§ 3.36 p.m.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Edward Heath)
I beg to move,That this House supports the efforts of Her Majesty's Government to strengthen the unity of the free world and thus to create, in cooperation with the Commonwealth and with their allies, greater opportunities for the improvement of relations between East and West and for the promotion of conditions of peace and order throughout the world in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.There is a double theme running in common throughout the Motion and the Amendment which has been tabled by the Leader of the Opposition and his right hon. and hon. Friends. The double theme is that the object of our foreign policy should be to ensure peace and order in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and that we should work for the peaceful settlement of international disputes. The second part of the theme is that there should be a positive approach towards better relations between East and West and that, at the same time, we must build up the strength of the free world, ourselves, our Commonwealth and the European and Atlantic communities.
There is bound to be a wide-ranging debate during these two days and I propose, in this speech, to limit myself to certain specific subjects. I propose, first, to deal with two subjects under the theme of working for a peaceful settlement of disputes—in Laos and in the Congo, and secondly, to say something about a positive approach to the improvement of East-West relations and towards securing greater unity in Europe.
Let me turn, first, to Laos. In Laos, we have been carrying out our policy in a particular respect, because my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary is one of the two co-chairmen who carry on from the Geneva settlement of 1954. Looking back to three weeks ago, we all felt that there was grave danger that internal strife would spread and that there would be further intervention, with grave international implications. I have never disguised from the House that in that situation we had obligations under the Treaty of Manila to S.E.A.T.O., and that if we were called upon to carry out those obligations we would do so. That remains the situation.
1380 The House will realise full well, however, that our aim throughout was to secure a political settlement of these difficulties and a political settlement by negotiation. The alternative was that Laos would be swallowed up by the Pathet Lao and its supporters or, alternatively, that Laos and South-East Asia would be plunged into international strife; and so my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary has been devoting all his energies and diplomacy to securing a political negotiated settlement.
Mr. Nehru put forward the proposal in January for the return of the International Control Commission. We supported that. At the time, it did not prove acceptable. It was when my noble Friend, on 23rd March, was able to put forward the three-pronged suggestion—that there should be a ceasefire and then the return of the Control Commission, to be followed by a conference—that we began to make progress towards a settlement.
Then, when after discussions through diplomatic Channels with the other co-chairman, Mr. Gromyko, it was possible to arrange for the announcement that these things should be done at the same time and that a date should be fixed for a conference, we were able to make further progress. Now we find that the cease-fire has been confirmed by the International Control Commission and a formal cease-fire agreement signed last weekend.
As the House knows, the conference met yesterday afternoon. Our objective is—I think it is an objective agreed by both the American Government and the Soviet Government—to establish an unaligned, independent and peaceful Laos. My noble Friend the Foreign Secretary yesterday afternoon put forward five proposals to this end at the conference. He said that, first, there would need to be the establishment of a united Laos with no special armies or groups working against the Government; secondly, that there would need to be genuine neutrality for Laos pledged internally by the Laotian Government and externally by other countries; thirdly, that there would need to be an agreed ceiling on Laotian military requirements under proper control; fourthly, that there should be arrangements to prevent foreign economic aid being used as a 1381 political instrument; and, finally, that there should be a re-examination of the powers and responsibilities of the international Control Commission, which should be defined.
If reports are true which are now coming through this afternoon that there has been agreement both in Geneva and Vientiane of the formation of a coalition Government between the Laotian parties, that is also most encouraging.
To sum up this part of my speech I think that it shows the way in which the Government have been working with all their strength to secure a peaceful settlement of a dispute. Despite all the uncertainties which still face us at the conference which is going on, I think that we can regard with some satisfaction, and perhaps even a little pride, the success of my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary in bringing together the Governments in order to talk about these matters in Geneva rather than that we should see fighting continue or even be extended in Laos.
Now I turn to another dispute, that in the Congo. It is almost a year ago since the Congo lapsed into anarchy and violence only a few days after achieving its independence. We are carrying out our responsibilities to work for a peaceful solution as a member of the United Nations, with no particular responsibilities such as we have had in Laos because of the position of my noble Friend as a co-chairman.
Right from the beginning we have given our full support to the United Nations and to its work in the Congo, and our objects there have really been three: first, to endeavour to prevent through the United Nations major intervention from outside; second to ensure the preservation of law and order so far as possible within the Congo—here, of course, we have a particular British interest, because of the close relationship between the frontier of part of the Congo with our own territory of Northern Rhodesia; and, third, to achieve an independent Congo which can be helped and guided to establish itself.
This, I think, requires two things. It requires, first, the closest form of cooperation between the United Nations and those who are serving the United Nations and those who are responsible in the Congo itself; and, second, it requires 1382 the patience to help and guide the Congolese themselves through their difficulties in trying to reach solutions.
I think that we can say that in this operation the United Nations has had a measure of success. It has prevented large-scale intervention and it has been able to reduce the amount of strife and inter-tribal warfare. We have throughout, in all the efforts we have made, both in speeches in the United Nations and again through diplomatic channels, been urging the closest co-operation between the United Nations and the Congolese. It is, therefore, encouraging to us that in these last few weeks, and at last, we should see progress now being made along the lines which we have so long wanted.
There are today improved relations between the Congolese and the United Nations. We have seen Mr. Kasavubu's agreement with them. We have seen the Coquilhatville conference and the constitutional proposals which are emerging for a unitary Congo. There has been Mr. Kasavubu's request for the recall of Parliament; his request, also, for the retraining of the Army, with which Mr. Hammarskjoeld is able to help, and we have seen also Mr. Munongo's agreement with the United Nations that Katanga should implement the resolution of 21st February. We believe that the United Nations can now build on this co-operation and build, also, on the stability which exists in Katanga.
The efforts of Mr. Tshombe over the last year have maintained order and stability in Katanga. As the House knows, in the episode of Coquilhatville we asked Mr. Hammarskjoeld to use his good offices to see, if possible, that Mr. Tshombe should be released to carry on in that conference because we believed that a solution was desirable. Now the situation has changed, in that charges have been made against Mr. Tshombe, and it has become an internal Congolese matter. At the same time, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has told us that he will do everything possible to see that, as in the other case Mr. Tshombe receives fair treatment. We believe, moreover, that Katanga has a part to play within the Congo as a whole in order to keep it as a viable entity.
This is the first operation of the United Nations of this kind and I think 1383 that it behoves us to look at the lessons which emerge from it. It is the first operation in nation building. First, I think that it becomes obvious that the United Nations must have a clear objective when it is going to carry out an operation of this kind; and, second, that its object should be to support the independence of the country concerned, that its policies should not be to substitute another form of colonial administration; and, third, that it must carry out the obligations of maintaining civil law and order, and that it must do this in conjunction with the Power itself if it is not to infringe its independence; fourth, that those who are in command of the military forces must have clearly defined objectives also, and clear orders what their responsibilities are; fifth, that the United Nations greatly restricts its activities by limiting the field from which it draws its resources in cases of this kind, a very restricted field of personnel for aid and assistance, and a somewhat restricted field for the forces.
Leaving aside the question of the great Powers not taking part, with which, of course, I would fully agree, I am glad to see that the United Nations is now proposing to draw on a wider field of personnel to help the Congo. The last lesson which emerges is that if an operation of this kind is to be successful then it must be supported by the Powers, great and small, for the United Nations' purpose and not for political purposes of their own; moreover, that countries must be prepared to pay their contributions towards the cost of such operations. We, for our part, are now paying a very large proportion of the cost of this operation. As I said, we have always given full support to it, but responsibilities do rest on other countries to carry out their part.
I turn now to the second theme which I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, the need to strengthen the unity of the free world so that we may secure better relations between East and West. Last autumn, when we last debated foreign affairs, we recognised that there had been a break down of the détente which had started from the time that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister went to Moscow. I pointed then to signs of that and I do not propose to go over them again now. What is clear is that in 1384 the early months of this year we have seen very few signs of a change of attitude. There have been some. There has, perhaps, been greater restraint by Mr. Khrushchev in his remarks about President Kennedy and the United States and other countries, and there was the release of the American airmen. There have been some indications, but very few, and we must face that fact. But we are urged, and we accept, that we should continue to take positive steps towards better relations between East and West, and I want here to emphasise to the House that we have done this.
There was the Prime Minister's suggestion at the United Nations General Assembly, last autumn, of a committee of experts in order to find ways of control over disarmament. There were, secondly, the approaches we made through the Nuclear Tests Conference at Geneva. I think that the whole House would agree that there could be few things more important than this, and when the conference was resumed on 21st March the Western Powers made the most positive suggestions to the Soviet Union on how agreement could be secured.
There were put forward by the American spokesman and by my right hon Friend the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs fourteen changes, of which at least three were major ones, to meet the Soviet position. There has, alas, been no response to this. Indeed, the Soviet has gone back on one of its provisions and has introduced its idea from the United Nations, of turning the administrator into a triumvirate instead of being a single person.
Here again, there has been a positive approach by Her Majesty's Government in conjunction with their allies without answer from the Soviet Union. But now there are to be talks about disarmament in general and bilateral talks to prepare the way as far as procedure is concerned between the Soviet Union and the United States. We must hope that there will be a response from the Soviet Union to the positive approaches which are being made.
But when we are thinking of general policy and when, no doubt, the Opposition spokesman who is to follow me puts forward other suggestions for an approach to the Soviet Union and its friends from the West, let us always bear 1385 in mind the response which we have received to those we have already put forward. Meantime, the House will agree how necessary it is to substantiate the unity of the free world.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary have both been working to this end. In his talks with President Kennedy, the Prime Minister found the President determined to give fresh life to the alliance and I should like to say something briefly about the N.A.T.O. Conference. N.A.T.O. is sometimes said to be suffering from an indefinable malaise The Foreign Secretary found, during its last meeting, that that was certainly not the case. He found that the N.A.T.O. Council is tackling the problem of how to deal with changes in the military situation which have come about from weapon developments in the last few years. But the main object of the conference was to improve the techniques of consultation and the Council is now evolving long-range planning machinery for dealing with specific studies of international problems.
It is not true, as has been suggested in some Press reports, that permanent committees are being set up to study the Communist challenge in different geographical areas of the world, but there was general agreement in Oslo that N.A.T.O. was bound to be concerned with major difficulties in the world, even if they were outside the N.A.T.O. area. The Permanent Council, therefore, is to examine how it can improve individual consultation on problems which concern individual members of the alliance. I should like to emphasise that the object of this is not to ensure that there is a unified N.A.T.O. policy towards every problem that arises throughout the world, wherever it may be. The object is to ensure that individual N.A.T.O. countries do not take firm policy decisions about these problems without knowing the views of other members of the alliance.
There was hardly any discussion on the question of military strategy at this meeting. The general aim is to discuss the conclusions of the present study of this at the meeting at the end of this year, and as this is not a defence debate I do not propose to deal now with particular questions of N.A.T.O. strategy. 1386 But there was discussion of Berlin and I feel it right to say this. From time to time Mr. Khrushchev continues to threaten unilateral action over the Berlin question. He said this in a memorandum which he sent to Dr. Adenauer on 17th February. We must do everything possible to ensure that Mr. Khrushchev realises the dangers of such a course.
The essential element in any discussion of Berlin is the freedom of 2½ million Berliners. They regard themselves as free at the moment. They certainly do not look upon Mr. Khrushchev's proposal of a free city as offering them security or continued freedom for the future. They wish to retain the ability freely to choose their own form of Government by secret ballot, and they regard the continued presence of Western forces in the city as the guarantee of the maintenance of their present liberty.
The Western Powers are not in Berlin just to maintain an out-dated occupation. They are there to fulfil their responsibility towards the people of the city. We cannot and will not acquiesce in any unilateral Soviet action purporting to change the status of Berlin or to relieve the Soviet Government of responsibilities which still fall upon them. I hope that the Oslo communiqué will have made it abundantly clear that all members of N.A.T.O. still stand by the Declaration of the British, American and French Governments in 1954. That Declaration describes the security and welfare of Berlin and the maintenance of the position of the three Powers there as essential elements in the maintenance of the peace of the free world.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne) rose——
§ Mr. Heath
I am sorry, but we have a two-day debate, in which many hon. Members will be able to catch Mr. Speaker's eye, and I think that it is much better that points should be made in speeches and that one should be allowed to deploy one's case as one wishes.
Looking at the problem of Western unity, I wish to turn now to the question of Europe. The problem with which we have to deal in Europe is a fundamental one. It is the question of what are to be the relations of ourselves and the Commonwealth and the E.F.T.A. 1387 partners with the new Europe that is emerging. This I believe to be a most fundamental question and I propose to devote the rest of my speech to it.
After the war, Europe was weak. It was disunited, its buildings destroyed, and its economies in ruin. Over the next ten years it slowly and gradually made its recovery, economically with the help of Marshall Aid and O.E.E.C. militarily through N.A.T.O., and politically through such organisations as the Council of Europe. Throughout that period we played our full part in all these organisations—and when I say "we" I refer to Governments of both sides of the House. We played our full part in working for the recovery of Western Europe.
Today, Europe is strong. The pattern has changed and a fresh relationship has to be established between ourselves and the other countries of Europe and the six countries of the Economic Community. What is that relationship to be? This is one of the major problems of our time and it confronts us with decisions of immense importance to ourselves, to Europe and to the Commonwealth. It is only right that these decisions should be taken with as full a knowledge as possible of all that is involved. There must be no misunderstandings. We must weigh all the factors carefully, but, above all, we must set them in the right perspective.
The Government are often urged to enlighten the House and the country about these issues. That is perfectly right, but it is not always easy to do so on an issue of this kind. Our own tradition of parliamentary government is one in which the Government take a decision, submit it to the House and await its verdict. But in a situation like this, which is evolving, in which one is trying to establish relations with a number of other countries, and in which, later, it may be necessary to undertake negotiations, it is by no means easy to enlighten the House and the country to the extent which is being asked at the moment and to the extent to which we should like to do. Nevertheless, as this is one of the great issues of our time I believe it right to try to set before the House, as fairly as I can, what the issues are and what we are trying to do to reach a solution to them.
1388 We see today in Europe a powerfully developing group of nations in the European Economic Community. Its strength is shown by its size of over 170 million people compared with 50 million in the United Kingdom and rather under 90 million in E.F.T.A. as a whole. Their reserves of manpower are much greater. In ten years' time the populations under the age of 45 in France and Germany alone will be double that of the United Kingdom. The gross national product of the Six is two and a half times that of the United Kingdom. Their rate of industrial growth is much higher. The internal trade of the Six rose by 30 per cent. in 1960 compared with 16 per cent. for the internal trade of the Seven.
The Six have a strong balance of payments position and large resources. Their prospects are already attracting increased investment both from the United States and from the United Kingdom. In the past, over 50 per cent. of the investment in Europe from the United States came to the United Kingdom. In 1960, it was down to 41 per cent., and in 1961 over 50 per cent. of the United States' investment in Europe is expected to go to the Six.
I give these facts to the House as an indication of the strength and the size of the new group which has emerged in Europe. It has established itself, and it is showing every sign of future success.
What, then, we must ask ourselves, is to be the impact of this group on ourselves, on our Commonwealth and on our partners in E.F.T.A.? We now see opposite to us on the mainland of Europe a large group comparable in size only to the United States and the Soviet Union, and as its economic power increases, so will its political influence.
Throughout our history—I am trying to put these facts before the House because I think that they are necessary for making a balanced judgment—we have recognised the need to establish a relationship with the other countries on the mainland. Usually, it has been because we feared their military hostility. Our relationship has been part of the balance of power. Today, that is certainly not the case. It is the great blocs of the Communist world and the Western Powers which confront each other. But the problem remains for us to establish a relationship with the new 1389 and powerful group on the mainland of Europe.
In the political sphere we see the growth of political consultation between the countries of the Six. There is regular consultation at the level of Foreign Ministers. There is frequent and regular consultation between Ministers of other kinds at other levels, and between, for example, the governors of the State banks; and proposals are being considered for more formalised consultation at the level of heads of Government.
This is not in any way blameworthy, as is sometimes suggested. It is the perfectly natural development of the cohesion of a group such as we see now developing in Europe. From the point of view of political consultation, we have consultation in Western European Union, in which the Six and the United Kingdom sit. At the last meeting of Western European Union the members of the Six told me that they had postponed some of their political consultation from their own meeting the day before until we were present, so that we could take part in it. That was, I think, an indication of their desire that we should take part in some form of permanent political consultation with them. Western European Union is being used meantime as a substitute until more permanent arrangements can be made
This development poses for us and the rest of Europe considerable political problems. I am talking now not only of the next six months, or the next two or three years, but of a much longer period. We can then see the danger which faces us of a decline in political influence in the world at large and in our Commonwealth. So the first point that I want to emphasise is the political factor involved in this new arrangement of the European countries which has come about since Europe recovered from the after-effects of the war. That is the political background to this problem.
What will be the economic consequences for us of its development? Until the creation of the Economic Community our trade with Europe was increasing. It amounted to 15 per cent. of our trade. During the past five years our exports to the Six have increased at nearly twice the rate of our total export trade. This trade is bound to be affected by the creation of the common tariff 1390 round the markets of the Six and the gradual abolition of their internal tariffs.
This will be particularly the case, first, because most of our trade with them is in industrial products, and, secondly, because our markets were in those countries such as the Federal Republic of Germany, which have to raise their tariffs to reach the common tariff level. The creation of a group of this kind means, in any case, that they have all the advantages of mass production with a large market. This, again, poses economic problems for us of competition. More than that, it also means that the Six will be better able to compete in third markets of the world. This will be a challenge to our export trade as a whole. What I have already described also means that the Six will prove a continuing attraction for investment on both sides of the Atlantic. I am not telling the House that our trade is in immediate danger. What I am trying to do for the House is to look into the future over a longer period and see how these things may well develop.
Those are the consequences of the division today between the European Economic Community and the rest of Western Europe. The results of a closer unity between the group and ourselves and our partners in E.F.T.A. would, of course, be the reverse. It is not only that we would together be able to share the benefits and advantages of this new development. We would also be able to contribute very much to it ourselves. On the political side, one of the major political achievements of the Six has been to create a Franco-German rapprochement which is invaluable. Our presence would undoubtedly consolidate this and contribute towards the balanced development of the Community.
These, then, are most powerful reasons why we should use all our strength and energy to find a solution to the problem of a closer relationship between ourselves and our partners and the European Economic Community. It is against these political factors that we should place the very real difficulties of finding a solution in the economic and commercial field.
Of course, if we examine these, we shall find some things which we do not like—some individual things which maybe disadvantageous to us and some 1391 things which they do differently from the way to which we are accustomed. But, against this, we must weigh the very formidable political and material advantages to be gained from a closer association, and we must weigh it all in the context of the future position of our country and the Commonwealth, and of the future position of Europe as a whole and its influence throughout the world.
I would now like to tell the House something of what has been done since we started a new approach to this problem nine months ago. At the meeting then between Chancellor Adenauer and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister it was decided that we would explore through diplomatic channels, by official and ministerial talks, to see whether a basis for negotiations could be found.
Two things were necessary. The first was to create the will on both sides in Europe to find a solution. The second was to find the technical means whereby the differing interests could be reconciled. On the question of creating a will to find a solution, I believe that there is now a greater will in Europe than ever before to find a means of settling this problem. We have many friends in Europe, and all of them are anxious that these things which now divide us should be removed.
We have made good progress with the technical talks and have covered a lot of ground. Some hon. Members—and I can quite understand it—may ask why it is that this work has still to be done. The reason is that the earlier solutions which were proposed to this problem, in particular, the Free Trade Area, by their nature excluded the sort of problems which we have been closely examining with great energy over the past few months. The Free Trade Area solution excluded by its nature anything to do with agriculture and Commonwealth trade, and institutional problems. Therefore, it is only since we made the new approach last September that this work has been done.
At the meeting of W.E.U. Ministers at the end of February, I was able to report on the progress which had been made. Again, hon. Members may ask why this should be done in W.E.U. It was done there, first, because the Union has as its object to help create closer 1392 unity in Europe, and, secondly, because it is the only forum in which members of the Six and ourselves together meet as of right.
I reported our view of the political position in Europe. Briefly, it was this: discussion amongst the Six themselves about their own problems is a matter for the Six. We have no desire to force our way into it. On the other hand, if an arrangement is made between the two groups, or in some other way there is political discussion, then, of course, we will play our full part in it. If there are political discussions on Europe of a nature outside the domestic affairs of the Six, about Europe's influence in the world, then we believe that we should be present, that we have long played our part and have much to contribute. Lastly, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has told the House, if he was invited to attend a conference of heads of Government he would be disposed to accept.
That statement made our political position, as far as Europe is concerned, absolutely plain to all its members, and I am sure that there is no doubt about it today. As far as the economic position is concerned, all I put forward was a report. It was not a series of proposals for negotiation which were to be accepted or rejected. It was a report on the way things had been going in the talks so far and the position that we had reached. I told the members of the Six that if they were able to meet our problems with regard to the Commonwealth and to domestic agriculture, we could then consider a system based on a common or harmonised tariff on raw materials and manufactured goods imported from countries other than the Six, the Seven or the Commonwealth. This was an important change on our part, because it meant that over that sector, excluding the Commonwealth and E.F.T.A., we were accepting the common tariff and its implications. That is the context in which we have been working.
I now want to mention to the House four matters which we are very concerned about. The first is our trade with the Commonwealth. The second is our domestic agriculture. The third is our E.F.T.A. partners. The fourth is the institutional question. We have always made it plain—and I repeat it now—that we shall keep in close touch 1393 throughout with other Commonwealth Governments, and will have full consultation with them before we decide on the course to follow.
We have been examining imports from the Commonwealth under four heads—raw materials, tropical products, manufactured goods and temperate foodstuffs. Very few raw materials present any difficulty since, with a few exceptions—I think that there are five main ones—they are imported duty free both into the E.E.C. and into the United Kingdom.
Tropical products present a more complex problem which is, indeed, world wide. It vitally affects the interests of countries outside Europe, including those which have no links with European countries. This must be borne in mind. I have good hopes that progress can be made as far as tropical products are concerned.
The difficulties lie with manufactured goods and temperate foodstuffs. Together, they represent about half our imports from Commonwealth countries, and we have been and still are studying the complex problems involved. But I must tell the House that we cannot yet see clearly what can be done. In our talks with the Six we have naturally been asked what we think should be done, in the context of an overall settlement, in regard to the preference at present enjoyed by United Kingdom exports in some Commonwealth countries. We have replied that we should see no difficulty of principle in the way of discussions between the Six and the Commonwealth countries concerned about possible reductions in tariff preferences, as part of a satisfactory overall settlement so as to put it in general balance.
This has helped confidence. This is where we showed, in our desire to reach an arrangement, that we are not trying to get the best of all worlds and that we are not putting forward the Commonwealth as a reason why we should not have an arrangement with the Six.
Our second main concern is domestic agriculture. If a settlement is to be reached, all the E.E.C. countries now consider that agriculture cannot be excluded altogether. In trying to place the position fully before the House, I must make it plain that that is their view. There must be further discussion 1394 before a clear picture emerges, but I want to make three points about it today.
First, while the Rome Treaty lays down the general scheme for a common agricultural policy—a scheme which is different from ours—its detailed implementation has not yet been decided. Secondly, there are indications—and these have come since my statement to the W.E.U. ministerial meeting—that the Community might be ready to consider the possibility of modifications in its present proposals for a common agricultural policy in order to go some way to meet us.
Lastly, while there might be difficulties in one or two commodities—just as there would be problems in industry—British agriculture as a whole, as its post-war record shows, is in a sound state to contemplate participation in a common agricultural policy, provided that that participation is on equal terms as part of an enlarged European Economic Community. The British farmer is efficient and competitive.
The next point I want to make is that the Common Market in agriculture will be introduced gradually, and it will be a long time—perhaps eight years or more—before it comes into full effect. We have, of course, given firm pledges to our farmers, and any change in the method of support we consider would have to take full account of them.
Thirdly, I want to talk about our E.F.T.A. partners. I am very glad that it was possible to reach agreement about the association of Finland with E.F.T.A., and it is also very pleasing to us that so soon after reaching this agreement it was possible for the President of Finland to visit this country. A shadow has been cast over our memories of his visit by the sudden death, shortly after his return to Helsinki, of the Finnish Foreign Minister, with whom I had talks last week in London. That is a matter of great regret to us.
In these exploratory talks we have been speaking only for ourselves. We have always made it plain that the interests of E.F.T.A. must be safeguarded. We have kept the member countries of E.F.T.A. fully informed of all stages of the ideas that have been put forward and examined. We shall continue to do this, and we shall also consult them before we take any final decisions. Some anxiety has recently 1395 been expressed by the Press of some of the E.F.T.A. countries that the United Kingdom, or another E.F.T.A. country might suddenly decide "to go it alone without consideration for its partners. This would break up E.F.T.A., and leave the other countries in a weak position in which to make their own arrangements.
