Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [7th November:]
That this House reaffirms its decision of 3rd August, 1961, and urges Her Majesty's Government to use every effort to bring the negotiations to a conclusion acceptable to Parliament.
Which Amendment, was to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:
would support the entry of Great Britain into the European Economic Community provided that guarantees safeguarding British agriculture, the vital interests of the Commonwealth and the European Free Trade Association countries are obtained and that Great Britain retains her present freedom to conduct her own foreign policy and to use public ownership and economic planning to ensure social progress within the United Kingdom; it regrets however that the terms so far provisionally negotiated do not satisfy either these conditions or the binding pledges given by Her Majesty's Government; and therefore calls upon Her Majesty's Government to negotiate terms which secure these essential conditions and fulfil the Government's own pledges ".—[Mr. Gaitskell]
§ Question again proposed,That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ 4.7 p.m.
§ Mr. George Brown (Belper)
In resuming this two-day debate there is one point I should like to make to the Leader of the House before he goes. A habit is now growing up of not having a Government spokesman to wind up at the end of the first day. I can understand this from the point of view of making more time available to back benchers, but in a debate where, because of the mechanics, the Government are not opening on the second day it produces the somewhat unhelpful situation to the Opposition that we have a series of speeches from this side, from both the Front Bench and the back benches, either critical or, as happened yesterday, seeking information.
There is then no effective reply until the whole case has been deployed from this side, or, indeed, from the Conservative side, if there are critics on that side of the House. Since this has apparently 1173 now become an established practice, different from what it used to be, I ask the Leader of the House to consider whether in debates like this we can have a Ministerial spokesman replying to the first day's debate before we start the second.
There seems to me—I do not know whether right hon. and hon. Members agree with me—to be one improvement in this debate over the previous debates we have had on the Common Market. For the first time we seem to have moved away from a discussion almost wholly in the stratosphere, with a lot of unprovable assertions on the one side and on the other. Yesterday, the debate was conducted on the real issues, namely, the terms and the conditions, the prices and the consequences. Perhaps we can take credit for that from our Amendment but, in any case, it helps us to open the second day of this debate with a clearer understanding of what is involved and of what is now between us.
I think that the general position emerging from yesterday's debate is that, to virtually everybody, a wider, outward-looking Community would be not only desirable, but acceptable. We are, in fact, no longer arguing about that. Nor, indeed, is it something to be argued about. It is now wholly a matter of the timing and the terms on which the entry of ourselves and others could turn this into a wider Community.
To say that it is a matter of terms is not to say, as has been suggested—in the Press, at any rate—that one is making a bargaining or debating point only. I think that the House appreciates that the terms control the nature of the Community. It is no use talking of going into an outward-looking Community unless those in the Community, by the agreement they make—and this, to some extent, will be the test—show in deeds from then on that they are acting in an outward-looking way. This is the major point emerging from yesterday's debate.
The second thing that emerged from the Lord Privy Seal's speech was that, even at this stage, we still know far too little about the terms on agricultural issues to be able now to make a judgment. I rather got the impression that the right hon. Gentleman himself felt that; if was a great change from the 1174 days when it was the fashion on that side of the House to have a little fun at our expense for not, at that stage, and long ago, having made up our minds.
The lack of information on agricultural issues applies to every single aspect of the case. We do not yet know enough, and I rather doubt whether the Minister of Agriculture will later put us in a position where we do—I do not know whether he knows enough—about how we are to handle the consequential problems for our own domestic agricultural community and economy. We clearly do not yet know how the Commonwealth obligations and rights are to be settled. That applies even to New Zealand, which seems to be the one Commonwealth country that everyone is least worried about, in the sense that they must feel that it can be accommodated. We do not even yet know how New Zealand dairy produce is to be looked after and admitted.
We certainly do not know about Asian manufactures, or about the States in Africa and elsewhere which feel themselves or find themselves unable to accept overseas associated territory status. Clearly, also, we do not yet know, even in outline, how the problems of the other European countries, our partners in E.F.T.A.—either those who want to join as full members or those who want association—will be dealt with, or even when. We do not know whether it will be at the same time, or much later.
Finally, one thing to which the Government still seem to be giving less attention than to anything else, though I would have thought it absolutely critical, is the voting arrangements. We do not know how the voting will be arranged when we go in. So much that is provided for in the Treaty is, in fact, an acceptable obligation if the voting arrangements are made in one manner, but not acceptable if they are made in a totally different way. But we do not know anything about the detail of that. I would, therefore, think that it quite clearly emerged from yesterday's debate, whatever people may have thought optimistically before, that we are not yet even nearly in a position to make a judgment about the actual timing or terms, and this has nothing to do with the great broad issue of principle.
1175 The Lord Privy Seal said yesterday that there had never been any question last July of negotiating against a deadline. I will not spend much time on that, but I must say that some of those who sacrificed their time, and who collapsed from fatigue overnight, may well wonder why they were kept working so long if it was not a critical issue. My own belief is that at that time the Government were trying to get through by the end of July—the Lord Privy Seal shakes his head, and I must accept that, but certain points I want to make arise out of it.
First, I should like an undertaking that, whatever may have been the position in July, no new deadline will be set; that we shall not again—or for the first time—get ourselves into a situation in which we are arguing and working against an arbitrarily-suggested date. I say that because many of us suspect that the General Election still looms very large in the minds of Ministers when thinking about this issue. If we start trying to finish the negotiations with a legislative target in the Government's mind we shall get into the same muddle that things got into in July and August of last year.
Secondly, I ask that no attempt will at any stage be made to put across the outline of the whole picture—which the Lord Privy Seal said was what they had been hoping to get, and still hoped to finish—as the detailed terms and conditions, because that cannot be. Even if the Government achieve an overall outline, it will inevitably leave, as it does now, so many vital details unsettled that I should have thought that it would be quite an imposition on the British people to ask them to make a decision on that kind of basis. That is why, all the way through, we from this side have been pressing so firmly and continuously for all the proposals as they emerged to be examined in detail and very clearly.
The Lord Privy Seal yesterday seemed to resent this. He talked about the assumptions he said we made, and even talked about the premature judgment he thought we were in danger of making, or had made. That, however, cannot mix with the other allegation that we were sitting on the fence. We cannot both make a premature judgment and sit on the fence.
1176 The point is that this is not an answer to what we are, and have been, trying to do. At every stage we have wanted the details examined and understood. This position must, in the light of the background of the Government's own behaviour, remain. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition yesterday referred to the continuous atmosphere of double-talk, and this has clouded and befogged this whole problem at every stage. Different things have been said in Brussels from those said in London. Different thing have been said inside the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference from what has appeared in the inspired stories coming to the Press outside. One cannot ignore the fact that we have had to drag the Government down to the area of details, and we have had to drag out of them at almost every point the answer to the details we were raising.
Quite apart from the area of double-talk, there was, of course, that tremendously slick and stage-managed effort at Llandudno—an effort which, ironically enough, seems to have boomeranged very fast, because it is almost certain that what has helped to get this debate down to details as much as anything else has been the toughness, the new toughness, of the Community negotiators in Brussels, and it is quite likely that those negotiators would not have appeared as tough if they had not got the impression that the Prime Minister had got away with no opposition at all in his party. The whole stage-managing of affairs at Llandudno, far from helping us as a nation, and far from helping the party opposite, has an effect opposite to the one they so laboriously set out to achieve.
I therefore suggest that it is the duty of the House, having got matters to this basis, to keep them there. It is true that the fact that we on this side of the House have had the job of examining the details all the way through means that our speeches tend to take on the atmosphere of the critic. We are giving critical examination, and various hon. Members opposite are still making that point in this debate.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Guildford (Sir R. Nugent) referred yesterday to my right hon. Friend's speech as not being constructive, but that is exactly what a critical 1177 examination of the details is. That is the purpose of it, and the achievement. What was interesting was that. at the only point at which the hon. Baronet did a little critical examination, he turned to his right hon. Friend and said, "Of course, this agricultural plan is totally unacceptable to us, and we ask you to tell them in Brussels that it is totally unacceptable."
I do not know why he thinks that that is different from the critical examination which we were making, or how much leeway he thinks there is left in which his right hon. Friend may negotiate.
§ Sir Richard Nugent (Guildford)
What I said was unacceptable was the transitional arrangements, not the plan as a whole.
§ Mr. Brown
That is hardly worthy of the hon. Gentleman. If we do not settle the transitional period, the plan never operates. If one says that that is unsuitable, one is saying that we are not going in on this basis. When hon. Gentlemen opposite come down from the stratosphere they find themselves having to do the same job as we have been left to do all the time.
Let us make it perfectly clear that this is what emerged from the policy which we adopted at Brighton and from the speech made yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. We much prefer an enlarged European Community which would be expansionist and outward-looking in its economies and would base its internal policies on social justice; a Community which would seek to be neither a third force politically, economically, and so on, nor yet a party to the polarisation of the power blocs existing in the world at present. We should much prefer that. As was said by my right hon. Friend, that is what we hope to see emerge and it is what we would work to achieve.
The issue is, on what terms and at what time would entry by us, in company with others, help to bring about that state of affairs? There are some issues not yet settled which are clearly of importance in deciding that. I will not go over the whole field because of the lack of time, but there are three issues which I wish to re-emphasise.
1178 First, if and when we enter we must enter with others as full members along with us at that time. When we enter, with those others, the voting arrangements must be such that we are then as assured, as each of the Six arranged for themselves to be assured at the time when they went in, that there is no automatic majority against us on any important issue. These two matters, the entry of others with us and the voting arrangements, seem to me to be absolutely critical.
We repeat the pledge to E.F.T.A. It is a very binding pledge. Were we to go in with any of these countries not having satisfied their legitimate interests—as it is put -we should be in breach of our most solemn pledge. I sometimes get the impression that it is only the atmosphere of the pledge with which people are concerned. There is, of course, a moral obligation, too. But it seems to me that one ought to emphasise that this is equally a matter of the highest self-interest if we hope to live happily and in a worth-while way in the Community afterwards. I hope that the Lord Privy Seal will emphasise that he accepts that that is so, and that we are not only bound by our word but that we understand— and propose to leave the Six in no doubt of it—the importance of the matter to us.
The second issue that I consider to be of critical importance in deciding the timing and the terms is the question of the arrangements for other Commonwealth countries. Again, I will not go over the whole subject, or try to repeat the analysis made yesterday by my right hon. Friend. But unless certain matters are settled in a way which was indicated by my right hon. Friend, there can be no question of considering this Community to be outward-looking in the real sense of the word.
What are these matters? I will mention three. There are also other Commonwealth considerations, but I regard these three as outstanding. We must be satisfied that the subsequent outlet for Asian manufactures is such that the markets which they already have may be maintained and some opportunity afforded for the growth factor which they must have if the democratic experiments being conducted in those Asian countries are to succeed. Any failure to achieve that would seem to me a very 1179 important item to be placed in the debit balance.
Secondly, those States which do not want A.O.T. status must have other arrangements made to protect the entry of their goods. It is an academic question whether in this House we regard A.O.T. status as being neo-colonialism. It just happens not to be a decision which we have to make. We may feel that Nigeria or Ghana, or any other country, is silly to see it in those terms and to reject it. We may wish that they could see, with the clarity with which it was revealed yesterday by the Lord Privy Seal, the advantage of going in on that basis.
But, however we may feel about that, the decision, in the end, falls to be made by sovereign members of the Commonwealth. It is a decision which they will make for themselves. It seems to me that we have an inescapable duty to say to the Six that other arrangements must be made for those countries. We owe it to those countries to do so. They are part of the Commonwealth.
It is fashionable for everyone to say that the Commonwealth should stay together. We recall the great declaration by the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, that he would not be a party to entering the Common Market if that meant breaking up the Commonwealth. It is even fashionable for the Six to make the same assertion and to say that they do not want to see the Commonwealth damaged. I accept these things at their face value. But one must point out that if we found ourselves in a situation where, because Nigeria, let us say, had not accepted A.O.T. status and we could not get equivalent protection in some other way for her, we found ourselves—as a member of the Commonwealth—discriminating against Nigeria and in favour of, say, Senegal, the Commonwealth could not survive that for very long. Everyone may want the Commonwealth to continue. But the consequences of such a situation as I have described would be intolerable and would break up the Commonwealth. So that must be explained to the Six.
The third issue is the question of protection for the dairy products of New Zealand. Everyone says that this pro- 1180 tection can be provided. But it is such a vital matter that we cannot leave it with only a set of vague assertions and promises. Also, in the list of inescap-ables is the position of our own agricultural community with which no doubt the Secretary of State will deal during the debate.
Here again, let us establish that there exists more than a moral obligation to a group of people. Whatever may be our hopes and aims for the future, like most other nations this nation would neglect its own food producing potential only at its peril. We are not yet at the stage where we can do anything which would seem to reveal such a neglect. Therefore, we have the same need to see that we protect the stability of our agriculture and the means by which we brought the industry from the condition in which it was before 1939 to the condition which it enjoys in 1962. We have the same impelling necessity to protect that as those who are already members of the Six had to protect their interests. This must be explained clearly and in a friendly manner and without in any sense giving the impression that we are trying to avoid anything. The Six must be made to understand that our reasons for protecting our interests are the same as theirs.
In this matter, I submit that practically nothing has yet been achieved. The last time we heard the Minister of Agriculture the right hon. Gentleman—as he always does—made a rousing, amusing and enjoyable speech. He took us over the threshold, through the sluice gate and out of the dam on the other side. We had all the jargon from the right hon. Gentleman. But. with respect to him, he was unable to tell us a single thing that had been established except the one which the Lord Privy Seal keeps coming back to.
It is that they have got agreement on a review of agriculture in the Community which retains a national agricultural review. But we could be playing with words here and we could be totally misleading ourselves. It is not the fact that we have an agricultural review that gives stability to British agriculture, but what follows inevitably from the review.
I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture to make abundantly plain what the 1181 Community agricultural review entails and what action follows. [An HON. MEMBER: "They do not know."] If they do not know, then let us be told that it is not known, and that would be another reason why we cannot make a decision.
Secondly, I ask the Minister or the Lord Privy Seal what would happen about the British national review if we were to go into the Common Market? Would that simply mean that the review would give us figures to contribute to the Community agricultural review, or would we be able to take action here about the reward to industry as a result of the factors we learn from the national review, just as we do now? Could we make changes to restore the industry's profitability if it was shown that it had worsened? These questions must be answered straight and clear. If they are not yet agreed, then that is all right. It does not follow that they will not be agreed some time. But no one need be on the defensive about this matter. We and the agricultural industry must know what is the position.
We ought to be in a position to know whether our subsidies currently made to British agriculture can stay. One keeps on reading suggestions that production grants of some kind can stay. I even saw a reference somewhere in the mountain of papers we have on this subject Chat producer subsidies in exceptional circumstances can stay. We cannot assess how much of this will be transferred to the consumer and, therefore, to what extent food prices will go up. Nor can one assess how much stability one can guarantee the farmer and the farm-worker unless one knows the answer to the question about which of the Government payments we are now making are likely to stay. When we know the answer we shall know what proportion that is of the total, but so far we have no information about that at all.
If producer subsidies in the main are to go, the assumption is that the producers will then get their reward through the mechanism of prices. They will not starve or suffer. They will be paid in a different way. I saw a statement by the National Farmers' Union the other day which very fairly said that it was not its business whether this was done by production grants or subsidies. It was for the Government to decide. But the ques- 1182 tion that arises in my mind and in the minds of farmers in Derbyshire is how we ensure that, having got rid of the subsidies, we can control the price system that will make up for them.
What is the mechanism by which we then fix control and enforce prices to give producers the same return? Or does it become a matter of the market? In that case let us be perfectly clear that the assertion that British producers will lose a great part of their stability becomes absolutely true. We must have a clear answer to this. Linked with this are the existing market arrangements and the marketing boards. Can these arrangements be maintained and fitted into Community agricultural ideas? It seems questionable to me, but do the Government think it can be done? There are a lot of detailed questions which have to be answered. I apologise if they are detailed, but they are critical to an industry which is of fundamental importance.
§ Sir Cyril Osborne (Louth)
Whilst the right hon. Gentleman has the Floor, which we back benchers find so difficult to obtain, may I ask him to ask the Minister how much it will cost the consumer to guarantee these prices?
§ Mr. Brown
I think that the hon. Member has made use of my time very well to ask it himself.
Then there is the question of the present non-review commodities of this country, horticulture and the others. They have all along, even since the 1947 Act, taken the rough end of the stick. Despite many promises from all of us, they have had less of guarantees and of help and protection than we promised. How will they be taken care of in these circumstances?
I come now to the transitional period. The Government have been pressed from their own side, which I join, to make it absolutely plain to the Six that there can be no question of a given day on which we enter after which there is no transitional period for any changes in British agriculture. There can be no question of this. I should like the Minister to make it quite plain that he will go on saying in Brussels, whilst negotiating about the length of the transitional period, that there is no chance of giving completely away any transitional period at all.
1183 The last point that I raise relates to the Prime Minister's pledge about the 1957 Act to which many references have been made. The pledge was given on 31st July, 1961, in these terms:We have given a pledge to maintain the 1957 Agriculture Act for the lifetime of this Parliament and we stand by that…"— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd August, 1961; Vol. 645. c. 1488.]Does that mean that there will be no legislation in this Parliament to amend that Act? I am bound to point out to the party opposite that if it does it makes a considerable difference to some of the signs we have recently seen about their intentions between now and the General Election. If it does not mean that, what does the pledge mean that the Government are maintaining an Act in a Parliament in which, in fact, they are amending it? I ask the Government to give a clear explanation of what this means in practice.
I like the phrase "sticking points" and I have mentioned three. Everyone has his favourite issues, but these seem to me the outstanding and really critical issues. I hope that we will now get down to the business. I want to say a few words through the House to the Six and some of my colleagues there. I hope that we shall get down to the business of negotiating on the minimum settlements that we must have. We in the House do not believe that any of these issues are unreasonable to raise or to insist upon.
There are those who show, as I do, a keener desire to go in than do some others. There are differences of emotions, prejudices, background and ambitions here, but it does not seem to me that any of these issues could be regarded by our colleagues in the Six as unreasonable to insist upon and on which to ask for a high level of terms before we are satisfied.
