still alive and kicking, making progress and living peacefully together, then, and only then, will the sense of security of the Eastern Powers be safeguarded and only in that way can we hope to see a restoration of democratic liberties, ideologies, and then institutions. It may then, perhaps, be possible to persuade some of our allies at the other end of the Continent to allow a little more democracy into their countries.
If the Prime Minister replies to this debate, it is his bounden duty to refer in some more detail to the new doctrine or policy expounded by the Secretary of State. We hope that he will give us some affirmation that he is prepared to look again at our policy of disengagement as a first step towards peace in Europe.
§ 5.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Smithers (Winchester)
The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) made some reference in his closing remarks to the fact that there are people in both camps who have an interest in preventing agreement. I quite agree. I hope in the course of what I have to say to throw a little light on that subject.
I want to begin by referring to the opening speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in which he spoke at some length of the repeated disappointment and failure which had arisen from the disarmament negotiations. I dare say that a good many hon. Members will have read a letter from Sir William Hayter in The Times yesterday. Sir William concluded that letter by remarking that the Russians negotiate not for agreement but for victory. That, if I may say so, is a most profound and penetrating remark.
Sir William, with his experience as Ambassador in Moscow, could doubtless have gone on to illustrate that fact by explaining how it is based in Marxist-Leninist theory. To us, agreement is 667 naturally attractive and almost invariably advantageous. We think of agreement as a means of restoring harmony and tranquillity to the world, which is certainly beneficial to our country. But in the light of Marxist-Leninist theory the agreement in itself means nothing at all.
As Sir William rightly pointed out, the Russians are only interested in victory. Therefore, I do not think that we do ourselves a great deal of good by examining at great length the many disappointments with which we have met in our endeavours to get agreement. The fact is that we are both approaching the problem from different viewpoints, and our adversaries are not interested in agreement as such.
I think that Soviet policy is based upon the work of innumerable groups of seminars studying various subjects in the minutest detail and examining the consequences of every conceivable course of action. This undoubtedly explains a certain curious duality about Soviet policy which seems able in an uncanny way to take advantage of almost every turn of events.
For some years Soviet policy has reaped the fruits of a course of studied military tension. Those fruits have not been all to their liking. Nevertheless, they have been considerable. However, it is beyond doubt that the consequences of what is called a policy of détente, of relaxation of tension, has also been minutely studied in the Soviet Union. It cannot be doubted that the Soviet Government contemplate the certainty that one day, in some circumstances, the policy of military tension will be abandoned and that in all probability a policy of relaxation will take its place.
I want for a moment this evening to contemplate what the Russians' leaders may consider to be some of the fruits which they would obtain from a policy of relaxation. I suggest that the changes that would take place in the structure of world politics, should we succeed at the Summit and should we obtain the military relaxation which we all desire, would indeed be spectacular. Not all of them would be to our liking unless we adequately prepared for the situation which might arise.
First, if a relaxation of tension should occur at a moment when Europe was 668 still divided into two rival economic blocs and when one of them contained a large number of unstable elements, it is perfectly apparent that a continent which has been held together for so long very largely by a fear of Soviet military power would tend to fragment very quickly indeed. That, I think, would not necessarily be disagreeable to the Soviet Union.
Secondly, an urgent re-examination of the position of the Atlantic Alliance would be necessary. It would be difficult to say—and no one in this Chamber can say in advance—whether, in an atmosphere of relaxed tension and in the absence of a direct military threat, the Atlantic Alliance would have sufficient content to hold it together or, indeed, any purpose in existing at all. That, undoubtedly, is a second thought in the minds of the Soviet leaders who must be making calculations on that point.
Thirdly, it is apparent, I think, that unless before a relaxation of tension takes place the Powers of Europe are able to organise themselves sufficiently to embark together on the exploration of outer space and all the vast projects that go therewith, that work will be left to the Soviet Union and to the United States, and there will, in all probability, be no such European participation.
A fourth consequence of a relaxation of immediate military pressure would in all probability be the immediate admission of China to the United Nations. I cite these facts, not as either desirable or undesirable events, but merely to illustrate the dramatic kind of changes which are likely to occur should we succeed in our undertakings at the Summit.
§ Mr. Smithers
I should think there would be many. Whether or not I am correct in these assumptions, the fact is that there would be dramatic changes.
I want now to say a word or two about the nature of the threat with which we are faced. We in this Committee are constantly reproaching our generals for preparing for the last war and not for the next. I personally very much doubt whether the fearful and costly atomic weapons which we are now manufacturing are ever, in practice, likely to be used. Nobody can say that they will 669 not be or that they are not necessary; but that is undoubtedly a calculation that is also made by the Soviet Union, who must be considering whether they are likely ever to be used.
What is, however, absolutely certain is that in the future the economic weapons will be used. Indeed, we see the great economic strength of the United States and the Soviet Union—and, indeed our own as well—being deployed in the struggle for power.
In this matter, I am anxious that in this Committee we as politicians should not be reproached, when people read our debates in the years to come, with having sought earnestly to avoid the last war while failing to notice that the next one has already begun. It must be puzzling for those who go to the Summit to negotiate to make up their minds on the balance of importance between the military and the economic forces which are in play in the world today.
When I speak of diplomacy by power economics, I am not thinking of aid to under-developed territories. I am not thinking of the admirable rivalry in doing good which may arise in that way or of visits like that of Mr. Khrushchev to Indonesia, which may undoubtedly be of great assistance to all of us if it brings some worldly wisdom into the affairs of a part of the world which badly needs it. I am thinking of the use of economic strength as a diplomatic weapon. Mr. Khrushchev and the rulers of Russia are obviously seeking to build up the Soviet economic potential to a point where it exceeds that of the United States.
If hon. Members doubt that these economic weapons are formidable, let them suppose that Russia has succeeded in building up a substantial surplus of what I call economic strength, and let us suppose at the same time that there is mass unemployment in any one of the great Western European democracies. Suppose that in those circumstances the Soviet Union comes forward with an offer and says "We will take all your surplus products. We will pay for them and we will put your men and women in work." What is the impact upon that democracy likely to be?
§ Mr. Smithers
I am not saying that anything would be wrong with it. I am merely pointing out its great importance. The impact would be very great. The Soviet Union would have in her hands a weapon of great strength.
The point of what I am saying is that we, too, have to consider this problem. We have to consider to what extent the Soviet Union is engaged in seeking to build up within her borders the maximum military strength while we, on the other side of the fence, are seeking disarmament; or to what extent she is seeking to cause us to maintain the maximum burden of armaments, and to what extent she would wish instead to switch her own policy to building up the new economic weapons. She will not tell us when her policy takes a radical change of course. Indeed, she will undoubtedly seek to keep it secret.
We can, however, be quite sure of this. Like all of us, the Soviet Union prizes the fruits of disarmament. We can also be sure that she sees in the possibility of a relaxation of military tension tremendous opportunities to gain upon the West if she can spring upon us a relaxation either by surprise or, at least, when we are in a moment of disarray, or, perhaps, both. It would enable her in those circumstances to seize and to keep the initiative and to arrogate to herself almost all of the fruits of such a relaxation.
I do not fall behind any hon. Member in desiring to see general disarmament and a relaxation of tension, but it is not enough for us to envisage one step. It is equally important that we should ourselves be prepared for its consequences and that before the relaxation takes place we and our allies should be agreed upon how we will meet those consequences. For that purpose, we have to shake off a lot of old habits of thought and stale assumptions.
What is the purpose of the Summit? I believe its great purpose to be this. The history of mankind has been one of evolution from small groups to larger ones, from the family to the tribe, to the large kingdom and, finally, to the super-State. All of us now have our eyes fixed upon the United Nations organisation and upon the day when we shall ultimately arrive at what Mr. Wendell Wilkie called "one world". The question we are asking ourselves is whether 671 we can take this last step from our existing organisation to that "one world" in peace or whether, as so often happens, it must be by the process of conflict, whether military or economic.
I believe, and I think that most hon. Members would agree with me, that the United Nations in itself is not alone able to take this step. It is some mechanism such as that of Summit Conferences which may enable it to do so. I hope, therefore, that little by little Summit Conferences of this kind may seek to lay a firm foundation upon which the United Nations can ultimately build that one world.
In that connection, I had it in my notes to say, but the Leader of the Opposition has taken the words from my mouth, that it is indispensable that China and India be brought to the table before we can take that last step. It is inconceivable that we can reach the goal we seek unless those great masses of humanity, with all their resources of matter and spirit, are brought there.
Therefore, beyond the Summit I see the great issues arising, and the particular tasks which we in Britain shall have to perform when the Summit Conferences ultimately bring success, if we are to like their consequences.
First, we have to make up our minds that there shall be a recognisable European component in the world of the future. If that is to be so, we must achieve European unity before the relaxation takes place. Otherwise, it may well be too late.
Secondly, we have to decide whether or not there shall be any other contribution, except that of the Soviet Union and the United States, to the great exploration of space—which will certainly transform the politics and diplomacy of the world. If we wish to see such a thing, as I certainly do, we have got to get together quickly with our partners in Europe to make sure it takes place. I step aside for a moment to say that we in Europe have always been the great explorers, both in matter and in spirit. We must participate in this, the greatest exploration of all, in which philosophy is combined with science. We must make this initiative before the relaxation takes place.
672 Thirdly, it is urgent to ask ourselves, what will be the impact upon the Commonwealth of such a relaxation? I share Mr. Nehru's misgivings, expressed this week, that the structure of the Commonwealth is beginning to look dangerously vague though its achievements are great. Is there to be a Commonwealth component, recognisable as such, in the structure of the future world? If so, I think we have to look urgently at the structure of the Commonwealth now. Those of us who have at times thought it worth while considering whether or not we need institutions in the Commonwealth, ought not in future to be laughed at for asking that question. I should not like to see events move so fast that the frail structure of the Commonwealth was swept away in the torrent of change which will come over the affairs of the world should we succeed in attaining a relaxation of tension.
Then there is the last question as to the impact of military relaxation on our relations with the United States. I have been a consistent advocate of the Anglo-American alliance. I have been distressed more than most people in this country at the deplorable decline in a sense of common purpose, indeed, in the existence of any common purpose between the two great democracies. Should we succeed in relaxing tension in the world today before we have found a fresh sense of common direction and purpose between ourselves and the United States, then indeed it would be hard to restore. We are relying today all too much upon the common danger of Soviet military might to hold us together. In future that will not be sufficient. Therefore, that is a problem which needs urgent study.
I do not wish to see the initiative taken in this matter of relaxation by the Soviet Union and to see ourselves taken by surprise. We have pushed so long and so hard at the door. I do not want us to find one day that it flies open before our faces and, because we are unprepared, we fall flat in the mud.
We in Britain in a sense hold the key position. In outline, the problems around us in the world are massive; massive in size and frightening in scale. In detail, each one of them is immensely complex. The speed of change in the world around us is immensely great, and will become far greater. The 673 political movements are simultaneous on many fronts.
Each of the problems I have just posed is sufficient food for work and thought for a master mind in whatever Government are in power here today, yet in Britain our material resources are so pathetically small to play the part we have to play. I believe that we are central to all these problems, central to the Commonwealth problem, central to the American problem, central to the European problem. I believe all are joined together. There is no solution of our problems with the United States unless we have first worked out a satisfactory European policy. There is no solution to the structure of the Commonwealth unless the metropolis of the Commonwealth is fortified by a satisfactory European policy, and there is no solution to our relationships with those the other side of the Iron Curtain unless all these problems have been dealt with together.
Therefore, although our resources are painfully small, I conclude simply by saying that our people in the world today are still unparalleled in any other nation in their wisdom and fortitude. They have provided the Prime Minister with the key to this situation. He goes to the Summit to use it. I have one more comment to make. God give him strength.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Desmond Donnelly (Pembroke)
The hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Smithers) has made an extremely thoughtful speech and with much of what he said I think that the whole House is in agreement, especially on the need to look beyond the immediate situation with which we are confronted.
At the same time, I could not help feeling that the hon. Member was putting the cart before the horse. At one stage in his remarks he referred to the fact that while one struggle was ending another had already begun. I cannot help thinking that this is really all part of the same struggle and that we have a long way to go before the cold war, in literal terms as a literal struggle without shooting, is liquidated.
An illustration of this has been the incident which we have been speaking about earlier this afternoon, the spy plane. I do not share much of the sense 674 of shock which many people appear to feel about the spy plane. These things go on. There have been Petrovs as well as spy planes and the Russians have the largest spy apparatus of any country in any part of the world. It is not confined to one form of spying or another.
The world is full of admiration for Mr. Khrushchev's gamesmanship and exploitation of the situation. He is entitled to that because, in my view, the American Government have been guilty of grave irresponsibility for sending these planes scudding across the sky on the very eve of the Summit Conference, and even more foolish to get themselves caught, but, if one examines the matter, one has to be careful to keep it in proper perspective. A salutary lesson emerges from the spy plane episode. The general sense of shock gives one an appreciation of how many people had forgotten that a cold war was still actually on and many other people, some in this country included, have tended to appear to have forgotten on which side they are in that cold war.
The questions I want to pose to the Committee this afternoon stem from the situation which exists as I see it. How did the situation arise in which we tended to allow ourselves to lapse into a sense of wishful thinking out of which we have been suddenly awakened by shock when Mr. Khrushchev revealed an ugly incident? Secondly, where do we —the West—stand on the eve of this very important international conference? Thirdly, what does Mr. Khrushchev mean, over and beyond the Summit, when he talks about competitive co-existence and his acceptance of the present political status quo?
Perhaps I may deal with the second of those questions first. As I said, I do not rate the spy plane as more than gamesmanship by Mr. Khrushchev. When he threw down the Berlin challenge in November, 1958, he did so for three main reasons. First, in 1958 he needed a Summit Conference for internal political purposes. It was only recently that he managed to get rid of Malenkov and Molotov and some of the others who were extremely powerful in the Soviet Union. For internal political purposes it was to his advantage to appear to be doing something about the division in the world because of the very genuine pressures which I believe exist 675 among the ordinary people in the Soviet Union for greater contact with the outside world. That was in 1958. Now, in 1960, Mr. Khrushchev is in a different position. He has had his trip to the United States. His own internal position is very much stronger and, because of this, he is able to be very much tougher when he approaches the Summit.
The second reason why he was anxious to force a Summit meeting in 1958 was that at long last the Soviet Government, after many years, had suddenly found that they were in a position to negotiate from strength, and this is something which always fascinates the Communist mind. Mr. Khrushchev probably looked round the whole perimeter of the Communist bloc. Berlin stood out as the weakest point of the West. This was a point at which he could very easily apply pressure. He is quite right when he says that Berlin is an anachronism in the present situation, but it is a very important anachronism to both sides. Mr. Khrushchev proposed to use his new-found position of strength to force a discussion on Berlin in different circumstances from those in which Stalin precipitated the crisis in 1948. Now, in 1960, Mr. Khrushchev's position of strength is even greater than in 1958, and he is, therefore, in a position to be even tougher.
Thirdly, Mr. Khrushchev wanted a conference to discuss Berlin and the recognition of East Germany because, as I suggested a moment ago, Berlin stood out as a sore thumb when the situation was viewed from the Communist side. It was a shop window for the Western world and it was a symbol of refuge to the 90 million people who live in the satellite countries, very few of whom, even today, after fifteen years of Communist rule, have anything but contempt for the Communist system of Government.
If they were to embark on a new era of competitive co-existence, in Afro-Asia or Latin America, it was essential from the point of view of any Government in Russia that they should finalise the frontiers of Stalin's empire in Europe. This was a very good time for them to do it. That situation still exists today, but it is in that one instance only that Mr. Khrushchev's own personal position and the Russian bargaining position are not 676 better than they were in 1958. It therefore becomes even more important for him to use his strength to browbeat the Western Powers in Paris next week. These are Mr. Khrushchev's aims when he goes to Paris, and these are what I suggest we must be prepared to meet.
I turn to Mr. Khrushchev's longer-term aims beyond the Summit. What does he mean by competitive co-existence? What the Russians mean by competitive co-existence is broadly what we mean by the term "cold war".
§ Mr. Donnelly
One has only to look at Mr. Khrushchev's own speeches in the last few weeks to see this.
§ Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)
He does not sympathise with them in the way that my hon. Friend the Member for Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus) does. That is the difference.
§ Mr. Donnelly
If the Committee will bear with me, I will read a quotation from a speech which Mr. Khrushchev made on his return from his talks with President Eisenhower, full of the spirit of Camp David, full of admiration for Mr. Eisenhower. Speaking at Novossobirsk, in the Soviet Union, he said:Competitive co-existence means the continuation of the struggle without war.Broadly, that is what we mean by the term "cold war."
When Mr. Khrushchev is discussing the acceptance of the status quo he means, broadly, accepting the present rights to go on changing the world or, to quote from the same speech once more:To establish a power which would accord with the interests of the workers.The great question is: which workers? If it were in the interests of all workers, I should be on his side, but we heard this kind of talk about "the interests of the workers" following the coup d'état 677 in Czechoslovakia, in 1948, and we have to be clear that what he means is the interests of the Soviet Union.
There are only two ways out of this situation. The first is to accept the Russian policies and to capitulate. That is what Mr. Khrushchev means when he calls upon us to stop the cold war. The second alternative is to have sufficient resolution, courage and self-control to go on until there is a Government in the Kremlin which is prepared to abandon its aims of Communist world domination. That is the main task which faces us today.
I have no doubt that this prospect will dismay my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus). I have great admiration for him. He is the outstanding Bourbon of the Labour Party. In twenty-five years he has forgotten nothing and learned nothing.
This harsh analysis might have alarmed people if it had been uttered in conditions of other threats twenty-five years ago. I accept at once that the parallels do not go all the way, but some of the wishful thinking in the face of a different kind of challenge twenty-five years ago is being repeated today. Some of the public moods, some of the hopes and some of the natural desires are being repeated. The Peace Pledge Union of twenty-five years ago has its counterpart today. The defence plans which were in ruin twenty-five years ago are in ruin again today, thanks to the worst Minister of Defence since Sir Thomas Inskip, twenty-five years ago. There is a good deal of complacency and the atmosphere of Baldwinism about Britain today, except that I call it MacBaldwinism.