The United Kingdom will not abandon its E.F.T.A. partners in that way. We all wish to find a solution—
§ Mr. Heath
I was referring to the allegations that have been made in the Press that we would "go it alone". We are not prepared to abandon our E.F.T.A. partners in any way in trying to find a solution, which may not be the same one for each of us, but we should all help each other to find a solution.
That was the original purpose for which E.F.T.A. was formed. If E.F.T.A. were to disintegrate because some members were looking for solutions on their own without thought of their partners, that would be deplorable. If, on the other hand, E.F.T.A. eventually disappears because we have each found an arrangement that suits us in a wider Europe, E.F.T.A. will have achieved its purpose.
We have also been examining the question of institutions, and this ought to be faced frankly and openly. It is necessary that we should understand what is involved in them. The Treaty of Rome set up a permanent commission under a Council of Ministers. What I wish to emphasise is that the activities are limited to commercial and tariff policy on behalf of the Council of Ministers which takes the decisions in these matters.
The operations of the Community affect two particular aspects of national sovereignty and, again, there should be no misunderstanding, in looking at these problems, as to what is involved. First, the power to make commercial agreements passes to the Commission when it is that sector. Secondly, an appeal from commercial decisions lies to the international court. It is only right that those two things should be mentioned; they are both important, and we should face them frankly and openly.
1396 I now wish to deal with the particular point mentioned in the Amendment standing in the name of the Leader of the Liberal Party—[HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] This is an important matter which is constantly brought before us. He suggests that we can make progress in solving this problem only by first announcing that we propose to sign the Treaty of Rome and then start to negotiate such derogations as may be possible.
I do not believe that to be the case. The signature of the Treaty of Rome does not, of itself, solve any of the difficulties that I have been describing to the House. They would still remain to be resolved. If it were necessary to do this to convince Europe that we were genuine, there might be some argument for it, but that, I am quite convinced, is not the case. Neither have any of the members of the Six, in our talks, asked us to follow this procedure. They realise that it is reasonable that we should see the broad lines of a settlement before any request is made to start negotiations——
§ Mr. Arthur Holt (Bolton, West)
Neither the Leader of the Liberal Party nor any other leader has stated what the right hon. Gentleman has ascribed to my hon. Friend. To say that we should apply is quite different from saying that we should sign before commencing negotiations. We have only said that we should apply for entry first, and negotiate later.
§ Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)
We have listened to a quite important speech, to a very dramatic statement. Would the right hon. Gentleman let the House know whether or not his party and the Government would take a dramatic and major step like this without first discussing it with the British electorate? This problem is of such magnitude that the whole life of our people might be changed by it. The issue is one which should be put forward in a General Election programme—not pushed through Parliament without discussion at the polls.
§ Mr. Heath
I am putting forward these points today so that the House might consider the great issues involved; and I am sure that the country, too, will be the better able to do so. I am sorry if, perhaps, from some points of view in the House, I am devoting so much time to this issue, but I think that it is right to do so. [An HON. MEMBER: "On this Motion?"] Yes, on this Motion, because this matter of European unity is of the greatest possible importance.
I have tried to describe the European position and I now want to say a brief word about the United States position, because its trading arrangements may well be affected by any solution we may reach. The new Administration in Washington have made their attitude quite clear. The United States is prepared to accept additional discrimination against its goods provided that the arrangement reached can be shown to strengthen the political unity of Europe. It does not feel itself obliged to accept further discrimination from a purely trading arrangement which carries no political advantage. This is a position we can all understand and appreciate. At the same time, it is for the countries of Europe themselves to decide what action they want to take in those circumstances.
As to the attitude of the Six, there is now evidence of a desire throughout the Community that we should reach a settlement. M. Couve de Murville, with whom I had most useful talks last October, which were followed by talks between the Prime Minister and President de Gaulle, has now publicly stated that it is open to us to accede to the Treaty of Rome, which is what the French Government would prefer, or to form some kind of association with it. This view is shared by France's partners in the Community. I therefore submit to the House that what remains is for us to pursue as vigorously as we can our discussions with the members of the Six about the nature of any settlement that is possible, and the means of dealing with our particular problems.
There are really four courses that are open. The first is to abandon the search for a solution. That would be a counsel of despair. The second course is to try to make an economic arrangement between the two separate groups, 1398 which will continue to retain their identity. We have, of course, been exploring this, and exploring it fully. It would mean some additional discrimination against the outside world without the corresponding political advantages necessary to offset it. As far as we can see at the moment, it is not a solution that particularly commends itself to the members of the Six.
The third course is for the United Kingdom, and other members of E.F.T.A.—not as a group, but individually—to make a form of association with the Community. In that course, one has to consider the degree of political participation which would be involved, which I emphasised at the beginning of my speech. One would also have basically to consider the influence of an association on the economic policies of the group. On this, again, there is much exploratory work to be done because the first form of association between the Economic Community and another country, that with Greece, has only just been made and has not yet been published.
The fourth course is that of full membership, provided that proper arrangements are made for Commonwealth trade and for our agricultural system to reconcile them with trade and agriculture in Europe, and proper arrangements for our E.F.T.A. partners. If we are to reach agreement there must be give-and-take on both sides. We shall not secure all we would like, but we shall share in great benefits which are not now available to us. To be lasting, any settlement must be fair to both sides.
This is an urgent matter. As the Community develops and its policies crystallise so it will become more difficult to fit into the arrangements which are made. So long as uncertainty exists, businessmen and those engaged in industry and commerce cannot make their plans, either for sales promotion or for investment. On the political side consultations cannot fully develop until this problem is solved. Nevertheless, it is bound to take time, in a matter as complex and as difficult as this, to find a solution to these problems.
As we have so often repeated, we are resolved not to start negotiations until 1399 we can see the prospect of a successful outcome from them.
§ Mr. Heath
We have not started negotiations, but have been carrying out exploratory talks without any commitment of any kind.
I have tried to put as fully as I can the aspects of these European matters, the political and economic aspects of the problem. We recognise that there are for the people of this country very deep human feelings involved in great matters of this kind. Those are feelings which sometimes are buried. They survive from times long ago but today they often colour, perhaps subconsciously, our attitude towards these things. After a point, human beings come to dislike change. Working out a new relationship with Europe involves major decisions and changes. It would be much easier if none of these developments had come about and if no decisions had to be made about them in future, but no nation which allowed that attitude to govern its actions could survive in the world today.
For all of us it is perhaps the Commonwealth which most permeates our thoughts on this problem. Our love for the Commonwealth is deeply bred within us and the question immediately raises itself: will our connection with the Commonwealth in any way suffer if we establish a new relationship with Europe? We must face this situation frankly and openly. Those who have been handling this matter have thought long and deeply about it. I believe that we can maintain our close connection with the Commonwealth and I believe that is what Europe itself desires. The personal ties which link individuals within the Commonwealth and the channels of trading which are so well established, the network of consultation which has grown up over the years, the Prime Ministers' conference, all these can be maintained.
Indeed, with the strengthening of our economic position we should be more able to help in developing the Commonwealth and to strengthen the ties which bind its members together. These then, are the issues which are involved.
§ Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
. I am very sorry to interrupt my right 1400 hon. Friend, but could he say whether Her Majesty's Government have yet come to any view as to the likelihood of the Common Market countries going on to a common currency? If so, what are likely to be the consequences of that for sterling?
§ Mr. Heath
I could have dealt with the individual matters concerning the institutions. There are a number of other matters of Article III of the Treaty of Rome, of which financial and investment questions are one. On those other questions the members of the Six are only beginning to formulate policies and they are in the early stages. These are matters we shall have to explore in our talks.
I hope that hon. Members will realise the complexities and difficulties of finding a reconciliation between these matters and policies in the different countries. This is the problem that we are discussing in Europe today. I believe that it is one of the greatest which confronts our generation. It is technical and complex and its aspects must be kept in perspective. Above all, I think that the technical and commercial matters I have mentioned must be set among the great political issues I have described. They must be set in the context of the unity of Europe and the contribution they can make towards the freedom of Europe, on the unity and freedom of which peace depends.
§ 4.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:in view of the dangers to world peace which have recently arisen in areas of political instability, particularly Cuba, Laos, the Congo and Angola, regrets the failure of Her Majesty's Government to cancel the visit of H.M.S. "Leopard" to Angola, and calls upon all Governments to base their foreign policies on the Charter of the United Nations, to seek the peaceful settlement of international disputes, and to promote positive co-operation between the Communist and Western Powers as the only means of ending the cold war and halting the arms race".This Amendment stands in the name of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, my right hon. and hon. Friends and myself and certain other hon. Members.
1401 We have listened to a rather extraordinary speech from the Lord Privy Seal, in which he spent a whole forty minutes talking about an issue which is not referred to directly in any way in the Motion that he was purporting to commend to the House. I shall have a word to say later about the rather odd practice of the Government Front Bench on this issue in this respect.
It is now almost exactly one year since we had a general foreign affairs debate in this House. Our last debate, at the end of May, 1960, was in the atmosphere of shock and dismay caused by the collapse of the proposed Summit Conference in Paris. We are met today in the lively expectation that within perhaps two or three weeks from now the President of the United States and the Leader of the Soviet Union will be meeting to discuss world problems in Vienna. I think it quite astounding that at a moment like this the Lord Privy Seal should have chosen to make a long academic, Ministerial statement on a subject which is not referred to in the Government's Motion. After all, the world as a whole is facing some very serious problems at present.
We cannot honestly report very much improvement in the situation since we last debated international affairs a year ago. The arms race continues, atomic weapons are spreading fast, Soviet action in Geneva is threatening to torpedo the conclusion of a treaty to ban atomic tests. I do not think chat we even had a mention of that from the right hon. Gentleman in opening the debate. A whole half of the world is convulsed by revolutionary change. We have had fighting in the Congo, in Laos, Cuba, Angola and Algeria, a coup d'état in Turkey and Korea and trouble in Iran. In many places the United States and the Communist camp are being dragged into these local conflicts.
Meanwhile, as the Lord Privy Seal did mention, the whole structure of the Western world is undergoing great changes. The Common Market is now solidly established on the Continent of Europe. The Whole programme of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is paralysed by the attitude of the French Government and we in Britain find ourselves in a position in which we may soon be forced to make some very difficult 1402 and perhaps unwelcome choices between the Commonwealth and Europe, and perhaps between loyalty to our N.A.T.O. partners and our obligations to the United Nations and the world community.
At a moment like this, the British people need leadership from Her Majesty's Government and a clear declaration from the Front Bench opposite of the priorities which are to guide our policy. I am sure that if they get that clear leadership, the British people will respond to it, but we are still in a state of total confusion about what the Government's basic aims and methods in world affairs are to be.
The only guide available so far to the British people is the interesting speech made by the Prime Minister, a month or so ago, not in the House of Commons, but to a mixed audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the United States, a speech which, at first sight, looked quite interesting and novel, but which, on closer examination, turned out to be full of platitudes, many irreproachable, but also self-contradictory.
There was the right hon. Gentleman's reference to a nuclear partnership being a good thing, but a day or two later he told us that that was just a thought which he had thrown out and that in any case it was not yet relevant. Indeed, there is probably some truth in the rumour that the Americans are to erect in Harvard Square a woollen statue of the Prime Minister to commemorate his speech.
All we had from the Lord Privy Seal, apart from reading a number of briefs on the situation in the Congo and Laos, was a very long statement on what sort of problems the Government are facing in Europe, but there was no clue about how the Government proposed to deal with them. The British people and Europe as a whole need something a little more definite than we have had from the Lord Privy Seal, particularly in view of the great confusion caused by the flood of contradictory statements by the Prime Minister and other Government spokesmen in the last few weeks.
No sooner did the Prime Minister leave Washington the other day than we had a spate of inspired rumours that 1403 he had promised President Kennedy that Britain was to join the Common Market, rumours which seemed to be so well founded that they caused panic among Conservative farmers all over the country, and we heard rumours that the Government would lose 80 seats at the next General Election if they carried out that policy, and there was serious alarm among our fellow Governments in the European Free Trade Association.
In response to that alarm and panic, we heard from the Prime Minister last week that there was no question of our joining the Common Market and that the only question which we were facing was whether we would have some form of association which would be governed by a protocol to safeguard our special interests in agriculture, the Commonwealth, and E.F.T.A. That statement caused almost as much consternation among the six Governments with whom we are negotiating about the Common Market as the previous rumours caused among our partners in E.F.T.A., and so, yesterday, we had another statement from the Prime Minister, saying that, in fact, his mind was completely open and that he was prepared to join the Common Market, subject to amendment, or to some sort of protocol, or to have some sort of loose association entirely from outside.
On behalf of Her Majesty's Opposition, I must formally complain at the way in which the Lord Privy Seal and other members of the Government have handled this business this afternoon. They have put down a Motion which does not even refer to the European problem, except in the vaguest way with a phrase about Western unity, and yet we had a long and in some respects interesting statement by the Lord Privy Seal—forty minutes of it—for which we had been given no preparation whatever and which bore no relation whatever to anything in the Government Motion.
I would like the Lord Privy Seal to tell us why, instead of having a day's debate on this issue, which would surely be desirable in view of the nature of his statement to us, the Government have chosen to smuggle this very important issue into a two-day general debate on foreign affairs which is concerned with quite other issues. Of course, we 1404 know perfectly well what the answer is. The Government are scared stiff of providing a target for their own backbenchers. They believe that if they deal with the matter in this way criticism from their own side of their behaviour—justified or not—will be interspersed with remarks about Cuba, about Laos and about the Congo and that, somehow or other, the Government will go scot free. I hope that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite will have the courage to support me in my complaint on this issue.
The question of Britain's relations with Europe is far too complicated and difficult to be dealt with in a corner of a general debate on the world situation. The Government should make it clear—and it is still not yet clear from what the Lord Privy Seal said this afternoon—that Britain would consider joining the Common Market provided that our special difficulties were met—if the Common Market countries prefer us to join it subject to our difficulties being met rather than have us associated with the Common Market in some way from outside.
But it seems very unlikely that the French Government, at any rate, will now agree to our doing anything other than signing the Treaty of Rome as it stands. In the light of the knowledge which one obtains from reading newspapers and talking to French politicians and civil servants, it seems that there is very little likelihood that General de Gaulle will change his position on this issue, at least until the Algerian problem is a good deal further along the way to solution.
For that and other reasons, we in Britain ought to send a message of good will from the House this afternoon to those participating in the talks at Evian this weekend between the French Government and the Algerian rebel leaders, because I am convinced that unless those talks launch the two countries on the way to a peaceful solution of their problems we simply will not get any effective negotiation on the Common Market problem.
Meanwhile, we make a great mistake in over-dramatising the dangers, which might flow ten, twenty, or thirty years ahead, from a failure to reach a settlement of the Six-Seven problem. There was a good 1405 deal of truth in some of the points which the right hon. Gentleman made, although I must confess that his presentation of the problem was very one-sided. It is fatal to give the impression—as much of what he said must have done—that there is no alternative for Britain to entering the Common Market and signing the Treaty of Rome.
To magnify the dangers of not taking that course inevitably means that the Common Market countries will be tempted to wait until we are prepared to sign the Treaty of Rome unconditionally, and I cannot help feeling that the way in which the Government have handled this matter in the last three or four weeks has gravely impaired our chances of obtaining from the Common Market countries the sort of concessions which we must have—and I know that the Government agree about this—if we are to consider entering the Common Market outright.
I must apologise to the House, even if the right hon. Gentleman will not, for spending so much time on our relations with Europe in my introduction of our Amendment, because, although our relations with Western Europe are important, they are not the most important problem facing Britain, or mankind. I must confess that I find some of my British and European friends almost as parochial about the Six-Seven problem, taking the view that the European problem is the only problem in the world, as those people in this country who think that Africa begins at Calais.
The question we ought to consider during these two days is how we are to live at peace with the Communist countries now that we both agree that war is suicidal. Whether we like it or not, the answer to this problem will depend in very large part on relations between two Governments, the United States Government and the Government of the Soviet Union. On behalf of my right hon. and hon. Friends, I welcome the rumour, which I hope is correct, that President Kennedy is to meet Prime Minister Khrushchev in a few weeks to explore the possibilities of making progress on this issue.
I admit to feeling that, if he takes such a decision, President Kennedy will be making a gamble. It is at least conceivable that a personal confrontation at this 1406 time might lead to less understanding rather than more; but I think that the gamble will be justified. Indeed, if no other issue would justify it, the complete paralysis of the test ban negotiations at Geneva makes it very necessary that there should be some initiative taken to try to break the deadlock.
In Britain, what can or should we hope from a meeting between the heads of the Soviet and American Governments? I would hope that we should gain greater clarity about what the Russians really mean by "peaceful coexistence". I think that we all, on both sides of the House, welcomed the declaration of the 81 Communist parties, in December, that war was not the inevitable end of the conflict between the Communist and non-Communist camps and that co-existence should be a permanent feature of relations between them, but I myself have increasing doubt about whether the Soviet conception of co-existence is sufficient to prevent war.
I cannot help recalling that Mr. Khrushchev, speaking on 6th January, defined peaceful co-existence in the following terms:Peaceful co-existence is a form of intense economic, political and ideological struggle of the proletariat against the aggressive forces of Imperialism in the international arena.Lest any of my hon. Friends may feel that that lets us out. I can assure them that Mr. Khrushchev regards the British Labour Party as just as imperialist as any hon. Member opposite.
The Russians must be made to understand that co-existence in the sense of an absolutely unlimited struggle between two power groups is certain to increase international tension and that an increase of international tension is absolutely incompatible with disarmament or with peace. I believe that the sooner we make this clear to the Russians the better, and I hope that Mr. Kennedy, when he meets Mr. Khrushchev in Vienna, if he does meet him there, will make this one of the major objects of his visit.
I cannot help recalling, also, that in the same speech, on 6th January, Mr. Khrushchev, although excluding the possibility of most sorts of war, said "Communists most fully support just wars and march in the front ranks of the peoples waging liberation struggles".
§ Mr. Healey
Exactly. Is if possible that we and the Russians will agree about what a just war is? I do not think so. I honestly do not believe that it is possible to pick and choose in the matter of war. If we want to prevent war, we must oppose all wars and all use of force in the pursuit of political ends.
We must tell the Russians, adapting the words of one of their greatest statesmen of the past, that co-existence, like peace, is indivisible, and that it is no good their expecting to reach agreements on questions like disarmament and other things if they simultaneously reserve the right, in Mr. Khrushchev's words, to make the very Governments with whom they are negotiating "jump about like fish in the frying pan".
If a confrontation of the Soviet and American leaders in Vienna does nothing else but bring this point home to the Soviet Government, it will perform a major service for world peace. The Russians must clear their concept of coexistence from that basic contradiction if co-existence is to work.
A short time ago I had the pleasure—it was a pleasure—together with several hon. and right hon. Members from both sides of the House, of spending a weekend in Sussex discussing these problems with several leading Russians, including the editors of Pravda and Izvestia. It was very difficult to get the point across, although I had the feeling that, by the time the weekend had closed, the Russians realised that there was a point there to be got across, although they were extremely embarrassed about how precisely they were to deal with it.
We must point out to the Russians that co-existence will not work unless it is constructive, that co-existence must involve co-operation, not conflict, between the two systems, that this cooperation may well end by modifying the nature of the competing systems, and that we on our side would welcome this. Positive, constructive co-operation between the two systems is absolutely essential to any form of disarmament or arms control. My right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) will deal with this aspect tomorrow.
1408 I believe, also, that this type of cooperation is essential if we are to prevent global war from arising from political conflicts in those many areas of instability which are now scattered throughout the world. It is this theme to which we attach so much importance in our Amendment, and to it I propose to devote the rest of my speech.
If we look back on world affairs during the last twelve months, we must be struck by the fact that there are nearly twenty countries in which some sort of armed conflict has taken place since we last debated these matters in the House. Most of these countries are in Africa and Asia; one is in Latin America. Indeed, most of Africa and Asia and much of Latin America is going through a long period of social, economic and political transformation. There is what is called the revolution of rising expectations, the determination of peoples in the developing areas to raise their standard of life quickly. There are innumerable problems of readjustment now that new countries have come into existence on the ruins of the colonial system. In one country of the world after another it is being discovered by bitter experience that the old social and political forms are quite inadequate to cope with the sort of changes which the people living there demand.
Change is an inevitable feature of development in these areas and is likely to remain so for another generation, if not two. The change will often be violent, as it has been in the Congo, Laos, Cuba, Korea, Iraq, Egypt, Angola, Iran and Turkey. So long as the basic cold war conflict continues, we have to admit that either side may be tempted to intervene in these local conflicts either because it thinks that it can exploit change to its own advantage, or because it thinks that the other side will gain by change unless it intervenes.
Perhaps the greatest single danger to peace today is the uninhibited pursuit of great Power rivalries in these areas of political instability in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We must think very hard indeed about the answer to this problem. Too often in the past, it seems to me, Western policy has been based on the assumption that we can prevent change by buttressing the status quo through alliances and large-scale military 1409 aid. I believe that the experience of the last ten years has shown this to be a fatal illusion. All too often, this attempt to deal with the problem hastens the very change it is desired to prevent and, moreover, ensures that the change, when it takes place, is to the disadvantage of the West.
Anyone surveying the world at present, particularly Africa and Asia, cannot help being struck by the fact that the injection of vast sums of money into undeveloped economies for military purposes has produced rampant and uncontrollable corruption, has actually widened the gap between the rich and the poor, and so promoted revolution with no consequent or accompanying gain in military strength to the West as a whole. We see it at this moment in Korea, which is seething with discontent and is the plaything of military cliques, with unemployment and famine rife, with total instability, and a coup d'état liable to take place from one day to another. We read in our newspapers this morning that in Iran, which is allied to us in the Central Treaty Organisation, 33 generals and 270 colonels have been dismissed for corruption. What value does that sort of military ally provide to the West? In the last six years 300 million dollars have been poured into Laos in military aid, but they failed to produce even 1,000 men who will fight against the Communists. Indeed, the consequences of the corruption which have accompanied the pouring in of that aid have disgusted many decent elements with the whole set-up and driven them towards the Communists.
It is often forgotten that General Kong Lae was trained by the Americans under the American aid programme. It was only when he completely lost patience with the corruption in Vientiane that he decided to try to put in a different sort of Government. When that was thrown out he decided to fight against Bonn Oum side by side with the Pathet Lao. I cannot help wondering if perhaps the United States is not about to repeat this mistake in South Vietnam.
There may well be cases, as I believe there are—I think that Pakistan is one—where great military and political advantages are to be gained by strengthening a stable and fairly honest Government. But we must recognise that 1410 in Africa and Asia the only battle that really counts is the battle for men's minds. We shall win this battle only if we treat change, in the phrase once used by the Minister of Health, as our ally and not as our enemy. I wholly agree with the remark in today's The Times thatliberal political adjustments, foreign aid, and even action against corruption are not enough unless accompanied by social and economic reforms.That is absolutely true. I am very glad to say that the American Government have realised this and that Mr. Kennedy's programme in Latin America, which he calls the alliance for progress, is based entirely on this principle.
We cannot hope to prevent change in these areas. Change is likely to be endemic there for a long time. What should we do if change produces Governments who are neutral or even hostile to the West? This is the very difficult problem about which none of us has fully made up his mind. When Mr. Khrushchev was talking to Walter Lippmann the other day in that very interesting interview which was published in Britain in the Observer, he seemed to suggest that this problem should be dealt with by dividing the world into spheres of influence and that, in a phrase used the other day by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), America and Russia should constitute a Holy Alliance, each reserving the right to ensure that it had friendly Governments in its own part of the world.
We know full well that no attempt to solve the problem along these lines, quite apart from its flagrant immorality, has the slightest chance of success. It is not possible in the twentieth century for great Powers to make a decision and then impose it for ever on small Powers. Above all, it is not possible even for totalitarian Governments to impose their will for ever on ordinary men and women, as we have learned and as they have learned in Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia.
We are forced to the conclusion that the only possible answer to the problem in the long run is some sort of agreement between the big Powers not to intervene at all in areas of instability and, if political changes take place, not to take advantage of them. I believe that this sort of agreement can be made to work in the long run, provided that the United 1411 Nations can take the responsibility for keeping the cold war out of Africa and Asia. Above all, this approach to the problem has a chance of success because it meets the passionate desire of the Afro-Asian people not to be forced into commitments in the cold war and not to be lined up on one side or the other of the great divide.
Mr. Hammarskjoeld, in his very interesting report on his work as Secretary-General of the United Nations last year, accepted this responsibility as a proper one for the United Nations to adopt. Indeed, as the Lord Privy Seal said earlier, it has been the basic principle which the United Nations has been trying to follow in the Congo. I welcome all that the right hon. Gentleman said on this subject at any rate and hope very much that President Kasavubu carries out his promise to recall the Congolese Parliament and try to create a more satisfactory basis for some sort of United Government in the Congo.
I believe also that the West and the Communist Powers are groping towards some such solution in Southern Asia. After all, this is the basis on which the Geneva Conference is now meeting on Laos. Many of us feel that it would be a very good thing if the neutral area in this part of Asia could be expanded, as Prince Sihanouk suggested, to include Cambodia and any other governments in the area, perhaps Burma, who are prepared to accept this sort of status. I believe that the moves which we have seen in the Congo in the last twelve months and which we are now seeing in Laos represent the first timid faltering steps of mankind towards some sort of world government. Her Majesty's Government must throw all their weight behind it.
