§ 3.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)
I beg to move,That this House deplores the attack made upon the United Nations by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in his speech at Berwick-upon-Tweed on 28th December, 1961.It is comparatively rare for the Opposition to put down a Motion of censure on a single speech by a single Minister, but in our view the speech of the Foreign Secretary of State on 28th December was one of unusual significance, expressing his attitude and that of Her Majesty's Government—for it has, of course, been endorsed by the Prime Minister—to recent developments and to the present condition of the United nations. Nor does the speech stand on its own. It is rather the culmination of a series of acts and expressions of opinion by the Government about the United Nations, which are reflected in that speech. Indeed, one could say that the speech was, as it were, the rationale of much that has been said and done by the Government in recent months.
In putting down this censure Motion we are not, of course, making a personal attack upon the Foreign Secretary—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]—because our attack is upon the Government as a whole. In the Motion we speak of the speech as an attack. The Foreign Secretary has since said that his speech was not an attack upon the United Nations as such. Well, it was certainly widely taken as an attack upon the United Nations. I quote, first, from four different newspapers in different parts of the Commonwealth:The fiercest attack ever directed against the United Nations by a British Cabinet Minister",said the Daily Express. The Times of India, from a rather different point of view, agreed in almost identical words:The fiercest attack ever made on the United Nations by a British Cabinet Minister".The Rhodesian Herald said that it wasone of the strongest criticisms of the United Nations voiced by a British leader".
§ Mr. Gaitskell
The Daily Mail, in a series of critical comments on what it described as the Foreign Secretary'scurious and unfortunate remarks",asked why he delivered the attack now. Nor can anybody really doubt that this speech was warmly welcomed by the chief opponents of the United Nations in the world, Dr. Salazar and Sir Roy Welensky.
It will be said that the Foreign Secretary made no attack upon the Charter of the United Nations. It will be argued that he defended the original conceptions of those who drew up the Charter in 1945. But, as everybody knows, the United Nations is what its members choose to make it, and the speech was certainly a very violent attack on the overwhelming majority of the United Nations members, upon their attitude as shown by the resolutions passed by the Assembly, and upon what the Foreign Secretary regarded them as trying to do with and to the United Nations.
Of course, it is true that at the end of the speech, after five-sixths which were critical, one-sixth of it included some reasons why we should, nevertheless, stay in the United Nations. It would, indeed, have been a tremendous sensation if the Foreign Secretary had actually proposed that we should withdraw. But if one knocks a man down and then picks him up and dusts his coat and even shakes his hand it does not make it any the less an attack upon him. If I were to say, in the course of my remarks, that the Foreign Secretary was a man of courtesy and charm who had been much admired by some statesmen, such as Dr. Adenauer, nevertheless, I think that hon. Members, when they have heard it, will regard this as an attack upon his speech.
Nor can we accept the excuse that this was a balanced speech of which only the critical parts were reported while others were omitted. I do not think that that is a fair account of the way the Press treated it. The points which the Foreign Secretary made in favour of the United Nations were equally reported with his criticisms.
But how, in any case, can one describe as a balanced speech one which refers to "the chaos", in speaking of the Congo, deriving from 34a premature grant of independence to a country whose people were totally unprepared for their new responsibilitiesand which proceeds to ascribe to the pressure and resolutions of the United Nations' responsibility for the granting of that independence, and yet says nothing whatever about the complete failure of Belgium to prepare the people of the Congo for independence before? Can one really say that a speech is balanced which devotes so much attention to criticising India over Goa, but says no word about Portuguese oppression in her colonies?
In any event, although, of course, we agree with and welcome the few friendly remarks at the end, we consider that the attack in the rest of the speech was unjustified by the facts, that it reflected an attitude on the part of the Government which we believe to be profoundly wrong, and that it was damaging to our reputation abroad and contrary to the interests of Britain and the Western democracies.
I should like now briefly to summarise the speech by the Foreign Secretary. He began by speaking of acrisis of confidence in the United Nationsand he went on to ask, why does it exist? The answer he gave quite categorically was in these terms, thatfor the first time since its foundation a number of countries have voted publicly and without shame in favour of the use of force to achieve national ends.He meant, as is plain from the following sentences, the voting in the Security Council over Goa. Then, after a brief reference to Russia'sfrustrating the proper working of the United Nationshe went on to blame the resolutions in the Assembly of the United Nations on colonialism, which he described asreckless and careless of peace and security".He mentioned a resolution of 14th December, 1960, and said:Such a resolution and others like it reveal an almost total lack of responsibility and certainly pay no heed to the main purpose of the United Nations which is secure order and security of peace.The Foreign Secretary then went on to refer to the fact that members were not paying their subscriptions, and he spoke of 82 of the 104 being in serious arrears. [An HON. MEMBER: "The figure was 87."] Very well, 87. Then 35 the Foreign Secretary analysed what he thought were the causes of this situation and, in effect, repeated his charges in greater detail. He spoke of apparent differences of opinion and purpose between the 51 founder members and many of the 53 new members. He again made a brief reference to the Russian use of the veto and of their use of the Assembly for propaganda purposes, and then moved back into the attack on the new countries. The noble Lord said:A large number of new countries are putting their campaign for acceleration of independence for colonial territories before the main purpose of the Charter which is to provide peace and security.He added:They are more concerned to impose their views on colonialism ' on others than to fulfil their primary duty, which is to 'harmonise the actions of nations'.The Foreign Secretary complained that United Nations members seldom condemned Russia and constantly harrassed us, and he spoke of there being one rule for the bully …and another for the democracy because their stock in trade is reason and compromise …Then he said that, as a result of all this, Britain was in an "appalling dilemma" and thatsober and responsible observers of …the United Nations'… practice are asking whether we can continue …our support.
Then the Foreign Secretary came to the favourable points:… the aims of the United Nations are sound …Communism may change, colonialism will not last, some decisions of the Security Council have helped, and the Secretary General has done good work. But even after that he said:There is no easy way out of our dilemma …He concluded that we should stay in the United Nations, but get back to the primary aims of the Charter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] The reaction of hon. Members opposite confirms, I think, that I have given a fair and accurate summary of his speech.
I wish, first, to deal with one matter which, in my opinion, stands rather on its own—the subscriptions of members of the United Nations. The Foreign 36 Secretary complained about non-payment by 87 out of 104, being in serious arrears.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
The figure is 82.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
I did originally say 82, but an hon. Member opposite said that it was 87. I am glad to have the corroboration of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We need not argue about it.
If the Foreign Secretary meant by this statement that these members are in arrears with their regular subscriptions, then his figures are wrong. I believe that he was entitled to draw attention to this matter, but, in fact, only six countries are in arrears with their regular subscriptions. They are Bolivia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay and Nationalist China. Every one of these six countries in arrears was a founder member of the United Nations.
I agree entirely with those who have, in various Motions placed upon the Order Paper, said that, in the case of such countries, Article 19 of the Charter should be applied, and that if they do not pay up after two years they should not be allowed to vote in the Assembly. Indeed my right hon. and hon. Friends have made this point in the House before.
But if the Foreign Secretary meant, as I think he must have done, that a large number of members were in arrears on what they were supposed to pay in connection with the United Nations Expeditionary Force in the Middle East and the Congo operation, he must know that, unfortunately, the legal position in this case is not clear. It is not clear whether they are bound to make these special payments when they disagree with the decisions of the United Nations, or when they choose not to do so. As the Foreign Secretary must know, the matter has been referred to the International Court for decision. I hope that the decision will be that they have to pay. I believe that, when the United Nations makes these decisions, even though some members do not like them, they should be supported all the same.
Meanwhile, however, as a result of the initiative of President Kennedy we now have the United Nations bonds. Their great advantage, which is a substantial one, is that we get over the difficulty of special payments, because the 37 repayment of the bonds will be out of the general account and, therefore, will come from the regular subscriptions of members. That is an additional reason for giving our warm support—warmer than the Government have given—to subscribing to these bonds. But I will leave to my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) further comments on this problem.
I would now like to take the Foreign Secretarys' case step by step. His first point was that the United Nations had a crisis of confidence because… for the first time since its foundation a number of countries have voted publicly and without shame in favour of the use of force to achieve national ends.He was referring to a vote about Goa in the Security Council. What was that vote about? It was about a resolution deploring the action of India. It was a vote in which seven members of the Council voted for and four voted against—those four being Ceylon, Egypt, Russia—who vetoed it—and Liberia. As a matter of accuracy, I should add that these four nations were not voting for the use of force. They were opposing a resolution which deplored the action of India.
Hon. Members opposite may say that that is just a quibble. Is it? [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes."] I thought that they might. Then perhaps they will answer this question: when we voted in the Assembly in 1959 against a resolution condemning apartheid did that mean that we therefore approved of apartheid?
But, of course, there were other occasions, not so dissimilar, in the Security Council a few years ago, when there was voting on the question of the use of force. I will remind the House of what happened. On 30th October, 1956, the United States, in the Security Council, called upon Israel to withdraw its forces behind the established armistice lines and upon members of the United Nations to refrain from the use of force or threat of force in the area. There were seven affirmative votes and two votes against—Britain and France, which vetoed the resolution. Was this or was it not a public vote in favour of the use of force to achieve national ends?
On the same day, Russia proposed in the Security Council a resolution calling 38 for the withdrawal of Israeli troops, and again Britain and France voted against it, thereby vetoing the resolution. In the General Assembly on 2nd November, the United States proposed a resolution calling for a withdrawal of all foreign forces from Egypt. It was carried by 64 votes to five, with the United Kingdom voting against. I do not think that it can be said after this that there has not been an earlier instance of a vote in the Security Council in favour of the use of force.
Of course, I am not saying that we have been the only ones. We know perfectly well that before Suez the Russians had frequently used their veto in the Security Council. We know perfectly well that, had they been in the Security Council at the time of Korea, they would have done so. We also know that there have been other occasions when other great Powers have, unfortunately, used force to achieve national aims. For my part, I find it difficult to withhold that comment from what the United States did over Cuba not very long ago. What I am saying is simply that India was following an example already set by every one of the four great Powers, and, most of us would say, with somewhat greater justification.
If the Foreign Secretary had been content to regret the use of force by India, as the Commonwealth Secretary did and as we on this side of the House did and as Mr. Stevenson did in the United Nations, nobody would have objected; nor if he had said, "We have all done it—Russia, Britain and France and even the United States—and now India", and had then said, Let us make a fresh start". That would have been understandable. But to stand in a white sheet and to talk in self-righteous tones about this kind of thing happening for the first time, to boast as he did in his speech that we "practise the rule of law", is the worst humbug and hypocrisy.
I pass to the second charge made by the Foreign Secretary, that relating to resolutions, passed in the Assembly, which were "reckless and careless of peace". To which resolutions was he referring? He was referring to that of 14th December, 1960, which was reaffirmed on 27th November, 1961. What 39 was the voting? There were 97 for the resolution and nil against, with five abstentions? Who was reckless and careless of peace? The whole of the Commonwealth apart from ourselves, 12 Western European countries and the United States of America.
It was not just a matter of the new countries and the Communist bloc, but the whole of the rest of the members of the United Nations. The five who abstained were France, Britain, Spain, Portugal and South Africa. Yet we accuse the rest of the Commonwealth and our allies in N.A.T.O.—apart from France and Portugal—of reckless and careless attitudes to peace.
Why was there this difference? How did Her Majesty's Government justify their decision to abstain—they did not venture to vote against—on this resolution? It is clear from his speech that what the Foreign Secretary objected to were the words:Immediate steps shall be taken in Trust and non-self-governing territories or in all other territories which have not yet attained independence to transfer all powers to the peoples of these territories without any conditions whatever. Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence".Why was it that other members of our N.A.T.O. Alliance and other members of the Commonwealth did not abstain or oppose? I think that it was because of the circumstances in which this resolution in 1960 was carried. It has been suggested that the words "immediate steps" meant the immediate granting of independence, but that is not so. The resolution in 1960 was passed only after the Soviet Union had attempted to secure support for a declaration containing a demand for complete independence and had been defeated in the Assembly. It was only passed after they had been defeated on an amendment moved to the Afro-Asian draft calling for independence by the end of 1961. The present President of the Assembly, Mr. Slim, supporting the resolution, said that the sponsors did not want the colonialism question to becomean ideological struggle within the framework of the one in which East and West vie against each other.We do not want this action to be the object of horse-trading between the two blocs. We do not want this action to be a means of intensifying the cold war.40 But the most surprising thing about that debate, in the light of what the Foreign Secretary said in his speech, is that the United Kingdom representative, Mr. Ormsby-Gore, as he was then, congratulated the sponsors of the Afro-Asian declaration on having produced a textwhich in spite of imperfections has succeeded in emancipating the subject of independence for colonial countries from the tendentious and unconstructive language of the Soviet declaration.That resolution, praised so strongly by the then Minister of State, was the one which the Foreign Secretary described asreckless and careless of peaceand revealingan almost total lack of responsibility".The Foreign Secretary attacked the attitude of the new nations, as will be seen from the quotations from his speech which I have already given, and accused them of adopting a double standard of behaviour. In particular, he said that they seldom condemned the Russians and constantly harrassed us. What are the facts? Quite apart from the fact, as the Foreign Secretary himself later admitted, that they succeeded in defeating the troika proposals of the Soviet Union, mentioned grudgingly in the end of his speech, when he said:Nor need we expect that the Communist Powers will always get their way …as though they always had up to now, the United Nations Assembly, with the support of the new countries, heavily defeated the Soviet attack on the United Nations intervention in the Congo. Incidentally, there are some queer alliances here among those who are against United Nations intervention in the Congo. They opposed the Soviet bloc by passing a resolution asking Russia not to explode the 50-megaton bomb, condemned the violation of human rights in Tibet, deplored the continual disregard by the Soviet Union of Assembly resolutions on Hungary and refused to condemn the United States action over Cuba; even on the resolution proposing the admission of the Peking Government to the United Nations, a whole series of new African States voted against.
Yet we are told that these people are all the time voting on the Communist side and only occasionally for us. I do 41 not know exactly what the Foreign Secretary had in mind. I suppose that he must have had in mind the occasions when the new nations voted heavily against the line that we were taking. What were those occasions? Perhaps it was that on 19th December, 1961, regretting Portugal's refusal to submit information about her overseas territories, when the motion was carried by 90 votes to three with one abstention, that of the United Kingdom.
Perhaps it was the resolution appointing a committee of information from Portuguese self-governing territories, which was also passed by an overwhelming vote and on which the United Kingdom again abstained. Perhaps it was the resolution regretting South Africa's non co-operation with the United Nations concerning the administration of South-West Africa and reaffirming the right of South-West Africa to self-determination. Again, even on this the United Kingdom abstained, although the resolution was passed by 90 votes to two with four abstentions.
Or perhaps he was thinking of resolutions from the previous year, the one condemning South Africa's refusal to co-operate with the United Nations on which the United Kingdom abstained the resolution urging Portugal to implement a policy on self-determination in her colonies, on which the United Kingdom abstained; or the Security Council resolution condemning Portuguese policy in Angola, on which the United Kingdom abstained.
The truth is that the United Nations, whether in the Security Council or in the Assembly, has harassed very considerably those in open breach of the Charter over Hungary, Tibet and South Africa. [HON. MEMBERS: "Suez."] Yes, and Suez. But it is not harassing us. There is not a single case that I have been able to find where it can be said that the United Nations has harassed the British for anything that we have done. The truth is that it is not us. It is Portugal and South Africa, this tiny group of colonial Powers, mostly dictatorships, with whom, unhappily, the Foreign Secretary has lined up this country.
It is impossible to read from all that has happened in the United Nations any 42 evidence of the Foreign Secretary's remarks that the new States applyOne rule for the bully, who deals in fear, and another for the democracies because their stock in trade is reason and compromise?In which we are involved.
Reason and compromise! Dr. Salazar, that "reasonable" man, who is so willing to compromise over Goa, or Dr. Verwoerd, that "reasonable" man, who was so willing to compromise about apartheid. How can such words be used about such countries and such leaders?
It was a major point with the Foreign Secretary that we are now getting away from the original objects of the Charter, which he said were peace and security. He urged that we should return to these. I have already pointed out that it is the greatest error to say that we have just begun to get away from these ideals when, from the very start, as the Foreign Secretary knows, the Russians did not show any great enthusiasm for them and, only a little later, Britain and France abandoned them. But this departure is not something that has anything to do with the new nations. It began at once.
There is, however, another lesson here. It will not do to concentrate upon one aspect of the Charter alone however important that is—and I certainly yield to no one in attaching importance to it. We must remember other parts. For instance, in the same Article 1, the aim of the United Nations is said to beTo develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples …Article 73 involves a pledge from countries in their coloniesto develop self-government, and to take due account of the political aspirations of their peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions …In other words, it is surely one of the lessons of these post-war years that if we are to avoid breaches of the Charter we must not be content only to defend the status quo. We must tackle the problem of peaceful change. To refer to the United Nations as simply preserving the status quo—and the Foreign Secretary goes a very long way towards saying this in his speech—is to be false to its past and dangerous to its future.
43 It is, of course, perfectly natural—and surely we should all understand, and a man who has been Commonwealth Secretary especially should understand—that countries which were formerly colonies should feel very deeply on the issue of colonialism. Of course it is natural and, of course, we should understand that these new nations, whether they be drawn in one direction or another in the great struggle which divides the world, want, almost all of them, one thing above everything else—not to be committed. They do not want to get involved in the hot war or the cold war, and why should they? What matters to them, and again it is the most natural thing in the world, is freedom from colonial rule everywhere.
The Foreign Secretary, at the beginning of his speech, spoke of a crisis of confidence about the United Nations. What was he thinking of? Where is it to be found? In France? I do not know about the French people, but certainly I would say that it is a rather mild way of describing the attitude of President de Gaulle to the United Nations. In Portugal? I do not know about the people, but it is certainly accurate about Dr. Salazar. In South Africa? Not among the majority of the population, but the minority in power, their leaders, Dr. Verwoerd and the others. One may say about all these people that in their minds there is a real crisis about the United Nations. Is there such a crisis in the Commonwealth today? I know of no Commonwealth country where one can suggest that any such thing exists. Is there a crisis about the United Nations in N.A.T.O.? In Belgium, perhaps, as well as France, and of course Portugal, but elsewhere I see no sign of it. In the United States, President Kennedy went out of his way, within a fortnight of the Foreign Secretary's speech, to emphasise his strong support of the United Nations, and he did not mix this with sharp criticism of what was being done in the Assembly.
Why did the Foreign Secretary make this speech? As Secretary of State he must have known that such a speech was bound to have repercussions. It was clearly not an "off-the-cuff" affair. It was carefully prepared. What did he want to achieve? To strengthen the unity of the West, an object of British 44 foreign policy to which we all adhere? It was hardly the way to do it. All it produced was a dispute between the United States and the United Kingdom which we attempted to resolve by the visit of the Lord Privy Seal. It may be said, of course, that it was an attempt to bind Portugal more closely to the N.A.T.O. Alliance, but I hardly think that this was worth the trouble.
Was it to change the views of the Assembly, so that they could be more acceptable to us? I can hardly think of a speech less calculated to win anybody over. Was it to strengthen the United Nations? It contains no practical suggestions whatever to that end. Or was it to help us—because surely this is another object of our foreign policy—to win the cold war among new and uncommitted nations? I can think of nothing more calculated to produce exactly the opposite effect.
What is the explanation? I doubt whether there is a rational explanation in international terms. It may be that the Foreign Secretary made the speech to impress his own party, but more probably the speech simply reflects the two strains of the Tory outlook which, between them, have done our country grave harm over the years. The first of these strains is the suspicion of the United Nations and similar bodies. We saw it clearly enough at the time of Suez in this House, but it was obvious long before that in the disgraceful episode of the Hoare-Laval Pact in 1935 and the defence by a British Minister of Japan's attack on Manchuria. The attitude of the Tories to the United Nations is like a hidden stream which is below the surface a large part of the time and then breaks to the surface every now and then.
The second strain in Tory thinking and feeling is the deep resentment which undoubtedly exists on the other side of the House against anti-colonial movements of all kinds. This is evident in the long series of votes and abstentions in the United Nations on Portugal, Africa, and colonialism, which I have quoted. It is evident from what happened during the Angola trouble. When that trouble was at its height Her Majesty's Government went out of their way to show their friendship for the Portuguese dictatorship. There was the visit of the warships, the proposal to train troops, the sale 45 of arms to Portugal, and the visit of the Foreign Secretary.
It is also evident in the equivocal attitude to the United Nations operations in the Congo—the shabby, discreditable story of the bombs; the flimsy excuse for the change of front; the smearing of Dr. Linner; the open support of the Right wing of the Tory Party for President Tshombe and his mercenaries; the failure, again and again, to stand up to Sir Roy Welensky, and the inability of the Government even to assert the rights and responsibilities which clearly belong to them over the issue of the United Nations observers on the frontiers of Northern Rhodesia.
I know that some hon. Members opposite and some Conservatives outside the House take a different view. I believe that most of the younger generation does. I notice that the Bow Group has recently published a slashing attack on all this, and on the Foreign Secretary. I know that there are a handful of hon. Members opposite—though not, I fear, many right hon. Members opposite—who opposed Suez. But whenever anything like a serious episode occurs they are unhappily overwhelmed by the solid block of knights and baronets whom the Prime Minister has rewarded. [Interruption.] At any rate, that is what the newspapers told us at the time of the bombs episode.
Hon. Members on this side of the House deplore these tendencies. We regard them as especially dangerous to the cause of the West. To us, Britain's proud record of giving freedom to her former Colonies should lead us not to support but to repudiate Portugal and South Africa, and to demonstrate in every possible way our sympathy with the desire for colonial freedom anywhere. If we, in Western Europe, want others to believe in the sincerity of our devotion to freedom, we should show that we believe in freedom everywhere. Our failure to do this, encouraged by speeches like that of the Foreign Secretary, give N.A.T.O.—make no mistake about it—a taint in other continents that it is chiefly an alliance of colonialist Powers and their sympathisers.
Today, of course, colonialism is enormously diminished.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
I have said that many times, as the hon. Member knows. Of course, outside the Soviet bloc this is found chiefly where there are dictatorships, or where a small minority is frightened to grant self-government to a large majority of another race. But this makes it all the more intolerable that the Foreign Secretary should so evidently associate Britain and the West with this reactionary minority and their battles, should so damage our reputation with the rest of the world, should so play into the hands of Communist propaganda. Our interests, our record and our ideals all point in the opposite direction. This is why our Motion of censure is justified, on a speech which should never have been made, and which should be emphatically repudiated.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)
Since this is a Motion of censure upon the Foreign Secretary—one of my principal colleagues, and one of the chief Ministers in the Government—I think it right that I should reply to it immediately. We always knew that the right hon. Gentleman disliked the Foreign Secretary—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—not personally, but as a Minister and a statesman. That was made quite clear eighteen months ago, when the right hon. Gentleman attempted to censure the Government and myself on the appointment of my noble Friend. He then made a number of prophecies, all of which have been falsified—for, regardless of party politics, the Foreign Secretary has earned the respect and admiration of his fellow countrymen, as well as the confidence of all the Foreign Ministers with whom it is his duty to deal.
Nothing has been more remarkable than the close and initimate co-operation that my noble Friend has established with the Secretary of State in the new American Administration, as well as with the Foreign Ministers of our principal allies. This has been of great assistance in avoiding some of the perils of the world situation—in Europe, especially Berlin, in Africa and in the Far East.
The reason for my noble Friend's success is simple; it is his own character, of which the most salient feature is a disarming combination of charm, 47 integrity and strength. Therefore, despite the right hon. Gentleman's detailed arguments in the first part of the presentation of his case, and even having regard to the latter part of his speech, where he warmed up a little, I am certain that this Motion will make but little impact upon the country.
However, it provides—and the right hon. Gentleman showed us the way in that respect, in that part of his speech—a useful opportunity for a review of the present situation in the development of the United Nations and of some of the deeper reasons for the difficulties in which it now finds itself. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the statement of President Kennedy. He might have quoted the statement in which we joined with the American Government in our support of the United Nations. He did not quote the statement of Mr. Stevenson, the American Minister in the United Nations, who referred to these tendencies as the beginning of the end—a much more powerful attack or criticism than that of the Foreign Secretary.
Part of the confusion in the public mind is due to the misunderstanding of the history of the Charter of the United Nations. It is not a sovereign body. It is not even an alliance. It has no claim to infallibility. It is an association of nations, with the qualities and faults of all of them. I know that majorities are usually right—they will certainly be right tonight—but this is an association of sovereign States whose sovereignty is specially emphasised in the Charter, and one of the difficulties about the resolutions which the right hon. Gentleman quoted, and to which I shall refer shortly, is that many of them are contrary to the Charter and to the sovereign rights of States laid down in that Charter.
When we speak of the United Nations doing this or that, therefore, we must bear in mind all the time its limitations and its difficulties. It acts through the Secretariat, which does its best to carry out what it considers to be the general wishes of the Security Council or the Assembly, as shown in the resolutions. These decisions are sometimes conflicting and often obscure.
Let us go back to the origins, for it is important to understand the funda 48 mental difficulty in which we are. When the work of the founders began at San Francisco, towards the end of the war, those who were entrusted with this task were deeply conscious of the failure of the previous attempt at a world organisation—the ill-fated League of Nations. Perhaps it is worth remembering that the pioneer work at San Francisco was carried out by the allied Powers engaged in the war against Germany and Japan.
They were, principally, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France and China. Our representatives were Mr. Anthony Eden and Mr. Attlee, acting under the full authority of the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), who was then presiding over a National Government. In all this work they were all the time conscious of the failure of Geneva.
Why did Geneva fail? First, because the greatest Power in the World, the United States, was not a member. Russia was intermittently in and out. Germany came in and then left it. Whatever the League accomplished in social fields, where its work was of very great value, it failed in its primary purpose, which was to afford collective security. Some hon. Members will remember the long debates on this very issue in the years before the last war.
When the United Nations set about its task its central purpose, its main purpose, its prime purpose, was stated to be to maintain international peace and security. That is what it was for. That is why the Security Council was to consist of the great Powers at the time, acting then—alas, no longer—in free alliance with each other. It is true that they were to elect annually on a rotation basis additional representatives from the smaller Powers, but the great Powers were the permanent basis of the Security Council.
The Security Council was to be, so to speak, the Cabinet of the world. It was to preserve peace and security. It was to be assisted, hon. Members may recall, by a military staff committee, a concept obviously based upon the work of the combined Chiefs of Staff in the war. It was to have international air force contingents. Although this was laid down in the Charter, it has never happened.
49 The effective operation of the Security Council has been made impossible by the Russian veto—used, I think, in all 100 times. The military staff committee and the air force contingents have never been set up, again because of the Russian objection. All this results from the division of the world and the tremendous conflict between Communism and the free world, with a number of unaligned nations lying outside.