We do not believe that any of them are unattainable, provided that our posture is right and that our colleagues in the Six understand the situation. We do not believe that any of them would be disruptive of the Community if the Community of the present Six would be ready to meet us on them. I have never understood the suggestion that negotiating satisfactory terms for us on these would disrupt the advantages which they themselves obtain from the Six.
1184 There would be a problem only if the Six were intending to be unrealistic, restrictionist, or a tightly protectionist club. I know some of the people involved and I do not believe that such a criticism of them holds. I know their philosophy and I do not believe that is what they mean. I could pick out facts to show that in many ways they are not behaving in that way at the moment. Reference has been made to what has been done to provide for Indian and Pakistani developments and to the French contribution to the underdeveloped territories, and so on. We ought not only to give these people credit for meaning what they say, but also bring into our speeches some of the evidence to show that they have tried to work in this way. Then, having said that, I repeat that I think I am in a position to appeal to them to see the incompatibility of speaking in that way and doing some of these things and yet being unreasonably obstructive or oppositionist to us in our desire to be met on these points.
There is another reminder which my right hon. Friend made yesterday and which I should like to repeat. There are many advantages to the members of the Six in having Britain, Denmark and Norway as full members and other European countries as associates. It is not only a question of their market and its value to us. There is a market here; there are resources here and elsewhere which are also of value to them. I always get the impression that somehow the negotiations must have got on to the wrong basis at the very beginning and that we have gone on behaving as suppliants. It is a label which has become stuck on us now and which may well bring some problems to the Six.
Arguments both ways can be applied, and the Six ought to be asked to recognise the fact. No matter what they say in public, if these negotiations fail, and we do not get in either temporarily or permanently, the Six themselves had better take note of the fact that there would be a question mark over the future of the Community even as it now is. Some of them recognise this fact, and some refuse to see it. But there are others who see it. This is also strengthening our position. It is not only we who have to do some heart-searching and tough jobs if the 1185 negotiations break down. They have the same compulsion as we have.
My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) last night set out the kind of alternative action that we should Lake if we had to take an alternative step and if the thing broke down. I will say this to the Six. The situation for them gets much worse if we become involved in some of those alternatives. I would not like to have to walk that road. I have said this many times. That is part of the case as I see it which has led me to be more strongly in favour of getting in if we could get the right terms. I think that the effect on world political problems and stability, and the effect on aid to the under-developed territories, would all be damagingly affected if we were to have to embark on that particular course of action.
But the Six must not misunderstand There are alternatives and, therefore, we do not have to break our pledges in order to meet the future. We do not have to disown our essential interests in order to meet the future. It can be met in one way or another. Coming into the enlarged Community would be much the better way to meet it. I was very impressed yesterday by the speech—I am sure that the House has read it—made by Mr. Peter Tennant, of the Federation of British Industries, speaking as an avowed and very strong supporter of entry. He, too, made abundantly plain, as the House will see and as our friends in the Six will see, how we could meet the ensuing situation if we had to. If they will only understand us clearly on that, we might save a lot of difficulties.
Last week there was a meeting of my Socialist colleagues in the Six. I was not there, but I followed with interest what they said, including what they said to the British Labour Party. I do not see any objection to my using this occasion to speak from the British Labour Party to the Socialists in the Six and asking them to exert their influence and ability to enable us to negotiate the sort of terms on which the British Labour Party and the British nation would join them, as they say they are so anxious for us to do.
1186 May I sum up in this way? We urge the Government now, first, to get our own economy going again. I am sure that this is the first psychological weapon in the battle. Let us again be expansionist and productive. We urge the Government to continue the negotiations not only on what was left unsettled at the meeting two or three weeks ago, but on all those issues which have not yet resulted in firm and clear understandings; to continue the negotiations with toughness, to make it plain that we are using every effort to settle satisfactorily, and not to worry unduly about the timetable.
I understand that there is a continuing uncertainty in industry, in the economy here and elsewhere, while the outcome of this is uncertain. That may be a sad point, but a little more delay is far less of a price to pay than either the thing breaking down because we cannot get satisfactory negotiations, or, equally bad, of dashing in because one wants to get it by a certain date, and one is left with lots of things open to misunderstanding and allegations of bad faith to follow later.
Also, we urge the Government to start talking now about alternatives, to start now discussing with those who would be concerned. It would not do any harm to the negotiations. It might well strengthen our bargaining position. In any case, it is a very elementary piece of national prudence to do it at this stage in the light of where the Government have reached. I have little faith, I must confess, that the Government are up to doing what I have urged on them, but I want the Six to understand that this is the position of those of us on this side of the House.
It is, I am sure, the position of a large number of people in this country, and at some stage this can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion if the Six will understand that that is much nearer to the British point of view than that which the Government seem to have told them, and if they will help us on this side of the House in trying to bring it about.
§ 4.46 p.m.
§ The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Christopher Soames)
The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) reiterated what his right hon. 1187 Friend the Leader of the Opposition said in his speech yesterday, that the Government had been indulging in double talk on this issue. This we cannot accept under any circumstances. The Government's position is the same today as it was before my right hon. Friend started his negotiations in Brussels, that we wish to enter into the Community, that we are seeking to get proper arrangements and only if we could get those proper arrangements would we be able to enter. I believe this to be the personal position also of the right hon. Gentleman.
The people who have been indulging in the double-talk are those who do not in their hearts wish this country to enter in any circumstances and who use the negotiations—highly complicated negotiations—as a means and a weapon to try to see that this matter is not brought to a successful conclusion. This is certainly the position as seen by the general public as a whole today. [Interruption.]Of course, there are hon. Members on this side of the House who take a very different view from the Government about this. Of course, that is so. The right hon. Gentleman said that we knew too little as yet of the detailed terms on such a critical issue to be able to reach a judgment. This is, of course, true across the whole field of Government pledges, and not least in relation to agriculture.
We have got to get down to the details, as far as they have been negotiated up to now, and look over them with some care. At the time that we applied for membership of the European Community there was no common agricultural policy in existence. There were general principles set out in the Treaty of Rome about what the objectives were for agriculture, and a decision to work out a common agricultural policy which would lead at the end of the transitional period to the free movement of agricultural goods between member countries. It was understood that the basis of this common agricultural policy would be a managed market with fiscal controls on foodstuffs imported from outside the Community. When we applied to join. we accepted that we should participate in a common agricultural policy and we accepted also that the basis of that policy should be a managed market.
1188 The negotiations with the Six as they affect home agriculture can, broadly, be divided into two categories. First, there is the question of the transitional period which covers the manner in which we should move over from our present system of support to the Continental system and the length of time this should take. Second, there is the common agricultural policy itself so far as it has been developed.
In the first category, the transitional period, we are asking for special arrangements both on manner and timing to meet our own special circumstances and problems brought about, on the whole, by the fact that our system of support is so different from that of the present members of the Community. As regards the second category, the common agricultural policy, what we are suggesting is not alterations or special arrangements just for ourselves but what we consider to be necessary improvements in the policy for the enlarged Community as a whole.
We tackled first in the negotiations at Ministerial level the question of an annual review, which comes under the second heading. The right hon. Member for Belper said that, when we last discussed this—it was in the June debate, not the August debate—I had made much of the annual review. It had not been negotiated at that time. We were saying what we were hoping to get from the negotiations as regards an annual review. It has been through the process of negotiation now and is in the category of a provisional agreement, and I want to say a word or two to the House about what it involves.
The way the Six were evolving the common agricultural policy was that they were taking each commodity separately and agreeing on the arrangements by which the market for it should be organised. Each commodity was being treated, as it were, in a watertight compartment. We put it to them that a common agricultural policy had to be more than just a series of arrangements for different commodities and that it needed to be pulled together by an annual review which would fulfil three main functions. First, the basic data which each country would provide to the Commission should be decided upon and should present a picture of the progress of agriculture in member 1189 countries and the extent to which the agricultural policy was fulfilling the objectives in member countries of Article 39 of the Treaty. Second, all this information should be collated at Community level to enable the Commission to review the progress of agriculture within the Community as a whole. The third function should be to review the extent to which the agricultural policy, as it was working out in practice, was enabling the Community to strike a proper balance between its responsibilities to its own producers and consumers, on the one hand, and towards the outside world, on the other.
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition gave the impression yesterday that he attached but little value to the agreement which we have made on this subject. It is not my impression that this is the view of the farming community. The right hon. Gentleman said that the annual review as agreed was quite different from ours,. But is it so different? We pointed out to the Six that we had had long experience in reviewing each year the effect of our policies both upon our own agriculture and on our trade with the outside world, and that we had over the years evolved what we believed to be the best procedure for assembling and considering the economic and statistical data necessary to guide us in our decisions on our agricultural policy as a whole. We spelt this out in detail to the Six and suggested that they should adopt these same data for the Community annual review. This the Six accepted.
Under our system, the Government use the review to guide them in all the major decisions they have to take on agricultural policy, including the determination of guaranteed prices. Similarly, under the arrangement we have made with the Six, the Commission will report to the Council of Ministers the results of the review and the Council of Ministers—and, indeed, all the Community institutions— will make use of them in the decisions which they will have to take year by year concerning the application of the common agricultural policy in all its aspects, including, of course, pricing policies.
What the decisions are will depend on the precise arrangements made for individual commodities. The easiest case to take is that of cereals. Decisions will 1190 have to be taken on the target prices each year, and these in turn govern, for example, the threshold price for imports. Pricing policy must obviously occupy a central place in the common agricultural policy, and the agreement to have a Community annual review means that these key decisions will be taken after all the relevant factors have been presented in the review.
§ Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us who takes part in this review? Would it be a two-sided review, with the Commisison on the one side and producers' representatives on the other, as it is here, or would it mean simply that the Commission would do it? Would there be representatives on the other side?
§ Mr. Soames
The Commission does the review. Under the system as we have it, the review is done by the Government and producer representatives are consulted. That same provision for the Commission to consult producer representatives is made in the agreement which we have made with the Six.
§ Viscount Lambton (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
Will my right hon. Friend agree that this review is in no way bound to take any action to necessitate the changing of policy in any country?
§ Mr. Soames
That the review is in no way bound to change policy? That is not done by the review. The changing of policy would be done by the Council of Ministers, not by the review. This has nothing to do with the annual review. It is an entirely different point.
§ Viscount Lambton
Did I hear my right hon. Friend say that it has nothing to do with the annual review?
§ Mr. Soames
The Council of Ministers are the people who would bring about a change of policy. The review is undertaken by the Commission and presented to the Council of Ministers with recommendations from the Commission as to what steps the Council should take. It will be in the light of that review that the Council of Ministers will take its decisions.
§ Mr. Soames
The Commission will report to the Council of Ministers and it 1191 will be for the Council of Ministers and other Community institutions to take decisions from that point.
§ Mr. Frederick Peart (Workington)
The Minister said that this is a provisional agreement. Those were his words. If this is a provisional agreement, will he explain what will be the full agreement or what he seeks to achieve apart from that?
§ Mr. Soames
I used the word "provisional" in the way that my right hon. Friend has used it for all the agreements he has arrived at in Brussels hitherto. It is agreed provisionally in that sense, to be looked at in the context of the negotiations as a whole. [An HON. MEMBER: "It may be the final agreement."]
The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition commented yesterday on the fact that the arrangements for different commodities varied considerably and that there were some where the Community authorities would have but little control over the level of market prices. This is a perfectly valid point, and I will come to it in a moment, but it is not a point against the review itself. One can argue that the commodity arrangements should be changed and that the Community should take unto itself greater responsibility, for certain commodities, for control of market prices, including guide prices, intervention prices and the like. That is an argument on the regulations for each individual commodity. The point I am making here is that, in all the fields where the Community decides it should have an influence, the necessary decisions will be taken as a direct result of the picture presented by the review.
Of course, the review is not a policy in itself. Nobody is suggesting that, and the form of the commodity regulations is enormously important. The policy which is emerging as regulations are produced, either as adopted by the Council of Ministers, or in draft by the Commission, is that for those commodities where there is likely to be a considerable level of imports, there is to be a wealth of Community control, by fixing target prices or guide prices to be reflected in the prices at which imports are allowed into the Community and supported, indeed, in some cases, by intervention or support- 1192 buying provisions. But, in the case of commodities in which the Community is more or less self-sufficient, though there will still have to be fiscal controls on imports from outside, the internal arrangements in the Common Market stage at least as so far envisaged, are less definite and leave more to the pull of the market.
We take the view that the Community's policy in this latter sector may well have to be developed further, and this we have yet to discuss with the Six at Ministerial level on the basis of individual commodities, and this is going to be an important part of the negotiations to come. Included in this category is horticulture, where we have special and considerable problems which have given rise to a number of proposals that we have put to the Six and which will have to be discussed at Ministerial level in the future.
With the annual review which we discussed with the Six came also the question of further assurances on living standards in agriculture. We put it to the Six that the relationship of the standard of living of the farmer to that of people in other sections of the economy varied considerably as between countries. What matters to a farmer in any country is the comparison between his standard of living and that of his compatriots working in other jobs. We put it to them that we should have to consider the possibility that, when the Council of Ministers had taken decisions following the annual review on price levels and other matters for implementing the common agricultural policy, so as to serve the best interests of the agricultural community as a whole and the Community's responsibilities as a whole, these might not prove to have maintained acceptable standards for farmers in every part of the Community.
We therefore suggested to them that if this proved to be the case, member States should be empowered to take remedial action. The Six replied that, though they accepted that an assurance of this nature should be built into the common agricultural policy, and were prepared to support it, they could not accept that such remedial action should be left to the autonomous decision of member States. They argued that as this was an important addition to the 1193 common agricultural policy, which, indeed, it is, the very fact that it was an important addition and could give rise to the expenditure of quite large sums of money, meant that decisions should be taken on a Community basis. On the other hand, they appreciated our argument that it was not sufficient to leave recommendations to the Commission under this heading on a permissive basis. As the Leader of the Opposition said yesterday, the Commission may make recommendations if it wishes. What we have agreed with them is that if any member State could show that the objectives of Article 39 were not being realised, then it would be the duty of the Commission to submit to the Council of Ministers proposals to remedy that situation. It is for member States, if they wish, to draw attention to this, and the Commission will put proposals to the Council of Ministers, and I say will because it is obligatory upon it.
§ Mr. Soames
The hon. Gentleman says "only by a qualified majority". I must say that, from the point of view of any particular country wishing to do something for its agriculture, it is much more advantageous that it should be put before the Council of Ministers for consideration and decision on the basis of a qualified majority, rather than on the basis of one "black ball" forbidding it to do it.
Apart from a short preliminary discussion on those commodity regulations which are already in operation, and to which we shall have to return later, there had been no other discussions on home agriculture until the week before last, when the topic was our arrangements for the transitional period.
§ Mr. Crossman
The right hon. Gentleman was asked a question by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition about marketing boards. Is it the Government's policy to insist that marketing boards, such as the Milk Marketing Board, shall be maintained? Is it their long-term objective that they should be maintained or not? Is he fighting for this or not? Is he assuming that the Milk Marketing Board will be incompatible? He has not given us any answer to that question, but he must 1194 be able to tell us what is his objective. Is it his objective to keep the Milk Marketing Board intact?
§ Mr. Soames
We believe that producer marketing organisations can have an important part to play within the framework of a common agricultural policy. This is not ruled out within the common agricultural policy, but the extent of the powers which that producer marketing board can have, and the blueprint under which it must work, must depend upon the individual commodity arrangements.
§ Mr. Crossman
I am asking the Minister whether the Government— [Interruption.]He has said that this is not ruled out. Is he fighting to have it ruled in? Is he going to fight to get the Milk Marketing Board allowed to go on, because there are thousands of people whose livelihood will depend upon the answer to that question?
§ Mr. Soames
There is no doubt, in our view, that there is room for producer marketing organisations, of which the Milk Marketing Board is one, within the Treaty of Rome, but we cannot know the details of the blueprint until the regulations are settled for each individual commodity, and the regulation for milk has not yet been adopted.
§ Mr. Soames
It is absolutely clear. There is room for it, and we believe that producer marketing organisations can play quite an important part, inside or outside the Common Market.
§ Mr. Soames
I really must get on. I am not going to insist on anything in public in this country which is going to jeopardise or make harder the problem of my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal in his negotiations in Brussels.
§ Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)
I apologise to my right hon. Friend. I know that it is not convenient on these occasions to be subjected to interruptions, but if, as I understand it, he is now leaving the long-term arrangements to turn to the transitional ones, 1195 would he be good enough to say a word or two about one other topic which may trouble him and which also troubles some of us? We value the Annual Price Review, not as a mere statistical exercise, but as a prelude to prompt and effective action. Assuming that action can, in the event, be taken effectively, and I leave that as an open question in these arrangements, will my right hon. Friend say something about the timetable of action which he envisages as to whether the other requisite of prompt action could be satisfied in some arrangement which the Community would have to go through?
§ Mr. Soames
Yes, Sir, when the Community review comes into operation, it will involve consideration of the timing and the fitting in of the national reviews with the Commission's review on which it makes recommendations to the Council of Ministers. It is for the Council to take action, and there certainly seems to be no reason why it should not be prompt action.
We explained to the Six that, whereas we, in common with them, during the transitional period, would be having to move towards a harmonised price level for the various commodities, we had a separate and considerable extra problem which they did not share.
Broadly speaking, their producer price and their market price are one and the same thing, whereas, under our system, the market price is below, and sometimes well below, the producer price. We would therefore have the double problem of harmonising both our producer and market prices with the eventual Community price level. We therefore put to the Six that we should adjust our market price over the transitional period by a gradual imposition of fiscal control of imports, of tariffs and levies on food coming into this country, so that by the end of the transitional period we would be implementing in full the agreed provisions of the common policy governing imports. In this way, we would be gradually increasing the proportion of the return which the farmer obtained from the market, thus reducing the proportion which comes from the Exchequer.
1196 The Six put to us the counter-proposal that we should abandon our present system and adopt theirs immediately on entry and mitigate the effect on the consumer by bringing in consumer subsidies with, perhaps, producer subsidies in exceptional cases which would be phased out over the transitional period. We made clear to them the numerous reasons why this proposal was not acceptable to us. It would involve setting up afresh the whole administrative paraphernalia which had to be associated with food subsidies and dismantling it again when we reached the Common Market period.