I am glad to pay tribute to the work of Her Majesty's Government in bringing about the Conference on Laos in Geneva at present, though I deeply regret that they did not follow our advice and press on with this proposal in December. Nobody has gained by the delay, except the Communists in Laos.
If we are honest, we must accept the fact that if we try to move the world in this direction we shall, in the short run at any rate, run into difficulties with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union does not conceive of the United Nations 1412 operating as a world government. On the other hand, I believe that the Russians now see it as inevitable that the United Nations will extend its sphere of action in this direction. This is perhaps the reason why in the last nine months the Russians have shown themselves so determined to restrict the authority of the United Nations Secretariat and to extend the veto into every field of United Nations activity.
None of us on this side of the House thinks that the United Nations as it stands is perfect. In particular, we think that the Peking Government's admission to the United Nations is long overdue. We also believe that the reform of the Security Council is long overdue so as to reflect the real state of affairs in the world in 1961 and not the world in 1944.
But the Soviet proposal to introduce the triple veto into every activity of the United Nations is wholly wrong and is certain to be fatal to the development of the United Nations. Indeed, it would be fatal to the survival of the United Nations even in its present form, because introducing the triple veto, by the West, by the Communist bloc and by the uncommitted countries, would mean making the divisions of the cold war a permanent feature of a world which can live in peace only if the cold war is ended. But I believe that Russia can be led to change her policy on this issue, as she has already been forced to change her policy on the inevitability of war, providing that the West adopts the right policy; providing, in particular, that the West can win and keep the confidence of the uncommitted peoples in its sincerity and loyalty to the Charter of the United Nations.
Despite all the difficult and urgent problems that face us in Europe, I believe that the winning and keeping of the confidence of the uncommitted peoples is perhaps the most important single task of the West at the present time. How can we do it? Certainly we must give as much economic aid as we can possibly afford, and give it without strings, and, where possible, through the United Nations. I believe that the American Government has set a wonderful example of this by its very generous offer to India of one billion dollars for India's new plan. But we must remember that this offer depends on European 1413 co-operation, and I should like to ask the Government why the United Kingdom is giving so little.
As I understand it, at present the offer by the Government is only 20 per cent. of the offer of the United States and indeed is less than the offer of Western Germany. I press Her Majesty's Government most strongly—perhaps the Joint Under-Secretary of State will talk about this tomorrow—to recognise that the success of the Indian economic plan is probably the key to the survival of freedom in the whole of Asia.
We cannot hope to win political confidence by economic aid alone. Political confidence can be won only by political means. It depends on convincing the uncommitted peoples that we understand and sympathise with their aspirations; that we share their desire to see the remnants of colonialism liquidated; that we share their desire to abolish racial discrimination. I believe that here the policy of Her Majesty's Government is open to criticism, especially at the United Nations when the question of colonialism arises. We all recall the shameful incident last December when the British Prime Minister telephoned the President of the United States to get the American delegate to vote against his convictions in the United Nations Assembly on a resolution condemning colonialism. We on this side of the House are very glad that the new American Administration has given notice that it is not prepared to accede to such requests in future.
As is well known, we are disgusted by the sluggish reluctance of Her Majesty's Government to condemn apartheid in South Africa. We believe that on this and on similar issues Her Majesty's Government should take the initiative and not wait to be blown forward by the wind of change like a piece of tumbleweed or thistledown. In particular, we believe that Her Majesty's Government must take the initiative over the issue which is now arising in Africa so reminiscent in so many ways of the problem of apartheid in South Africa. I refer, of course, to the troubles in Angola.
Having at last plucked up their courage to attack apartheid in South Africa, I simply cannot understand why Her Majesty's Government should not have been prepared to do the same and 1414 to attack the inhuman action of the Portuguese authorities in Angola. Her Majesty's Government know perfectly well that human rights are not recognised in Angola. There is forced labour on an immense scale. Possibly 400,000 human beings are subjected to it. At the present time there is going on what is perhaps the bloodiest repression in African history.
It is very difficult to get reliable facts about this because it is as difficult for foreign journalists to get into Angola at present as it was for them to enter Tibet when the Chinese were in Tibet. But there have been reports that 20,000 people have already died, and if one is to take the statements of the Portuguese authorities at their face value, one must fear atrocious repression in the coming weeks. I should like to quote to the House the remarks of the Portuguese Army Minister, reported in a Portuguese newspaper, when he was saying goodbye to reinforcements for Angola. This occurred a fortnight ago on 5th May. He said:We are going to fight savages. We are going to fight wild beasts, wild beasts who are not Portuguese because they obey orders from international Communism. We are face to face with terrorists who have to be fought as one fights wild beasts….I had the opportunity last week of talking to English missionaries who had just returned from Angola and who brought with them appalling stories of mass shootings and casual murders. I really cannot understand why Her Majesty's Government should at this very moment have sent a British warship on what they call a good-will mission to Angola. I understand from what the Minister told us the other day that it was given Foreign Office clearance for this visit. The British Navy has a very old tradition, that of turning the blind eye. If Her Majesty's Government had not the courage to cancel the mission, could not at least there have been discovered some engine failure in the warship while it was still lying at Freetown, just as many of us suspect happened to the British warships searching for the "Santa Maria" in the Caribbean not so long ago? It seems to me that the Admiralty has developed blindness in both eyes and it is a blindness which this country cannot afford.
Above all, I think it fatal, as the Prime Minister did the other day, to 1415 make Portuguese membership of N.A.T.O. an excuse for the visit of this warship, because there is no better way of turning the uncommitted peoples of the world against N.A.T.O. and the West as a whole. It is absolutely essential that, as members of N.A.T.O., we should reserve our right to criticise our allies when they commit acts of which we disapprove outside the N.A.T.O. area—which in fact is what the Portuguese are doing at present.
Mr. Stevenson had no hesitation in doing that in the United Nations debate on Angola. Why did not the British delegate do the same? There may be some truth in what the American Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Rusk, is reported as saying in Oslo, that the main problem facing the West now is political in Africa and Asia rather than military in Europe. That may well be the case and if so we must not let military ties in Europe destroy our political position in Afro-Asia. Indeed, the opposite may well be necessary, as we found to be the case in South Africa.
This point applies to Belgium in the Congo and to Holland in New Guinea just as much as it applies to Portgual in Angola.
I believe that unless the Portuguese Government changes its policy in Angola N.A.T.O. may well have to decide, as did the Commonwealth in the case of South Africa, that the military advantage of Portugal's membership is not worth the political disadvantages of her membership. If we look at the situation honestly, we must face that fact, unless there is a change in Portuguese policy in Angola.
At present any change is likely to depend on a change of Government if not a change of régime in Lisbon. As we know from the experience of Captain Galvao, there is a chance of such a change. I do not ask Her Majesty's Government to encourage such a change, but I do ask them not to discourage those who are seeking to bring it about.
I wish to ask the Joint Under-Secretary two questions to which I hope he will reply tomorrow. First, is it true that the British consul at Sao Paulo has refused a visa to Captain Galvao who was invited to come to London, and if so, why? Secondly, I should like to ask 1416 a question about the visit of the Secretary of State to Portugal in the next week or two. I do not want to make a party issue of this, but I hope that the Secretary of State will reconsider his decision to visit Portugal at this time. I understand that at the present time his programme commits him to be present in Lisbon on 28th May when the anniversary celebrations of Salazar's coup d'état are taking place.
The Secretary of State must recognise that if he is present at these celebrations it will be taken as a sign of British support for the Portuguese régime, and it will intensely discourage all those elements in Portugal which do exist and which want a change in Portuguese policy in Angloa and a more liberal system in Portugal itself. I do not press for an answer on that at this very moment, but I ask the Under-Secretary of State and the Lord Privy Seal to convey this feeling to the Secretary of State and to ask him to reconsider his plans for a visit to Portugal in the light of developments since he first made his decision.
I believe that we in Britain have a very good colonial record and that we can win and keep the confidence of the uncommitted peoples in our sincere attachment to the principles of the United Nations provided that we show ourselves prepared to apply our own principles to our allies as well as to our enemies and provided that we are pre pared to follow them ourselves. Above all, we must resist the temptation to follow the Soviet example of violating United Nations principles when they conflict with our own judgment of what is our national interests. This is a temptation which I confess must often be very strong, especially when we see the Russians or Chinese getting away with the violation of international law and of the United Nations Charter as they did in Hungary and Tibet.
I believe that it would be fatal to surrender to this temptation. To do so would be to play into the hands of the Soviet Union and would do more than anything else to justify the Soviet demand for diving the world into spheres of interest and for introducing a tripartite veto into the whole structure of the United Nations. It is certainly very often inconvenient for the Western democracies to be judged by a double 1417 standard, but do we really want to be judged by Communist standards?
I must say something here about the recent events in Cuba. I have already paid tribute in my speech to the revitalising effect of the new American Administration on American foreign policy—to the tremendous progress it has made in its policy on Laos, in its proposals for a ban on atomic tests and in its imaginative plan for Latin America. It has gone a long way to restore the Roosevelt image of the United States as a vigorous, imaginative and progressive Power.
I think that it is for that reason that the recant events in Cuba came as such a tragic shock to many of us. I am not concerned with the incompetence of execution but with the assumptions that governed its conception. I think that we all are comforted that at least President Kennedy ruled out that direct intervention by American forces which I understand had been planned by the previous Administration.
But the sombre fact is that the aid which was given to the Cuban revolutionaries was a violation of America's own Neutrality Act, a violation of the treaty establishing the Organisation of American States, and a violation of the United Nations Charter. It is true that there is a long tradition in Central America for such aid for revolutions. At one time Castro himself benefited from this tradition. Indeed, I think that many people who complain about American action in Cuba have never complained about the Tunisian and Moroccan Government giving help to the F.L.N. But a great Power which aspires to leadership of the world cannot permit itself this type of liberty.
I believe that the solidarity of the whole of the Western Alliance depends to a very large extent on the confidence of the allies in the wisdom and good will of the United States Government. Anything which shakes that confidence is not only a disservice to the United States but to the Western Alliance as a whole. It is for this reason, as a strong and consistent supporter of our alliance with the United States, that I believe that I have the right, and indeed the duty, to offer these words of criticism.
I could not help feeling that in some ways the arguments that President Kennedy used after the operation had 1418 failed were more worrying than the operation itself. I believe that, on reflection, he will regret the speech which he made to American editors in which he appeared to claim the right to break international obligations if they appeared to conflict with America's national security. I think that he will regret, in particular, the extent to which he appeared to claim the right to shelter behind the precedent set by Russia in Hungary.
I believe, too, that President Kennedy made a great mistake in invoking the Monroe Doctrine to justify American intervention in the internal affairs of Latin-American countries. He certainly knows now that the Monroe Doctrine in this sense is totally unacceptable to all the other countries in the Western hemisphere. Indeed, such a claim to spheres of influence plays right into Russia's hands.
I believe that the American Administration has already learned most of the lessons of this unhappy experience. In particular, I think that it has learned the danger of putting so much political power into irresponsible hands, and I believe that there are grounds for confidence that the American Government is now going to establish effective political control over the Central Intelligence Agency. This, I believe, is as much an allied interest as an American interest. Because I believe that in the last few years the Central Intelligence Agency has been responsible for many errors in American policy, in Laos as well as in Cuba.
I must say that I deeply regret that Her Majesty's Government did not speak up for international law and the United Nations Charter when this matter was debated in the United Nations Assembly. I can understand that they might have felt a peculiar embarrassment in doing so in the light of their own record in the Middle East four or five years ago. I believe that President Eisenhower was right then to oppose his allies when they undertook a disastrous adventure without consultation. I believe that the West as a whole gained from its lack of solidarity on that occasion and would similarly have gained on this occasion had Her Majesty's Government spoken up for principle similarly in the United Nations Assembly the other day.
1419 Above all, I still fail to understand how the delegate of Her Majest's Government could justify not supporting those passages in the Mexican resolution which asked that members of the United Nations should refrain from encouraging and fomenting civil war in other States. It seems to me that abstention on this occasion—and we were in very poor company when we abstained—is liable to be open to the most serious misinterpretation in many parts of the world in years to come. But, above all, I believe it is vital that the British Government should make it quite clear that they will oppose any further attempt to use force against Castro contrary to international law. I believe that we have the right and duty to make this clear not only as a trusted ally of the United States and as a member of the United Nations but also as a major Power in the Caribbean area.
Nothing that I have said means any support or, indeed, sympathy for the Castro régime in Cuba. It is, indeed, repugnant in very many respects, though I rather agree with The Times editorial which recently suggested that although it had great Communist influence inside it, it was not yet a Communist State in an East European sense. But the whole point of co-existence is that one must live with countries whose régimes one dislikes or even detests. It is easy enough to live with those whose régimes one likes. As I say, the whole point of co-existence at present is to live with régimes one dislikes.
§ Mr. Healey
Whilst I believe in living with the régime, I do not believe in allowing the Portuguese régime to violate the United Nations Charter of Human Rights in Angola without a protest from Britain as a member of the United Nations. I believe that the same argument which led the British Government to vote against apartheid in South Africa should lead them to vote against the Portuguese attitude in Angola.
One of the most dangerous immediate effects of the Cuban episode was the revival in the United States of the old heresy, which has its counterpart on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain, that the world is somehow divided into democratic saints and Communist devils, and 1420 that compromise is impossible. I regret very much the remark by Mr. Lincoln White, when the Castro Government offered to negotiate with the United States, that Communism was not negotiable.
I think that we are learning now that there are as many varieties of Communism as there are of democracy, and that there are many countries which are not Communist but which are not democratic either. The Communists may fear this diversity. Indeed, they do, because this diversity is the greatest threat to their system. It is incompatible with their doctrine, but we, if we are democrats, must welcome it.
The Communists ask us to accept their challenge to competition and conflict to see who can win the cold war. I believe that the important thing is not to win the cold war, but to end it, and to end the cold war means co-operation between the two systems, and not conflict. I believe that the vast majority of mankind sees the basic international problem in this way, and I believe that provided we stick to our principles, and provided we adhere loyally to our obligations in international law, we can, and must, make the Russians see it this way too.
§ 5.33 p.m.
§ Mr. Francis Pym (Cambridgeshire)
In addressing the House for the first time, I ask for the indulgence which the House so generously accords its newest recruits; the indulgence which the House has in the past accorded to the several members of my family who have had the honour to sit here over the last three and a half centuries. I hope that the House will not think it presumptuous of me to have said that.
I am privileged to follow Sir Gerald Howard, as he now is. For ten years he was a well-known Member of the House, and he has been a most distinguished member of the Bar. I am sure that all hon. Members would want to join in wishing him well in his new and important office.
I represent Cambridgeshire, one of the loveliest English counties, and famous for its villages. I think that right hon. and hon. Members would wish that that peacefulness which is a characteristic of Cambridgeshire was more prevalent in the world today.
1421 I venture to speak on this occasion and in support of the Motion, because I know from my recent experience in the election how strong is the desire for peace and the willingness to attain it; and our foreign policy is nothing if it is not the pursuit of peace.
The first point that I want to make is on defence. We must have adequate defence forces, for at present, whether we like it or not, there can be no peace or security otherwise. The people in my constituency, and the people in the country as a whole, are prepared to foot the bill. In fact, they know that if they do not the other bill will be higher.
The tragedy of Singapore, in the last war, when so many Cambridgeshire men were taken, is still a real memory. The people of this country are not prepared to forgive weaknesses in our defences. Indeed, they do not appreciate weakness at all, and this applies to our economic and domestic policies as much as to foreign affairs. But the risk of weakness in defence is too great, and there is some disquiet at present about the level of our conventional forces. Our regiments become amalgamated one with another and grow less in number, yet our commitments for those forces do not seem to diminish in any way. I urge the Government, with all the earnestness that I can, to make sure that our forces are adequate for the tasks which confront them, and that we are bearing at least our part of the burden which we share with our allies.
One of the problems of the so-called Western world is that it comprises a much larger number of countries and covers a much wider area than the Communist and Eastern bloc. Clearly, this makes our task the more complicated and we group together to protect ourselves by a series of alliances. These alliances are arranged geographically, and the problems are tackled area by area. This is right, but I wonder whether it is enough.
Is there anything to be said for an occasional meeting of all the free countries in the world—those not under Communism or under the Communist yoke? The only occasion at present when all these countries meet is in the Assembly of the United Nations, and there are many influences present in that forum which have to be token into 1422 account. I think that it might help to get a new purchase for negotiations with the Soviet Union if the free world held a conclave of its own. I would welcome any measures of this sort to further international co-operation.
That leads me to consider the Commonwealth, which is the only alliance or group of nations which comes anywhere near to encompassing the earth. Some people say that it is now disintegrating, but I do not accept that. Gloomy forecasts as to its future have been made in the past and been proved wrong. The Commonwealth has a substantial history behind it, and is in the habit of evolving, of adapting itself to changing circumstances. I am one of those who believe that the Commonwealth is one basis of our hope for the peaceful co-existence of nations, and I think that we must try to build on it.
If we believe in that policy, we need to do two things. First, to invest more in the Commonwealth, especially in those countries which are under-developed. I welcome the increased emphasis which has been placed on this policy lately, but I should like to see more done to publicise and bring home to our people the importance of it, the purposes behind it, and the sacrifices involved. I am not thinking only of financial investment, but also of the many opportunities which exist overseas today for our young men and women with a spirit of adventure. I believe that this is an appeal which would go down well in the country, and one to which the country would respond.
The second thing which we need to do is to try to increase the membership of the Commonwealth. It is normal practice today for associations and clubs to try to increase their membership, and I do not think that the Commonwealth should be any exception. Certainly, we do not want any closed doors. We want an open association. Is it possible that countries in addition to those who have recently attained their independence and joined the Commonwealth might become members? It is an expansion and extension of membership which we require so that the influence of Commonwealth ideas can spread.
It is in that sense that I see the Common Market as an opportunity. I welcome my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's reaffirmation only yesterday 1423 that we shall not sign the Treaty of Rome in its present form. I know that that is partly due to the agricultural difficulty, but there is also the difficulty of Commonwealth trade. If we become associated with the European Economic Community, it will surely be with the Commonwealth, and in that way the influence of both groups will be enlarged.
There seems to be a tendency sometimes to look at the Common Market in isolation, whereas, in fact, it is one of the stages in the economic integration of the West. This is not a process that we could or should arrest, but one we want to foster in principle in the general interests of the widening of world trade and the strengthening of the economic position of the West. Naturally, we must look after the interests of our own people, but, equally, we want to break down international barriers. I hope that we shall be able to find a satisfactory way of bringing Europe and the Commonwealth closer together, to the mutual benefit of both.
I believe that this movement towards unity, coupled with adequate defences, will contribute significantly to that peace which, as I said at the beginning, is the one desire that is common to the hearts of all our people.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Henderson (Rowley Regis and Tipton)
I should like to extend the congratulations of the House to the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) on his thoughtful and interesting maiden speech, and to express the view that we shall look forward to further contributions from him.
I can tell the Lord Privy Seal that I share the regrets which have been expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) at the way in which this debate has been opened. To spend forty minutes on an admirable exposition of the various phases and technicalities of the problem of entering the Common Market does not fit well into what was thought to be a two days' debate on foreign affairs. It would have been well worth while for the Government to have had a special day for a discussion of this problem.
Having said that, I want to make it clear to the Lord Privy Seal that, speaking 1424 for myself and not for my party, I am very much in agreement with what he said. Those who believe in the building up of a United States of Europe—a concept for which I have stood all my political life—are convinced that there is an overwhelming case for saying that the beginnings are to be found in the establishment of this Community of the Six, and that it is very much in our national interest to enter that Community one day. On the other hand, it would be fatal if Her Majesty's Government were to take precipitate action before public opinion was well seized of the implications of such a step. I do not know how many hon. Members have taken the trouble to study the Treaty of Rome, with its 248 clauses and its nine protocols, but anyone who has will realise that it raises many complicated and technical problems which must be understood not only by those who are responsible for taking action but by the whole of our people.
Although I am in favour of our entering the Community, I realise that if we are going to carry the public with us we must wait until various agreements have been negotiated, in the form of protocols to the Treaty, covering the three reserved matters to which reference has been made this afternoon. It will not be possible to sell this concept to our people unless they understand what will follow from it. Nevertheless, sooner or later, our people must realise that it is very much in our national interest, as well as being in the interests of international co-operation, to take this further step towards building up a United States of Europe.
I now want to say a few words about the problem of disarmament. In the past ten years, like other hon. Members, I have had many occasions to deal with this very difficult problem. Many of us have been very disappointed at the continued deadlock in disarmament negotiations. On the other hand, we must remember that world disarmament is perhaps the most elusive of world problems. It is also one of the most important and most complicated, which is one reason why it is so elusive. I do not feel too discouraged by the length of time that has been taken up in discussions of this vital problem, without very much apparent progress having been made. I was therefore encouraged 1425 by the recent announcement that informal discussions were to take place in Washington between the United States and the Soviet Governments on procedural matters involved in securing a resumption of disarmament negotiations.
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East, I welcome the report that President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev will meet in the near future. It looks as if those talks will be informal. That will be an advantage. We all remember the fiasco of the Summit Conference of last year, when the publicity attendant upon the failure to hold it did a great deal more harm than good. I believe that informal talks between Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev—the kind of informal talks that our own Prime Minister has had with President Kennedy—can be most useful.
There seems no likelihood of any real progress being made towards peaceful co-existence between East and West unless and until some measure of confidence and understanding has been achieved as a result of personal talks between these two statesmen. This is an essential step towards breaking the ice. I therefore hope that there will be an early meeting between the Soviet and American leaders. This would be the most helpful first step that could be taken to end the present deadlock and bring about a resumption of serious negotiations, especially on disarmament.
On 7th May, Mr. Khrushchev said:the peoples are waiting for the talks on disarmament to get out of the stage of endless discussion. They are waiting not for control over armaments but for disarmament under control.How right Mr. Khrushchev is in urging that we should get out of the stage of endless discussion. But he, more than anyone else, could end the endless discussions at the Geneva Conference. On Monday last, Mr. Tsarapkin, the chief Soviet delegate, threatened that unless the French stopped their nuclear tests the Conference would become abortive and a treaty impossible and, further, that if they did not stop the Soviet Government might be obliged to resume their own tests.
All this is very unconvincing. The French Government have carried out four tests in the past fourteen months—in February, April and December of 1960 1426 and in April of this year. Why have the Soviet Union waited so long before raising this matter at the Conference as representing a major obstacle to the conclusion of a treaty? It has always been the general view—shared equally by all three Governments represented at Geneva—that the signing of a treaty for the cessation of nuclear tests would make it most unlikely that any future nuclear tests would be held by any other Government. It seems evident that the Soviet Government are stalling for time. Those who, like myself, believe in the sincerity of the Soviet Union's desire for disarmament, are not only mystified but discouraged. I hope that the Soviet Government will reconsider their attitude and will sign the Treaty.
On the same occasion, Mr. Khrushchev talked of the need for disarmament under control. But this also is common ground. M. Jules Much first proposed this formula six years ago with the approval of the United States, the British and the French Governments. Moreover, the Soviet proposals of 2nd June, 1960, the United States proposals of 27th June, 1960, and the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' proposals of 17th March this year all proposed general disarmament under control. In view of that, what is holding up an agreement? Why are Governments so hesitant?
Intensified public pressure on all Governments, including Mr. Khrushchev and the Soviet Government, is needed. Talk alone is not sufficient. Both the United States and the Soviet Governments should take the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' disarmament proposals as the basis for further negotiations. This scheme of general and comprehensive disarmament represents the views of a great variety of nations, especially the non-committed countries like India, Pakistan, Ghana, Malaya, as well as countries like Australia and New Zealand, neither of which has been directly associated with previous negotiations.
The United Nations Association is doing very useful work with its inquiry on disarmament—a national campaign designed to make as many people as possible think about the proposals put forward at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. I hope that the Government do not accept the view of a 1427 Sunday newspaper which recently made the accusation that it would be undermining the security of the Civil Service to ask civil servants to express their opinions on such questions as China's representation at the United Nations and the problem of disarmament.
I should like to refer to the growing policy of intervention in the internal affairs of another country, to which my hon. Friend the Member fox Leeds, East referred in his powerful speech. In recent years there has been in South-East Asia persistent talk of Communist penetration across the post-war boundaries by guerrillas and political cadres.
There has been active reaction by the United States in the form of the provision of military aid of various kinds. Laos and South Vietnam are glaring examples of this dangerous policy of intervention, characterised by large-scale military aid by the United States and by the Communist States to the contending parties in both countries.
In Cuba, the United States has provided assistance and training for Cuban rebels. Intervention breeds intervention, whether it be direct or indirect and whether the forces are used conventionally or otherwise. Intervention by guerrilla operations, terrorism and political subversion organised from outside a country could constitute just as much a threat to world peace as could an open attack by conventional forces.