The whole foundation on which the United Nations was built has been undermined. This is not the fault of the organisation. It is due to the facts of life. The Security Council has been made impotent, due to conditions having developed wholly contrary to what was thought likely in San Francisco in 1945. It is no good neglecting these facts. We have to understand them and see whether a healthier situation may some day emerge. I must be quite frank and say that I think that this can be done only if we reach some kind of détente, some kind of working arrangement, not through the United Nations, but through direct negotiations between East and West. We tried hard enough two years ago and we were disappointed, but I am not without hope that after this interval a new turn of events may open up these possibilities again.
So much for the underlying situation. It is not belittling the United Nations to say this. Indeed, it is probably enhancing the work of those who are trying to operate in these extremely difficult circumstances. At any rate, it is just stating the facts.
I have said that the primary purpose of the United Nations was, through the machinery of the Security Council, to keep peace and security. It has made some contribution to this end, especially in conciliation at the early stages of a dispute. We all know that between the two great blocs it is not the military committee, which does not exist, nor the international air contingents, which have never been made available, which keep the peace. What keeps the peace today—an uneasy peace, but peace—between the two great blocs is a much more grim and terrible force, the balance of nuclear power.
Of course, I do not underrate all the additional work of the United Nations in its related agencies—in economic and 50 social fields, where they have been so active. In this the United Nations has, as one might say, developed the inheritance of the old League of Nations, especially in the work it has done amongst refugees, labour, social welfare and education—all this with considerable success. But still, first things first. Important as these economic and social problems are, they are not the matters which are causing anxiety about the development of the United Nations, except perhaps as regards their financial implications.
In this situation, where the Security Council has not been able to operate, certainly not as planned, what has followed? It is the best that could be done. The influence of the Secretary-General and the Secretariat has tended to be increased and developed in ways not envisaged in the Charter or in the minds of the founders. No one did more than the late Secretary-General in this regard, and it is right that a tribute should be paid to his work and that of the Secretariat generally in conciliation in the early stages of many dangerous disputes, especially perhaps of the minor kind, not the great conflict between the two great entrenched forces in the world.
It is because we realised that, although perhaps somewhat distant from the Charter, this was the only practical course to pursue that we and our allies and all our friends took a leading part in defeating the attempt of the Soviets to impose the so-called troika structure, the result of which would have been to reduce the Secretary-General, in his turn, to impotence by a new form of veto. That is what it would have meant. However, it is not a satisfactory position and it is not the position envisaged in the Charter. The United Nations can never be made to work unless political conditions can be created in the world which allow the Security Council to operate, not for perpetual propaganda purposes, not as a body permanently divided, but gradually as a team.
The deep divisions in the Security Council have led to a development of another kind which is altogether different from those envisaged in the Charter. It has been the development of the Assembly. Originally, it was thought that a resolution of the Assembly would be quite a rare occurrence. That was 51 before the frustration of the Security Council and before the growth of this very large membership. If the Security Council could have been enlarged, if there could have been any way of amending the Charter to avoid the veto, we might have overcome this difficulty and developed it with great advantages.
But the Charter cannot be amended. No constitutional change can ever be made, so long as a single permanent vote in the Security Council prevents it. It is not true to say that the United Nations is what the members make it. It is what it has been made by an unalterable situation which can never be changed. Therefore, we are really in the position of the old Polish Diet—one veto stops any development.
We have tried with our friends to cut this knot, but we have been up against this rigid constitutional rule. So, in the circumstances, the Assembly has tried to turn itself into something quite different from what was envisaged, namely, a kind of semi-executive authority. This is, of course, attractive to all assemblies, but it has inherent dangers and difficulties. It is true that there have been occasions when, in spite of the voting, the Security Council has been able to pass effective resolutions. One of these cases is the Congo, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred but, in itself, the history of those resolutions is not very satisfactory. A number are usually put down in various forms and, after much lobbying, amendments are agreed. Some members abstain but, since abstention has lately come to be regarded as a more or less negative vote, some members are willing to accept resolutions as a whole, parts of which they regard as reasonably good and parts as unsatisfactory, and even dangerous.
At the best, those resolutions represent a compromise and, as a result, few of them present to the Secretary-General and his staff a clear directive of the kind that executive officers are entitled to expect from their superiors. We should compare them with the directives that were written, on the advice of their chiefs of staffs, by statesmen in the war to the commanders in the field. Much of the difficulty and much of the con 52 fusion in the Congo results from this cause.
I know that the right hon. Gentleman feels deeply about the Congo; so do we all. We debated it on 14th December, and as the right hon. Gentleman and my noble Friend referred to it I should just like to recall that position. In the very distressing situation of last autumn we thought—perhaps we were wrong to think so, but it seemed not improper to think so—that the first purpose of the United Nations ought to be to bring about peace, not war. When we last debated it I was, if I remember, much derided for suggesting a ceasefire; that was the "trick" to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. I do not know why right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are so wedded to military operations. I was much attacked because we put the whole weight of the British Government behind asking for a cease-fire. What happened? The ceasefire took place two or three days later.
Our second purpose has been, and it still is, to prevent the United Nations from being drawn into a position in which it will itself become a kind of new colonial Power, with vast and increasing obligations for administration, finance and military operations far beyond its present capacity. I am happy to say that since that debate some of those difficulties—although many of them remain—are looking better. Things look more hopeful, the chances of a settlement seem better, but, I repeat, the situation largely results from the system itself and the lack of carrying out the original plan.
I refer now to the Assembly and to the resolution to which the right hon. Gentleman has devoted much of his time and to which my noble Friend referred. As I said at the beginning, resolutions were regarded as quite rare, and they did, of course, command a special authority, but now they come flooding in, they are very long and complicated and, with the best will in the world, they really do present quite a difficulty to the delegations in New York and to Governments overseas.
This is, of course, not made easier by the time factor, and the curious rules of procedure which are not, like ours, worked out after many generations. Amendments are moved in New York of 53 which we in the capital cities have hardly seen the context—perhaps we get it on the telephone—and in situations in which we are unable to appreciate the full implications. Many of the member Governments, I can assure the House, have given up the task in despair and give no instructions to their representatives. Some have given permanent instructions to their representatives to abstain—[Interruption.] I will come to that; I am not afraid.
What the Foreign Secretary rightly complained of was a curious bias—what he called a double standard—in relation to some of these resolutions. There is a favourite topic in the United Nations—and it is, perhaps, natural. It is what is called anti-colonialism. "When in doubt, put in a resolution about colonialism." Yet, by a strange paradox, many of the newly-independent nations are sitting in the Assembly as the result of British policy followed over the last fifteen years.
In September, 1960, at the 15th Session, I tried to put the British record in some detail. I was interrupted while doing so, but I did make my speech. I think that it was an overwhelming answer to those who claim that we are clinging to the old colonialism, or are trying to invent a neo-colonialism. With many of these resolutions, however, we are put in this difficutly. Sometimes they are really out of order: they are interference with the sovereign rights to which I have referred and which are built into the Charter itself. Sometimes they are like the curate's egg; parts of them are good and parts of them are bad.
We know now, of course, why there are not comparable resolutions, or very few, against the true imperialists—the dictatorships which have seized much of the territory of Europe and Asia. We never hear against all those countries and their allies the charge of tyranny. Why is this so? The reason is that it is much easier to attack the democratic Powers and, perhaps, get some result out of them, while the promoters know that such an attack will have not the slightest effect upon the policy of the Russian Government; such charges bounce off their armour like peas off an iron breastplate.
All the same, by these tactics, the British delegations—and we have very 54 able delegations of both Ministers and officials—are often put into a position of great difficulty. Honesty would require us to oppose a particular resolution or, at least, part of it, while we might be in sympathy with the broad underlying concept. We have to try to judge as a whole, and take the best course we can
I refer to the famous Resolution 1514, to which the right hon. Gentleman devoted some time. One clause states:Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence.Yet that resolution was passed a bare six months after the Congo, and is still frequently invoked. If that view were to prevail, if we were immediately to accept the resolution and give independence forthwith to all the remaining Colonial Territories without regard to all these considerations, it would not be the path to freedom but the decline to chaos.
The United Nations is based on the principle of equal national sovereignty: one nation, one vote. One day we shall, perhaps, achieve some form of a world Government and world Parliament, but such a Government or Parliament would have to be based on quite a different principle, because "one nation, one vote" does not correspond to the power position of the world. Some of the greatest Powers, such as West Germany—yes, and China—are not even members, and it is because they knew that one man, one vote, and rule by the Assembly, was unworkable that the founders put all their faith in the Security Council.
I do not want to dwell too much on the question of paying, but my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary referred to it and so did the right hon. Gentleman. There is a rather curious situation here. I am told that one could collect a two-thirds majority in the Assembly from members who pay 5½ per cent. of the budget. I do not say that votes should go in proportion to contributions but, all the same, there is an unreality about what is happening. The United Nations is in deficit to the extent of more than 100 million dollars, and unless some disentanglement can be made fairly soon in the Congo that deficit may grow to really embarrassing figures. In any case, it will probably rise to 170 million dollars by the middle of this year.
55 The right hon. Gentleman quoted the figures of countries in arrears. This is the actual situation. At the end of 1961 there were 52 countries out of 104 which had not paid their ordinary contribution for that year, of which six—that is the six which the right hon. Gentleman has in mind—had not paid for two years. Then there is the special contribution for the Middle East and Congo, and here the right hon. Gentleman is quite right; some have not paid and some nay late. At the end of last year, out of 104 members on the Congo account 79 were in default—it is one nation in five that is contributing to this great Congo effort, about which so much is talked and voted upon—and 65 were still in default on the Middle Eastern account.
After two full years—not one year—one is supposed to be posted. One either leaves the club or is not allowed to vote. However, some countries contend that this provision does not apply to the cost of the special operations, and this matter is going to the International Court of Justice. Meanwhile, there is no way of compelling defaulting States to pay their contributions to the Congo and the Middle East for great undertakings, or of prohibiting them meanwhile from voting upon those issues. Here, indeed, is power without responsibility.
It is against this background that we have to consider the United Nations record, since the right hon. Gentleman's speech covered a wide field. Our contribution to the general budget is 7.58 per cent. of the whole. That is not our decision. That is made for us. We pay the same percentage to the Middle East and Congo special accounts. In addition, we are paying annually on a voluntary basis over £5 million for economic development and refugee relief, and on an assessed basis rather less than £2 million for the specialised agencies. We do not know yet what our total expenditure in 1962 will be, but in 1961 it was £12,300,000.
Also, as the House knows, we have recently announced that we are intending, in principle, to purchase up to 12 million dollars of the United Nations bonds before the end of 1963 to help to put the United Nations finances back upon some sound basis. But unless the 56 member States face their responsibilities and pay their contributions, the United Nations must go bankrupt, and quickly.
There are the problems, some of which are inherent in the situation which has developed in the world. We must work on at a cure for it, for it is the fundamental problem of the world, by far the biggest.
Against these practical difficulties of the United Nations itself—while awaiting a larger movement or some degree of arrangement between the two great blocs, there are many practical difficulties which could and should be dealt with. And, in my view, far outweighing them, as my noble Friend said in the latter part of his speech, we must put into the opposite scale all the ideals, the aspirations and the hopes which were embodied in the very words of the Charter itself.
Just as with individuals, it is no reason to abandon principles of conduct because it is so hard to live up to them in practice, so in this great body of nations we must go on hopefully with our eyes on the future, not deterred but not refusing to see and understand the difficulties and problems of the present.
It is that that my noble Friend meant when he summed up his whole attitude in these clear and unequivocal words:Having drawn up the balance sheet between pessimism and hope, I come down decidedly on the side of hope.It was that that the United States and the United Kingdom Governments meant when, in spite of Mr. Stevenson's statement which I have quoted, the communiqué issued said:The United Nations has no stronger and more faithful members than the United States and the United Kingdom.That is right. To do otherwise would be to impute the present situation in the United Nations to a major cause other than the great gulf which divides the world. There are, indeed, failings and difficulties. I think that it would be much better if there were some more orderly procedure and this flood of resolutions could somehow be prevented. We could very much improve it, and I think that we shall. Nevertheless, I feel it so strongly that I must repeat it: it is from the divisions of the world. This is the spring from which all this evil flows.
57 Our first duty must be, therefore, never to abandon the hope of turning what is called peaceful co-existence into a reality and not a phrase. That we shall continue to pursue with all the power we have. Meanwhile, we can and shall give our support to the United Nations, although it is our duty not to be deterred by criticism either at home or abroad from striving to improve its methods and its effectiveness.
The House has seen that we have carried out our obligations, and more than carried them out, in the financial field. We are carrying out our obligations in every other way to the best of our ability. We recognise the work that has been and is being done in many fields of endeavour. We recognise it all the more readily because the work that the United Nations is doing is work that we have been doing for many generations in many parts of the world, in the old Empire and in the new Commonwealth. We also know how useful has been and can be the intervention of the Secretariat under an authoritative resolution at an early stage of some dispute.
All this we shall continue to support. But it would be equally wrong to seek a little cheap popularity by abandoning the great responsibilities that remain to us in the Colonial Empire, where everyone knows we are working towards the end that we have in view, where the matter of timing and method must be of importance if we are to have success and not a frightful failure. In reaching a balanced judgment, the Foreign Secretary's speech has, in my view, done us a great service, for which he deserves our thanks and not our censure.
§ 4.48 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Henderson (Rowley Regis and Tipton)
The whole House has listened with great interest to the Prime Minister's speech. I think his analysis of the imperfections and weaknesses of the United Nations would meet with a great deal of agreement even on this side of the House. However, we are here not to discuss the imperfections in the United Nations or in the United Nations Charter but to discuss a speech that was made recently by the Foreign Secretary.
While the Foreign Secretary's speech dealt with matters of considerable importance to all those who are concerned 58 with the success of the United Nations, his speech, in its criticisms of the United Nations, was unfortunate as regards its timing and much of its content. I believe that is a widely-held view in the country today, and it seems to me that the Foreign Secretary should have foreseen that such a speech would cause a great deal of public uneasiness.
It was ill-timed, because it followed so closely upon British official disapproval of certain aspects of United Nations' policy and of activities by United Nations' representatives in the Congo and also unofficial hostile criticisms of the United Nations which had been expressed both in the House, below the Gangway on the Government side of the House, and outside the House during the conduct of the United Nations operation in the Congo.
The Foreign Secretary made his speech within a few days of the achievement of the cease-fire to which the Prime Minister referred a few moments ago, and it is not surprising, therefore, that many people regarded the speech as an extension of the attacks to which the United Nations had been subjected. It is, of course, true that the Foreign Secretary made only a brief reference to the Congo troubles when he referred toa premature grant of independence to a country whose people were totally unprepared for their new responsibilities".To this extent that is true; it was due not to the United Nations but to the shortcomings of the colonial Power which had previously ruled the Congo. The Foreign Secretary did not mention, as President Kennedy did last Tuesday, thatthe United Nations emergency action in the Congo had prevented large-scale civil war and had avoided great Power intervention".It was against this background that the Foreign Secretary directed his criticisms of the United Nations, some of them, as I hope to show. unsubstantiated and misconceived. To my mind the Foreign Secretary's balance sheet was not fairly drawn. The adverse side was exaggerated both in language and in substance. No one would claim that the United Nations is a perfect instrument for the purposes it was designed to serve. Like all human institutions, the measure of its effectiveness and success is determined by the measure of loyalty and support which it is given by its members, and in 59 this respect, I am afraid, some of its founder members have been seriously at fault.
The need to strengthen the United Nations in the light of the years of experience since it was founded has been recognised for some time, and, indeed, the late Secretary-General, Mr. Hammarskjoeld, was alive to this problem. It is a problem which will have to be faced, and we look to the Government of this country to play an influential part in this important constructive task.
Like my right hon. Friend, I have known the Foreign Secretary for many years, and I believe him to be as sincere a supporter of the concept of the United Nations as I am, but, I am sorry to say, I do not consider that his speech was constructive in this respect. He was singularly reticent as to what should be done to put matters right. How much more to the point his speech would have been had he related his criticisms to a series of concrete proposals for ending what he called "the crisis of confidence."
I should like to examine some of his specific criticisms. First, he asked… why is there a crisis of confidence in the United Nations?As my right hon. Friend indicated in his very powerful speech this afternoon, the Foreign Secretary's answer was that four countries which were members of the Security Council had supported a resolution condoning the use of force by India in Goa. It was, he said, the first time in the history of the United Nations that it had happened. It is to be regretted that this occurred, but such a minority vote on the Security Council surely cannot be held to carry with it the approval of the United Nations as a whole. Indeed, it was not even put to the test in the General Assembly.
It is also to be regretted that India had recourse to the use of force, but, as we have been told this afternoon, India is not the first member of the United Nations which has resorted to the use of force. On no previous occasion, as far as I can recall, was any charge ever made of acrisis of confidence in the United Nations.Nor did the Foreign Secretary adduce any evidence to justify his allegations that 60we have reached a stage when a large part of the organisation which is dedicated to peace openly condones aggression.It would be interesting to have a list of the countries openly condoning aggression as the Foreign Secretary stated. Secondly, he said,Resolutions have been persistently passed by the Assembly, in particular on colonialism, which could only be described as reckless and careless of peace and security".I have tried to find out the number of such resolutions passed by the General Assembly. According to my information, there have been two such resolutions, one of which has been referred to this afternoon and which indeed was referred to in the Foreign Secretary's speech, dealing with general colonial policy as distinct from special problems such as apartheid in South Africa, the problems of Angola or special parts of the world. According to my information there have been only two colonial resolutions, dealing with general colonial policy, passed by the United Nations General Assembly.
The first of these resolutions was passed by the General Assembly in June of last year, and 89 States voted in favour of it, with nine abstentions, including, as we were told, the United Kingdom. On the second Resolution, which was quoted by the Foreign Secretary in his speech, 97 voted in favour and there were four abstentions.
It is interesting to note that amendments to the second resolution, which would have fixed 1962 as the year of the elimination of colonialism, were rejected. It is true that there appeared a number of drafts which might be described as extreme and which many people might regard as reckless, but the fact is, according to my information, that none of these drafts was adopted, and some of them were not even put to the vote. Indeed, one was a draft put forward by Nigeria which indicated that Nigeria considered that the year in which these immediate steps should be taken was 1970.
I believe that I shall carry most hon. Members on both sides of the House with me when I say that Britain expects to wind up its colonial responsibilities in all probability by 1970.
Surely the fact that we may disapprove of particular resolutions passed by the Assembly is no reason for indicting the United Nations. Moreover, 61 when the Assembly is accused of irresponsibility, the Foreign Secretary must surely have overlooked its firm support of the Charter at the time of Suez and the Russian invasion of Hungary. As my right hon. Friend reminded the House this afternoon, even in the present session of the General Assembly Russia has been heavily outvoted on the Troika issue, the Soviet megaton explosions and Communist behaviour in Tibet and Hungary.
We have heard from both my right hon. Friend and the Prime Minister references to what the Foreign Secretary called the "double standard of behaviour" in the United Nations, especially by many of the newly-elected countries. Is this criticism justified? Is it not rather the case that many of these nations have just emerged from conditions of colonialism and are concerned to ensure that other colonial peoples are given their freedom as soon as possible? Whereas Russian Imperialism is hidden behind puppet governments and a façade of independence, this country and other Western countries have established in the past direct rule of their colonial territories, and that is why these colonial resolutions are ostensibly directed against the so-called Western colonial Powers and do not refer to what we know as the captive nations. But the Foreign Secretary was undoubtedly right to contrast the British record with that of Russia. This country has every reason to be proud of its colonial policy since 1945 and the freeing of more than 600 million colonial peoples in that time.
As I said a few moments ago, I doubt whether any hon. Member would disagree with me when I suggest that by 1970 British colonialism is likely to be a thing of the past. World opinion is undoubtedly running against colonialism, but this country is well on the road to ending that situation. It is British policy to bring the few African colonies remaining under our control to the goal of independence in the next few years.
I wonder whether there is not much to be said for the recent suggestion made by the Guardian that if Britain is sure that her African policy is right she should aim at an Anglo-United Nations policy on colonial freedom. Such co- 62 operation might go a long way towards removing the fears and suspicions of the peoples of the remaining colonial territories, especially those in Africa.
A further criticism made by the Foreign Secretary was in his referenceto the evidence of a serious falling away from the principles of the Charter, placing Britain in an appalling dilemma.I agree with the Foreign Secretary that peace must be the first British interest—I do not think that there will be any disagreement about that on either side of the House—but I am afraid that there have been many occasions in the postwar years when member-nations have flouted the rule of law. They can always advance some national justification or other for their actions. But that is not the way to build up an international peace system based on the principles of the Charter.
Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, Communist China and, to some extent, the United States must accept some of the responsibility for what the Foreign Secretary callsa serious falling away from the principles of the Charter".On the other hand, the United Nations should not stand aside or be kept inactive until a dangerous situation has developed and threatens peace. It should be enabled more actively to operate the provisions of the Charter governing the pacific settlement of disputes, and something should be done to reconcile Articles 1 (2) and 73 with Article 2 (7), of the Charter.
As the House will remember Article 1 (2) refers to the principle of self-determination for all peoples and Article 73—I should like to quote it because I think that it is so important in this connection—says:Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognise the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the wellbeing of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end (b) … to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions.63 That has been frustrated by Article 2 (7) which, as the House knows, provides that… matters essentially within the domestic Jurisdiction of any Stateare excluded from the operation of the Charter. But if the use of force is to be excluded, as it should be, then effective ways and means must be found for achieving peaceful settlements. It is not right that disputes should be allowed to develop until they come to the boil. India was a case in point. It attained its independence in 1948. Pondicherry was handed to India by France in 1954 and yet nothing was done either by way of a peaceful settlement between India and Portugal or even through the agency of the Security Council or the General Assembly to secure the peaceful settlement of the Goa problem.
There are, of course, problems, to which the Foreign Secretary rightly drew attention, facing us, whatever view we take about the justification or otherwise of the Foreign Secretary's speech. There is the size of the Security Council. The Prime Minister referred to the fact that we were bound by the Charter. Owing to the veto it is impossible to secure an amendment of the Charter unless there is agreement among the five Powers of the veto. That is one of the problems which is confronting us today. It is all very well to have a Security Council of eleven when we have forty-five or fifty members, but now that we have 104 members it is obvious that the non-aligned nations should have the right to a permanent seat on the Council.
The question of the non-payment of contributions has been dealt with, and I do not propose to go into detail with regard to that except to say that if the majority of the member-States are not prepared to pay their share of financing special operations then the General Assembly should not approve them, as it has done, by overwhelming votes. To my mind, both Suez and the Congo have only underlined the need to establish a United Nations permanent force, together with a civil organisation akin to the Military Government Service which functioned so successfully in Europe and elsewhere at the end of the Second World War. Its job should be to administer areas where local or regional administration has broken 64 down. These problems should not be dealt with on a special or emergency basis, nor should their financing be left to a few member-States.
Just a word on the questions of the bonds issue. I welcome the action of Her Majesty's Government in taking up 12 million dollars' worth of United Nations Bonds, but I regret that the Government did not follow the example of the United States and the Scandinavian countries. The United States has taken up 100 million dollars' worth, which represents 34 million dollars more than its proportionate share of the United Nations' budget. The Scandinavian countries are taking up 10 million dollars' worth, representing more than twice their proportionate share of the United Nations' budget. By contrast, the United Kingdom has taken up 12 million dollars' worth, which is 3 million dollars' worth less than its proportionate share of the United Nations budget.
I regret very much that Her Majesty's Government have not seen fit to give the same firm support to the United Nations as has been given by President Kennedy and the Scandinavian countries. I believe that it would have enhanced Britain's standing in the world and removed some of the doubts which have recently arisen had the Government followed this example or taken at least a proportionate share. It would have demonstrated in a practical manner their determination to stand loyally by the United Nations.
In conclusion, I only wish to say that I hope that this debate will result in making it clear that this country is not going to weaken in its support of the United Nations, that the Government will put their whole weight and influence behind that support and that they will wholeheartedly subscribe to President Kennedy's recent statement, which I quote:Whatever its imperfections, the United Nations' effectiveness and existence are an essential part of the machinery to bring peace out of this world of danger and discord.Let us not damn the United Nations with faint praise but uphold and strengthen it.
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)
I always listen with friendly attention to the speeches of the right 65 hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson), and this afternoon has been no exception. I think the House will agree that his speech was cast in very temperate tones for a speech made in a censure debate, and with certain passages of what he had to say I certainly did not find myself in disagreement. But, of course, I find myself in fundamental disagreement with his assessment of the speech of the noble Lord.
I think that the speech of the noble Lord was useful and timely. I think that it was made in the interests of both this country and the United Nations as a whole. I think, therefore, that it deserves not the censure but the commendation of this House. Of course, it was not all unqualified praise. The noble Lord took the rôle of the candid friend. The rôle of the candid friend is one which is traditionally often unwelcome to the recipient, but nevertheless in the long run more often than not it is beneficial to him.
Certainly I would not expect it to be put forward in any quarter of the House that the measurement of our loyalty and support for the United Nations—or any other institution—was the degree of facile flattery uncritically bestowed. Those who refuse to recognise the present weaknesses of the United Nations, and to urge a constructive and remedial approach, are false friends to the United Nations, because they are obstructing the possibility of improvement and jeopardising the development of this immensely valuable, but still young and formative, institution.
The noble Lord cast his balance sheet and declared a dividend of hope, a hope which we all share, because the prospects of peace depend so greatly on the ability of the United Nations to tread successfully the path which its founding fathers charted for it.
I agree with the criticisms of the noble Lord as being timely and constructive, and will, if I may, say a word about each of the three main grounds for concern canvassed in his speech and dealt with in the speeches of the right hon. Gentlemen this afternoon, namely, first the use of force; secondly, the financial position; and, thirdly, the 'perversion of the true purposes of the Charter in efforts to make the United Nations a launching 66 pad for attacks on colonialism and a mechanism for accelerated action in that field.
First, its use of force. Here, though the action of India in regard to Goa saddened all sensible and sensitive people, and particularly those who have the Commonwealth cause most closely at heart, the primary and continuing ground for concern is the Congo. I do not claim any omniscience, or even necessarily accurate knowledge, about the detailed course of events in Katanga. Like all who have any experience in the practice of the law, I know how difficult it is to establish truth with matters small in scale and local in character, even with the aid of the detailed and diligent processes of the law. It is not necessarily or solely because people want to mislead; it is because of the infinite fallibility of human observation, human memory, and human perspective.
But if that is difficult, how much more difficult to unravel the tangled skein of events in remote Katanga; to find our way precisely through a maze of claim and counter claim, rebuttal and rejoinder. But though it is difficult to find the truth, it is nonetheless important. It is important because we share responsibility for the truth, be it what it may. I am therefore in agreement with those of my hon. Friends who have asked for an inquiry into these events and allegations, and it should, I think, be a judicial inquiry in the full light of day with ample scope for oral evidence and cross-examination.