We do not believe that this is in conformity with the Treaty, which provides specifically that the necessary adjustments should be made gradually. My right hon. Friend made it abundantly clear that there were serious objections, both on policy and administrative grounds, to the Six's proposition and all that could be agreed at that meeting was that Ministers would resume their discussion of it at a later date. Therefore, this important item of our transitional period, its arrangements and its duration, remains to be settled together with many other points affecting the common agricultural policy and arrangements for the different commodities.
We have a lot to agree upon yet. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] There is a lot of negotiating to be done before we will be in a position to decide whether or not we have been able to agree with the Six arrangements which will preserve the vital interests of our agricultural industry. There will inevitably be some factors about which we shall have to make the best assessment we can and in repect of which the precise arrangements will be known only as the common policy develops.
The Leader of the Opposition specifically referred to the question of direct grants—this was also raised by the right hon. Member for Belper—which, as he rightly said, the Community authorities have not yet reached decisions upon. But on this point three things are clear. First, we, like every member of the Community, make considerable use of direct grants as a means of supporting agriculture. Secondly, all these will come under scrutiny to see that they are compatible with the Common Market. But, thirdly, it is certain that these direct 1197 grants will continue to have an important part to play in the development of the common agricultural policy.
Plainly, the time for final judgment has not yet arrived, but I should like to put to the House two general points on how the common agricultural policy would be likely to affect the fortunes of our home agriculture. The root cause of the difficulties which not only we in this country but those in the developed world as a whole are facing in agriculture today is that scientific and technological advances in agriculture have led to increases in productivity in the developed world far outstripping the increases in consumption in those countries which can afford to pay for the food that they want.
This applies to almost every major temperate agricultural commodity. We see it reflected in numerous ways. In the New World we see the soil bank—an active policy to take fertile land out of production. There is a hackneyed joke in the United States of a man who, in replying to a question as to how he earned his living, said, "By not rearing hogs ". We see it from time to time in the depression of prices in the world food markets. We see it in the expenditure on storage and disposal of surpluses. We see it in this country in the rising bill for deficiency payments, and an increasing strain is being placed upon our system which stood us well from almost every point of view in times when there was a sellers' market for food but which is now becoming increasingly costly.
Individual national action alone cannot solve this major problem. It can be mastered only by means of international commodity agreements going further than those in existence today. These agreements would have to provide for the quantity of the different commodities entering world trade, for an effective confrontation of pricing policies between importing and exporting countries, for the control and handling of surpluses, and for the special problem of trade with the developing countries.
The Leader of the Opposition questioned whether world-wide commodity agreements were likely to be achieved and suggested that this country should not commit itself to joining the Community until they were. I would not attempt to belittle the very real difficul- 1198 ties which lie ahead before satisfactory international commodity agreements can be settled, but neither should we underestimate the value and importance of the statements on this subject included in the provisional agreement on temperate foodstuffs reached in Brussels in the early days of August.
We regard as a major event in the Brussels negotiations the agreement that, if we join, the Community, as an act of policy, will take the initiative in calling as soon as possible an international conference of the principal exporting and importing countries of the main commodities. Agreements along these lines could be of immeasurable value to the future of agriculture in the developed world as a whole, including this country, and could contribute usefully towards the removal of the paradox that, while half the world is trying to damp down its agricultural production, the other half is seriously under-nourished.
The second point that I wish to make is the important one that the Leader of the Opposition touched on yesterday: is our entry into the Common Market, with its managed market system, likely to provide as satisfactory a basis for the future as our present system? This, of course, begs the question of the extent to which our present system of open-ended guarantees would need to be changed anyhow to meet the circumstances of the future. Doubtless the Opposition have given thought to this.
Since I have held this office, I have seen a growing demand among farmers for the imposition of import controls on different kinds of foodstuffs coming into this country. My hon. Friends who represent agricultural constituencies have seen this in full measure. But the whole basis of our present system of support is that, subject to our anti-dumping legislation, food should come in here as cheaply as the trade can procure it, and that the farmer's price should be protected by variable deficiency payments.
The perfectly understandable desire of farmers to alter the fundamentals of the system by the imposition of import controls is in itself a reflection of the increasing strain under which our system is being placed. But fiscal controls on imports from the outside world are the very basis of the Community's 1199 system of agricultural support. In general terms, it requires that the consumer should pay the price for his food which the Community sets as a proper return for the farmers.
Of course, this will mean higher food prices for our consumers and this had to be considered in the balance of general economic arguments. The prosperity of the 4 per cent. of our population engaged in agriculture is closely bound up with the prosperity of the remaining 96 per cent. who are their customers. But, from the point of view specifically of our farmers, there are surely few who are not aware of the advantages in the present and likely future state of world supplies of getting their full return from the market as opposed to getting only a part of their return from a market price which for them in many cases is uneconomic and a rising proportion of their returns having to be voted for them by Parliament each year.
§ Sir C. Osborne
Has my right hon. Friend or his Department tried to estimate what it will cost an average family of, say, five in increased prices if the guarantees are lost and farmers' incomes have to be maintained by higher prices to the consumer?
§ Mr. Soames
This is an extremely difficult calculation to make, for two basic reasons. First, we do not yet know the length of the transitional period. Neither can we foresee what will be the market prices decided upon by the Community for the individual commodities at the end of the day.
We are, however, concerned to see that in the negotiations, first, we get reasonable and proper arrangements for the transition from our system to that of a managed market, and secondly, the arrangements by which the market will be managed will be such as to offer fair and proper opportunities to the Community agriculture, of which we would form a part.
Let there be no doubt about the amount of hard negotiation yet to be done. If, however, we succeed, our farmers will be protected against the price at which food is imported into this country and into the Community to an extent not hitherto con- 1200 sidered. Against that, British agriculture would be facing competition from Europe; but do not let us forget that it is equally true that Europe will be facing competition from British agriculture as well. It is not only industry that could gain from a continental economy providing the big market which, in modern days, is necessary for a high wage economy and a high standard of living. We believe that there will be a growing market in Europe for agricultural goods, and particularly for quality produce. Given that the market is properly managed—and the desire to see this will be shared by the whole Community—the extent to which our agriculture will benefit from this large market will depend upon its competitive ability with that of other countries in the Community.
It will mean for all countries a certain switch in emphasis of production towards commodities which, for differing reasons, they are best able to produce. This is inevitable when switching from serving a national market to serving an international market. But taking our agriculture as a whole, if we consider the structure of our industry, the size of holdings, the efficiency of our farmers, the output per man and the extent of mechanisation. there is surely no room for doubt that given the right arrangements, which we will do our best to achieve in Brussels. British agriculture will be able not only to meet the challenge but also to seize the opportunities which this large market will offer.
§ 5.23 p.m.
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Middlesbrough, East)
The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has said that if we enter the Community, European agriculture will get competition from us, and that is true. My belief is that our agriculture is so efficient that, given equal terms, it will more than hold its own.
I wish, however, to return to the general subject of the debate, because it has shown that we on this side are not against going into the Common Market. What we ask, however, is "What kind of Common Market?" My right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) and I, when we were together at the Board of Trade, tried to secure a 1201 Common Market for the world. It was our hope that a United Nations agency would be established to deal with trade. I was the Minister who led the United Kingdom trade delegation to the conference at Havana and it was not the fault of the Labour Government that we did not get a Common Market established for the whole world.
We failed and, therefore, the next task was to try to bring about a trade association on a more limited scale but, in this case, in Europe. The Labour Government brought about the development of the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation. It was not the fault of the Labour Government that that organisation divided East and West, because the late Mr. Ernest Bevin invited Mr. Molotov to the initial conference and suggested that the whole of Europe might be united for developing its economy.
In my judgment, the O.E.E.C. did an excellent job. It removed the quota restrictions, it liberalised trade and it played a major part in expanding world trade generally. I should have liked to see the O.E.E.C. continue. It was an organisation in which we were building an international civil service and in which technical, economic and social experts got together and knew each other. Had this great administrative machine been allowed to continue much longer, we could have superimposed upon it an efficient political institution which could have been accepted by us all.
Although it has now changed into a development organisation, the O.E.E.C. has to some extent been pushed aside because of the creation of the Common Market. In the first instance, however, it was not the Common Market as we know it today. It was the Common Market for coal and steel. At the Conservative Party Conference, the Lord Privy Seal criticised the Labour Government for not going in at that time. My reply is that it was impossible then to hand over two public organisations—coal and steel—to an as yet untried body.
Furthermore, I challenge the Lord Privy Seal to say that he thought that the Schuman Plan would succeed. I had my doubts. There were six countries with different labour standards, 1202 different methods of taxation. different social services and different languages. We must, however, face the reality of the situation that it did succeed. Because of its success, the Six said that they would go ahead and have a Common Market for all goods.
History will, I think, show that the Conservative Government stand condemned because in 1955, when they had the evidence before them, they did not accept the invitation to go to Messina and take part in the discussions about the Treaty of Rome. I hope that their reason for not doing so was not that it happened to be a Socialist. Paul Spaak, who was leading.
Now, we are faced with the reality of the situation. The Common Market is in being and the Government have led the country to a position in which we have to consider not only advantages, but the disadvantages of staying out. The Common Market showed that it could succeed because in days of modern mass production, when there is new scientific and technical development, small-scale organisations could not do what was required. We had to have a larger market. I know from my experience at the Board of Trade that only by having a broad-based home market—and the Common Market is one of 170 million people—can we provide a firm base for exports.
That is one of the dangers for this country. When the Six really are able to build and co-ordinate industry, they will be able to provide a home market with goods at reasonable prices and so establish an efficient economic organisation that will enable them to go into the markets of the world and undercut us in every case. Therefore, in these days of modern mass production, large-scale organisations are vital.
To those who are doubtful about going into the Common Market, I would say that nobody in his economic senses believes that British business can ignore this vast and profitable market so near the Port of London, Middlesbrough and other places, because to do so would be fatal for our own industrial development.
We have obligations to our trading partners in E.F.T.A. and I hope that they will be honoured. I do not wish to develop this theme—others, doubtless, 1203 will do so—but I am as interested as anyone else in seeing that our E.F.T.A. partners are fairly treated.
So that as many hon. Members as possible may speak, I should like to confine my remarks to a subject which is as dear to me as the Common Market, and that is the Commonwealth. I should be the last person to do anything that I thought would damage the Commonwealth. I hope that this is true of the Government, too. Perhaps I may recall what was said in this House by the Prime Minister on 26th November, 1956, and I believe that this is the present mood of the House. The right hon. Gentleman said:I do not believe that this House would ever agree to our entering arrangements which, as a matter of principle, would prevent our treating the great range of imports from the Commonwealth at least as favourably as those from the European countries."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th November, 1956; Vol. 561, c. 37–8.]This is important. We cannot differentiate against our Commonwealth and we cannot give advantages to other countries at the expense of our Commonwealth. I think that the Common Market countries themselves must recognise these special relationships which exist between the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth countries. I would go so far as to say that it is in their interests to do so, because in Asia and Africa we have provided for Europe as a whole a bridgehead to this important developing part of the world. It is in the interests of Europe as a whole that there should be peace and security in those parts of the world.
Of course, we have to recognise the dangers of not entering the Common Market, and it is not only those of us in this House and in this country who have to consider that, but those in the Commonwealth, too. I think that it can be shown that Commonwealth statesmen are facing up to this. I will make only one quotation from the recent speech of the New Zealand Prime Minister in the New Zealand House of Parliament. He said:If Britain joins or if she does not there are equal challenges. Indeed, the best informed people are not quite sure whether New Zealand would not have a more serious challenge if Britain did not join than if she did on present terms.So I think that the Commonwealth countries as a whole have to face the realities 1204 of the situation as we in this House have to do. I would ask the Lord Privy Seal whether he thinks that all that can be done is being done to assist the Commonwealth.
I want to make some propositions to the right hon. Gentleman. First, let me take the African countries. The Common Market countries have all agreed that it is necessary to do everything possible to build up the standards of living of the African countries. Not only are there moral grounds for doing this, but also, I think, self-interest demands that we should do it. In this troubled world, all those of like mind must join as closely together as possible.
Why is it that this associate membership, to which the right hon. Gentleman referred yesterday, has not been accepted? I confess that the arguments which he put forward yesterday were very sound, but he has not only to convince me. He has to convince the Africans. Why are they rejecting it? They are rejecting it because they really believe that associate membership means that they are going to be subject permanently to economic domination by Europe.
I do not think that the old system will prevail in the future. In the past, primary producers were compelled to produce cheaply in order to buy manufactured goods in short supply. But now circumstances are changed. Every country is becoming industrialised. There will be a time when everybody has manufactured goods and primary products will be the goods in demand. I think that it would be in the interests of the primary producing countries to concentrate as much on primary products as on manufactured goods.
As I say, the African countries, Ghana, Tanganyika and Nigeria, think that it may mean economic subjection. So I make this suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman. Why cannot he bring it home to the Common Market countries that Eurafrica is worth fighting for? Why not say that we will give the same concessions to all the African countries which are willing to co-operate in building up Eurafrica, whether they are associated or not. I think that this is a forward-looking challenge and something which might be considered.
1205 As far as the Asian countries are concerned, I had the opportunity of going to India and Pakistan during the Recess. I can assure the Lord Privy Seal that the bitterness and fear which they have about our going into the Common Market have to be experienced to be believed. I was speaking in favour of Britain going in, but they found it very difficult to believe that it would not damage their interests and destroy the Commonwealth. We have to remove this fear and let them see that we are fighting as much for their benefit as for our own, and fighting in the interests of democracy as a whole.
Whereas they accept that they are to have a comprehensive trade agreement which they hope will bring benefit to them in the future, from the short-term point of view they will suffer. I return to what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said yesterday. Let them keep their preferences at the moment. I do not think that this is asking too much. Let them keep their preferences until the trade agreements are concluded. I hope that the Common Market countries will be generous and give opportunities to the less-developed countries to develop and to be better provided for than they are at present.
The Lord Privy Seal stressed that they had greatly benefited by the reduction of the tariff on tea, and this at the expense of coffee. But does the right hon. Gentleman expect for one moment that it will stay that way? Is there not the possibility, indeed the likelihood, that those who have coffee interests will put the pressure on as strongly as possible to get revenue and fiscal duties imposed on tea higher than they are at the moment, in order, to bring about equality? I think that they are entitled to get some better recognition of what this tariff concession means, not only in the short term but in the long term.
Then there are the anxieties of that other section of the Commonwealth, particularly Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They are worried about their traditional exports and also about exports which they are trying to build up. But they are mostly concerned about the exports geared to this country. We ought to tell the Common Market countries that this is vital to us as well as to the Commonwealth countries. The E.E.C. ought to give assurances that it recognises this and will do whatever it can 1206 to give to its verbal assurances some measure of substance. I do not think that it is impossible for that to be worked out. It has been done in the case of French associated countries.
These Commonwealth countries are also troubled about the agricultural policy within the E.E.C. itself. I have been told by Commonwealth representatives in the countries which I have mentioned that they still have not sufficient information on which to make a judgment. I believe that they are entitled to have it, and I hope that it will be forthcoming as soon as possible. It is in the interests of the Government to do everything to help the Commonwealth countries and to make sure that they are satisfied. If the E.E.C. does not recognise the requirements of the Commonwealth countries, it is a short-sighted policy on its part.
In conclusion, I would say that if the E.E.C. does recognise them it will help to consolidate the free peoples of the world and make peace more secure. I do not think that the challenge is between the Commonwealth and the Common Market, but I am bound to say if I were forced to make a decision as between the Common Market and the Commonwealth it would be in favour of the Commonwealth.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Sir Henry Studholme (Tavistock)
The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) has, I consider, made a helpful speech, as, indeed, did the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown)—very different in tone from the speech to which we listened yesterday by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. But then we know where the sympathies of the right hon. Member for Belper lie. I think that the right hon. Gentleman gave a fair summary of the position when he said that the terms are the test but that we do not yet know sufficient about the terms to form a judgment. I agree with that. I think that we should go into the Common Market, but. of course, not at any price.
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture made a speech full of good sense, and I hope that it will be very widely read and carefully studied. After the welter of detail and criticism that we have had in this debate. I think it a good idea to go back to what the House 1207 decided on 3rd August, 1961. It was to apply formally under Article 237 to negotiate, to see if he could get terms which we could accept and which would satisfy the interests of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and E.F.T.A. We undertook not to enter into any agreement affecting those special interests of British sovereignty till the House had approved and the other Commonwealth countries had been fully consulted.
The present Motion we are asked to approve urges the Government to do all they can to obtain acceptable conditions. That is precisely what the Government are endeavouring to do, so ably led by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal in Brussels.
The Opposition goes on sniping away all the time. That is the job of the Opposition. We know that, but denigration and destructive criticism, such as we heard yesterday from the Leader of the Opposition and others, is, of course, the easiest thing in the world, and it is nonsense and not true to suggest, as he and other Opposition speakers did, that the Government have abandoned their pledges. That is not true.
A lot has been talked about agreements reached so far—whether they were binding or provisional. Of course the agreements so far reached are provisional, but whether or not it is worth while reopening any of them is a matter for judgment. They are provisional because whether we eventually accept them depends on how far the full terms, when we see the full picture, satisfy the three conditions which we require.
I believe that the Government's approach to the Common Market question has been entirely correct; that is to say, to apply, as we did last year, to join in order to discover what the conditions were before we committed ourselves. The Liberals have reproached us for not signing the Treaty of Rome several years ago and negotiating afterwards. With our peculiar agricultural and Commonwealth requirements, no responsible Government could have done that, nor would the country for one moment have accepted it.
Now the Opposition Amendment demands two further conditions: first, that if we join we should be free to conduct 1208 our own foreign policy, and, secondly, that we should be free to introduce nationalisation and economic planning if we want to. Judging by the political complexion of some of the Governments in the Six surely, with regard to the second point, the answer must be "Yes". With regard to foreign policy, I thought that the hon. and learned Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) made a very interesting speech yesterday in which he dealt with that question within the context of the sharing of sovereignty.