It seems, in recent years, that this method of intervention is becoming more frequent, and I remind hon. Members that it is dangerous to play with fire. It can spread, get out of hand and lead to a major conflict. We are told, meanwhile, that the United States is talking about preparing what are called non-conventional forces to deal with situations involving Communist intervention. In that case, we may expect the Soviet Government to act in like manner.
The strong attack made by the Chinese Foreign Minister yesterday at the Laos Conference on the United States is indicative of the dangers of this policy of intervention. The statement made by our own Foreign Secretary yesterday, in which he said that a 1428 young, weak country like Laos could hope to survive only if free from strong international pressure, seems to illustrate the value and principle of non-intervention.
No time should be lost in considering ways and means of bringing an end to intervention in the affairs of small nations by so-called non-conventional military action and military aid. I agree that if we are to safeguard the security of the small nations of the world—there are fifty to sixty of them at the present time—it ought to be done through the economic channels, by building up standards of living and by making their peoples impervious to the onward march of Communism.
This responsibility should be placed on the United Nations, backed up by active co-operation from the countries of both East and West. As my hon. friend the Member for Leeds, East said, we are not going to resolve these great international problems unless we can secure co-operation between East and West, and one country should not have to assume this responsibility on his own. As the Lord Privy Seal reminded us this afternoon, mainly through the United Nations efforts a policy of non-intervention was largely followed in the Congo which averted the possibility of serious international conflict.
Mr. Khrushchev said the other day that Russia will achieve the victory of Communism without war. That suggests that co-existence is compatible with a continued struggle with Communism. It is becoming more evident that the Western democracies are to be compelled to take part in a world struggle in which victory will not be decided in the field of battle but in the minds of men. That means that the most powerful weapons in the hands of the democratic countries are the moral principles of the United Nations Charter.
It is vital, therefore, that the democracies should preserve their moral authority and should denounce all cases of internal revolution instigated from abroad. I do not believe that any alteration or strengthening of the powers of the United Nations will necessarily deal with revolutions that are organised within a country. But those instigated and aided from abroad must be dealt with on this basis, and democracies must 1429 adhere firmly to a policy of non-intervention and to a loyal observance of the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Hon. Members on this side of the House believe that it is only possible, through loyal observance of the obligations which we incurred when we signed that Charter, that we can hope to build up a world in which war will be outlawed and in which the security, freedom and independence of all countries, including the small ones, can be assured.
In a world that is based on power politics, the only way that we can ensure that aim is by the method suggested in our Motion—the return of our foreign policy to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Aubrey Jones (Birmingham, Hall Green)
The Lord Privy Seal has been twice chided for having opened this debate by talking, in the main, about Europe. I hope that I shall be forgiven for taking a leaf out of his book, not that I would not have preferred to have had a debate specifically devoted to Europe. A specifically European debate would have been better, for the quality of our debates suffers when the Motion before the House is not pointed—and no hon. Member can say that this Motion is pointed.
In the absence of a pointed Motion on Europe, I choose Europe as my subject because the problem of Europe is basic to practically every other problem mentioned today. In almost all the subjects that have been raised—Laos, Cuba, East-West relations, disarmament—the fundamental question we are discussing is the influence which Britain can exercise in the world. It is probably true to say that for long stretches of our history our influence has exceeded the power that we have actually wielded. None the less, there is a broad correspondence between influence and power, and as our power as declined our influence has also declined. This is a fact which, it seems to me, neither of the two speeches which we have so far heard from the other side of the House has fully recognised.
It is against this fact that I suggest we ought to look at what my right hon. Friend described as the new power unit which has arisen on the European Con- 1430 tinent. My right hon. Friend asked us to look at this European problem in perspective. I do not think we can put it in perspective unless we go back to the day, ten or eleven years ago, when the Europeans first came to London and put before the then Labour Government the proposal for a European Coal and Steel Community. I did not participate in the discussions and my interpretation of what then happened is of necessity based on reading and conversation. I hope, none the less, that my interpretation is not basically in error.
My interpretation of what happened on that occasion—and I think this is extremely relevant to the problems that we still face today—was this: the Europeans spoke to us in terms of the broad objective of integrating some of the countries of Western Europe into a new political unit. They described the purpose of this new unit as twofold: first, to end the fragmentation of Europe and to secure a pooling of resources so that Western Europe could more effectively match the Soviet bloc; and, secondly, so to bind Germany with Western Europe that her eyes would be permanently averted from her lost Eastern territories. These were the objectives of the European Community—I do not use the word "Economic" Community, which was in the phrase used by my right hon. Friend.
If my interpretation of the history is right, the Government of the party opposite replied to the effect that this country was prepared to negotiate on coal and steel. Receiving that reply, the Europeans put the then Government on the spot. They said, "Do you accept the basic objectives? If you do we can negotiate, but, if you do not, then there is simply no point in negotiating." At that, the then Labour Government baulked and there were no negotiations for our entry into the Coal and Steel Community.
§ Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)
I happened to take part in those conversations. The right hon. Gentleman has said that he did not. I would only say that he has given an inaccurate account of what happened.
§ Mr. Jones
If I am at fault I ask forgiveness. I am only giving the interpretation which I have received from elsewhere. Be that as it may, the Labour Government rejected the objective, even 1431 though two years earlier the Labour Patty conference had passed a resolution calling forco-operation of the European Socialist parties in taking practical steps to achieve the United Socialist States of Europe (including the establishment of supra-national agencies to take over from each nation powers to allocate and distribute coal, steel, timber, locomotives, rolling-stock and imports from hard-currency countries) in complete military and political independence of the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.It may well be that that resolution explains the absence today from the Order Paper of a pointed Motion on Europe from the other side of the House. But it is important to ask ourselves why the then Labour Government baulked at this objective of a new European unit. I speculate that there were two reasons. The first was that they did not believe that, without our participation, the European movement would effectively get under way. I think that the events of the past ten years have disproved that belief.
The second and much the more important reason is that they saw the position of this country in the world in the terms in which it was described in those days by my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) and Sir Anthony Eden. The House will recollect that both my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford and Sir Anthony Eden drew the flattering picture of this country at the junction of three large circles—the Commonwealth circle, the Atlantic circle and the European circle—and by virtue of this happy position we exercised worldwide influence.
To ensure the continued exercise of this world-wide influence and to ensure the continuance of this happy position at the junction of three large circles, it was thought that we had to continue as an independent national entity. That is the picture that was drawn of the position ten years ago, and it is perfectly true of the British position then and as it had been in history. The question which we have to ask ourselves is whether that picture is true today.
Take, first, the European circle. I would suggest that our influence in Europe has declined. I think that my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal was right in describing the main threat of the Six to this country not so much as a threat 1432 in the sense of commercial discrimination, but as a political threat. It is a fact that though the treaties establishing the European Community are so far couched in economic terms, there have arisen habits of political consultation from which this country is excluded. We saw evidence of this a year ago, when the Summit Conference failed.
Surely, one of the reasons why the Summit Conference failed was that we failed to convince our European friends of the desirability of holding a Summit Conference. I suggest that our influence in Europe has declined and that our influence with the United States must go in the same direction, not only because the United States feels ideologically sympathetically inclined towards the concept of a United States of Europe, but also because the emergence of an important new power on the Continent must, in time, displace us from our special relationship with the United States.
It is indisputable that to ensure the maintenance—I would even say the restoration—of our influence in Europe and the United States we must join the Six. There remains, however, the question of the Commonwealth. I do not think that any of us can find it easy mentally to reconcile the concept of the Commonwealth with the concept of this country as a member of an integrated Europe. I do not think that any of us can deny that if we in the United Kingdom were to join the European Community it would be embarking the Commonwealth on a course the end of which none can foresee. None the less, I have come to the conclusion that the maintenance of our influence on the Commonwealth and the maintenance of the Commonwealth influence requires that we join the European Community.
I venture to offer the House two reasons for this belief. First, what is the Commonwealth? It is a loose assembly of independent, often self-assertive States, scattered throughout the world. It is not a power unit, although some people may argue that, had more positive policies been pursued towards the Commonwealth, it might have become a power unit. I personally question that; I believe that the fact of geographical dispersal has always been against the Commonwealth being a power unit. Be that as it may, as it 1433 is, the Commonwealth is a loose assembly of States, and throughout the world this structure of a loose assembly of independent States is threatened by a quite new phenomenon—the phenomenon of regionalisation, or the tendency to form regional groupings.
Of these regional groupings, Europe is only the first in time. There is emerging a Pan-African movement and a South-East Asian movement. If, on grounds of the Commonwealth, we elected to stand apart from Europe, our whole effort in a few years' time might be shown to have been abortive, because we might well be confronted with exactly the same problem in Africa and again later in Asia. I can only conclude that we cannot freeze the Commonwealth in its present pattern. We must adapt it as best we can to this new movement.
My second reason for suggesting that our influence and that of the Commonwealth in the world will decline unless we join the Six in this. I have used the language of Sir Anthony Eden and have spoken of three circles. But they are not mutually exclusive circles. They are, in fact, complementary circles. Our influence in Europe and the United States has depended in part on our influence in the Commonwealth. But the converse is also true. Our influence in the Commonwealth depends in part on our influence in Europe and the United States. Day by day we see new Commonwealth territories acquiring independence and asking themselves whether it is worth while their remaining in the Commonwealth. Their motive for arriving at an affirmative answer to that question must weaken as the influence of this country in Europe and in the United States weakens. I think that on all three counts—our influence in the Commonwealth, Europe and in the United States—we must join the Six.
I agree, however, that we have difficult problems of reconciliation concerning the Commonwealth and Europe. Here I should like to venture a comment on the Government's approach to this difficult problem of reconciliation. It appears to me that their approach has been too negative. I suggest that in talking about this subject we have repeatedly given the impression of trying to protect an established Commonwealth interest. I wonder whether we could 1434 present the Commonwealth to Europe in more positive terms—very much in the terms used by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym), in his admirable maiden speech.
As I see it, the value of the Commonwealth is that it is a model of co-operative relationships between developed and underdeveloped countries, or, if we like, between rich and poor countries. But the value of this model in the world is infinitely enhanced if the range of developed countries with which it is associated is extended. Similarly, the value to the Europeans of a new European unit is significantly enhanced if Europe is engaged in this crucial world problem of relationships with under-developed countries. I suggest that we must talk in terms of a synthesis in the widest sense of the Commonwealth and Europe and that this ought to be our strategic aim.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
My right hon. Friend is making a very important suggestion to the Government. Is he saying that we should join the Common Market on the present terms as we understand them, without any alteration, and then, having accepted those terms, that we should try to sell the Commonwealth? Or is he suggesting that we should first sell the Commonwealth and then get terms which would enable us to join? Is he suggesting that we should join first and sell afterwards, or that we should sell first and join afterwards?
§ Mr. Jones
I am not suggesting at the moment either. I will come to the question of tactics in a moment.
If we want to obtain the best terms from Europe, we must sell the Commonwealth to Europe, not in the sense of a fused Commonwealth and Europe, because we cannot fuse the loose association of the Commonwealth with an integrated new Europe, but we can admit slowly and gradually, over time, the Europeans into the co-operative structure of the Commonwealth. This is difficult and something which has not been done before. But our pride in the Commonwealth is that it is a flexible institution. It would be a poor day for the Commonwealth if we concluded that it could not in time adapt itself. I put this forward as a strategic aim.
1435 I come now to the question of tactics. Although it may be disputed, my version of the events of ten years ago is that Europe said to us, "Accept the objective first. If you accept the objective, we can negotiate". I think that this has always been the main obstacle to our entry into Europe. If there is any French nationalist sentiment hostile to our entry into Europe, which I doubt, it is quite subsidiary and subordinate to this earlier difficulty.
Ten years ago, the Labour Government said, "We must negotiate before we accept the objective". The attitude of the present Government, as explained by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal in his speech in February at the Western European Union Parliamentary Assembly, was, as I understood it, in exactly the same terms. He said that we must negotiate first before we accept the objective. The speech of my right hon. Friend today was, I think, again in those terms. I am not sure of that, but that is my interpretation of his speech.
I well understand the reluctance of the Government to weaken our bargaining position by accepting the principle in advance. It may well be true, as a broad generalisation, that one ought not to enter into negotiations by accepting the principle in advance. What we must ask ourselves is whether that generalisation is valid in this context. I suggest that it is not. I believe that for ten years the Europeans have not changed their position. They have always said, "Accept the objective first and then we can negotiate".
On the other hand, for over ten years we have constantly shifted our position. We started by saying that we could not accept the Coal and Steel Community and Euratom. Last summer the then Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs said that we were now prepared to accept both. We originally said that we could not accept the principle of a common external tariff. My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal said at the Western European Union Parliamentary Assembly last February that we are now prepared to accept a limited common external tariff.
Bit by bit we have changed our position while the Europeans have not changed theirs one iota. If this trend 1436 continues, it must end up as the Europeans have always wanted, and that is by our reluctantly accepting the objective. But, by giving the impression of reluctance, our sincerity will be questioned and our bargaining position will be infinitely weaker than it otherwise would have been.
If I might draw an analogy—I hate analogies, because they are always to some extent false—I would say that one does not begin to negotiate with a prospective father-in-law over the size of the dowry before deciding in principle whether to marry the bride. One first decides to marry the bride.
The hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), and again the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson), differed from my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal in not attaching too much importance to the urgency of this question. I think that the hon. Member for Leeds, East told us not to dramatise unduly the effect of doing nothing for the next ten, twenty or thirty years, but I agree with my right hon. Friend that it is urgent that we should reach a decision on this matter, and my reasons are twofold.
For ten years, this country has hovered uncertainly between the Commonwealth and Europe and has presented the world with the unhappy spectacle of a country torn between its past and its future. The net result of all this has been to diminish this country's prestige, not only in Europe and in the United States of America but throughout the entire world. I do not think that we can afford this continued vacillation.
There is also a second reason for urgency. In my judgment, it is that we ought to join the Six while the Six are making a success of their efforts. In a few years' time, a new generation of leaders will be assuming power in France and Germany. We do not know what their attitude will be. It may well be that when this new generation of leaders comes to power in these two Continental countries, the European movement will suffer a check, and it might well be that in those circumstances we would secure better terms than we could secure today. But, by the same token, if that were to happen, the ancient Franco-German problem would 1437 be reopened and if that were to happen this country would be liable to be arraigned at the bar of history for having held on to lesser issues at the cost of resurrecting the most fearful issue of our lifetime—the Franco-German dispute. If we are not to expose ourselves to that possible condemnation, we must act now.
§ Mr. George Brown (Belper)
In his very interesting speech, it seems to me that there was one question which the right hon. Gentleman did not clearly answer. Is he arguing that we should now join unconditionally?
§ Mr. Jones
I have been arguing that if we accept the principle, if we genuinely accept the objective of European union, not trying to define it too closely and not making it minimal by saying confederation rather than federation, we should accept it. I think that acceptance of the objective will improve our negotiating position and that that having been done, we should then negotiate.
§ 6.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins (Birmingham, Stechford)
I find myself in very close agreement with the extremely impressively argued and well presented case which the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) has just put to the House. I certainly intend to follow him in dealing with the subject of Europe almost exclusively in my speech, although on a slightly different aspect from that upon which he touched.
I agree that it is unfortunate that we have to discuss this issue on a Motion which has nothing to do with it, and in the middle of a general foreign affairs debate, but I think it is much better that we should discuss it in a general foreign affairs debate than that we should go on, as we have been doing for the past ten months, not discussing it at all. To that extent, it is a good idea that we should be discussing it at the present time.
Nor do I accept the view that this is in some way a rather parochial problem, with which we should not be much concerned at the moment and with which we should not waste too much time because there are more widely ranging issues in the world. The value of spending time in dealing with a problem is a function not only of the size of a 1438 problem but of our ability to solve it. It seems to me to be a good deal more useful to discuss the problems on our doorstep, which we must solve one way or another, than merely to take refuge in general brooding about problems which we cannot solve.
I thought that the speech of the Lord Privy Seal, though obscure in some parts, certainly marked a substantial step forward, but how much better it would have been if he or some other Government spokesman had made that speech four years ago. Had he recognised the position then, how much more easy it would have been for us to get into the Common Market, and how much better terms we might have been offered. What I hope, particularly, is that the speech of the Lord Privy Seal—still not clear on a number of issues, but pointing fairly clearly in one direction—means that we have come to the end of this extraordinary period of tergiversation and rumour and counter-rumour which has characterised Government pronouncements, over the past few weeks, and has befogged an already confused issue to a most disturbing extent. I have no idea who these rumours and counter-rumours were intended to convince or impress, but they certainly caused a great deal of confusion in Europe and a certain amount here at home.
To some extent, the Prime Minister is the worst offender here, and I was surprised that ten days ago he raised the old dead horse issue of association with the Common Market. Two days ago, in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), he tried to clear that up by saying that his attitude was that there wasno question of…walking down the street and buying a ticket and joining a club."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th May, 1961; Vol. 640. c. 1111.]This conjures up the most extraordinary picture of the club-joining habits of the Prime Minister, and I cannot help feeling that it must have been the sort of club which the Home Secretary and the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Sir C. Black) were worrying about a few weeks ago rather than the clubs which which the Prime Minister would normally wish to be associated that he must have had in mind. I agree with the right hon. Member for Hall Green that analogies 1439 or metaphors are often dangerous and misleading, and I think the whole of this club metaphor has been a pretty misleading one on this problem.
What I should like to deal with is the point which my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) raised with the right hon. Gentleman at the end of his speech. It is the question of what we should do about unconditional or conditional signing of the Treaty of Rome. I think the main point here is that we should accept and make It clearly known that when we talk about going into the European Economic Community we are seeking no special position for ourselves, in the sense that when we come to the end of the day we should be less full members than France, Germany or Italy or any of the other three members of the Community. If we seek that half-way position, then we might as well not start the negotiations, because they will not succeed. At the same time, the Treaty of Rome itself is to a large extent tailor-made for the requirements of each of the participants in the Community, and particularly for the requirements of the three major members of it.
The best we can hope for is to be forgiven for not having gone to the Messina Conference in the summer of 1955. It is a great pity that we did not go, because had we participated in the negotiations we should have been able to shape the Treaty negotiations to some extent for ourselves. The best that we can hope for is that we should be allowed in now, at this late stage, to a large extent to shape certain aspects of the Treaty to meet our special requirements, as those other countries did when the Treaty was being drawn up, but not to seek some special position involving less full membership than any of the other participants in the Community. It is possible that that can best be achieved, not by taking the whole Treaty apart, because there would be enormous difficulty in doing that, but in attaching some sort of protocol or addendum to the Treaty dealing with certain special problems which undoubtedly confront this country.
The chances of being able to achieve that depend overwhelmingly upon our convincing opinion in Europe and in the Six that we accept the full political 1440 implications of the Treaty. The Lord Privy Seal amazed me today by saying that there was no suspicion whatever in Europe about our position in this matter. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman has seen more of the detailed negotiations of the past few weeks and months than anybody else in this House. As, however, evidence relating to successive Ministers has shown over the past few years, seeing more of the detailed negotiations does not necessarily mean that one sees the broader picture more clearly or more accurately. The right hon. Gentleman, I think, is still acting under a serious misapprehension if he thinks that there is not a lot of opinion in Europe—and opinion which is not ill-disposed towards this country—which is still suspicious about the extent to which we are prepared to accept the full implications.
I want to say a word about two of the difficulties or special problems which confront us in going in. I choose only two out of the four because I do not want to take up too much time. The two which I want to mention are, first, what is, in a sense, the most difficult of the spoken, enunciated problems—that is, the problem of E.F.T.A. or the Outer Seven. Then, I shall deal a little with the unspoken difficulty which is at the back of the minds of many hon. Members and of other people—the question of the surrender of sovereignty.
The European Free Trade Association is probably now the greatest single practical difficulty, greater, probably, when one comes down to hard terms, than the Commonwealth or British agriculture. What is particularly irritating is that it is a difficulty of our own creation within the last few years. To rush in to E.F.T.A., as we did, was an act of extraordinary folly on the part of the Government without thinking out the implications, saying at one time that it was to be a weapon against the Six and at another time that it was to be a bridge towards the Six. I do not know in which of these two directions it is thought to have been effective, but it did not sound as though the Lord Privy Seal was very proud of it in his speech today when he postulated a sort of winding-up or liquidating arrangement for this organisation which was entered into so rashly.
The particular foolishness of having entered into it was that by doing so we 1441 imported into the question of our relations with the core of Europe the one difficulty which was not there previously: that was, the difficulty of political neutralism. We had plenty of difficulties in our relations with the Six—difficulties of federalism, economics and all sorts of things—but at least, from the viewpoint of political and military alignment, there was no difficulty of that sort. By creating E.F.T.A., however, we gratuitously introduced this further difficulty by having three neutral countries within it.
I again felt doubtful when I heard the Lord Privy Seal today say how much he welcomed the association of Finland with E.F.T.A. On a narrow commercial front, that may be a good thing, but at the moment when we are undergoing these difficult negotiations, to have associated with E.F.T.A. an eighth country which, for perfectly understandable reasons, is completely inhibited in every action it takes in its political alignment by what the Soviet Union wants, this is an extraordinary thing to recommend in these circumstances.
None the less, the organisation has been created, so we cannot run out of it. Is it possible to get round this difficulty? I think that it is possible provided that the Six will agree, as I hope they will, to a provision for certain members of the Seven which they have resisted, and rightly, in respect of this country over the past few years. If we decide to go in, there is no doubt that Denmark and Norway would automatically follow us into the Six. Both Sweden and Austria would probably find no difficulty, or little difficulty, about accepting the full economic aspects of the Treaty, certainly the full Customs Union provision. So far as Portugal is concerned, there is no doubt a possible "Greek" solution. Switzerland is, perhaps, a difficulty on its own. I would hope, however, that our entire political alignment would not be affected by a country which is a professional neutral above all else in its attitude to world affairs.
The question really is whether in the case of Sweden and Austria the Six will be prepared to accept a half-way solution to allow them to become full members economically but not politically—something that they have always resisted in the case of the United Kingdom. They have resisted it in the case of the United 1442 Kingdom because they have said that to have a country as big and important as the United Kingdom half-way in and half-way out would inevitably dilute the coherence of the whole organisation. That would not apply to the same extent to Sweden and Austria. I hope, therefore, that the half-way solution might be possible and that if it is possible, we can overcome the difficulty of E.F.T.A. It would be a lucky escape for us from an extremely ill-considered and rash act of economic and political policy.
My second issue is one which is at the back of many people's minds. I refer to the degree of political commitment and the degree of surrender, of sovereignty which is involved in going into Europe. One should, I think, put the issue to begin with as follows. Clearly, within the Six there are varying schools of thought in different countries. Some want to be federalist and some confederalist. Some want to go fast, some want to go more slowly. It would be wrong for us to go in—indeed, I do not think we will get in—unless we can convince the Europeans that we accept the fact that by whatever method it is eventually achieved, while the pace may vary a good deal, the ultimate direction is towards a much closer political unity in Europe, leading ultimately to the creation of some sort of super-State, and that we are prepared to accept this as a long-term objective and are not going in with the intention of sabotaging this development. It would be wrong for us to go in if we wanted to do that.
At the same time, having gone in, our ability to influence the form and the speed of the development would be substantial. To those, in this House or elsewhere, who recoil from this idea and say that it is a surrender of sovereignty which we cannot contemplate, I would in turn say, "If this is your answer, if you say that we must stand resolutely on our sovereignty—and we are not now discussing the 1960s or, necessarily, 1970s but the years towards and, perhaps, beyond the end of the century—is it really the view of those who say that we must preserve sovereignty at all costs that in the medium- and long-term there is a future for a nation State of the size of Great Britain jealously guarding its insular sovereignty and refusing to share it in any effective way? I do not believe 1443 that. I believe that when they really examine the issue from the long-term point of view, few people in this country believe that. Some might say that they do not believe it, but that it does not mean that we must merge our sovereignty with Europe. We might merge it with other people. With whom?
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)
Will the hon. Gentleman apply the same test to France, Italy and Germany? Does he think that when Dr. Adenauer has passed into higher spheres and when the same thing has happened to General de Gaulle there will be some president of the Common Market who will be subscribed to by all? Would the hon. Member apply the same test of sovereignty to those countries?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I do not propose that we should give up our sovereignty faster than the other members, If, however, the noble Lord considers this a greater difficulty for the Six than for us, he is living in a world so out of touch with what is going on in Europe that it is difficult to discuss the issue closely.
§ Mr. Jenkins
While I indicated that there are varying views about the speed within which it will go within the Six, the desire is strengthening that it will go in this direction. It is we who are hesitating outside on the brink.
I wanted if I might to deal also with the point of those who may say that if we do not want a union with Western Europe why not merge with some other group—with the Commonwealth? There are two things to be said on that. I rather agree with the right hon. Member for Hall Green. I think that the Commonwealth is geographically too disparate to become both an economic and a political unit in a world where the idea of regional groupings will be of extreme importance in the future. Moreover, nobody in the Commonwealth, so far as I am aware, has suggested such a move towards that political unity. The economic movement over the past ten years—greatly encouraged by the present Government and welcomed by most countries in the Commonwealth—has been all away from cohesion.