Even assuming such an inquiry, and whatever its results, we are left with the general question of the ethics of the use of force. I am against the extension of the use of force beyond the clear contemplation of the Charter. Article 42 of the Charter prescribes the use of such force as is necesesary for the maintenance or restoration of international peace and security—and that is all. I am against the extension of the use of force to impose a domestic pattern upon a member country, because Article 2 (7), to which the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton referred, enshrines the principle of non-interference in affairs lying within the domestic jurisdiction of a sovereign State. If it is wrong to intervene to oppose a Government, it is wrong to 67 intervene in support of a Government. I do not want to see the secession of Katanga, but nor do I want to see its suppression.
Let us lift our eyes from this particular case to the general principle which its authority would enforce. Would not it be said on the strength of this precedent that the collective force of the United Nations should be available to any Central Government, whatever its quality, or lack of quality, against men struggling to be free? Our instincts reject, and our whole history repudiates, such a concept as that.
Consider the changed pattern of the past if that principle had prevailed. In the last century the liberty-loving Londoners feted Garibaldi and pelted the Austrian Ambassador. But, today, if this principle held sway, they would be asked to pour out their treasury to assist the Hapsburg Empire as a sovereign State restrain the secession of the provinces of Italy. And Greece—the secessionist province of the Ottoman Empire. And Byron would no longer be the legendary hero of Greek independence, but merely the mercenary of Missolonghi. Hon. Members will get such consolation as they may from the no doubt agreeable but superficially paradoxical fact that Mr. Bing is still a Bwana in Ghana.
To summarise on the use of force. First, a judicial inquiry into the events and allegations in Katanga. Secondly, no extension of the use of force beyond the clear contemplation of the Charter. Thirdly, no encouragement to Katanga to secede, but equally no coercion of its will by force.
I pass for a few moments to the financial aspect. It is, on the face of it, a surprising position that we have in regard to the financial matters. Hon. Members may think it a little surprising that Article 19 ever envisaged a period as long as two years in which to pay these dues. It was no doubt intended as a provision for the exceptional case but we might get into the position where we have a sort of, up-to-date edition of Pharaoh's dream of the lean kine eating the fat kine.
It is not only, or mainly, a question of money. What we are concerned with is the degree of support for the United 68 Nations; and if we are attacked in this context our spokesmen are entitled to draw attention to our own performance in this regard, and the lack of diligence, to use a neutral term, on the part of some other member States. After all, we know on the highest authority that "where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also". And surely the converse is true, that where thy heart is, there should thy treasure be also; and not necessarily wait for the International Court to make a finding in regard to it.
I think that we should be, as we are, punctual with our own payments and not pharisaical about the faults of others. I think that, if our sincerity is called in question, we are entitled to adduce as evidence of it the prompt and punctual discharge of our own obligations as contrasted with the delay of some others.
I come finally to the third main ground of concern, that is the perversion of the basic purposes of the Charter by attacks on so-called colonialism and the effort to undermine the position of those countries which are still charged with the duty of colonial administration. I think that the noble Lord was justified in taking exception to resolutions which he characterised as careless and reckless of peace and security. Of course, it serves the purpose of some Powers, of the Soviet bloc, to seek to blacken our colonial record and endeavours; but is it to be said that the United Nations is weakened if our representatives repudiate these charges and seek to guide the United Nations back to its proper paths and purposes?
These manifestations really have taken two forms. First, the blackening of the colonial records of Powers, including ourselves; and, secondly, the demand for immediate, simultaneous action in regard to all the remaining colonial territories, whatever their present position and circumstances may be. That is the matter as put forward in the United Nations in recent times. I would not have thought that our colonial record would need any defence in this House, but it does need defence in the United Nations against the misrepresentation of the Soviet bloc and sometimes of others. Our conduct of colonial affairs follows the well-known requirement of Article 73, to which the right hon. Gentleman 69 referred, with close and scrupulous adherence. Indeed, Article 73 might well have been formulated, and I have no doubt that it was in fact formulated, with British colonial practice very presently in mind.
After all, there is no issue as to objectives here. This country, under successive Governments, has laboured conscientiously on a great constitutional conveyor belt carrying our Colonies forward to responsible self-government; and responsible self-government remains the goal for the remaining Colonial Territories with proper safeguards for minorities in multi-racial communities. There need be no issue as to timing either if regard is had to realities. After all, all that we say is that you cannot successfully introduce self-government until the conditions and prerequisites of self-government exist. To seek to do so is not to expedite self-government; it is to frustrate it. We do not seek to alter the direction of the wind of change. All that we say is that it is wrong to try to whip it up into hurricane force which may bring damage and destruction in its wake. Events in the Congo, as the noble Lord has said, are sad testimony to this unwelcome truth.
The fact is that in human affairs we cannot eliminate the time factor however worthy the cause. History teaches us that if we try unduly to compress the processes of Time, Time will take its revenge upon us. Those who will not learn the lessons of history have to live the experience of history again. The lesson of history in this context is this: we cannot seek to erect institutions, however good in themselves, on inadequate foundations. The attempt to do so risks crisis and chaos and the creation of a power vacuum which is promptly filled by a dictatorship. This happened in France in 1789. It happened in Russia in 1919. It is the way that Communism wants it to happen in Africa in 1962.
The tactics behind these manifestations are, of course, to create the opportunity for the swift and unrelenting grip of Communism on inexperienced and unsuspecting communities. I do not for a moment suggest that this is the motive of the great majority of those who support these resolutions. The fault is no more than over-simplification of these problems and, perhaps, in some cases 70 the natural exuberance of youth. Nevertheless, inevitably although inadvertently, they are, by participating in these manifestations, promoting the prospects of communism and risking the attainment of viable self-government on a decent, democratic basis which is their own objective.
The resolution of 14th December, 1960, to which the noble Lord took exception, called for immediate steps to be (taken in trust and non-self-governing territories, and in all other territories not yet independent, to transfer all powers without condition or qualification. Those were the terms of the resolution. The object was stated to be for their complete enjoyment of independence and freedom. "Complete enjoyment"—these words may, I think, be the key to the misconception here. Independence and freedom are not just things to be enjoyed; they are not an indulgence, but a laborious responsibility. Freedom is not a mere abstract thing to be discussed by philosophers or to be debated by demagogues; still less is it a gift to be bestowed for the effortless enjoyment of the recipient. It is not a passive exercise at all. It calls for the active exercise of the corporate qualities of the nation—restraint and responsibility as much as effort and endeavour.
I believe that, thanks to the long labours of our forefathers in the fields of free and democratic institutions, we in this country, in this generation, can render a signal service to these younger nations in helping to guide them along these paths; and that, in particular, we can help to concentrate their attention on the practice rather than on the polemics of liberty—on not mere lip-service to an idea, but the constructive task of forging the institutions and equipment of freedom. Surely to preach this gospel and practise this creed cannot be to injure the United Nations. To seek to do so is not to undermine the structure but to buttress it. Indeed, failure to do this may provoke consequences too awful to contemplate. The noble Lord referred to the consequences of the premature grant of independence in the Congo. I should like to refer the House to the conclusion reached by Dr. Ruth Slade in her book on the Belgian Congo, published by the Institute of Race Relations.
71 Dr. Slade writes:For so small a country as Belgium, without any previous colonial experience, her achievement in the Congo was amazing.Dr. Slade specifies that achievement—the best health service in Africa", education transport, and the like—and goes on:Constant criticism of colonialism worried Belgium unduly, for she liked to think of herself as a model character in international affairs. Pressure in the United Nations, pressure from the newly independent countries in Africa and … pressure from the Belgian Socialist Party, all combined to destroy her self-confidence.A country which has lost its self-confidence cannot hope to command the confidence of others.
I am not one of those who have lost confidence in the mission of the British people in the second half of the twentieth century. I believe that, whatever may be the diminution in our material resources and military might, we are still uniquely equipped by long, diverse and extended experience in the ways and workings of freedom to give guidance and leadership in this troubled, fast-moving modern world, with all its hopes and its hazards, its perils and its problems.
That, I believe, should be our rôle in the Commonwealth, in the United Nations and in the world; and in so far as the noble Lord and his right hon. Friends are labouring conscientiously and courageously to discharge that task, with all my heart I wish them well.
§ 5.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
The debate arises on a Motion, moved by the Leader of the Opposition, condemning the Foreign Secretary for criticising the United Nations. Before I come to the Motion, I should like to express regret that we are really playing Hamlet with the Prince of Denmark up-stage. It seems that when the noble Lord was appointed we were right in objecting to the Foreign Secretary being in another place. How right it would be if he were at the Dispatch Box today answering for that speech!
§ Mr. Davies
However, we have the Motion before the House, and the noble 72 Lord is condemned for that speech because it criticised the United Nations.
There are two kinds of criticism. There is the criticism that weakens, and is meant to weaken. There is also the criticism which, in effect, is meant to strengthen. I have read and reread the speech of the noble Lord, and I think that it falls into the second category.
The noble Lord began, very rightly, by pointing out what was the main and true purpose of the United Nations on its formation. He referrred to the noble words in the Preamble, drawn up by General Smuts which refer, in relation to the purpose, to "the peoples". It is interesting that I should pause at that point. It does not ask that the Governments should unite. It begins:We, the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind …That was the purpose. According to my reading of the speech made by the noble Lord, he regretted that too often that purpose seemed to have gone out of sight among so many in the United Nations. Is the United Nations, as it has been framed and as it is working, being carried out above criticism? Is it so sacred that we are not allowed even to say a word in criticism of it? Has it achieved the purpose for which we were all hoping it had been brought together?
This Charter was signed at San Francisco in 1945. Now, in 1962, the nations of the world are more heavily armed than they have ever been before. We in this country are continuing conscription even to this day, whereas after the First World War conscription ended as the war ended.
Both the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister referred to the League of Nations. Regret has been expressed that it came to an end so quickly. But I will say this for it: it was the first time in the history of man that a genuine effort was made to bring the nations together and put an end to war.
I well remember how we of that generation welcomed it and how we went about the country at that time saying that we had now seen the last war, that that war was the war to end 73 all wars. I remember the very great enthusiasm with which we were met by the younger people when we said, "You shall not go through what we have gone through". True, the League of Nations lacked the assistance of the United States. Nevertheless, there was very great faith in it. It was not until it had been in existence some 10 years that we began to realise that it was not achieving the great purpose that we had hoped of it. When the Second World War was coming to an end, we hoped that the leaders of the nations would have profited by the failure of their predecessors and would create a much stronger and better association of nations than we had succeeded in achieving in 1919.
But those of us who were anxious about these matters right from the very outset were doubting whether the right course was being taken. Can one expect to get people really regarding an institution as above criticism when some are put above the law and the rest of the world below the law, when five great Powers are given an unchallengeable position in that they are there as permanent members of the Security Council and each of them has the right of veto, which is denied to everybody else? Some of us at that time were criticising the proposals which we heard were likely to be put forward and saying that it was a fatal mistake to give anybody a right of veto, to put anybody above the law and ask the rest to be below the law. Some of us went at that time to see Sir Anthony Eden, as he then was, before he went to San Francisco, begging that that passage at any rate should be eliminated from the new Articles. We failed.
What has happened? That veto—as we then suggested it would—has been used time and time again, until Russia has now used it more than 100 times. The world has gone on and on spending money on defence. Take the position of this country. Since 1951 we have been spending a third of our budget, no less than £1,500 million a year, on defence, and this year we are spending even more. Is any one of us any safer for it? Does the world feel safer? The total amount that is being spent on defence throughout the world is about £50,000 million.
74 Consequently, I feel that we have a right in this matter, and that the noble Lord had the right—indeed, the duty—to offer his criticism about the situation as it is today and to call attention to what is really happening. True, I think the old Adam of Toryism appeared in his condemnation of our giving up the colonial position a little too early. It was, perfectly obviously, a case of the schoolmaster refusing to realise that his pupils had grown up and wanting still to keep his hands on them.
However, I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman has said about one part of the colonial position. I myself, of course, dislike any form of colonialism. I believe in the right of every man to choose his own Government, criticise his own Government and turn out his own Government. But, having visited a number of our own past Colonies and those of continental Powers, I must say that ours were an example of fair treatment and proper education to all the others, and there would have been less condemnation of colonialism had our example been followed, as, of course, it has been copied in so many respects in the new countries where the practices of this old House and the methods of democracy are being adopted.
I should have preferred the Prime Minister to have taken a little further that part of his speech in which he referred to what is needed. In 1959, we all set great hopes upon the development which then seemed likely to come in a fairly short time. There is this to be said also about the Conservative Government. The first statement made on behalf of any Government in the world that their aim and policy was that all weapons, conventional and unconventional, should be completely done away with under effective control was made at that Dispatch Box by the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, then the Minister of Defence. It was repeated by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer on several occasions, notably when he broadcast from India and when he spoke to the Inter-Parliamentary Union in this country.
In 1959, the right hon. and learned Gentleman confirmed that statement at the United Nations. It was followed by the statement of Mr. Herter on behalf of the United States and followed on 75 the next day by Mr. Khrushchev saying exactly the same on behalf of Russia, adding that the aim could be achieved in about four years. No wonder that our hopes rose that a new constitution for the United Nations would soon come into being. Those statements were followed again by the United Nations for the first time voting unanimously, in December of that session, that the most urgent matter of all was total disarmament under complete control. Then came the event to which the Prime Minister made passing reference. A meeting was to take place in Paris, but just before it took place there was the incident of the American plane being shot down over Russia.
In my view, Mr. Khrushchev made a mountain out of a molehill on that occasion, but I wish that Mr. Eisenhower had not been so stiff-necked. When the whole fate of the world depended upon the Heads of Government coming together and putting an end to arms, all he needed to do was to say, "I am sorry that it has happened. Now let us get together. If we can manage to achieve our aim, there will be no need in future for spies or anything of that kind. We can settle matters by reason, not by force".
We have gone on from difficulty to difficulty until the United Nations is in its present state. Even the International Court of Justice has not the full power it ought to have as a court of justice. As we have learned from our experience in the Congo, the form that the United Nations Police Force takes is bound to lead to difficulty. The forces are sent there by the country which recruits them; they are paid for up to that moment by that country and that country can call them back at any moment it chooses. What kind of police force is that? This is another criticism of the United Nations. The right thing would be for the Security Council to recruit individually its people for the police force from all parts of the world, taking care—I am sure that such care would be taken—not to recruit too many from any particular country, so that the police force would from its moment of formation owe loyalty and obedience to the United Nations executive which brought it into being.
76 It is in matters of that kind that I believe that the Government have failed, and that is the criticism I make. The Prime Minister said that these things could not be amended. But they can. There is Article 109. I only wish that a stronger attitude were taken by the Government. Article 109 provides that, at the tenth year, on a bare majority of one, the United Nations may devote its session to a consideration of needed amendments. I do not know to what extent the Lord Privy Seal is familiar with this. At first, Sir Anthony Eden, as Foreign Secretary, was in favour of pressing for action to enable the United Nations to consider possible amendments. Then he withdrew and asked some of us to meet Mr. Nutting, then Under-Secretary of State. Mr. Nutting met us and said that the Government were no longer in favour of action because the little nations were not in favour of it. We thereupon communicated with all the nations of the world, a9d it was a little nation, Ecuador, which first put forward the proposition, seconded at once by the United States. A committee was accordingly set up, to report by 1947, but nothing ever happened. Why do not the Government press for those matters to be taken into account?
In my view, the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary would be on much firmer and better ground in his desire to see fulfilled the true purpose for which the United Nations was established if he tried to make it a much more workable and fairer institution than it is today. How absurd is the vote today, when Luxembourg, with fewer than 500,000 people, has the same power as this country, France, Russia or the United States. How absurd that, even to this day, it should be regarded as a club which no one can join until a vote has been taken to allow him in, with the greatest people in the world, the true China, still kept waiting outside.
At one time, the permanent members of the Security Council were Britain, France, Russia, the United States and China. Today, they are Britain, France, Russia, the United States and the Island of Formosa. Formosa has the power above all others to retain a secured seat on the Security Council.
77 Those are the matters which I should have liked the Government to take up and criticise. If that were done, the great purpose for which the United Nations was brought into being might be more likely to be fulfilled in my time. In the meantime, what is happening to us all? We are spending millions and millions of pounds every year on armaments. There is no nation which is not spending. At the same time, millions of people go to bed hungry every night. There would be no need for a pay pause or for any other such devices if we could only make the United Nations a better institution which would ensure peace, safety and fair play for all alike.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Lady Tweedsmuir (Aberdeen, South)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) spoke with feeling of the deep anxieties he holds about the United Nations and its problems, with particular reference to its Charter, as did the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson), who shares with him the same interest and experience in our international organisations.
The speeches of both right hon. and learned Gentlemen emphasise the extraordinary nature of this censure debate. The Motion implies either that the Opposition have an uncritical idolatry towards the United Nations or that, given the courage and realism to discuss its imperfections, they are doing neither more nor less than the Foreign Secretary did, except that he did it a great deal better.
I have been extraordinarily lucky in that I have attended two General Assemblies. It has certainly been a most invaluable experience. I think that I learned more by working there about the United Nations than I could have done in any other way. It is a unique forum in that nowhere else in the world can one see the leaders and potential leaders of 104 countries working together in relation to each other. By working there one has the chance to learn what makes the members of a delegation think in the way that they do and what are the influences which mould their foreign policy. At the same time, I am afraid, it also gives one a unique chance to see 78 what I can only describe as the cosmic muddle.
Among other things, I learned at the United Nations that there is a great difference between belonging to the United Nations and supporting it. The United Kingdom is the second largest financial contributor out of 104. I believe that, as a founder member, it is better that our support should not always be uncritical, just as with any human institution, whether it be Parliament, a party, an individual or the institution of marriage.
I would certainly say that the views in this country about the United Nations are very much divided and that there is much uneasiness about it in the country as a whole. This can be summed up under three heads. First, there are those who would like this country to support the United Nations without question. Secondly, there are those who say, "Write it off", although I believe that they are few in number. Thirdly, there are those, including myself, whose view is that we should support the United Nations in the interests of peace, which are the interests of all of us, within the bounds of the Charter and the limitations of an organisation which is, after all, only sixteen years old.
We had some very distorted comments from the Leader of the Opposition about the Foreign Secretary's speech. On the point which he raised about a crisis of confidence, I do not think I will repeat what could not have been more admirably said by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East, (Sir D. Walker-Smith). The three main issues to which I have referred were even more deeply underlined by the Prime Minister in discussing what are really the strains and stresses reflected in the United Nations.
I think that the Foreign Secretary's speech can be summed up in this way. He foresees the danger that the United Nations may evolve into something very different from the very fine conception which was originally held by those who founded the organisation and wrote the Charter. Therefore, surely it must be our job to make as intelligent and constructive criticism as we can.
As the Prime Minister so rightly said, there has been considerable misunderstanding about the function of the United 79 Nations. It was never designed to be a substitute for a country's own national foreign policy. The Security Council, which gave the main executive responsibility to the United Nations, ensured that the five big Powers were permanent members and that they were all armed with the veto. It, therefore, ensured that there could be only two results. Either there was agreed collective security, or deadlock and the status quo.
As we all know, the Assembly tried to get over the constant Russian veto by passing in 1950 the uniting-for-peace resolution, which meant that security questions were taken to the Assembly itself. But this is where many troubles began, because, when there is one nation, one vote, we have the power but by no means always the responsibility. If peace today is kept by the balance of power, the Assembly is run by the balance of votes.
I do not think that it is possible to change the Charter, although I should like to see it changed particularly by enlarging certain organs of the United Nations to reflect the doubling of membership. However, as we all know, the Soviets have declared their intention to use the veto against any consideration of changing the Charter until Communist China is seated. In any case, I do not believe that changing the Charter, except in this instance, is really the problem. The United Nations has no will of its own. It merely has the will of its own members. It seems to me that the rôle of the United Kingdom must be to go on doing whatever we can to persuade, to mediate, to encourage, and, at times, to warn. That is our job, and it will be a long job which will take many years.
If the United Nations reflects only the world outside, then we can understand what is the seam of anti-colonialism which is running through the United Nations. The right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), in the debate on 14th December, said that in the United Nationsthere is, in fact, a prejudice against all colonial and ex-colonial Powers "—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th December, 1961; Vol. 651, c. 656.]The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that he thought that this was unfair. 80 I am sure that with the passage of time this issue will pass, but at the moment strange company is kept, because I can well remember President Kennedy coming to deliver a very fine speech in the last Assembly, but he went out of his way in the middle of it to say, "We can remember what it was like in the United States to be a British colony and therefore can sympathise with all of you", turning to some of the uncommitted and ex-colonial countries.
I thought that the Foreign Secretary had a rather good riposte to this comment in a very fine speech which he made to the Assembly a few days later, in which he said, "I was interested in what President Kennedy said about the United States remembering its experiences as a colony. All I can say is," If all our ex-colonies were as rich and powerful as the United States, how happy we should be."
Do not let us think from all this discussion about colonialism that there are members of ex-British Colonial Territories who have not the courage to speak up against the misrepresentation which is often current in the United Nations Assembly. I can remember very well the delegate from Ghana in my Committee, the Third Committee, who one day suddenly exploded and said, "Colonialism! Why do you always talk about Colonialism? I should like to tell you all the good things that Britain did for my country", and he then went on to list some very fortunate episodes. At the end of his speech, he called his friend the delegate from Nigeria to support him. This put the Nigerian in rather a spot. He said that he would wait and speak about it tomorrow when he would have had time to think. The chairman pointed out that the item under discussion might be finished by then and therefore the delegate from Nigeria also had the courage to speak in our favour. These things will grow because people get just as much fed up with constant colonial misrepresentation as they do with any other misrepresentation.
The dominant emotion which I found running through the Assemblies last year and the year before was without doubt fear of Russia. I can best illustrate it by telling of a conversation which I had with a distinguished jurist 81 from one of the chief Middle-Eastern countries. He was discussing the decision of the United Nations to ask the International Court to decide whether Article 19 of the Charter bound a member, not only to pay its regular assessments, but also all other contributions to emergency forces. This delegate agreed that it was an excellent thing to do, and I said, "If the court decides that all members are bound to pay all their assessments, then a great number of the members sitting here will be deprived of their vote under Article 19, including Russia." This distinguished jurist said, "But you could not do it to Russia. Think of the effect that it would have on her actions in other political matters". I said, "If you cannot take a stand on things in which no security is involved, it must mean appeasement in the bigger things as well as in the small." That is why, when there is this constant and very real fear of Russia, it so often happens that when motions are passed condemning or attacking colonialism, the Soviet empire is never mentioned. Indeed, even the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Diefenbaker, in a speech in Toronto in November, felt himself bound to say this:Is the Soviet Union to be the only colonial Power remaining in the world? Why should the Soviet Empire be more sacrosanct than any other? Different rules do not, and should not, apply to Soviet imperialists, There must be no double standards in the United Nations.We see the fear of Russia in many other ways. For example, at the restarting of nuclear tests just at the time of the Belgrade Conference, what muted comments there were. Even the resolution of the United Nations condemning the Soviet for exploding the megaton bomb had to have the condemnatory part removed from it.
It is against this background that I should like briefly to consider the constant dichotomy that confronts the United Kingdom delegation at the United Nations when trying to decide whether to vote for resolutions passed in the context of the United Nations and remembering the obligation of any British Government to carry out a clear and definite national foreign policy.
We have a fine permanent mission at the United Nations. It was a privilege for me to serve under Sir Patrick Dean. One sees, however, the way that resolu 82 tions are framed, sometimes completely unacceptably, and the constant lobbying and immense hard work which must be undertaken to get even a few amendments accepted so that they look at all reasonable. We have often supported resolutions or abstained with the well-known procedure of the interpretive statement on resolutions with which we could not entirely agree in order to show the uncommitted nations that we share the same aim, even if we disagree on methods, in colonial matters of timing.
There are occasions when one can certainly vote on what I would call the general sense of a resolution, but the big security questions and questions of timing in colonial affairs are a very different matter. In the last resort, it is the Government at home who have to take the responsibility, not only for defence and security of our own people here, but also for those overseas whose future we still hold in trust.
That is why I am driven to the conclusion that in future, on the big political issues, there will be times when we must vote against instead of using the abstension and the interpretive statement. It is a procedure which is well understood at the United Nations, but it is not understood in this country or, indeed, always in this Parliament. Otherwise, we shall have constant anxiety as to the interpretation of resolutions that are often vaguely and widely drawn simply because they are, in essence, a compromise.
For example, the political decisions on the Congo taken in New York, interpreted in New York by a civilian Secretary-General who has attended the debates and knows the feeling of member States, can well vary from the military interpretation on the ground in the chaotic conditions of the Congo. People will say, "If we vote against and we are in a minority, shall not we in Britain lose our influence in the United Nations? Is it not bad always to be in a minority?" It is true that the general instructions to our delegation in New York are, to use an American expression, to try to create as good an image of Britain as possible. We must, however, guard against falling into the habit—which, for all their virtues, is so 83 often that of the Americans—of confusing being popular with being respected.
Therefore, to those who say that, because the United Nations cannot always keep the peace and because so many of its members cannot pay the price of peace, we should withdraw, I would only say that that is not the answer. Russia learnt the folly of that at the time of Korea. It has not done any good either to France or to South Africa.
I am certain that it is in Britain's interests to state our case in the United Nations and to go on stating it. From whatever side of the House we come, each one of us has declared for interdependence. Therefore, let us neither boycott the United Nations nor use it as an alibi for inaction, but let us go on doggedly trying to edge towards agreement.
§ 6.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Elwyn Jones (West Ham, South)
I feel sure that the whole House will be glad to see the return of the hon. Lady the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir). Sitting opposite to her, as I regularly do, I certainly am.
In the course of an interesting account of her experiences at the United Nations, the hon. Lady, unhappily, accused my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition of distortion in his speech. I should have thought that the House would be impressed by the meticulous fairness with which my right hon. Friend stated the case which had been put forward by the Foreign Secretary and by his massive destruction of it and of the Government's record at the United Nations afterwards. His indictment has as yet not only been unanswered, but there has been no attempt to answer it.
The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) embarked upon an eloquent statement in praise of the British Commonwealth of Nations. With much of what he said, I agree. The British Commonwealth has not, however, suffered from the granting of freedom to previously dependent peoples. It has enhanced its reputation and the loyalty of those peoples to this country in that way.
I was astounded to hear the right hon. and learned Gentleman's enthusiasm for 84 colonialism extending to an almost unqualified tribute to Belgian colonialism in the Congo.
§ Sir D. Walker-Smith
The hon. and learned Member is wrong. I read out a passage from Dr. Ruth Slade's book on the Belgian Congo and pointed to certain lessons drawn from it. I did not pretend to any first-hand experience of it.
§ Mr. Elwyn Jones
I thought that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, like the good lawyer he is, was quoting an authority on which he was purporting to rely and that he was giving his blessing to it. I confess that I was astounded at the description from the passage which he, with such enthusiasm, read that the Belgian Congo provided, I think the words were, the best system of education in Africa.