If we stayed out of the Community, he asked, how much freedom would we have in deciding our foreign policy? Because foreign policy is only effective if it can influence events outside our own shores. How effective would we be, he asked, in isolation? Perhaps no more effective than some of the smaller neutral countries were at the beginning of the last war; because final decisions might be taken over our heads by the United States of America and a closely integrated European community to which we did not belong. This is one of the questions on which we shall have to make up our minds, but I believe that we could exercise greater influence in the world in the Community than we could outside it.
If only a Commonwealth free trade area were a workable alternative to the Common Market, how simple it would be. But it is not, and the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference the other day showed clearly that the Commonwealth does not want it. Besides, the industrialised countries of the Commonwealth would provide us with only a tariff-free market of some 30 million people over and above the 50 million in these islands, and the rest of the Commonwealth consists of developing countries all of which are in urgent need of financial help. Unless Britain is prosperous we shall be no good at all to the Commonwealth. Surely the best chance of expanding our trade and increasing our prosperity lies within the large industrialised trading group, the biggest in the world, which a combined Europe would provide and in which we could also act as a two-way link with the Commonwealth.
If we look at Commonwealth trade over the last two years we see the trend has been away from Britain and towards nearer geographical neighbours, as in the case of Australia towards Japan. British 1209 exports to the Commonwealth during that time have dropped by £60 million, and we have an unfavourable balance of trade with the Commonwealth. With the Common Market, however, our trade is up by about £100 million and we have a favourable balance of trade, and this year, for the first time, Europe has bought more from Britain than has the Commonwealth. In fact, Europe seems to have become an expanding market whereas, unfortunately, the Commonwealth market has contracted.
We must, of course, do all we can to foster trade between ourselves and other Commonwealth countries, but these facts I have given are compelling economic facts to which we cannot shut our eyes. I was very interested in the speech yesterday by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish), and what he said about his experience in Australia and New Zealand. I entirely agree on this, that the special terms which New Zealand requires must be safeguarded.
I have very little more to say, but I should like to touch on the question of agriculture. Representing as I do an agricultural constituency, I am naturally very much concerned about the conditions for agriculture. My hon. Friend the Member for Torrington (Mr. P. Browne) on Monday asked the Lord Privy Seal to insist that, if we go in. our present system of agricultural support should be maintained during the transitional period. I entirely understand and sympathise with the feelings which prompted that Question. However, I can see that my right hon. Friend, who is our chief negotiator in Brussels and about to reopen negotiations on this very question, could not, for obvious reasons, give such a categorical assurance. But the very fact that my right hon. Friend turned down the proposal that immediately on joining the Common Market we should switch over from our present system of support to one of consumer subsidies shows that he is well aware that there are conditions which we could never accept. We must leave it to him and to the Minister of Agriculture to negotiate. There is nobody better fitted to carry- out these negotiations than my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal. We cannot, of course, expect to get the best of all worlds in negotiations of this importance and complexity, but it would 1210 be the greatest mistake for the European Economic Community to imagine that, because the Conservative Party at Llandudno came out so strongly in favour of the Common Market, we could accept sudden changes in our agricultural support system. The switch over, if we go in, must be phased and gradual.
When the negotiations are finally completed and the full facts have been put to the country, it will be for Parliament to decide. It is not a question which should be thrown into the turmoil of a General Election, for this reason, that on this question, with all the other issues which must inevitably arise at such a time, a General Election would never provide a clear-cut answer.
I personally sincerely hope that the terms will be such that we can accept them. We could then go forward into a new and exciting phase in our history and play the important role which, by our tradition, our history and our experience as a world Power, we are fully qualified to play. Unless we go in, I suggest that the European Community will never be really effective, and I believe that most European countries realise this.
§ 5.50 p.m.
§ Miss Jennie Lee (Cannock)
Yesterday, the Lord Privy Seal claimed that we had gone two-thirds of the way towards getting satisfactory terms for Britain's entry into the European Community. I think that by the time my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition resumed his seat he had successfully demolished this claim. It was quite clear that, in return for specific guarantees from this country, we are still floundering in a morass of uncertain promises about European terms.
But if there were any doubts left in the minds of any hon. Members at the end of yesterday's debate, I Should think that they were set at rest when the Minister of Agriculture resumed his seat today. If we are talking about two-thirds of the journey having been successfully covered, I should like to know to what the Government are referring. Clearly, they are not referring to agriculture. I hope that the Minister of Agriculture will look at his speech in HANSARD and examine the questions which were put 1211 to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman). I am certain that the Minister is not a shifty character and that if it had been in his power to give clear answers to clear questions he would have done so.
§ Mr. Percy Browne (Torrington)
How far does the hon. Lady think the Six have got in their negotiations between themselves over their own agricultural problems?
§ Miss Lee
I am not an expert in agriculture. I have merely listened to an interchange between two hon. Members and am making my comment on it. As far as I can gather, the Six have not made very much headway, either. I am not presuming to talk as an expert on agriculture. I am simply saying that no one in the House could have listened to the speech of the Minister of Agriculture without knowing that, particularly on the vital issue of the Milk Marketing Board, he either does not know where Britain stands or is afraid to state clearly what is the position
There is one obvious conclusion that must come from the situation as revealed in the debate yesterday and today, and that is that the country must have a clear promise from the Government that they will not land us in a no-man's-land in which we begin to dismantle our own agricultural guarantees, our own Commonwealth preferences and our own E.F.T.A. trade arrangements without having reached firm and satisfactory guarantees of another kind. Even if the debate had served no other purpose, it would have been invaluable in alerting informed opinion in this country to the totally unsatisfactory state that we have reached in the negotiations so far.
That is the only comment I have to make on agriculture. Others with great experience in this field will make further comments. Sufficient for me to say that one needs very little experience to know that the Minister of Agriculture was in a muddle and had nothing effective to tell us today.
Turning to the Commonwealth, no hon. Member will say that the alarm and concern felt by the Prime Minister of India, the President of Pakistan and other great Commonwealth leaders is without very solid foundations. We know 1212 that the great desire of members of the Commonwealth, particularly the poorer ones, is that they should not for ever have to come for grants in aid. They want to be able to develop their own secondary industries. I find it impossible to see how we could possibly enter the European Common Market without very much firmer and more generous terms in this respect than we have got at present. So far, it seems that poor old Europe is to be asked to drink tea, eat mutton and buy our excess milk. If they really knew how we were approaching their problems we might find that the opposition which some of their leaders are putting up to our entry would be greatly stiffened. I can see no satisfactory picture either about agriculture or Commonwealth claims.
I now turn to our relations to E.F.T.A. I place very great emphasis on this matter. I am at one with Dr. Hallstein, Dr. Adenauer and other European leaders in accepting the fact that the initial impulse towards the European Economic Community was essentially political and not economic. The leaders of Europe have said this again and again. It is the barest courtesy that we should examine their point of view at its full face value.
We have moved a long way from the "glad morning atmosphere" of earlier discussions when we were told, "All the top people are in favour of going in. We are certainly going in. Let us get in quickly. We shall have a free market on commodities, a free market on labour and a free market on capital. It will be wonderful for everyone concerned. More than that, we shall have a European Economic Community which will be the economic shield for N.A.T.O. We are to have a gathering together of Western Europe, of a kind that will frighten the life out of Mr. Khrushchev and all the other Communist Powers."
I am not exaggerating when I say there was a good deal of talk of that kind and in that mood in the earlier discussions, even in this House. The debate yesterday and today has been a vast improvement on that earlier attitude, for we have now got down to discussing bit by bit precisely what will be involved if Britain joins the Common Market.
It is clearly a matter of honour that Britain should not enter the Common 1213 Market unless her E.F.TA. partners, if they so wish, are able to do so at the same time and on the same conditions. Indeed, it is more than a matter of honour. It would mean that not only N.A.T.O. Powers, but neutral Powers, would be members of the European Community, and if that happened it would go a little way towards quieting the alarm of those who fear that the motive behind the Common Market is to sharpen the cold war between East and West.
I fully agree with what the Leader of the Opposition said yesterday when he reminded the House that when looking to the future it is not enough to say that the world will be safer because France and Germany stand closer together. One does not prepare to avoid future war by looking only behind one. One has also to look ahead. The danger that the world is facing at present is that of deepening antagonism between the Communist and the non-Communist parts.
Some economists tell me that we shall enjoy certain trading advantages if we join the Common Market. Few make excessive claims in this respect. Certainly no serious economists do so. Also, they are inclined to quarrel among themselves as much as any other specialists. Some say that we shall be better off and some that we shall be a little worse off. However, even if an economist could persuade me that as a member of the Common Market Britain will be substantially better off in trading terms, he has also to reassure me that we shall not be spending more on defence and that there will not be a sharpening of tension between East and West. How much will it profit us to be in a slightly improved economic position if as much as, or more than, we gain in that respect is lost because the world feels just that much more uncertain?
I do not regard Mr. Khrushchev as a Santa Claus. I would not trust him with organising the world's destiny; and, with all respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I would not trust you to do that. I would not trust myself to do that. I would not trust any single human being. But this we do know about Mr. Khrushchev. He is occupying a different position in history, with a different economic background behind him in Soviet Russia, than, for instance, other famous Com- 1214 munist leaders, Mr. Chou En-lai and his colleagues in China.
In all our deliberations over the European Common Market, we must take into account not only the specific trading terms for agriculture, the Commonwealth, and E.F.T.A. We must also take into account the overriding effect that our membership would have in either easing or worsening world tensions. I am willing to acept the five points in our Amendment. If I could be assured about agriculture, Commonwealth relations, E.F.T.A., the independence of this House, and freedom to put this country's affairs in order if a Labour Government is returned to power, we should be talking about something radically different from the original conception of the European Common Market.
We should then be talking about a conception that might appeal to those of us who are internationalists as well as concerned for the safety and well-being of our own country. I think that part of the misunderstanding, if I may presume to say so, on our own benches on this issue has arisen from the fact that many of my colleagues are passionately internationalist and consider that our entry into the European Common Market would be a step in the right direction. I should be delighted to see a united Europe, but I should take no delight at all if I thought that six or seven countries in Europe were trying to band themselves together into a power bloc, particularly a power blocmoving towards a common political programme.
I have referred to the E.F.T.A. countries. In doing so, I have in mind not only the neutral nations such as Sweden and Switzerland. We have also to consider Portugal. Portugal is an E.F.T.A. country. If Portugal were in the European Common Market how could we find a common political denomination between Dr. Adenauer, General de Gaulle, Dr. Salazar and myself? It would be very difficult indeed.
Suppose that Dr. Adenauer was, in the course of time, replaced by Mr. Willy Brandt. That is not beyond the possibility. But the German Social Democratic Party is just as passionate as Dr. Adenauer's party in insisting that it will not recognise the Oder-Neisse line and in insisting on the unity of Germany. How could we possibly have a common 1215 political policy among those of us who want to see disengagement in Europe and those of us who want to accept the Oder-Neisse line, those of us who are profoundly alarmed at the thought of Europe having independent nuclear weapons of her own—how can that type of attitude be reconciled with the well-known point of view of other members of the European Community?
Therefore, I say that we are a long way from anything that would bring about a common political programme, unless we are asking for a programme of the lowest common denominator and the most dangerous common denominator, that is, assuming that there is no difference between Conservatives, Fascists, Liberals and Socialists, and that the only difference is between all of us together and the Communists on the other side.
I regard that as the same kind of illiteracy as not seeing the difference between what Mr. Khrushchev stands for in the world and what Mr. Chou En-Lai stands for. So I say that any political agreement is a thousand miles away. It is not even on the agenda at present. We are only at the point of discussing whether we can find a solid economic programme. I do not see it so far, but I shall listen carefully, as I listened to the Minister of Agriculture today and the Lord Privy Seal yesterday. I imagined that I was reasonably good at arithmetic, but I simply cannot work out how the Lord Privy Seal can justify his claim to have gone two-thirds of the journey, leaving only one-third to go. He may be right, but he has not convinced me, and I do not think that he has convinced many people in this country.
It is a good thing that many of our larger disagreements have been in the background of this debate. At least, this has forced the Government to see the poverty of their immediate situation and the danger of any of us assuming that they have got within a hundred miles of a settlement which would justify our country jeopardising its present arrangements by anything that has yet been offered.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ Mr. J. A. Stodart (Edinburgh, West)
In the very brief time that I shall detain 1216 the House, I want to confine myself entirely to agriculture, because agriculture is one of the problems which is freely admitted to exist in dealing with the question of the Common Market and also because agriculture is the industry in which I have worked all my life.
I should like, first, to make the point that the farming community is very well seized of the need for industry in Great Britain to thrive and to prosper if prosperity is to smile on agriculture itself. It is the knowledge of the complementary roles which agriculture and industry play vis-a-viseach other which has, I think, been responsible for the restraint and moderation and statesmanship shown by the National Farmers' Unions while considering this matter over the last several months.
They realise that the earnings from industry provide the spending power to buy the goods produced on the farms, and in return, of course, the agricultural market is worth many hundreds of millions of pounds to industry. Therefore, I am quite certain that it has been the view of the leaders of the farming community that, if it is quite definitely to be to the advantage of British industry to go into Europe, it should not be the farming industry which should stand irresponsibly in the way.
I agree wholeheartedly with something in the maiden speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North (Mr. Miscampbell) yesterday, When he said that his experience has been that he has found a sense of adventure and excitement prevalent among what he described as the younger executives. I do not think anyone would comtradict the assertion that no industry in the country has shown during the last twenty-five years more initiative or greater readiness to adopt new ideas than has the farming industry. It is only too true that the farming community has been participating gladly in a very real agricultural revolution.
I believe that it is ready to face competition with Europe—it is certainly not afraid of it—provided only that it can feel fairly convinced on three points, two of which have been touched upon frequently in the debate. The first concerns the transitional period. My right 1217 hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture said at the Conservative Party Conference something that many of us had known but which, perhaps, too many of us had not realised—that is, that the present income of farmers depends to the tune of over 80 per cent. on support from the taxpayers.
§ Mr. Stodart
Yes. I think that if one accepts that—and there is no question that the figure is correct—and if any attempt were made to abandon suddenly our system of agricultural support, the chaos that would ensue defies imagination.
The second point has not, I think, been touched upon in the debate. It refers to something which I think is of great importance—that we must not disturb, if at all possible, the balance of our farming. A very great feature of our agriculture since the war has been the reasonable balance throughout between those farming on the arable farms and those who indulge in livestock husbandry. If grain prices in Europe were to go up, as has been suggested, by 12½ per cent. grain growing would become extremely profitable in this country and one might easily see a flight out of livestock into grain growing. Of this I am certain, because today the returns from livestock husbandry are a good deal lower than they are from grain growing.
I would merely make two observations on such a situation. Our reputation in the agricultural world is based primarily on our livestock—natural conditions, if nothing else, have brought that about. Secondly, an over-supply of grain could be extremely embarrassing within a comparatively short time.
§ Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)
Surely the prices of livestock might also rise? Has not my hon. Friend made an investigation into that? Has he not eaten beef in France?
§ Mr. Stodart
I can only talk from the experience I have had of twenty years of grain growing up to three years ago, when I had to become a livestock producer. I can assure my hon. Friend that the difference is so substantial in the returns one makes that I really cannot 1218 conceive that what he suggests will take place.
Thirdly, I want to say a word to my right hon. Friend about production grants. The importance of these lies in the fact that to a very large section of the agriculture industry they are absolutely vital—and I use that expression with great deliberation. Without production grants what is generally known as the upland stock-rearing sector of farming would collapse, because at present production grants provide about 100 per cent. of the net profit of this type of farmer.
I do not want to seem in any way parochial. This is a United Kingdom problem, but it is one which would particularly apply to Scotland, because 80 per cent. of Scotland's land area is given up to rough grazing and permanent grass; the equivalent figure in England and Wales is 55 per cent. One-third of the value of the output of Scottish agriculture comes from mutton and beef, compared with only one-fifth in England and Wales. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that great determination is shown in retaining the production grants. The weakness, of course, in this case is that certain subsidies—for instance, the calf subsidy and fertiliser subsidy—are available to all farmers regardless of the kind of land on which they are working. It may well be difficult to retain these subsidies if we go in, other than on geographical grounds, for specific types of farm.
That is why I wonder if my right hon. Friend should not be giving earnest attention to classifying farms now which could be eligible for production grants, and limiting those grants to those farms. I must confess that I think it absurd— though I dare say that not many of my English friends would agree with me— that a calf subsidy which was originally intended to produce more beef on farms which are obviously designed by nature for that kind of production is now being used to an enormous extent by farmers who are breeding calves on rich, fertile arable ground.
These are three points which require the most determined negotiations. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will negotiate determinedly on them, and I make no bones about the fact that I wish him well in his task.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Roderic Bowen (Cardigan)
In common with the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart), I want to concentrate on the difficulties which will arise in connection with food and agriculture in the negotiations which are now in progress, but before doing that I must say that the speech of the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) has provoked me to make one or two observations on the attitude of hon. Members towards our membership or non-membership of the Community. I shall not canvass in general terms the arguments for and against going in. That has already been done fairly exhaustively in the course of the last two days.
No one in the House has argued in favour of going into the Common Market on any terms, or that we should join the Community at any price. A number of hon. Members clearly take the stand that we should not go in whatever the terms. I understand their point of view, and there are several of them in that position. They say that, whatever the terms and whatever the safeguards, Britain should not go into the Community.
There is another category, a category which is the official attitude of the Labour Party among others—
§ Mr. John Diamond (Gloucester)
The hon. and learned Member must not say that the official attitude of the Labour Party is that it is against going in on any terms. It has never said that.
§ Mr. Bowen
With respect, it is not. I will repeat what I said. I said that no one in the House had advocated going in on any terms. I said that, secondly, there were hon. Members whose attitude was that, whatever terms and safeguards we got, we should not go in. There is another group. That third group agrees with the official policy of the Labour Party as outlined in its Amendment. The Labour Party is not alone in this, of course. That third group says that we should join, provided that certain conditions and safeguards can be obtained. There are differences among those 1220 hon. Members about what those conditions and safeguards should be, but that is their overall attitude.
I believe that many of those who ostensibly base their criticism on the present position and prospects about obtaining conditions and safeguards are basically opposed to entry into the Common Market and that they are seizing upon the difficulties about the conditions because they are basically opposed to the concept of the Common Market as envisaged by the Six and as is envisaged by us in our consideration of entry. It would be far more straightforward if people in that category—and they are on both sides of the House—made their position quite clear instead of criticising the conditions and safeguards—and many of their criticisms are well-founded— when their real case is that they do not accept the concept which we are discussing.
§ Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)
The hon. and learned Member for Cardigan (Mr. Bowen) is a member of the legal profession. He will appreciate that if he makes a contention, I shall naturally expect him to produce some degree of proof. Would he care to do so?
§ Mr. Bowen
The speech of the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock, who is perfectly entitled to her views, of course, was a clear and positive indication that she is opposed to Britain going into the Common Market on any terms which could conceivably be obtained in the course of the present negotiations.
§ Miss Lee
What we are now being asked to agree to is a European Community not of Six but of Six plus Seven, which makes thirteen. If we have complete E.F.T.A. membership as well as Common Market membership, can the hon. and learned member assure me that this Common Market will not worsen tensions between East and West? I am all in favour of international agreements, but the hon. and learned Member has a long way to go before he can give me that assurance.
§ Mr. Bowen
The hon. Lady's intervention has strengthened my argument. I ask hon. Members in this category to say what is their attitude towards the European Community irrespective of 1221 whether Britain is in or not. Do they regard the creation of the Community as it now exists as a backward or forward step in international affairs? Their answer to that question would be some indication of the sincerity of their objections based upon the conditions when their real objection is to the basic concept.
No one who listened yesterday to the speech of the Lord Privy Seal could doubt his own personal enthusiasm for our entry into the Common Market.
§ Mr. Bowen
Or his ability, or industry and endeavours to obtain satisfactory conditions for our entry. But I saw few signs of anything like that enthusiasm among the main body of Government supporters. All the signs—and it was a source of misgiving to me—were that the belated and reluctant converts to this concept were still not taking any pride or enthusiasm in their own conversion. This is a matter for regret to me and I am certain that it is a matter of embarrassment to the Lord Privy Seal.
In common with the overwhelming majority of hon. Members and the overwhelming majority of the public, I hope that the Lord Privy Seal will be successful in his negotiations and will obtain terms which will enable us to join the Community; but even if he does and we go into this adventure reluctantly and halfheartedly, our admission will be nothing more than an empty sham.
I do not want to minimise the importance of safeguards or conditions, and I shall deal with one or two later, but far more important than conditions and safeguards is the fact that if we go into the Community we must go in determined to take an active and vigorous part in the whole concept and to provide leadership in progressive thought and progressive action. If we are not going to do that, whatever conditions we get we would be far better outside.
I turn now to the problems of food and agriculture, because, with great respect to the Minister of Agriculture, he left a large number of queries completely unanswered. He has given specific and concrete assurances to the agricultural industry—and I appreciate that in the middle of negotiations it is difficult to 1222 speak freely about many matters—but the farming community is entitled to more concrete and specific assurances on where the Government will make a stand in relation to some of our agricultural problems.
As I see it, the difficulties which will face Britain if we go into the Market are those which arise not only from our position as food producers but from our position as food importers. Going into the Common Market will involve, ultimately, a unified agricultural market with an internal price level. This internal price level, from the point of view of the consumer in this country, will be substantially above that at which competing supplies are available from outside. The British housewife, in contrast to the British taxpayer, has so far been in a happy position with regard to foodstuffs. She has been able to buy imported food at substantially world prices because our imports, including those from the Commonwealth, have been, in the main, at world prices. These imports have come from the Commonwealth not because of Imperial Preference but because of efficient production by the countries concerned, that is to say, the price of the product has led to its being imported into this country.
It is very difficult to gauge how much, but these imports will have a substantial influence on food prices in this country. Let me give one factor which illustrates this. I am talking in the main about temperate zone products such as cereals, dairy products and meat. Temperate zone products of those categories at present imported by Britain exceed in quantity the total imported by the Six. This is the size of the problem, and it seems to me that unless, during the transitional period, some duty-or levy-free quota system operates, the effect on retail prices of imported foodstuffs will be very much more dramatic than is envisaged at the moment.
The second aspect is the effect which all this will have on the food producer. We have an internal price level which will suddenly be threatened by surplus production by the Continental members. With great respect to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Mr. Stodart)—I do not pretend for a moment to have his agricultural knowledge—I believe 1223 that what the farmers of this country are most anxious about is what the future price levels will be. By going into a unified agricultural market, the internal price level fixed by the market will continually be threatened by surplus production, particularly by Continental members.
Let me illustrate that by one reference to France. At the moment the production of wheat per acre in France is 30 per cent. less than that in Britain. If France picks up half of that—and there is no reason why she should not—and brings the margin down to 15 per cent., this will provide her with an increased production of two million tons of wheat. This will obviously have a dramatic effect on internal price levels. The likelihood of that happening is made all the greater because the indications are that the internal price level of the Community in relation to the type of commodity about which I am talking will almost certainly be substantially higher than that which appertains in France at the moment, and there will therefore be every encouragement to increase production.
Milk provides another example. It is estimated that by 1965 the Community will have a surplus of over 1,000 million gallons of milk. This is after making the most generous allowance for increased consumption. This surplus within the Community will tend to depress the internal price level of milk.
It can be said that Chat aspect of the agricultural problem, that is to say, the problem of rises in production not being met by rises in demand, with the obvious effect which this will have on the level of prices, will be with us whether we go into the Community or not. I believe that in the long run this problem, whether it is faced by British agriculturists inside or outside the Community, will be met, in part I agree, by international agreements, but as far as the Community is concerned the only prospect of meeting it effectively is to increase demand.
One of the fortunate features is this. If we get, as we hope we shall, a really substantial industrial development within the Community, the demand for the more expensive and highly esteemed 1224 foodstuffs such as meat, eggs and dairy produce will be substantially increased. This will lead to a reduction in the demand for cereals and potatoes, and I believe that surpluses in the lower-priced products can be more easily handled by international agreement than can the more expensive foodstuffs.
That is the long-term position. The immediate problem which faces the negotiators is what will happen during the transitional period. I hope that the Minister will really dig his heels in with regard to this aspect of the matter. After all, he has every right to do so. We are not going in as supplicants. Whatever arrangements were made by the Six in relation to agriculture—and these are to some degree a mystery—they were not made on the basis that Britain would be within the Community. In fact, they were made on the basis, I was going to say, that we were not going in, but in any event they were made without reference to the British position and without any reference to our problems. It is, therefore, not unreasonable for us to say that we cannot be expected to accept the full pattern for agriculture immediately we enter the Community.
I believe that the position during the transition period should be this. One can argue whether the period should be up to 1970 or whether it should be for five years, but we need a substantial period for adjustments in our farming. The hon. Member for Edinburgh, West touched on this. I believe that this transitional period should be used, amongst other things, to bring in new schemes, within the framework of the Common Market, to assist marginal farming areas. If we are within the Community we shall have to look again at all the schemes to provide assistance, and the production schemes. These schemes will have to be looked at in the light of the members of the Community and the implications involved. That cannot be done overnight, as the Community seems to suggest it can.
We should bear in mind the dislocation that the immediate dropping of our deficiency payment system would involve in both farming incomes and retail food prices. I wonder whether we realise what a dramatic effect the immediate withdrawal of the deficiency payment system would have upon retail food prices. The 1225 distinction which the Six appear to be drawing at the moment between production grants and consumer grants is a confusing one. I am opposed to the suggestion that the difficulties of the transitional period should be met by the introduction of large-scale consumer subsidies. That would involve the setting up of a vast new administrative system, with the re-establishment of a Ministry of Food, which would have to be wound up only a year or two afterwards. That is quite an impracticable alternative to the phasing out of the deficiency payment system as we know it today. I hope that the Minister will really be tough on this matter.
I now turn to one or two specific products, ft is all very well to talk about assurances and to say that the Six will see that our standard of living is maintained. The farming community wants to know what will happen in relation to certain products. Reference has already been made to milk, and I do not want to say much more about it, except that the ex-farm prices in Britain at the moment are substantially higher than anyone can anticipate will be the prices within the Community. Britain is in the happy position of being able to sell two-thirds of her milk production in liquid form. On the Continent, the proportion is less than one-third.
Within the farming community of the Six there is a substantial measure of support for the introduction of milk marketing schemes comparable to that which now operates in Britain. I was sorry that the Minister was not far more forthcoming in his attitude about the preservation of the Milk Marketing Board, perhaps in a revised form. As I see it, it is consistent with the Treaty of Rome. Does the Minister agree? Is there any possibility of its being developed in the Common Market, or are we to sacrifice the whole idea of the pool system which has worked here so well for many years? If we do, it will have a dramatic effect upon gate farm milk prices in this country.
We are told that everything is all right in relation to beef and store cattle. Their prices will probably rise. Indications are in that direction. But that will be counterbalanced by the losing of the acreage deficiency payment on oats and barley for feed on the farm, and also of the hill cow subsidies.
1226 If the present deficiency system for mutton and wool is removed, the only way to maintain anything like a decent return for the farmers will be by curtailing imports from New Zealand. This entirely goes against our wishes in relation to that country. It is quite clear that the tariff proposed by the Community for mutton would have virtually no effect in this regard. As I understand it, it would be 20 per cent. There can be no doubt that if the deficiency payment on mutton went and New Zealand's mutton came in subject only to a 20 per cent. tariff, the British farmer would be in dire straits.
At the moment the Six have little interest in mutton, and I think that it will be a long time before their interest in it develops. In those circumstances, is there any reason why, with a view to helping New Zealand and also the British sheep farmer, an agreement should not be obtained for the continuation of the deficiency payment system for mutton and wool? It would have virtually no effect upon the position of the Six. It would be of largely academic interest to them and it would not conflict in any way with our desire to help New Zealand. It would meet the real difficulties which the sheep farmer would otherwise feel.
If we go into the Common Market, in many areas we are likely to have large quantities of surplus milk. The scheme by which farmers, and especially small farmers, can make use of surplus milk for pig production is nothing like as satisfactory as it should be. One of the matters which should be gone into in this transitional period is the question of the provision of grants for home mixing and cube rations, and the storage of milk products, in preparation for the fierce competition that we shall undoubtedly have in that sphere.
The Minister had nothing to say about the agricultural levy. What is the European agricultural levy? We shall be heavily involved in this matter, and we ought to have a better idea of where we stand. As I understand it, the Germans, who are the biggest importers of the Six, have already indicated that their initial contribution to this fund will be 32½ per cent. of the total. Where do we stand? How is payment out of the fund going to work in respect of such things as production grants? If we are 1227 going to have to pay substantial sums into this fund, as importers we want to know more about what will happen to our money and how much will come back to us to assist British farming. It may be difficult to be precise on the point, but I hope that before the end of the debate we shall hear a good deal more about it than we have so far.
In common with the overwhelming majority of hon. Members, I wish the Lord Privy Seal all good fortune in his continued negotiations. It may be that hon. Members can do little, but whatever we can do, either as members of parties or as individuals, it is our duty to do in order to attempt to strengthen the Lord Privy Seal's hand in these negotiations in the hope that he will be able to produce conditions which will enable us to become a full, active and vigorous member of the Community.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)
Having started by saying that we must go into the Community "determined", the hon. and learned Member for Cardigan (Mr. Bowen)— having declared that the terms should not divert us in this course—made a lot of small points about agriculture with which I do not, in the main, agree. He made two important points, however, which I endorse; the importance of the transitional period and where the levies will go. These are sticking points for British agriculture, but many of his other remarks were really details which should not be allowed to interfere with "our determination", as he put it.
The debate has concentrated mainly on whether the terms which the Lord Privy Seal has so far brought back are good enough. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are taking the line that the terms so far agreed are completely unsatisfactory and it seems that the official Labour line is that they would not want to join on those terms.
I do not consider that my right hon. Friend has done too badly, although I agree with much of what has been said about there being a suspicion that the Six are still protectionist in their outlook. That feeling has been heightened since the last meeting, when the Lord Privy Seal came back having met, as it were, several brick walls. It is that aspect of 1228 protectionism on which the debate has mainly concentrated and on which I wish to concentrate tonight.
The Leader of the Opposition pursued this matter altogether too far in his speech yesterday. He was trying to secure terms which would exist in 1970, 1980 and perhaps even further ahead. Obviously, especially considering the future of the Commonwealth as a part of the world in general, one cannot make agreements now for periods of up to ten or twenty years' ahead. While we might secure for ourselves and the Commonwealth the maximum amount of good, we certainly cannot foresee what will happen in the distant future.
By far the most important Commonwealth countries from the point of view of these terms are the Asian countries. Most hon. Members agree that their balance of payments and export problems are much more vital to them than to almost any other country. For example, India's exports represent £1 per annum per head of the population while Britain's exports are the equivalent of nearly £80 per anum per head of the population. That shows how marginal is their balance of payments.
Cloth is one of India's main exports and if every Indian used one more yard of cloth each year the total quantity available for export would disappear because they have the same number of yards of cloth for export as they have people. That proves the necessity of trying to help the Indians, particularly on tariffs for textiles. I am certain that the Six realise that even a slight diminution in India's exports would be very serious and that any delay in the application of the tariff is of the greatest importance.
The Indians also expect to export to this country and Europe some of their manufactures which their factories are beginning to produce. Surely we can accommodate these things in Europe? The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) went so far as to say that the Six should not only guarantee that there would be room for the existing volume of exports, but that a reasonable margin would exist for their growth in the future. I wonder, if we stay out, whether the right hon. Gentleman would be able to guarantee that in our home market? That, I would have thought, would be a 1229 promise which his Lancashire friends would not like to endorse
I suggest that the value of the terms we have so far got for the Asian countries has been underestimated. The trade agreement has been promised and we have never before felt able to enter into such a thing. We import 47 per cent. of our total consumption of textiles, while the Six import only about 2 per cent. That shows that we must use the whole market of Europe to absorb the manufactures of India and Pakistan. The fact that my right hon. Friend has secured a concession whereby this whole market will be, to some extent, open is more valuable than our attempting to carry this on our own backs.
It has often been suggested by many, including the Leader of the Opposition, that the nil tariff concession on tea was of little value. The whole market of Europe is open to the Indians and Ceylonese while, in a sense, it has been less accessable to them in the past. I believe that our own negotiations on these matters have already made the Common Market much more liberal in its approach to this subject than it was when we first applied to join. Had we not had these negotiations there would have been no access for any Indian tea, except over the tariff, and no access for Indian textiles into the Community. To that extent we have started to perform what is our historic role; to widen the market of Europe for the good of the under-developed peoples of the world.
During the Summer Recess I visited India and Australia, but I certainly do not wish to follow the already amply described tour of Australian economic problems which my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish) gave so ably yesterday. We need not regard Australia in the same light as India. She is a prosperous country with a high standard of living as high as, if not higher than, our own. Australia is not likely to have the sort of marginal problems of the poorer countries. Most Australians, I thought, saw the general advantages of our joining Europe. Feeling was not as strong among the many people I spoke to as it appeared to be when listening to the Australian Prime Minister addressing the conference of Prime Ministers here.
1230 Australian industrialisation, however, has set us certain problems, such as the way in which the heavy end of our industrial production has suffered. Australia now makes her own steel, ships and heavy industrial goods, meaning that her markets are protected and our own heavy industrial exports are kept out. This is a rather small contribution—and I do not want to exaggerate this aspect— to the problems of the North-East, of Scotland and elsewhere, where most of our heavy industry is situated. I am not saying that the Australians have been wrong in doing this, or that it has greatly affected our balance of payments with them, but it has caused us to change from the export of heavy industrial goods to the more modern, sophisticated type of industrial goods.
It seems that Australia's main complaint is that her dried fruit industry will suffer. To this proposition it can only be said that we are asking her to change from some forms of primary production to other forms—and this seems perfectly reasonable since we have had to make such changes ourselves. Hon. Members tend to underestimate the value of world commodity agreements for Australia. That country has wanted them for many years and I consider such agreements to be the ultimate solution to Australia's primary production problems. We must keep them here and in the Common Market as well. The vital thing in all this will be the level of the agricultural target prices in Europe.
I welcome my right hon. Friend's statement that the Six are to make a declaration of their agricultural price policy, which will be the determining factor in the main on agricultural production. I am sure that that is the real key to the whole situation because, unless there is a market, there is no point in fixing up means for importing from the Commonwealth. I expect that declaration to be very precise and favourable in order to prove to me—I am, perhaps, as keen as anyone that we should join Europe—that the Six really mean that we should develop a liberal trade policy. If we stay out of the Common Market there will be no such declaration, and no such policy quite likely. We shall admit before we start that we have failed to open the market of Europe to 1231 the agricultural produce of the Commonwealth.
The French have already started subsidising exports of certain grains and they are tending already to dump them on our market. With high prices and with the money coming from the levies on German imports, they will have endless opportunity to develop their agriculture. It seems that they are much more likely to dump on to our market if we stay out than if we go in. There is no way we can stop them unloading cheap grain on to the British market while we remain outside the Common Market, but they cannot subsidise that grain if we go in. Therefore, it seems the best way to keep our market open is to join.
The Commonwealth consists of 750 million people, of whom we are 50 million. It must be absolutely clear that we cannot take the ever-increasing manufactures, textiles, primary produce, foodstuffs of different sorts which the Commonwealth will continue to produce. I am quite certain that the industrial countries must, in the end, help us in Western Europe to do this. That is why I think that it gives a far greater opportunity to them if we join and if we persuade Europe to the right policies than if we stay out.
The N.F.U. has just published what it calls a farm and food plan. It is perhaps rather idealist, but it has so much to commend it that I thought I must refer to it. It points out that we must find means of sending the surplus foodstuff productions to the people in half the world who are starving or nearly so. If we examine the plan we see that it describes in fairly close detail the system of agricultural protection which the Common Market intends to employ and coupled with that subsidising surplus production to send to countries where it is needed at very low or nil prices.
I should have thought this was the right approach and that Europe, with its system which is evolving slowly, could be made to develop such a plan and use its agricultural system with the surpluses for such a purpose. This may be a little idealist, but it is by far the most feasible means of tackling the problem that I have seen. I think it possible if we become a member of the Community, 1232 whereas it would be impossible if we do not.