1444 I see no evidence at all that there is any substantial body of support in the Commonwealth which would welcome tight economic or political union. And if there were to be so complete a union with the countries of the Commonwealth, which have immensely different historical, racial and religious traditions, I think that we should have a much greater upheaval and that we should have a more difficult thing to achieve than is involved in entering into a union with other countries of Europe which, while different in language and in some other respects, are at roughly the same stage of development and share a large part of our history and traditions.
Then some people may say, "Not necessarily the Commonwealth, but there should be a North Atlantic union". Again, there is no proposal from the United States of America, which must be the dominant partner in North Atlantic unity, for any such arrangement. I would say about this that I think that a North Atlantic union might very well be a very good thing, but it should come about by our first joining a union in Europe which is establishing itself at the moment and advancing from that towards a North Atlantic union, rather than by merely adding ourselves to the fifty States of America.
Then there is the point of view that it is a world government which we want to achieve. So indeed we do. It might be the third step, perhaps—first a European union, and then a North Atlantic union, and then a world Government—but do we seriously believe that that is likely to come about overnight or even this year or the next? I should think it much more likely to be the result of achieving, first, regional groupings merging with one another. That would seem to me as a practical proposition at the moment, and to say all or nothing is really a recipe for achieving nothing.
Then there is the point of view of those who say that there is great instability in Europe, who point to the fact that there was nearly a revolution in France the other day, and who say that Germany, perhaps not in the past ten years but certainly farther back in its history, has a political background of which no one would be particularly proud. People would say that we do not want to mix ourselves up with those 1445 relatively unstable régimes. I think that this is really to confuse the shadow of sovereignty with the substance of sovereignty. We have been irrevocably mixed up with instability—if there is instability—in Europe at least since 1914, and in 1914 and in 1939 we became involved in real terms and in substantial terms in a greater abrogation of our sovereignty than anything we are called upon to do institutionally in the next fifteen or twenty years.
I certainly think that if one takes the view that we have greater political maturity and political wisdom and less political instability than those countries of Europe—and I hope we will not take it too selfrighteously—then it is our duty, and, indeed, it is plain common sense, to contribute what we have to offer to help make them more stable in the future. Let us contribute to the great Franco-German rapprochement and make it permanent, rather than stand aside and say, "This is all too dangerous, we do not want to get mixed up in this so that, if things go wrong, we can contract out", in a way in which we should be quite unable to do.
Therefore, I believe that the practical opposition to our going into Europe is misconceived, and that, on the contrary, it is wiser from the point of view of our political influence in the world to join it. It is inevitable by 1970 or 1980, if we do not take this step, that the main axis of Western power will run from Washington to Strasbourg or Brussels, or wherever the capital of the Common Market will be regarded as being, and that we shall be, outside it, relatively un-influential and unimportant. Therefore, from the point of view of our political influence, from the point of view of injecting some dynamism into our economy, and, indeed, from the point of view of what I would call our whole national psychological tone, at a time when we are, perhaps, rather backward-looking and insular and complacent—from all these points of view—it is essential that we take this step, and take it boldly, to get into the Common Market.
To that extent I welcome the move forward by the Lord Privy Seal. I wish he had been much clearer. I wish even more that it had come years ago. I wish, too, that more effective pressure could have been put upon the Government from this side of the House to take the 1446 country into Europe. But at any rate, I hope that the Lord Privy Seal's speech will be the prelude to early, effective and decisive action.
§ 6.46 p.m.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir (Aberdeen, South)
I think that if the late Ernest Bevin had been alive he would have been very surprised to have heard the speech of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins), because I can well remember Mr. Bevin, when he was Foreign Secretary, saying from the Dispatch Box that this country could not go into the early negotiations on the European Community, as it now is, unless we could unconditionally accept everything which was entailed in the merging of sovereignty in the political institutions.
I do not myself share the rather sanguine attitude of the hon. Member, or the very sincere attitude of my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) that it will be all that easy, or wise, to give over old friends in the Commonwealth and new friends in E.F.T.A. and enter lightly, without most serious negotiations, into the Common Market, although I am myself a great believer in it.
I think that industry in the part of Scotland whence I come could greatly benefit, despite certain obvious disadvantages. Nevertheless, I think the Government are right in going slowly on this issue, bearing in mind our obligations, particularly to Canada and New Zealand.
The general tenor of the debate so far, and of the three speeches of hon. and right hon. Members opposite makes me wonder really what this Motion of censure is about, because the terms of the Motion originally put by the Opposition on the Order Paper were very similar to those of the Government's Motion. It was really only the addition of the reference to Angola that turned the Opposition's Amendment today into a Motion of censure on the Government in this foreign affairs debate. According to the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), the reference to Angola was due to what he called "certain other hon. Members." Therefore, one is driven to the conclusion that the Opposition Front Bench, in fear of an amendment by 1447 some of the more extreme hon. Members of their party, have sought to move an Amendment of censure on the Government in terms, most of which, apart from the reference to Angola, would have been acceptable to the whole House.
Both the hon. Member for Leeds, East and the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) ranged widely over the field of foreign affairs and came to the conclusion, as far as I could make out, that the best answer to our problems at present was that the United Nations should be vested with greater authority to try to contain the cold war wherever it might occur. In a debate of this nature, when several of one's hon. Friends wish to speak, it is wiser, as a back bencher, to confine oneself to one issue. Therefore, I shall restrict myself to talking briefly about the United Nations, and trying to reassess what it can do and what it should do.
As some hon. Members may know, I was lucky enough to be a member of the British delegation to the United Nations during its last session. I therefore venture to make a few observations, because I feel that I have been there long enough to know something about it but not long enough to have caught that disease called "delegationitis". It was a valuable experience to be able to see at first hand what are this country's obligations, responsibilities and difficulties in this world organisation, which, after all, was established for the express purpose of trying to substitute the force of argument for the argument of force. It may be that many of us when it was first created set great store by it, and now, because of its obvious failures, it may be that we set too little.
I believe that our membership of the United Nations as at present constituted must at no time be considered a substitute for our own foreign policy. At the same time, I think that it is an organisation which is worth having and that it is a British interest to belong to it. When we look at the obvious difficulties of the United Nations we should not forget or under-rate its solid achievements on a non-racial basis in the developing countries, in the work of U.N.E.S.C.O., W.H.O., I.L.O., and in what has been done for refugees.
1448 But it is when we come to the big political issues that we have to admit that the United Nations is only a very early experiment in a world collective conscience. What we are trying to do through this organisation is to bring some law and order into the world through a kind of world collective disapproval. The House perhaps would agree with me that the history of world collective disapproval and its effect on the actions of countries is a sad story. We have only to look at the history of Hitler, of Franco, of apartheid and of the forces of oppression in Hungary. The attitude of countries to the United Nations naturally varies according to whether they think it helps or thwarts some national desire. The mere fact of joining an international organisation has not stopped nationalism in the world, which, if anything, is even more on the upsurge than ever before.
The mere act of gathering together 99 nations in one place will be utterly useless unless there is a majority desire to reduce differences and a determination to pay the bills which are the price of peace. My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal dealt in detail with the problems of the Congo. The Congo is the crucible of the United Nations' troubles. There, one can see the three main problems which concern this world organisation of which we are a member. The first is how the United Nations is to contain the cold war. The second is how it is to do that with a totally inadequate force, for which Russia, for example, refuses to pay a penny. The third is how is it to keep law and order and justice without violating one of the main principles of the Charter—concerning domestic jurisdiction.
This matter of domestic jurisdiction is of great importance. It applies to the right of a sovereign State to employ whom it will from outside its own country if it so wishes. It means also that a sovereign State has the right to have its own forces within its own borders however disorderly they may be. It implies that a sovereign State has the right to have its own civil war if it so wishes. This country must uphold the principle of domestic jurisdiction, because it was put in the Charter in the first place to protect the smaller States, and if we who are a member of the United Nations say that we want to uphold the rules of the 1449 world we must surely first uphold the rules of our own organisation, otherwise we cannot possibly expect other countries to do the same.
Many hon. Members have had more experience of the United Nations than I have, but when I was in New York my first view was that the United Nations is trying to do two quite contradictory things. First, as a forum of 99 countries with "one nation, one vote", it is an organisation of great value in assessing world opinion. But as an organisation which, through the Assembly, tries to make recommendations for effective action and tries to enforce them, it seems to me that it is quite unrealistic. Because "one nation, one vote" cannot reflect accurately the political and economic position in the world outside, and, after all, the United Nations is only a reflection of the political realities of the cold war and the economic and political strength of all the member States.
As hon. Members will recall, the United Nations passed a resolution called the "Uniting for Peace" resolution some years ago at a time when the Security Council was completely hamstrung by the constant use of the veto by Russia. The Council therefore gave power to the Assembly which the Assembly was never created to receive or to enforce. I, after only attending one session, am certainly not one to submit any answer to the problem. I understand that the Committee on Arrangements is due to report this year on some aspects of a review of the Charter of the United Nations, and in a case where many international lawyers and Foreign Ministers have been unable to produce an agreed revision of the Charter I would not attempt to do so.
I suggest, however, that there are two principles which should be carried out in any such revision. First, any country which does not pay its contribution should not receive the benefits of the United Nations. There is provision under Article 19 of the Charter that any country not paying its contributions should be deprived of its vote but this Article has never been enforced. Secondly, we must see that there is no double standard in the United Nations—a standard, on the one hand, for the law-abiding nations and a standard, on the other, for those who ignore the United Nations. Because 1450 this organisation is intended not only to keep law and order, but surely, also, to ensure justice.
I would remind those who call the Assembly an expensive and damaging debating chamber where nothing but nonsense is talked that it is, nevertheless, good to have a world debating chamber even if it is a place where only nonsense is talked. There are other assemblies where all of us have had experience of the same thing. It is surely a safety valve that the world should see in a free-world debating assembly that nonsense really is nonsense.
We must also agree that one of the most valuable guardians of civil liberty in this country is Question Hour in the House. I would say that the United Nations forum is in a way a "world question hour". It is a very important aspect of democracy. In fact, in the United States—where the Constitution drawn up by Alexander Hamilton is really crown colony government and not responsible government as we know it—the President has now substituted a public Press conference which strives to do exactly that which we have every day in the House of Commons.
Naturally, of course, one could not give one's support to any organisation which was only a debating chamber. To my mind, the United Nations Assembly is far more valuable than that. I think that the proof of the growing status of the United Nations is the simple fact that Mr. Khrushchev thought it necessary to attend the Assembly in New York, to go there personally to try to make friends and influence people. It shows quite clearly that he could not possibly ignore that Assembly even as it exists now.
Therefore, if one asks, "Will the United Nations, after this session, which was, after all, rather a stormy one, decline slowly, like the League of Nations, or will it gradually become invested with greater authority?" I am personally an optimist and I reply that it will grow—with great difficulty. It may not be the final form of world organisation, but I think that it will grow because I believe that the majority of the nations want to see it work. Perhaps not all will want to do so for virtuous reasons, but a nation cannot go on for ever 1451 behaving badly if there is constant pressure upon it by world opinion to act differently.
I think that it is a British interest to take a lead in the United Nations. The first reason is because, as was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym), in his excellent maiden speech, it is the only organisation at this time where all the 99 members and their delegations can meet. Of course, it is the lobbying and the personal contacts which are far more valuable than what takes place on the floor of the chamber.
I should like to suggest to the Lord Privy Seal, in this connection, that he might consider it a good idea to take some note of the Canadian practice whereby, quite apart from the ordinary delegations, Members of Parliament are sent to New York for six weeks at a time to act as observers at the United Nations. I well appreciate that as Canada is so close to the United Nations' headquarters it is a far less expensive operation for her, but, on the other hand, I should have thought that it was in our interest as a country that as many of our Members of Parliament as possible should have the opportunity, if they wish it, to go and see at close hand the work of the United Nations.
If the United Nations is used to prosecute the cold war, as it has been this time, I submit to the House that we should use it to try to end the cold war. That must be our job. We must, in many of the debates, there meet falsehood with fact, and stand up and fight for British interests. Facts are being distorted in that Assembly and we must try to get rid of the attitude which is sometimes quite prevalent, which was very well summed up by an Australian who said that people so often say, "I have made up my mind. Do not confuse me with facts."
Lastly, I feel that, as is said in the Government's Motion, we must make use of the United Nations Assembly to make our intentions absolutely clear and to go on working, however tough it may be, with the Commonwealth, with our allies and with the uncommitted countries to try to get a greater understanding of the interdependence of all those who are still free.
§ 7.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Frank Tomney (Hammersmith, North)
The hon. Lady the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir) gave the House a very thoughtful speech about the purposes and functions of the United Nations, and I agree with a good deal of what she said.
The hon. Lady raised two special points which are of vital importance for the future. The first is the power of the veto in the Security Council. The other is the equal vote representation irrespective of nationalism, economic power, political prestige or a nation's position in the world. Both these matters will have to be gone into by the United Nations in order to make the Assembly even more workable.
Having said that, I now want to leave the subject of the United Nations and try to bring the debate back to the subject of the Motion and the Amendment which are before us. Neither is concerned with the Common Market. It was halfway through his speech that the Lord Privy Seal introduced the subject of the Common Market. I began to wonder about another man with the name of Ted Heath. He is a band leader and blows his own trumpet. The Lord Privy Seal has blown the Prime Minister's trumpet. I have no quarrel with that, not on this occasion.
Both the Motion and the Amendment deal specially with the issue of foreign affairs. It is now almost twelve months since we had a debate on foreign affairs, and since then a great deal has happened in the world, much of it on the usual pattern, and to much of it we have not found the right answer through the United Nations, by direct action, by intervention or in any other way. I will try to elaborate some of these things as I go along because, despite the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), which I thought was based more on hope than on realism, it is obvious that we who represent the West have been steadily losing in the cold war. The pattern has not changed, and our future looks, if anything, far less bright than it did twelve months ago.
We do not seem yet to have understood that the dialectical approach of the Soviet Union to foreign affairs is a 1453 permanent one. The talks at Geneva on disarmament and nuclear controls, some of which have now been going on for as long as 300 meetings, bear no relation to the main philosophy of the Soviet Union. The economic penetration which the Soviet Union is now imposing on the rest of the world is the result of the overwhelming power in armaments with which the Soviet Union is prepared to back it up by overt threat or otherwise. This has been proved in every case. It was proved conclusively in Cuba. Within the hour the threat was received by President Kennedy that intervention of any kind would result in rockets on the United States.
These are the real words of real power politics. Mao Tse-tung said as much at an international conference of Communist Parties last year, when he said quite bluntly that the only power he recognises is that which comes out of the end of a gun barrel. In the light of this kind of philosophy, how does the West stand, on the basis of the morality of the United Nations, or does it form regional pacts or power groups to form some force which is complementary within itself as a means of offering some kind of opposition?
Everywhere we are up against the same trouble. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East said that he would welcome an individual Communist outlook. That is not possible. The only independent Communist opinion has been Yugoslavia's, which came directly after the war. The last time that a Communist country attempted to assert it was in 1956. The Hungarians then only wanted their own sovereign Communist Government in their own borders. But no, Albania today is offering some kind of sovereign challenge to its Communist Government, but no such sovereignty will be allowed.
I consider it to be rubbish when anybody asks me to accept that the dialectics of Communism can be approached with the morality of Western political thought. The Communists simply do not understand the same basic laws. They do not approach these things from the same concept.
There are three explosive issues facing the world. None of them is settled, and one will never be settled, in my belief. They are Africa, Persia and Germany. Part of the problem of the so-called under 1454 developed countries has been the rapid industrial advance of the West, which has widened the gap in standards in sixty years. The transference of technical assistance to these people cannot be achieved in a space of time which will allow them to adopt Governments established on the Western democratic pattern. Our type of Government is not exportable, but that is not to say that the pattern is not there for the people of these countries to look forward eventually to adopting in their own countries.
We have seen the same pattern in Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. A Government is established by covert means, and then it asks for outside help. Then that Government is recognised and a sovereign tie-up is brought into being. That sort of thing happened all over Europe up to 1950. Is it to happen in Africa as well?
§ Mr. Tomney
The hon. Member should move nearer.
In the main, there is a small number of African intelligentsia, most of whom have been educated here. Quite frankly, they see the access of power quickly and easily to themselves. Democracy does not mean a thing to them in the sense that we know it. Of course, the Russians realise that fact. We see in Africa the result of too much concentration on too few people.
The Russians have invited many of these leaders to Moscow, where they are indoctrinated. Even Mr. Odinga, Mr. Mboya's lieutenant, is reputed last week to have received quite a large sum in Chinese dollars. This is going on. This is the pattern. The doctrine is drummed into them—the doctrine of hate. With all the good will in the world, all the efforts of the West to put matters right are failing.
In Persia there is the same pattern, with the usual small aristocratic landlord clique imposing its rule and taxing the peasants out of existence. There are the under-surface convulsions, and the manacled Shah. He has to do something to deal with these people. The Russians are not involved directly, but if I understand Marxist theory correctly, as I believe I do, they are already at work 1455 there. And the pattern is the same throughout the Middle East.
When we form an organisation like CENTO, all we can say about them is that it has restricted the sphere of influence of Communism to Iraq and Egypt. The Soviet Union knows that the key to Africa is Egypt but—and make no mistake about this—Persia is the key to Egypt.
The tragedy for us in the Middle East lies in the question whether there should be direct intervention or something else—and if something else, what? The last intervention was in the Lebanon by the Central Intelligence Agency. No doubt the Agency has made a lot of mistakes, but we should post the question: what does one do when the United Nations, which is supposed to combat these influences, is not only powerless by veto in New York but powerless by executive action throughout the world, as the Congo situation has shown?
Two or three nations were involved in the Congo, each for its own ends. In Germany there is a similar longstanding problem. We had this situation in the Berlin airlift. Threat after threat has been made in Germany. At the moment, none has materialised but there is no doubt that the Soviet Union is planning a confederation, if it can be achieved. Only about 25 per cent. of the German population is in Eastern Germany. If the Russian plan materialises, we should look back to post-war Czechoslovakia, where there was the same pattern.
What does one do in a situation when the corridor to West Berlin can be closed and when East Germany can be recognised by the Soviet Union? There is no formula in the United Nations for getting out of that one.
One has to take the long view. One must try to understand the Communists in every single thing they do. The most valuable thing they have done for the West recently has been allowing Eurovision on television. They showed the May Day parade, and that demonstrated to the West exactly what the situation is. It was a display of military force, which was seen for the first time by the people of the West to be on the same pattern of the mass parades at 1456 Nuremberg. That fact may get home at last.
Not a trick is missed by the Russians in propaganda. Take Major Gagarin, for example, who was supposed to have gone into orbit. Have hon. Members ever seen a more photogenic boy than he? He even turns out to be a first-class orator, as well. Certainly somebody went round the world but I doubt if Major Gagarin did. How beautifully it was all laid on! There were the Russian leaders, beflagged and bedecked. Down comes the aeroplane, out goes the carpet, and one man walks out along the carpet. He is the embodiment of youth and manly enterprise. He walks right up to the rostrum to President Khrushchev.
But it was not that that interested me most. What interested me most was how he reported after he had been round the world, had come down by parachute, and had landed on his feet. The first thing he said was "I report to President Khrushchev and the party that the mission is complete". Let us think what any one of us would have said in his place. I know that if I had gone round the world like that, and had landed like that, I would have said, "Thank Christ for that". What do they think we are over here? It is too funny for words.
So it goes on, but it creates an impression on some. This is the kind of propaganda we have to combat all the time—it never stops. The Communists are prepared to think in terms of generations, and do so. Time is immaterial. Neutral nations they call committed to their side. I wonder what will be the position of Mr. Nehru when China gets the atom bomb or the H-bomb in two or three years' time? There has already been one shift to the West; there will then be a great gallop. These things take a long time in coming. I took the view a long time ago that if Nehru had come along with us in his struggle for democracy things would have been a lot easier.
The same pattern has been repeated in Laos. It is basic—and a net defeat of the West. In this context, the only strong people we have are the Americans—these poor, lambasted Americans! From some of the speeches one hears in this House one would think them mean, tight-fisted, grabbing, power-conscious, 1457 but it is astonishing what they have done without thought of reward. Since 1945 the Americans had given over 2,000 million dollars—not in military aid but in general aid. We are apt to forget these things—the filling of empty bellies. But let the Soviets do anything of the sort and the propaganda is turned on full.
Whether or not we can make enough of our resources is one thing—I do not think that we are able to, and that is why this European movement is so necessary and vital above all else. We want the single purpose of a political bloc, with some surrender of sovereignty, and economically and politically tied, which will mean the imposition of one will. Whatever other groupings take place, this one is important.
Nevertheless, these problems will not be settled by us on any basis of good will, and I do not believe that they can be settled on the basis of tough bargaining. We are not in a position to bargain militarily; each side now possesses the power to annihilate the other. As I said earlier, the purpose of Soviet military power is to back up the drive in the economic sphere.
What do we do in this context? The Western civilisation is a civilisation of prosperity. Everywhere in the free world we find everybody working. There are well-ploughed and tended fields and trade is booming, but how much of these resources are devoted to carrying out our philosophy? Why do not the Government really give a lead and put over the inspiration of this real story of denial by us as a means of getting peoples to accept our philosophy? We should do these things on a world pattern. Unless we do so, we shall always be defeated.
Whether or not we accept the Cuban revolution, Cuba is only eighty miles from the United States, and almost any American threat of nuclear rockets becomes null and void if the Soviets negotiate with Cuba to base rockets there aimed at the United States. In modern terms, the Monroe Doctrine is nonexistent. How can the Americans try to stumble to an answer to an ideology that they do not fully understand? What can we do to stop this great sweep across the world, active and never ceasing?
1458 There is no end to the cold war; it is permanent. It is a matter of their politics, and the sooner we realise it the better. The position in which the West is placed is a very serious one, and I cannot see this pattern going on for ever without the serious risk of an outbreak. This is a grave danger that concerns us all.
Must we forever go on making adjustments, retreats, and calling conferences, summit or otherwise? We all know how the Summit Conference fell down over the U.2 incident, but what has happened in our own country in the last few weeks makes the U.2 incident look very small beer indeed. The truth is that the Summit Conference failed because the will to succeed was not there. If a succession of conferences fails the onus is always with the Soviets. There are troughs and balances in their policy, and now Mr. K. goes to see Mr. K. and everyone's heart beats more quickly in the hope that something will come of it—but it will not.
The American Mr. K. learnt a lesson from Cuba—and he certainly learnt it quickly. I grew tired a long time ago of talking with these people, and so did Ernie Bevin, one of the finest Foreign Secretaries this country ever had. We can go to conference after conference—300 conference meetings at Geneva on nuclear disarmament, and then no agreement. Thirty meetings of the Paris conference to try to formulate an agenda—and no agenda; just blockade, subversion, difficulties.
A time comes when there is tiredness of wills. Down through history, from the days of the Macedonians, or of the Byzantine Empire, or in the days of Genghis Khan, we can see how much has been won for progress, for truth, for democracy by those people who had the strong will to stand out, but how long can people stand out under conditions like the present? To these things there is no ready answer.
I believe that every conference called by the Soviet Union, especially on issues which are in dispute at the United Nations, is called for the purpose of legally establishing positions which have already been established by force. The conferences are called for no other purpose.
There may be differences between the two sides of the House about the conduct of foreign affairs and the foreign 1459 policy of the Government. I think that the trip to Angola could have been avoided, and should have been. Nevertheless, despite the fact that both parties are probably split down the middle on the issue of the Common Market, if there is a common will to go into the Common Market without any qualifications, I am sure that we will do so.
If it is possible to set up a group in S.E.A.T.O. consisting of the United States, Australia and New Zealand, that also should be done.
Mr. Khrushchev says that he does not want to put rocket bases in Cuba. Of course he does not. He wants Cuba to be an example to the other Latin American States. This is the real challenge. He wants to convey to the other Latin American States that if they follow Cuba's example they can rely on the friendship of Russia.
I do not intend in any way to deny the poverty, the lack of privilege and the denial of a full life and liberty which is common among people in South America and elsewhere. Those factors are as important to me as to anybody else, but in directing our efforts to defending those people let us make sure that in the process we do not lose our own rights and liberties.
§ 7.33 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Kershaw (Stroud)
I entirely agree with almost everything said by the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney). I agree, in particular, that our influence in the world has a direct connection with our economic and military power.
It is sometimes said that moral power is physical power which is not used. To some extent, that is true. That is why, like the hon. Gentleman, I believe that it is necessary for us to associate ourselves with the great power bloc which has come into being in Europe.
On the question of sovereignty, it is interesting to note that no one who spoke—and that includes speakers from both Front Benches—jibbed at the inevitable loss by this country of its sovereignty if we entered into the Common Market. This shows that a remarkable change has taken place in the thinking of people in this country over the past years.
It might be thought hardly necessary to emphasise the importance of the loss 1460 of sovereignty, but I believe that a study of the economic difficulties, which has led one to realise that those difficulties are not as great as we first thought, has rather overlaid our first anxiety about the loss of sovereignty which will necessarily be involved.