I do not personally wish to take issue with all those on the Government Front Bench who are responsible, certainly not with the former Defence Minister, or with the Foreign Secretary. We have the Minister of State to the Foreign Office here today, and perhaps he will convey to the Foreign Secretary my profound admiration for the right hon. and learned Gentleman and particularly for the tenacity with which he retains his post. He has come to fulfil a unique function in the House of Commons, for he is applauded on both sides as a kind of non-partisan figure, rather as the Welch Regiment retains its goat.
678 The blame for this MacBaldwinism which exists lies directly with the Prime Minister himself. We all remember those uncertain pronouncements in Moscow last year, the easy speeches which were made to comfort complacent men during the General Election. I remember the magnificent day when he appeared like Zeus, fingered the globe of the world and told us of the stratospheric adventures which were to come. I can well imagine the right hon. Gentleman writing some memoirs in 1965 in which he says that he was precluded from telling the country the full nature of the challenge because of the state of public opinion prevailing at the time, rather like Mr. Baldwin of yore. One can almost see the publisher of "Sealed Lips", second edition.
What is to be our answer to this malaise? First, we have to be clear that if we face the challenge it is not only a military challenge. It remains a military challenge, of course, while there are military forces on the other side, and we all want to see disarmament as quickly as possible, although it must be accompanied by the appropriate safeguards. But it is also a political and economic challenge, as the hon. Member for Winchester said. The military challenge is nevertheless real. I do not believe that the Russians want war, nor do they have the same glory in war as the Germans had in the 1930s, but they do not exclude war as an appropriate instrument of policy, whenever it is appropriate.
§ Mr. Donnelly
There was a certain amount of Russian assistance in North Korea. As I was saying, they do not exclude the military challenge as an instrument of policy where it is appropriate. It remains inappropriate so long as there are Western defences.
I am not now arguing the case for an independent British deterrent, but I think that it is absolutely essential for there to be a Western deterrent. I go further. If there is to be adequate Western defence at all levels through the years to 679 meet the Russian challenge, we must be quite prepared to say bluntly to the Americans that they must get away from a good deal of their defence insularity. If they persist in their insularity in their defence attitude, they will prejudice the Western Alliance. It will not survive another ten or fifteen years unless they are prepared to change their whole attitude.
We must come to a new decision about the status of West Germany. The problem of Germany today is not the division of Germany. The division of Germany is a fact. It will be with us for probably our lifetime. The problem is the new status of West Germany and what we are to do about it. I share many of the inhibitions and fears of my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson), but, at the same time, one must be practical. The art of international politics, just as the art of internal politics, is the art of practicality.
How can we permanently deny a great nation like this some form of equality within an alliance? How can we say to the Germans that they can have an army, but that it must be only a bad one? How can this go on indefinitely for the rest of the twentieth century? It just cannot be done. This raises all sorts of problems which I will come to shortly.
Another thing that we must do is to appreciate what the hon. Member for Winchester said about the economic challenges in Afro-Asia and Latin-America. Western civilisation is on trial in these areas, and what we have to be clear about is that when the people in these countries think of Communism they think of it differently from the way in which we think of it. When we think of Communism, we think of how much we have to lose. When they think of Communism, they think of how much they have to gain. We must be prepared to offer them a social system which gains for them the economic freedom which goes with political freedom, because there is no political freedom on an empty stomach and there is no human dignity living in the gutter.
All this implies that we ourselves have to help. It is no good talking pious platitudes. It means a denial, also, of our own standard of living, and a limitation of our own Welfare State. This is 680 what I call practical Socialism helping people in other countries.
Both new developments which I am suggesting to the Committee mean a new approach to the political control of the Western Alliance. Not only have technologies developed to the point where one has only a few seconds' warning of an impending attack, but there are also all the manifold political problems, such as Western Germany, which have somehow to be resolved within a new form of political control in N.A.T.O. The clear implication of what I am saying is that at some stage we shall have to be prepared to surrender yet larger sections of our national sovereignties to a new form of political control of the Western Alliance.
There is no other way. This is the only way in which we will maintain a working and a controllable alliance which can meet the long challenge down the years. Co-existence is not a 100-yard race. It is a long marathon and it will require a good deal of plain, sober self-control for a very long time to come if we are to keep the cold war cold.
I began by saying that people did not know that there was a cold war on. It is on. It is likely to be on for at least the lifetimes of most hon. Members present. We should all like to see it dissolved. We all fervently hope for a détente, but circumstances at the present are not indicative of that situation happening. In the years ahead the survival of Western civilisation will depend in the first instance on the flexibility of our policy, but in the last analysis it will depend upon our resolution.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ Sir Thomas Moore (Ayr)
I am glad to be allowed to take part in this discussion, because I believe that our Prime Minister will embark upon one of the most critical adventures probably in his whole career next week. My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary has asked us all to make our suggestions or views known to him so as to enlighten him as to the feeling of the House of Commons, and, therefore, of the country, and to give him some guidance or help in the discussions facing them next week.
I am also very glad that the temperature in this debate is so different from that in the February debate, when it 681 was difficult to avoid taking up a very party and partisan line. Indeed. I have today scrapped a considerable amount of the speech which I had intended to make on party issues. I shall not say those things, because I think that this is too serious a time to indulge in party insinuations. I think that those who have spoken so far have shown exactly the same moderation and restraint.
One thing has puzzled me. It seems as if, so far, at any rate, hon. Members have sought to establish that disarmament is a name in itself. It is not really. The very basis of our foreign policy as a nation is peace. Disarmament merely happens to be one of the first steps, one of the chief steps, by which peace can be secured. Happily, disarmament, has now ceased to be a party issue. It has ceased to be a party preserve. It has become a national prayer. It is, therefore, essential that disarmament should take priority of place at the Summit discussions.
There are many other subsidiary and not unimportant reasons why some steps towards disarmament are essential. If agreement of substance is not reached at the Summit Conference, it seems almost inevitable that Western Germany will have her nuclear weapon in time. It also seems clear to me that France will persist with her tests in the Sahara.
It is tragic that nuclear armament now seems to be the yardstick by which nations measure their stature. Just as Germany may demand her nuclear power to try to obliterate in world memory the horrors of Belsen and Buchenwald, so France will demand her share in this new power so as to obliterate in world memory her premature submission in 1940 and her subsequent grovel to tyranny in 1941. These things are guiding, inspiring or driving these two nations to establish themselves as nuclear Powers. As the Foreign Secretary said, we must expect other countries to follow suit, though possibly not for the same reasons.
I find it difficult to argue against France and Germany having the nuclear deterrent, much as one may dislike it, because, after all, they are partners in the great Western Alliance and, as such, they must be treated in the same way as the other members are treated.
Speaking for myself—I emphasise that I am speaking only for myself, and not 682 for my party here—I would make no further concessions to Germany. I would not raise a finger to reunite the two Germanies until I had received far more solid assurance that, if reunited, they would never again be a menace to the peace of the world.
As for the Berlin problem, about which everyone makes such a fuss, and about which possibly we of the West and Mr. Khrushchev and his friends, if they are his friends, cannot agree, why not press for the logical solution which seems to me to stand out a mile? Why not treat the whole of Berlin as a free city under the United Nations? Just as West Germany, to ease the difficulty, moved her capital to Bonn, let East Germany be persuaded to move her capital say to Leipzig, which would be quite convenient. I cannot see why that should not prove a fruitful and reasonable solution of all the cantankerous wrangling going on at present, and, at the same time, be fair to all.
I should like to make a few tentative suggestions about the discussions which must take place during the next few weeks. As we know, last September the Foreign Secretary made some very useful and constructive suggestions at Geneva which, if adopted, promised well for further progress on that hazardous road. We must admit that there has been a certain amount of slowness and disappointment about what has happened since, although my right hon. and learned Friend seems to be optimistic. But I still believe that there is a promising end if that progress is pursued.
Then suddenly, out of the blue, came the diplomatic suggestion, from Mr. Khrushchev, saying, as we remember, that there should be complete abolition by stages, first, of conventional and then nuclear weapons, and all within a period of four years. I imagine that that was nothing more than pure propaganda. It was physically impossible. He is sensible enough to know that. It certainly made little impression on the suspicious Dr. Adenauer and the equally doubtful Mr. Herter, not to speak of the unconsulted China.
Next came the suggestion, made a few months afterwards, of an immediate reduction by one-third of all conventional forces and armaments. Although the West has promised full consideration and 683 examination of those suggestions, I wonder whether our leading statesmen have really sought to find out what is behind it all. I admit that it is a difficult problem. Russian foreign policy— and American for that matter—is so predictable in some respects and so completely unpredictable in others that it is difficult for one to catch up. For instance, one expects Mr. Khrushchev to bluster and bully in one speech, and, equally, one expects him to cajole with soft words in another. That just happens to be his technique. But where he is unpredictable is in his timing and his moods. That makes our Western attitude very difficult.
As for the Americans, they tried to discover last week what was behind it all and were so lamentably found out. What everyone wants to know is what is the strength, force, power and efficiency lying behind the threats that Mr. Khrushchev puts across to us. As for America —she does so often put a strain on the trust and faith of her friends while she fumbles immaturely to find some coherent, consistent, logical and resolute, foreign policy.
Indeed, I believe that the only predictable policy of America is that, while she may have hesitations on the way and be somewhat late in arriving at the trysting place, she will always be at our side in times of real danger, just as we shall always be by her side, but, unlike her, without hesitation or delay. The country that gave her birth creates a link between us which, I believe, is unbreakable. Beyond that, her actions are quite unforeseeable and the latest, last week, is so confused and confusing that I think it better not to dwell upon it, except to say that it shows how near we are to disaster while fear, suspicion and nuclear armaments exist and persist.
As to Mr. Khrushchev and what I hope will be our attitude towards him and his proposals at the conference, I believe—and again I am speaking purely for myself—that Mr. Khrushchev is sincere, and means what he says on this occasion. I believe that he is sincere for two very important reasons.
As I see it, Mr. Khrushchev is now the prisoner of his promises to his own people. Owing to the constantly 684 increasing exchanges of scientists, ballet, footballers, businessmen and the like between the Soviet Union and Britain, the Russian people have become more and more aware of our way and standard of life and have become restive. Many of us probably do not know of some of the risings that have taken place in various parts of Russia. They have been kept quieter than the Hungarian one was. Mr. Khrushchev has promised —and some hon. Members have read his speeches—his own people nicer clothes, better food and more adequate accommodation; but the only way that he can fulfil those promises is by putting far more labour than at present into the factories, on to the land, and on to rebuilding sites. The only sources from which he can get those men—and Mr. Khrushchev knows it—is from the massive conventional ground forces of the Soviet Union.
There is another more pressing and more frightening reason for Mr. Khrushchev's overtures to the West. He is looking over his shoulder to China and the position she occupies in the world today. Mr. Khrushchev has been looking over his shoulder and the sight is unnerving. He sees a country of 600 million people, increasing at a rate of 6 million a year, people taught in the use of arms by his predecessor Stalin, when he feared the West. He has seen the tentative use of her new forces in Tibet and their success, and Mr. Khrushchev has become frightened. I am sure that he wants co-existence at least, but he wants more; he wants friendship and, ultimately, he wants, in my view, to be part of a combination with the West, which will be so strong that he can face up with confidence to the menacing challenge from the Far East. It is a menacing challenge.
I well remember in my youth hearing about the threat of the "Yellow peril". It was like the curse of Cromwell— equally frightening. I believe that Mr. Khrushchev is hearing those words and hearing them more loudly, and that we have now an opportunity which, if seized and wisely handled, may bring us eventually to the promised land we all desire— world peace.
I would add one further word, to reinforce what has been said by other hon. Members. We cannot ever secure world peace without regard to China. 685 China is today the most populous country in the world. China is awakening to her own strength and her Government is representative of her people, whether we like it or not. I hope that at the Summit there may be discussed how and by what means, after having perhaps brought Mr. Khrushchev into the commity of nations—I will not say free —we can bring in China.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Mr. K. Zilliacus (Manchester, Gorton)
I hope that the hon. Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) will not mind if I say that I found myself in considerably more agreement with his remarks than I had expected, and I am glad to have had the privilege of hearing him. Even when I disagreed with him, I thought that he was far less bellicose and far more realistic than was my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) who reproached me for being what he called "the Bourbon of the Labour Party" for not having changed my views. Well, I would rather be a Bourbon of peace than the last of the Mohicans of the cold war in the Labour Party. I would rather stick to what I believe is true than turn my coat for any reason.
I agree most heartily with what the hon. Member for Ayr said about the position of Mr. Khrushchev. He has staked his political future, and stuck out his neck on a policy of conciliation and peace-making with the West. He has done that for perfectly realistic reasons —because the arms burden is as grievous to the Soviet nation as it is to any of the other nations concerned in the arms race, and because he is quite convinced that if he could only be freed from this arms burden he could plough back the liberated resources and manpower into the Soviet economy and go ahead even more quickly with his efforts to expand production, raise the standards of living and so on.
After that, there comes an element of what one might call illusion. Mr. Khrushchev believes perfectly sincerely that in the ideological and social conflict the workers of the world would be so impressed by the successes of the Communist-run economies that they would turn to Communism. As I think I have explained before in the House, I believe that view to be mistaken. I believe that the result of peace would be to 686 generate an increased demand for public ownership and planning in our economies, in order to take up the economic slack resulting from disarmament and turn the new productive forces to constructive purposes. I also believe that the demand for more political freedom and democracy on the other side of the Iron Curtain, which already exists, would wax irresistibly strong, and spread very quickly in conditions of peace and international co-operation.
The Soviet view of peaceful co-existence is not, of course, a prolongation of the cold war but a very much more positive concept. Of two recent instances, let me mention, first, the proposal of the Soviet Government at the Economic Commission for Europe of the United Nations that there should be an international study of how to meet the economic consequences of disarmament by international action. I understand that the American Government, with the support of ours, voted against that proposal —for reasons that I hope someone will enlighten us about before this debate is over.
The other proposal was that the Soviet Union should join the O.E.E.C. That, also, was turned down. The whole idea of the Soviet Union is to increase trade, cultural, economic, technical, scientific and other contacts, and my belief is that that is something we should be helping to promote from our side.
I am not afraid of this ideological competition with Communism. I am certain that our ideas of Government, of democracy as a political institution and a way of life are superior to, and have greater attraction than, the concepts worked out under Communism. Therefore, the more freedom of intercourse and exchange of ideas we have, the stronger the attraction for Communist-ruled countries of political democracy, the rule of law and the rights of the individual, as we understand them, although I also believe, and admit it frankly, that peace will bring with it a considerable and growing need to change the existing social order. However, that does not worry me either, because I happen to be a Socialist.
What the hon. Gentleman said about China is also true. It so happens that I have very recently had some inside information about what actually happened when this shooting down of the plane was 687 announced in the Supreme Soviet. The Diplomatic Corps sat in attendance, the Western ambassadors wore poker faces, but the Chinese ambassador was in ecstacy—beaming all over. He was convinced that this had at last proved to Khrushchev that he was wrong and that the only thing to do was to be tough.
China's attitude itself is largely a product of the cold war. If China was recognised and was brought into the United Nations, if the United States was not in a state of chronic cold aggression on Chinese territories, I believe that the Chinese would very quickly evolve on the same lines as the Soviet Union and find that they had a vital interest in international peace and co-operation.
As it is, they are trying to cash in on a nuisance value. There is a bit more to it than that, but it is a very large element in the situation. Another factor is that the revolution there is much younger and rawer—still in its manic phase. Russia is not now a revolutionary but a post-revolutionary country. After all, the Soviet Union is now forty-two years old.
Then there was this recent incident when Khrushchev made a rather violent speech after President Eisenhower had endorsed the curious doctrine that America is entitled to send planes over Russian territory to spy on it. That was censured in the Soviet Press; held up for eight hours as regards our Press. That shows the struggle going on. I know that 24 hours before, Khrushchev, who had already been under fire for saying what he sincerely believes—that President Eisenhower is a man of peace —had again stuck out his neck in the Central Committee of the party by saying, "I am sure the President knew nothing about this. He is a good man". Then, a few hours later, President Eisenhower comes out with his endorsement—which I am sure, in his position, he had to do, but that is one of the subtleties of the West that would escape the Russian mind—and Khrushchev had to let fly.
The Russians do not want to do anything to spoil the Summit talks and are genuinely appalled at what has happened. There was widespread fear amongst the Russian people who asked, "Does this mean war?" They were 688 really worried, and they were also indignant that the incident should occur on 1st May, their day of rejoicing. It was rather out of keeping with the popular mood at the time.
I have always entertained very modest hopes about what we could expect from the Summit Conference. Although we on this side were accused by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Foreign Secretary of having talked as though it was enough to have a Summit Conference, I, at least, do not lie under that charge. During the election campaign, in that marathon Granada radio performance we had in Manchester, I said that the concept of what I called "Super-Mac winging his way to the Summit with a beakful of Tory election rosettes in lieu of a policy" was a fairy tale for Tory tots, and that what was essential was not only to have a conference but to arrive at it with a policy for making peace; that this Government had no policy for making peace, but, on the contrary, that they were stuck with cold-war policies which made it impossible ever to reach agreement with the Soviet Union.
We heard a repetition of the dreary and stale platitude that we could only unite Germany on the basis of allowing her to enter a military alliance against the Soviet Union. Nobody has ever yet suggested why the Soviet Union should ever agree to such a proposition. We cannot very well say to the U.S.S.R., "We have to make peace and disarm, and we have to work together to organise Europe for peace—but only on condition that you allow us to go on organising half of Europe for war against you, and recruit united Germany for that purpose."
The Government know that there is no hope of ever getting agreement on that. Walter Lippmann has said that that was the kind of policy one could impose only on a defeated nation alter winning a war. It is certainly not a policy on which one can negotiate peace with a Power which, by this time, has outstripped the United States in rocket weapons and which simply will not accept that kind of nonsense.