§ Mr. Elwyn Jones
And education; heard that word, also. It reminded me of a visit which I made to Leopoldville about two years ago. It is true that there is now a university of Louvanium outside Leopoldville—it is, indeed, a splendid place; but the first qualified students of medicine and law came out of that university in June last year. The Belgian colonial administration had trained not one indigenous doctor or lawyer. Some hon. Members may not consider that very important—until one saw the ghastly consequences of the total collapse of discipline and law in the Belgian Congo, when the Belgians took out their doctors, their hospital matrons, their lawyers and their teachers. They removed the lot, except in the province of Katanga.
That is the story. The Belgian Congo administration gave no training to the Congolese in the responsibilities of self-government, and that is the tragedy. Total dependence was placed upon the Force Republique and its reliability for maintaining discipline and authority. It proved a tragic illusion and it was when the authority and discipline of the Force Republique collapsed that the United Nations' intervention became as inevitable as it was essential.
With respect to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I venture to suggest that he has done far less than justice to the contribution which United Nations 85 intervention in the Congo has made to the avoidance of the outbreak of major war between the great Powers, a situation which certainly was threatening to develop.
§ Sir James Pitman (Bath)
The hon. and learned Gentleman is making very serious charges against the Belgians. Is he saying that they never gave any training to those people in Belgian or other universities, or is he confining his criticism to the fact that it was not done in universities in the Congo? He will know that in the Temple many African lawyers have done their training, and it would he a little unfair to us to say that we were not training lawyers in our dependent Colonies.
§ Mr. Elwyn Jones
Yes, it would, and I do not think that it is comparable at all. I forget what the number of the Congolese lawyers trained in Belgium was. It was as many as could be counted on one hand. It is not comparable to the generations of lawyers who have come to the Temple and Inns of Court from Africa, as all of us who belong to those Inns well know. However, there is no getting away from this heavy responsibility on Belgian colonialism for what occurred.
It has been said by the hon. Lady the Member for Aberdeen, South that we on this side of the House are committed to an uncritical idolatry of the United Nations. Of course, that is absolute rubbish. We were not uncritical. We have expressed our criticism. One of the matters of complaint about the Foreign Secretary's speech is the almost total absence of constructive suggestions there for the betterment of the United Nations. We on this side of the House undoubtedly believe that British foreign policy should be based on maintaining and establishing the authority of the United Nations, and that the principles of our foreign policy should be conducted in accordance with the principles set out in the Charter of the United Nations. We make no qualification of that.
We believe in the enforcement of the rule of law throughout the world and the establishment of international institutions with competence and power to enforce that rule of law, and that these are the best signposts for the future. 86 What we deplore in this attack by the Foreign Secretary is that it undermines the confidence of our own peoples and other peoples in the United Nations and its capacity to do its job.
The essence of the Foreign Secretary's speech was, as the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) said, the re-emergence of the old Adam of reactionary Toryism, the last cheer for dying colonialism. That is its real essence.
The hon. Lady quoted the observations of the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Diefenbaker. I was interested to read in the Library, before this debate began, what was said by Mr. Nesbitt, the Canadian delegate, in the debate in regard to the much offending declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples. I do not know whether the hon. Lady met him, but he is, presumably, a very responsible and experienced gentleman. About that declaration, which our Foreign Secretary described asreckless and careless of peace and security".Mr. Nesbitt said that it was a very good one for which Canada had been pleased to vote.
Mr. Nesbitt went on to say:We are inclined to congratulate the United Nations itself upon an achievement which should give encouragement to our member Governments and peoples at a moment when perhaps the United Nations can do with a breath of encouragement.That is the Canadian delegate at the United Nations. What was the breath of encouragement emerging from the Highland voice of the Foreign Secretary? Not a breath.
There is a complaint made by, I think, two speakers already on the other side of the House, a complaint which my right hon. Friend really disposed of, that recent events in the United Nations were a total departure from the basic principles of the Charter. As my right hon. Friend has pointed out, however, self-determination is, in fact, placed in the Charter as the very second aim after the maintenance of peace.
It is interesting that the late Secretary-General described this much-attacked declaration as acomprehensive restatement in elaborated form of the principles laid down in the Charter.87 This is the document which the British Foreign Secretary sees fit to describe asreckless and careless of peace and securityand as showing "an almost total lack of responsibility." It does seem quite remarkable, and the conclusion I come to is that this intemperate language of the Foreign Secretary was wholly unjustified by the circumstances, intemperate as, I must concede, part of the language of this declaration also was.
There is one matter relating to the future about which, I think, the House is entitled to some more information from the Government. This declaration which the Foreign Secretary condemned is not the end of the matter. The Assembly of the United Nations decided to set up a special committee of 17 to implement this resolution which is described asreckless and careless of peace and security".That committee of 17 is, as I understand, now in existence, and the United Kingdom is a member of it—one of the 17.
One of the matters with which that committee has been entrusted is the duty to give "the most urgent consideration" to the question of Angola with a view to the speedy achievement of independence by the people of Angola. This immediate responsibility falls upon the committee of 17 by virtue of the resolution relating to Angola which the Assembly passed on 23rd January, 1962, which we on this side of the House were delighted to find even the United Kingdom Government supported. It was a remarkable and progressive step forward in their attitude towards Angola. That resolution relating to Angola does in terms place upon this committee of 17 this specific responsibility of probing the Angolan situation and seeing what best can be done to restore hope, order, and, in due course, freedom to that much harassed part of the world.
What I would like to know is this: what instructions do the Government propose to give to the British delegate on this committee which is empowered to carry out the terms of the resolution which the Foreign Secretary described as… reckless and careless of peace and security"?Is our delegate to have a wrecking rôle, or is he to co-operate? Does acceptance 88 of our membership of the committee represent a belated change of attitude on the part of the Foreign Office about this problem? Do we now face up to the situation that exists in the United Nations? Instead of standing against the tide, have we now decided in the last resort to face the facts and realities of the twentieth century world and not try to run back to the Toryism of a long forgotten era?
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Sir Hamilton Kerr (Cambridge)
As one of the so-called Praetorian Guard of knights and baronets, I am sorely tempted to follow the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for West Ham, South (Mr. Elwyn Jones) in his observations on the Congo and what he called the "Old Adam of Tory reaction". For a person who is, as I consider myself to be, of almost mouse-like mildness, I am thrilled to find that I am attributed with those traditional qualities of baronets—boldness and badness. However, I am limiting myself to under ten minutes.
The other day, a French general who worked with Marshal Foch told me that when he approached the Commander-in-Chief with a proposition, the Marshal's first question was, "What exactly are we trying to do?" If we apply that question to the United Nations, all of us in this House will answer, "Trying to remove war as an instrument of policy; to replace the use of force by negotiation." I think that the United Nations will survive, and its prestige will depend upon its success in answering that challenge.
I believe that it was Lord Boothby who aptly remarked that the main advantage of growing older was that "one was actually there." I was in the House during many debates before the war when the League of Nations was discussed. It soon became obvious to all of us that its great defect was that it was not a universal organisation. The United States was never a member. Russia was only a member for part of the time, as was Germany. When the grave challenges came in Manchuria and Abyssinia, the League was not strong enough to meet its obligations.
Many other alternatives were suggested to try to get round this fundamental defect. I remember making 89 what I thought was quite an eloquent speech in the House on the thesis of reducing and removing so-called offensive weapons. I remember arguing, "If you limit nations to the use of tanks under 10 tons, of guns of under 6 ins. in calibre, to coastal submarines only, and have all other weapons abolished, including the bomber, a nation might survive invulnerable, like an armadillo in its own shell." Thinking people were deeply influenced by the doctrines of Captain Liddell Hart. With the vivid memories of the Somme and Passchen-daele in mind when machine guns scythed down rows of infantry in that terrible mud, people thought that if weapons of offence were finally removed the nations might be spared the horrors of war. But that was not so. Again, I remember speaking on the thesis advanced by the Foreign Office that, if we limited the size of the armies of Germany, France and Italy to 200,000, a balance of power would be created in Europe.
The League of Nations failed because it was not universal. I think that the founders of the United Nations rightly recognised that the one hope of success was to make it universal, and for that reason they accepted the veto. I agreed with my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir) when she argued that, as the veto exists, we at the United Nations should not hesitate to use it when we think its use is justified. Its abuse, as it has been abused by Soviet Russia, is not justified, but the time has come when, if we feel strongly on an issue and are willing to take our own line, we should use it.
Great efforts were made by the founders to make the United Nations a universal organisation. But it was obvious from the start that the one hope of future success lay in agreement between the great Powers. Unfortunately, various factors disturbed that agreement—first and foremost the cold war, the attack of Communist ideas upon the free world, and, secondly, the bias of the Afro-Asian bloc against the so-called former colonial Powers.
As a result, the great weakness of the United Nations is that it is too often a platform for propaganda and constructive ideas are almost totally lacking. Her Majesty's Government can 90 play their part by pointing out the mistakes and deficiencies in the arguments used against us and stating clearly our own case, but, at the same time, setting a pattern of constructive ideas in debates. This would help the prestige of the United Nations.
The payment of subscriptions has been mentioned many times. I believe that to be a valid point to put. As my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South mentioned, President Kennedy referred to the days when America was under British rule. He should also have added the slogan of the colonists, "No taxation without representation", for that could be inverted today as, "No representation without taxation". At that time, the American colonists were willing to die for the principle. Patrick Henry cried out in one of the most famous churches of Richmond, "Give me liberty or give me death". Today, the great liberties of members of the United Nations are well worth paying for, and we should insist on their contributions being forthcoming if they wish to retain voting powers.
Fourthly, when the allied armies were preparing their attack "Overlord" on Europe, they were careful to build up a system of administration behind the advancing troops to avoid dangers of a vacuum. It seems that the great tragedy of the Congo was that no efficient civil administration was available to the United Nations to support the action of its armed forces.
In this, perhaps the so-called former colonial Powers like ourselves and France could play a part. Quite obviously, the United Nations, in future "fire-brigade" operations, will want to use the representatives of the smaller Powers, but we, with our great experience of world administration, could help to train a small corps of ate administrators who could act with justice and firmness when the United Nations had to take action in the future.
What can one say about the United Nations in the light of all these facts? When one has watched a three-mile race and has seen a green-faced and ghastly figure staggering around lap after lap, friends have often cried out, "Keep going". That is what we must do in this case. First, if the maintenance of the 91 veto is essential to the maintenance of a universal organisation we should accept it, and, if occasion arises, use it ourselves. Secondly, we should make the United Nations, through our spokesmen, the centre for constructive ideas. Thirdly, we should try to insist on the necessity of payments by members if their votes are to be valid. Lastly, we should play our part in training administrators for future "fire-brigade" actions of the United Nations. If we follow these four maxims, we can safely say to the United Nations, "Keep going".
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)
Like a number of other hon. Members who have contributed to the debate, the hon. Member for Cambridge (Sir H. Kerr) has completely avoided discussing the Opposition's real indictment of the Foreign Secretary's speech. Hon. Members opposite have been led in that careful avoidance by the Prime Minister himself. It was he who first addressed himself to something other than the Motion. I, therefore, want to return almost immediately to the two parts of the noble Lord's speech which I regard as particularly dangerous and irresponsible and which are my two main reasons for supporting the Motion.
The noble Lord said:Why, then, if there is such a universal urge for peace and the machinery to achieve it is ready to hand, is there a crisis of confidence in the United Nations?The second passage, later in his speech, was:All our instincts and interests therefore combine to urge support for the kind of United Nations for which the founders drew up the Charter. The question which many sober and responsible observers of its practice are asking is whether we can continue to do so and whether the United Nations of the authors of the Charter has had its day.That was an attack upon the future of the United Nations which created serious uncertainty. However much the Prime Minister may try to explain away that aspect of the speech, I think that the Lord Privy Seal will at least agree with me that how the essential part of the Foreign Secretary's speech was read abroad matters and is of great importance to this country.
While the Prime Minister said several times that the noble Lord had given a considered and balanced statement, 92 no such impression was made upon the reporters of very important newspapers which have their own correspondents in this country. For instance, the New York Times, generally regarded as the leading newspaper in the United States, had a headline which saidLord Home scores U.N. for line on force and ColonialismAnother newspaper in another member country of the N.A.T.O. alliance, a very respected newspaper published in Munich, said that the Foreign Secretary made a "sensational speech" in which he attacked the United Nations. If there were more time, one could quote other evidence from respected French newspapers. But it is quite clear that many people experienced in these matters regarded the Foreign Secretary's speech as an attack upon the United Nations.
There may well arise the important question of why the Foreign Secretary should be mentioned in the Motion. It is a time-honoured practice in a situation of this kind to single out the Minister responsible particularly if he is a principal Secretary of State. It will be generally agreed that the Foreign Secretary is in a special position to some extent. He is one of the two original principal Secretaries of State, dating back to the 1780s, and he is in charge of foreign affairs in the widest possible sense. It is not possible to argue that the Foreign Secretary, committing himself to a statement which casts doubt on the future of the United Nations and, equally important, on whether this country is prepared to continue to support it, can shrug it off like any speech of any junior member of the Government in a casual debate.
The Foreign Secretary always carries very much influence and power in the Cabinet over the conduct of foreign affairs. We are told by people who have written their biographies and autobiographies on these matters—and there is agreement among most learned authorities on the matter—that it is normal after discussion in the Cabinet for the Head of the Government to say that the Cabinet would be well advised to accept the view of the Foreign Secretary.
I have brought out those examples to show that there is no question of personal animosity being involved and I 93 deliberately do not refer to the constitutional aspect of this position which worries many of us and which was mentioned by the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies). That is not the burden of this debate, but if the Foreign Secretary were a Member of this House, and if the same kind of speech in the same kind of terms had been made, the indictment would have been equally severe. However, before leaving that subject I should like to say that there have been many voices throughout the country which from time to time have said that it is a positive disadvantage for the man mainly responsible for the conduct of our foreign affairs not to be able, in the atmosphere of the elected assembly, to take part in debates on the conduct of foreign affairs. That is an argument sometimes supported by people of all political parties.
I now turn to some of the Prime Minister's comments. The right hon. Gentleman was very anxious to establish a position for the Government in which he might be able to say that the United Nations, and particularly the Security Council, was not functioning as its founders hoped. That is not in dispute. That is what I had in mind when I charged the Prime Minister with not addressing himself to the Motion. We all know that the main hope of the founders of the United Nations was concentrated on agreement among the major Powers. But in the absence of such agreement the United Nations is nevertheless capable of doing many useful jobs and of playing a part in preparing the ground for such agreement.
I was rather concerned to hear the Prime Minister say that he himself put all his hopes for agreement between East and West in direct negotiations between East and West. All my political life I have been in favour of having as many contacts as possible between the statesmen of East and West so that they could go on negotiating in difficult situations and in better situations. I still am, but it is underestimating the potential influence of the United Nations in helping in the process of bringing the countries of East and West together to take the view expressed by the Prime Minister. I hope that the Lord Privy Seal wild accept that and will make it clear that it continues to be the Government's view that 94 the United Nations has great potential influence in improving relations between East and West.
The Prime Minister was anxious to prove that the resolution which the Foreign Secretary attacked, Resolution 1514, contained a demand for immediate independence for all remaining colonial countries. However, careful reading of the terms of that resolution shows that it was the result of many negotiations and was put in opposition to a motion which would have carried the implication of a demand for immediate independence without any qualifications or preparations. Secondly, the term "pretext" was fully justified as many of the delegates of former colonial countries felt—as do the spokesmen of countries which are still colonies—that they had sometimes been told that they were not ready for independence while at the same time they received no preparations or encouragement to make them ready. They attacked those pretexts for not being allowed to become independent and not being prepared for such a change of status.
Indeed, the main indictment of the United Nations against the Government of Belgium—and many of us who have discussed these matters with members of Belgian political parties have been provided with much evidence for it—is that for many years the Belgian Government did nothing about preparing the Congo for independence in the belief that the need for it would never arise.
I now turn to the speech made by the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) concerning the interests of this country in regard to the United Nations. It is a very dangerous procedure for the representatives of this country to attack the United Nations and undermine confidence in it. The Prime Minister made a brief reference to what went on before the war, but he left out a good many facts about the undermining of confidence in the League of Nations at that time. He completely ignored some of the statements made by our statesmen, which had that effect.
The relevance of these statements is very simple; it always turns out to be a danger for our people if we take part in undermining confidence in international organisations. That is what 95 happened when war broke out. We have a direct interest—forgetting for the moment all about the idealism of the United Nations, to which the Prime Minister referred—in maintaining the rule of law through the United Nations, and we shall not do it if we make speeches like that recently made by the noble Lord.
It is equally important to be clear about the task confronting the Foreign Secretary in his conduct of foreign affairs. I do not believe that the noble Lord was speaking for all Conservatives, either in this House or in the country. For instance, very soon after the Foreign Secretary had made his speech the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) spoke in the Hallam division of Sheffield, at a meeting whose chairman was the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn). In that speech the hon. Member for Kidderminster warned the country and the Conservative Women's Association in the constituency against making attacks on the United Nations. There are many people, especially in my area of Yorkshire, who vote Conservative regularly and who care very much about the future of the United Nations. It is therefore very important to isolate the tendency that is now developing among hon. Members opposite continually to misrepresent the operations of the United Nations in the Congo. It is important to realise that in making speeches containing insinuations against the United Nations they are acting against the interests of this country, in the long run.
At this stage it is equally important that the Foreign Secretary should give a lead about what should happen in the United Nations, instead of confining himself to criticisms. On a number of occasions recently, not only in respect of United Nations affairs but in negotiations on other matters, the Foreign Secretary has confined himself to a short statement in which he has cast real doubt upon the hope of successful future negotiations. He did that in relation to the problem of Berlin on more than one occasion, and he has done it in connection with other matters.
There are many people who would like to see the Foreign Secretary of Her Majesty's Government taking the initia 96 tive in restoring confidence within the United Nations. I am equally convinced that, because of the speech that he made and the unsuccessful attempt he has since made to undo its effects, he will be greatly handicapped in carrying out his job in the future. Debates on the Congo and upon other controversial matters in the United Nations are debates that need the inspiration of the leading statesmen of the major countries. It is in our interest to adopt an attitude of deliberate encouragement and friendliness towards the emerging territories, which are colonies at the moment but will become independent quite soon. It is playing into the hands of the Soviet Government and the Communist forces in the countries concerned to adopt a negative and discouraging attitude.
The argument is always raised that delegates representing Communist countries use the United Nations as a forum in order to create an atmosphere adverse to the Western Powers. That is true. From time to time the Soviet Government use the United Nations in that way. My argument is that our attitude of non-comprehension in relation to the ambitions of the newly emerging countries plays into Russia's hands. On every occasion when a move is made in the United Nations to frustrate a propaganda attempt by the Soviet Government one of the questions that is asked—as anyone who has talked to United Nations delegates will confirm—is, "Can we get the support of the older colonial Powers for a solution which will show that we are interested in the advancement of these countries, but do not want them to become images of Communist dictatorships?" In many cases, instead of taking a lead in helping to provide such a solution, we have lined up with the most discredited colonial Powers, such as Portugal, and have thus found ourselves incapable of giving a lead which would avoid the acceptance of Communist resolutions and also make it quite clear where we stood, thus giving encouragement to the new countries.
The Foreign Secretary, because of his responsibility, often has to act on his own decision. It is accepted constitutional doctrine that he cannot consult the Cabinet on every point. He must, therefore, have wide-ranging powers, 97 and be able to make decisions by himself, from time to time. That being the case, added to which is the fact that everything that he says is always studied with great care abroad, I submit that he has done a disservice to the conduct of our foreign affairs by his recent speech, and that he ought to forfeit the confidence of the House.
§ 6.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Stratton Mills (Belfast, North)
The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) has delivered a controversial speech. He took some time in making a criticism of my noble friend the Foreign Secretary. I draw his attention to the wording of the Motion tabled by his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. It refers to the attack made upon the United Nations. I suggest that neither the Leader of the Opposition nor the hon. Member has substantiated that charge.
It could be said that the speech was capable of criticism by a political opponent as being an incorrect analysis of the United Nations. I do not agree with that view, but the point could be validly argued by a political opponent. But it should be remembered that the speech was made at a meeting of the United Nations Association, and not a political meeting. It should also be noted that in a statement made by the Executive Committee of that Association, on 13th January, it said that it had studied the speech with great interest, and welcomed my noble Friend's analysis of the credit side of the United Nations.
I do not deny that it then made certain criticisms of the speech. My point is that if this had been an outright attack upon the United Nations the Association would have immediately made a strong attack upon it. It did not do so. It welcomed the Foreign Secretary's "analysis."
The general tone of the analysis by my noble Friend has my support and the support of hon. Members on this side of the House. I have been a member of the United Nations Association for a much longer time than I have been a Member of the House. Nevertheless, I shall gladly vote in the Lobby with my right hon. and hon. Friends this evening.
98 I want to refer to one part of the Foreign Secretary's speech with which I do not completely agree, although my disagreement is a matter of emphasis. At one stage my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said, referring to the double standard of behaviour of certain sections of the Afro-Asian group:The United Nations members know that to be true, but they seldom condemn the Russians and constantly harass us.This is perhaps an over-simplification of the situation. It is true that they criticise the West very much more than they criticise the East, but when an Afro-Asian nation has, after a struggle against colonialism, won its political freedom it tends to be over-obsessed with the issues of colonialism.
The Leader of the Opposition particularly will appreciate this point. He is faced with a similar situation in the Labour Party. The Labour Party has fought for many things for seventy-five years and Labour Members cannot forget the battles which they have won and the issues which the electorate have many times rejected. They continually fight and re-fight old battles.
This is what is happening with many of the newly independent nations. Nations which are newly independent from colonialism are gradually learning the dangers of the Communist menace, but we must not expect this to be a fast process. It will obviously take a very long time. I am not one of those who despair of the strong nationalism of the Afro-Asian groups. We may in twenty years' time look back aT the strong nationalism of the Afro-Asian groups as having been of very great importance. Perhaps in that light we should welcome it now.
I believe that the nationalism of the new Afro-Asian nations will make them much more politically sophisticated and very much more careful to look out for the hidden trap of the Communist Party. One of the most important events of recent months, which has passed comparatively unnoticed in this country, took place in the former French colony of Guinea. Recently, there was much fear that it was becoming part of the Communist sphere of influence. Many people threw up their hands in despair. Earlier this month the Government of Guinea expelled the Russian diplomats 99 and technicians who have been in their country. They have themselves learned the hard way about the creeping paralysis of Communism. How much better it was that they should have learned by experience and set an example to other African and Asian countries, rather than having to have the point made clear to them by the older nations.
I believe that the Russians at the United Nations perform a valuable educational role. Their presence gives the new nations at the United Nations the opportunity of seeing Russian tactics in operation. Being able to do this at close quarters gives the new nations the opportunity to spot the political tactic which may have influence inside their own countries.
The record has already been stated this afternoon of the occasions on which members of the Afro-Asian group in the United Nations have turned against the Communist Powers, and I believe it to be relevant to our discussion. I believe that the new nations are slowly learning about Communism. Let them learn by their own experience of Russia and they will learn the lesson very much more deeply.
Purely from Britain's point of view, it is a definite British political interest that there should be a strong and powerful United Nations. I do not believe that we can over-emphasise this point. There is in some quarters a tendency to talk of Britain leaving the United Nations. This is the viewpoint of a madman. Nevertheless, there is an important rôle for Britain in remaining a member and helping in the task which Dag Hammarskjöld began—of educating for international democracy the nations of the Afro-Asian group.
I wish now to refer to the finances of the United Nations. The point has already been made in the debate that no country other than the United States contributes more to the United Nations than this country. I add my welcome to the fact that, as my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal announced on 29th January, Britain is to purchase United Nations bonds. A question has been raised as to whether the bonds will be redeemed. I cannot help thinking that there is at least as great a chance of them being redeemed as there is of the 100 redemption of the undated securities issued by the British Government.
Britain has agreed to purchase bonds up to a maximum value of 12 million dollars. I wonder whether this is the night amount. The total value of the issue is 200 million dollars. The United Kingdom's contribution to the overall budget is 7.58 per cent. If we were to purchase bonds to a value consonant with our full contribution to the finances of the United Nations, we should have to purchase slightly over 15 million dollars' worth of these securities. It should be made clear that we are falling short of that amount. Our contribution is, to put it no stronger, a little on the fine side. I cannot help wondering whether this is due to the restraining hand of the Foreign Office or the sharp axe of the Treasury.
What is the background to the financial difficulties of the United Nations? We have heard today about the number of countries which are in default. There seems to be some dispute about whether the figure is 82 or 87. I cannot help wondering whether the word "default" is not a gross over-simplification of the position. My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal said, when announcing that Britain was to purchase some bonds:In the payments countries make, there is a certain time lag as to when they deliver the dues. All countries, even those which are regular payers, have special arrangements. As far as the rest of them are concerned, they are not in default of their normal payments.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th January. 1962; Vol. 652, c. 691.]This suggests that there may be various national arrangements so that when a bill comes in it is not paid on the spot. Some hon. Members may do the same as I do. On receipt of an account do they always rush to find their cheque-books and immediately pay it, or do they, like myself, pay all accounts once every three months or so? I cannot help wondering whether this affects my creditworthiness. Similarly, these nations should not automatically be considered as defaulters.
My hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) has a Motion on the Order Paper asking that our delegate at the United Nations be instructed to propose a motion there to the effect that no country which is in default on the payment of its dues should be permitted 101 either to vote OT to take part in the proceedings of the United Nations. Does he fully realise the implications of that Motion? Does he realise that it would mean art amendment of the Charter, and that such an amendment would stand no chance at all of being accepted? Does he want our United Nations delegation to be put in a ridiculous position? That is what would happen.
I myself and about 20 of my hon. Friends have tabled an Amendment to that Motion, its basis being that the present position under Article 19 of the Charter should be observed, as that is a much better way of dealing with the defaulter. Article 19 makes arrangements for countries which, in certain special circumstances, cannot pay their dues. A country may have had a severe earthquake, for instance, or it may be going through an economic crisis, or may have an unstable Government which is not able to hold elections. It may be that in many of the countries listed by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition such special circumstances may be found to exist.
An editorial in The Times of 30th January stated:This will not be the last time that the United Nations will have to be hailed out by emergency measures of this kind. The problem of financing special operations has been there for five years without being resolved. It will go on until the United Nations organisation is reformed and strengthened, so that a larger and more representative Security Council, exercising the balance of influence according to the common sense of the Charter, works in co-ordination with the General Assembly. It would be easier than to pounce on defaulters …Those are wise words.
The question of default is very closely tied to the strengthening of the Charter and to making use of existing provisions on the Charter. It is important that those provisions are themselves aimed at strengthening the United Nations as an organisation. I believe that it was with that purpose in mind that the Foreign Secretary spoke as he did to a branch of the United Nations Association at Berwick-upon-Tweed, and because of that I will gladly vote against the Opposition's censure Motion this evening.