It is true that we do not know what the loss of sovereignty will be. It is true that we can influence the degree of the loss of sovereignty by being inside the Common Market and being able to negotiate from inside. Nevertheless, it is clear that the changes which will take place in our sovereignty will be important, and in spite of our past history we have come to accept that.
When we recall that we survived the last war by virtue of the fact that we were separated from Europe, and that the allies whom we are to join more closely on the Continent, as I trust we will, are democracies, mostly of a rather different type from ours, the change in our thinking is remarkable.
It is clear that the day of the nation State is over, although every month sees the birth of a new one. It is also clear that the relative importance of this country vis-à-vis Europe and the rest of the world is declining. It is because it is necessary for us to have this power to back up our moral position, and because it is necessary for the West to be united if it is to meet the openly avowed challenge of the East, that we must forgo our sovereignty and co-operate to a greater degree in Europe than we have in the past. This loss of sovereignty is necessary not because the Six demand it as the price of our entering the little garden which they have created, but because the facts of life today impose it.
Economically, I believe it to be fairly clearly accepted that our industry has no cause to fear, and, in fact, has reason to welcome, inclusion in the Common Market. There may be a certain down turn of activity at the beginning, although even that may be avoided, but certainly, in the long run, British industry will benefit, for three principal reasons.
First, because of the economies which a large market necessarily brings with it. Secondly, because of the attraction of foreign investment to the United Kingdom, which we may reasonably expect because we are politically rather more 1461 stable than some other parts of Europe. Thirdly, because of the increased competition which we would have to meet, and which I think it is generally accepted our industry has been in need of for some time.
It is clear that in joining the Common Market there will have to be some derogations from the full record of the Treaty of Rome as at present constituted. I refer, in passing, to only two of them, because I do not want to speak for long. First, agriculture. Having studied this problem, I see no reason why, given sufficient time to adapt itself to the new arrangements of the European market, British agriculture should not be as prosperous, and possibly more so, than it is at the moment.
Secondly, the Commonwealth. It is true that we will face difficulties about the import of temperate foods into this country and of high-cost manufactures, which come to us mostly from Canada, but, provided it can be arranged that those sections of the Commonwealth likely to be hit by this will not suffer too much at first, I am sure that we can rely on the great growth of industrial activity in Europe to compensate the Commonwealth quite quickly, if not at once, for the share which it may lose in the United Kingdom market in the first instance.
§ Mr. Kershaw
It is true. If one discusses commodity by commodity, this will become a long and technical debate, and I content myself with the general proposition that the Commonwealth can be adapted to these new patterns of trade.
I do not believe that anyone would disagree that one of the greatest benefits we can give to the Commonwealth is to strengthen the basis of our economy. We will be able to do that more quickly if we are part of a prosperous Europe than if we find ourselves to some extent isolated and suffer a decline in our economic power and prestige over the years. That will do most to hold the Commonwealth together in the curious but powerful association which it has at present.
The third item on which we will obviously have to have some derogation is in connection with our relations with E.F.T.A. It is natural that E.F.T.A. 1462 should suffer some kind of change when the negotiations come to a conclusion. It is no disloyalty to E.F.T.A. to say that it was formed with the express intention of coming to some arrangement with the Six—that is written into the Treaty of Stockholm—and it is no lack of loyalty to E.F.T.A. to say that some arrangement between E.F.T.A. and the Common Market is envisaged.
I do not agree with the hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) that E.F.T.A. should be regretted. One especial reason is that from the European point of view, and perhaps rather more from the United Kingdom point of view, the one thing which E.F.T.A. has done is to keep in association with ourselves and other democratic countries neutral States who, without long preparation, could not possibly associate with political organisations such as the Common Market is designed to become. It is very important to the health of Europe that those neutral States, some in key positions, like Austria and Finland, and in this connection one could add Yugoslavia, should not be excluded from the principal organisation of European Powers.
Therefore, if E.F.T.A. has done nothing else it has kept those neutrals, whose interests we must always regard in whatever solution we come to, in the concert of Europe while we work out what a more satisfactory solution shall be. Let us not forget that E.F.T.A. includes Scandinavian countries who are like ourselves in having the sort of pattern of democracy which we have. That, too, is important, for we should march in step with them.
It would be natural and to the point for each of the countries of E.F.T.A. to come to a particular arrangement with the Common Market, but that is to say not that they need to come one by one to the Common Market to see what terms they can get, but that the arrangements which suit one country of E.F.T.A. will not necessarily suit another. Although the negotiations for a solution must be undertaken in common, for all the members of E.F.T.A., each will have to have a separate arrangement. That is the way in which we will be able to get the best terms and to come to the most sensible arrangement, taking the different interest of the separate countries into account.
1463 For those reasons, and because each of those solutions is likely to have a peculiar character, there is not much value in now making the declaration, as urged by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), that we will adhere to the Common Market. It its implicit, I hope, in the present conversations at a technical level between the Governments that we accept some degree of loss of sovereignty and accept that in the end we want to be associated with the Treaty of Rome, but a declaration now that we wish to sign the Treaty of Rome would not get us very much further. It seems to be a negotiating trick designed to put General de Gaulle in the wrong and, as such, it would not advance matters very much.
In referring to General de Gaulle, I am bound to admit that the obstacle to our joining the Common Market, as seen from this side of the Channel, is the French. I welcome some signs, shown in recent months, that the French position is altering. I believe that they, too, realise that they will have some benefit from the association of the United Kingdom with Europe. I believe that they have come to realise that they have nothing to fear, but something to gain economically, and that politically, too, especially since the events in Algeria, they have something to gain if we and the Scandinavian nations are associated with the Common Market.
One particular drawback to our now saying that we will sign the Treaty of Rome is that it commits us publicly to negotiations at a time when they may not have been properly prepared, and, if the negotiations are compelled to start by our taking a public position before things are ready, if the negotiations fail there is no doubt that the position of Europe will be much worse than it now is.
However, I welcome the statement of the Lord Privy Seal that it is doubtful whether we can long postpone a decision in this matter. The integration of the Six is growing every month and takes a decisive step forward on 1st January, next year. They cannot wait indefinitely for us, because of the uncertainty induced in business, especially in E.F.T.A., because nobody knows what the tariffs will be, or where factories should be 1464 sited, and so on, and also because the continued uncertainty in this country will become politically intolerable in the end.
I do not charge the Government, as they have been charged by the Liberal Party, with idleness or inconsequence for not coming to a decision straight away. For the reasons given, it is necessary for many detailed discussions to take place before we can know whether negotiations can be undertaken successfully. It is clear that those talks have to go on in private and cannot be fully explained now. However, I say with all the emphasis I can command that if we do not get some sort of agreement with Europe in twelve months, we may find that it is too late and that the terms on both sides have become too high and cannot be lowered.
If we succeed in uniting Europe more closely, as I hope we will, during the next twelve months, that will be only the half-way house. I look forward to much closer organisational connections between the Atlantic Powers and Europe, and including Australia and New Zealand, but I am certain that we will not get that bigger picture until we have properly organised ourselves in Europe. If we do not achieve that unity in Europe, we may have to try for the Atlantic solution and I am certain that that will not be nearly so easy or so good a solution if the poison from a split Europe has permeated the organisation of Western Europe.
If the negotiations fail—and I do not believe that they will—I hope that it will not be the fault of Her Majesty's Government. I am certain that we ought to do everything we can, in our own interests and in those of the West, to achieve unity in Europe.
§ 7.48 p.m.
§ Mr. R. E. Prentice (East Ham, North)
The leader in The Times this morning said that there was a danger that this debate would break its own back from ever-extension, and against that background I hope that it is pardonable if I do not follow the comments of the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw). There are so many problems to be debated today. I make the comment that this debate within a debate, which is taking place on the prospects of our joining the Common Market, illustrates the fact that we ought to have had a 1465 separate day's debate on the subject, which is of tremendous importance. There are many other matters of importance which should be given an airing.
If I had to make one general criticism of the Lord Privy Seal's speech, and those of many Government spokesmen on foreign affairs, it would be that they lack any sense of direction. They comment on a number of crises, giving the reactions of the Government, sometimes rather belated reactions, to events without giving a lead to the House and to the country about the type of foreign policy which the country is pursuing in the long term.
There are many things which could be said in a debate on foreign affairs, but I shall concentrate on two topics. One is that it is the paramount duty of this country of all countries to pursue multilateral disarmament by all the means at its disposal. The second matter on which I should like more emphasis to be laid by the Government is that we should aim at strengthening the United Nations by all the means at our disposal, with the ultimate objective of helping to create a world government.
I have found it rather surprising that there have been so few references in the debate so far to disarmament and, in particular, to the situation which has been reached in the test ban talks. We have all been profoundly disappointed at the way the talks have gone in the last week or two. I hope that it is realised in the Kremlin that this disappointment must be shared by millions of people throughout the world, including millions of people in the uncommitted nations whom the Kremlin is trying to influence. I hope that the price of Soviet tactics is seen in that light, because to take an optimistic view, this is, perhaps, one thing which might lead the Soviet Union to be more accommodating.
The hopes arising from the prospect of an agreement for a ban on tests were that such an agreement in itself would be a tremendous achievement and that it would be an example of the way in which the great Powers, despite their political differences, could agree about something of common concern to them—their common wish to avoid the spread of nuclear weapons to other countries and to put an end to the nuclear arms race.
1466 I support my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) who said that the proposals put forward recently by the Western Powers, as distinct from those on which they were taking their stand some months ago, are reasonable proposals and we should resist Soviet pressure on the paint of having tripartite control of the test arrangements. If there is to be any satisfactory treaty at all, it must involve the countries concerned in giving up at least a small part of their sovereignty in this respect and not trying to retain the right to veto from day to day the powers of the inspection teams to carry out inspections.
I believe that this move of the Soviet Union should be resisted also because of its wider implications. It seems that it is part of the Soviet Union's campaign to undermine the whole international secretariat, particularly the secretariat of the United Nations itself, by having a veto at all stages. This we must resist.
Whereas, of course, we all hope that there will be a new turn in the negotiations, we must face the implications of what may happen, that is to say, that there will be no early prospect of an agreement to stop tests. I ask the Government to say something about this and about the situation which arises there from. I suggest that there are certain essentials. First, it is vital to prolong the moratorium on tests. It is important not only that this country should declare that it will not itself start tests, but it should use its utmost influence with the United States to dissuade them from beginning tests again. We all have read of the powerful lobby in Washington in favour of beginning nuclear tests again.
Putting the argument at its lowest, if there is to be a resumption of tests, they should not be started by the West. Any resumption of tests should come from the Soviet side. We hope that there will be no resumption, and I should have thought that there was at least reason to hope that the Soviet Government's attitude is that they hope that there will be a de facto situation in which tests will not occur, despite the fact that there is no agreement about inspection. If that is so, there is every reason why the West should maintain the moratorium.
We have to consider the effect of this situation upon the problem of the spread of nuclear weapons. Various Ministers, 1467 when questioned about this matter, have said in recent months that, after we had reached a test ban agreement, it would be our objective to invite other countries to sign it and by that method to discourage or prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to other countries.
It seems to me that we ought now to be thinking out a different strategy to be applied, if necessary, if a test ban agreement is not signed. This is a problem of growing urgency. The French have begun testing. One sometimes hears it said that China will be ready to make tests soon. It may well be that Mr. Khrushchev's attitude is connected with that possibility and it is one of the reasons why he is trying to hold back at the moment from reaching a test ban agreement.
I submit that this country is in a better position than any other country in the world to take the initiative in this respect. Present developments strengthen the argument in favour of the Labour Party policy of taking Britain out of the race as an independent nuclear Power. They strengthen the case for saying that Britain, while remaining in and being a loyal member of N.A.T.O., should not remain an independent nuclear Power. If we took that initiative, we might in that way more than any other do something to discourage other countries from entering the so-called nuclear club. In any case, the economic and technical reasons for not remaining an independent nuclear Power are very strong, particularly since the failure of Blue Streak. All these reasons are growing in importance all the time, and if there is to be continued deadlock at Geneva the matter is all the more urgent.
What are the prospects ahead? One thing which is almost certain is that the situation will not be frozen at the point where there are just three or four nuclear powers. One possibility, the very best, is that there will be a multilateral disarmament agreement and there will be no nuclear Powers. Another possibility, the second best, is that for the time being there will be only two nuclear Powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, and there will be a world-wide agreement not to spread nuclear weapons to other countries.
Another possibility, which is growing in strength all the time, is that there will 1468 be a large number of nuclear Powers, 12, 15, or perhaps 20, as more and more countries acquire the technical "know-how" which is needed to become an independent nuclear Power. Those are the possibilities, and all are stronger than any prospect that the situation will be stabilised as it is now.
We ought to hear from the Government about their proposals. The Prime Minister referred to the problem in his speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He referred to it again at the conference of Scottish Conservatives when he came back. He referred to a "nuclear partnership". He has not defined what that means. We ought to be told soon what it means and what is in his mind. In any event, any concept of a nuclear partnership is inferior to the proposal we have been urging from this side of the House for some time now, that Britain herself should drop out of the race and thereby be able to take the diplomatic initiative in order to persuade other countries not to enter.
I suggest that there are very strong reasons why both the United States and the Soviet Union would try to discourage other countries from joining the nuclear club. If we once took that step, they would be in a strong position in trying to persuade their respective allies not to become nuclear Powers.
§ Mr. William Warbey (Ashfield)
My hon. Friend has made a rather interesting statement about the proposal that Britain should cease to try to be an independent nuclear Power. Does he mean by that that Britain should unilaterally renounce nuclear weapons? If so—and that is what he appears to mean—in what way does he differ from those who call themselves unilateralists?
§ Mr. Prentice
It is tempting to speak on this at length. I think that my hon. Friend really knows the difference.
§ Mr. Prentice
I said a few minutes ago that the position I take—which is the position which most of us on this side take—is that Britain should stay in N.A.T.O., should fulfil its obligations to N.A.T.O., including the basing of weapons in this country, but that there is no case on strategic or economic 1469 grounds for remaining an independent nuclear Power. Further, I said that there are growing diplomatic reasons for taking the step which I advocate.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
Would my hon. Friend agree that this is a fair way of putting the point: there is not now, and there has not been for nearly two years, any difference at all among hon. Members on this side of the House on the question of unilateralism defined at its narrowest—that is to say, that this country should not itself be a nuclear Power, whatever other countries do, and that the differences between us have been that we have not been able to agree as yet as to the logical consequences of that decision? Is that a fair way of putting the point?
§ Mr. Prentice
It is true that among Members on this side of the House there is general agreement that Britain should not remain an independent nuclear Power, but the other differences are there, and my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) tempts me to say that it is a great pity that we have been distracted by an argument about other forms of unilateralism when we could have been arguing much more constructively. We could have done that if we had not been distracted by my hon. Friend, among others, from the really important arguments in this respect—because there are important differences on this point between hon. Members opposite and hon. Members on this side of the House. My hon. Friend, and many who think like him, have done a disservice to the cause of disarmament by the way in which they have caused trouble.
§ Mr. Silverman rose——
§ Mr. Prentice
I cannot give way. If I complain about distractions in general I must not yield to too many of them.
§ Mr. Silverman
On a point of order. I apologise; I did not mean to intervene at all, but if my hon. Friend makes a personal criticism of the kind he has just made, is it not a matter of recognised courtesy in the House to allow me to reply? I put that point to my hon. Friend because I know his friendliness and his courtesy.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Sir William Anstruther-Gray)
That is not a point of order.
§ Mr. Prentice
I am glad that my hon. Friend deplores personal criticism in the way that he has indicated. I hope that he will always observe that rule.
§ Mr. Silverman
On a point of order. Is it in order for my hon. Friend to persist at one and the same time with deliberate misrepresentation and a refusal to give way in order to allow me to put that misrepresentation right? Is not that really an abuse of the courtesies of the House?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
There are certain courtesies of the House, but there is nothing out of order in the hon. Member who now has the Floor continuing with his speech.
§ Mr. Prentice
There is another aspect of this matter. Earlier on the Lord Privy Seal spoke about the prospects of renewed general disarmament talks, and said that discussions would be taking place between the Western Governments, prior to wider discussions taking place on general disarmament. I want to ask the Joint Under-Secretary of State what studies are being made in this country of the technical problems of disarmament and arms control. From what little I know about it, I feel that not nearly enough is being done about this in Britain, at the official level.
We seem to have reached a stage in which the Soviet Union and the United States are arguing from rather different concepts—in which the United States is putting emphasis on arms control and on the need to make very modest progress and to set up very elaborate machinery for enforcing it. They aim at trying to reach agreement for stopping further progress in the arms race rather than taking large steps in actual disarmament in the short run, being very suspicious of the more ambitious proposals of the Soviet Union, whereas, on the other hand, the Soviet Union policy, if I can summarise it in a few sentences, is governed by their suspicion of proposals put forward for arms control because they think that this will give the West a means of establishing posts inside their territory, perhaps constituting a disguised form of spying, and their preference is therefore for putting forward rather grandiose schemes for general disarmament.
1471 I was recently speaking to someone who took part in an unofficial international conference on this problem. He pointed out one advantage of the American approach, saying that the Americans were doing a great deal of detailed work on the problem of arms inspection and control, and the problems which will arise from a treaty. He asked a Russian at that conference how many people in Russia were working on this, and, after hesitating, the Russian replied: "Everybody in Russia is working for disarmament". Be that as it may, from what we hear the same detailed work is not going on in the Soviet Union as is going on in the United States.
My view is that Britain should be doing a lot of this technical work, and should be striving all the time to find ways of marrying the concept of disarmament and the concept of arms control. These are not incompatible ideas. The gap between them can be bridged. This, again, is a matter in which the British Government are particularly well fitted to take the lead, and they ought to be thinking in those terms.
The other theme that I want to touch on for a few moments is my belief that it should be a constant aspect of British Foreign policy to try to strengthen the United Nations in every possible way. I particularly welcomed the reference to this point in the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend. This must involve the objective of world government. When the term "world government" is used, at worst one gets the reaction that it is a rather far-fetched idea, conceived by some longhaired cranks, and, at best, the reaction that it is a good idea but it is so long-term that it has no relevance to the day-to-day crises which the world faces. I agree that it is a long-term idea, but there are many ways in which the beginning of world government could be advanced and which would have some relevance to day-to-day problems.
If we hope to achieve disarmament it must involve handing over authority to some kind of body with supra-national powers. The inspection teams will have a type of sovereignty over and above national sovereignty. If we visualise disarmament going a long way, we must envisage some sort of international police force to take the place of national armed 1472 forces. This is very much a question of practical politics, not only in relation to disarmament but to many other matters. Therefore, I should like to see the British Government taking every possible step to strengthen the functions of the United Nations.
I should like to give one or two examples of the way in which this could be done. First, there could be the admission of the Peking Government to the United Nations. The Government's record in this matter has been a very bad one. In recent years more and more countries have been prepared to vote for the admission of the Peking Government. The voting figures in 1960 were 38 against, 34 for, with 26 abstentions. In that situation Britain could have tipped the scale last year, or perhaps some years ago, if the will to do so had been there. I hope that a different stand will be taken this year.
Secondly, we could work on and submit proposals for the alteration of the composition of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and other bodies, so as clearly to take account of the balance of power in the world as it is at present, and the proper representation which the new nations of Africa and elsewhere deserve.
Thirdly, we could return to proposals that have been supported in the past by the British Government for the establishment of a permanent United Nations force. With the experience gained in Gaza and the Congo, the time has arrived when a new initiative to establish such a force might well be taken. If the force were in existence permanently, it could be moved quickly not only to parts of the world where a crisis had occurred but to parts where one might occur. There are situations which one can envisage in which the presence of a United Nations force would have a healthy effect. I hope that at some stage the force may be made up of individuals recruited from different countries directly to is so that they would become soldiers of the United Nations, and not soldiers of a national army seconded to the United Nations.
Fourthly, I believe that the Government should press for a permanent expansion of technical assistance and for more of it to be carried out by the agencies of the United Nations. In the recent debate in this House on the new 1473 Department of Technical Co-operation the fact emerged that last year £150 million was spent by this country on various kinds of overseas aid, and of that amount only £6 million went to the agencies of the United Nations. It seems to me that we ought deliberately to try to expand that method of doing things, partly because it is a very efficient method which is more acceptable to many of the newer countries than any other method. After all, if a country is a member of the United Nations there is certainly no hint of any imperialistic relationship in accepting help from the United Nations. We should also do it for the fundamental reason which I am trying to advance, that we should take any opportunity deliberately to build up the United Nations setup and make it more powerful.
Another point we should consider is whether the General Assembly ought not to become the place where the Heads of Government meet as a matter of course. It could be the theatre for summitry by smaller or larger groups of Heads of Governments. This happened rather fortuitously last autumn when, as was referred to by the hon. Lady the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir), there was a rather stormy session. I think it was a good thing that Mr. Khrushchev should attend an assembly at which he was heckled for once. It was good for all the people concerned.
It seems to me that the question of summit meetings has been tackled in the wrong way. People have tended to build too many hopes on summit meetings, expecting them to work as a sort of gimmick to solve all sorts of problems which could not be solved by other methods. What should happen is that Heads of Governments, as a matter of routine, should meet regularly at least once a year—preferably more often—in order to exchange views and to see whether any new attitudes of mind ought to be explored. I should have thought that the Assembly was a good forum for that, in order to build up the prestige of the United Nations.
Finally, I wish to make the general point that if we accept the view that the United Nations Organisation and the principles of the United Nations Charter should play a bigger and bigger part in world affairs in the years to come, it imposes on us, and on all countries 1474 which accept this view, the duty to make sure that our foreign policy is at all times consistent with the requirements of the Charter. This point was made earlier, but I make no apology for returning to it.
The hon. Lady the Member for Aberdeen, South made the same point and said that there should not be double standards in regard to this. I am afraid that what has happened is that nearly every major country, at some time or other in fairly recent years, has departed from its obligations as a member of the United Nations when its national interests were thought to conflict with its obligations under the Charter. In nearly every case its policy has failed and this I think is a point which should be more generally understood. Where national interests have been thought to conflict with the United Nations Charter it has not usually worked out in that way.
From the failure of Britain and France at Suez right through to the failure of the invasion in Cuba there are many examples of countries which have failed in an attempt to establish their national interests in conflict with the Charter.
§ Mr. Prentice
The hon. Member mentions Tibet. One might say that Tibet and Hungary are exceptions to this rule because the countries concerned were prepared to be so ruthless as to carry through the operation to what might be called its logical conclusion. But, even then, I doubt whether in the long run they could be regarded as exceptions. What happened in Hungary may have done permanent damage to the reputation of world Communism in the uncommitted countries which it is the intention of the Communists to influence, so I do not think that in the long run it may be regarded as an exception to what I am saying.
It is in this light that we should regard some of the present crises. It is in this light that we should condemn definitely the policy of the Portuguese Government in Angola. It really is an appalling thing that in this situation we have sent a warship on a good will visit to Angola. About ten days ago there was a statement by some Portuguese democrats 1475 condemning the policy of the Portuguese Government in this respect, and people like that deserve support from world opinion. We should be doing a duty by helping to provide it.
I would say the same thing about Cuba, although the events in Cuba are in a category very different from the Portuguese policy in Angola. Nevertheless, the British Government should have made clear their criticism of the action taken in Cuba, and done it in the sense in which I think many of us on this side of the House approach the matter. We are in no sense favourable to the Castro régime and in many ways we admire the Kennedy Administration. But we feel that this was a terrible mistake and it should be attacked as such. Even had the invasion succeeded, it would still have been a mistake because the long-term effect on the prospects of democracy in Latin-America would have been damaged.
To sum up, I think that the United Nations approach is not merely the better approach in principle but is rapidly becoming the more practical approach and the one most likely to succeed. I consider that the greatest danger to world peace is that in too many countries too many people are hanging on to the old-fashioned approaches and concepts which belong to the pre-nuclear age. This applies to British policy in the Middle East up to the time of Suez, to the remains of colonialism in Africa, to the Monroe Doctrine, to the fundamental Marxism of Mao Tse-tung—they all, I think, have this in common; they have been made rapidly out-of-date by the development of the nuclear age in which only a policy of respect for the letter and the spirit of the United Nations Charter will make any sense. That should be the main theme of British foreign policy, and I should like to hear it expounded often from the Treasury Bench.
§ 8.19 p.m.
§ Sir Anthony Hurd (Newbury)
I wish to bring the debate a little nearer home to the Economic Community and the Common Market. We have heard a number of interesting, persuasive and perhaps dangerous speeches made in this Chamber this afternoon. I think that the tide of argument is carrying Britain, 1476 week by week and almost day by day, very much closer to the Common Market. There has been a great deal of fine and compelling talk about European unity in politics, trade and defence. That persuasion comes equally effectively from both sides of the House.
I wish, briefly, to try to reflect the views of the rural areas, because I think that the House should know what is in our minds. I often have the feeling that more fundamental good sense is talked in the village "pub" than in most other places. Our farmers certainly do not want to stand in the way of Britain getting export business with the Continent. They know that the high standard of living in Britain and the growing demand for high quality food which suits the British farmer and housewife depend largely on our success in export business on the industrial side. Therefore, our interests are at one with industry in wanting to see expansion in industrial exports.