I confess that, in the light of the latest incident, my hope for even modest results from the Summit Conference such as, at long last, a banning of tests and 689 perhaps, an easing of tension over Berlin, has turned into a very lively apprehension lest the conference should begin a new round in the cold war. I say this because of the appalling revelation of the power of sinister forces in the United States, in the Pentagon and in the Atomic Energy Commission, which are bent upon sabotaging any approach to peace or any lessening of international tension. They do not want it. They are quite frank about it. They will do everything they can to stop it. They believe in the cold war and in the nuclear weapons race and, thinking that they have now fallen behind, they want to catch up.
The other factor in my pessimism is the complete subservience of the British Government to the United States, their utter incapacity to stand up to the United States. We have recently heard about the American intention unilaterally to resume underground tests, which has been hypocritically passed off as something undertaken in pursuance of the tentative agreement reached in Geneva. That agreement in principle was for joint tests, with Soviet participation, for purely peaceful purposes and to perfect the methods of controlling minor underground explosions and distinguishing them from seismic disturbances. The crucial point was that they should be joint tests, that the Soviet Union should take part.
Everybody knows that there has been tremendous pressure from the Pentagon and the Atomic Energy Commission on the President to go ahead with unilateral tests primarily for military purposes. That, of course, is the reality behind this humbug. I hope very much that at the Summit Conference the President will be induced to hold his hand and give the programme of agreed tests, with Soviet participation, a chance to be set going, by not embarking on the unilateral tests with more or less camouflaged military purposes. The Government have now welcomed the American action as a contribution to the work at Geneva. I am very doubtful whether we shall have any kind of pressure from them on the Americans.
I come now to the fantastic episode of the U2. Various newspapers, including the News Chronicle and The Times, have said, of course, that spying always goes on. That is perfectly true, but it is not 690 the point. The important feature is the entirely novel and quite monstrous and fantastic claim by Secretary of State Herter, endorsed by the President, that the United States is entitled to violate international law by sending planes over Soviet territory for the purpose of spying. Their excuse for doing it is that they must protect the free peoples of the Western World, the free peoples under American protection, their allies, that is to say, ourselves, against the danger of surprise attack, which is supposed to keep us awake at night with fear.
This is the reductio ad absurdum of the whole nuclear deterrent theory. We start with the assumption that the Soviet Union is lying in wait to launch an unprovoked attack overnight on us, for no particular reason, just for the "heck" of it, and can be restrained only by fear of our nuclear power—which, incidentally, does not exist, though I leave that there. Now the Americans take it a step further and, without consulting their allies, say that they will subject their allies to the danger of annihilation without representation by sending planes over the Soviet Union, on the assumption that they must do it in order to preserve the free world whether it likes it or not from a surprise Soviet attack. This is the doctrine of a madman. The idea that anyone in a responsible position wielding these dreadful weapons with such fearful consequences for humanity should put our survival, our very chance of existence, on a hair-trigger because of insane obsessions of that kind, is really, to put it mildly, disquieting.
What makes it even more disquieting is the response of the Government to Questions about it today. I asked the Home Secretary, answering for the Prime Minister this afternoon, whether the Government would forbid any planes starting from this country, and would propose to N.A.T.O., that it should forbid any planes starting from N.A.T.O. countries, carrying out reconnaissance flights over Soviet territory. The right hon. Gentleman told me that the Government would not give any information on matters concerned with intelligence. In a supplementary, I then asked whether the right hon. Gentleman, speaking for the Prime Minister, would at least give an assurance that the Government will refrain from taking any action, such as sending a plane over another country's 691 territory without its authority, in violation of international law which we are pledged under the U.N. Charter to respect. He refused to give that assurance. When I asked the Foreign Secretary the same question, during the debate this afternoon, he also refused to give that assurance.
Is it not obvious that, if the British and American Governments, or, shall I say, the American Government and their humble and obedient servants in this country, intend to go to the Summit Conference making the perfectly fantastic claim that they are entitled to violate international law by sending spy planes over the Soviet Union, because the Soviet Union does not accept President Eisenhower's proposal for legalising spying by open sky inspections, the Conference is bound to fail. The Soviet Government could not possibly accept such a claim. We shall be responsible for the failure, and public opinion will hold the Government responsible for it.
There is more, which adds to the completely "Alice-in-Wonderland" nature of the whole discussion. After all, the Foreign Secretary is a lawyer of distinction and he must know that international law forbids the sending of planes over someone else's territory without permission. This is the question I want the Government to answer tonight: Do they claim that international law permits us to send planes for spying or for any other purpose, that is to say, on intelligence reconnaissance or whatever one likes, over the territory of the Soviet Union, or any other country, without the permission of the Government concerned? Are we, in the view of the Government, entitled to do that under international law? Alternatively, are we entitled to violate international law in order to carry out these spying missions? I wish the Government to make their position clear and answer those two questions.
§ Sir Arthur Vere Harvey (Macclesfield)
Has the hon. Gentleman seen the report published in today's newspapers of a statement by Field-Marshal Lord Montgomery to the effect that, up to the time he left N.A.T.O., he was not aware of any N.A.T.O. aircraft flying over Soviet territory?
§ Mr. Zilliacus
I am very much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. It shows that the American attempt to generalise and talk as though everyone had been doing it is simply not true. This is a little stunt on the part of the Americans, or, at any rate, on the part of certain elements in the United States, in which they are trying to involve the rest of us.
The extraordinary thing is that at the same time as the Government try to justify this anarchist approach to the violation of international law and the flouting of the Charter the Foreign Secretary repeats what he said in the last foreign affairs debate about the necessity for disarmament to toe accompanied by the establishment of a world authority and the rule of law and an international force.
There is one international law and one code of co-existence already, the Charter of the United Nations. The Charter of the United Nations, as the Secretary-General told the General Assembly in his first annual report, is based on the assumption that the permanent members of the Security Council have a common interest in averting the calamity of war. They may become deadlocked in settling their disputes. They may quarrel. They may disagree. They may have all kinds of difficulties. They may have strong criticisms to make of each other's policies. But, basically, they share a common interest in having their differences settled by compromise and negotiation, in averting the measureless calamity of war.
The Charter was not framed by eccentrics. It represented the greatest concentration of juridical and political authority of the world at the time, in the light of nineteen years' experience of the League of Nations and six years' experience of the Second World War. Since then we have adopted the opposite policy of trying to base our relations with the Soviet Union on the balance of power, on negotiation from strength, on military alliances and on an arms race. This was not all our doing. Stalin, to say the least, was a very difficult customer. We could not get to terms with him, although I do not think that we tried hard enough, and I always protested about that, as the House will remember.
693 There is now, however, a new situation and if we are to have a code of coexistence and a world authority—I very much hope that we shall—the first thing that we have to make up our minds to do is to abandon this, as I see it, entirely unreal and highly dangerous assumption that the Soviet Union is lying in wait to launch an unprovoked attack upon us. The Prime Minister himself repudiated that conception when he was in Moscow. He said that what we fear is not a deliberate attack but war resulting from miscalculation or mistake. In his television speech with President Eisenhower on 1st September, he said that by bluff and counter-bluff we might drift into something nobody wants.
That is the real danger, and the way to meet it is to work out methods for settling differences by meeting frequently at conferences, and by implementing the obligations of the Charter in our mutual relations. That is the basis of the proposal, which is often put forward from this side of the House, for a policy of withdrawing forces and creating a nuclear-free zone, within which Germany would be united, and which would involve progressively winding up the rival alliances as an integral part of the process of disarmament and disengagement, and replacing them with East-West co-operation in an all-European treaty— first, in supervising the agreements for reducing and limiting armaments, withdrawing foreign forces and creating a nuclear-free zone; secondly, in settling disputes and watching over disturbances of the peace; and, thirdly, in promoting our common interests in economic, social, transport and other matters of that sort.
A constructive realistic case can be made for moving over from the balance of power to the Charter in our relations with the Soviet Union. But when the Foreign Secretary talks in this airy-fairy way about a world authority within the framework of the United Nations, which would violate the basic principle of the Charter, namely, that the great Powers must be unanimous in taking decisions through the Security Council on the issue of action against what the Charter calls "threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression", one must point out, first, that the Charter cannot be revised 694 without the consent of all the permanent members; secondly, that treaties which are not consistent with the Charter are automatically null and void as between member States under Article 109; and, thirdly, that there are perfectly good reasons, expounded in the Foreign Office Commentary on the Charter of 1945, why the great Powers should be unanimous on this issue, because otherwise the members of the United Nations may find themselves committed by a majority vote to make war on a major Power. Then the balloon would go up and everything would be smashed. The Charter assumes that it is a lesser evil that there should be deadlock between the great Powers if they cannot come to terms than to provide some kind of procedure by which a majority of them could attempt legally to coerce another.
That applies to the idea of an international force. An international force is all right as a small force at the service of the Security Council, which can operate only when the great Powers are unanimously agreed that it should operate. But, as expounded by the Foreign Secretary and the present Minister of Aviation when he was Minister of Defence, that is a conception which I should have thought would be regarded as fanciful even in an essay by a junior member of the United Nations association.
The idea of an international force under the orders of a super State to keep order among the States of the world and strong enough to coerce them ignores first the difference in size between the members of the international community. Professor Blackett pointed out long ago, when dealing with the military uses of atomic energy, that there has to be a preponderance of force of at least three to one before an international authority can be reasonably sure of being able to coerce a country without war. That is not possible with any of the world Powers, nor with a Power like this country which has allies. The whole conception is utterly fanciful as a military proposition. As a psychological proposition it is equally up in the air, because states are not solid entities.
It is not possible to compare the community of nations with the community of individuals within a nation, because 695 within a nation a community is composed of human beings. In the international community States remain separate entities only so long as they retain their sovereignty. When and why the human beings within them feel enough sense of common interest to be prepared to sacrifice some of their sovereignty to a central authority is because their sense of common interest as human beings transcends their sense of separate national interests as members of different States, because they have developed a network of economic transport, cultural, intellectual and other interests which gives them a sense of common loyalty to humanity. Before one can arrive at the stage of talking about a system of world government, the idea of war as a way of settling differences will become as improbable and remote between the human beings in various parts of the international community—in this case on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain—as they are already in large areas of the world.
We do not talk in terms of war with the United States, France or the Scandinavian countries. The first line of advance is to abandon the balance of power and the crazy theory that we have to deter a surprise attack which has been reduced to a murderously dangerous absurdity by Christian Herter, and instead to take the risk of taking our stand on the Charter of the United Nations and its fundamental assumption.
When I discuss Soviet affairs, I know what I am talking about because all my life I have been concerned with studying them. I worked in this field for nineteen years as a League of Nations official, and before that I was for two years in Siberia, as an Intelligence officer during intervention. I know that the Russians do not want war. They are not thinking in those terms. They are anxious to get some kind of relationship with the rest of the world which will banish from the minds of mankind, including their own people, the haunting menace that these dreadful weapons of destruction may go off because some madman talks or acts in a way of which we have seen a horrifying example from the United States.
We have to remove the danger of war by accident, and the more we try to pile up arms and hair-trigger them against the utterly imaginary danger of a sudden de- 696 liberate attack, the more we increase the real danger of these vast defence preparations colliding by accident and burying us all in common destruction.
§ 6.49 p.m.
§ Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)
I am sorry that the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) has left the Chamber. I always listen to his speeches on the theory of Communism with great interest, and I think that his diagnosis is always much more accurate than that of the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus). I am sure that the hon. Member for Pembroke was right when he said that when the Russians talk about co-existence they mean what we mean by cold war.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary wisely warned the Committee and the country against expecting any dramatic results from the Summit talks. In view of all the speculation about the Summit talks—first, whether they would take place at all and, secondly, if they did, what would happen as a result —there was always a danger that the British public would regard Summit talks as a kind of Test match in which one side won and the other side lost.
Both my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister have consistently stressed that their approach to the problem is not based upon one Summit meeting only, but a whole series of meetings spread over a number of years. That is how they wish to deal with the stresses and strains of East-West relations.
To continue the analogy of the Test match, even supposing that in the forthcoming years there were to be five Summit talks, I should be surprised if, at the end of the fifth, the rubber had been won by either side, because, as has been said by the hon. Member for Pembroke, the cold war is with us for our lifetime, for the simple reason that it is a war of ideals and of ideas.
How does the Soviet Union want to play its hand? Russia's interest at the moment is to maintain the tension that she herself has created, up to a point but not beyond it. I have always thought that East-West relations were rather like a piece of elastic. If it is pulled too taut, there is a danger that 697 it will snap, and that the cold war might become a hot war. It would seem that the Russians never pull the elastic too taut. On the other hand, Russia does not want, and cannot afford, to allow the elastic to become too slack, because if there were no tension whatever people might think that they could play around with the elastic with impunity, which would mean that the Soviet Union might be in danger of losing control over the satellite States.
There are two reasons why the Soviet Union wants to reduce tension. First, with modern progress in scientific methods and with modern communications, the Soviet Union has aircraft that can fly from Moscow to London, from London to New York and from New York to Tokio and back to Moscow in a matter of 48 hours, if not less. In addition, Russia sends her scientists and doctors to international conferences, thus to show the world what great advances she has made in science and medicine. If Russia is doing all that, the Iron Curtain cannot be kept as solid and as firm as it was before.
The second reason is the economic one. As has already been said, Mr. Khrushchev wants to improve the standards of living of the Soviet Union. Some people who live in the Soviet Union have seen a little of what happens outside in the rest of the word. If they want some of the things to which the rest of the world has become accustomed, if they want what we regard as necessities but which they still call luxuries, Mr. Khrushchev must wish to reduce the burden of armaments expenditure and to switch as much of it as possible to domestic consumption. Even in the Soviet Union, the purse is not bottomless.
Having said that, I must agree to some extent with the Leader of the Opposition when he says that we must not be too optimistic concerning a settlement about Berlin. I have always thought that the cards which the Soviet Union hold concerning Berlin are too valuable for them —now, I am putting their point of view— to throw away without a considerable quid pro quo.
They can always name a date and say that by that date they will hand over control of the approaches to West Berlin to the East German Government. Having named the date, the N.A.T.O. countries 698 would be bound to react. Then, as we get nearer to the date, we would have all the old arguments about the autobahn versus the airlift, and so on. When the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary went to Moscow, in April last year, they did not claim to have solved the Berlin problem. What they did was extremely valuable. They bought the most priceless commodity which can be bought in the cold war. when the elastic is getting rather taut. They bought time to think afresh. I agree that we should improve in various ways the methods of access to Berlin.
We must not on any account consider, nor would my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary or anybody in the House of Commons consider, no longer honouring to the hilt our obligations to the 2 million Germans who live in West Berlin. We must also make a clear distinction in our minds between what is called making a concession and what is called taking the initiative. Too often in the past, when the Soviet Union has provoked a crisis somewhere about something or other, certain Members of the party opposite, no doubt with the best intentions, have accused the Government of having lost the initiative and have told them to regain it. When they speak of regaining the initiative, more often than not they mean that the Government should make a concession in order to persuade the Soviet Union to stop provoking the very crisis which they started. There are times when it is a good thing to take the initiative, there are other times when it is a good plan to make a concession, but we must not confuse the one with the other.
I wish to say a word or two to the hon. Member for Gorton about the U2 spy plane. I do not agree with the hon. Member. This is an honest difference of opinion. I do not believe that this incident is of any great importance. Of all the major Powers, the Soviet Union is the least entitled to throw that stone into the glasshouse. I do not suppose that any country has more often or more deliberately, and, in some cases, more clumsily, violated diplomatic privilege for the purpose of espionage than the Soviet Union. So I do not think that we need take the incident too seriously.
I do not believe that it will make any difference to the course of the Summit talks. If Mr. Khrushchev decides, as, 699 I hope he will, to be amenable during the Summit talks, he will decide to be amenable only because he thinks that it will suit Soviet interests to be so. I cannot believe that he would be deflected from that course by the mere fact that a United States spy plane has made a forced landing, or been shot down when, on Mr. Khrushchev's own admission—whether it is true, I do not know—for a number of years United States aircraft have been doing this sort of thing.
I cannot see that it will make the slightest difference to the course of the Summit talks, although I quite agree that Mr. Khrushchev has been presented with a good propaganda hand which he is playing very well.
Is it not the fact that whereas the Soviet Union was prepared to remonstrate only privately and not take extreme action on the first two occasions when this occurred, it has been cumulative and Russia has now decided not to stand it any longer? The Americans have replied by claiming that they will continue this practice in defiance of international law. Does the hon. Member think that the Soviet Union will accept that claim?
§ Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe
I do not share the hon. Member's intimate knowledge of what the Soviet Union says. My recollection from reading the Press is that all that the United States said was that America still demanded the right to patrol frontiers.
§ Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe
Any hon. Member who has a copy of the newspaper can correct me if I am wrong.
§ Mr. William Warbey (Ashfield)
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that that is made clear by the reason of the statement issued by Mr. Herter himself, in which he said:In accordance with the National Security Act of 1947, the President has put into effect since the beginning of his Administration directives to gather by every possible means the information required to protest 700 the United States. … Under these directives, programmes have been developed and put into operation which have included extensive aerial surveillance by unarmed civilian aircraft, normally of a peripheral character but on occasion by penetration.It clearly implies that that is to go on.
§ Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe
That is, in many cases, exactly what the Soviet Union has been doing itself.
§ Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe
I would like to know why. Only this morning I read in the Press of two Soviet diplomats being expelled from the embassy in Berne.
§ Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe
I should have thought that the most likely field of agreement and success in the forthcoming Summit talks would be on the suspension of nuclear tests, but I should like to add one word of warning to certain hon. Members opposite. It is my belief that every Aldermaston march and every sermon by Canon Collins reduces the chances of agreement at the forthcoming Summit talks on the suspension of nuclear tests. I will tell the House why.
To whatever extent a minority, however well-meaning, can give the impression that a substantial body of opinion in this country is in favour of unilateral nuclear disarmament, to that extent they weaken the Soviet incentive to come to agreement at the Summit talks on the suspension of tests. Why should the Russians agree to something as the result of long negotiations if they think that the other side will concede the point anyway? I therefore think that every Aldermaston march reduces the chance of obtaining agreement on the suspension of nuclear tests.