§ 7.3 p.m.
§ Mr. R. E. Prentice (East Ham, North)
The hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills) has made a number of 102 points with which I believe that many of us would agree. We particularly welcome the overdue "ticking-off" he gave to some of the extreme anti-United Nations elements on his own side of the House. That should be done more often, and we should like to hear it done sometimes from the Government Front Bench.
The hon. Gentleman had the further distinction of being the first speaker on his side of the Chamber to devote much attention to the Foreign Secretary's speech. It is true that the only part of it with which he dealt in detail was a part with which he himself disagreed. He rather skated over the rest of it, but at least he mentioned it. Most hon. Members opposite, starting with the Prime Minister, have so far ignored the speech completely.
When I went out just now to get some refreshment, I was intrigued to read in tonight's Evening Standard an article by Mr. Robert Carvel—clearly written before this debate—in which he said:Tonight in the Commons, Labour's attacks on Lord Home will give the Prime Minister an opportunity of defending his protégé and at the same time defending himself against his Tory critics.I cannot think that on the second of those purposes the Prime Minister did much his critics certainly did not look very happy during his speech or overjoyed at the end of it. He did not even attempt the first of those purposes, as he did not direct his speech at all to the Motion now before the House.
I want to base what I have to say on three points from the Foreign Secretary's speech. First, there is this extract:Britain cannot afford lightly to discard an instrument dedicated to peace …I have chosen that extract because it is from that part of the speech that we are usually told balanced the critical points.
We have been told more than once that it was a balanced speech, and that even if we did not like some of it, it ought to be regarded, like the curate's egg, as being good in parts, and that it did in parts support the United Nations. I must confess, however, that it was that part that worried me most, because of the tepid and half-hearted language in which that so-called support was expressed. What we ought to 103 hear from a British Foreign Secretary is a clear-cut statement that the United Nations is vital to our foreign policy, that it must be strengthened, that we must take a dynamic view of its functions, that we should increase and strengthen those functions, and that we must, if necessary, make greater sacrifices as a nation to that end.
To say that is not to say that we should take—as we on this side are sometimes accused of taking—an uncritical view of the United Nations. The Opposition have many times called for changes in the Charter, and have suggested ways in which it should be reformed. We do not take an uncritical view; we take a dynamic view. We believe that the United Nations has to grow and be strengthened. That is what seems to be absent even in those parts of the Foreign Secretary's speech that are said to be in favour of the United Nations.
What are the salient factors of the world situation we have to face in the next twenty or thirty years? First, there is the anti-colonial revolution that has gone on since the end of the war, with the result, not only that the number of sovereign States has doubled and that there are more to come, but that those new communities, in terms of standards of living and so on, have higher expectations than ever before. Secondly, we have to face an explosion in the world's population which means that in forty years the population will have doubled, making all our hopes for a higher standard of living incomparably more difficult. Thirdly, there is the technological revolution which gives us new opportunities to tackle the enormous problems of standards of living. Fourthly, there is the menace of nuclear weapons, which means that our generation has to succeed in preventing large-scale war—a task that no previous generation has accomplished.
Every one of those over-riding factors is an international one that affects everyone, whether he be Communist, a member of the Western countries, or a neutral. Therefore, every one of them can be tackled only on a world scale. That being so, I should have thought that it would have been absolutely clear to all that we needed a stronger world 104 authority and a stronger respect for world law, and that the overwhelming task of statesmanship should be to strengthen this instrument and not to weaken it in any way.
Referring to the newly-independent colonial countries, the Foreign Secretary said:They are more concerned to impose their views on colonialism ' on others than to fulfil their primary duty which is to ' harmonise the actions of nations'.In view of this country's record, and that of other countries, I found that intolerably smug, because all of us on some occasions have put what we conceived to be our national interests before our duties to the United Nations. My right hon. Friend gave numerous examples of this. It is, therefore, intolerable to lecture those new countries in that way. No country is free from having applied double standards where it suited, and none has moved far enough towards the point where the interest of the United Nations is the over-riding policy of the country.
Of course, these countries are obsessed with anti-colonialism. What else does the Foreign Secretary expect? He and others should realise that it is not good enough just to boast about Britain's colonial record. Of course, there are some aspects of it of which we are entitled to be proud, but the colonial relationship itself is a humiliating relationship to the country which is a colony of some other country. A benevolent despotism is still a despotism, and nothing can alter that fact. Of course, these countries resent it, particularly when the anti-colonial battle is still going on. It may or may not be a guide to wise attitudes on the part of former colonial Powers at the United Nations. Sometimes it is not.
Here, however, we should remember the credit side. It is these new nations which defended Dag Hammarskjöld when he was under attack by Mr. Khrushchev. It is the delegates of these new nations who heckled Khrushchev when he went to the General Assembly—probably the first time in his life that he was ever heckled. It is these nations who have rejected the Troika. It is these new nations who, when the Congo crisis was in its early stages, were the first to over-ride the veto of the Security 105 Council to see that constructive measures were taken in the Congo. They do not always support the Soviet point of view, and they do not always support our point of view. Indeed, we have no right to expect that they will always support our point of view.
In other words, the situation at the General Assembly is simply a reflection of the situation in the world as it exists. I sometimes feel that the attitude of the Foreign Secretary and of many hon. Members opposite is that they dislike the 1960s so much that they want to protest against something. They will not accept the realities of a world in which the imperial writ of this country does not carry the authority that it once did.
The struggle for power between East and West is going on all the time and I should have thought that if the Foreign Secretary wanted an infallible recipe for losing the cold war, he should do two things. He should attack the former colonial Powers because of their attitude towards colonialism and he should attack the United Nations, on which these new nations base their hopes. If he does those things he is going a long way towards pushing them into the arms of Soviet influence.
I wish to refer to what the Foreign Secretary said about the financial aspects of this problem. He spoke of it rather offensively when he said:… although countries"—he was speaking of the majority of Afro-Asian nations—are free enough with their votes, they are not nearly so ready to pay their legally assessed contributions …Here again, I think this is an intolerably smug attitude. The picture conveyed is of a virtuous John Bull carrying nearly all the burden while the rest of the world has a free ride.
This is a distortion of the true position, and here I was glad that the hon. Member for Belfast, North dealt with some aspects of it in detail. To get it into perspective from the point of view of the regular budget, over the last three years it is 92 per cent. paid up. Of the 8 per cent, that is not paid up, the greater amount is owed by Nationalist China which carries a fictitious burden based on the fiction that the Government 106 in Formosa represents the whole of China and is assessed accordingly. That is all there is at stake. So far as the special accounts are concerned for operations in the Middle East and the Congo, the position is more serious. But the Foreign Secretary's speech in which he spoke of eighty-two nations being in arrears was rather absurd.
The hon. Member's reference to the way in which people pay their accounts was right on the point. Many nations had not completely paid up at the end of 1961, including Britain. At the time the Foreign Secretary made his speech, we ourselves were nearly 2 million dollars in arrears on the Congo account. It was absurd of him to make such a sweeping attack. But it is true that there are some serious difficulties. It is true that the Communist bloc. France, Belgium, and certain other countries, have refused to contribute. That is bad and we have got to find a solution to the situation. But we should not give the impression that the majority of the world is not paying. The majority of other countries are paying up, big and small, rich and poor—and some very poor.
I should like to add a point which has so far been ignored. When we talk about the contributions made to the Congo, many countries, including many poor countries, have made a contribution in something else besides cash. They have made a contribution in the lives of their soldiers who have fought and many of whom have died in the Congo. This is a contribution which we cannot ignore, and which ought to sober down some of those hon. Members who get so irate about the prospect of buying United Nations bonds and that sort of thing. These men who have fought in the Congo have been put in an appallingly difficult position because—and I think this is the fault of all of us—they did not have the support that they deserved.
What worried me about the Katanga operation was that there was a force of fewer than 20,000 men fighting in the names of a hundred countries, so badly equipped that when they were attacked by a single jet fighter they had no means of bringing it down. These men should have much greater support than they have had. Many of us have been in the Armed Forces. When most of us went to war we 107 fought in a war in which the whole nation was involved. There was a comradeship about it. There is a particular sacrifice demanded of men who go in small numbers to fight in the names of millions of other people who are living their normal peace-time lives. We ought to pay tribute to this sacrifice instead of subjecting it to the slander to which it has been subjected in expensive public relations campaigns.
The latest figure that I have been able to get about the Congo operation is that it is costing about £80,000 a week, which is one-quarter of 1 per cent. of what we spend in armaments. I believe in the defence of this country. I am prepared to support heavy taxation for defence. But if ever there were a cheap investment for the defence of Britain, it is that sum of £80,000 a week, bearing in mind what it would have cost us if the whole situation had blown up into a major war.
I will weary the House with another figure. The total of what has been spent by all the nations on operations in the Congo up to the end of last year was approximately £80 million. The world spent in eighteen months in the Congo about the same amount as it spends in eighteen hours on the arms race. That, again, is a way in which we can put this matter into perspective. We should never forget what could have been the cost of not going into the Congo—a cost in terms of millions of people who might well have starved or died of epidemics, of tribal massacres perhaps on a tremendous scale, and a situation which would have developed into a new Korea or a Vietnam which would have involved the great Powers fighting each other in that territory.
The Congo operation has got to be sustained as long as necessary, and the United Nations must be able to mount similar operations, if unhappily they become necessary in other parts of the world. The cost of doing these things must not bankrupt the United Nations and must not mean that its other long-term aims are damaged through lack of funds. Therefore, I believe that this country should be prepared if necessary to shoulder more than its share of the burden. Of course, we should try, through the machinery of the United Nations and through the International 108 Court of Justice and anywhere else, to bring to book those countries which are not paying their full share. At the same time, we should be ready and proud, as the American Government have shown themselves proud, to bear more than our share of this burden if necessary because it is a vital aspect of our policy that the United Nations should succeed in these ventures.
I do not want to talk entirely about finance. I believe there are many other ways in which we could strengthen the United Nations, but finance is one example.
§ Sir John Maitland (Horncastle)
I should like to correct an impression which the hon. Member is giving to the House. Surely it is correct, as was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir), who was a delegate to the United Nations, that we are paying the second largest amount of any nation in the United Nations. The hon. Gentleman should not forget that.
§ Mr. Prentice
I am not sure whether the Soviet contribution is not the second biggest. Certainly the Soviet assessment is the second biggest, although the fact that Russia does not pay into the Congo fund may mean, if this is added to the regular budget, that we are paying more than Russia is paying. I am not sure about the arithmetic. What I am saying to hon. Members opposite is, "Stop moaning, about it, and, secondly, while we try to get other countries to pay their share, bear in mind that we must not resent paying more than our share in the meantime in order to make certain that these operations do not fail for lack of funds."
There are many other examples at the United Nations in which we have been rather mean about finance. The hon. Member reminded me about the share which we pay and for which we are assessed, but a great many operations have been launched, particularly by some United Nations agencies, which have been financed by special funds. The World Health Organisation organised a special fund to pay for a campaign to eradicate malaria throughout the world, but Britain refused to contribute to it on the ground that we were contributing to the regular budget of the World Health Organisation. The 109 International Labour Organisation recently started an Institute of Labour Studies, and Mr. Hilary Marquand left the House to go there as director. There is a special endowment fund in this respect. The British Government refused to contribute to it because they said that we are paying enough to the regular budget of the I.L.O.
Only this afternoon at Question Time I asked the Minister of Agriculture whether we should be making a contribution in terms of food or cash to the World Food Bank, which was initiated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation in November. He said that we had reached no decision, but he did not think that we should do anything in respect of food and that it was doubtful whether we would do very much in terms of cash.
All these are thoroughly disappointing answers. The point which I urge on the House is that if we believe in the United Nations we must seize the opportunity to strengthen its various ventures in all these fields and do everything we possibly can in that direction.
The choice, surely, which faces the Government in all this is, on the one hand, shall they continue to treat the United Nations grudgingly as a sort of embarrassment, doing what they must but no more, being afraid of upsetting the troglodytes within their own party who cannot accept the realities of the 1960s, or, on the other hand, shall they have a dynamic concept of the United Nations in which they are determined to work for its success and if necessary to demand greater sacrifices of the British people to that end?
M. Mendés-France coined the phrase that to govern is to choose. The Government have not made a choice on this vital matter. On the one hand, they dare not come out too far against the United Nations, largely, I suspect, because they are afraid of upsetting the American Government. On the other hand, they do not like to support it too wholeheartedly because they are afraid of upsetting elements on their own back benches. In this field of policy, as in so many others, we are lacking decision and leadership from the Government of the day. They ought to make way for a Government who can provide leadership on these issues.
§ 7.24 p.m.
§ Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)
It is rather an apt commentary on the debate this afternoon that the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) should confuse an assessment with a contribution. I do not suppose that he makes such a mistake when he receives his Income Tax assessment from his local inspector of taxes. If he can persuade him that the receipt of an assessment is equivalent to having paid the tax demanded, then I have no doubt that he would be very successful indeed if he ever obtains a position on the Treasury Bench.
Listening to the debate, I have found it a great deal easier to follow the motives of the Motion of censure than to follow the logic. I do not see why my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary should be censured for making what I regard as extremely pertinent criticisms and observations on certain trends which have developed within the United Nations during the last year or two. I do not take the view that anybody who criticises an institution is necessarily committing a frightful crime. Of course, we all have our ideals in the House and outside it, both collective and individual, irrespective of where we sit in the House. The world would not go very far or very fast without ideals.
But one of the most dangerous mistakes is to fail to recognise when achievement falls short of ideals, and I do not believe that it serves the cause of the United Nations to put it upon a pedestal or to turn it into a golden calf and to subject it to blind idolatry, any more than the cause of the old League of Nations, to which the Leader of the Opposition referred, was best served by blind adherence to the phrase "collective security", which became a sort of anæsthetic. "Hurrah for collective security", was the cry of the Labour Party in those days, adding the rider, so long as somebody else provides the security". Collective security in relation to preventing Japanese aggression against Manchuria in 1933 was, as the Leader of the Opposition knows, an empty and meaningless phrase.
The United Nations is not a great organisation composed of 104 nations capable of enforcing law, order and justice in the world. We wish it were, 111 but it is not, and we have to recognise the facts. The United Nations reflects, both in the Security Council as one forum and in the General Assembly as another forum, the degree of agreement or disagreement which happens to prevail in the world at any given moment. Within the 104 nations is the Soviet bloc, which, quite frankly, is not in the least concerned with promoting law and order; its more immediate concern is to achieve the reverse.
Against this background, I cannot accept the Labour Party's view that there is no room for constructive criticism. I ask any hon. Member opposite whether he can put his hand on his heart and say that he finds no discrepancy between the reaction of the United Nations to events in Angola and the reaction of the United Nations to open aggression in Goa. If actions in Angola were wrong, then aggression on Goa cannot possibly have been right.
Next, I want to say a few words about the resolution of December, 1960, to which the Foreign Secretary referred in his speech and to which the Leader of the Opposition referred today. It is no good the Leader of the Opposition saying that the resolution did not mean what it said, and that it did not demand the immediate setting up of independence in the dependent territories, because the last sentence of the resolution, which was quoted in the Foreign Secretary's speech, reads:Inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence.Independence without adequate political, economic, social or educational preparedness is independence in name only; it is simply another word for chaos.
I come to the events of the Congo. Is there no room for criticism there? Have no eyebrows been raised at all? Are hon. Members opposite quite happy about the events which took place in the Congo and about all the actions of the United Nations? I was very surprised, when I read the articles by Dr. O'Brien in the Observer, that they did not attract more public attention, because it seems to me that he made the most staggering revelations. I will make only one quotation—a very short extract.
112 Dr. O'Brien describes how he was instructed by Mr. Khiari to take over the post office, the radio studio and the transmitter; to raid the Surété and Ministry of Information offices; to arrest any European officials found there, and seize their files; and to arrest a whole series of Katangan Ministers, including Mr. Tshombe if necessary. He went on to say:The trouble was that nobody outside Elisabethville, except Mr. Khiari and Mr. Fabry, seems to have known about the instructions.He added something which I find even more staggering:When I went to Leopoldville, several weeks after the close of hostilities, I found to my bewilderment that neither General MacKeown nor Mr. Linner knew the instructions I had received. In New York I found that neither Dr. Bunche nor General Rikhye—the Military Adviser—knew about them either. Dr. Bunche believes that Mr. Hammarskjoeld did not know about them at all.He added, finally:It seems unlikely to me now that Hammarskjoeld did know the details of the instructions given to us.If hon. Members of the party opposite think that that is a satisfactory situation, I do not agree with them. I have only one comment on the astonishing revelations in the article by Dr. O'Brien. To put it into mild Parliamentary language, does the party opposite think that the situation described by Dr. O'Brien is "in order"?
§ Mr. Prentice
Hon. Members opposite have said that we think that everything has been satisfactory in the Congo. Of course we do not. The situation has been so difficult and complicated that it is only natural that certain mistakes have been made. The question which the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends have to answer is whether they would have preferred the United Nations not to go in. What would be the position today if the United Nations had not gone in?
§ Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe
My noble Friend has said many times that he approved of the entry of the United Nations into the Congo. The question to which I am referring is this: having gone in in relation to one set of resolutions, I am doubtful whether the United Nations has carried out, either in the letter or the spirit, what those resolutions were presumed to mean. This, I 113 think, is further justification for what I regard as the realistic criticisms by my noble Friend of certain aspects of the United Nations.
Something even worse than the incidents described by Dr. O'Brien in those articles followed. Last December there was heavy fighting. The hon. Member for East Ham, North referred in his speech to the casualties suffered by United Nations troops. Let us suppose that in the course of quelling some disorder British or Rhodesian troops had mortared an African hospital, caused casualties in the maternity ward, and had also damaged civilian property. What a row there would have been, and rightly so. The party opposite would have sought to move the Adjournment of the House. There would have been an ugly scramble to get on television.
The right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker)—I am sorry that he has left the Chamber—whose passionate idealism we all admire, would have had a heart attack. He would have been taken to Westminster Hospital, and we would all have gone anxiously to the ticker-tape to see whether he was recovering. All that would have happened if British or Rhodesian troops had mortared an African hospital and caused casualties.
The United Nations troops did that and a lot more. What happened? Certainly, there was an Adjournment debate just before Christmas, and certainly there was much criticism, but was there criticism from the benches opposite about the action of the United Nations? Did anybody ask whether it was done with or without any United Nations resolution? Of course not. The criticism was levelled at the Government for not agreeing straight away to provide bigger and better bombs so that there would be more casualties, without any conditions attaching to the use of the bombs.
It was the action of the United Nations in the Congo which, to use a rather ghastly American phrase, highlighted its weaknesses and limitations, and which has caused people both in the House and in the country to wonder where the United Nations might go unless somebody says something fairly soon.
114 It would be difficult enough to conduct the sort of operations which United Nations troops are trying to conduct in the Congo if there were well-disciplined troops under officers with long experience of Africa, and where there was a well-tried channel of command with absolutely clear orders in one language. That would be difficult; but as regards the United Nations contingents, such orders, if any, as they received were derived from wholly woolly resolutions, and the resolutions had to be woolly otherwise they would not have got a two-thirds majority.
We now know that the resolutions which were thought to mean one thing in New York were interpreted differently either in Leopoldville or Elisabethville, and very largely because the executives and the troops sent out to carry out the terms of the resolutions were, so to speak, specially chosen for their lack of experience. The old colonial Powers, who knew a bit about this kind of thing and who could have conducted operations in aid of the civil Power with almost no casualties, were automatically blackballed. They were out.
In that context, the United Nations sowed the wind, and other victims have reaped the whirlwind. If the Katanga gendarmerie are removed without putting something else in their place, this merely creates a vacuum. In come Gizengist troops and there are massacres. Unfortunately, nineteen missionaries have already been massacred. This is bound to happen if those who are operating where law and order has broken down have no experience of the problems.
Many countries and people are wondering just where the United Nations is going in the Congo. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said, it is getting very close to functioning as a trustee Power in a former Colonial Territory. The United Nations has neither the mandate, the authority, the personnel, nor the experience to do this. It is wrong to place on the United Nations machinery a burden which it is unable to sustain. It is wrong for nations to table and vote for resolutions when they are not responsible for their execution, and are not even prepared to contribute towards the cost of carrying them out. My noble Friend did no more than express what many people both in this 115 country and outside were feeling about the United Nations. In doing so, so far from rendering a disservice, he rendered a great service.
This Motion of censure resembles in many ways certain United Nations resolutions. It is woolly. It is ill-thought-out. It is the product of short-term expediency and of doubtful motives. It will be defeated tonight, and I hope that we shall not see it rear its misshapen head again.
§ 7.37 p.m.
§ Mr. K. Zilliacus (Manchester, Gorton)
The hon. Member for Windsor (Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe) has repeated the strictures of the Katanga lobby on the action of the United Nations in the Congo, but, having said that he would make some constructive criticisms, I failed to find anything constructive in what he said.
The problem of the ending of colonialism is an enormous one. In the nineteenth century 1,000 million human beings—about half the human race in those days—were put under alien rule, mostly in Asia and Africa, by a small group of Colonial Powers. Their emancipation has gone ahead very fast in this century, and is now almost complete. We are in the last stage of it. The British Commonwealth has been in the centre of it, and has a pretty good record. It has little to be ashamed of, and a good deal of which to be proud. But this is the moment when the Government, as represented by their Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, suddenly pop up with a scream of horror at discovering what is happening in the world.
My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition pointed out how ridiculous it is to speak of most of the civilised world—the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Afro-Asian members of the Commonwealth, twelve N.A.T.O. countries, the other Afro-Asian countries, the Latin Americans, and the Soviet group—as reckless and careless of peace because of their resolution asking for a speed-up of colonial emancipation. That leaves a small and select minority, who are responsible and careful about peace, and so voted against the resolution. Fascist Portugal, Fascist Spain, Belgium, France, and the Union of South Africa, the 116 rump of the colonial Powers, the incorrigibles and unteachables—with the British Tory Government lined up alongside them. Of course our own Tory Government ganged up with that little lot.
Their attitude reminds me of the old joke about the newspaper headline: "Fog in the Channel. Continent isolated." In this case it is fog in the minds of hon. and right hon. Members opposite, which leads them to conclude that most of the world is isolated except themselves and their Fascist and near-Fascist buddies.
The question of Portugal and Angola was mentioned. I think that the disgraceful thing there is that we have been supplying Portugal with arms, ostensibly for N.A.T.O. purposes, and that these have been used to carry out a policy of genocide in Angola in the teeth of the General Assembly's resolution condemning what was going on in Angola, condemning what it called repressive measures and armed action against the people of Angola and the denial to them of their fundamental rights and freedom. The Government are hypocritical accomplices of this policy, which they deplore in words and support in deeds.
As for the Belgian record in the Congo. I do not hold the Belgian Government responsible, because I believe that when it comes to the Congo it was the vast and powerful Société Générale de Belgique, which held 90 per cent. of the industrial and mineral resources of the Congo, that was really running the show. I think that the House ought to be realistic about this. The Belgian Government panicked and decided suddenly, having done nothing whatever to prepare the Congolese people for it, to get out. The local colons interpreted that policy to mean one of wholesale sabotage. They were not content with the withdrawal of every qualified person they could, but deliberately wrecked the machinery and the telecommunications system. They wrecked factories, took away essential bits of machinery and essential blueprints and plans. They deliberately set out to make the country a shambles and an unworkable mess, with the idea that they would then be asked to go back. They were cross when the Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, asked the United Nations to go in and help restore and maintain order.
117 It was, I believe, largely the fault of the colonial Powers that the U.N. directives were so mal-interpreted that we found the Prime Minister being deprived at a crucial moment of the planes and radio facilities he needed to stand up against the rebellion, which at first was insignificant, by Colonel Mbuto, an ex-Belgian security officer, and which ended by Lumumba being deposed, arrested, handed over to Tshombe, the stooge of the Union Miniére, and murdered.
Since then, American policy has been to support a "moderate" government which, from the point of view of Western property in the Congo, is regarded as safe, but is also more respectable than the disreputable tool of the Union Miniére. The pretence that Katanga is some kind of a self-governing African community which should have the right of self-determination is one of those barefaced swindles in which the party opposite are so fertile when they are up against it. This is an attempt by big business to retain its hold on the vast mineral resources of Katanga, using mercenaries and tools of its own for the purpose. What the people of Katanga want has very little to do with the matter.
I do not have to enlarge on the merits of Franco Spain and the Union of South Africa, as being wise and responsible about peace and all the rest of it.
The Government's own record is extremely poor. Some of us have not forgotten the squalid, Charter-breaking aggression in Suez, which was defeated because, contrary to expectations, the Americans, in spite of the impending Presidential election, when faced with an accomplished fact which had been concocted behind their backs, did not take it lying down. They got angry. The thing had been so mismanaged that the canal was blocked. We were cut off from oil. The Americans said, "No oil for you unless you get out," encouraged a run on the pound, and we had to make a virtue of necessity and knuckle under.
The unfortunate part is that the Prime Minister some months afterwards announced that this sordid and disastrous adventure had been wise, sound and justified. This is where I get down to the Government's attitude to the United Nations. That adventure, whatever else one might think about it, was 118 quite clearly aggression in violation of the Charter.
The Government intervened in Jordan in 1958 to preserve the régime there—a régime, after all, for which our Government were largely responsible. Jordan was an artificial creation after the war. The régime there was British subsidised and British run for many years. The Prime Minister justified all this in the House on 17th July by saying:It may be said, should we not let this revolutionary movement take over Jordan as well as Iraq and, perhaps, other places, one after the other, and then make terms with it?… The argument for standing aside and doing nothing would be different if these movements were genuinely popular and constitutional changes. But this is not a process of genuine evolutionary change. It is part of the pattern of conspiracy and subversion … There is preserved in the structure of the United Nations the old customary right of action in a crisis in self defence. The structure of the Charter preserves the customary law by which aid may be given to a nation of the kind which I have described … I do not believe that either the spirit or the latter of the United Nations Charter takes away the customary, traditional right and, I would add, duty to prevent disasters of this kind. If it were not so, then the United Nations would not be the protector of the victim, but the condoner of aggression."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th July, 1958; Vol. 591, c. 1509–10.]This equates defence with armed intervention in the internal affairs of a country to prop up a régime which, in fact, was a dictatorship, supported by, according to The Times correspondent on the spot, less than one-third of the population, of a king Who had proclaimed himself a dictator after dissolving the trade unions and political parties and gaoling their leaders. All this we claimed the right to do under the Charter. That is a policy which reduces the whole collective system of the Charter to a scrap of paper. It is precisely because the Government think that in the course of defending the old order they are entitled to do things of this kind that the Motion of censure will be voted for unanimously by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House.