Our trouble is that we cannot yet decipher the lines of a common agricultural policy in Europe. My hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw) said that British agriculture could adapt itself to a common agricultural policy and could be just as prosperous as it is now. We do not know what that policy is, or what it is likely to be. There is no vestige today of a common agricultural policy. It is rather dangerous to say that we can adapt ourselves to something of which nobody knows the shape.
Until we can see the prospects more clearly, and judge how their policies and ours might be made to match, farmers and, I am sure, farm workers and their wives, and indeed everybody in the villages, will not feel at all agreeable to scrapping the forms of agricultural support which suit us here in Britain. They suit the producer, who, in recent years, has come to rely on fairly steady prices backed by guarantees. They suit the consumer, who has come to expect a free choice of food at world prices, in most cases well below the prices that rule on the Continent of Europe.
The dearer food issue is one that has to be faced by the Government and weighed when we are thinking of these approaches to the Common Market and of adapting our methods to the methods that it is hoped 1477 to develop generally there. It may be that a bridge or a series of bridges can be found. The Lord Privy Seal told us this afternoon that the European Economic Community might be ready to consider modifications in their ideas to meet us. Well and good. Let us talk. But I think that Ministers know that farmers here will resist any idea that our agricultural policy should be decided by a Council of Ministers sitting in Brussels. That would not be tolerable in the rural districts.
§ Sir A. Hurd
Farmers, and certainly the present generation of farmers, do not forget conditions in the agricultural areas twenty-five and thirty years ago. They will want to scrutinise thoroughly alternatives to the present price support system. I think that it is foolish at this stage to talk about abandoning the Agriculture Acts of 1947 and 1957. I am sure that the basic assurances in those two Acts, one passed by a Labour Government and the other by a Conservative Government, will still be needed by farmers and farm workers in this country, which provides the largest open market for food in the world. Our own home producers will need those basic assurances if we are to have a decent agriculture of which we can be proud.
The confidence and stability engendered by those two Agriculture Acts have given us a productive and progressive countryside. Men are employed in much better conditions and have much greater scope and fuller lives than they had before, and they do not want to risk those advantages. This has been a considerable benefit to the nation as a whole. Indeed, the Lord Privy Seal paid British agriculture a compliment this afternoon when he said that, as a whole the industry is in a sound state to contemplate partnership in a common agricultural policy. I think that that is true today. It was not true twenty-five or thirty years ago and I doubt whether it would be true in ten or twenty years' time if we allowed our production policy to be decided by a Council of Ministers in Brussels.
Having said that, I agree that we could find markets—and they would be profitable markets—on the Continent for 1478 some of our high quality beef and lamb, and so could Australia and New Zealand. Indeed, commodity agreements might rid us of the anxieties about dumped produce in this country if all played fair in the Common Market. Those are two positive advantages which might well come out of a link or a common framework in agricultural thinking and policy in Europe. Certainly, countries like New Zealand would warmly welcome commodity agreements that would let her keep the right of free entry into our great world food market for her butter and cheese and would, at the same time, give her the chance to break into the high-price markets of Europe. These are problems and differences which have got to be weighed very carefully.
I am not one who would wish to be a party to rushing into the Economic Community, signing on the dotted line and thinking about it afterwards, and, indeed, possibly repenting of it. We must move cannily in all this. Vital interests in agriculture and horticulture could be at stake. As recently as last December the Government, in their White Paper, spoke of their concern to see whether means could be found of achieving closer European unity without sacrificing the vital interest of the United Kingdom farmers and horticulturists. Those are fine sentiments that we can all agree. Some of us on these benches are determined to see that those sentiments are remembered today when we are moving, I think pretty quickly, towards the Common Market in Europe.
I hope that we may have another debate, devoted entirely to this topic, before the Summer Recess so that Parliament and the country as a whole may understand more fully the issues before we find ourselves married up into the Continent. Things can happen without anybody quite knowing what is happening, and it is important that Ministers should be frank, as I know the Lord Privy Seal was this afternoon. I thought that he made a helpful and interesting speech. We want more explanations and explorations of that kind before we come to a decision. When we get them Parliament and the country will be better able to reach the right decision, whether it is for or against going into the European Community and joining the Common Market.
§ 8.29 p.m.
§ Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)
Like, I imagine, a number of other hon. Members, I very much enjoyed the tribute which the hon. Member for Newbury (Sir A. Hurd) paid to the work of the Labour Government after the war in laying the foundations for a prosperous agriculture. I do not think that anyone disputes that the foundations which were then laid were really good and that agriculture has benefited very greatly as a result of what was done. But, of course, conditions change, and I submit that, at present, if agriculture were to remain out of the Common Market a creeping paralysis would come upon it which would knock the present slight paralysis into a cocked hat.
British agriculture has to compete with exports from the Continent which are sent here at world surplus prices—that is, at dumped prices. If British agriculture's price goes down in consequence, by and large it is made up by subsidy. In other words, what is happening is that the British industrialist is being subsidised to pay lower wages than he otherwise would have to pay because his employees are receiving cheap, subsidised food. The more there are surpluses on the Continent, the more will this happen to the detriment of the British farmer and his main interest, which is to keep on good terms with the consumer and the taxpayer. It seems to me that the only hope ultimately for the British farmer is to come inside the Common Market, where he will be competing with other farmers at Common Market prices, not world surplus prices.
I am, therefore, not surprised to find that the agricultural workers of this country, and, I think, a large number of farmers, are very much in favour of a proper deal with Europe in this matter, so that we may compete on equal terms with it.
§ Sir A. Hurd
Has the hon. Member consulted his hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Hilton), who is President of the National Union of Agricultural Workers, because some of his recent speeches have not read in the same sense as the hon. Gentleman has just indicated?
§ Mr. Mallalieu
That could be. It is interesting to see how this matter cuts across parties. If the hon. Gentleman 1480 follows the resolutions passed by the National Union of Agricultural Workers, he will find that what I have just said is broadly accurate and that the organised workers in agriculture are in favour of joining the Common Market because they realise that there will be competition on fair terms with their opposite numbers in Europe. Most of us believe that our farmers and farm workers are at least as efficient as those with whom they will have to compete.
I was interested to hear the hon. Member for Newbury say that we could not have some body in Brussels, a council of ministers, dictating what should be done here. That is not what is suggested. The whole idea is that we shall be part of this body which is doing the dictating, as the hon. Gentleman calls it. It appears as though, like one of my hon. Friends who spoke for the industrial areas on this point, he was afraid of accepting a majority decision of a group to which he belongs merely because there happen to be some foreigners in the group. That is not democratic.
§ Mr. Mallalieu
Of course not. We all want to keep the export trade going. I submit that at present industrialists are being subsidised to pay less wages than they otherwise would have to pay. Yet it is called a farmers' subsidy, and some farmers resent this.
The Lord Privy Seal was castigated rather severely in that most remarkable speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) for having introduced the Common Market and Europe into our debate. That was the only point on which I disagreed with my hon. Friend. I am extremely glad that the Lord Privy Seal did introduce this matter. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to take anything that I say as supporting him in his efforts to come to a sensible solution on the lines that he outlined this afternoon.
We have recently had economic debates. We are in the middle of the Budget debates at the moment. So far as economics go—I will not dwell on this matter very long, because if I did I 1481 should be out of order; this is merely an illustration—it is common ground that, if development in this country is not stagnating, it is at any rate not going ahead at as fast a rate as that of most of our competitors in Europe.
Last week, some of us were in France with our colleagues of the French Parliament at a conference. We were shown certain of France's developments. The whole of the Rhone Valley is being turned from a derelict, sunbaked or torrent-swept area of gravel into fertile land by what is being done there. Electricity is being produced from that extraordinary raging torrent, which is being turned into a navigable channel. During the next seven years, all the way from the Mediterranean right up to the Rhine it will be made navigable; a most remarkable development is going on, while we are virtually stagnant. All we do is to put up vast office blocks. I think this is a tragedy: and the immensity of the development that is going on in France, particularly in this sphere of economic expansion, is matched by the complacency of the Government Front Bench on this matter of an expanding economy in our own country.
This brings me back to the question of Europe. There are two points on which I feel that the Government have been dragging their feet very badly, and I apologise if it might be thought that on the first point I am dealing with something which does not match up in importance to many of the subjects which have been touched on today—the great questions of East and West, peace and disarmament. We recently had a proposal by a very important and high-powered study group which went into the whole question of whether or not it would be desirable, possible and economic to make a tunnel under the Channel to France. It reported most favourably on this matter. All sorts of excuses have been brought up from time to time—the questions of expense, the military danger, the fact that it would not in times of unemployment contribute towards a solution of that problem and the fact that, in prosperous times, it would use raw materials which might be scarce and which should be used for other things. All these excuses have been trumped up at one time or another, because the Government had not thought fit to match their thinking with the 1482 breadth, the warmth and the imagination of this great idea of uniting us with France and with our other friends in Europe.
Here we have presented to us on a plate, as it were, by private investors, every penny of the expenditure that would be wanted to bring this great project of peace to fruition; and yet nothing has been done about it. I say that nothing has been done, but I know that the Government have studied this report, though they have said nothing about it. Now we have come to the point where in France it is being said that we are dragging our feet, while we are saying, "No, it is the French". It is said that it is the Civil Service or even "Le grand Charles" himself. Any excuse is given to justify the fact that our Government have done nothing about it.
This seems to me to be such a tragedy, because here, in one single act, the Government could demonstrate in a way which everybody in all countries in Europe, and particularly in France and in this country, could understand that we acknowledge at last that our destiny and that of the Continent of Europe is so intertwined that it is impossible any longer to hold ourselves apart.
The other matter on which I was prepared to throw all sorts of stones at the Government, and the Lord Privy Seal in particular for dragging his feet, is about the Common Market. I have read reports in the European Press, and, indeed, in the Irish Press, for a long time now that we have definitely made this decision to go into the Common Market, but all the time nothing has been said to confirm this. Indeed, things were said in the contrary sense by the Prime Minister recently.
Since I have heard the speech of the Lord Privy Seal, I shall take him at his word, and I hope that I shall not be found to be a mug for doing so. I believe that that speech meant that the Government wants to try to go into the Common Market, and I do not put it any higher. It does not mean that we should sign on the dotted line tomorrow, but it does mean that the Government have now realised that they have got to get down to the business of trying to work out a modus vivendi between ourselves and our European friends, inside 1483 the Economic Community of Europe. To that extent, I am profoundly thankful, and I think that the debate has been a most important debate. It has been to me intensely interesting to see how on both sides of the House the same opinion has been expressed, and what we must do now is to get to business with the Common Market. I am more delighted than I can say about that.
Having criticised the Government about their failure to achieve economic expansion and for having dragged their feet over the tunnel and over the Common Market, though now they have come to a better frame of mind, I come to the even more important question of today's foreign affairs debate—how we are to achieve peace and disarmament. The Government are to be immensely congratulated on the declaration which was made after the recent Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. I regard that as quite the most important declaration ever to come out of a Commonwealth Conference. What are the Government doing about it as a matter of follow-up? They have acknowledged that we cannot really have peace until we have something which, to my way of thinking, means world government.
It does not mean a world authority which will come into this country and tell us where to build this school or that, what to teach in it when it is built, where to have a road and whether to close down this or that pit or industry. It does mean, however, according to what the Prime Ministers—in the plural—said after that Conference, world government within the limited sphere of peace-keeping. They said that we must have complete disarmament, a world force and a world security authority to ensure that the disarmament is effectively done and to manipulate the world force.
Coupled with the continued existence of the United Nations as we at present know it, to my way of thinking that constitutes world government. I am delighted that the Government should have used their influence in the Prime Minister's Conference and that all the Prime Ministers should have come together and made that declaration which, in effect, means that they think that we will not get peace and disarmament without effective world government.
1484 What are the Government doing about this? Is no further Commonwealth follow-up to be undertaken, with all the Commonwealth countries in concert in the United Nations? That is what I should like to see. I am not suggesting—this is the most important thing I wish to say—that this should be followed up now at the United Nations by the Commonwealth in concert because I think that next week or next fortnight we shall get this world government. What I do suggest is that we must go on saying that that is our objective.
We must reach the pitch when there is nobody who can read, write or listen to a radio anywhere in the world who does not know that that is the goal of the West. People know very well what is the goal of the Communist bloc. They must know what our goal is, too, and that it is the achievement of peace and disarmament through world government in the sense in which I have used the words just now.
If only we could achieve that—I should like to see it coming through the Commonwealth—so that everybody knows that that is our goal, what a weapon we should have forged for peace, much mightier than the sword and mightier even than the ideology of the new revealed religion, Communism. Let the Commonwealth place this weapon in the hand of the free world.
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present;
§ House counted, and 40 Members being present—
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Russell (Wembley, South)
Like most of the speakers in this debate so far, I want to concentrate on the question of the Common Market. I make no apology for doing so, because it is a very important question, and if it were wrongly handled irreparable damage would be done to ourselves and to the Commonwealth; and, incidentally, it would offend our friends in E.F.T.A.
I am very glad indeed that the Government seem to be taking a firm stand on our threefold obligation—as is clear not only from what my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal said today, but from what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said yesterday—to agriculture, the Commonwealth, and the European Free Trade Area. I have been disturbed during the last few weeks by the rather 1485 arrogant attitude taken upon this problem by some people—not Members of this House—who write letters to the newspapers, and, indeed, taken by some of OUT newspapers themselves. They seem to take the view that all that we have to do is to sign on the dotted line without any thought of our obligations at all.
It is the sort of line that Britain should delay no longer in getting into the Common Market. Some of the letters seem to be written in the rather plush armchairs in places like the Reform Club, the fountain head of the Liberal Party. Those people are entitled to their point of view, but we are equally entitled to put the other point of view. We have been told that there is a danger of delay, but in one respect I think that delay may be a bit of an advantage.
My right hon. Friend said today that there is a much better understanding now about our problems. I take it that he was referring to Government levels. I should like to confirm that there is a much better understanding at the back bench level, if I may put it that way, among our colleagues in the Council of Europe.
As evidence of that I would mention the last report on this subject we debated in the Assembly only three weeks ago. It was a Report drawn up by a Dutch rapporteur, M. Vos. which made some reference to the Commonwealth. He said:It is in the interests of us all both political and economic to establish the best relations with the Commonwealth countries.After a reference to what he calls Imperial Preference, in the old-fashioned way, he went on to say:It would seem reasonable not to upset the present equilibrium more than necessary.In a report from the Political Committee the rapporteur, an Italian, M. Montini, also stressed the value of the Commonwealth. Though I hate blowing trumpets if any part of what is trumpeted is mine, I think that that is due to the work done by the British delegation, including our Government representatives, and hon. Members from both sides of this House as well, over the past two or three years. I think that because of that there is a much better knowledge about the Commonwealth than there was a few years ago. At one time we were 1486 accused of always raising the Commonwealth "bogey". Now there is no thought of any bogey at all, but rather the thought that in the Commonwealth there is something of great value for us all.
During the last few weeks there has been published by the Council of Europe one of the best booklets I have seen on this subject. It is called Commonwealth and Europe and is written by the working party of members of the Secretariat under the direction of the Deputy Secretary-General. I imagine that hon. Members who are interested could obtain it without difficulty. It contains a statement of all the advantages and disadvantages and all the arguments which could possibly be thought of, and, besides all that, some very useful tables at the back.
For example, one shows how the Commonwealth depends on the United Kingdom and on the O.E.E.C. countries for the larger part of their markets for some of their most important exports such as meat, meat preparations, dairy produce, wool, sugar, cocoa. Another table shows how some of those countries depend on the Six and the E.F.T.A. countries, including our own, of course, for more than half their exports. Among them are Nigeria, New Zealand, Ghana, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and the Republic of Ireland, which still enjoys Commonwealth preference, but is also a member of the Council of Europe.
What is the attitude of Commonwealth countries towards this problem? Recently, before going to Strasbourg for the last meeting of the Assembly, I took the trouble to find out from some of the Commonwealth Trade Commissioners over here their attitude and their fears. The Canadians, for example, are deeply concerned about the preference they now have in this country on secondary manufactured goods, such as toys and sporting goods, which, if it were not for that preference, would have to compete with similar goods from Germany and the United States. Naturally, they do not want that. This is a problem which I am sure will be taken into consideration when the question of common external tariffs is considered. The Canadians, also, would be vitally affected if the preferences on primary products were tampered with in any way.
1487 India does not want to lose her privileged position of free entry which she now enjoys in the United Kingdom market, more especially as her exports of tropical produce to the Six are expected now, with the establishment of the Common Market, to face increasing difficulties in competition from similar exports from the overseas associated territories of the Six which will enjoy preference. Moreover, Indian exports of manufactured goods such as cotton and jute textiles face the high tariff wall of the Common Market now. Already, the duties which have been raised affect her most important continental market, particularly in Germany and Benelux.
Pakistan is greatly concerned at the possible loss of free entry for her manufactures if Britain goes into the Common Market. Australia is anxious about the future of her trade in dairy products and meat not only with us but with the Six. She had been looking for an expansion of trade as the Common Market expanded, but now she is facing difficulties with the Common Market policy. It is essential, therefore, that we should maintain free entry and help trade in Australian and other produce.
The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, unfortunately, is facing stagnation in development because of the uncertainty of her political future. I should like to say a great deal about that, but I will not because it would be outside the scope of the debate. If we cannot do anything to settle that uncertainty we should at least make sure that we do not do anything to damage her trade.
People there are concerned to ensure that existing preferences are maintained or, if that is not possible, that adequate compensation is provided for any loss. Tobacco is one of the chief exports, totalling £4½ million in 1960. That trade is faced with competition from the associated overseas territories which will enjoy preference in the Common Market and also with competition from Greece if she becomes a new member of the Common Market.
Everyone knows the difficulties that New Zealand has been suffering in recent years with her butter trade, largely due to low prices. Mr. Holyoake summed up the attitude of 1488 New Zealand to this problem in an article in The Times on 27th February, when he said, among other things:We should, therefore, deplore it if unity in Europe were to be achieved only by economic measures damaging to New Zealand which, in turn, led to a weakening of our associations with the United Kingdom and Western Europe and added to our isolation…. In New Zealand we do want to see a European settlement successfully accomplished. Yet we are unable to give our wholehearted support to this end while our fears remain concerning the export outlets upon which our economy depends.There is another country—it was rather cagey about letting its identity be disclosed—which is worried about the possible expansion of tropical products in the associated overseas territories thanks to their preferential treatments, which would damage its own trade.
There is also Sierra Leone, to whom we gave independence only three weeks ago. I did not have a chance to find out its point of view in detail, but I cannot imagine that it would want its exports of palm kernels, which now enjoy preference in this country, to be damaged in any way. There is also the Republic of Ireland, which certainly does not want to lose the preference which it enjoys on agricultural products. Nor would the Republic of Cyprus—the latest recruit to the Council of Europe, and one of the latest recruits to the Commonwealth—like to lose the preference which it enjoys on its fruit and wine. That trade is comparatively small by world or Commonwealth standards, but it is important to Cyprus.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym), in his excellent maiden speech, stressed the need for investment in the Commonwealth, and he was referring to investment of manpower as well as finance. He said how much there was from the United Kingdom and the United States in Europe, and asked about the Commonwealth. It may be a little difficult to persuade investors to enter Africa at present most of it, at any rate—but—certainly under the heading of "underdeveloped" from the point of lack of development come, surely, Canada and Australia.
Is there anyone here who would not like to see the populations of those two countries vastly increased and large 1489 markets provided there, for that would surely permit a terrific expansion of Commonwealth trade? I know that it is easier said than done, but are there not Canadians who visiualise a population of 100 million and Australians who visualise a population of 50 million? We are a long way from such an achievement, but surely we should think about it.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
Is not the logic of the whole of the hon. Gentleman's speech the need for a Commonwealth approach to world problems?
§ Mr. Russell
I agree. I wish that we could have a Commonwealth approach to world problems. It is a very difficult thing to achieve, although we achieved it over disarmament, as has already been pointed out, at the last Conference of Commonwealth Prime Ministers. I wish that there was a definite Commonwealth approach. I wish that the Commonwealth was not plagued with things like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, but was able to regulate its trade in the way that the Commonwealth thinks fit and enabled to bring it up to date in line with post-war conditions.
We have been told by some of the chief protagonists of our joining the Common Market that it is a dynamic new power. That may be so. I wish that the Commonwealth could also be made a more dynamic power. I hope that my right hon. Friend will be aware of the attitude of the United States to this problem. I believe that there are some people in the United States who would like to see us pushed into the Common Market so that they could assume the leadership of the Commonwealth. I do not like criticising the United States, in view of all that she has done for the world in the years since the war, but I do not think that all Americans are very keen on furthering the interests of the British Commonwealth. If that is the case, it is our duty to say so.
My right hon. Friend has received a visit from Mr. Ball, the Under-Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, this week. According to the report in the Daily Telegraph, a few days ago, one of the things Mr. Ball was coming over here to discuss was the possible abandonment of Commonwealth Preference 1490 in Africa in order to help Latin American exports.
If such an approach is made, I hope that it will be rejected with contumely, because Latin America has formed a free trade area of its own. I do not know how it is succeeding; I think that it has been in operation only about a year. Those countries are looking after themselves. If they do not, the United States usually looks after them from its own point of view. Without hesitation, I say that it is our duty to look to the Commonwealth first and then to Europe, and not to worry about Latin America. Therefore, I hope that this proposal, if it is put forward, will be turned down.
My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal also said that the United States was willing to accept further discrimination against itself in world markets if such discrimination were to strengthen the political unity of Europe. That may be so, but what irritates me is that apparently the United States has never been willing to accept further discrimination if it benefits the economic or political strength of the Commonwealth. That adds a little to what I said just now about the American attitude.
We are told that the Common Market is dynamic and expanding. I believe that it is expanding, but how far does its potential go? It has a European population of about 160 million people, which adding the populations of the associated overseas territories, probably reaches 200 million. Some of these overseas countries are underdeveloped, but the basic population of 160 million constitutes largely a saturated market, except, perhaps, for Italy, which has a lower standard of living than the rest. It is mainly what one might call a replacement market.
On the other hand, the Commonwealth has a population of about 650 million. Many of its territories are under-developed and the great majority of the people have a very low standard of living compared with European standards. Surely one could call that a very uncommon market in the world which we would do well to develop. For instance, there are the enormous underdeveloped areas of Canada and Australia, with their scope for increased 1491 population. There is the chance of improving the living standards of 400 million Indians, 80 million Pakistanis, 30 million Nigerians, 5 million Ghanaians, and 8 million Ceylonese, as well as the peoples of East Africa, Central Africa, the Pacific, Malaya and elsewhere.
All this is surely a terrific potential—far greater than anything which the European Common Market can provide. That does not mean, however, that I am against doing what we can to associate more closely with the Common Market. The easiest way would be to get a revision of G.A.T.T. and use the simple method of secondary preference. That, however, seems to be permanently ruled out by rigid disapproval from across the Atlantic.
If we cannot do it that way, I hope that we can find another way, but I believe, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) has said, that Europe needs the Commonwealth and that the Commonwealth would be greatly helped by association with Europe. Together, they would form a very strong economic bloc which would be a bulwark of peace and progress in the world.
§ 9.4 p.m.
§ Mr. William Warbey (Ashfield)
The last three speakers have dealt mainly with the subject of the European Common Market, although the hon. Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell) referred to the importance of the Commonwealth, and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) referred to the importance of world government. I am sorely tempted to follow them, but if I were to do so I should be falling into the trap laid for us by the Lord Privy Seal, who tried to divert our attention from the things that we should be discussing, which the Opposition intended to discuss, and which are far more urgent than the subjects to which the last three speakers have devoted their attention.
I will say, however, that this country, in playing its part in the world must make its contribution towards the unity of the world politically, economically and even ideologically—though that is much more difficult—but I do not 1492 believe that we can make a contribution by building up small, sectional associations which, in reality, lead to further and continued divisions in the world.
That is the danger contained in the concept of the Common Market. Economically, I think that it has serious dangers for this country, and particularly for our industrial workers. The workers in the coal, steel and other basic industries would see their livelihood affected and the policies of their industries dictated by a committee sitting in Luxembourg while, as the hon. Member for Newbury (Sir A. Hurd) said, our agricultural policies would possibly be dictated by another committee in Brussels.
I believe that the Lord Privy Seal made it clear that the main motive that is driving the Government towards the Common Market—under very strong pressure from President Kennedy—is political. They want to join in a closer political association with those countries that are already associated in the military alliance of N.A.T.O. Therefore, the object of the whole exercise is to form a closer ring around those countries that form one part of a divided world. It is sheer nonsense and complete hypocrisy to talk about seeking the unity of Europe when, in fact, it is sought to emphasise the division of Europe and of the world.