The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary will go to the Summit talks bearing our very good wishes. If they come back, having achieved a very limited success, if they make even a few runs, we shall all think that they have done very well indeed. I assure them that no one on this side of the Committee or the other expects them to return with a kind of ready-made solution to all the problems of East and West which have so bedevilled the world since the end of the Second World War.
§ 7.3 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I take up the argument where the hon. Member for Windsor (Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe) left off. I have never had great optimism about the result of the Summit Conference, but the Prime Minister certainly goes to it with the good wishes of all parties in this country. If nothing very much comes of it, I trust that the people of this country will not be too disappointed, and I trust also that there will not be too many recriminations, either in this country or between the countries of the Western world, or even between East and West.
I hope that we approach the Summit with the resolution both to maintain what the Western world stands for and also to begin the task of finding a way to peace. What do we hope to get from the Summit meetings? I would put first in the order of hopes some agreement between Russia and America. I would stress very highly that at the Summit the real parties who have to reach some method of negotiation are the Russians and the Americans. I believe that unless they can come to some agreement, or at any rate enter into some negotiations, fairly soon, the situation may become more difficult. At present, they are overwhelmingly the most powerful countries in the world, but that situation is changing.
Many people, including myself, for instance, welcome the development of a united Europe, but I do not delude myself into thinking that the growth of a united Europe will make it easier to make progress with what, to my mind, is the major danger facing the world, which is the danger of war. It is irrelevant to that. It may even make the process of controlled disarmament more difficult, while the rise of China and perhaps other countries will certainly do the same thing.
I believe that it is of overriding importance at the Summit to be clear first that the major advance we may hope for is some progress in Russian and American relations—which are bad. One other point about that. I want to speak later about the spread of nuclear weapons, but whether they spread or not, the means of delivering them may spread, and even with a conventional warhead, a rocket is an extremely unpleasant weapon, as those who lived in 702 London in the primitive stage of the rockets have good reason to know. The spread of the means of delivering even convenional weapons to the Middle East and other places would be extremely alarming, and certainly would not bring peace.
Secondly, I hope that there will be agreement that the Summit talks should continue at different levels and that the talks should be in private. There may be something to be said for open diplomacy, rather than diplomacy by leak, but there is a great deal to be said for private diplomacy, and it seems to me that that is the way in which East and West statesmen at various levels could well build to reach agreement, without nervousness on either side.
Today, if we look round the world, we see that every country is stiffening its position in front of the Summit. We can see it in Germany and very clearly in Russia and in this country. It is only natural that, if one is going into negotiations, one does not want to give away one's position in advance. If one has to negotiate in public one has to put on a poker face, raise one's demands and try to establish some superiority over one's opponents, both for the sake of the negotiations and for home consumption. That is what Russia is doing. Surely, after the first meeting, we should get to a stage when the negotiations could go on much more effectively in private than if there is need for every country to take up a rather intransigent position in public before they begin.
If at the beginning, there could be an accord between America and Russia, the next important thing then would be making war less likely. I have heard people say that if we begin with disarmament, we may very well be let in for an economic war, but I should welcome an economic war as the alternative to the threat of a real one, and I would be perfectly prepared to put up with economic war if we could make progress in eliminating the overriding danger of a major nuclear war.
What we have some reason to look for at the Summit is some form of agreement on the suspension of tests. I understand that at the moment there is a difficulty over the constitutional position of the United States, which affects the length of time for which the present American 703 Government can enter into agreements. This seems to me to be a matter on which we ought to try to be accommodating. It must be inconceivable to people who do not understand the refinements of Western constitutions that this sort of thing can hold up the march towards such a prize as the cessation of tests.
I was interested to hear the Foreign Secretary's explanation, in reply to a question from the Leader of the Opposition, of the curious announcement from America about restarting tests. It is now clear that these underground tests in America are part of the process of finding out whether there can be a system of control, and are not related at all to the testing of nuclear weapons. The Foreign Secretary nods his head again. I was very glad to see that, but I wish that in private he would have a word with the State Department about their public relations. We have heard some very odd statements lately, and if the explanation is as simple as it has been made out, there is no reason for their appearance in the American papers.
I believe that if we can get as far as that, if we can get the Americans and Russians into negotiations, into a continuing private process of negotiation, and, if we can get a cessation of tests, with the reduction, for instance, of the danger of strontium pollution, we shall have gone a long way, and the Summit meeting will have been well worth while, even if it went no further than that.
The next desirable thing is, if possible, the beginning of disarmament. Mr. Khrushchev did make very sweeping proposals. As I understand it, the West felt unable to follow up his proposals for total disarmament, partly, at any rate, because the West maintained that they must have full machinery for inspection in being before disarmament began. The Foreign Secretary shakes his head.
§ Mr. Grimond
I do not think that the Foreign Secretary did completely clear it up.
The point I am getting at is this. It appears that from time to time the Russians insisted on—or put more stress on—a continuing process of disarma- 704 ment with different agreements on inspection fitted into each phase of the process. The Western countries felt that it was not good enough and that they must have some clear undertaking about inspection and control before they could agree to what I may call the Khrushchev plan starting.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
We have never said that the whole machinery of control must be established before any disarmament begins. It is not so.
§ Mr. Grimond
I follow that. The area of disagreement lies in the degree of control which is to be established before the process of disarmament begins.
All I am saying—and I am saying this in no spirit of criticism—is that in any process of disarmament we have to get over this different point of view about inspection and control. I want to make it clear that I accept that there must be inspection and control. I do not think anybody on either side of the Committee denies it. But, clearly, if we get over the difficulty of inspection which will be involved in stopping tests, we are going to have the machinery in being. What I urge upon the Government is that if there is a chance of getting progress on disarmament they will start from that position. That is that we are setting up a system of inspection after tests have actually stopped and that this precedent may be developed until the gap between the Western and the Russian attitudes is closed.
Those are my hopes from the Summit. They are limited. Now I should like to say a word or two about some other events which may or may not have an effect upon the Summit.
I feel that one cannot take part in this debate without referring to the U2. I regard the dispatch of the U2 not so much as a crime but as what we all know is more than a crime—a blunder. I agree that no doubt the Russians undertake espionage. There have been reports of unidentified aircraft flying over North Canada. I do not suppose that they are particularly shocked by espionage, but the point about this is, not that it was espionage but that a hostile—or what might have been a hostile—plane got a thousand miles into Russia and might have set in motion the whole machinery which in turn might cause a war. That is the serious thing.
705 I do not believe it will have much effect on the Summit. I believe the Russians; want the Summit, and I do not think they will be deflected from it by this incident, but I think it may have effects in Asia and Africa, effects adverse to the West. We have already seen the Russians taking advantage of this incident to drive a wedge between the Western countries. Therefore, this should be a lesson to the Western countries and a lesson we must learn, and the lesson is that we must get down to proper control of nuclear weapons.
Paramount in this matter is the need to stop the spread of those weapons. A year or so ago I suggested that we should give up our own nuclear deterrent and leave it to the Americans. I was howled down on all sides, but I have noticed that there are now many conversions to my party's point of view, and that it is becoming popular and fashionable. That well-known political character who is often referred to in the House of Commons, that Chinese general who baptised his troops as Christians with a hose, did not achieve greater rapidity than the rate at which conversions are taking place to the Liberal point of view on the need to limit the spread of the deterrent.
If this is to come, I suggest to the Government that for once in a way we should give a lead; that we should not be dragged into this but make something of it, and try to persuade France and other countries now developing their own deterrent to stop doing it by giving an example to those countries and proclaiming that we ourselves propose to drop it.
Another thing is, what do we mean by interdependence? The Government talk about this, but on any particular issue they seem to me to show far too little realisation of what it involves. For instance, I asked them why they did not join Euratom. They reply that it would mean this country's accepting decisions which they might not entirely like. Of course, any interdependence does mean just that. When the Government talk about interdependence, either military or economic, they must clarify their minds and realise that it means accepting decisions which, in toto, one may not always like.
706 The next matter is Berlin. I do not believe that at present unification of Germany is possible nor a settlement on Berlin, but again I think there is something which we can do among ourselves in the West, regardless of what happens at the Summit. It is difficult I admit, but we have to consider what we are going to do if the Russians sign a peace treaty with the East Germans. I am not saying that they will or not, but they might. If they did, what do we do about West Berlin? It was suggested by the hon. Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) that it should be declared a free city. The objection to that is that the Russians will not include East Berlin in a free city, and I do not myself see why we should declare West Berlin a free city unless East Berlin is included within it.
I believe, however, there are two things we might do. One is to see if it is possible to get any quid pro quo for some recognition, not de jure but de facto, of the East German Government. It would be well worth considering it, because there is now in any case a good deal of intercourse with the East German Government and it might be worth looking into that to see if we can get any exchange for admitting this officially.
Another proposal is that we bring the United Nations into the Berlin situation, for instance, to see if they would be prepared to supervise the pass system on the roads into Berlin if a difficult situation arose.
The Middle East has not yet been mentioned in the debate, but I would have thought that here there could be some chance of getting agreement with the Russians, because I believe that in the Middle East we have a common interest. I do not believe the Russians want this area, which is in a rather dangerous and shaky state, to be filled with arms. I should have thought there could have been some agreement to limit arms going into the Middle East. I do not myself think that the Tripartite Declaration is any longer a suitable basis of policy in the Middle East. It seems to be dangerously vague, and I do not know what our obligations under it now are.
Our interest is to have trade and peace and stability. If that is our interest, then it should coincide with the interests of Russia and some agreement should be possible.
707 On the subject of economics, I am not myself in the least afraid of an economic war. I do not deny that it may give rise to difficulties, but I think we could welcome it as an exchange for a war with arms, or even an armed cold war. We have cards we can play. I believe we are immensely strong as compared with Russia, and while refugees pour out of the East into West Berlin I do not think we need fear for our ultimate success in a trade and political war.
Lastly, there is the position of the United Nations. Everyone has suggested that at some point we have to widen these negotiations and bring in other countries. That surely should be done through the United Nations. The hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus) made a very reasonable criticism of the view that one can found an international force at present and expect it to be effective against a major Power. Personally, I think that an international force is needed now for the type of work which it has been doing for instance in the Sinai Peninsula. I want that force extended and made permanent, but before we can do that we must have the techniques of peaceful change developed as well, and that should be done through the United Nations.
The points in the latter part of my speech are things which surround the Summit; but on the Summit, at the top of the hill, the things to go for are some agreement between the United States and Russia, some agreement to stop tests finally, and if possible an agreement to continue with a process which I hope is being begun, and to some extent unilaterally, by East and West of scaling down these arms which the whole world has come to see, particularly after this recent incident, are highly dangerous and a severe burden on our people.
§ 7.21 p.m.
§ Mr. I. J. Pitman (Bath)
I will not greatly follow the remarks of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), the Leader of the Liberal Party, because I agreed with so much of what he said. But there is a point about the timing of the control mechanism in relation to disarmament which I think important and which I should like to tie up with what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Labour Party said 708 about disarmament needing to be both comprehensive and controlled.
I think that we all agree with that completely. I want to point out that the Prime Minister said that in the House in 1955, and that recently the Minister of Aviation, when he was Minister of Defence, said it, that the Foreign Secretary has said it, and that we were all very pleased to see my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) listening to our debate for so long today because he was the architect of that conception of disarmament being inseparable from both comprehensiveness and control.
This question of security being dependent upon a comprehensive disarmament and upon control of that disarmament when it takes place is, moreover, today in a context of insecurity, not of security. We learned from the Foreign Secretary that America is spending 45 billion dollars on defence, and that that is being matched by Russia, each of them out of a sense of insecurity. What are they getting for the money? They are not getting security. Indeed, they are quite incapable of defending America—or of defending Russia. All they can do is to give not themselves security but their potential enemies a sense of even greater insecurity, by reason of all that expenditure.
In many ways it would do us a lot of good in the House of Commons if we rechristened the Defence Vote "The External Insecurity Vote" and if we faced the reality that it is nowadays quite impossible to defend, in the true sense of the word, any territory or persons against modern armaments. For such security we need a new control institution.
This evening, when Mr. Speaker leaves the Chair and when the cry goes out, "Who goes home?" we shall go downstairs to the cloak-room and we shall see there, where we now hang our umbrellas, the tapes on which Members of Parliament used to hang their swords. Wisely we did not give up our means of individual self-defence until there had been set up an institution which gave us a better security than we enjoyed before. Similarly, those of us who have stayed in baronial castles will know that, even if they are not very convenient, they are no longer a means of self-defence, with a standing army 709 and with the molten lead and the rest. We recognise that the prior condition for their changing from military buildings to residential ones was that there was set up a national institution which could give greater security than that which the baronial castles could achieve for themselves.
I am not by any means the only hon Member who has played at Twickenham for England against Scotland, but I assure the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus) that the Scots have lost none of their virility and national group psychology. Nevertheless, what has happened is that the bloody wars between England and Scotland were settled here again only by the creation of a new institution, namely, a British Government—not an Anglo-Government plus a Scottish Government sitting as an international committee, but by the creation of a new British institution. Obviously, man has not altered at all. It is not that any of us are any better but that we are all rather luckier because we now enjoy new institutions that give us security.
Let us face it that disarmament is not enough in the international field. There must be this control mechanism. Obviously, as the Leader of the Labour Party says and the Foreign Secretary confirms, disarmament may make at any rate some progress before the whole control mechanism is built up. But, equally, total disarmament can never take place until such a new institution has been fully created. Because unless it has been created, disarmament implies the possibility, indeed the duty, to rearm.
The Prime Minister is going to the Summit in the context of the "Plan for Comprehensive Disarmament" which the Foreign Secretary has put forward for consideration by the Ten-Power Disarmament Commission at Geneva. I think that few people have appreciated the revolutionary nature of the document "Text of the Plan for Comprehensive Disarmament". Section III A reads:… to the end that no single nation or group of nations can effectively oppose enforcement of international law.I emphasise the word "enforcement" of international law.
Earlier, under Section I F, the document envisages what is proposed as the enforcement institution: 7107. Means of preventing aggression and preserving world peace and security … by … an organ of, or linked to, the United Nations.Here then is the beginning of the concept of setting up a fresh institution which shall be a world institution, because it ought not really to be an international institution. If it is linked to the United Nations then the United Nations would be free to continue as an international body doing its advisory functions. The world peace-keeping organisation, as it might be called, however would be an executive organ linked to it, but it would be a world organ, not an inter-governmental one.
We do not now carry swords, not because of any inter-individual institution but because of Scotland Yard. We stay in baronial castles not because of any inter-baronial committees and government but because of a national Government, and we shall have international security only by reason of the creation not of an international organisation but of a world organisation, which, of course, in turn may nevertheless be subject to the United Nations as an international not a world body.
My hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Smithers) made an extremely good point on the relaxation of tension when he said that that would be carrying on the same war but at a different temperature—still a cold war, and therefore still a struggle. Implicit in what he said is the concept that the struggle would go on in other fields and at other levels but that it would still be the same struggle. He made the valid point that it was essential that there should be built up, as suggested in this policy document, the concept of a "one world".
Why is there this astonishing silence in the nation about that concept? Why have not more people taken it up? Why cannot it be a bipartisan policy? Would it not give the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition a wonderful opportunity to get out of his difficulties if he took advantage of it? Why do we not canalise the idealism of the Alder-maston marchers? The idealism in this country is tremendous. Can we in this Committee not say to those marchers that we at any rate do not want nerve poison gases, a pound of which can put the whole population of the world out? Can we not say that we furthermore do 711 not want bacteriological warfare either? Again, I cannot imagine anything worse than the slow starvation which submarine warfare can bring about. When the Aldermaston marchers drink their soup in kitchens on the way, I hope that they will realise that, to this country, submarine warfare can be as bad a form of human activity as anything of which they can conceive. Then there are the V-1s and the V-2s which the Leader of the Liberal Party mentioned: such modern armaments even with high explosive are not very nice things either. We in this Committee and nation, the Americans and the Russians want to abolish the lot. I am not suggesting that Canon Collins really thinks that only one weapon is bad and that the others are good, but a lot of sentimental people whose idealism is very great have been deluded into objecting to one only of the panoply of weapons all of which are horrific, with little to choose between their degrees of horror. The alternatives are perfectly clear. Either we have to be in the ring having carried out the logic of Aldermaston and divested ourselves not only of the nuclear weapon but also of every single weapon or we claim that we do not want to be in the ring, but if we have to be, and the other fellow is bristling with every kind of weapon—cutlass, pistol and bicycle chain—then we have to have the same kind of equipment, otherwise we go under.
There is, however, yet another and much more acceptable alternative, the alternative in this document, of organising ourselves and all mankind with us out of the ring. It has been done before. It has not only been done as between England and Scotland and it is not only in terms of our own self-protection that new institutions have brought their benefit. The hon. Member for Gorton said that such a new institution was impracticable because we would need a ratio of three to one to provide security and that it would be impossible: but this document provides not for that ratio but for a ratio of three thousand not three and three thousand not to one but to nothing. If all nations were disarmed except for minor weapons Russia would be secure and internally Russia would be able to do what it liked. It could put up its pill boxes and have lots of men with machine guns and have a 712 real defence against any other nation, which lacking major armaments would not be able successfully to attack. But all the armament given up by national Governments would be handed over and used by this W.P.K.O., this world peace-keeping organisation, as the means of guaranteeing Russia and every other nation and thus keeping the peace. Just as the police here, with the backing of the Army, keep internal order, so world order could be kept by the W.P.K.O. with its police and its army in reserve.
There was a very interesting article in the Economist which called attention to the astonishing Jack of awareness of this proposal of Her Majesty's Government. The article also raised the question of whether this W.P.K.O. would be "world government". Of course it would not be. The chief constable in Bath does not "govern" Bath, and Scotland Yard does not "govern" London and England. The peace-keeping function is not a governing function. The U.N., like any national Government, would see that the police force, and the peace-keeping organisation, were under proper political control and that they carried out their function properly. It would not however interfere with, nor could it interfere with, their day-to-day duties.