With this record behind them, the Foreign Secretary had the monumental effrontery—What I call the endless audacity of non-elected persons—to upbraid the Indian Government for giving effect to the many resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly about ending Portuguese rule in Goa. Do not let us 119 forget that the General Assembly had condemned Portuguese rule as being non-progressive, reactionary and oppressive. It had asked the Portuguese to submit reports, which they refused to do, to the Trusteeship Council. It had asked the Portuguese to negotiate with India about it, which the Portuguese had refused to do. It had drawn attention to the self-determination principle, laid down in the Charter, but the Portuguese would have none of it. They continued to rule the colony dictatorially. They continued to shoot down peaceful demonstrators. All this had gone on for fifteen years.
There was a howl of horror on the part of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite when the Indian Government at last said "Colonial rule rests on force. It has no title in the consent of the people. If the colonial rulers will not listen to any other arguments and will not submit to any other procedure for winding up this iniquitous state of affairs, they will have to be dealt with in the only terms which they understand."
§ Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans)
If the hon. Gentleman is following that argument to its logical conclusion, is he going to say that he, on that side of the House, would support an effort by West Germany to liberate the people of East Berlin and give them self-determination?
§ Mr. Zilliacus
There is no resolution of the General Assembly recommending any such action, but there is a whole set of resolutions about ending colonial rule. However, I will take the hon. Member up on that. I do not want to quibble about facts. I would say that the use of force is always deplorable and that peaceful methods are always better—always. But when very little force is needed to correct a long-standing and acute injustice, and there is no redress by any other method, then it may be the lesser evil. Whereas to start a world war over Berlin would in all conceivable circumstances be the greatest possible evil.
The point about this is that we really have got to understand what is happening in the world, in our own interests. We cannot make enemies of these great forces which are moving a large part 120 of humanity and which are supported by the great majority of humanity.
I would recall the speech made by the former Minister of Defence, now Lard Head, in the next to the last defence debate in which he took part. Lord Head pointed out that we were dealing in military terms with what was essentially an economic and social and ideological problem, and that if we went on, for instance, handling the Middle East as we have been handling it, within ten years the Middle East would go Communist. That is what I have tried to hammer home again and again. If we insist on giving the Communists the monopoly, as it were, of the performing rights in appealing to the very strongest motives in the modern world—the desire for national independence, the desire for social justice and the desire for peace—quite unnecessarily we shall be turning the uncommitted nations and anti-colonial nationalists in sheer despair in the direction in which, above all, most hon. Members do not want them to turn. I do not want them to turn in that direction either, but I take it rather more calmly than others do.
I recall the dictum of The Times a long time ago when commenting on the speech of the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir. W. Churchill) at Fulton, Missouri, saying that this was a counsel of despair, because it failed to recognise that Communism and Western democracy are not fatal opposites doomed to divide the world between them, but that they can learn something from each other, that there is some common ground, and that in the Middle East and Eastern Europe—and I would now add, Africa—the state of development of these peoples may call for the setting up of governments intermediate between Western democracy and Eastern Communism and that that may suit them best at their present stage of development.
In any case, I am so confident of the superiority and the greater attractiveness of our own conceptions of democracy and freedom and the rule of law that I believe that the more we help in raising standards of living and education, the more the peoples of the world, including the peoples of the Communist one-third of the world, will acknowledge 121 and demand and press for those conceptions of freedom and democracy.
There is also a very disquieting parallel with the past in this business. I am now talking as a former League of Nations official who was in Geneva for all the nineteen years between the wars and took part in the fight for peace there. Somebody has mentioned China. When the Japanese attacked in Manchuria we had the choice of trying to co-operate with the Americans, who were prepared to take parallel action under the Nine-Power Treaty. How far they were prepared to go was not clear, and we never tried to find out, but they were prepared to go a great deal further than we did. Hon. Members opposite should read what Lord Lytton had to say on that subject at the time. However, we thought that it would be smarter to try to do a deal between British and Japanese imperialism at the expense of Chinese nationalism. But all we accomplished was to discredit ourselves completely, drive a nail in the coffin of the League of Nations and, finally, lose out entirely.
When the business of Mussolini's attack on Ethiopia came along, there was the most extraordinary double-crossing that I have ever seen in my life——
§ Mr. Paul Williams (Sunderland, South)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Is there any way in which we can draw to your attention the fact that the Motion of censure relates to a speech made by the Foreign Secretary, and that long discourses about the League of Nations seem LI be rather far from the point?
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Further to the point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. In ruling upon it, will you bear in mind that every single speech, right from that of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, followed by that of the Prime Minister, in the debate has brought in discussion of the whole idea of the League of Nations and the United Nations, and the lessons that can be drawn from the failures or successes of those organisations?
§ Mr. Zilliacus
Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I said just now that there is a parallel between those events and what is happening today, and I was laying the foundation for drawing the parallel.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Robert Grimston)
There has been some discussion of the League of Nations throughout the debate. If the hon. Member goes too far I shall call him to order, but so far I do not consider that he has done so. However, I would ask him to confine his remarks as much as possible in order that other hon. Members may have a chance to take part in the debate.
§ Mr. Zilliacus
Publicly at that time the Government began by denouncing the collective security Peace Ballot. It was called a blood ballot, and people who supported it were accused of wanting preventive war. When the ballot succeeded, the Government turned round and said that they were all for collective security. They sent Sir Samuel Hoare to Geneva, and on 11th September he talked to the League of Nations Assembly about steady and collective resistance to any act of aggression. The day before he had explained to M. Laval that there could be no question of Britain taking the lead or supporting any measure which might lead to war with Italy. This was passed on to Mussolini who said, "As long as you do not apply an oil embargo, which would finish me, I do not care what you do." It was on that basis that the swindle was conducted.
The Government were working behind the scenes on the basis of the 1899 agreement and 1906 Treaty with Italy, and the so-called Maffey Report, for an imperialist deal to carve up Abyssinia. When this was finally exposed over the Hoare-Laval deal, there was an almighty row in the House. Earl Winterton made a speech almost exactly like the speech made in connection with the doings of the Katanga lobby by the hon. and noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke).
Earl Winterton said:Hon. Members opposite may laugh at us, the real Conservative Party, for our views, but if we thought that that was the real meaning of the Government's policy"—that is, applying sanctions even of such a character that there was a risk of war with Italy—which we do not, we would break up the National Government tomorrow."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 19th December. 1935; Vol. 307, c. 2061.]123 The House will recollect the quotation given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) on 14th December from the television interview with the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South. The noble Lord was asked why the Government had changed their mind about sending the bombs asked for by the United Nations. He replied:I should think that they had a very strong expression of opinion from the Conservative Party throughout Westminster and in the country over the weekend, and when the Conservative Party is united and determined not to have something, the Government are obliged to give way.That is it. That is the old Ur-Tories coming to the fore. It is their old hankering for imperialism and power politics wrapped up in lip service to the United Nations. The Foreign Secretary is the spokesman and the hero of that primitive element. That is why we are moving a Motion of censure on him.
I now want to come to the basic issue in all this, and that is what we have to do if we are to pursue a policy in the United Nations which will try to implement its purposes, principles and obligations in relation to all States. To do that we shall have to realise that an anti-Communist crusade or a policy of anti-Communist containment is not compatible with a United Nations policy, because the United Nations Charter, as the Prime Minister pointed out in his speech, bases collective security on the assumption that the great Powers which are permanent members of the Security Council will pull together to deal with threats to the peace.
In the Foreign Office Commentary on the Charter published in 1945, it was explained that the unanimity rule was necessary because the great Powers had the main responsibility for any coercive action and no great Power would allow itself to be committed by a majority vote of other Powers to take such action, that is, engage in what might develop into war. Contrariwise, it was said that, unless the unanimity rule was strictly applied, the United Nations might find itself committed by a Security Council decision to go to war against a great Power, in which case, it was said—with charming meiosis—the United Nations would have failed in its purpose"—124 and, incidentally, in present circum- stances, the human race would cease to exist.
What is overlooked is that this provision is also a protection for the smaller States. When Sweden, for instance, applied for admission to the United Nations, her application was preceded by a discussion in which the Swedish Government satisfied themselves that they would have no obligation to take part in collective coercive action, even of an economic character, under the Charter, except when the great Powers were unanimous, which meant that they would in no circumstances be pitted against a great Power.
This is the cardinal difference between the Charter and the Covenant of the League: under the Covenant the member States had to decide for themselves whether or not a situation had arisen in which they were obliged to apply sanctions. Under the charter, they have accepted the duty to apply economic sanctions on the decision of the Security Council. But this decision can be taken only by a unanimous vote of the great Powers and two of the minor Powers on the Security Council.
The Secretary-General in his first annual report pointed out that this meant that the great Powers had an obligation always to settle their differences by peaceful means in a spirit of conciliation and compromise, and never to give up the attempt until they had succeeded. I have always said that the Soviet Government, particularly in the days of Stalin, was contumacious, tough and very difficult to deal with and all too ready to reach for the veto. At the same time, I see no ecape from the conclusion that the Western Powers did not try hard enough and did not propose reasonable solutions which could have brought about a settlement. The responsibility was divided.
In this situation, the responsibility lies mostly on the Western Powers for deciding that they must assume that the Soviet Union wished to attack them and for consequently falling back on military alliances, which meant going back to the balance of power.
It is true that they took Article 51, the self-defence reservation provision of the Charter, as the excuse for so doing. But this was an abuse of an Article which 125 was intended as an exception to the rule that the United Nations should deal collectively, on the decision of the Security Council, withthreats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggressionThey have turned the exception into the rule, thereby reducing the rule to a dead letter, and used this provision of the Charter to go straight back to the balance of power and rival alliances, identifying defence with negotiation from strength, which means imposing one's will with the help of a threat of force, and with the containment of Communism, which in practice developed into the sort of interventionist policies which the Prime Minister claimed he was justified in pursuing in the Middle East in the quotation I gave a short time ago. All that makes nonsense of the Charter.
We shall have to say goodbye to a great deal of this. We have achieved nothing by it. We are losing a great deal, both militarily and politically. We are becoming more and more isolated and weaker in the world, and the forces opposed to those policies are growing. It is time we renounced them.
If we want to make a reality of the principles, purposes and obligations of the United Nations Charter in our relations with other countries, we must take the risk of acting on the basic assumption of the Charter. We must pay attention to the kind of analysis put forward so often by the late Aneurin Bevan. He used to point out that there is no social or ideological difference between us and the Soviet Union for which it could be worth risking the survival of the human race, that Communism is a social challenge not a military threat, that it is not Britain's job to fight Communism or put down revolutions in other people's countries, that neither side wants to attack the other, that the arms race is kept going by mutual fear and suspicion, and that the more we prepare for instant war against the imaginary danger of aggression, the greater we make the real danger of war by accident.
We ought to take our stand on those insights, and put forward proposals for disarmament and political settlements similar to those so long and so vigourously pressed on the Government by the 126 Opposition. Those proposals would, in fact, provide a basis of negotiation acceptable to those with whom we have to negotiate. We should back this by saying that we will not associate ourselves with or countenance the abuse of the self-defence reservation in Article 51 of the Charter to justify policies of armed intervention to prop up reactionary régimes or put down movements or régimes which we regard, for one reason or another, as dangerous to the old order. Further, we should warn our allies that unless they are prepared to negotiate and compromise and come to a reasonable agreement with us on how to make peace, and if they are obdurate and refuse to come to terms, and continue to pursue policies with which we disagree and regard as dangerous and provocative, then, because N.A.T.O. can be invoked only in cases of unprovoked aggression, they need not count on us to help them if they get into trouble as a result of pursuing their policies. The Minister of Defence, according to the Press, has threatened the Government of Western Germany with withdrawing British Forces from N.A.T.O. unless they buy more arms from us. That I regard as a singularly squalid transaction. But the principle is admitted. Why not use it for a good purpose and say that, unless we can come to terms with our allies on how to make peace, we shall refuse to be committed by them to going to war? That would give us some real bargaining power.
Once we take our stand on propositions and policies of that kind and take the initiative, we can tackle the job of transferring the relations between the Powers from the balance of power to the United Nations and its Charter. Indeed, our proposals for settlement would include an all-European collective security treaty, disarmament and disengagement, and the progressive winding-up of the rival alliances as part of that policy, the whole thing within the framework of the United Nations.
Then, in tackling the actual question of the reform of the United Nations, let us not forget that it is not possible to revise the Charter without the unanimous consent of the great Powers. As has been said, the Soviet Union says that, unless China is admitted to the 127 United Nations, she will refuse to consider the reform of the Charter. I suggest that we give up the attempt to restore the predominance that the West has lost in the General Assembly and we should, instead, concentrate on getting China into the Security Council where she belongs. Once that is done, it will be possible, I believe, to take the first step towards enlarging the latter by getting agreement on bringing India in as a permanent member. I think that we should reach agreement fairly quickly on that.
Further, in connection with the kind of settlements which the Opposition at least stand for in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, we should have to set up East-West regional agreements, organisations and arrangements for control and co-operation, and these would in fact tend to set up regional organs of the United Nations. This should, I think, be supplemented by encouraging the framing and adoption of conciliation agreements between as many States as possible under Article 38 of the Charter, which enables the Security Council to make recommendations on how to settle disputes without raising the question of whether the existence of a dispute endangers peace. This is rather important because, by this means, one can discuss matters on their merits and without accusing either side of endangering peace by aggressive action.
I should like to see the optional clause on the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court restored. The Russians have never accepted it. I believe that, on the basis of a settlement of this sort, there would be a chance of getting them to accept it. I should like to see our Government and the United States Government withdraw the reservations they have made, which have practically annulled the optional clause, and accept it on the basis of reciprocity, as laid down in the International Court's Constitution, but perhaps with a proviso that it should operate only vis-à-vis States which had been parties for at least three years to the optional clause. That would get round the objection that a State may join for the purposes of a dispute and then get out again.
What I am getting at is that we ought to have a policy in which Britain, in and 128 through the Commonwealth, all the members of which are members of the United Nations and bound by the Charter and most of whom are neutralist, takes her stand on the Charter and tries to act as mediator to diminish the differences, to bridge the gulf between East and West, to encourage more trade and economic co-operation between East and West, to further joint aid to under-developed territories and to use fully the machinery of the United Nations. On those lines, I believe that we can give a lead which will incalculably strengthen the United Nations and mean the beginning of the end of the cold war.
§ 8.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Paul Williams (Sunderland, South)
There stands on the Order Paper a Motion of censure which statesThat this House deplores the attack made upon the United Nations by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs …I hope that I shall be forgiven if I return to that Motion.
However the Opposition twist and turn, however much they may adduce arguments, or however they try to influence this debate, they cannot get away from the central paragraph of the Foreign Secretary's speech, and I think that it should be placed on record. This is what the Foreign Secretary said:But having drawn up the balance sheet between pessimism and hope I come down decidedly on the side of hope; and more than that, on a determined effort by ourselves and those who feel like us to bring the United Nations back to working the Charter as it was meant to be. Peace and security must be reinstated as its primary aims".Is it this that the Opposition are attacking? Is it this that they say is an attack on the United Nations? I should have thought that this was the central point of the Foreign Secretary's speech. Frankly, I would rather he made a stronger attack on the United Nations, but a speech with that paragraph as its core cannot really be regarded, at any rate in this House, in which we speak fairly frankly sometimes, as a savage or damaging attack on the United Nations.
… I come down decidedly on the side of hope …Is this what the Opposition are attacking? I wish that they had been a little more specific about what they thought of this paragraph.
129 Perhaps the Opposition are worried about what the Foreign Secretary said on double standards. But surely there have been double standards in many of the speeches today. Over and over again hon. Members opposite have talked about colonialism, in part, to be fair, paying some tribute to Britain's rôle in the past, but also attacking our present approach to colonial responsibility without ever raising any question about Russia's rôle in the world. This is the double standard which occurs both within and outwith this House. Unless the Opposition can be more frank and criticise Russia's colonial and imperialistic policies at the same time as they criticise Britain's, then there are many of us on this side who will not take their judgment with any great degree of seriousness.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Lady Tweedsmuir) said, there are three categories of people who differ in their appreciation of the United Nations. There are those who say, "My United Nations, right or wrong" It is only fair to say to the Opposition that there are some on this side who think that that is their attitude on all occasions. To those who take this view, even to raise a tremor of a doubt about the working of the United Nations is considered to be an attack. I do not believe that the Foreign Secretary's speech was an attack. It raised legitimate doubts, and I wish that the Opposition would get back to the Charter in the way which was indicated by the Foreign Secretary in his speech at Berwick.
But "My United Nations, right or wrong" is no policy for Britain. The United Nations as an instrument for conversation in the world is no replacement for national aims, ambitions and policy. It would be folly for us to tie ourselves automatically to the Gadarene swine of the United Nations Charter. This is not the automatic solution of all problems.
It is also a mistake to say that the United Nations is always wrong. It is a human institution which can occasionally be right. But surely the important thing is that the judgment should be, for once, somewhere in between—neither too far from being right nor too 130 far from being wrong, but being human and sometimes right.
The question is: how can we improve the working of the United Nations? I suggest that in the paragraph to which I referred the Foreign Secretary has given the answer at this stage at any rate. It is Utopian nonsense to talk about forms of world government. I should have thought that we in our normal British tradition should try to go step by step. Let us try to make the Charter work first. There are the highbrow intellectuals who talk about those on this side not understanding the 1960s. They are so busy with their intellectual superiority that they get their feet above their heads. What matters is getting back to the Charter. Surely this means returning power from the hands of the General Assembly to the hands of the Security Council.
§ Mr. Williams
The hon. Gentleman asks, "Who took it out?" In the debate, there has been reference to the uniting-for-peace resolution. I believe this to be a catastrophic development in the operation of the Charter and that we want to try to turn our backs on that and restore power to where it should be—in the Security Council. Based as it is on weighted votes and weighted influence, it does, in fact, recognise that there are differences of power, differences of responsibility and differences of circumstance in the world. I wish that we would get this more clearly in our minds.
To treat all nations as equal is about as ridiculous a proposition as one could imagine. Nations are not equal. They have different powers and different responsibilities, and the sooner we go back to the idea of the Security Council being the motive influence in the United Nations the better it will be for our national interests and for the United Nations, too. This would return the General Assembly to being a talking shop. This is something of which I would thoroughly approve, for it seems to me that it is just this sort of forum which we need for the exchange of views and for the influencing of opinions, but not for the taking of decisions to be executed by a United Nations authority.
131 I therefore wish, first, that power should be restored to the Security Council; secondly, that the General Assembly should be restored to its position of being a talking shop, and, thirdly, that we should influence if we can the prompt payment of contributions and that member States which do not pay promptly should be disqualified from speaking or voting. I believe that unless these three things come about Britain should not go ahead with her intention to buy United Nations bonds and should even consider suspending her regular contribution. Why should we pay twice for the shortcomings, failures and folly of other nations?
I should have thought that these were perfectly reasonable requests that we could make both in terms of policy and as sanctions to ensure that those policies are carried out.
§ Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that, if we suspended our contribution to the United Nations, it would not be an encouragement for those who are not paying at present to resume paying?
§ Mr. Williams
The point, surely, is this. At the moment—I do not want to use the phrase offensively—nations are behaving irresponsibly. They are in membership of an association. They are gaining the privileges and the rights of the forum and all the advantages that go with it without making the contribution which one can legitimately expect them to make. My sole request is that we should be rather more forthright in saying that if a nation is to gain the advantages of membership of a club, it should have the good grace, decency and honesty which we all proclaim to pay the subscription at the same time. Unless that circumstance arises, we should consider stopping our regular contributions, for what we are doing is to finance dishonesty. Hon. Members opposite and on this side ask us to take a moral approach to the problems of the world. Here is one example. Let people pay for the privileges which they receive.
I come, finally, to the point made in his speech by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, when, if he did not quite say that the United Nations was irrelevant to the solution of the world's 132 problems, he went fairly close to it. We will not reconcile the interests of East and West, of freedom and dictatorship, in the forum of the United Nations, either by speech or by the banging of shoes upon the table. The United Nations is a useful talking shop and no more, but the détente which the Prime Minister expressed a desire to achieve, the working to a summit, to a top agreement, will not be achieved on the floor of the General Assembly or in the Security Council.
That substantial advance in knocking the sharpnesses and enmities off personal relations in the world will occur only as the result of secret diplomacy and the gaining of one point of advantage and compromise after another and conciliation with the other side. This is why I say that although the United Nations may have a function to perform in terms of being a talking shop for the exchange of views, it is not necessarily or even automatically the right way for conducting top-level diplomacy.
I hope that we will see policies develop where power is returned from the General Assembly to the Security Council, where the General Assembly takes over again the function of being a forum for views, where members will be obliged to pay their moneys or lose their votes and where the really serious business of reconciling Russian interests with those of Britain and the N.A.T.O. Powers and the Commonwealth, on the other side, can be carried out through secret diplomacy in the way which has proved reasonable and justifiable in the past.
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Mr. A. J. Irvine (Liverpool, Edge Hill)
It is an interesting exercise to try to discover, in the course of a debate such as we have had today, the real view of the contemporary Conservative Party about the United Nations. I think that it is true to say that the speech which we have just heard from the hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. P. Williams) revealed a basic disposition to disparage many of the activities of the United Nations to which a great many other hon. Members attach importance. I see in his place the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills), who spoke earlier and revealed a quite different approach towards the United Nations 133 and who showed a good deal of sympathy with its objectives and with some of its actions and policies.
In this spectrum of opinion about the United Nations in the Conservative Party, the question we really have to consider is what position is taken up by the Foreign Secretary, whose speech is the subject of today's debate. Are there to be found in that speech any signs of a basic hostility towards the United Nations as at present constituted or any signs of real dissatisfaction with it?
It is true that in the speech of the Foreign Secretary there are passages that can be called in aid by those who want to argue from it that he is to be regarded as an ally and supporter of the United Nations. One must, however, go rather further than a study of these passages to discover what the Foreign Secretary is really seeking to convey. It is not an easy matter to discover what he is after. It is like chasing the Cheshire cat and it calls for a fair amount of sophistication.
There is the reference in the Foreign Secretary's speech to double standards. There is his reference also to the resolutions which, in his words, reveal an almost total lack of responsibility. That sounds critical enough. The significant feature is that he chooses to hang this part of the argument, so to speak, upon the Goa peg. One asks oneself why he chooses to do this.
As soon as the Goa affair blew up, the Security Council met almost immediately and a resolution, carried by the seven votes which, in the Security Council, are necessary to give an effective majority to a proposition, was passed, deploring the use of force and calling for a cease-fire and for the withdrawal of troops. So far as that went, well and good. Up to that point, on the very issue which the Foreign Secretary takes as the basis for his criticism of the developments going on inside the United Nations, the Security Council had surely done what it was appropriate and right for it to do, as we can all agree.
Then, however, came the Soviet veto, followed, it is true, by a resolution which invoked the famous earlier Resolution 1514, the one that called for immediate steps to end colonialism. It called for these steps without reservation and added the comment, which has been 134 referred to in speeches today, that the movement towards independence should not be delayed by pretexts.
Be that as it may, when one studies the reaction of the Security Council to the matter of Goa, it seems to me that that latter part of the proceedings was merely a piece of ideological by-play. What was significant in the treatment by the Security Council of Goa was, first, the majority resolution condemning the action taken, and secondly, the Soviet veto. That being so, it seems odd that the Foreign Secretary should have seized upon Goa, as he appears to have done in his speech, as the occasion for making ponderous animadversions upon the machinery and processes of the whole United Nations.
In his speech today, the Prime Minister insisted, to an extent which might be regarded as going some distance towards disparaging the importance of the United Nations, upon the circumstance that the real issue in the modern world is between the Soviet Union and the West, and that until that basic conflict is resolved there is not much that mankind can do. Every hon. Member will recognise that there is a good deal of truth in that.
If, however, that is true, as in large part it may be, and if when the matter of Goa arose the significant circumstance was once again the application of the Soviet veto, why, in that context, does the Foreign Secretary seize upon Goa as the occasion for the animadversions which his speech contained? it is that disposition of his which leads us oat this side to wonder whether the speech, despite all the pious platitudes that it contains, does not reveal a basic distrust of the United Nations as it is at present operating and developing its procedures.
I think that the Foreign Secretary came, and I think that the Government come, to the problem of Goa preconditioned by what had been going on in the Congo, and that if one studies the reaction of Government spokesmen to the Congo, and tries to take a fair view of it, one sees a good many signs, true, of differences of opinion, but also of a disposition that is at least equivocal towards the whole Congo enterprise of the United Nations. It was perfectly clear 135 the moment that there emerged a movement for Katangese separatism that the United Nations would be in a position of the very greatest difficulty. It was a situation in which, if ever circumstances warranted it, there should have been the greatest possible consideration to the efforts being made by the United Nations and the greatest sympathy towards them. But in several ways, as I believe, the Government revealed their doubts and hesitations about the whole enterprise in the Congo.
I should like to give to the House one illustration of the kind of thing that I mean. A good deal was heard—it invariably is in this type of situation—of alleged atrocities. I took particular note of the allegation which was made against United Nations forces that some of them had fired upon vehicles carrying the Red Cross. It had been reported to the United Nations before the beginning of this year—at the end of 1961 it had been reported to them—that the illegal use of vehicles marked with this Red Cross for attacks against United Nations forces was creating deep and dangerous uncertainty, and this was being carried on to such an extent, so the United Nations was told, that the International Red Cross, in Katanga, was obliged to issue warnings over the Katanga radio.
Yet as late as 29th January of this year—and I refer to column 695 of the OFFICIAL REPORT for that day—when Questions were put to the Minister of State about this matter it required a question from my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) to elicit any reference from the Government to this important circumstance and to the fact that these allegations against the Katangese were being made. If they were true they would exempt the United Nations from much blame and criticism being attached to them. It was only a question by my right hon. Friend that elicited from the Minister of State any reference to the matter at all.
We see, then, that evidence like this exists that the Government—although they have, no doubt, among their supporters large numbers of perfectly honest and genuine supporters of the United Nations, taking account, as they have to take account, of the balance of opinion 136 inside the Tory Party—do not give the United Nations the strong, unwavering and energetic support which they ought to give. We think that the Government make it much too easy, by the policy they pursue, for dangerous talk to develop, as increasingly such talk has developed, about the need for association among the white races against the Afro-Asian bloc. Such talk we believe to be contrary to the general interest and the interests of world peace.
This attitude of the Government seems to many of us to be in character with what the British action was when Mr. Louw, on behalf of the South African Government, tried to adjourn the debate in the United Nations on South-West Africa, when only Britain and Portugal abstained on the vote against them. It is in character with that other occasion when the motion inviting the United Nations Committee to investigate South-West Africa was one upon which we chose to abstain, and Britain was opposed on that issue by all the other members of the Commonwealth except Nigeria. Whichever way one looks I fear that one comes across evidence, to put it at its lowest, of a lack of enthusiasm for the United Nations.