Many of my hon. Friends and I are certainly not prepared to accept a position in which our foreign policy can be dictated by people like Dr. Adenauer and General de Gaulle——
§ Mr. Warbey
I will tell the hon. Gentleman. I am prepared for this country to surrender its national sovereignty and to accept the higher authority of one body, and one body only—the United Nations Organisation. I believe that it is essential for the peace of the world in particular that we should, through the United Nations, create a world authority. Any less concept of unity than that, any attempt to unite countries sectionally, does not unite the world but helps to divide it.
Therefore, when people talk, as the Government talk in their Motion, of the unity of the free world, I hope that we shall be able to go beyond that and 1493 to think in terms of the unity of the world as a whole. The "free world" is a nonsensical, explosive and hypocritical concept, embracing as it does the dictatorships, the repressive dictatorships, of a score or more of countries which are under the patronage of the United States and its allies, from General Franco in Spain to President Ngo dinh Diem in South Vietnam.
This begins to bring me towards what I regard as the real subject of this debate as put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), and that is the troubled areas of the world, particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
These countries south of the Tropic of Cancer in these three great continents have until the recent past, and continuously into the present in some cases, been exploited by capitalist industrial nations lying north of the Tropic of Cancer, and concentrated mainly in Europe and in the Anglo-Saxon countries.
Since the 1914–18 war we have been faced with a growing revolt within these countries against colonial domination and capitalist exploitation. This is the great wind of change which the Prime Minister thought he saw suddenly arising in Africa a year ago, but which, in fact, has been rising since 1917 and has been spreading through these areas.
It is important to realise that this is not merely a protest against foreign political domination. In most cases it is a protest against foreign economic exploitation. In most of these countries the imperialist Powers have opened up areas for their capitalists to exploit for the sake of profit and personal gain.
This is a familiar story but it is true. This is an incontrovertible fact which, oddly enough, seems to be forgotten when we are faced with the practical problems which arise from its development, because what has been happening in the Congo, in Cuba, in Angola, in Vietnam and in many other parts of the world is a vivid illustration of the revolt of the people in those countries against these twin forces of political domination and capitalist exploitation. Unless we recognise that this is happening and discover how to come to terms with it, and live with it, and keep the peace of the world in spite of it, we shall head towards disaster.
1494 We have seen in the Congo a classic example of what happens when a country is driven belatedly to give up political domination but tries, nevertheless, to continue its economic exploitation of the country. In Katanga and Kasai we have seen the Belgians giving up politically but returning to dominate the economic wealth of those areas through the Union Minière and the Foraminière, and it is these companies which have financed and supported the mercenaries who have helped to maintain Mr. Tshombe and Mr. Kalonji in power.
I was astonished to hear the Lord Privy Seal go out of his way to pay a tribute to Mr. Tshombe for maintaining order and stability in Katanga for a year. He has done it with the aid of foreign mercenaries, and this has been condemned by the United Nations. He has done it in such a way that there have been tribal massacres and counter-massacres among the Balubas in Northern Katanga. There has been so much order and stability that the Prime Minister of the Congo and two of his fellow Ministers were murdered in Katanga during Mr. Tshombe's rule and while they were in his care.
That is the kind of order and stability which we have had, and I am astonished that the Government should even think in terms of saying one word of approval of this Belgian capitalist stooge—not only Belgian but French and British capitalists, incidentally, because, as we all know, there are Britons such as a former Member of the House, Captain Waterhouse, who are directors of the boards of the Union Minière and other companies concerned and who have been engaged in the political wire-pulling which has been going on behind the scenes in order to retain effective Belgian economic power in the Congo during the last year.
§ Mr. Russell
Has the hon. Member any proof of that statement which he has made against Captain Waterhouse?
§ Mr. Warbey
Yes, I happen to know and in a French newspaper there will be found a report of the draft of a political constitution for the association of Katanga with Northern Rhodesia which was drawn up by Captain Waterhouse. That is not the least of the activities of this gentleman. His is a typical example 1495 of the kind of activity which has been going on and which has been bedevilling the activities of the United Nations, which was called in by Mr. Lumumba himself in order to establish order and stability throughout the whole of the Congo, and it is people like Mr. Tshombe and others with Belgians behind them who have obstructed the United Nations from the start.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that a sovereign State has the right to employ whom it wishes, or to ask for such technicians as it wishes?
§ Mr. Warbey
There are two question-begging words in the hon. Lady's question. First, Katanga is not a sovereign State.
§ Mr. Warbey
I was talking about Katanga and Kasai and objecting to the activities of the people who want to be the rulers of those territories and to the employment of Belgian mercenaries by those people, which nobody can deny. First, they are not sovereign States and, secondly, this activity has been condemned by the Security Council in resolution after resolution. It is the task of the Government, which I hope the hon. Lady supports, to see that these foreign mercenaries are withdrawn from the Congo, and I hope that the Government are supporting the Security Council in that action. That is the situation in the Congo.
§ Mr. Warbey
It was not an exhaustive survey, but it provides an illustration of my theme.
Cuba provides another illustration of the same theme in a somewhat different context, but, basically, the essential issues at stake are the same. The Americans gave up political domination of Cuba some time ago, as they have done in other Latin-American countries, but they have retained and sought to retain a free field for capitalist exploitation. This is known euphemistically as free enterprise or the American way of life. But that is the essential object of the exercise. So long as they were able 1496 to do this and so long as there was a free field for capitalist exploitation, the Americans were content to allow the Governments which were in power to remain in power even if they were the most abominable and brutal dictatorships. But when a Government came to power in Cuba which did not seek only political independence but sought also economic independence and an end to capitalist exploitation—in other words, a Government which was a frankly thorough-going anti-capitalist Government—the Americans could not stand it and found that they had to intervene.
Castro has expropriated the landowners in favour of the poor landless workers and settlers and he has expropriated the industrial capitalists, who happen to have been mainly American, in favour of the masses of the Cuban people. This may have been a little bit ruthless, but it is a kind of rough social justice because the people who have exploited Cuba, as they have exploited other Latin-American countries, have had their money out of it many times already and there is no particular reason why they should have any more.
Although, as a matter of wise politics, it might have been better if Castro had paid compensation and had done the thing a little more gently, in terms of social justice and in terms of the way in which the world is actually developing, what Castro has done in Cuba is certainly no worse than what the Americans did in Guatemala and what they are attempting to do in South Vietnam and other parts of the world, except, of course, that what the Americans are trying to do is to reverse the process. They are trying to establish dictators who will maintain a régime in which there is still room for capitalist free enterprise. So long as their protégés are prepared to do that, the Americans are not in the least worried if they happen to be not very respectable members of the so-called free world.
Castro would have got into no difficulty with the Americans if he had not been a quite ruthless and thorough-going anti-capitalist. This is his real crime in the eyes of the Americans. This is why he has been subjected to an invasion fomented from outside.
It may be asked, why rub salt into the Americans' wounds when it is so 1497 clear that they have made a serious mistake in Cuba and are not likely to repeat the effort? My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East said that they had probably learned the lessons of their mistake and were not likely to repeat it. If that were so we might be able to overlook this mistake and not make too much fuss about it, although I do not think that we could ignore it altogether, as the Lord Privy Seal did in his speech this afternoon.
Unfortunately, the Americans show no signs of having learned from this mistake; indeed, in every speech—not merely in his speech, in anger, to the American Society of newspaper editors but in all his subsequent speeches and in many Press conferences—President Kennedy has returned again and again to the theme of the necessity for the United States to combat, by physical force if necessary, the spread of Communism in Latin-America and other parts of the world. I have a sheath of Press cuttings here referring to his Press conferences and speeches. I shall not read them to the House, but in every one there is a recurrence of the same theme, that the United States must now concentrate on the building up of what are called anti-subversion forces in order to contain Communism and prevent it from spreading further in Latin-America and other parts of the world.
In every one of those speeches and conferences there has been a special mention of South Vietnam. It is clear that that is to be the next centre of American anti-Communist activity. Indeed, some units of the special forces trained by General Maxwell have already been flown to South Vietnam to support the 5,000 Americans already there, in various disguises, to assist the dictatorship of President Ngo dinh Diem. We are being prepared with the usual propaganda story that what they are doing is to help in the suppression of Communist guerrillas who have infiltrated from outside and who are trying to overthrow the legitimately elected Government.
Anybody who has been to Saigon, in South Vietnam, as I have, will have very different views from those about the character of the present régime there. President Ngo dinh Diem is a nepotistic dictator who tolerates a régime of corruption, speculation and exploitation 1498 which has to be seen to be believed. The economic aid given by the United States has been used for the grossest exploitation and for the widening of an already excessive gulf between rich and poor in that country. One has only to spend a few hours travelling round Saigon in order to appreciate how deep this gulf is and what a crime against civilisation it is that this appalling poverty should exist in Saigon, side by side with the flaunted wealth of those who have gained from massive speculation and corruption.
That is the kind of régime which the Americans are propping up in South Veitnam, and to which they are prepared to give military aid and even direct military assistance, merely because it is anti-Communist. This is the kind of action Which we cannot afford to tolerate, not merely because it is wrong, immoral, inconsistent with the principles of the United Nations and certainly with any conception of a free world, but because it is also a danger to world peace.
If a country is attacked as Communist in the way that Americans have done, inevitably, whether it be Communist or not, it is driven into the arms of the Communists. That has happened with Cuba, so that the efforts of the Americans are self-defeating. But at the same time they inevitably turn the struggle into one between the two major powers in the cold war. Immediately the whole of mankind, and not merely the local people, become concerned in this conflict. That is why we have to take a firm line against this form of great Power intervention in the revolutions which are taking place, and will continue to take place, in so many parts of the world—particularly in the Southern hemisphere.
Unless we are prepared to see that the great Powers are forced to come together to try to reach agreement and to neutralise these problems, or unless we are prepared to bring in the United Nations in order to hold the ring in these areas, the whole world may well be threatened by the consequences of these activities. That is why today we find it necessary to condemn most emphatically the recent activities of the United States Administration in Cuba. As was said once by the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), the value of recriminating about the past is in order 1499 that we shall learn useful lessons for the future.
Clearly the Americans have not learned that lesson. It is necessary for us to speak up and ensure that the British Government play their part in seeing that the Americans, as well as the Russians, learn to behave as reasonable human beings in the world; not arrogating to themselves the right to act as international policemen but recognising that the only international policemen can be those provided by the United Nations.
§ 9.32 p.m.
§ Colonel Sir Tufton Beamish (Lewes)
In attempting to wind up the first day of this long overdue and wide-ranging debate I can only try to pick out the highlights from the colourful canvas which has so far been painted—that is, what I can still see of the canvas after the "red paint" put upon it so liberally during the last half-hour. The hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Warbey) said only one thing in his half-hour speech with which I agreed. He said, "This is a familiar story." I can only wonder how he can bear to live in this rotten capitalist country. No one could accuse the hon. Gentleman of departing one iota from the straight party line.
§ Sir T. Beamish
When I looked at the Order Paper yesterday I was very pleased to see—[Interruption.] Does the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) wish to interrupt me?
§ Sir T. Beamish
The hon. Gentleman has already gone out of the Chamber in a huff once today.
When I looked at my Order Paper yesterday, I was very pleased to find that there was practically no difference that mattered between the Government Motion and the Amendment put down by the Opposition. But today when I saw my Order Paper, I was disappointed to find that the Amendment had been changed in a fashion which, to be frank, appeared to me rather irresponsible and ridiculous. I could not see the point of the "Leopard hunt" in the difficult period in which we are today. Surely, the visit of H.M.S. "Leopard" to 1500 Angola is a very trivial incident in comparison with the immensely important subjects which we have been debating so seriously.
To me, at any rate, it was a mistake to change the Amendment in that way and I feel that it will also be largely misunderstood abroad, in spite of the considerable unanimity of views on both sides of the House on most of the great problems of the world. I had thought for a moment that the Amendment had been changed in order to try to get the whole party opposite into one Lobby, but when the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) drew such a clear distinction between his hon. Friends and "certain other hon. Members"—whether intentionally or unintentionally I am not sure—I did not think that that could be the proper explanation.
By the way, what a funny Motion of censure. There have not been more than ten hon. Members opposite in the last five hours and yet this is supposed to be a Motion of censure. In fact, the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), who sat on this side of the House for a little while—and we were delighted to see him here—actually tried to count the House out.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
Surely the hon. and gallant Gentleman will realise that, representing as I do a very large agricultural constituency and knowing that hon. Members opposite represent agricultural constituencies, it was very shocking to me that only three hon. Members opposite had discussed the consequences to the agricultural community of entry into the Common Market.
§ Sir T. Beamish
The debate has depended very largely on hon. Members on this side of the House. Of course, we have to eat occasionally.
May I now address my remarks to Europe, and when I say Europe I mean the whole of it. Practically every hon. Member looks forward to the day when the whole of Europe will be re-united by peaceful means. The question that we have all been asking ourselves has been: to join or not to join the Common Market? We have also been asking, if we are to join, whether our approach during the last year or two has been the right one. For three years, from 1950 to 1953, I was a delegate at the Council of Europe, and when I think back to 1501 those years I must admit that I did not expect that the Six would get so close together as they have. I was certainly not alone in that view, and this was not a party matter. Hon. Members on both sides of the House were apt to pay lip service to the European Community and perhaps there was not sufficient follow through. It is, however, in my opinion—and I am glad to see one member of the Liberal Party here—a great exaggeration to speak of "misjudgment and hesitation" as being a characteristic of the Government's policy.
§ Mr. Donald Wade (Huddersfield, West) rose——
§ Sir T. Beamish
I would rather not give way. The hon. Gentleman has not been here all day and I do not see why I should give way to him. Perhaps he will have an opportunity to speak tomorrow.
In my opinion, the Government made genuine and strenuous efforts to join the Free Trade Area. Those efforts failed and E.F.T.A. was created as a second best solution. After our failure to associate with the Six, we undoubtedly went through a year of heart-searching. It was widely held at that time that France alone had blocked Britain's entry to the Common Market and some hon. Members still believe that to be the case. It may have been so at one time, but when I think back to the brilliant and encouraging speech that General de Gaulle made in June last year I do not think it would be true to say that France has blocked our efforts to get closer to the Six since then.
There was another speech made a month or two ago by M. Couve de Murville, and I should like to read a short extract from it because these words are important and emphasise what I have said. He said:Nobody has ever suggested, or ever thought that it would be possible, to unite at one go, either economically or politically, all the countries constituting Western Europe. A more modest start must be made, we must act, more or less, empirically. One must take into account the character of each country, of the ties and of the special obligations which may bind it. In other words, let us do what we can as and when it is possible. This, on two conditions, of course. One is that no initiative should ever be aimed against anyone; our object is to unite not to divide. The other condition is that we should never art any time lose sight of the ultimate goal, which is the union of all Europeans in all fields".1502 I am sure that my hon. Friends will agree that those were very encouraging words. It is true to say that the French attitude now recognises our difficulties and that they are not standing in Britain's way.
Should we join? The main considerations which I have in mind when I answer that question were brilliantly pointed out by the Prime Minister when he spoke on 7th April at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He said:I believe that we must"—that is, we should join—and we can do this without detriment to our domestic interests or to our Commonwealth association and without injury to any other nation or group of nations".He went on to point out that, not only did he see important economic advantages in joining, but thatThe political gains will be even more significant. The consequences of the economic division of Western Europe are only just beginning to make themselves felt in the political field. Yet if this economic division persists, the political rift will inevitably widen and deepen. This must, sooner or later, affect our military coherence and strength. It will be a canker gnawing at the very core of the Western Alliance.I agree absolutely with those words, and I believe that that was a very significant speech. In my opinion, we cannot afford the political disunity which will inevitably arise from lack of economic co-operation, and the more I study this extremely complicated problem the more convinced I become that the Government's present attitude is correct.
There have been good reasons for the delays of the last twelve months, and, as my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal made clear, a great deal more has been going on behind the scenes in the last six or eight months than many people realise. I do not agree, however, with the approach, which I think is rather naive, suggested in the Liberal Party's Amendment. I understood the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Holt) to say that what the Liberal Party wanted Britain to do was to apply to join, but not to join. I do not know whether I am paraphrasing what he said accurately, but we will see in HANSARD what he said. I understood him to say in an intervention during the speech of my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal that he thought that Britain should apply to join but should not join until we have been able to clear the difficulties out of the way.
§ Mr. Wade indicated dissent.
§ Sir T. Beamish
I am not intending to rag the hon. Gentleman in any way. I am sure that he will acquit me of that. No doubt tomorrow a Liberal Member will speak and we will know more clearly what is in the mind of the Liberal Party.
The main difficulties as to whether we should join are fairly clear to all of us by now. Let me first deal with agriculture. I think that the National Farmers' Union's economic analysis of this problem is rather disappointing. In my view, it lays far too much emphasis on the cons and far too little on the pros. If I were an efficient farmer, which I am not, I should not worry if Britain joined the Common Market once we have been able to make satisfactory arrangements to protect British agriculture. [Interruption.] What I intended to say was that, of course, this is one of the great anxieties in the minds of all of us. We had a very clear assurance from the Lord Privy Seal today when be said that any new arrangements made would take full account of our pledges to farmers. That was what was in my mind when I made that remark, which was rather badly phrased.
I am confident myself that the agricultural problem can be overcome, though it is certain to result in quite considerable readjustments in the pattern of our production. I am in no doubt at all that the Government are under a clear obligation to make those readjustments as painless as possible. The hon. Member for Leeds, East said that there was panic among the farmers. I can assure him that I have been very often among the farmers in my constituency, and that there is no panic amongst the farmers of Lewes, though there might well be, for all I know, panic among the farmers of East Leeds.
The second aspect of this problem which worries all of us in this House is that of the effect on the Commonwealth. Again, this is outside party affiliations. It seems to cut across party, so that I feel that both parties are equally divided on the issue. My hon. Friend the Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell) made an extremely interesting speech in which he pointed out some of the gravest anxieties of some of the Commonwealth countries. There are other angles on this 1504 question. He will agree that Commonwealth Preferences have been so much eroded since 1937, when they were worth between 10 and 12 per cent. of all goods imported, that today they are worth only 4½ per cent. They are nothing like as valuable as they used to be, and, incidentally, less than half of the imports from Commonwealth countries enjoy any form of preference whatever.
There is also the point about the anxieties which hon. Members feel about the possible loss of sovereignty, and there is no doubt at all that all of us in this House will want to know exactly what loss of sovereignty is likely to be involved if we join the Common Market, and the European Parliamentary Assembly has not only a consultative but also a legislative function. That is one of the problems which we shall want to study very carefully indeed before we can make up our minds fully on this important matter.
I do not have any serious fear that joining the Six would endanger the high standard of our social services, and I think that point has been much exaggerated. Nor do I think from the studies I have made that the freedom of the migration of labour, foreshodowed by 1970 in the Rome Treaty is likely to be a serious disadvantage from our point of view.
I should like to conclude my remarks on this subject by saying that joining the Six will be no panacea for Britain's economic problems. We are up against it in the world, losing our fair share of an expanding world export market, and joining the Six will not solve that problem. Though it may help a little, it definitely will not solve it. If and when we do join, we can only look forward to a tough struggle to survive in an increasingly competitive world. Joining will be painful, but staying out premanently could well be shortsighted and in the end possibly crippling.
If the Government's attitude to this immense problem has now been made pretty clear, where on earth do the Opposition stand? The Opposition stand nowhere; they are sitting on the fence very firmly indeed. Like in this party, there are sharp divisions of opinion, and I do not wish to make any special point out of that, but I hope that the Opposition are not going to play 1505 party politics over this hoping to pick up cheap votes, because the issue is much too big, and the only responsible approach to the problem is for the Opposition to take the same attitude to it as if they were, in fact, in power.
I read an extremely interesting article the Sunday before last written by the hon. Member for Leeds, East in the Sunday Dispatch, which is a good Tory newspaper, and I hope they paid him well. I thought that that article was based on two wholly false assumptions and also on one piece of very inaccurate tittle-tattle. The tittle-tattle was the suggestion by the hon. Member that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had been pushed into the European water—those were almost the hon. Member's exact words—by President Kennedy last month. In my view, for what it is worth, if anybody did the pushing it may well have been my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. Who pushed whom does not really matter, but it is important that America apparently favours the sort of approach to the Six that the British Government have made during the last few months.
The two false assumptions on which the article seemed to be based were, first, that the Six intended to create a close Federation, although I must admit that this was an Aunt Sally which was fairly well knocked down by the end of the article. The second false assumption was that the French Government were insisting that we sign the Rome Treaty exactly as it stands or that we do not join the Six at all. I do not believe that that is the case. I do not wish to be discourteous to the hon. Member for Leeds, East, for whom I have considerable admiration, when I say that his article was cunningly inconclusive and extremely readable.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) made an eloquent and interesting maiden speech. He related our Common Market problem with the problem of aid for developing countries. One of the positive advantages in joining the Six is that co-ordination will be possible between the efforts now being made by the countries of Western Europe to help the less-developed countries of Africa and Asia. This was a point to which the hon. Member for Leeds, East also referred when he said that one of the most important things that we have 1506 to do from Westminster is to win and keep the confidence of the uncommitted peoples. I entirely agree.
How are we to set about this if we cannot work in ever closer liaison and understanding with other free countries who wish to aid the less-developed countries? There is no limit to their requirements, especially in Africa. We in this country have made a big effort, but there is room for a much bigger effort, and not only by the Government, but by private enterprise. In these less-developed countries, some of which I toured twice last year, there is a terrific challenge which must be met. There is an unquenchable thirst for education and a great need for more technical aid. If we can co-operate with the other countries of the Six in providing the very large amount of assistance that is required, we will be making one of the most constructive contributions to the stability of the free world that I can imagine.
On this side of the House, there are serious anxieties about what is happening in the Katanga Province of the Congo. There is a Motion on the subject on the Order Paper which has been signed by a good many of my hon. Friends. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir) touched upon the United Nations problems as they impinged to some extent upon the situation in the Congo. I cannot help wondering whether the United Nations is performing the proper rôle for which it was designed in the Congo. It is carrying out a semi-military rôle and has its own military forces. Its proper rôle is a humanitarian one and to take technical and administrative aid to the Congo at the request of the Central Government of the Congo coupled, perhaps, with a police rôle.
Let us remember that the Congo as a whole is a geographical fiction. I liked Mr. Tshombe very much when I met him last October. I am saddened by the way he was tricked into going to the recent conference and then arrested. We must admit that if he is guilty of any of these crimes now, he was guilty when he was invited to the conference. Nothing changed after the conference started—except that he had a rapturous welcome from the people in Coquilhatville. It may have been that jealousy was one of the reasons he was arrested.
1507 However, I very much hope that the British Government will not be associated with a policy which could possibly have the effect of sucking Katanga Province, which has 60 per cent. of the wealth of the whole of the Congo though only 12 per cent. of the population, into the chaos we unhappily see in the rest of the Congo, although I frankly say that the rest of the Congo will be nothing without Katanga, and I hope to see them come together. But we do have considerable anxieties about this matter.
We live—everyone will agree with this, at any rate—in a very confused and very turbulent world, and we have done since the war ended. The struggle has waxed and waned but it has been relentless. But the struggle has not been of our choosing. We and our allies in the free world have been merely standing up for ourselves. Occasionally grave mistakes have been made by one ally or another, but on the whole there has been a clear understanding of the nature of the struggle in which we are involved, a struggle which was very clearly described by the hon. Member for Leeds, East by quoting the words of Mr. Khrushchev. From 1945 to 1950 we were rushed off our feet. Since then we have roughly held our own.
I agree very much indeed with what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Tomney) said from the benches opposite in a memorable speech and a very moving one. I hope that hon. Members who missed that speech will read and study it, particularly the hon. Member for Ashfield. It would do him a lot of good. The struggle in the world will go on, may be with increasing intensity. That is what the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North said. We must do much more than merely hold our own. Our long-term aim is to see freedom's frontier extended, and to see every country free to choose its own form of government and its own way of life without foreign domination.
There are many prerequisites for success in achieving this aim, and I have tried very briefly indeed to touch on some of them. We must work ever more closely with all like-minded countries. A logical step in this connection would be to join the Common market, if we cam do so on satisfactory 1508 terms. I should like to see a vast, imaginative programme of aid to less developed countries. I should like to see our propaganda services greatly improved. They are nothing like good enough, in my opinion, and they have been increased over the last ten years by about one-third while the defence Estimates have gone up by 80 per cent. Till we can achieve a measure of disarmament we dare not lower our guard. We must make many sacrifices, including, if need be, conscription. We must have efficient defence based on all-party agreement and including British possession of the nuclear deterrent. That is the only safeguard against the unthinkable and ghastly prospect of another war. Therefore, defence must continue to be, in the present uncertain world in which we live, the first charge on the taxpayers' pockets.
When I was at luncheon with a friend of mine at the Soviet Embassy not very long ago he said to me, "The trouble with capitalism is that it is not withering away fast enough." I replied to him, "It is not withering away at all." Very far from it. There are, in my opinion, some very encouraging signs that we and our free-world partners are about to take on a completely new lease of life.
§ Debate adjourned.—[Mr. Chichester-Clark.]
§ Debate to be resumed Tomorrow.