I urge the Prime Minister to ask at the Summit Conference that such a new institution as mentioned in this Plan for Comprehensive Disarmament be set up. He has put a little seed in the ground by that document. Let us see whether it cannot be made to grow during the conference. I believe that the Russians sincerely wish for peace as much as anybody else. If this is the solution they will surely wish to explore it as much as anybody else. Let the United Nations appoint, say, seven individuals from non-committed countries and call them the "embryo world peace-keeping organisation. "They would have only a few fountain pens to begin with, but let them make their proposals to each national Government and ask each in turn whether if their plan were to be acceptable to them and were found to be also acceptable to other Governments they would be willing to give land for W.P.K.O. bases on their own territory.
If we are prepared to give bases on our territory to other Governments in order to provide ourselves with defence by achieving insecurity, how 713 much more would we be willing to give such bases to a world peace-keeping organisation if it were thereby enabled to guarantee our security, as the British Army guarantees security to England and Scotland and an end to their wars. It would then be up to the United Nations to consider the report of these seven men and whether it should form a W.P.K.O. as a suggested organ of its own, and thus to give to each nation the opportunity of deciding whether or not in a comprehensive and controlled world disarmament to disarm in favour of that body.
The only argument I have heard against this proposal is that the Russians would not accept it. How do we know? It is surely our job to put it to them and see if they will accept. I believe that if this is the right plan, as the Government suggest it is, then it is the only plan that the Russians or anyone else will in the end accept.
This concept will take time. It will have to begin, as the Foreign Secretary has said, in small ways with discussion round nuclear weapons, but this institution could also be set up so that the two could grow together. We should be in a position to propose something really sound to the idealists in the Aldermaston marchers and to the peoples of the world. If it became a bipartisan policy and was explained to the country and to the world, the Prime Minister would have a great advantage at the Summit in putting forward such a proposal. The truth is that our leaders are here miles ahead of us: but it is our job to catch up with them, give them support, hope that they will do well at the Summit and say, "God be with them."
§ 7.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Mulley (Sheffield, Park)
I am sure that the Committee listened with great interest to the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) introduce his view that after disarmament we must move towards the institutions about which he spoke. While the hon. Gentleman was speaking I recalled, also, the words of the late Lord Keynes, when he said that in the long run we are all dead. In this context, those words are perhaps truer than in any other. Unless, in the short run, we concentrate on the beginning of disarmament and on the reduction of friction and armaments in 714 the world, the probability is that we shall all be dead; and I hope that the hon. Member for Bath will forgive me if I concentrate on the shorter view rather than the long view which he put so clearly and sincerely to the Committee.
I thought that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Foreign Secretary marred an otherwise interesting speech by implying at the beginning that we on this side of the Committee had expressed the view that once we got to the Summit everything would be all right and that all the problems would be solved. Certainly, that is not my point of view, nor, as I understand it, the point of view advanced by my right hon. and hon. Friends. But at least it is indisputable that until we get to the Summit negotiations there is no possibility of settling anything at all. At this time we must not only consider the topics which we expect to be the main items on the agenda at the Summit, we should have a general review of our foreign and defence policies. I am quite sure that we cannot have special policies for the Summit negotiations and quite different policies in between.
The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary will know that they go to these negotiations carrying with them not only the aspirations of the people of this country, but of ordinary people all over the world, that at last some steps towards disarmament will be taken. Irrespective of party and country, ordinary people realise that apart from their danger, the cost of armaments stands between them and the houses, schools, social services and higher standard of living which otherwise would be available to them.
It is undisputable that permanent peace, as distinct from the uncertainties of the present balance of terror, can be achieved only by the development of mutual trust and disarmament between the two parts of the world. While we must approach the Summit with sober optimism and not expect too much, I think that we shall be extremely disappointed if some advance is not made in the general direction in which we all wish to go.
I do not wish to develop the point about the recent spying incident, which was dealt with so well this afternoon by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. I appreciate the difficulties 715 about giving the kind of assurances that were demanded, but I hope that at least the Prime Minister will find himself able to give an assurance that we have not, and shall not, in any part of our policy, do anything to prejudice the successful outcome of the Summit negotiations. In this connection, we have a special responsibility. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have a special responsibility, because, unhappily, the optimism which I think is shared by all hon. Members is not so evident in other parts of the world.
I was very shocked when, in recent discussions with members of all parties from other European Parliaments, I noticed quite a cynical approach to the possibilities of success at the Summit. And we all know that in the United States some influential sections of opinion there, not the mass of the people, are by no means enthusiastic about disarmament or its possibilities. As was said by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, we have had to wait a long time for these talks. To be very frank, I think that that was partly due to the disregard by the Government of world opinion and the need to consult our allies at the time of Suez. It took time for that difficulty to disappear. Secondly, it was because we showed a complete indifference to the forces of European unity.
Therefore, I think that we have a special responsibility to try very hard to achieve some success at the Summit meeting. Whether we succeed or not, I hope that at least it will be evident to the world that any failure to achieve what we want will be through no fault of Britain. I hope that it will be evendent that it is not the fault of the West as a whole. Obviously, no one wants to use these negotiations as a form of propaganda, but it may well be possible to try the old trick of suggesting an idea or a plan to some of the people with whom we negotiate, and, when they put forward the same proposals as their own idea, to congratulate them on their originality. We do not want propaganda credit; we want to achieve the beginnings of a new epoch in world relations.
As is so often said, it is impossible to separate defence and foreign policy con- 716 siderations. A good foreign policy is by far the best defence policy. Therefore, not only in our attitudes to these negotiations, but in our policy direction, we should, in my view, try to fit in these principles. First, we must always retain the objective of unilateral and comprehensive general disarmament with, of course, an adequate safeguard of inspection and control. I fear that it may well happen that the biggest stumbling block to making a beginning towards such an agreement may be not the Soviet Union, but because we in the West cannot agree among ourselves upon a formula and a means of approach.
Secondly, we should do everything possible to resist the spread of nuclear Powers. The logic of the failure to create agreements and an interdependent policy is, of course, that a country is faced with the alternative of having a national independent nuclear deterrent or of becoming a neutralist. Both of these alternatives are wrong. What we need is interdependence and the political control of nuclear weapons.
Of course, in formulating our disarmament and defence plans we should be less concerned with how to fight a war, should one take place, than with the principle of how a war can best be prevented. I think it necessary to say that until we succeed in getting disarmament agreements we must maintain effective defences in the West. It is impossible for this country alone to provide an adequate defence for our people. Clearly, we must be part of a co-ordinated defence system. If we are to get disarmament we must show that we have already an effective defence system. It would be no attraction to the Soviet Union to enter into disarmament agreements if it was believed that already we were unilaterally disarming ourselves or, by division between the allies and N.A.T.O., we were reducing our effective defence, possibly even to a greater extent than we should by a mere reduction of men and weapons. So I think it essential to have an effective defence, and that must be on a collective basis.
I have been much inspired in my thinking in these matters by a short but very wise observation by the Prime 717 Minister, when he was on his way back from America in October, 1957. He said:The time has passed when any country, however strong, can have an independent policyIn terms of defence, that to me means that we must look wholly to N.A.T.O. in our defence thinking, that we must disregard any aspect or possibility of having a national, individual, independent British defence policy, and that we must judge our defence effort in terms only of what would be the most efficient British contribution to N.A.T.O.
This is not the time for a detailed discussion on defence. For a considerable period I have not been in favour of a British independent nuclear strategic force and it is necessary to stress that if we are to have interdependence in defence we must recognise that the consequence of that is that we must have an interdependent, and not an independent, foreign policy, and that in our general thinking we must be international and not national.
This is more than a matter of a change of policy. For the British people it involves a change in our attitude of mind, because we have all been exceedingly insular and parochial in our thinking on these matters, in particular with regard to our attitude to our European neighbours. We have undoubtedly left things extremely late. Ten years ago, when the Prime Minister was making such wonderful speeches in Strasbourg about European unity, we could have led Europe in almost any direction we wanted it to go. Our standing in Europe today is such that the people there demand action and not merely words.
The Foreign Secretary made an excellent speech on this theme in Strasbourg on 21st January last, but all the Europeans who heard it said, "It is very fine, but what are you going to do to justify it?" Today, we must be concerned with the political rather than with the economic consequences of the division of Europe between the Six and the Seven. This has great relevance to the possibility of the successful outcome of the Summit talks.
One of the prime purposes of our policy ought to be to seek a permanent association with the Common Market countries. As we always say, this is 718 extremely urgent, but I believe now that if, before the end of this year, we do not succeed it will be impossible to pursue this task. Although the Wigny-Hallstein proposals have now been postponed, or it seems probable that they will be postponed, until 1st January, we have the G.A.T.T. conference in September, and at the moment negotiations are taking place to set up an organisation to replace the O.E.E.C.
A British initiative is necessary. Suggestions have been made that we should join Euratom. I strongly endorse that. I never understood why we did not join it when it was first formed. I should like to think that we could join the Common Market and bring the Commonwealth in with us, but we know that as we are now part of the European Free Trade Association we cannot act unilaterally in this matter. I think that it should be possible to get a satisfactory political and economic association with Europe, possibly without going to the full extent of joining.
The members of the Community, particularly the French, have often described their economic community as a club. We should accept that proposition and put the proposal to them that there is room in the club for both full and associate membership, and that we understand that if associate members pay less than the full subscription in terms of economic and political integration they will get less than the full benefits. I think that it would be possible for agreement to be reached along those lines if the proposal was made as a result of British initiative.
Why, for example, should it not be possible for us to be associate members of the Community and levy upon their exports to us half the tariff that we levy on the rest of the world, and they in their turn halve their external tariffs in respect of the associate European members? This is a European idea and the stumbling block is G.A.T.T., but if we are to choose between association with Europe and G.A.T.T., my instinct, politically and economically, is to choose Europe, because, as I see it, the proposals of the Committee of Four for the reorganised O.E.E.C—O.E.C.D.—will make the Community self-contained, and the non-Six European countries, in their relations with the Six, will be treated on the same basis as the South American Republics 719 on any other country in the world. Any possibility of a United Europe, which the Prime Minister did so much to promote ten years ago, will go if this new O.E.C.D. comes into operation on the lines at present proposed. For both economic and political reasons, that would be a disaster.
It was because I had in mind the need for interdependence of foreign policy, more effective defence, and political control of nuclear weapons, together with the desire for a British initiative, that I produced my personal heresy when I suggested last December that there should be a form of European strategic deterrent within the general framework of the modified Brussels Treaty and the Western European Union. My purpose was not in any way to increase the defence or striking power of the West. It would not have involved an additional nuclear bomb. We all know that on the military side today the problem is not the provision of more warheads, but the means of delivery. On the political side, the problem is how to control the use of nuclear weapons within the Western Alliance. My proposal was made before the French developed their bomb and it was that we in Britain—because we still have, and will have for one or two years, an independent nuclear strategic force of V-bombers and their weapons—should place our independent deterrent within the general control of the Western European countries.
I do not mind whether we do it within the aegis of N.A.T.O., but it seemed to me that, because of the existence of the Western European Treaty and the existing provisions for controlling the production of nuclear weapons, that would be a useful organisation within which to begin this idea. For us, it would mean only giving up our sovereignty and control over the use of our own nuclear weapons. It would not mean sharing atomic secrets or the common production of nuclear weapons. If we accept the principle of sharing in that way it might be possible to advance later towards the collective manufacture, not of the nuclear weapon, but of the means of delivery. It might also be possible to get a common research programme.
It certainly would not mean that Germany would be allowed to make or possess nuclear weapons. It would mean 720 only that Germany, as a member of W.E.U. or N.A.T.O., would participate in the decision to use nuclear weapons. That is the emphasis that we must put on this matter. In the N.A.T.O. alliance as it is at present there are first-class and second-class members—those who have nuclear weapons and have some say in the policy concerning their use, and the rest, who have no feeling of participating in the really vital decisions involved. Until we can take steps in this general development of foreign and defence policy—which we can begin to do without waiting for Summit Conference decisions—we shall not be in a collective frame of mind to make the best use of the negotiations that are coming along.
I conclude as I began, by wishing the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary well in their negotiations next week and in the months to come. I am never quite sure what is meant by wishing a person or country well, but the expression is frequently used by Foreign Office spokesmen, and thus it is probably the oppropriate thing to say. I hope that not only next week, but tonight, the Prime Minister will reiterate the principle of interdependence which he expressed so well in the single sentence that I quoted from the speech he made at London Airport when he came back from the United States in 1957.
There are great possibilities of achieving disarmament, because the challenge of the future will lie in technological competition and the conflict of ideologies, and possibly, also, in a trade war between the Communist countries and the West, especially in Asia and Africa. Unless we can agree to the principle of interdependence between the countries of the West we shall fail in our objectives at the Summit Conference and in connection with the trade, technological and other considerations which are becoming increasingly important. I know that the Prime Minister will go with the full backing of the British people if he makes it clear that if the conference fails it will not be the fault of Britain.
§ 8.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Neil Marten (Banbury)
After the excellent, interesting and far-ranging speech made by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley), I fear that what I have to say will be regarded as 721 covering only a very narrow front. Many speakers have mentioned the question of spying and the flight of the U2. I should like to say a few words about spying, because it is important to damp it down before the Summit Conference takes place. I was a spy for a short time during the war. I was a very bad one, and I did not do much, but I have had a little experience, and I have always been interested in certain aspects of the subject. I thought that a word to the Committee on the matter might be of some interest.
The U2 incident is being exploited by Russia, probably quite fairly. She is seeking to divide the West and create a certain amount of hatred on the matter. It is, therefore, essential to place this espionage game in its right perspective. Looking back at my experiences, they seem very funny. One must regard spying with a sense of humour. I can assure hon. Members that that is what spies do. We need not get quite so steamed up about it. Great Powers, in order to be great, must have their own secret services.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
Would the hon. Member have a sense of humour if a Russian aircraft were flying over Surrey at this moment?
§ Mr. Marten
I do not know that I would object to it, but in any case I was referring more to the traditional type of spying. Every great Power has to have its own secret service, as part of its defence mechanism. We accept radar, which is a technical spy which looks at enemy countries. Air flights like that of the U2 are part of the defence mechanism of the West. A responsible Government must get all the knowledge it can of the war potential of the country which it fears might become its enemy. If it does not do that it is failing. I therefore reiterate that the great Powers must have their secret services.
Spying is a great industry, employing large numbers of people on both sides. Spies are employed to go out and obtain information, and that makes the opponent set up counter-espionage organisations to catch them. There is a doubling up of every spy, and a great deal of money is expended. Spying is said to be one of the oldest professions. Prostitution is regarded as the oldest, 722 and I believe that spying is the second oldest.
§ Mr. Marten
On that point we differ. There is a certain similarity between prostitution and spying, in that much of the work is done on street corners—or used to be—and furtive payments are made, upon which no Income Tax is paid. There is also a lot of double-crossing among the people engaged in the business. Prostitution had the Wolfenden Report and was driven underground, but attempts to take action with spies have forced them above the ground. They started off underground and they have now had to go above the ground and into the air, taking part in the kind of aircraft flight upon which the U2 was engaged.
More seriously, the Russians regard the shooting down of the U2 as part of the great game of spy catching. It is a question of "one-upmanship"; the side that catches the most spies is the winner. The incident must be seen in that light, and I hope that the case of the shot-down U2 will in no way upset or affect the deliberations at the Summit Conference.
The other question that arises in this connection is: what use is the country Which has caught the spy going to make of the fact? I do not blame Mr. Khrushchev for playing the cards as he has done. He has done it very well. I find it amusing to watch him play his cards, because I regard spying as amusing. If the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus) found an American spy in the Ministry of Defence he would derive much enjoyment from playing his cards slowly. That is the way we must look at the matter.
The first point to remember is that this affair is a victory for the Russians in the cold war. The uncommitted countries look to the major Powers for a code of behaviour. I believe that, thinking over this incident, they will say, "That is not a very good code of behaviour". If the Russians are clever they will probably cash in on this and it will be regarded as a victory in the cold war. Secondly, the uncommitted countries will probably regard it as a victory for technical skill. We are told 723 that the aircraft was shot down by a missile. I do not know whether that is true, but I believe that the uncommitted countries will say, "The Russians have shot a rocket to the moon. If they can do that there is no reason why they should not shoot down an aircraft with a rocket." The uncommitted countries could, therefore, regard this as another feather in the Russian cap, showing the technical skill of the Russians.
I do not think that we should attach too much importance to all the technical points which have been brought out and the arguments to show whether the fighter was either shot down or crashed. We can leave that to the technicians to decide. Nor should we be too holy about all the equipment which was found and which has been laid out, such as the seven ladies' gold rings, the notes in cellophane, the French gold coins, and the poisoned pin. The poison was only for the pilot's self-destruction and was not intended to poison anybody else. When I did my spying I carried poison, and I still have the little container, which I now use to carry indigestion tablets. The poison was for one's own self-destruction. We should, therefore, keep that in perspective, too.
The Russians will try to create the maximum disturbance among the N.A.T.O. and C.E.N.T.O. Powers by shaking their fists, as it were, at Norway, Turkey and Pakistan. I do not think that that matters very much, except that it rather strengthens the anti-Americanism which is latent in those countries. That is the danger in this operation.
During the debate hon. Members have said that the flight should not have taken place and that it was the wrong timing. That may be so, although it is very much a question of opinion. If it is a question of wrong timing, the next question is, ought they not to have stopped these flights earlier and, if so, how much earlier? How far back ought they to have gone in stopping these flights? Ought they to have stopped them when the Summit meetings were first under discussion? If not, when ought they to have stopped them? It is easy to be wise after the event.
What perhaps we can do is to draw a distinction between actions in espionage which are provocative and other actions 724 which are non-provocative. Surely non-provocative actions can continue, presumably even during the Summit Conference, but I agree that provocative actions are in a different category. In this Ministers ought to have a little more control over their secret services than has been apparent in this case.