We have been reminded repeatedly today by the Prime Minister and others that this is perhaps explained by procedural difficulties in United Nations business, the way resolutions are worded, the way matters are put to the vote. Procedural difficulties, we are assured, explain much of this; but there is no evidence that those procedural difficulties have caused equivalent anxiety to other Commonwealth States. There is no evidence that Canada has been worried about them; there is no evidence that Australia has been worried about them; and there is really an element of casuistry, even of evasion, when excuses of this kind are put forward.
There are two ways, it seems to me, of looking at the United Nations. There is certainly nothing to be gained by looking at the concept of the United Nations with sentimentality. That gets us nowhere. I think that it can be seen as a great surviving hope for the development of world peace which has the advantage of United States membership and constitutes thereby in practical and 137 realistic terms an advance upon the League. Either it is to be seen in that light or, at the other extreme, it is to be regarded, as, I think, so many hon. Members opposite do regard it, as really a dog's breakfast, too cosmopolitan, and becoming too far dedicated to anti-colonialism.
The fear is that, in the wide spectrum of Conservative opinion, there are many more than is desirable who take the latter view. At this late stage in the debate, I venture to suggest that what we come across here, when I speak of the Conservative Party and the Government supporters' reaction to the United Nations and its present problems, reveals an interesting and important characteristic of that party in the present stage of its long historical development.
The Conservative Party, to retain power in this country, has had to make such enormous concessions to its political opponents in terms of colonial, domestic, economic, industrial and other policies that it always has to look over its shoulder to study what its right wing is doing. This deeply significant characteristic of the contemporary Conservative Party is well revealed in its attitude towards the United Nations, and it makes for the ambiguous, double-dealing kind of outlook which the Foreign Secretary's speech exemplifies.
Moreover, the Conservative Party, between 1945 and 1951, under the inspiration of the present Home Secretary no doubt, had resort to a great deal of intensive research and to the development of a cast of mind, in the Conservative Central Office, which tried to combine the virtues of a Civil Service with the polemics of politics. Products of that process are in office now, brooding balefully and unconvincingly upon the scene. That type of mind, that type of outlook, is also unmistakably having its bearing and effect upon the treatment by the Government of the United Nations. It is not a type of mind well suited to great tasks.
What we need now is a broader vision—a Government who, in their attitude to the United Nations and all else, really believe in its declared objectives and try to achieve them with a note of strength and conviction which the present Administration lack.
§ 8.42 p.m.
§ Sir James Pitman (Bath)
We are here tonight to decide whether to deplore or to welcome the Foreign Secretary's speech. I was a very keen supporter of the League of Nations and I have been constantly a very strong supporter of and believer in the United Nations, and I strongly welcome my noble Friend's speech. I think that it was as good a thing as he could possibly do to save the United Nations, for if there is one thing upon which the world depends, it is that the United Nations should go from strength to strength, should succeed and persist, and should not meet the terrible fate of the League of Nations.
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition put one question by way of attack. He asked whom my noble Friend wished to persuade by his speech. Surely the relevant point was that my noble Friend was speaking at a meeting of the United Nations Association. That must be taken into account. No doubt the right hon. Gentleman makes speeches about the Labour Party to the Fabian Society, or about trade unionism to the T.U.C. Does he think it helpful to refrain from pointing out weaknesses of something to which he attaches the greatest importance? Is it not his wish that his words should make those concerned realise that the survival of the Labour Party—or of the United Nations—is a matter of the greatest importance to the world and to himself?
The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) said that the Prime Minister had defended my noble Friend on the ground that his views were correct and that he had failed to show why he had spoken out loud what he had been thinking. The hon. Member implied that my noble Friend should have kept his thoughts to himself. The British public, per contra, thinks that it is good that such things should be openly said as well as rightly thought. I am certain that the great majority of our people know that the Foreign Secretary was right to speak up. They want the United Nations and they know that its principle is right, but that in many respects it is wrong on detail. The public is 100 per cent. behind the Foreign Secretary in trying to do every- thing to put it right. I am certain that 139 the Labour Motion will get the Labour Party absolutely nowhere in the country, because what I have said is the view of the ordinary elector.
The Liberal Party was nearer the mark. But even it is not on the target when it deplores not the speech, but the lack of constructive suggestions. That meeting was not the place, nor was it the time, for constructive suggestions. The place is the House of Commons, above all. If, instead of putting down a Motion of censure, the Labour Party had put down a Motion to deal with what might have been done to make the United Nations stronger, we should have had a very useful debate. I was particularly struck by the speeches of the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) and the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson), and my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe) who were all constructive.
§ Mr. Donald Wade (Huddersfield, West)
Merely for the sake of accuracy, may I read the words of the Liberal Amendment? The hon. Member for Bath (Sir J. Pitman) did not refer to it quite accurately. It refers to:… the failure of Her Majesty's Government to pursue a consistent policy designed to strengthen the United Nations and make it more effective.
§ Sir J. Pitman
I had expected that the Liberal Party would make a contribution about what that policy might be. That was the point of my remark.
The Leader of the Opposition made a very great mistake, and I am sorry that a man of his intellect should not know the Charter and the principles of the United Nations well enough. The hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) made the same error when he said that it was pure humbug and smugness to talk about harmonising the actions of the nations, for that phrase comes straight out of Article 1 of the Charter which says:The purposes of the United Nations are:To be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.Rumour has it that there would be a great deal more effectiveness in the 140 Labour Party if its members did not behave towards one another in a disharmonious way. I have no doubt that they frequently make the point which the Foreign Secretary made, that those working together would get on a lot more effectively in achieving their ends if they had a bit of harmony and avoided attacking one another.
The point about the United Nations Charter is that it has two elements, the first being the question of whether man will survive and the second being his rights if he survives. A strong distinction is made between the two. Survival a matter for the Security Council and the other is the complete preserve of the sovereignty of each nation.
The difference between Goa and all the other issues raised by the Leader of the Opposition is that Goa came into the category or survival, because a frontier of a sovereign State was crossed aggressively. The hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus) stated what he considered was the difference between Goa and any aggressive action taken towards the integration of East and West Berlin by force. The world knows quite well that world war would break out if American tanks bulldozed "that wall" and integrated East and West Berlin, as they ought to be integrated under the Treaty, whereas everybody well knew that Goa would not be the cause of a world war, because Portugal was not Russia.
One of the most difficult problems, and that which most greatly concerns a group in the House of Commons which studies these matters, is how we are to get changes of the status quo, and by peaceful methods in all cases. They must not be settled by aggression. They must be settled by law. To what extent can those two be reconciled, and what are the mechanisms for doing that?
I submit that the whole of the attack of the Leader of the Opposition is rendered negative by his complete muddling up of examples, in none of which does he make a distinction between what is survival and world peace and thus for the Security Council—because it is a matter of man's survival—and what is for the rights of man in relation to his own national government, which is for the national Governments concerned.
141 He talked about colonialism. Let him not forget that at one time the Labour Government were a colonial power. They constantly regarded it as their first duty to preserve law and order, and to devolve self-government only in accordance with what was in the interests and for the safety of those upon whom they were devolving it. Responsibility for safety, security and internal peace could never be derogated. It is hypocritical and smug to say that the speech of the Foreign Secretary was in any way to be anything but greatly welcomed as a major contribution to the continuity of the United Nations.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)
I am sorry that I missed one or two speeches made by hon. Members on both sides of the House during the last hour, although I had heard all the speeches before that. This has been a significant and revealing debate. After some of the speeches no one would think that a large number of hon. Members opposite fought their election on support for the United Nations.
This afternoon, my right hon. Friend laid before the House the massive indictment which constitutes our charge against the Foreign Secretary. I do not need to repeat the quotations and the arguments which he used, but I must take up some of the points that were made during the debate. In replying to my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister and a number of other hon. Members opposite, including the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), made a great deal of the Foreign Secretary's criticism of countries who are behind with their subscriptions.
There need be no arguments about this. I think that we would all support the principle contained in Article 19 of the Charter, that countries which fail to pay their contributions should, in due course, lose their votes. As we have said more than once, "No representation without taxation." But the Foreign Secretary's reference was against the background of a very slanted attack upon the United Nations as at present constituted. He said—and this has been quoted a number of times today—that 82 countries were 142 behind with their subscriptions at the end of last year.
There are many different ways of measuring this, as my right hon. Friend said—and as the Prime Minister said. On the test used by the Foreign Secretary as to how one defines laggardliness in paying subscriptions, one of the laggards would be the United Kingdom. If we have a figure of 82 countries we must include those countries which were behind with their contributions in respect of the operations in the Congo, and I believe that when the Foreign Secretary spoke we were behind with our contribution, to the tune of about 2 million dollars, or between £600,000 and £700,000. We have a fairly good record for paying our subscriptions promptly, and too much should not be made of this point.
§ Mr. Wilson
Because the Foreign Secretary, to smear the United Nations, made the point that 82 nations were behind with their subscriptions: and if he is right about those 82 one of those was Britain. If the hon. Member wants Britain to be excluded he had better choose another test.
The other thing that needs to be said about subscriptions is that despite the fact that the Foreign Secretary has implied that it is the new members—the anti-colonial members—who are behind with their subscriptions, the figures show that there is no correlation between new or anti-colonialist members, on the one hand, and any backwardness in paying subscriptions, on the other. Some of the new countries have joined some of the old in being among the best payers, while some of the oldest, like others of the newest, are among the worst. There is no rule about this. Anyone reading the speech of the Foreign Secretary would have thought that only the new and anti-colonial countries were behind with their subscriptions. That statement will not stand up to inspection.
As I have said, Britain relatively has done reasonably well in the matter of paying subscriptions. But the Prime Minister was a little too enthusiastic this afternoon about the fact that Britain spends £12 million on all the direct and indirect services of the United Nations. 143 This sum is only about one-fifth of what we have just been shown to have spent on Blue Steed. It is not all that much to get excited about. It is only about one-seventh of the Government's miscalculation on the farm subsidies. Therefore, the Prime Minister should not write home about that one.
I come to the problem of the United Nations bonds, which have upset a number of hon. Members opposite. Here, I agree with my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson). The idea of the bonds was a means of forcing defaulting nations to pay their share of the costs of the Congo and the United Nations expeditionary force operation, because the amortisation of these bonds and the interest on them will fall on member countries' statutory annual contributions. Therefore, by this means—I am glad that the United Kingdom voted for these bonds—Russia, France, Portugal and the rest will be contributing to the Congo operation, whether they want to or not, under the threat of losing their votes. Is not that what we all want?
Therefore, a substantial British contribution to the bond issue, for which we voted, was essential. It was essential partly because of the wave of suspicion which followed the Foreign Secretary's speech. Britain, in fact, fought hard against making any contribution. It was only United States pressure, in my view, that secured the Government's 'drudging response to this invitation from the United Nations. As usual, we have had the worst of both worlds. We make the contribution, but we are getting precious little recognition for it. The Lord Privy Seal announced that we shall be paying this amount up to a maximum of 12 million dollars before the end of 1963. Why not now? If the money is needed, why not pay it now? Are the Government hoping for an excuse to wriggle out of it—some distorted remarks, perhaps, in one of the Swedish newspapers that the Lord Privy Seal reads so avidly.
Then there is the size of our contribution. It is to be a maximum of 12 million dollars. Why a maximum? This is far less than our fair share. On our proportion of the United Nations' budget we would have paid, not a maximum of 144 12 million dollars but at least 15 million dollars. When it is remembered that the three Scandinavian countries, whose combined national income is about one-third of ours, are contributing almost as much as our maximum offer—they are contributing 10 million dollars—it is obvious that Britain is undercontributing.
Our contribution ought to have been decisive, generous and quick. Why all this wriggling? I think that we know the answer—because this dithering Government were trying to get a middle figure between what their allies were pressing for, on the one hand, and what they thought they could get the Welensky lobby behind them to accept, on the other. I think that today's debate again has shown that they have got the worst of both worlds, as usual.
I come to the Foreign Secretary's attack on the United Nations. Let there be no argument about this. It has been construed all over the world as an attack on the United Nations. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition quoted newspapers from all over the world. We have only to look at the document issued by the United Nations Association, of which I think the Prime Minister is vice-president and a Conservative member is chairman. The Association must have had a lot of difficulty drafting this document. Nevertheless, it said:We do not believe that there is ' a crisis of confidence in the U.N. ', but consider that such a crisis might be induced by an assumption that it already exists. We fear that these statements may suggest that Great Britain's support for the U.N. depends on the extent to which our own policies prevail there.This is how the United Nations Association took it.
When I was in America—I think that the Lord Privy Seal was there at the same time—the Foreign Secretary's speech was quoted, or misquoted, in a full-page advertisement in the American Press on 12th January by the John Birchites—a bunch of American reactionaries who are so reactionary that they would make the hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. P. Williams) look like the editor of New Left Review. These are the people who are quoting with approval what the Foreign Secretary said then.
The Prime Minister, of course, clung desperately to the fact that at the end 145 of the speech—about one-fifth or one-sixth of the whole speech—the Foreign Secretary murmured a few words of hope about the future of the United Nations. He could hardly do otherwise. He was addressing a meeting of the United Nations Association—he had to say something. A master butcher addressing a vegetarian gathering would, at the end of his speech, have found time to say a few words in praise of lettuce. It means nothing, and I am surprised that the Prime Minister was taken in by it.
I turn to the Foreign Secretary's specific charges against the United Nations. First, there is the charge that many members, especially new members, have a double standard of conduct in judging issues in different parts of the world. As we have already made clear, double standards from a "man of Suez" is strong language.
Even last Friday the Foreign Secretary was repeating this. Addressing a university gathering in London, he said:Unless the United Nations stands against the use of force it will be useless to the civilised and free world.But not if British interests are involved, because he went on:When I find that by abuse and misuse of the rules legitimate British interests are being damaged, I must say so, and say so plainly.That is the argument, of course. British interests were involved, or thought by right hon. "blimps" opposite to be involved, in 1956, so then the United Nations was wrong to resist aggression, but when it is someone else—particularly India—the United Nations should have resisted aggression. If that is not a bad attack of double standards, I do not know what is.
It is going on all the time. Right hon. Gentlemen attack, and rightly attack, terrorism in Tibet and Hungary and in other parts of the world, but when Portugal's bestial massacres in Angola were sickening the whole world the Foreign Secretary paid a State visit to Portugal. He sponsored good-will naval visits. We all attack, and rightly, the prison wall in Berlin, and all that goes on behind it, but when has the Foreign Secretary attacked the régime of terrorism in Algeria, where Nazist torture has become a day-to-day instrument of French civil and military government, as was said last week by a French judge? 146 Right hon. Gentlemen criticised, as we did, the measures taken by India in Goa, but had not a word of criticism to say of Portugal for failing for seven years after the Pondicherry settlement to settle the Goa problem by peaceful measure, or even to give self-Government to the people of Goa. Double standards, indeed!
The Foreign Secretary said, and the Prime Minister, of course, dutifully repeated this afternoon, that the new nations do not attack Communist tyranny, but those new nations have passed resolution after resolution against Communist action in Tibet, Hungary and the rest, and have voted for them. I think that the Foreign Secretary would have rendered a greater service had he put forward in that speech plans to improve the United Nations and make it more effective, but he was more concerned there to devalue and discredit.
The Prime Minister gave us an interesting and, in its way, a quite valuable historical lecture this afternoon. He referred to the inability of the Security Council to work as the Charter intended, and I think that a great deal of what he said would be supported on both sides of the House—and especially the reason for the failure of the Security Council to work as the Charter intended. But I should have liked to have asked him this: why was it that on the one occasion last year, when the Security Council did give instructions about the Congo, Her Majesty's Government did everything in their power to frustrate those instructions when they were being carried out?
The other time when the right hon. Gentleman went right off the rails this afternoon was when he said that the United Nations was trying to exercise executive power in its resolutions, but he knows that all the resolutions about which we have talked were not executive at all but were resolutions on principle. I was not impressed with his argument that in all these declarations of principle, when there were 95 out of 100 votes for them, the nations were all out of step expect Her Majesty's Government.
Does it mean nothing to the Prime Minister that nations—big nations, big, power-bloc nations—now have to pay some attention to what the smaller nations say in this Parliament of the 147 world? The truth is that there are really two views on the United Nations. There is the static view, which wants to restrict the United Nations to the minimum of action, as a sort of glorified Concert of Europe. That is the approach of the Foreign Secretary, and his Portuguese, French and South African allies—and, for different reasons, his co-belligerents in the Soviet bloc, who also want so to restrict it.
But the other view held by the vast majority of the United Nations, which the Foreign Secretary so cheaply criticises, held by practically the whole Commonwealth, old and new, by the United States and by most of Western Europe, is of a dynamic developing peace-making authority, developing step by firm step into a world organisation which will be the basis for ultimate world government. This is the concept which we on this side of the House share and it is that which divides the House today.
Right hon. Members opposite say that it is all right so long as it does not interfere with British interests, or with Sir Roy Welensky's interests, or those of Union Miniére or Tanganyika Concessions. It is all right there; but if we are to have this national escape clause, are we to give the same rights to Russia and to every other nation? Are we to say that they need not take any notice of the United Nations if it acts contrary to their interests?
The Foreign Secretary used the phrase "crisis of confidence". He was right. But the crisis of confidence is not in the United Nations. It is in the willingness and ability of Her Majesty's Government to act as a loyal member of the United Nations and a loyal supporter of the United Nations rôle in the world.
It is only too easy to point to defects in the United Nations operations. One does not have to be Foreign Secretary or even Prime Minister to do that. President Kennedy, in his State of the Union message, made a reference to the United Nations in that speech which has been quoted by a number of hon. Members and which was widely construed as a calculated snub to Britain and to the British Foreign Secretary. In the course of that speech the President censured the impatience of those who would 148 abandon this imperfect world instrument because they dislike our imperfect world. What a caricature of the Foreign Secretary!
We want to see the United Nations strengthened, not made the subject of cheap sneers by frustrated imperialists opposite. After its success in the matter of Middle East frontiers, its hopeful efforts in the New Guinea crisis—about which I hope we shall hear more tonight—its triumph in preventing the Congo from becoming a cockpit of international conflict between the major Powers—after all this, we on this side of the House want to see its peacemaking powers, and particularly its preventive powers, strengthened.
First changes are needed in the Charter—we all agree about that—quite apart from the problem of the veto. Perhaps reform here is visionary in present circumstances. Certainly, the Security Council ought to be made more representative, perhaps by increasing its non-permanent members, and made more representative of particular parts of the world.
Secondly, since so many of the world's conflicts begin in colonial territories, there must be more power in the United Nations to act in such cases as Angola, Goa and South-West Africa. The juridical excuse that these are part of the domestic territory of the colonial Power must really not go on blocking action. The festering sores of colonialism, like other diseases, do not recognise domestic or national frontiers. When they have reached the point, as I believe they have in some countries, of affronting the conscience of the world and threatening its peace, it should be within the competence of the world to deal with them.
In a very real sense the concept of trusteeship must replace the concept of colonialism. No man is an island, and the bells of Angola toll for us, for all of us except, of course, the shareholders of the Benguela Railway. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is no use hon. Members sneering at that. I ask the Government to consider publishing the speech of Captain Charles Waterhouse, the chairman, in his address to Tanganyika Concessions, with the callous remarks that he made about the suppression of the battle for freedom in 149 Angola last year. It would be revealing of the state of the real Tory mind.
Thirdly, we must strengthen the police functions of the United Nations. We are all in a little difficulty here. We have all got so used to cartoons showing the United Nations, like the old League, portrayed as the innocent, rather frightened maiden, being alternately ignored and maltreated by the big Power blocs, that it is a bit of a shock for all of us when we see the United Nations suddenly required to discharge the duties of a tough and armed policeman. Many of the difficulties which we have had—all of us—about the United Nations actions in the Congo result from the fact that it is not very easy for us to see the United Nations in that rôle—abut I will say a word about that in a moment. In the debate on the Congo, in December, there were criticisms from both sides of the House about the quality of the military advice available to the Secretary-General. Frankly, in all the circumstances I think it surprising that there is not room for more criticism than was then expressed.
We do not suggest that it is yet possible to set up a central force capable of being switched to any area where peace is threatened, but we believe that it is urgently necessary to build up at the United Nations a powerful cadre of trained officers, skilled in all the problems of transporting, commanding, administering and supplying a multinational United Nations force in any area where it has to be deployed, so that United Nations intervention, when it becomes necessary, is quick and effective. This is an urgent reform which would help to overcome many of the difficulties which we have had up to the present time.
Fourthly, we suggest that one way to break through the grim and tragic deadlock in nuclear disarmament would be the establishment of a United Nations specialised disarmament agency able to draw on the experience of scientists and others from all over the world and to take a fresh initiative. The Prime Minister, when Minister of Defence, made a statement which I have quoted more than once in the House, suggesting that there would be no real hope for world disarmament until some real authority were given to the United 150 Nations. I hope that there will be a chance to develop these ideas in some future debate as well as suggestions which we have put forward from this side of the House for a Minister for Disarmament in this country, a senior foreign office Minister with a skilled and powerful Department working under him, instead of the man-and-a-boy on whom the Foreign Office now relies.
There is no time to develop these ideas tonight. On the other hand, it is a pity that we have not been able to spend today debating a speech by the Foreign Secretary in which some of these ideas were put forward, because it would have been far more rewarding if the Foreign Secretary had been spending his time, his energies and his speeches in developing ideas such as these.
The tragedy of that speech, as my right hon. Friend said this afternoon, in its effect on world opinion was that it followed a year of equivocation on major United Nations questions. After Katanga, in particular, there was genuine anxiety and doubt about the Government's ability to follow a policy of support for the United Nations in the face of opposition from a very powerful group of back-benchers. It would, I think, be unfair to brand all hon. Members opposite with opposition to the United Nations. We remember that in the brief recall of Parliament pre-Suez, in September, 1956, a group of pro-United Nations, rule-of-law Conservatives, led by the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey (Sir L. Heald), made at that time a powerful and decisive intervention, though it did not last very long.
This same group, I am sorry to say, was strangely silent last autumn, and now it has had to leave the duty of keeping the Tory flag flying in the United Nations circles to the Bow Group a group, I gather, which does not find universal support among hon. Members opposite.
The time has passed",said the Bow Group,when Britain can afford to abstain at the United Nations on colonial issues. Petulant criticisms of the United Nations and dangerous talk of a common interest amongst white races against an Afro-Asian bloc must find no further place in our foreign policy.There is a small group of young hopefuls, but there is, too, as we all know, 151 a group of aboriginal, true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool Conservatives who have never accepted the United Nations at any time in its history. It is, of course, a simple point, but for some of them the trouble with the United Nations is that there is a majority of foreigners there. What is worse, the proportion of foreigners has risen sharply in the past few years, and some of the wrong kind of foreigners. Too many are coloured, and, worse still, ex-colonial territories with the wrong ideas.
Reading through the speech of the Foreign Secretary we find this preoccupation with anti-colonialism becoming an obsession. There is his nostalgia about the founding fathers of the United Nations; how nice it would be if we could go back to San Francisco. Just as Metternich tried to freeze the Vienna settlement and use the Holy Alliance to stamp out all European liberalism, so the Foreign Secretary tries to freeze the 1945 pattern and stem the tide of nationalism and anti-colonialism in Asia and Africa.
I say this seriously to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen apposite. In their rush to get into Europe they must not forget the four-fifths of the world population whose preoccupation is with emergence from colonial status into self-government; and into the revolution of rising expectations. If this is so, is the world organisation not to reflect the enthusiasms and aspirations of the new members and new nations entering into their inheritance, often through British actions, as the Prime Minister said, and who want to see their neighbours also brought forward into the light? It must be recognised that this is the greatest force in the world today, and we must ask why it is so often that we are found, or thought to be found, on the wrong side.
The record of this country since the war, under both Governments, is good enough to proclaim to the world—India, Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanganyika and Sierra Leone, and even, after the agonies, Cyprus. We have had to protest against long delays and repression in some areas, especially those which are near enough to feel the impact of Sir Roy Welensky, but with those exceptions the British record is a proud one.
152 Why do we contrive it that in the eyes of the world we are so often allied with reactionary Governments whose record in the scales of human enfranchisement weigh as a speck of dust against real gold and silver so far as our record is concerned? Why is it that the British Foreign Secretary speaks in accents of the dead past, as though he fears and resents the consequences of the very actions which his Government as well as ours have taken?
It is this which colours the whole of the noble Lord's spech. He tries to suggest that the countries to which I have referred, by their concern to liquidate the remnants of colonialism, are allied with the Communists. My right hon. Friend dealt with this, how they voted against the troika proposals, the Russians on the Congo, and all the rest of it. But to maintain this argument he perverted, as my right hon. Friend showed, his rendering of what the Charter says. He quoted part of Article 1, which talks about the organisation of peace through collective security, but omitted the reference to Article 2, which says:To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peopleand he paid no attention, as my right hon. Friend said, to Article 73, in which countries with responsibilities for the administration of territories whose people have not yet attained a full measure of freedom pledge themselvesto develop self-Government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their full political institutions …The noble Lord cannot rewrite the Charter to suit his purposes. He cannot seek to crystallise a fluid world in the pattern of a time that has long since passed. What he is attacking is not the United Nations. He is attacking the world of 1962 and saying, "Stop the wagon, I want to get off". This is shown by his condemnation of the anti-colonial resolution to which the Prime Minister referred in some detail. Those who voted for it were "reckless of peace and security"—Canada and Australia. Do hon. Gentlemen say that the United States is reckless of peace and security? It is only two years since the Prime Minister was using the then President 153 of the United States as an election gimmick on a television programme.
Of course, we all know what has really created the crisis of confidence is that in recent months the United Nations has offended against British policy in Central Africa and against British financial interests in Central Africa. The United Nations' action in the Congo has been necessarily distasteful and we would all have preferred the United Nations to have been able to act as a mediator, holding the ring, not being forced to get into the ring in some tough, nasty, no holds barred infighting.
That was impossible because of the armed and illegal secession, backed by powerful and unscrupulous financial interests who illegally financed the employment of some of the worst Fascist types drawn from the French extreme Right in Algeria. The Prime Minister knows perfectly well that if the United Nations had not acted as it did, there would have been no hope of preventing the incursion of thousands of even more dangerous mercenaries or volunteers from Russia and Eastern Europe on behalf of the Gizengist secession.
There is no time in this debate to summarise all the new evidence which has come to light since the last debate. The Prime Minister said that the function of the United Nations should be to preserve peace and not wage war, and we agree with him. What about the facts that have become clear since the last debate? The right hon. Gentleman, on 14th December, was talking about the battle between the United Nations and the people of Katanga. What about the use of Union Miniére industrial properties for firing on United Nations troops? What about the use of the Union Miniére hospitals and another hospital to mount machine guns, the occupation of Union Miniére buildings by the group of French North Africans who called themselves Les Affreux? All this after Tshombe had left for Kitone and after all United Nations' military action had ceased. What about the use by mercenaries of vehicles with Red Cross markings? What about the evidence of mercenaries crossing the border? We should like to know a great deal more about this from the Lord Privy Seal.