The difference between hon. Members opposite and me is that I believe that the Lord Privy Seal has obtained some good terms as far as he has gone. He has a very long way to go and he may have some very difficult moments before he gets to the end, but, as the hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) said in a previous debate,Equally, on no account should I withdraw our application to join. I should keep it in and go on negotiating"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th June, 1962; Vol. 661, c. 727].That is the attitude of an hon. Member opposite which, I think, is the correct one, however long it may take. The difference between us seems to be that most of his colleagues and some of mine feel that if the terms do not look too good we should waltz out of the negotiating chamber and leave the whole problem. I do not believe that it is the terms which frighten the bulk of hon. Members opposite into taking this line. It seems strange to find this newfound love for Commonwealth trade among them. It was only last summer that I tried to speak in a debate on the cotton industry and we were told Indian and Hong Kong textiles were ruining prospects here. Hon. Members opposite cannot have it both ways.
I have often wondered if it was concern for employment which made them so hostile to these terms. There are two points I wish to make here, because I think them very important. All of us in this House, particularly hon. Members opposite, feel that employment is perhaps the most important of all the worries we face at present. I certainly do. But the leaders of the steel industry, the coal industry, shipbuilding and all the heavy industries which are at present in decline are welcoming the prospect of access to the Common Market. The most important point is that new firms which should be going to development districts have tended, during the last two or three years, to go to Europe instead, because that is the only way in which they can surmount the tariff barrier. If that tariff barrier can be demolished. I believe more firms would seek to go to development districts.
I do not believe that hon. Members opposite are really concerned about the 1233 future of our Constitution. A suggestion was made today that we nationalise the Palace of Westminster. Many times we have had suggestions from hon. Members opposite that we should abolish the House of Lords. This new-found concern for the principles of our Constitution seems strange. The real fear is mentioned in the Amendment; but none of them has touched on it in their speeches. The real fear is that nationalisation and public ownership would become more difficult, because the cold wind of competition would blow through their cosy, subsidised nationalised world.
The question is whether the Lord Privy Seal's terms have opened the European market wide enough. I believe that they have. I do not think that we can achieve results in these negotiations to serve us ten or twenty years ahead, but I believe that our progressive influence at Brussels if we are a member will serve this purpose. Just as my right hon. Friend has turned their policy on many important points, we hope he can do so all the more and all the more usefully when we are members of the Common Market and not just negotiating to get in.
It may turn out that the next few weeks of meetings, perhaps the next few months, will be extremely tough. We must seek —and, if necessary, we may have to break off negotiations—to ensure that we get what is considered essential at this time. It is our responsibility, not only to ourselves but to the Commonwealth and the rest of the world, to succeed in these negotiations to the end. I do not believe that it is possible to "do a Canute" against the rising economic tides in the world today. Joseph Chamberlain said in 1904:The day of small nations has long since passed away. The day of empires has come.I believe that the day of empires has passed away. Do not let us go back to the day of small nations.
§ 7.10 p.m.
§ Mr. John Diamond (Gloucester)
Some of the things which were said by the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) were, of course, more acceptable to me than were others. It would be in the interests of all if I concentrated on those things in which I wish, without embarrassing him, to agree with him profoundly.
1234 The recurring theme of his speech, as far as it referred to the Common Market, as far as the facts were accurate and as far as he understood the views of the Labour Party accurately, was absolutely right: if we want to influence things in the way in which we think they should be influenced, in a liberal way, we should get inside the Common Market and not stay outside critioising from the sidelines. If the British wish to influence things, with the mature political understanding of give-and-take which we have learned in the House and throughout the country, the best way is by getting into the Common Market and contributing to their counsels.
§ Mr. Diamond
I will give way to my hon. Friend in a moment. He will have plenty of opportunity to intervene in my speech, for I do not expect to say everything to his satisfaction.
The real division, as the hon. and learned Member for Cardigan (Mr. Bowen) said, is between those who support and those who are against the principle of joining the Common Market. It is all very well for people, in considering the situation, to say, "I wish that the Common Market countries would do this or that", but when we have finally to make the choice, knowing that this is the best they will do, we must consider the overriding advantages of going in. We must face the fact that, much as we might have liked them to go a little more in this way or a little more in that way, in the end it will be for the benefit of this country and of Western Europe, and I believe for the benefit of the maintenance of freedom and the peace of the world, for us to understand the views of the Six and to interpret them in an open and liberal frame of mind.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
My hon. Friend referred to the influence that we should have in the Common Market community when we joined. Will he tell us what influence we have had before we join?
§ Mr. Diamond
I agree with the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury that the very fact that we have confronted their ideas with our ideas has been of 1235 advantage. They are intelligent, honourable, decent people, as we are, although they speak funny languages, and speak them far too quickly for us to understand them. In spite of that, they are ordinary, decent, intelligent people, and the confrontation of ideas between them and us has resulted in our having an impact on their thinking and their having an impact on our thinking; and this is for the good of Europe.
I have heard many times the argument that we want world government but that we do not want to go into a small government; that we want world trade agreements but that we do not want limited trade agreements; that we want world commodity price arrangements but that we do not want to start with European agreements. It has been my good fortune, in an amateur way, to teach swimming over a number of years, and I have always found it much more advantageous to start the boys off in the shallow end and for them to learn to swim up to the deep end. If we put them in the deep end first they tend to sink. If we jump into the deep end of world trade agreements and world government—all most desirable, ultimate aims—because we pretend that we are afraid of the more limited proposal, we are liable to sink. I suggest that it is a good thing that we have had this confrontation of ideas, and I hope that we shall be able to influence one another's thinking for the benefit of the peace of Europe throughout the consultations and, indeed, when we get together in the Common Market, as I sincerely hope we shall. And that is what our Amendment is about.
The Amendment says quite clearly that the Labour Party support entry into the Common Market and that we hope that certain terms will be achieved. By and large those terms are the three to which the Government have pledged themselves in respect of E.F.T.A., agriculture, and the Commonwealth, and two new terms which my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Party was good enough to say were pure declarations. The first was the existing freedom to carry out one's own foreign policy. It is purely a declaration because, as everybody knows, there is nothing in the Treaty of Rome to prevent that. If we want to join with others in a merging of our ability to carry out our foreign policy, we must do it by a separate 1236 treaty. The time to consider whether it is wise or unwise to do so, and the way in which it should be done, is when we have such a treaty before the House. We have so many things to discuss at the moment that there is no need to discuss that at great length.
§ Viscount Lambton
Does my right hon. Friend believe that inevitably our joining the economic union will result in our joining a federal part of Europe?
§ Mr. Diamond
I wish to accept neither compliment—that of being a right hon. Gentleman or that of being the noble Lord's hon. Friend. I believe that the institutions Which are necessary to give effect to the economic union will cleanly present themselves to men of objectivity as we go along. I have not reached the end of the road but I am not afraid of going on to the end of the road.
§ Mr. Diamond
I am not afraid of entering the Economic Community knowing that it may result in some kind of getting together, under which democratic power is given to people over a broader area, with Ministers subject to control; I see nothing wrong with that as a democratic system. I am not afraid of approaching that. At this stage, when we are considering the preliminaries of entering an economic community, it is ridiculous to cast our minds forward to that point of time at which a number of institutions will be found to be necessary in order to give effect to what we all desire. If I have not satisfied the noble Lord in my reply, I regret to say that I shall have to put up with that.
The first three terms which I have mentioned are repetitions of the Government's terms. I have dealt with the foreign policy aspect. The fifth term is the ability of a Socialist party to carry out Socialist reforms. This, again, as my right hon. Friend said, is a declaration; it is an existing liberty, and it will not be denied. I can do no better than quote from the message which the British Labour Party has received from the other Socialist parties of Western Europe. This is the unanimous decision of the Socialists of the Six:On the basis of ten years' experience, the Socialist parties can affirm that the building of 1237 a European community provides no obstacles to Socialist aims.Speaking as Socialists of six countries who have had ten years' experience of the Common Market, they make that declaration unanimously, and it strikes me as an expression of opinion which is worth some consideration.
I therefore come back to the questions raised by the hon. Members for Cirencester and Tewkesbury and Cardigan. One referred to Commonwealth problems and the other referred to agricultural problems. What they have in common is this: that one tends to forget that consideration of the Common Market reveals existing difficulties and does not create them. Let me explain.
Of course, there are many problems in our agriculture which we now see will have to be overcome, but these problems are not being created by our going into the European Economic Community; they are being looked at for the first time. The problems are problems of world surpluses. It is entirely wholesome that, as a result of these negotiations, we should be compelled to look at these problems and plan for them.
As regards the Commonwealth, there are a number of difficulties, but these difficulties are not created by our going into the Common Market. The difficulties will exist in any case. Let anyone think of what is happening to Commonwealth trade now. Let us remember that Commonwealth preferences are of comparatively recent origin, that they arose at a time when there was complete stagnation in world trade and there was an attempt to get trade moving a little at a time of great depression.
That was how they started. They have been considerably eroded. Circumstances have changed completely since then. Now, as everyone knows, instead of our major exports going to the Commonwealth, we are exporting more to Western Europe than to the Commonwealth. During the last eight years our exports to Western Europe have risen between eight and ten times as fast as our exports to the Commonwealth.
Let anyone think of the 1970s, to which the Common Market negotiations are making us direct our minds. The situ- 1238 ation will be nothing like it is today. Extrapolate the graph, and what will be the further erosion in Commonwealth preferences? With Commonwealth trade continuing at that low level and trade with Europe continuing at that enormously high level, is it possible to imagine that the position will remain unaltered? Does anyone think that we can carry on without doing anything? It is absolutely unbelievable. Of course, we have to do something about it. The very fact that we have these Common Market negotiations now is making us look at these difficulties which are looming ahead and making us prepare for them.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell
The hon. Gentleman has been using statistics in a very odd way. However, the point I wish to make does not relate to statistics or to that part of his argument. It seemed to me that the hon. Gentleman was treating Commonwealth preference as synonymous with the Ottawa Agreement. Perhaps I misunderstood him, but that seemed to be what he was saying. It is, of course, fabulous nonsense. Imperial preference long ante-dated the Ottawa Agreement. The Ottawa Agreement was merely an episode in the development of Imperial preference.
§ Mr. Diamond
I should have been a little more precise and spoken of the Ottawa Agreement. However, the fact remains unaltered that these preferences have been eroded over a period of years, and nobody imagines for a moment that we shall continue in the same way into the 1970s without doing anything by diversion of trade or that we could possibly sustain an adequate Commonwealth trade in the present way.
The same considerations apply to agriculture. Consider how subsidies have increased. We heard a warning bell last years. Does anyone imagine that subsidies to agriculture could go on increasing and increasing and that any Government, from either this side or that, would tolerate that situation? Of course not. The problem is the problem of surpluses and how to deal with them. The very fact that we are confronted with the problem as a result of the Common Market negotiations makes us think about it and about methods of dealing with it.
1239 It is entirely wholesome and beneficial that our minds should be centred on the problems which are looming up ten and fifteen years' ahead so that we may start planning for them now. This is what the Common Market negotiations are doing. It is not that we are creating these difficulties. It is merely that we are planning how to deal with them once they have been revealed.
By general tacit agreement, we appear to be discussing in this debate only the terms rather than the substance. This is appropriate having regard to the Motion and the Amendment. One of the difficulties of discussing terms only is that it is very difficult to keep the whole matter in perspective. My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) will agree that if, for instance, one is discussing the terms of a lease, looking through all the covenants which the prospective tenant or lessee will enter into—they go on for page after page, clause after clause—one is inclined to think of nothing but the difficulties, forgetting that at the end of it all someone will get a home, an office, or a factory, and that that is what the whole business is about. When we look at individual conditions or difficulties only, we are liable, unless we hold the whole thing in a reasonable perspective, to forget that we shall gain overwhelming advantages as a result of the whole negotiations. We are liable to concentrate only on some of the difficulties to which the Lord Privy Seal has referred.
Having said that—everyone knows that my view is that the advantages are overwhelming—I think that it is right that we should look at the conditions and at the negotiations.
As to the negotiations—I shall probably be thoroughly misunderstood, but I must say it all the same—I believe that they will affect vitally the welfare of this country and of Western Europe and will affect vitally the freedom and peace of the world. The negotiations are being conducted by a member of the Government, democratically elected as the Government of the country.
§ Mr. Diamond
My hon. Friend may say a variety of things. I only say that I came into this Chamber in 1945 on 1240 exactly the same terms as hon. Members came in who are in that position today. I do not propose to challenge the method by which I was brought into this position any more than I challenge the method by which they came here, which is the same method.
In my view, whoever has the responsibility of conducting these vitally important negotiations deserves our good will and our good wishes. According to the terms of the Amendment, we ask the Government to negotiate. I wish the right hon. Gentleman well. He is our negotiator. I wish him success. I hope that he is able to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion. [An HON. MEMBER: "We all do."] I am glad to hear that. I wish that that view had been expressed as clearly during the debate from these benches.
We have all listened to the Lord Privy Seal from time to time explaining to Parliament the situation in the negotiations. No one who has listened to him can be anything but amazed at his capacity to hold all the facts, to carry them in perspective and to put them before the House in a reasonable and orderly way. As one who may claim to be a little bit of a negotiator, with twenty-five years' experience of it, I take my hat off to the right hon. Gentleman as a negotiator. It is not surprising. Anyone who has been Chief Whip on the Tory side of the House would be nothing if he could not negotiate. The right hon. Gentleman has had the best possible experience that anyone could have.
The Lord Privy Seal, understanding negotiation, understands several important aspects of it. For example, he understands that the first rule in negotiation is to be tough but it is by no means the last rule. There are many other things besides being tough which are important in negotiations. If a man wants to sell an article at the highest possible price to a casual customer whom he will never see again, he may well think it appropriate to be tough. If, on the other hand, one is entering into a deal with someone with whom one will have to live for the rest of one's days, one has to realise that it is not a tough deal one wants. One wants a fair deal, a deal which the other side will regard as fair, too. One has to be flexible to that extent. If one is negotiating a partnership agreement, one does 1241 not start by drawing upon extracts taken from an agreement suitable for a master and servant. If we want to be trusted, we must recognise that trust is mutual.
There is a good deal more to do than simply to be tough. The right hon. Gentleman, I believe, understands these things, and I am very glad that he does because the only advice he has received so far in the debate, as I recall it, has been to be tough, tougher, and most tough.
§ Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)
We are not asking the right hon. Gentleman to be tough. We are asking him to keep his pledges to the nation, to the Commonwealth, to agriculture and to E.F.T.A.. pledges which were made in this House before ever the negotiations were begun.
§ Mr. Diamond
No; the advice given to the right hon. Gentleman has been to be tough. It has been said in many speeches from important places. I think it right to add balance to that by saying that those who have useful experience in negotiation understand that there are two kinds of negotiation and the way to be successful is not always to be tough. There are times when toughness is appropriate. There are times when a wider, more flexible, more understanding and more sympathetic approach is appropriate and likely to produce better results.
I come now to the argument about a deadline. Of course, it is wrong to put a deadline to the negotiations. To do so has many dangers, but the thing that has more danger is to allow the momentum of very difficult negotiations to cease. If one wants to get up a very steep hill—and there are lots of steep hills to be mounted in these negotiations —the one thing one has to do is to keep as much momentum as one can coming down the hill one is on in order to go up the other. The essential thing is to keep up the momentum.
I hope, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman will continue with his plan. If he is not successful in coming to a conclusion on a particular matter, let 1242 him go on to another matter, but keep the negotiations going. As my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) said—and it was courteously alluded to by an hon. Member opposite—keep the negotiations going, for that is the way to be successful in these difficult matters. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of my party said, it is wrong to say this and that to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers and tell them to swallow it—I think that was the term used. It is wrong to say that to our partners in the Commonwealth, but in the same way it is an equally wrong approach to our partners in the European Community.
Therefore, I am conscious of the fact that there is a lot more that can be said and that there are many more people to say it who are far more capable than myself. In conclusion, may I say that I believe, though there is no time to expand the argument usefully, that there are tremendous advantages and opportunities open to this country as a result of entering the Common Market? It means more than I can say for the stability of Western Europe, freedom and the things in which I believe. I think that President Kennedy, the Prime Minister of this country and the Prime Minister of Russia are all right in saying that our entry into the Common Market will strengthen the West. They all say the same thing, and they are all right, Chough some of us may draw different conclusions from what they say. It is vitally important that we should succeed in these negotiations in as good a way as we can. I am sure that our influence inside the European Community will be Wholesome, beneficial and outward-looking, and I pray that we shall succeed in bringing these negotiations to a successful conclusion.
§ 7.32 p.m.
§ Sir John Barlow (Middleton and Prestwich)
I begin my speech in the same way as the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Diamond), who said of the previous speaker that some things in his speech were more acceptable than others.
I cannot agree with everything that the hon. Member said by a long shot, but I do agree with him, and I think we all agree, that we owe a great debt of 1243 gratitude to my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal for the immense amount of work which he has done over a very long period. I think that there are very few people who would be as capable of such high quality sustained work of this kind as he has been, and, for that reason, Whether we agree with him or not, he is doing a very good job and we owe a great debt of gratitude to him.
There are two general arguments about joining the Common Market Which one commonly hears outside. One is that we cannot afford to stay out. I regard that as a very wide, negative and generally uninformed argument, because usually it is not backed up by any logical argument at all. Surely it depends entirely on the possible terms of entry, and we are just beginning to know something about these now. We understand the difficulties of the Government in not announcing more of the terms as they became available. We hear a little bit about the negotiations as they go along, but it would be extraordinarily difficult, if not quite impossible, for a Government to give us all the information available at the 'present time. It might do us untold harm. For that reason, it is as well to keep an open mind on this subject.
It is most important that the Government should tell us something about the alternatives if we do not go in. We hear the argument that we cannot afford to stay out, but let us suppose that, for various reasons, we do. What is the alternative? What are the views of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers? Presumably they must have told our Government at the recent conference. We have been critical of many Commonwealth countries in recent years, because, by means of our hard-earned capital wealth, they are establishing small and in many cases inefficient industries, which have to be protected within their own borders against competition with manufactures from this country, which will have this competition from quite uneconomic small industries in the years that lie ahead.
It would surely be to our common advantage if these smaller industries, which are required to absorb labour in the Commonwealth, were devoted more to manufactures requiring a very large 1244 quantity of labour, rather than the other highly efficient industries producing large quantities of goods with a low requirement of labour.