I have read the reports in HANSARD of the debates on the Crabbe case. This, too, was an action which I think was provocative and which should not have taken place. It was a provocative action by rather naive people who had a sickening unawareness of politics. I will say no more about that.
We have had the Crabbe case and the U2 case. Hon. Members may say, in tennis terms, that that is 30-love to the Russians. If they think so, I must remind them of another case which I believe makes it about 30-all. This was a case in Frankfurt, West Germany, on 18th February, 1954. A Russian emigré, Mr. Okolovich, was living in Frankfurt. Somebody came to his front door and said, "I have been sent by the Russians to kill you but I do not intend to do so." There is a certain similarity between this case and the other two. I looked up the details yesterday in The Times of 23rd April, 1954. There was a certain similarity which I thought it as well to point out.
The man who came to the door was Captain Kokolov of the M.V.D. and of the Ninth Odtel, which is the Russian terrorist organisation. He had been chosen to kill Mr. Okolovich, who was a Russian emigré leader in Frankfurt. He was sent by Soviet plane to Vinna, which was in a neutral country, on 14th January, 1954, under the name of Joseph Hoffbauer, using a false passport. In other words, he was using another country, as is alleged in the case of the U2. He was supposed to knock at the door and to see Mr. Okolovich and to say, "I have come to meet you". He was to hand him a cigarette. When he opened the packet of cigarettes, Captain Kokolov was to squeeze the packet of cigarettes. Inside was an electrical device which would discharge a pellet containing enough potassium cyanide to kill a man a hundred times over.
To my mind this is a grave abuse of the use of poison. It is the sort of thing which the Russian secret service is 725 capable of doing, and I believe that it is going a little beyond the rules of the game. An interesting feature of this story is the timing; it was shortly before the Geneva Conference on Korea and Indo-China. There is, therefore, a certain similarity with the U2 incident, and because it was going a little beyond the accepted rules of the game, I will give the West 30 points for that incident, and I reckon that the score is about 30-all in this game of "spymanship" and "one-upmanship."
In my view, when we approach the time of a conference all countries should exercise more Ministerial control over their secret services. That is probably the lesson which has come out of this incident. I have tried to give the background to this spy game and I have tried to damp the incident down, because I think its importance becomes very much inflated when people do not know the background. I hope that this case will not become a factor, as it should not become a factor, in the Summit negotiations. The Summit is far too serious to be affected by the comic-tragedy of these spy games. It might also give an opening for us to examine again the "Open Skies" proposal, for, if we had had open skies, this would never have happened.
I conclude by wishing Godspeed to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary. I believe that the Prime Minister will have not only the good wishes but also the prayers of the country throughout the whole time of the negotiations.
§ 8.18 p.m.
§ Mr. William Warbey (Ashfield)
The hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) has given the Committee an account of his experiences and their bearing upon the recent incident of the U2. He has agreed that, although, in his view, such incidents should not be taken too seriously, nevertheless this was an occasion on which there ought to have been Ministerial intervention to prevent the possibility of such an incident occurring on the eve of the Summit Conference. In other words, he is surely agreeing that this is an incident which is capable of having a very serious effect at this time.
Now that there has been released the uncensored version of Mr. Khrushchev's speech, we find that Mr. Khrushchev has 726 taken an extremely serious view of the matter. The Soviet Union propose to raise this alleged act of American aggression at the Security Council. Mr. Khrushchev has made a violent attack on Mr. Herter, United States Secretary of State. We ought to realise that the U2 incident went a good deal beyond the ordinary spying which, unfortunately, takes place on all sides when we have a state of affairs such as we have in the world today, with armed camps in rivalry with one another. This, after all, is an act of violation of the national sovereignty of a country with which, from the diplomatic point of view, we and the United States are still in friendly relations. It is a violation of international law.
The American Government have seen fit not merely to take responsibility for this incident, but to go, further and pro-claim quite openly that they regard it as justified and intend to go on with this kind of thing in the future, unless they can get their own way about their proposal for open skies.
This attitude is extremely dangerous. I hope that when the Prime Minister replies to the debate we shall hear from him a rather more serious statement about this matter than we heard from the Foreign Secretary, who seemed to view it with extreme complacency and made a rather glib remark about it being fortunate that it happened before the Summit, rather than after it.
It is extremely unfortunate that it happened before the Summit Conference. It is, in itself, one indication among many others of the kind of forces which are at work in some countries today and which can very seriously hinder the objectives which we all hope will be realised by the Summit Conference. The conference, after all, meets at a critical time in world affairs. The hopes of a good deal of humanity will be on the conference, expecting that it will make a real start on a new approach to international affairs.
Although we believe that great things must indeed be started by the Summit Conference, we must also be very aware, as we enter upon this new level of international negotiations, of the obstacles which lie in its way and the factors and tendencies which are at work in international affairs today, which may 727 be of either a negative or a positive character.
I should like to refer to what I think are some of the more significant of those factors, starting with the negative ones. To mention what may seem a small one, but one which may have considerable repercussions, there is, first, the discovery of the inability of this country to have an independent nuclear deterrent.
Secondly, there is the tendency for there to develop in Germany a régime which seeks again the revival of military power in order to be able to assert a settlement of Europe and of European affairs and boundaries in the interests, or supposed interests, of Germany. It is a very dangerous tendency, and nearly every hon. Member realises that the tendency exists and is one which we now have to take quite seriously. It can no longer be regarded as simply a bogy put up by those who used to be opposed to the rearmament of Germany.
Then there is, on a much wider level, the failure of the whole policy of negotiation from strength. When the West did have some relative strength, it refused to use the opportunity to negotiate. We have now reached the situation where the balance of strength is passing away from the Western Powers. If we do not negotiate soon, the prospect of negotiation with any kind of success from a Western point of view will disappear rapidly.
Further, there is the failure of the whole policy of trying to save the world and human freedom from the Communist threat by military opposition, by a military alliance. Looking round at what is supposed to be the free world today, one finds that about half of it is composed of countries in which there is rather less political freedom than there is in many Communist countries and where there is certainly a good deal more exploitation and social inequality.
In South Korea, we have just had the lid taken off. Although the United States felt that it should intervene because a revolutionary situation was developing, President Eisenhower felt it necessary to send a telegram of warm greetings to Syngman Rhee in his honourable retirement.
In South Vietnam, there is a state of political repression, corruption, inequality and lack of political freedom 728 under American protection which is just as bad as anything which has prevailed in South Korea. In Laos, there have just been rigged elections under American protection. In Turkey, while N.A.T.O. has been meeting, the police have had to be on the streets to prevent demonstrators showing their opposition to a régime which again denies the rights of the opposition and of the Press.
To come further into Europe, Spain, which is a kind of indirect member of N.A.T.O., is still a Fascist country. Portugal is a Fascist country. In Western Germany there are tendencies which certainly are not developing in the direction of our conception of Western democracy.
Therefore, it is time that we dropped this humbug about a free world and recognised that the Communist challenge cannot be resisted by military means. That attempt has failed, and the attempt to continue it in the future will certainly go on the rocks, because this challenge is taking on a new character in itself. It is a character which cannot be resisted by military means. I will refer to this again later, because I regard it as one of the positive, and not one of the negative, factors in international affairs.
Among the negative factors, there is, further, the appalling momentum of the arms race. As the arms race gains momentum, we find that the political objectives towards a peaceful settlement of international affairs tend to become submerged, and even thwarted, by the activities of the military planners. We have seen some dangerous indications of that in the United States. We have seen how some of them have tried to sabotage the possibility of an agreement on the ending of nuclear tests. We are not at all convinced that they have yet finished their efforts.
We have had the incident of the U2, and we have had quite open declarations by some military leaders, both in the United States and in Europe, which are hostile to the conceptions of disengagements, and even to serious disarmament. There is the danger to which other hon. Members have referred and which, I think, has to be regarded as a negative factor at the moment. That is the potential danger, at least, of the development of an intransigent China, a country with a population which is already nearly one-quarter of the world's total population 729 and which before many years will be one-third of the world's population. I believe that that intransigence in itself is very largely a reaction to the relentless hostility which has been shown to Communist China by the United States. There is a possibility of the correction of that danger, but it is certainly one which has to be kept in our mind.
What is there on the credit side? On the credit side, there is—I believe everybody recognises it today—a growing realisation in all countries that the continuance of the nuclear arms race and of the cold war presents a deadly menace to the whole of humanity. This feeling is being more and more experienced by ordinary human beings throughout the world. It is beginning to exert pressure on the statesmen of the world, and that pressure is at last beginning to have some effect upon their rulers.
Secondly, there is a very important development in the Soviet Union away from what can be summed up in the word "Stalinism", with all that that implied—a certain ruthlessness and oppressiveness, both internal and external —towards a position in which the people and the rulers of the Soviet Union are confident that they can achieve their objectives, both internal and external, without resort to force, and indeed far more certainly in a world of peaceful co-existence and general disarmament.
This I regard as one of the most encouraging and helpful developments in international affairs, though some people seem to regard it with a certain fear. One can understand the reaction, for example, of those American capitalists who so deeply fear the success of Communism within the Soviet Union alone that the realisation that the Communist system in the Soviet Union may succeed in proving to be an economic and, eventually, a social success, is the kind of challenge they feel unable to meet except by the old-fashioned methods of force.
The third positive factor is the growth of independent countries in Asia and Africa and, to an increasing extent, in Latin America. Those countries take an independent line in world affairs. They give a certain balance to international affairs, and they constitute a growing body of world public opinion of which it is quite clear the great Powers have to take 730 increasing note, and which cannot be dismissed because it does not possess a large number of divisions or nuclear weapons.
There are six negative factors and three positive ones, but if we are willing to learn from our mistakes, some of the negative ones can be turned into positive ones. In any case, there is a fourth potential factor, which depends very much on the British Government and the Prime Minister—the kind of rôle that this country at this time could and should play in international affairs. I believe that there is an opportunity for us to make a decisive intervention at this stage which could really put us on the path towards a stable peace and international co-operation.
There are signs that the Prime Minister is feeling his way in the right direction. There was his visit to Moscow, his appreciation of the positive developments in the Soviet Union, and the understandings with Mr. Khrushchev that were embodied in the Moscow communiqué. There has been what I consider the very satisfactory intermediate rôle played by this country in the discussions on a ban on nuclear tests, and from what we have heard of the discussions between the Prime Minister and Dr. Adenauer, and the Prime Minister's conversations in Washington, there have been some indications that he is aware of some of these possibly dangerous tendencies in international affairs, and, also, that he recognises the need for a more independent British foreign policy.
I have to admit that, on the other side, there have been, unfortunately, some very bad signs. There has been the fact that Her Majesty's Government have, for example, embarked on a policy of promoting the development of the German armaments industry, and even the production of weapons at present forbidden by the Brussels Treaty. There is the fact that Her Majesty's Government have not protested openly against the continuance of the American policy of hostility towards China, and have not sought actively to secure her acceptance into the United Nations. These and other indications are less favourable.
I believe, therefore, that a great deal now depends on whether or not the Prime Minister goes into the Summit Conference really prepared to give a lead 731 for this country; on whether he goes into it not with one hand tied behind his back by Dr. Adenauer and the other tied behind his back by the American Pentagon, but as the spokesman of Britain, of the Commonwealth and of ordinary people throughout the world. If he will do that, I think that there are some things that he will be able to achieve.
I am sure that there are some things that can be achieved with British insistence. There is the finalising of the nuclear test agreement, to which a great deal of reference has been made, and on which I shall not say any more now. There is the giving of a new directive to the Ten-Power Disarmament Commission. Here I say that it is time Her Majesty's Government took an adult view of these matters, and said quite plainly that we are not going on with these time-wasting, futile, verbal skirmishings, but want to get down to brass tacks and seek the basis of an agreement.
I cannot understand the objection of Her Majesty's Government to accepting the Soviet Government's general goal of total disarmament to be achieved by continuous stages over a defined period of years. If one really means business in disarmament it is very important to have a timetable, otherwise one is unlikely to get down to really serious reductions in armed forces. It is very important, also, that we should put forward a plan that involves a beginning of real disarmament at the first stage. We should recognise, also, that the control system must be adapted to the various phases and we cannot have the whole of the control machinery in its full panoply of force established from the very beginning.
There is something else very important which could be achieved through British initiative. I mean the beginning of a settlement of the problems of Europe and an approach to the particular problem of nuclear weapons. Together with many of my hon. Friends who have spoken, I do not believe that there is any hope of reaching a settlement of the political problems of Germany, including Berlin, until we have solved the military and security problem on a reasonable basis. This means that we must make an approach to what we on this side call 732 disengagement—I do not insist on the word if the Government do not like it.
I believe that the best way to make a start would be to propose a kind of extended Rapacki plan to cover the whole of Europe from the Atlantic to the Soviet frontier.
§ Mr. Warbey
If it were to go to the Urals, it would have to embrace half of the United States as well, and I think that that would be a little difficult to achieve in the first stages. We must approach the matter by stages.
In this area, we should agree upon the freezing of nuclear weapons at the level existing at the opening date of the Summit Conference, to be followed by the withdrawal of nuclear weapons entirely from the whole area. We should, of course, include a system of control and inspection of conventional arms and forces which should be reduced together with the abolition of the nuclear weapons.
We can do more than that. I believe that we can do much to make this proposal succeed if we take an initiative of our own. It would be magnificent if the Prime Minister went to the Summit Conference and put the British H-bomb on the table, saying, "We have finished with this thing ourselves. We propose that we finish with it throughout the whole of Europe". If we could bring ourselves to make that gesture and turn to positive advantage the fact that we can no longer effectively have a British nuclear deterrent, we could transform the situation in Europe and begin to-transform the situation throughout the world.
Finally, a word about China. In my view, it is absolutely indispensable that we take as a matter of urgency the admission of China—I would certainly add India, of course, but I refer, first, to China for the specific reason which I and other hon. Members have given— into all these discussions on international problems and into the United Nations. It is surely absolutely obvious that we shall not have, and cannot possibly hope to have, a disarmament agreement, we probably cannot have a continuing ban on nuclear tests, and we certainly cannot achieve a real lessening of international 733 tension on a global scale unless and until China is brought into the discussions. Mr. Chou En-lai said in Cambodia the other day that China will not participate in a disarmament conference so long as she is excluded from the United Nations. I think that that is a perfectly reasonable and logical attitude to take.
I should like to put this question to the Government, and I should like an answer to it tonight: are they prepared to propose at the next Summit Conference —we all agree that there must be more and that they must be held frequently— that China and India should be invited to participate and that global affairs should be discussed? Further, are they prepared to say that China must be admitted to the United Nations at the next meeting of the General Assembly this year? I believe that we have to say that now, and to say it quickly. If it is not said quickly many of the things that we want to achieve will be very difficult to achieve indeed.
§ 8.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Gilbert Longden (Hertfordshire, South-West)
Apart from the last few sentences of his speech, I do not think that the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey) will be surprised to be told that I disagree with almost every word of it. He tried to make our flesh creep about German rearmament. I do not believe that at any period of German history has German youth been less militarily inclined—
§ Mr. Longden
—and less nationalistically minded.
There are many reasons why the state of Germany today differs from the state of Germany in the 'twenties and 'thirties. First, in the 'twenties and 'thirties German cities had not been partially destroyed by enemy action and at each election in Germany the totalitarian parties gained in strength, whereas in the fifties they have steadily decreased in strength. Moreover, in the 'twenties and 'thirties Germany was not roped in to a Western alliance under the terms of which she undertakes not to reunite herself by force, not to make certain kinds of weapons, and to limit her forces to a ceiling.
§ Mr. Longden
No. I have not much time. The hon. Member made a very long speech.
The hon. Member for Ashfield also never seems to be able to find anything good in the Western world nor anything bad east of the Iron Curtain. He spoke about Turkish police being in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara for a fortnight, but did not say a word about Russian soldiers in the streets of Budapest for the last several years.
§ Mr. Warbey
I must interrupt the hon. Gentleman because he is totally misrepresenting what I said. If he had listened, he would have realised that what I said was that in a number of countries of the so-called free world the suppression of political freedom was as great as it was in any of the Communist countries.
§ Mr. Longden
Yes, I heard that, but I would welcome occasionally a little more criticism of things that go on east of the Iron Curtain as well.
The hon. Member criticised the British Government for negotiating from strength, but it is just because we have negotiated from strength that we have arrived at the Summit. He said that we cannot resist the Communist challenge by military means, because the character of that challenge is changing. Why is it changing?—because of our military strength. He asked why we do not accept the Soviet proposals and timetable. The reason is that they are hopelessly vague and, although vagueness might have been excusable when Mr. Khrushchev first put them forward at the United Nations General Assembly on 18th September, they were not particularised in a single detail at the recent Ten-Power Disarmament Commission at Geneva.
It is to disarmament that I want to confine the few remarks that I have to make. I assume that it will be topic No. 1 at the Summit. I am very glad that my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary has categorically stated in the House of Commons' that we want comprehensive disarmament.
For myself. I want comprehensive disarmament quite as much as the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) wants it and I cannot say more than that. But I do not want 735 unilateral disarmament and I do not want disarmament unless three conditions are fulfilled. The first is that it must be universal or comprehensive, whichever word one likes to use. Secondly, it must be enforced by foolproof controls and, thirdly, it must be succeeded by a system which will effectively ensure the enforcement of an international rule of law.
First, then, it must not be unilateral. It is worth saying a word or two about this just at this moment of time when unilateralism, I am sorry to say, is gaining ground. I do not take the view, which, I am ashamed to say, was recently uttered by a British intellectual, thatIn the terrible context of nuclear war even the vital differences between Communism and Western freedom become almost unimportantor that the West should negotiate whatever it can, even though the upshot might well bethe total domination of the world by Russia within a few years.I am not as tender as was my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman) towards the Aldermaston marchers. I deplore the Aldermaston marchers. They are at best pacifists, at next best wishful-thinking ostriches and, at worst, the willing dupes of the Communist conspiracy. Let no one in this Committee underrate the Communist conspiracy. Yet as the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) so rightly said, many people in this country have forgotten which side they are on.