§ Mr. P. Williams rose——
§ Mr. Wilson
I know that hon. Members opposite have not much faith in their own Front Bench, but I hope that they will have faith in the Lord Privy Seal's ability to deal with this, if he can, because the information that I am quoting is in the possession of the Foreign Office, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, and I want him to "come clean" about it tonight.
§ Mr. Wilson
We supported that last week. Let us have an inquiry. Let us have all the facts, including some of the facts about the secret meeting between Sir Roy Welensky and Mr. Tshombe two days before the projected Hammarskjold meeting.
Did the Government know about it? Were they told about it, and about what transpired? Did they protest about it? No, the Foreign Secretary produced his speech after the week that we all remember last December when the Government sought to get out of their commitment to the United Nations. We saw it all—the revolt of back benchers, reckless of peace and security, enough to cause a humiliating reversal of Government policy. We saw the half-truths, the suppression of facts, the tissue of deceit throughout that week, and the diversionary appeal for a cease-fire, recognised for what it was by practically every member of the United Nations.
Then we had the dénouement, the squalor of that night in the House with the Prime Minister winding up the debate—his greatest hour—his carefully prepared restaging of Chamberlain's Munich act, a piece of paper and all, the pretence that his message—[Interruption] I am coming to it again; we have heard about it before—to U Thant produced an answer from U Thant which altered United Nations policy.
The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the answer that he got that night was what the United Nations policy had been all along. The right hon. Gentleman knew before he spoke that night—[An HON. MEMBER: "The right hon. Gentleman knew it three weeks previously."]—that Dr. Bunche and Mr. Gardner were going to Leopoldville, which he proclaimed as a great triumph. Why did he now know it? The 155 Foreign Office knew it. It had been in the newspapers. So this pantomime did not even impress the most naive of the right hon. Gentleman's back benchers, and, goodness knows, they are naive enough.
That prospects in the Congo are now better than they were, as the Prime Minister said is due to the firm resolve of the United Nations to carry out its instructions and to the fact that the power of the mercenaries as an organised entity has been smashed and that condtions have been created in which, as the United Nations intended all along, the principals can meet and hammer out a peaceful settlement. It owes nothing to Her Majesty's Government. What has been achieved in the Congo has been achieved in spite of Her Majesty's Government, not because of them. The world now knows that, faced with a choice between loyalty to the United Nations and United Nations decisions, on the one hand, or loyalty to alleged British interests on the other, including the interests of Sir Roy Welensky—faced with that choice, at an historic hour the Government chose the path of narrow self-interest, which is what the Foreign Secretary, in his speech, was trying to condemn.
At a crucial moment when the Government had agreed to supply the weapons for which the United Nations had asked, Sir Roy Welensky had only to hoist the flag of revolt behind the Government's back and 100 Members rushed to his support. That is why the change was made. I challenge the Prime Minister—[Interruption.] No, hon. Members are going to hear this, and the Lord Privy Seal can reply if he can—to tell us why then, and again when Sir Roy Welensky brusquely rejected the United Nations' demand for observers on the Congo frontier, he failed to tell Sir Roy that Britain and not the Federation has responsibility for these matters under national and international law and that Sir Roy's charges into foreign policy were destroying Britain's good name abroad.
A few years ago the Prime Minister went into the Lobby to vote for the proposition that anyone who gives aid and comfort to the enemies of the United Nations is guilty of high treason.
156 Why, then, does he manœuvre his way out of every action that he is asked to take against the enemies of the United Nations in this last operation? I will tell the House why. It is because in every question where Sir Roy Welensky calls the tune the right hon. Gentleman is powerless to act. [Interruption.] We had it on Devlin, on Monckton and on the costly volte-face last year over the Northern Rhodesian constitution, on the bombs, on the United Nations observers.
Not only in this country but abroad people are asking, "Who is in charge? Whose hand is on the helm?" I ask again—I want an answer to these things tonight—how can the House of Commons fulfil—[Laughter.] If hon. Members opposite think that this is a joke, they really ought to think again. How can—[Interruption.] I intend to finish this, and the time will have to come out of that allowed for the Lord Privy Seal. I ask again: when is the Prime Minister going to exert himself and govern? I do not believe that he can. The panache has gone. On every issue, domestic and foreign, now we find the same faltering hand, the same dithering indecision and confusion [Interruption.] What is more, hon. Members opposite know it, and some of them are even beginning to say so. [Interruption.] The truth is that the MacWonder of 1959—[Interruption.] The MacWonder of 1959—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I can go on till ten o'clock.
§ Mr. Wilson
The MacWonder of 1959 is the man who gave us his pathetic performance this afternoon. This whole episode has justified our insistence eighteen months ago that the Foreign Secretary should have been in the House of Commons. But we were wrong on one thing. We thought that the noble Lord would be an office boy. The Prime Minister was able to restore his tottering position today only by a fulsome tribute to the noble Lord. Indeed, to adopt a saying made famous by "Nye" Bevan, it is a little difficult now to know which is the organ grinder and which is the other.
This is why the night hon. Gentleman has refused to disavow the speech of the 157 Foreign Secretary. Personal ties apart, and the Prime Minister's almost suburban idolatry for the hereditary earl apart, his duty today was clear. He should have disavowed the Foreign Secretary. [Interruption.] When we go into the Division Lobby tonight——
§ Mr. Wilson
When we go into the Lobby tonight, it will be with a clear and united demand for the Foreign Secretary's resignation. No doubt, we shall be outnumbered by the votes of those who, every election, hand on heart, appeal for votes because they support the United Nations; but we shall have with us the support of millions of people in this country who believe that Britain has reached the parting of the ways, that the crisis of confidence is not in the United Nations but in the Government's ability to support the United Nations, who believe—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Speaker
The highest standard is required of hon. Members who, from time to time, are required to listen to propositions with which they do not agree. I hope that the House will remember that to the end of this debate.
§ Mr. Wilson
—who believe that the crisis of confidence is not in the United Nations but in the Government's support of it and that it can now be resolved only by the unequivocal repudiation of the Minister who has put it in doubt.
§ 9.35 p.m.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Edward Heath)
The speech of my noble Friend the Foreign Secretary, which is the subject of the Motion of censure, was a clear and incisive expression of view about things which are of the greatest importance, not only to this country and to the United Nations, but to the whole world. It has, therefore, been widely read and studied both in this country and abroad. It has had an extremely wide circulation. It is most unlikely that the same will ever be said of the speech of the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson).
No doubt that is why the Leader of the Opposition was looking so pleased throughout the difficult moments of it and the reason why the right hon. Gentleman took the precaution of circulating it in 158 yesterday's Reynolds News well in advance. No doubt that is a more satisfactory and rewarding means of ensuring its publication. We must, however, be grateful to the right hon. Member for Huyton in that, in the midst of a prolonged political and financial smear, he found a few minutes in which to discuss foreign affairs. But when he commented about the question of relations with foreigners, it does not apparently appear to be a matter in which the affection of the Opposition extends to those who live in Europe.
The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies), in his speech about the United Nations, said that he thought that the Foreign Secretary ought to be in the House of Commons in order to discuss this matter himself. But surely what is of interest is the position in their Lordships' House. There has been no request from the Opposition in the House of Lords for a debate on this speech about which we have heard so much from the Opposition today—not one speech, not one Question.
What sort of Motion of censure is this? The Leader of the Opposition was very careful to say that this was not an attack on the Foreign Secretary. In fact, he did not go so far as to say that it was an attack on the speech. What he said was that the speech had been interpreted in the Press as being an attack on the United Nations, and, indeed, he gave many quotations to that effect. He then went on to say that the Press had reported the speech extremely fairly.
We have all followed with great interest a certain exchange of view which the Leader of the Opposition has had with the editor of the Daily Herald. If he had looked up the Daily Herald's report of this speech, he would have found that, in fact, it printed only the critical part of the Foreign Secretary's speech and nothing whatever about the praise of the United Nations or its conclusion. I, therefore, recommend that to the right hon. Gentleman. It will give him additional ammunition in his battle with the newspaper which is in search of a party.
It has been said that we should consider the background, and I want to do that now. The Foreign Secretary first made a speech of this kind to the 159 Assembly of the United Nations itself in the autumn. There was no question of a Motion of censure in the House at that time. What the Foreign Secretary said was:I agree most profoundly with the President of the United States that the United Nations must be saved. Whatever its faults, and heaven knows it has them, it is mankind's best hope of peace.If hon. Members opposite accept that, then that is the background to the speech which we are discussing in which the Foreign Secretary repeated his view.
My noble Friend went on to point cut that a double standard was beginning to grow up. It was that which made its impact on the United Nations Assembly in the autumn, as any who have had contact with the circumstances will know. That undoubtedly had an influence on the Assembly in its attitude to many of the resolutions sponsored by the Soviet Union which were mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon. I agree with him that the reaction of many of the neutral and unaligned countries since that time to the Soviet resolutions has been encouraging. I do not want to go through the list again, but it is a matter of great importance in the development of the United Nations.
That was followed by the Foreign Secretary's speech in the House of Lords on 17th October, when he said:Nevertheless, with all its faults and with all the difficulties it causes for us, I conclude that we must show patience and more patience"—which is what the right hon. Member for Huyton has just adjured us to do—and support the United Nations. And we must support it for these reasons …He detailed the reasons and ended by saying:For all these reasons, I come down in favour of the United Kingdom's strong support for the Organisation."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, House of Lords, 17th October, 1961; c. 337.]The Foreign Secretary repeated that argument again in London last week.
What sort of Motion of censure is this by the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues? The right hon. Gentleman agrees with the Foreign Secretary's criticism of those who do not pay subscriptions, about which I shall have more to say presently. He differs with the 160 Foreign Secretary on his analysis of some of the weaknesses of the United Nations. He agrees with the Foreign Secretary on the five points on which he praised the United Nations. He agrees with him on his conclusion that the British Government must support the United Nations and he then proceeds to put down a Motion of censure.
When, however, the Leader of the Opposition himself was analysing this, he said very little about the support which the United Kingdom has given to the United Nations in many ways ever since we became a founder member. He said little of our support for all the Agencies. He said little about our financial contributions to the United Nations funds. We contributed £12.3 million last year to United Nations funds and we are the second largest contributor, to the United States, in the whole of the United Nations. We have undertaken to buy bonds. We have been criticised by the right hon. Member for Huyton. Our support in this way has been welcomed by other countries. What is more, we made our announcement early and we were, therefore, able to give a lead, in addition to the United States, which others are now following. That has been appreciated both at the United Nations and in the United States.
When we hear it said so easily, "Why cannot the sum be increased, why should it be a maximum?" it should be appreciated that the United States is paying in domestic currency to buy the bonds, whereas for us it is a transaction across the exchanges, as it is for many other countries too. At a time of difficulty in our balance of payments, to pay 12 million dollars in bonds is, we believe, generous support for the United Nations.
The right hon. Gentleman queried the Foreign Secretary's figures about the number of those who were in default of their contributions. The figures given by the Foreign Secretary in December were the latest available at the end of November. That explains the difference between the figures then and those now quoted for the end of December. The Foreign Secretary never mentioned unaligned or new members as being responsible. If the Leader of the Opposition looks at the speech, he will see that the Foreign Secretary referred to the 161 Soviet Powers and to France and to no others.
On 31st December, 52 members were in arrears on the regular budget. There were 79 defaulters on the Congo account and 65 on the Middle East account. At the end of December, six countries had become two years in arrears. It is thought that they have now been reduced to two. Indeed, there may be no countries which are more than two years in arrears with their contribution.
On 31st December, 1961, the United Kingdom still had to pay 1.9 million dollars which were held against a countervailing payment due from the United Nations for the airlift which we have been contributing to the Congo operation under the United Nations arrangements. Since then, the United Nations has asked for these two items to be settled as separate sums. We have, therefore, paid the 1.9 million dollars and we await the settlement from the United Nations for the airlift.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) made several comments about finance with which I should like to deal. He commented first of all about the three special funds, the Malaria Eradication Fund, the World Food Bank, and the International Labour Institute. He asked why we should not contribute to those. Our view is well known. It has been held for many years. It is that each item of this sort should come out of the regular budget and be accounted for in that way. In fact now the Malaria Eradication Fund does come out of the regular budget.
Then the hon. Gentleman went on to say that the trouble with the British Government is that they do what they are asked to do and no more. That is untrue, and completely untrue. For example, the Congo Fund is a voluntary fund and we gave 3 million dollars. To the U.N.W.R.A. Fund we contributed £1.9 million and that is another voluntary fund. To the U.N. Emergency Fund we paid more than the assessment because we added £48,000, which brings our contribution to 8.5 per cent. To the Special Fund we gave £1.8 million and to the Expanded Programme £1 million voluntarily, and so this country gave more 162 than we were asked to, and we did it gladly because we believe it is right. We are not open to the accusation that we do only what we are asked and no more.
Neither did the right hon. Gentleman have anything to say about the work of the British Government in disarmament. It is well known that we have taken an active part in all the disarmament conferences. I do not particularly wish to go over the details but I do wish to say that we fully support the United States' Disarmament Declaration of September, 1961, as the basis for a renewed effort to achieve a disarmament treaty. We played a full part in the negotiations in New York leading up to the establishment of the 18-nation Disarmament Committee which is now to meet in Geneva on 14th March.
Several of the right hon. Gentleman's points on this, so far as the United Nations are concerned, are included in the American plan which is to be put forward on 14th March. As far as our own organisation is concerned, there is a Minister in charge, the Minister of State, directly under the Foreign Secretary, with a department in the Foreign Office, which has already been increased, and we are now building up a strong delegation for the Geneva Conference. It will be led by a Minister, with Sir Michael Wright, who has held this position in our delegation in the nuclear tests talks, as his alternate. At the moment British experts are in Washington taking part in discussions preparatory to the meeting. These are matters which ought to have been put into the balance by the right hon. Gentleman if he was going to give a proper appraisal of the speech in the context of United Nations policy.
What is it in the Foreign Secretary's speech—let me take it part by part—to which he and his hon. Friends object? Do the right hon Gentleman and his hon. Friends object to the language which was used?The failure of the Security Council to call for a cease-fire is a failure of the United Nations … I find the attitude of some other members of the Council profoundly disturbing and ominous because we have witnessed tonight an effort to rewrite the Charter … Tonight we are witnessing the first act in a drama which could end in its death"—that is, of the United Nations. Is that language to which the right hon. Gentleman objects? That is the language of 163 Mr. Adlai Stevenson in the Security Council. To say that the Foreign Secretary is the only person who has set out criticisms of the United Nations is blatently untrue.
Now we come to the Foreign Secretary's remarks on the use of force in Goa. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition devoted a considerable time to a tenuous, casuistical argument about four countries who were not supporting the resolution but, in fact, did not sanction force. What he did not do was to draw attention to or in any way mention the resolution which was put forward by those four countries themselves. This was put forward by Ceylon, Liberia and the United Arab Republic, and supported by the Soviet Union, and it puts a very different point of view. It said:Having heard the statement of the representatives of India that the problem is a colonial problem … decides to reject the Portuguese complaint of aggression against India and calls upon the Portuguese to terminate hostile action and to co-operate with India in the liquidation of her colonial possessions in India.There cannot be anything more upside down than a resolution of that kind. That was definite support of aggression by India in Goa and that was a matter to which my noble Friend was referring.
It was also said that the Secretary of State wishes to see the status quo maintained for ever. That was another of the right hon. Gentleman's criticisms. This is not justified by the policies followed by the Government. Article 33 of the Charter provides for peaceful change, and we believe that it should be used. Indeed, one of the difficulties about the Goan situation was that India had not pursued all the courses set out in that Article in order to achieve some form of peaceful change. At the United Nations, we have put forward proposals for the review procedure to be followed, we are prepared for and wish to see the enlargement of the Security Council, and we want to see the newer nations represented on the Economic and Social Council. It does not reflect Government policy to say that we wish to see the status quo preserved. We wish for change to be brought about in the way we have suggested. In fact, when the right hon. Gentleman supports these ideas and wishes us to pursue them, he recognises 164 that they are being completely blocked by the Soviet veto.
I come now to the main question raised by the right hon. Gentleman—colonialism and Resolution 1514. This has been quoted already today several times. I want to put a direct question to the right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. and hon. Friends. Do they in fact support the language in this resolution of two years ago? Do they wish to see this carried out in British territories today, with all the difficulties which face them at present in trying to reach independence? How can they justify the sort of language used here and at the same time be responsible in Government? To quote the resolution's words, it is not the British Government's policy… to transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories, without any conditions or reservations ….
§ Mr. Heath
I repeat… without any conditions or reservations …This is a completely impractical proposition. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It is this difference in attitude which divides the two sides of the House and not a fundamental difference about the United Nations.
The question has also been raised about the committee of 17 nations. We abstained because that committee is based on this resolution, but I can assure the hon. and learned Member for West Ham, South (Mr. Elwyn Jones) that we shall co-operate with the committee. We have said in the committee that we do not need to be pressed, that we are pursuing the policy of development, and that still less do we need to be supervised.
The progress we have made now is welcomed and often welcomed by countries who did not support us earlier when we were making progress in colonial policy. We must all recognise that we are now facing the most difficult stage of all—the endeavour to bring about multi-racial government in our dependent territories.
The right hon. Gentleman said that, to his knowledge, the United Nations never harassed the Government. I can recall an incident, which was also in 165 the mind of my noble Friend, when the Fourth Committee decided that Dr. Cheddi Jagan should be allowed to appear before it as a petitioner, although this is not provided for in the Charter. The members of that committee knew of that, and they also knew our policy towards British Guiana. They knew that a constitutional meeting was to be held next year. Yet they made the decision that Dr. Jagan should be heard. That surely refutes the right hon. Gentleman's views.
Another question which interested me greatly was that of abstentions. The right hon. Gentleman said that sometimes we appear to be alone or among a small number of countries. He asked, "Why are we always on the wrong side?" Is it taken absolutely by the Opposition that unless one is among a majority one is on the wrong side?
I would not mind the right hon. Gentleman's point of view were it not that it shows a certain lack of appreciation of the difficulties in any body of this kind with the wording of resolutions of this kind in relation to the powers in the Charter. Nor would I mind this did it not show a certain failing in memory by the Leader of the Opposition, because we have voted with the majority on the question of Indian and Pakistani origin in South Africa and when the right hon. Gentleman and his party were in power, they always abstained. In 1950 there was a vote on a separate paragraph calling on the South African Government to refrain from implementing the policy of apartheid. The Labour Government voted against that paragraph. In 1948, 1949 and 1950 there were resolutions on South-West Africa which the Labour Government voted against and in 1950 they stood alone with South Africa. What was true of those resolutions was equally true of Trusteeship Council matters. Nor did they find it alarming or strange to be alone in those days. In 1949 there were eight resolutions in a row when the Labour Government voted against seven and abstained on the eighth. On two of them they were alone, while on three others they had the company of France and Belgium. On each of those
§ occasions they found themselves in the position which the right hon. Gentleman is now condemning in us.
§ There are some things to which I must draw his attention. We voted for the resolution calling on Portugal to provide information. The right hon. Gentleman was wrong in saying that we abstained. We also voted for the resolution condemning apartheid. We voted for the resolution condemning the treatment of Indian and Pakistani people in South Africa and last week we voted for the Afro-Asian resolution on Angola.
§ There is little time to deal with the question of Katanga about which the right hon. Gentleman had a great deal to say. What matters fundamentally at the end of the debate is what is to be the future of the United Nations. Surely the whole House can concentrate on that. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned three points in his speech which he also mentioned in the Press. He was anxious that everybody should pay his subscription and buy bonds, and on that we are completely agreed. He was anxious that the peace-keeping machinery should be strengthened, and I have said that the American plan contains proposals for peace-keeping machinery and a disarmament agency in the United Nations. The points which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned are being covered in the plans and in the work which we are already doing.
§ The House will agree that, whatever view may be taken of it, the Foreign Secretary's speech was of the greatest importance. It gave full support for the United Nations and, at the same time, contained healthy criticism which could lead to a stronger and more effective organisation. Those who work closely with the Foreign Secretary know his immense devotion to his work and his integrity in carrying it out. He deserves the support of the Government, the House and the country, and I urge the House to reject the Motion.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 228, Noes 326.171
|Division No. 62.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)|
|Ainsley, William||Awbery, Stan||Beaney, Alan|
|Albu, Austen||Baird, John||Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.|
|Bence, Cyril||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Pentland, Norman|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Benson, Sir George||Hoy, James H.||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Blackburn, F.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Blyton, William||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Boardman, H.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.)||Hunter, A. E.||Randall, Harry|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Rankin, John|
|Bowies, Frank||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Reid, William|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Rhodes, H.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Janner, Sir Barnett||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jeger, George||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Callaghan, James||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Ross, William|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech(Wakefield)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Chapman, Donald||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Cliffe, Michael||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Cronin, John||Kelley, Richard||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Crosland, Anthony||Kenyon, Clifford||Small, William|
|Darling, George||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||King, Dr. Horace||Snow, Julian|
|Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lawson, George||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Deer, George||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Steele, Thomas|
|Delargy, Hugh||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Dempsey, James||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Storehouse, John|
|Diamond, John||Lipton, Marcus||Stones, William|
|Dodds, Norman||Loughlin, Charles||Strachey, Rt Hon. John|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Driberg, Tom||McCann, John||Swain, Thomas|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||MacColl, James||Swingler, Stephen|
|Edelman, Maurice||McInnes, James||Symonds, J. B.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||McLeavy, Frank||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Evans, Albert||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Finch, Harold||Mahon, Simon||Thornton, Ernest|
|Fitch, Alan||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Fletcher, Eric||Manuel, A. C.||Timmons, John|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mapp, Charles||Tomney, Frank|
|Forman, J. C.||Marsh, Richard||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mason, Roy||Wade, Donald|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Mayhew, Christopher||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mellish, R J.||Warbey, William|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Crm' thn)||Mendelson, J. J.||Watkins, Tudor|
|Ginsburg, David||Millan, Bruce||Weitzman, David|
|Gooch, E. G.||Milne, Edward||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mitchison, G. R.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Grey, Charles||Monslow, Walter||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Moody, A. S.||Whitlock, William|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Morris, John||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Mort, D. L.||Willey, Frederick|
|Grimond, Rt Hon. J.||Moyle, Arthur||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Gunter, Ray||Neal, Harold||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Noel-Baker. Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Hamilton, William (west Fife)||Oliver, G. H.||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hannan, William||Oram, A. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Owen, Will||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Padley, W. E.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Healey, Denis||Paget, R. T.||Woof, Robert|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Pargiter, G. A.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Hewitson, Capt M.||Parker, John||Zilliacus, K.|
|Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Hilton, A. V.||Pavitt, Laurence||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Holman, Percy||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Mr. Rogers and Mr. Short|
|Holt, Arthur||Peart, Frederick|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Atkins, Humphrey.||Bell, Ronald|
|Aitken, W. T.||Balniel, Lord||Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Barber, Anthony||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Phm)|
|Allason, James||Barlow, Sir John||Berkeley, Humphry|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Barter, John||Bidgood, John C.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Batsford, Brian||Biffen, John|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Biggs-Davison, John|
|Bingham, R. M.||Gough, Frederick||Maitland, Sir John|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Gower, Raymond||Manninham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Grant, Rt. Hon. William||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.||Marlowe, Anthony|
|Bossom, Clive||Green, Alan||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Marshall, Douglas|
|Box, Donald||Gurden, Harold||Marten, Neil|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)|
|Brains, Bernard||Hare, Rt. Hon. John||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Brewis, John||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Mawby, Ray|
|Bromley-Davenport. Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Brooke, Bt. Hon. Henry||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Brooman-White, R.||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mills, Stratton|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Harvey, John (Waithamstow, E.)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Buck, Antony||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)|
|Bullard, Denys||Hastings, Stephen||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Hay, John||Morgan, William|
|Burden, F. A.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Morrison, John|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Butter, Rt. Hn. R.A.(Saffron Walden)||Hendry, Forbes||Nabarro, Gerald|
|Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Neave, Airey|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hiley, Joseph||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hobson, John||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Hocking, Philip N.||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Holland, Philip||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Hollingworth, John||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Hopkins, Alan||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Cole, Norman||Hornby, R. P.||Partridge, E.|
|Collard, Richard||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Cooke, Robert||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Peel, John|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Percival, Ian|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hughes-Young, Michael||Peyton, John|
|Corfield, F. V.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Costain, A. P.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Coulson, Michael||Iremonger, T. L.||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Pitman, Sir James|
|Critchley, Julian||Jackson, John||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||James, David||Pott, Percivall|
|Crowder, F. P.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Cunningham, Knox||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Curran, Charles||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Dance, James||Joseph, Sir Keith||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Deedes, W. F.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Pym, Francis|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Kershaw, Anthony||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Kirk, Peter||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Donaldson, cmdr. C. E. M.||Kitson, Timothy||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Doughty, Charles||Lagden, Godfrey||Rees, Hugh|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lambton, Viscount||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|du Cann, Edward||Lancaster, Cot. C. G.||Renton, David|
|Duncan, Sir James||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Leavey, J. A.||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Eden, John||Leburn, Gilmour||Rippon, Geoffrey|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Robinson, Rt Hn Sir R. (B'pool, S.)|
|Elliott, R.W.(Newcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Emery, Peter||Lilley, F. J. P.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Roots, William|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Litchfield, Capt. John||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Farr, John||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC, dfield)||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||St. Clair, M.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Longbottom, Charles||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Longden, Gilbert||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Forrest, George||Loveys, Walter H.||Seymour, Leslie|
|Foster, John||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Sharples, Richard|
|Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Shaw, M.|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||MacArthur, Ian||Shepherd, William|
|Freeth, Denzil||McLaren, Martin||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Gammans, Lady||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.)||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Gardner, Edward||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Smithers, Peter|
|Gibson-Watt, David||MacLeod, John(Ross & Cromarty)||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Gilmour, Sir John||McMaster, Stanley R.||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Speir, Rupert|
|Godber, J. B.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Goodhart, Phillip||Maddan, Martin||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Goodhew, Victor||Maginnis, John E.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Stodart, J. A.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Whitelaw, William|
|Storey, Sir Samuel||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Studholme, Sir Henry||Turner, Colin||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Talbot, John E||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Tapsell, Peter||van Straubenzee, W. R.||Wise, A. R.|
|Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)||Vane, W. M. F.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt Hon. Sir John||Wood, Rt Hon. Richard|
|Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)||Vickers, Miss Joan||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Teeling, Sir William||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Temple, John M.||Walder, David||Woollam, John|
|Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Walker, Peter||Worsley, Marcus|
|Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Walker-Smith, Rt, Hon. Sir Derek||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Thomas, Peter (Conway)||Wall, Patrick|
|Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Ward, Dame Irene||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S)||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold||Mr. Edward Wakefield and|
|Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter||Webster, David||Mr. Chichester-Clark.|
|Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin||Wells, John (Maidstone)|