Another vague argument for going into the Common Market is that it is a great challenge. I agree that it is an enormous challenge, but I should like to see what emerges from the challenge and whether it is likely to be reasonable or not. We are told that we should have the advantage of 200 million people, to whom we do not have a free run in selling at present. I would say that, although it is difficult to prove, the standard of living and the standard of spending in the Common Market at present is probably, over the period, much lower than in this country.
It will be recognised, conversely, that we open our doors to all their goods, and that we have a high standard of living and this is probably the most valuable sterling market in the world. Some of our industries would suffer very severely, and, no doubt, go out very quickly. There are others which would undoubtedly improve and benefit by going into the Common Market.
I was struck very much indeed with one part of the Lord Privy Seal's speech yesterday, when he made it completely clear that the Treaty of Rome did not provide in any way for political union. That part of his speech is to be found in col. 998 of the OFFICIAL REPORT. It is of the greatest importance that people in this country should have clearly in their minds that that is the case, but I think it is also important to realise that very many people who are strongly supporting and advocating going into the Common Market should realise that federation, in the widest sense—closer political union in some way—is just round the corner and likely to come fairly quickly.
Most of the arguments for going in are also based on the fact that we cannot stand alone. That indicates that we are bargaining from weakness, and, personally, I cannot agree with that. We have shown more than once in recent years that, when we realise the importance of the situation, we are a very strong nation, and our Commonwealth has repeatedly come to our aid in difficult times. When we have had our backs against the wall, we have twice 1245 alone maintained for a time the freedom of the world. It is extraordinary to me that in war time our people are willing to work to their uttermost and to die for the benefit of their country, but, apparently, in peace time such as we are experiencing now, people are not even willing to work for their country. I believe that we have in some way "gone soft", and lack the discipline which we imposed on ourselves in other conditions. That is our main weakness and it is probably the most important reason for our joining the Common Market.
We have refused to discipline ourselves. I think that neither political party would take the responsibility of doing that. I believe that by going into the Common Market it would be done for us from outside. If there are difficulties among employers or workmen, I understand that people will not be able to write to their Member of Parliament. Those problems will be, to a much greater extent, solved in Brussels by permanent civil servants. Do the people of this country realise that? Personally, I do not believe that they do.
§ Mr. Arthur Holt (Bolton, West)
Surely the hon. Gentleman does not believe that. Does he really think that if we go in, and there is trouble in the cotton industry, he will not hear about it? Will not he still raise it in the House of Commons?
§ Sir J. Barlow
The hon. Gentleman had better read HANSARD. He will see that he is wrong.
In answer to the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Holt), I should probably hear about the trouble, but if we went in we should not have the power to act to anything like the extent that we have power to act now. That would be the very significant difference.
This country, lacking the discipline that it should have, is in a weak position and is bargaining from weakness, and, therefore, many people are urging that we should go in. I find that this is not said openly and publicly, but many industrialists have said it to me. It may 1246 work both ways. Perhaps it would make things more difficult for industrialists and much more difficult for labour. As far as we can make out, wages are very similar in all seven countries. They vary a little, but not a great deal. The indications are that the productivity of labour is considerably greater, for one reason or another, in the Six than it is here and that restrictive practices are not tolerated in the Common Market in the way that they have been tolerated here. Those are great commercial weaknesses to this country. Personally, I should like to see them tackled at home rather than tackled by someone overseas in the Common Market.
Owing to the greater development of industry, there has been a greater division of labour in this country than in other European countries. Repeatedly during the last few years very small sections of the community have held the country up to ransom. We have seen the tally clerks in London upset the whole of industry, with a comparatively few men doing it. Is a modernised civilised State like this prepared to tolerate that, with all the loss that it means to the nation as a whole? That problem has not yet been solved. Are we going to solve it or let others solve it for us if and when we go into the Common Market?
I emphasise that it is of the greatest importance that before we decide to go in—I am willing to say, if we go in—we should know the terms. I do not like the idea of going in and then negotiating, as some people have suggested. I like to see what is in the contract, sign it and keep to it. That is much the safer plan. Once we are in, our action is very much limited.
For that reason, I dislike the wholehearted demand by many people in this country that we should go in virtually on any terms. I think that that would be a sign of weakness in bargaining. It might well be that we should go in, but for heaven's sake do not let us declare ourselves too openly until we know the price we have to pay. It seems to me rather like sending a horse to a sale at which it is known there is likely to be only one bidder and letting it be known that one will sell that horse at any price.
1247 For this reason, I think that it would be unwise to support the Government Motion, and I therefore propose to abstain from voting.
§ 7.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)
I have listened to the whole of this debate. We have had figures of speech about contracts and masters and servants and about horses and the momentum of cars going uphill. But we are dealing with a living political reality in the lives of people. To me, much of the debate has been an essay in political gerontology— in other words, in political senility.
Why is the Tory Party hell-bent on going into the Common Market? What is so brilliant and new about this idea? Why does it fill some of my hon. Friends with the hope that this will save the world? Let me ask some questions about this matter on the general terms before I deal with the sad realities of British agriculture.
When Monnet conceived the idea of the Common Market the idea was brilliant, but it was not new to all of us on this side of the House. Last week I asked Mansholt a question which should be of fundamental concern to the Opposition, namely, if we go into the Common Market can we build up our conception of social democracy and applied Socialism in Britain?
Under the Common Market as conceived, under this technocracy—and do not let us pretend that there is any democracy about it; the thing is not working yet; I have taken the trouble to look at it—
§ Mr. Davies
The answer is not"Yes". It is no good the Liberal Party squawking from behind me that the answer is "Yes". The Liberal Party knows well enough that we would not be able, under the terms of the Treaty of Rome, to plan our industry in the way that we wish to plan it and in accordance with the policy outlined in our pamphlet "Let us Face the Future". I do not propose to argue about that because it is a fact about the relationship of the Treaty of Rome to any planning in any separate country.
§ Mr. Diamond
I am grateful for this reciprocity. Does my hon. Friend agree that a report in the Daily Herald of what took place is fair when it says that a unanimous resolution was passed by the Socialist parties of the Six appealing to the British Labour Party to join the Common Market, saying,On the basis of ten years' experience the Socialist parties can affirm that building a European community provides no obstacle to Socialist aims.
§ Mr. Davies
The first inaccuracy in that statement is that the Common Market has been working for ten years.
§ Mr. Davies
I am discussing the Common Market. The hidden barb in that was that it was a reference to the Coal and Steel Community and the so-called Schuman Plan. We are talking of the Treaty of Rome.
How many of my Socialist colleagues in Europe are in power? Because of the situation in Germany, the Social Democrat Party there is prepared in certain circumstances—I was over there not so long ago —to forgo some of its Socialist concepts of the public ownership of industry and to work within the Government in some form of coalition. The most virile Social Democrat Party in Europe is the British Labour Party. That virility will be destroyed if we go into the Treaty of Rome and the Common Market as it is at present conceived.
Other interesting statements have been made. We are sometimes told that the markets in the Commonwealth are diminishing and that we are not getting our share. If we are not getting our share, it is not because the markets are falling off. The fact is that they have expanded, in some cases by 100 per cent. or more, but under Conservative Governments British industry has not had the energy to capture its share of those markets.
§ Mr. Davies
I cannot give way any more. Other hon. Members wish to speak and I must be brief. The hon. Member interrupts everybody irrelevantly from day to day and must not interrupt me now.
To take another viewpoint of the concept of the Common Market, the British Press, the House of Commons and the Government have not taken enough notice of the Cairo Conference of last summer, when the Afro-Asian nations met at Cairo, with United Nations representatives present. The conference discussed the position of the under-privileged nations in relation to the advanced countries of the world. After constructive discussion, supported also by representatives of the United Nations and others, a resolution was unanimously passed regretting the tendency in the world today towards regional economic pacts and customs unions such as the Common Market as at present conceived. This fact has not been well brought out in British newspapers.
That resolution was moved at the United Nations. In reply to the hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwick (Sir J. Barlow), who asked what alternatives are to be offered, one of the constructive jobs of the United Nations is to make a world study of the underprivileged areas and the alternatives to regional pacts and customs unions such as the Common Market.
Let me point out a fact which technical man. is forgetting. I do not want to bore the House with masses of quotations. I want to get the principle and the logic of the quotations. To pitch facts back and forth across the Floor of the House is like fighting with pigs' bladders —not arriving at any conclusion, not hurting anybody, but simply setting one fact against another without coming to any basic conclusion. That is no use in this type of debate. I apologise, however, for giving a fact which it is essential for technical man to realise.
For example, in the most advanced country in the world—the United States of America—in every jet aircraft that is built, 92 per cent. of the chromium, 97 per cent. of the nickel, 76 per cent. of the aluminium, 35 per cent. of the copper and 88 per cent. of the cobalt has to be imported. In other words, the industrial machine of the United States of America 1250 would be subjected to a heavy strain if the steady flow of strategic and other raw materials from the nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America were cut off or reduced.
That applies equally to Europe. Western man, as well as American man, depends for his standard of life on the tropical oils, greases and fats of the under-privileged areas, where, as Eisenhower described it, the revolution of awakening expectations is taking place.
Our progress and technical progress in our selling of goods and our high standards are due to the fact that underprivileged man in Africa. South-East Asia and Latin America has been selling us these vital raw materials like aluminium, zinc, rubber, copra and others at prices which do not give him a fair return. I hope that hon. Members will accept 'this argument without further development of it, because the House of Commons has plenty of grey matter when it wants to use it.
We could, therefore, establish a Common Market, we could establish a first-clast technical system of society or highly mechanised industry, but if the underprivileged areas of the world suddenly awaken to the fact that they are being sold down the river concerning the prices of their raw materials we would have a vastly greater problem in the world than the problem of the standard of life of the Six or the standard of life of Britain. This is the great question that should be worked through the United Nations on the lines of the Cairo Conference, the findings of which I beg hon. Members to read in the Library. The facts of that conference have been hidden from the country for a long while.
I turn now to agriculture, with which my constituency is also concerned. Today, we heard the speech of the Minister of Agriculture. When we asked a specific question about the Milk Marketing Board, we had a shifty answer. We were not given the proper reply. There was the usual double-talk and double-thinking to which the country has become accustomed.
With all due respect to the Conservative Party, at the last General Election masses of Union Jacks were flying. Farmers' meetings in my constituency had Union Jacks as big as Big Ben as 1251 a sign of loyalty. Now, we are old-fashioned if we try to build up the concept of the Commonwealth playing its part. Look, for example, at the Table of the House of Commons and Mr. Speaker's Chair, the latter given to the House by Australia and the Table by Canada as symbols of the great unity of the British people and the part they were to play in building civilisation after 1945.
What about that concept now? That has gone. We hear the mighty English Tory Party crying, "Our glory has departed. Unless we join the Six we are ruined." In the name of heaven, what is the matter with them? They know that this is the biggest "twist" ever perpetrated on the British people. Are we to be told 'that the only way in which the British people can save their souls is by joining the Common Market? Tory Members know that this is wrong.
The British farmer is getting nothing out of this. As for the small farmer, this was what we were told by the Daily Telegraphof 8th October. In answer to the question:How will the annual review system work for the British farmer if Britain joins?Dr. Sicco Mansholt replied:It is the Council which fixes the policies each year … To make sure that we act on the right information"—listen to the technocrats—we have a great number of expert groups, working groups, study groups, assisted by scientists.Hon. Members should go into the Library and read this. Talk about Parkinson's Law! Talk about government from Whitehall and farming from Whitehall—
§ Mr. Davies
If the Liberal Party talks like this it will decrease its representation overnight.
We are told that if there is hardship anywhere a working party will be set up. Imagine Dr. Mansholt coming from Brussels because there is hardship in Leek. We should have to wait about five weeks for the papers to be translated into whatever international language we are to use. The working party would come among the small hill farmers and 1252 their problems, and the documents would take five or six weeks to be prepared and translated. We might be allowed an opportunity to discuss them here, but then they would be sent to some organisation in London. By the time it comes to doing anything in Leek they will be turning my poor tenant farmers out for back rent.
The whole concept is a technocrat's concept; it is a completely technocratical concept which undermines the chances of democracy growing. As has been pointed out in a bulletin by the farmers —the richest jewel in the Tory crown, but thank goodness the farmers are waking up a bit—It is clear"—says the National Farmers Union— What is the hon. Member asking me?
§ Mr. Ronald Bell
I was asking the hon. Gentleman if he meant that my noble Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lambton), who is beside me, was the brightest jewel in the Tory crown.
§ Mr. Davies
I will tell the hon. Member outside.
The National Farmers' Union said:It is clear that the proposals of the Six are weighted unduly by reference to the cereals position—the only commodity group in which there are target and intervention prices at present. The output of cereals in the United Kingdom accounts for 9 per cent. of our total farm sales. Inevitably, therefore, there must be a question mark against the outlook for meat, milk, eggs poultry and wool, which comprise 65 per cent. of our total farm sales. This, of course, deals only with the livestock range. It leaves aside such products as sugar beet, potatoes and horticulture.I make my last point, about horticulture. How silent the leaders of the Government have been about the position of our horticulture, although 35 per cent. of the people in the industry will probably be ruined if we go into the Common Market as it is conceived at present.
Here I go along with my hon. Friends. They know where I stand on this matter. I do not think that this is a creative idea. It is giving opportunities for international monopolies to be more powerful than Parliaments. As for the vote tonight, I will with alacrity, and with absolutely no reservation whatsoever, support my right hon. Friend on this issue, that we ask the Government, if 1253 they are going in, not to be harsh, but to keep all the pledges to the Commonwealth, to the farmers, and also to our friends of the European Free Trade Association.
Those pledges were made. Up to now, with all due respect to the right hon. Gentleman who has worked hard on these negotiations, he has gained nothing towards the real concepts of those pledges; and if we go in alone, then our power will be less than that of any other nation inside the Common Market. I hope that tonight some Members on the other side of the House will at least have the courage of the hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich and abstain from voting, or go into the Lobby and ask for those pledges to be maintained for the British people.
§ 8.4 p.m.
§ Viscount Lambton (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
I hope that you will forgive me, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if I do not follow the remarks of the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies), but that, in a sense, would be somewhat difficult, for though he has a delightful, discursive way of speaking, his speeches resemble a paperchase, going in many directions, so that it is rather difficult to know which one he really intends one to follow.
All hon. Members will sympathise with me in speaking so late in a debate which has lasted two days, because by now so many points have already been covered that it is difficult to try to break fresh and new ground. I therefore do not intend to hold the House for very long, but, at the same time, I should like to try to add one or two things which seem to me to have been omitted and have not been presented to us.
The Conservative Party was regaled at Llandudno with a great speech by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal. I did not myself have the fortune to be there, but those who were there told me that it really was a fine oration: the figures were well presented, and he got tremendous applause. One of the things which moved his audience most was the figures of our trade and how they have changed, and how, for the first time, our trade with Europe is greater now than our trade with the Commonwealth.
This was very interesting, but what I would draw to the attention of the 1254 House and various speakers is what we see when we divide up the figures. The inevitable meaning conveyed by the figures is that our exports to the economic union of Europe are now greater than our exports to the Commonwealth. I have tried to get the very latest figures, and the ones I have got today are from the Board of Trade, dated 7th November. During the months January to September, 1962, our total exports to the Commonwealth have been 31.4 per cent. Our total exports to Western Europe are 35.6 per cent. These are the figures which are always produced as showing why it is inevitable that we must go into Europe. But let us break those figures down and find how they are actually constituted.
If we do that we see that E.F.T.A. takes up 135 per cent. and the E.E.C. takes up only 18.9 per cent. In other words, 81 .1 per cent. of our exports are still to countries outside the European economic union.
§ Mr. Martin Maddan (Hitchin)
I was at the conference, and my right hon Friend, giving the figures, referred to the whole of Western Europe and made it perfectly clear that he was talking about the enlarged Community.
§ Viscount Lambton
I am glad to hear it. I am only too pleased that my hon. Friend has endorsed the accuracy of the figures which I am giving.
I think it important that we should study these figures and remember tonight, when we go to vote, that what we are faced with, if we do not go into the Economic Community, is shutting out of the markets of the world only under 20 per cent. I am very glad my hon. Friend has given credence to a fact I had not fully explained.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell
Would my noble Friend clarify one point? He says that what is at stake is the possibility of being shut out of the markets of the world. Will he not confirm this fact, that if we stay out of the European Economic Community no additional tariff beyond the external tariff of the Community to which we are now subject will be imposed, and, therefore, the only extent to which there will be any shutting out is that we shall have the same tariff as now against us, of about 17 per cent.?
§ Viscount Lambton
I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for this, but I was trying to look at the matter from the blackest and darkest point of view, putting all the arguments against it. I have no doubt that our trade will continue to grow with the economic union whether we are in or not.
I turn this discussion now to asking my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal one or two questions in his absence. They concern the terms on which we are going into Europe. Like other right hon. and hon. Gentlemen, I stand very much in the middle of the argument. I believe that if we can get the right terms we should go into Europe. I believe that ultimately Europe will need us as much as we need her, and that we can eventually get in; but nothing is worse than making no terms and having no sticking point.
I should like to be told tonight just what this sticking point is. It seemed to me yesterday that my right hon. Friend for the first time made one sticking point. He said yesterday, referring to E.F.T.A.The third part of the obligation: is 'and thus enable them all to participate from the same date in an integrated European market.'"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 7th November, 1962: Vol. 666, c. 996.]Is this a pledge that my right hon. Friend has made? I see my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs shaking his head.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Peter Smithers)
I must make it clear that I was addresing that gesture not to my noble Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lambton), but to somebody else.
§ Viscount Lambton
Then one can only presume that my hon. Friend was denying something to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture.
To return to what I was saying, does this mean what I have suggested? I should like an answer later tonight. Apart from shaking his head, perhaps my hon. Friend will make a note of this. It is a very plain promise, very forcibly 1256 expressed indeed, and I wonder whether my right hon. Friend intends to stick to it. Does he mean by this that we shall not participate in the European (economic union unless all the other E.F.T.A. countries are included in it? Is that what he is saying? If not, what is the meaning of the phrase? It is of the utmost importance, and I hope that my hon. Friend will Clear the point up tonight.