A century ago, slavery persisted in some parts of the world. Today, the whole of mankind is threatened with subjection to a new and insidious form of slavery under which human personality would lose all its individuality. Those who seek to combat this threat by moral rearmament have my respect, but until human nature has markedly changed in our potential opponents, or until we can achieve universal and effectively-controlled disarmament, we must be prepared to defend ourselves, if necessary with arms and men.
I, for one, am not prepared, like the Liberal Party, to abdicate my responsibilities—indeed, as I believe it to be, my duty as a Christian—by leaving it to others to preserve my freedom and my way of life.
736 I said "Until we can achieve disarmament". I believe that the Western plan means business. I believe that it is eminently practicable, fair to all and, if agreed, would satisfy my three conditions. The first is control. The Western plan states thatAll measures of disarmament must be observed and verified by an appropriate international organisationand proposesThe establishment of an International Disarmament Organisation by progressive steps".The Soviet Union has all along objected to the immediate establishment of an international disarmament organisation. Can the trouble be semantics—the curse of Babel? I was recently in a small way engaged in negotiating at the Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference with the Russians and others on this subject, and I came to the conclusion that we are metaphorically as well as literally talking different languages. They said that "the key to the solution was total and general disarmament". That, of course, is begging the question. " If we can get total and general disarmament", they said, "the problem of control will solve itself". Then, we spent a whole afternoon arguing whether the control organ would supervise disarmament by controlled stages, agreed at each phase of disarmament, or on each phase of disarmament. So that will be one of the difficulties—the question of control.
Secondly, what is to happen after disarmament? The Western plan envisages an international organisation to be an organ of or linked with the United Nations. Disarmament of itself will not put an end to disputation. The point is that all disputes must be settled by a rule of law, backed by sanctions. We could call that an international police force, if we like, but the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus) and the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) missed the point, because, ex hypothesi, this organisation will not be set up until after the other nations have disarmed: this organisation will come into being only when disarmament has taken place, but the Russians have always said that it would be a tool of the imperialists. The suggestion might be made that the permanent 737 members of the Security Council should not contribute men, but only arms and money.
Thirdly, and this is where I come to some kind of agreement with the hon. Member for Ashfield, what about universality, which is so essential? The Western plan caters for that, and in paragraph I 8 F, it is suggested that a study should be immediately undertaken on theTiming and manner of extending a disarmament agreement so as to include other States having significant military capabilities, with the view to the holding of a disarmament conference.So far as France is concerned, General de Gaulle told us in Westminster Hall the other day that as soon as those who now have the means have divested themselves of those means, France will follow suit; but we are surely fooling ourselves if we think that anyone is going to act on any disarmament agreement which may be arrived at unless and until they can be sure that the People's Republic of China will agree to it too. Can they be expected to join such a disarmament conference unless they are first admitted to the United Nations? I agree with the Leader of the Opposition and many people on both sides of the Committee—including, I believe, the Government—that they must be admitted to the United Nations.
I know that the Chinese people are now being subjected to one of the most appalling tyrannies which even they have ever known. I know that the Chinese Government are in breach of many United Nations resolutions, but so are other Governments. I know all that our American allies have had to suffer from the Chinese, but I also know that that great country has 600 million people, and the sooner they are brought into the councils of the civilised nations the better.
My last word is about Germany and Berlin. One thing I think is absolutely certain, and I think I can say it is agreed by every member of this Committee. It is that we cannot throw the West Berliners to the Communist wolves. The word of the Western world would be worthless in all the uncommitted nations if that were to happen. What, then, is the solution? It seems to me that the key to the solution is free elections, but there is no immediate or even remote 738 hope of free elections if the resulting Government in the Eastern sector were to be free to join the Western alliance. But what if the Eastern sector were to become another Austria? We could do that with a nation of 17 million, but not with a nation of 70 or 80 million. Berlin would become its capital. It would be neutralised by guarantee of all the Powers; and if their kinsmen in the East were free to choose their own Government, would that not reconcile the Federal Republic to the loss of the Eastern sector?
After all, we are approaching an era when, whether we like it or not, the whole concept of sovereignty means much, much less than it did once. What will it amount to when we have signed the document envisaged by this White Paper?
That brings me to my last word, which is about Europe. I very much agree with what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Smithers) and by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley). What are we doing about Europe? Whatever it is, we must do it now. We have always been told that there are objections to entering into the Six, one being the Commonwealth, the other sovereignty. I have said what I personally believe to be the validity of the second objection. As to the first, we have the Commonwealth Prime Ministers right here in London now, and I hope they will be asked what their views are.
To conclude, like every other Member who has spoken in this debate—everybody else, I am glad to say—I, too, would wish the greatest possible good fortune to my right hon. Friends in Paris next week.
§ 9.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)
In the few minutes that remain I must go very quickly over my points. I want only to say that in approaching the Summit next week I hope that we do not make too much of the unfortunate incident of the U2. I regret it. I deeply deplore it as, I believe, every Member of this Committee does, and not least the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister. We deplore an incident of that kind, and just at this moment, but probably it reflects the degree of ineptitude of the present United States Government 739 and the Pentagon. However, do not let us deceive ourselves about what has been done in this country.
People are political innocents if they believe for one moment that this has been the major spy incident with which we have met in our lifetime. I would ask hon. Members to read the book by Isaac Don Levine, The Mind of an Assassin. Trotsky was pursued through Norway, a friendly country, to Mexico, and his assassination was plotted by the agents of the Soviet in that country. That was far more nefarious than anything done during the last week or two.
We can remember, of course, the Canadian spy ring and the intrusion into Canadian integrity. We can remember Petrov, and all that happened there. We can remember the protests from the extreme Left. These things were done on the ground, and they were not less evil, not less nefarious, because they were not done thousands of feet up in the air. Further to that, we can remember what happened—not in the air—in the pursuit by a Russian trawler of the nuclear submarine as it surfaced.
These are elements of international espionage, but closer, nearer home, anyone who has been in the trade union movement and who has worshipped at the shrine of social democracy in the last forty years will remember the names of Glading and Springhall, who were sent to prison because they were spies of the Soviet Union—from an organisation sister to our own great movement. We have seen incursion into our trade unions.
Do not let any of us be deceived. This is an element in international affairs. It is an element in the cold war. I could have hoped that President Eisenhower would have had enough "know-how" to stop it this time, but it has happened and we might at least face it with a sense of proportion. Today Khrushchev has said that he will destroy the bases from whence these aircraft come. I should like to hear a word or two of condemnation from either side of the Committee. I condemn that statement on the eve of the conference. The steps which statesmen should take to ensure the peace of the world are rather more important than this isolated incident, and if people keep a sense of 740 proportion they will realise that the fate of thousands of millions of people in the future is far more important than what one madcap airman may do in one flight.
§ Mr. Stonehouse rose—
§ Mr. Pannell
No, I have no time to give way. I have listened with interest though not very much sympathy to a lot of silly statements during the day, but I did not interrupt them because I thought that this audience was adult enough to take them at their own value.
I have recently come back from Berlin, and I know what is going on all over Germany and what the name of Berlin evokes among peaceful West German people. It has been the Western alliance that has fathered arms on the Germans. They approach the rearming of their country with a great deal of reluctance, but I have no doubt that any attempt to" interfere with the present status of Berlin might well be the flashpoint of another war.
My immediately previous foreign visit had been to Poland, and equally I know what the Polish people think on the other side of the Oder-Neisse Line and of their terrible fear that the frontier with Germany will be altered. As the idea of a united Germany recedes from reality there is a romanticism creeping into Western Germany with the belief that the land beyond the Oder-Neisse Line might be regained. That cannot be, but we must impress upon the German people some idea that they might attain a united Germany once again.
An Opposition is not in the same position as a Government. An Opposition should always be critical, but by virtue of being only the Opposition its proposals can only be tentative. Therefore, it will be the Prime Minister and the people with him who will have the responsibility of talking for this country, and I am sure that in all parts of the Committee we wish the Prime Minister well when he goes to the Summit Conference.
It is not political parties but the things for which men stand that matter. We are but the instruments of mighty forces, and I remember the words of Sir Norman Angell when he said that wars are not instituted by bad men on one side and good men on the other but by good men 741 on both sides passionately believing that they are right. That is the difficulty. It is the extreme righteousness with which people talk at international conferences, but I hope that we who sit and judge will in the last resort not expect too much from the Summit talks.
We should not expect too much from the Summit Conference because the keystone of Soviet policy is its timelessness. This Summit Conference next week is not the be-all and end-all or the last gambit in the great international game of politics in which the stakes are the lives of men and women. It is an incident in the great forward march of the Soviet Union towards the Marxian principle which has at its end nothing less than the capture of the material part of men's minds throughout the whole world.
§ 9.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)
This has been a very interesting and constructive debate, and at least one novel feature is that all Members who have spoken on the subject on both sides of the Committee have pressed very strongly that Communist China should be admitted to the United Nations. This is now, I think, the unanimous view of the Committee and I hope that the Prime Minister takes note of it and finds it possible at the Summit and afterwards to press our American allies in this direction.
We must agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Foreign Secretary that this Summit Conference will not solve all problems at once. None the less, perhaps he did play down its réle a little too much because, certainly on this side, we hope that it will be a turning point in the post-war history of the world and it is for that reason we have pressed so long and continually that it should be held. We must not, in the privacy of our own Chamber, be unconscious of the tremendous and passionate concern of people outside that the conference should produce real, positive results and do something to reverse the juggernaut which seems to ordinary people throughout the world to be dragging us willy-nilly into the abyss.
We want to see the conference at least begin to end the cold war. We want at least to see it begin to stop the arms race, because we feel very powerfully 742 that, unless a start is made very soon indeed, the chances of making a start at all may soon be lost. Nothing brought this home more clearly to ordinary people in this country than the recent incident of the U2 aeroplane.
I feel that my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) was right in saying that so far the Government have treated this issue a little too lightly, because what to me is important about the incident is not so much the incident itself, but some of the things which have followed it. In particular, it is quite impossible to justify the statement made by Mr. Herter—I hope without consideration—in which he asserts America's determination systematically to violate international law for her own strategic convenience. This is a new and very dangerous doctrine. Without going so far as the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) in treating intelligence operations as a kind of humorous game, it must be recognised that they do form a part of Governments' operations which must not be allowed to interrupt the normal course of diplomatic procedures.
By claiming the right to violate international law for intelligence purposes to meet certain, perhaps temporary, strategic needs, Mr. Herter is challenging the rather precarious framework of world order at its very foundations. Moreover, since it seems very unlikely that America could continue these operations except from bases provided by her allies, if she persists in the course to which Mr. Herter appeared to commit her the other day, then she is creating very great risks to the solidarity of all her alliances, including N.A.T.O.
The solidarity of N.A.T.O. is a precondition of any agreement between Russia and ourselves. And until agreement is' reached, N.A.T.O. is the only basis for British security. I hope that the Prime Minister, at the Summit Conference, will take the opportunity of pointing out to his American colleagues the very dangerous course to which they appear to have committed themselves during the last few days.
§ Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe
I see the hon. Member's argument, but surely all espionage is illegal in the technical sense whether one is in an aeroplane with a camera, or on a bicycle with binoculars.
§ Mr. Healey
The hon. Member is, of course, quite right but as my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), whose illness we all regret, once said, there is no difference between the Atlantic Ocean and a cup of water except that it is possible to drown in one but not in the other. The problems posed by the systematic and continuous violation of a country's air space are quite different from the problems posed, as my right hon. Friend said, by normal espionage activities.
On the other hand, I fully agree that one must accept the American argument that the possibility of surprise attack with megaton missiles poses strategic problems of the greatest possible concern not only for the United States, but the whole of the Western alliance. And it is quite natural that during the period of the missile gap the United States should concentrate the main bulk of its intelligence operations on trying to prevent a surprise attack; just as, during the period of the atomic gap, when the United States was the only country in the world which had atomic weapons, the Soviet Union concentrated all its intelligence operations on trying to obtain the secret of atomic weapons by espionage.
The point I want to make here is that, as was said this afternoon by my right hon. Friend, the fact that this incident took place and the arguments used to justify it, reveal, as nothing else possibly could, the extremely precarious nature of the balance of terror on which world peace now rests. It has shown us all the fact that so long as a technological arms race goes on between the United States and the Soviet Union the temptation for one side or the other to take advantage by means which involve the risk of war may sooner or later plunge the world into a war which nobody really wanted. Nothing could have been a stronger argument than the incidents in the last few weeks for some attempt at the Summit Conference by the United States and the Soviet Union to reach agreement on this issue.
If I may say so, it seems to me that the U2 incident also reminds one of certain problems which are inherent in the very concept of Summit diplomacy. Without aiming any remarks whatever at the Prime Minister, I think that the right hon. Gentleman would agree that if heads of Governments are to take continuously a 744 leading rôle in international diplomacy they must learn to behave like diplomatists. It is very dangerous when the future of mankind is put in the hands of four individuals, because the state of mind of those four individuals during a period of ten days comes to acquire an importance of an absolutely terrifying magnitude.
I do not blame Mr. Khrushchev at all for yielding to the temptation to make a great propaganda victory out of the U2 incident. But I wonder whether, when he started this operation, he reflected on the consequences it might have on the state of mind of President Eisenhower at the Summit Conference, and the difficulties it is certain to create in having a serious discussion on the serious issues facing mankind when he confronts the American President. Looking through the newspapers in the last few days, and reading the repeated speeches, first of President Eisenhower and then of Mr. Khrushchev, I could not help feeling that both the American and Russian heads of Government have, during the last week, missed several wonderful opportunities to keep their mouths shut.
On the other hand, I think that there is something very encouraging about the Soviet reaction to this incident, because Mr. Khrushchev has tried, with more or less success, to draw a clear distinction between the propaganda use he is making of the incident and his personal view of the way in which it need affect Summit agreement. It is a pity that in reporting his speech to the Supreme Soviet the Western Press missed many of the extremely conciliatory phrases he used about the subjects due to be discussed at the Summit Conference.
To me, one of the most encouraging things in the last few weeks is the fact that the Soviet Union is now trying to persuade the Chinese Communists to revise Communist doctrine to justify the Soviet policy of trying to seek lasting co-existence with the capitalist world. I personally have always felt that Mr. Khrushchev was sincere in seeking a lasting modus vivendi with the non-Communist countries, but I confess that the first solid evidence of this is Mr. Khrushchev's attempt to change the Communist doctrine in order to justify his policy. I cannot believe that he would have gone to these lengths had he not been absolutely sincere in his diplomatic aims.
745 I think that we have a real chance of making progress at the Summit, and the important thing is that we should get started, even in a small way, because any form of co-operation now between Russia and the West will start to break down the wall of mistrust which has kept us apart for so long and will, I hope, help to develop habits of co-operation which may grow stronger as time passes.
Here I must take objection to one or two implications of what I thought the Foreign Secretary was saying. He seemed, naturally, a little sensitive about the odd phrase in the communiqué he signed in Istanbul, which stated that there could be no relaxation of tension anywhere in the world unless there were relaxation of tension everywhere in the world. I was surprised that the only way he could justify that statement was by telling us what he thought those who drafted it must have meant. Surely he knew what they meant when he signed the statement.
§ Mr. Healey
I am glad to hear that the Foreign Secretary was not personally involved in that statement, because it seems to me quite impossible, especially for Governments like our own and their allies, who say that one must have partial disarmament agreements if one cannot get total disarmament, to say, at the same time, that one must reject partial political agreement unless one gets political agreement about everything.
I well understand that we in the West must deplore consistent attacks by the Soviet Union on some of our allies like Persia and the Federal Republic of Germany, but, after all, there are continued planned propaganda attacks by the Federal Republic on the German Democratic Republic, and there are continuous attacks by American propaganda on the Communist Government of China, which is allied to the Soviet Union, and certainly nobody could claim that the flight of the U2 into the heart of the Soviet Union was a Western contribution towards relaxation of tension.
It seems to me that one can make the same objection to the Foreign Secretary's own proposal for some sort of code of behaviour which would regulate the conduct of Russia and the West during the period in which we are moving towards 746 co-existence because how could we define any such code of behaviour? Even if we succeeded in defining it, how could we hope to agree on interpreting particular incidents in the light of it?
The Foreign Secretary spoke about trying to get agreement against intervention in the internal affairs of other nations. It would be nice if we could, but we must recognise that it is the natural habit of Governments when anything goes wrong in their own territories to blame foreign agitators. The Russians did it in Budapest. The British Government did it for years in Cairo. We were told that Nasser was a stooge of Moscow, and no doubt the British Government genuinely believed that at the time, but the plain fact is that we will never get enough agreement between Russia and the West as to what constitutes nonintervention in internal affairs to be able to base any lasting co-operation between the two on that. Indeed, it seems to me that one of the most dangerous enterprises on which we can embark when dealing with the Soviet Union is to try to reach agreement on the basis of general concepts which require that both sides should share the same political assumptions.
We know that we and the Russians do not share the same political assumptions. We sincerely and genuinely mean absolutely different things when we use words like "democracy". "free elections", "non-intervention", and "social change". To attempt to reach agreement with the Soviet Union along these lines is to make the problem more and not less complicated. At the Summit Conference, and in the next few-years, we must concentrate upon practical measures to meet recognised common interests. This is the only way to consolidate any sort of co-existence with the Communist camp.
I agree with the Leader of the Liberal Party that possibly the most important question of all is one on which Britain can have comparatively little influence, in the nature of things, namely, some agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States to stop the mutual arms race between them and to stabilise the terrible balance of atomic power at something like its existing level.
I also agree with the Foreign Secretary that the next most important thing —and possibly the problem upon which 747 we are most hopeful of agreement at the Summit Conference—is an agreement for a ban on atomic tests. Hon. Members on this side of the Committee welcome such a ban not only because it will stop the poisonous rain of strontium 90 from dropping on our children and hinder the further development of atomic weapons in the three countries concerned, but because, above all, it will help to stop the production of these atomic weapons by other countries. I was glad to hear the Foreign Secretary associate himself with hon. Members on this side and with General de Gaulle in admitting that to stop the spread of the production of atomic weapons has now become the major concern of all the world's Governments.
I was very glad to hear the Foreign Secretary agree today to a suggestion which was made from this side of the Committee in our last foreign affairs debate, namely, that the scientists should now begin to study the possibility of preventing the production of fissile material for military purposes before attempting to reach agreement in a multilateral treaty, and I was also very glad to hear his suggestion that scientists should get together to discuss the technical feasibility of controlling the means of delivery of atomic weapons. Hon. Members on this side give him our strongest support in pressing this idea on his American allies and on the Soviet Government at the Summit Conference.
But both these problems involve extremely difficult scientific questions which, like the atomic test controls, may take months, if not years, to work out. It seems to me that the biggest immediate danger in the spread of atomic weapons is their distribution by countries which now produce them to other members of their respective alliances. In this connection, I would make a suggestion to the Prime Minister, upon which I hope he will comment.
At the last meeting of the United Nations General Assembly a resolution proposed by the Irish Foreign Minister, Mr. Aitken, and passed by 68 votes, with no opponents, asked the Ten-Power Disarmament Commission at Geneva to consider an agreement whereby all Powers producing nuclear weapons would refrain from handing over control of them to any nation not possessing 748 them, and Powers not possessing such weapons would refrain from manufacturing them. An agreement of this nature, which already has such tremendous support and no open opposition whatever in the United Nations, is a suitable matter for the British Government to press upon their allies at the Summit Conference.
Britain is in a vitally important position here. We are the first of the ordinary Powers to have started the production of atomic weapons, and we have now had to give up the production of an independent delivery system for them. I hope and pray that the Government will use the collapse of their attempt to produce an independent British deterrent to reappraise the whole of their defence policy in the light of their declared diplomatic aims—in other words, to stop the spread of atomic weapons.
I urge the Government seriously to consider now the proposal which we have often pressed on them in the past, namely, to make a public offer that Britain will renounce her existing atomic weapons if other countries in the world, other than the Soviet Union and the United States, will agree not to produce them. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If such a proposal were accepted—and remember that 68 countries in the world have already voted for it at the United Nations—then we must also do something at the Summit Conference to try to reduce the danger of small wars, as well as of the global war which is the main concern of the Soviet Union and the United States.
Here I suggest that we must start in the areas of the greatest political tension by trying to organise the control and inspection of armaments. I was most encouraged this afternoon by the fact that the Foreign Secretary, after many months of tergiversation and of double-talk, has agreed that the British Government will put forward proposals for the control of armaments in Central Europe as a means of preventing surprise attack. I gather that the right hon. and learned Gentleman says, "It has been our policy for years". The Committee will remember how often I have tried to get him to define his policy in those terms in the past and how often I have failed.
I do not blame the Foreign Secretary for stealing our policy. I am delighted. 749 Nor do I blame him for following the natural practice of a car thief of putting his own number plate on the car when he steals it. The trade name is not important as long as the product is the one we want.
I look forward to the time when the Government will formally adopt our whole policy for disengagement—[HON. MEMBERS: "Which one?"]—under the Conservative trade name of redeployment. I also suggest that Central Europe is not the only part of the world where an attempt should be made at the control of armaments and forces by agreement between Russia and the West. The Middle East is equally vital and perhaps even more urgent at present. I believe that there is now a better chance of agreement with Russia on the Middle East than there has been for many years. The West can no longer deny, as it denied a few years ago, that Russia is a power in the Middle East. On the other hand, the Soviet Union can no longer expect the easy gains inside the Middle East which she might well have expected a few years ago.
I recently had the good fortune to tour most of the Middle Eastern countries on a very rapid visit, during which I had every possible assistance from the Foreign Secretary. It seems to me that the Russians have burned their ringers very badly, at least in Cairo and Baghdad, and are also very conscious of it. I think that the Russians must also be aware that the instability which is the main characteristic of the Middle East is a threat to them, in the long run, as much as it is a threat to us.
Believe me, the Middle East today is very unstable indeed. I will go so far as to say that in most of the Middle Eastern countries violent revolutions are likely within the next five years and that in most cases violent revolutions could lead to wars between the Middle Eastern States, as they so nearly did in 1958. For this reason, I think that there is every possible ground why the Western Governments should propose to the Soviet Union at the Summit Conference a general agreement about the Middle East which would include at least three main principles. In the first place, they should propose that if trouble develops inside the Middle East, or between Middle Eastern countries, the great Powers will 750 be neutral. In the second place, they should propose that the great Powers should declare their support for the existing frontiers of the Middle Eastern States and state that if they intervene it will only be to stop the violation of frontiers by armed attack. Thirdly, some attempt should be made to control the supply of armaments to the Middle Eastern countries.
The idea of controlling arms supplies to the Middle East is at least ten years old, but we learned to our cost that it was impossible to succeed in this task without Soviet agreement. The United States Government have accepted the desirability of trying to control arms supplies on their own doorstep in the Caribbean. I hope that the Prime Minister will make it a major objective at the Summit Conference to discuss this question with the Soviet Government and with our Western allies. So often in the past we in the West have refused to take any action on an issue until the crisis has actually begun. The crisis has not yet begun in the Middle East. We have time to concert our policies to prevent it breaking out. I hope that the Prime Minister will make this one of his main aims.
My impression during my brief visit to the Middle East was that the Arab countries and Israel could be persuaded to agree to such a Great Power agreement on the Middle East. Even Iran would consent to enter into such an arrangement if Afghanistan, its main opponent in the area, was also included.
In the field of regional arms control, I suggest to the Prime Minister an idea which I know has been floating around Whitehall for some time, namely, some attempt to explore the possibility of agreement on freezing arms supplies to the new independent States of the African continent. Africa, too, is an area where, if we act now, we can produce a basis for orderly and peaceful development. However, if the visible tensions now developing between the African States have added to them all the additional strains of a continental arms race, the prospect of achieving any stability on the African continent will be almost lost.
I hope that at the Summit Conference we will not be content simply to ask the Russians for co-operation on questions 751 of negative control, such as disarmament, regional arms control, and atomic test bans. I join my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition in suggesting that we should put forward at the Summit Conference two or three proposals to the Russians for co-operation on positive, constructive, work in the under-developed areas of the world, so that we can prove not only to the Communist world and to the West, but also to the peoples of the under-developed areas, that we are capable of working together and that this is our major aim.
When the United Nations was formed in 1944, all of us on both sides looked upon it as the framework for a new world order. Our hopes so far have been disappointed for one reason, and one only, namely, that the Great Powers of the world, which, rightly, were given a veto in the Security Council, have failed to agree on the general shape of world development.
We on this side of the Committee, and I am sure the overwhelming majority of hon. Members opposite, look upon the Summit Conference as the first great chance for the Great Powers to reach agreement on working together in the United Nations so that the United Nations can perform the function originally intended by those who drafted its Charter. It is because we on this side have some confidence that the Prime Minister himself shares our aims that we wish him Godspeed in his journey to Paris this weekend.
§ 9.39 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)
I should like first to apologise to the Committee for my inability to attend any but the last stages of the debate. We have had a full day at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, and I am sorry that I have not been able to hear the many interesting speeches of which I have been given reports. However, I have heard enough to realise, and to acknowledge, the broad non-partisan approach of hon. Members. As always at a great and critical moment, they try to adopt such an approach on a subject of this kind.
Whatever the differences between parties, or sometimes within parties, there is, I think, a broad unity on this. We hope for some success to come out of this 752 Paris meeting. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), in a most interesting and comprehensive speech, has put forward a large number of ideas. I thought that he was a little unfair to the Foreign Secretary in twitting him for adopting some of the policies on disarmament or defence. Really, there is such a wide variety to choose from that it would be rather curious if we did not sometimes do that.
I, at this moment, should like to recall to the Committee for a very few moments the history and the hopes. The Summit meeting is not an end in itself. The hon. Gentleman said that its object is to achieve certain agreements if we can. All the same, it has some advantages even in itself. The 1955 meeting did not achieve much, but at least something was done: certain contacts were made, certain friendships were made. Visits were made from one country to another. It did something; it did no harm anyway; it did some good.
To this new meeting the path has been slow, painful and subject to many disappointments and, in the long time, some crevasses have opened right at the last minute. I had hoped for it to have been earlier, either last year or early this year. Nevertheless, the delay has had some advantages. There have been these meetings between all the statesmen concerned, between President de Gaulle and Mr. Khrushchev and between Mr. Khrushchev and President Eisenhower, and these visits and exchanges of view have done good and perhaps made a better broad foundation for our meeting
It is only about fourteen months since the Foreign Secretary and I decided on our visit to Moscow. Sometimes it seems much longer, but it is, I think, about that. We went at a time which caused me the gravest anxiety—what appeared to be something like an ultimatum on Berlin. We went, of course, not to negotiate—we had no right to negotiate on behalf of our allies—but to meet and talk and to see whether some way out could be found. This visit itself had its ups and downs, its difficult moments, but I think it did good.
I was glad to find in the speeches made a general agreement not to exaggerate the effect of recent troubles. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, West 753 (Mr. C. Pannell) made, I thought, a very sensible contribution on this subject. Espionage is not a cause. It is, alas, an effect of suspicion and tension between the Great Powers.
Nevertheless, if the Summit comes in a bit like a lion, perhaps it will go out like a lamb, and it is sometimes better to have a little of the trouble in the first stages of these discussions. I am reminded of a famous phrase of the great Queen Elizabeth:Winds, a little before their fall, are ever most boisterous.Well, we are to meet. I think that it was Mr. Disraeli who once said that the most successful conferences were those that began in a "healthy state of mutual suspicion." I think that that is going too far, but I also think that it is better than just unbounded optimism with no grounds—all sorts of vague feelings of good will. What we must try to do, as all speakers in this debate have said, is to face the facts as they are.
There is, of course, danger in meeting in an atmosphere of crisis and threat, but there is an equal danger in meeting when vital urgency is not there, and there is a temptation to let things slide and to be content with an agreeable meeting with no particular result. I have felt a little that we have oscillated in the last six months sometimes between being too optimistic and too pessimistic. There are grave issues to be faced, and we must try to face them.
I remember speaking in this Chamber some time ago on the method that we were to adopt—which I believe to be of the greatest importance—and I was trying to describe a meeting we had in 1955, when we met in a vast room—400 or 500 people for four people to speak to each other, with all the machinery and apparatus and every speech being broadcast; not a discussion, not a negotiation, but a series of propaganda speeches.
I was most anxious to avoid that, and I am happy to say that it has now been agreed that we shall not repeat that method; that there will be small meetings, sometimes only of the heads of Government and their interpreters, sometimes of the Foreign Secretaries, sometimes of both together, and, of course, separate meetings of the Foreign 754 Ministers to carry on any point that might be reached by the heads of Governments.
But I hope that the Committee and the public will feel that the purpose of this method, for which I have striven so much, is not to conceal, not to do everything secretly, but to get the basis on which any ordinary talk or negotiation must be conducted. There will be publicity afterwards as to what we have said or done, but we will never make any progress in the previous atmosphere.
Let me turn to our purposes. I think that these have been very well set out in the course of the debate, and I agree with much that has been said in the recent speeches on both sides that I was able to hear. The Foreign Secretary has, I think, outlined our general purposes. There is, first, a question which—I must be careful—will not be strictly one raised at the Summit meeting but which we shall take the opportunity of the Summit meeting to raise with the Powers immediately concerned—and yet it is the question that I personally feel to be the most hopeful and most important. It is the question of nuclear tests.
We quite understand the position of the French Government at this time, but they, also, I am sure, will allow and encourage us to have our own meeting during this period to see whether Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom can reach agreement. This nuclear test agreement would, as the hon. Gentleman said, do something to prevent us going on with tests that ultimately, whatever may be the argument, must injure the atmosphere—and certainly cannot do it any good.
But it is much more than that. If reached, it would have a profound influence on the whole disarmament problem, because if we can only get this agreement it will make the first practical instance of inspection and control easier, perhaps, for the Soviets to agree to, because it will not be done in the factories and towns so much as in more distant places. Some of their fears, therefore, may be less easily aroused. These unhappy seismologists will have to stay in distant parts of the world listening to their apparatus but, anyway, they will not be spies.
755 Nevertheless, the principle will be established in a way that we might hope will be easiest for the Soviet to accept, and if once we make a start and get a control commission, with the people actually operating it, we have what we all want, because we all agree, with very few exceptions, that we cannot have disarmament unless we have efficient inspection and control. We hope that it may be the pioneer scheme. That is why I attach so much importance to it, why I have tried myself to do everything possible to further it and why I and my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary on our visit tried to persuade some of our American friends to overcome some of the minor and, indeed, major difficulties. There are important points which we have to settle, but I cannot believe that they cannot be resolved.
I think that the debates among the expert negotiators have gone about as far as they can go. A treaty could quite easily be drafted. But we must settle the actual proportionate composition of the control commission. We must settle the important question of the moratorium. We must settle the number of visits allowed on each side—an idea which I remember throwing out to Mr. Khrushchev during my visit fourteen months ago. If we can make progress with those three decisions, it should not be impossible to draft a treaty within a very few weeks. That is most important, and we shall certainly strive for it.
I ask the Committee to consider what follows. The treaty, of course, cannot become effective unless it is spread to other countries. Many of the questions which are so perplexing now may be reopened. There is, for instance, the position of China, which has been raised by hon. Members on both sides today. These questions immediately present themselves for further progress because, if the treaty is to be effective, we must go on to ensure that people on both sides adhere to it. Therefore, many questions on which we have now, apparently, reached a dead end would automatically be opened up by the process of the nuclear tests agreement. For that reason, I am bound to say that, in my mind, I put it as the most important and the most practical.
756 There are, of course, other important questions with which we must deal. There is the problem of Germany and Berlin. We know our obligations. They are clear, and they are accepted by the Western world. Nevertheless, last year, long negotiations took place between the Foreign Ministers at Geneva and, at one moment, many of us felt that they very nearly reached agreement—not a final solution, of course, but, at least, agreement on something which would prevent this becoming a really dangerous situation. Without going into any detail now, I cannot help but feel that, if the will is there, we ought to be able to find a method of doing at least something on similar lines.
There is an old saying that what is put off is lost. It is a good thing, if one can put off a bad thing long enough. If one can put it off for two or three years, one gains time and, in the end, a new situation may develop and something which was menacing and dangerous, by the mere fact of being put off for a period, can begin to lose its importance. Can we not recall many questions which at one time loomed very large and which then, sometimes, by the mere fact of not having been pressed to the final point, became less dangerous? That, I think, we must remember.
I come now to the vital subject of disarmament. I was struck by the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman), who called attention to the really revolutionary—in the best sense of the word—and wonderfully progressive basis of the policy put forward by the Foreign Secretary and now adopted by the Western Powers. Obviously, we cannot in eight or ten days or even in a fortnight at the Summit negotiate a treaty on disarmament. What we must try to do is to see whether we can reach an agreement on certain simple principles— we believe ours to be sound and sensible —and then give instructions to the negotiators in the Ten-Power Commission, we on our side and the Russians doing the same on theirs, to work out the details based upon some of those principles.
That is the kind of progress we can, perhaps, achieve, and that is the most we can hope to do. We could not go any further than that, but, if we could make that start, it would be a great thing. After all, in spite of all the fear and 757 suspicion, there cannot be any great country in the world, be it America, Russia or any other, that does not long for the prospect of turning some of this vast expense, which will become greater and greater as the years go on, from armaments to more fruitful and useful channels for the happiness of its people.
The third point, which, I thought, the hon. Member perhaps misunderstood or was a little unfair about, concerns what the Foreign Secretary called trying to get some reality into what is called coexistence. It would be fine if we could get rid of the danger of hot war, but cold war is not so terribly attractive either. We have to try to see whether we mean it to be a competition of ideas or a competition of briberies, espionage and all the other methods transferred to another plane.
Practically everyone in this Committee has been to Russia. Many hon. Members have been several times, but I do not think that anyone who has been more than once can have failed to notice the change that is gradually coming about. The truth is that these great idealistic theoretical doctrines do not hold the imagination of men indefinitely. When one first starts one is very keen. Then time goes on and all sorts of human emotions and desires are developed.
I would say that the Communism of China today is far more orthodox than that of Russia. Why? Because it is so much newer; was imposed more recently. Everyone must feel, as he goes about the streets and sees the people, that the ordinary people have the same desires as the people of other countries, and that perhaps the change that is taking place will gradually reflect itself if we can settle some of the major problems between Governments in a different attitude between our peoples. Of course, there are absolutely different theoretical aspects, but what ordinary people want, in spite of the theories, is very much the same thing. They want homes, houses, food, clothing and a better time, and all that pressure is beginning to develop in Russia itself.
I therefore feel that there is something important in the Foreign Secretary's 758 thought that we might be able to get, I do not say absolute written rules of convention—of course, we cannot write them—but some general attitude towards each other which would be more in conformity among nations who, differing as much as they do, nevertheless realise that, in a world as small as this is becoming, they have to live side by side or end up in their mutual destruction.
The final point that I want to make concerns the character of these meetings. I have striven also very long for the concept that the Summit should not be one single ascent of one single mountain but rather a chain and that we should have a series of meetings, make a little progress at the first and then go on to another. There is a great danger in a single meeting, because hopes are raised very high in all the countries of the world. Very little appears to happen and there is a corresponding sense of dismay and people feel deluded. But if they feel after the first meeting is over that, to use our own language, we should adjourn and ask leave to sit again and fix the date of another meeting, that continues the two processes—first, that these meetings are in themselves valuable in preventing too great pressures between us, and secondly, that at each successive meeting there might be the possibility of increasing progress.
I should like to thank the Committee and all parties in the Committee for, as I have been told, their most friendly attitude. Anyone of my age, looking back on a lifetime—ten years of my active life have been occupied in war and many other parts of it in either recovering from or preparing for war— must feel what a chance this is for the world, and what a burden lies on those who have to try to play a part in it. We are correspondingly grateful for the sympathy and good wishes of the Committee.
§ Whereupon Motion made, and Question, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again—[Mr. Brooman-White]—put and agreed to.
§ Committee report Progress: to sit again Tomorrow.