I hope to make a debating speech and deal solely with what the Lord Privy Seal said yesterday. However, if one is discussing (the real implications of the Common Market, it is impossible to find anything in his speech about which to talk, because all the real implications and the really great issues were avoided. What did my right hon. Friend talk about when he came to the great problem of the Commonwealth with all its implications land all 'the sacrifices that it entailed? He talked about tea, coffee and cocoa. It was a sort of spinsters' debate on the greatest issue of our time, and that is not good enough.
What are the other great issues? What about the future of the Commonwealth? What is to happen to Australia and New Zealand if we place penalties upon them? None of these matters was discussed. I see the Minister of Agriculture laughing. What is amusing about the future of New Zealand and Australia? It seems to me that in this debate the greatest issues have been totally and absolutely avoided. What about temperate foodstuffs? What about their entrance into (this country? What about the effect of the rise in food prices and the rise in the cost of living?
Also very important, what effect will it all have on our economy when we turn from the grain producing countries of the Commonwealth to France? What effect will that have on our shipping and invisible earnings? These are the great issues, and they have been totally neglected. We talk about subjects which are normally suitable only for ladies' tea parties. Is this the right thing to do?
Turning to agriculture, are we to accept the present terms? If we do, I have no doubt that we shall undermine the stability of British agriculture. At the moment, one might describe British agriculture as equalitarian, with the small farmers carried by the big farmers 1257 and the middling men carried by the efficient. If we go into Europe this equal-itarian structure will totally disappear, and What will emerge will foe a nation of, on 'the one tend, exceedingly rich farmers and, on the other, bankrupt farmers. It will foe an agriculture of "two nations". Do we really particularly desire to do that, and if not, why do we not have arguments from the Government to prove that it will not be so? Why do we not have genuine assurances?
Why did not the Minister of Agriculture make plain what our attitude to this was? Are we going into Europe at any price, and shall we be contributing a levy to the poorer countries and neglecting the poorer farms here? Shall we be letting the money go out of agriculture and ruining small districts in order to promote the prosperity of other districts at the same time as the great grain fields of France are undermining our position? These are the questions to which I should like answers. I cannot help thinking that the House is not getting enough information and that we are being fobbed off.
Then there is a subject of the utmost importance, which cannot be stressed too much. President Kennedy has proposed talks next year on tariff reform throughout the world. Hon. Members on both sides have spoken about the advantages of this—and there are great advantages. Why do we not wait and see what tariffs can be reduced? What is the hurry? If tariffs can be reduced all round the world, what is the need to go into the Common Market? Why spoil our Commonwealth connections if it is unnecessary to do so? These are the questions I put to my right hon. Friend, and I hope to be given a reply tonight.
§ 8.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Dick Taverne (Lincoln)
I had some sympathy with the noble Lord the Member for Berwick-on-Tweed (Viscount Lambton) when he said that he regretted having to speak at the end of a two-day debate. But my approach to the Common Market is somewhat different from his. I approach it in much the same spirit and from much the same premises as my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee), and that is as 1258 an internationalist, and it is from that point of view that I want to look at some of the terms being negotiated.
As an internationalist, I favour any move which is some advance towards a world government. I do not pretend that there is any great prospect of world government in my lifetime. Nevertheless, I believe that working towards a world government and towards a lessening of the forces of nationalism is the only attitude which makes sense in international affairs today.
The first duty of anyone who is an internationalist is to support the United Nations in every possible way, to foster respect for its authority and to strengthen and extend its activities in different ways—disarmament agencies, technical aid and a hundred other different ways. But I do not think that any internationalist can really suppose that the next move towards a world government will be a sudden handing over of national sovereignty by all the 108 member States overnight. I see the trend towards world government coming by stages. This may be slow, but it seems to me to be the only way.
What are these stages? As I see it, the only way in which this can develop is by a series of regional associations where individual national sovereignty would be merged or qualified. There would be different associations with different characters. It seems to me extremely likely that the example of Europe will be followed elsewhere.
It is, of course, perfectly true, and I concede this at once to my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock that these new associations may develop a new kind of nationalism of their own which may divide the world. This may happen, but I should have thought that the reasonable prospect was not one of new nationalism with the same strength as the old but rather of new groups in which many countries with strong traditions of their own would emerge, so that the final nationalism that would result would be very much less forceful and less virulent than the nationalism of the past. I agree, of course, that the attitude of these new associations to each other is vitally important. But if, in fact, the first of these new associations—that of Europe—turns out to be outward-looking and not one which seeks to deepen the 1259 divisions of the world, this would obviously be a major step towards world government.
From that point of view, it seems to me that two points follow. The first is that it is quite illogical to be in favour, in principle, of handing over national sovereignty and yet to shrink from the prospect of doing so when faced with it in a particular case. The second point that emerges is that it is of very great importance indeed to consider what kind of association it is to which one may have to hand over part of one's national sovereignty. Looked at from that point of view, there are two considerations. The first is, how does Europe stand— what are the reasonable prospects of development in Europe as far as international trade and aid are concerned in relation to under-developed countries? The second is, what is the likely political development of this new association?
With regard to long-term prospects in Europe, it seems to me that the record so far is not discouraging but one which holds out reasonable hopes that some sort of liberal trade policy will be followed. I should like to give a few examples. First, as regards imports of the Six from outside the Community, the figures between 1950 and 1962 certainly tend to show that the prospects of increased international trade are very much enhanced. In 1950 their imports from outside the Six were 7 per cent. higher than ours. In 1962 they were 85 per cent. higher than ours.
One can also look at it from a different angle. If joining the Common Market and its development meant that, in general the encouraging developments of trade between East and West were nullified, this would be very grave. But between 1958 and 1961 the trade between the Six and Communist countries increased by 60 per cent.—from 57 million dollars to 90 million dollars. Then again, the offer to reduce external tariffs by 20 per cent. of manufactured goods, made in anticipation of negotiations with G.A.T.T., is surely an encouraging sign which should lead one to have high hopes of a liberal trade policy in the future from the Six.
Next, I want to look at the question of aid. While it is true that trade is, in a sense, more important than aid, never- 1260 theless the volume of aid shows again the attitude to be found among the Six. I think that it is unjust to pretend that, somehow or other, our attitude to aid is more outward-looking, because Germany's contribution to both the Indian and Pakistani five-year plans has been greater than ours, and France's flow of funds to under-developed countries has been half as much again as ours.
These facts are important because they lead one to suppose, quite reasonably, that the long-term prospects of international trade and of an enlightened attitude by the Six towards the underdeveloped nations are good. It is, of course, true, as a number of my hon. Friends who have recently visited the Far East have told me, that countries there, particularly India and Pakistan, are profoundly disturbed by the present trend of negotiations, and I hope that the negotiators on this will prove themselves to be as firm as the Lord Privy Seal said they were.
Nevertheless, from the long-term point of view, the record is encouraging. What hope have we in this country of solving by ourselves the problem of manufactured exports from the countries of Asia? What hope have we of doing it without the co-operation of the Six? I should have thought that hon. Friends who are Members of Parliament for Lancashire constituencies would not be too sanguine of Britain solving this problem by herself.
Now I turn to political development. It is also true, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock said, that there is in certain quarters in Europe an attitude which does not augur well. Certain leading figures show far more intransigence towards the problems of East and West than many hon. Members of this House would like to see. Undoubtedly certain quarters in Europe are almost as suspicious of the United Nations as, occasionally, certain members of Her Majesty's Government seem to be in their speeches. But the question is surely whether one can say that this is likely to be the attitude of the European Economic Community in the future—and surely that depends on who is in the Community.
A number of speakers in this debate have referred to our obligations towards the E.F.T.A. countries. I want to put 1261 the case in a slightly different way. We heard from the Lord Privy Seal of the definite undertakings he has given and the recent agreement and statements that have been made. Let us also remember that under the original E.F.T.A. Convention we have undertaken the abolition of tariffs on certain imports from the E.F.T.A. countries by 1970. Unless they are accommodated or our obligations waived, joining the Community will mean a breach of that undertaking.
However, it is not from the point of view of obligations only that we should approach this matter. Nor should it be from the point of view of what has been said in the past. It is perhaps ironic to remember that when the E.F.T.A. Agreement was signed Viscount Amory, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that the whole purpose was to facilitate negotiations with the E.E.C. so that we could carry on these negotiations as a group. But it is not from the point of view of obligations that I want to look at this matter now.
Almost all my right hon. and hon. Friends feel that it is extremely important from the point of view of ourselves and of the political development of E.E.C. that Norway and Denmark should get full membership and that some sort of accommodation should be reached for our other partners, because Norway and Denmark would be invaluable members.
They both have a record of internationalism second to none. They are firm supporters of the United Nations and would strengthen the democratic and progressive forces inside the Community. With them as members alongside a Britain with the right approach, it is almost inconceivable that this new association of peoples should have an attitude as intransigent as my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock feared, and one as hostile towards the outside world and as much in favour of deep divisions as one or two of my other hon. Friends fear. This surely is the test. If Norway and Denmark are admitted to full membership, that will show that the attitude of the Six is not so firmly exclusive as has sometimes been feared.
The terms of our membership are obviously vitally important, and in the circumstances perhaps it is to be regretted that the Government have been rather too clever about this. What they 1262 have done is to weaken their bargaining position by saying all too clearly that entry into Europe plays a vital part in their electoral strategy.
I would not for a moment say that party politics is not something which a party is entitled to play. To some extent, it is the lifeblood of democracy. However, there are certain issues in which it is very dangerous. What are the consequences of making entry into Europe part of one's electoral strategy? When it becomes plain to everybody concerned that the Government see this as a vital road to victory, then at the same time they make it plain that they will not allow these negotiations to fail in any circumstances and that entry is to be achieved whatever the terms. Yet party politics has been played. I do not accuse the Lord Privy Seal, but it has been played by other members of the Administration. I quote part of the Prime Minister's speech at the Llandudno Conference.I cannot help wondering whether success in the negotiations would be as gratifying to Mr. Gaitskell as failure. As you know, Mr. Khrushchev is against the whole thing.Why did he say that? What did that mean? It was absolutely plain that the Prime Minister was saying that the Leader of the Opposition, who has spent a great deal of his political life resisting trends towards neutralism, adopted his attitude and was inspired in his attitude because of the Kremlin. That is the only interpretation of those remarks, and I defy any hon. Member opposite to give any other interpretation.
§ Mr. Maddan
I agree with practically all that the hon. Gentleman says, but earlier an hon. Member opposite said that the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Russia—what-ever he is called—Mr. Khrushchev and our own Prime Minister were all of one view about the consequences.
§ Mr. Taverne
That is not at all what the Prime Minister said. He wondered whether my right hon. Friend hoped that the negotiations would fail. He said:As you know, Mr. Khrushchev is against the whole thing.The only possible meaning of that sentence is that my right hon. Friend's attitude is dictated by the position of Mr. Khrushchev.
1263 Is it surprising that in those circumstances people have gained the impression that entry to Europe is a political game and that essentially it is the trump card which can be played by the Government in order to win the election? If that is the attitude, of course it affects the bargaining position, and it is not surprising that there has been this new toughness in Europe.
It is all the more tragic when the issues at stake are so enormous, because if we get an outward-looking Europe—and I do not shrink from the idea of political union because I do not see how this body can be really effective in its role towards the outside world unless there is cohesion and coherence—showing the spirit of the Treaty of Rome which, among other things, says that membership is open to any European country, it can be the most encouraging development in politics in the twentieth century, and it may well be a firm step on the road towards world government.
§ 8.35 p.m
§ Mr. John Eden (Bournemouth, West)
The hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Taverne) began his speech by feeling rather sorry for himself at having to speak at so late a stage in a two-day debate. Quite frankly, I feel greater sympathy for my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal than I feel for myself at his having to wind up this two-day debate, because it must be a formidable undertaking. I have changed my opening remarks so many times to try to answer points raised by previous speakers that I shudder to think how my right hon. Friend will tackle the problem. I am grateful that it is his problem and not mine.
I do not mean to be offensive by turning away from the speech of the hon. Member for Lincoln, but I was very interested in the speech of my noble Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lambton). Like him, I find it is impossible to ignore the significant changes which have been taking place in our trade. He perhaps would not lay quite such emphasis on these figures as I do, but he produced figures which showed that our trade with the Commonwealth has been declining whilst our trade with Western Europe has been increasing.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell
I think that my hon. Friend has it slightly wrong, and for the sake of the record we ought to get it right. I think that the correct way of putting it is that the proportion of trade conducted with the Commonwealth has been declining while that with Europe has been increasing, but in absolute terms our trade with the Commonwealth has been increasing, as has, also, our trade with Europe.
§ Mr. Eden
My hon. Friend is correct. In spite of the fact that our trade with the Commonwealth has been increasing, our trade with Western Europe has been increasing at a much more rapid rate, and it is not just the figures in themselves which are important. What I think are significant, and certainly the figures to which I attach great importance, are the starting points of our trade with the Commonwealth and our trade with Europe. The proportion of our trade with the Commonwealth has fallen from about 50 per cent. to the figure my noble Friend mentioned, 31 per cent., and the proportion of our trade with Europe has risen from about 23 per cent., again to the figure given by my noble Friend, 32 per cent. This is really a very significant change-over indeed, and we cannot overlook this fact, because what has been happening is that not only the pattern but the nature of our trade has been changing, and this change which we have been experiencing has been the experience to a great extent of the Commonwealth as well.
The share of Commonwealth trade with the United Kingdom has fallen, whilst the share of Commonwealth trade with markets other than the United Kingdom has been rising. This is principally in the direction of the United States of America and of Western Europe, and it is not by chance that this has taken place. It is because these two markets represent in the world the highest standards of living, and our trade to these two markets, the United States of America and Western Europe, has been rising at a faster rate than our trade with any other part of the world, as has the trade of the Commonwealth countries in the same direction.
This is because the higher standards of living of the more highly-industrialised countries are proving to be more attractive and more satisfactory markets for 1265 manufacturing industry and for the suppliers of basic raw materials than are primary producing countries, and it is a change which we cannot ignore. It is one which I find extremely significant. It seems to indicate to me that our greatest hope of assisting the developing countries of the Commonwealth, about which a number of hon. Members have spoken in the course of this debate, is by not only increasing our trade with them, but by maintaining the rate of increase in our trade with the highly-industrialised countries.
I agree that we should do all we possibly can to foster and encourage the raising of the standards of living of the developing countries, particularly those in the Commonwealth, and I believe that this can be done by a number of important means. The most important of them perhaps is by trading with them not only in raw materials, but in what is becoming of increasing importance to them, their manufactured products.
One aspect of this which has not been touched on so far is that we should try to buy from these countries in the Commonwealth manufactured products which we can then marry into a more sophisticated finished product in this country, which subsequently this country would export. In other words, component parts of our own finally manufactured products could well be manufactured in some of the developing Commonwealth countries. If they were, it would be greatly to our advantage, and very much to theirs.
We must seriously apply our minds to putting into practice many more positive Commonwealth policies than we have been doing in the recent past. Some hon. Members have spoken of the urgent need for us to consider alternatives. It is not alternatives to the Common Market that we should consider at this time; what we should be concentrating on is our preparations for the changes which are likely to be brought about as a result of our membership of the Common Market, and also our preparations to foster the industrial development of Commonwealth countries. Many of these Commonwealth countries are in great need of British capital, and the assistance of skilled technologists. They quite rightly turn to us for these goods, and I hope that they will continue to do so.
1266 A number of changes are taking place in this country, and no doubt they will gather in momentum and significance as our possible membership of the new Community approaches. Looking back over some past figures, it appears to me that British industry has always been stimulated by competition. British management and British workers are not afraid of competition. They are fully prepared to meet the challenge. I do not believe that anybody in this country whose views are of any significance at all is afraid of our joining the Common Market because of the likely increase in competition in terms of trade. Again, the figures in this respect are quite significant. Our trade with Commonwealth countries has been falling at a faster rate in those countries in which the preferences are highest, and where there are few preferences, such as in Ghana and Nigeria, our trade has been increasing.
This is a curious phenomenon. It is part of the explanation why we have been doing quite well in competing against Europe, even though we have had to operate against its barrier, and also why we have competed successfully in the United States of America. In some way, the stimulant of competition which these barriers provide encourages British industry to become much more efficient and therefore much more competitive and, as a result, much more attractive to the markets into which we are trying to gain entry.
In this context it would be quite wrong for us to seek to preserve indefinitely our established industries, just because they are historical industries. I fully recognise the immense changes which this step means and, in many instances, the hardship that it must bring in human terms. But I am sure that, in the long run, it is vital for us to press ahead more vigorously with the establishment of new industries—and we should welcome investment and changes. Changes in industry have been taking place throughout our history; this is nothing new. What will be new is the pace at which the changes are going to be virtually forced upon us.
In a speech a few days ago my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer referred to the fact that we have a small reserve of labour. About 4 per 1267 cent. of United Kingdom labour is engaged in agriculture, whereas in some European countries of the Six the proportion is as much as 25 per cent. While they have a substantial reserve of labour, so have we. We are discovering this now, for whenever a machine is not operating to its full capacity or when there are more men manning it than are required for its efficient operation, we have idle reserves of labour on which to draw.
In the North-East, Merseyside, Northern Ireland, Stockton and other areas there is a regrettably high degree of unemployment. There are reserves of labour waiting to be tapped, to be drawn on, diverted and directed to the newly developing and expanding industries. Obviously we need a crash programme— a positive programme of retraining schemes—to enable these people, who are anxious to work, to acquire new skills so that they may apply their valuable commodity—the labour and skill which is at their finger tips—in that part of the economy which most requires it.
Industry itself should be more dynamic in providing for these retraining programmes. I should like to see a number of substantial companies getting together and joining forces so that they can jointly organise some kind of retraining project which they, out of their own resources, would be prepared to underwrite.
My main theme is that we have never feared competition and I am certain that, by and large, British industry is not afraid of it now. Apart from some of the other considerations I have mentioned, those parts of British industry which have hitherto been protected must now urgently prepare themselves for competition by studying the markets which are likely to become increasingly available to them in Europe and elsewhere and by devoting the major part of their management energy to reducing unit manufacturing costs. The degree of efficiency in British industry is the key to the economic aspects of our partnership in the Common Market.
I am aware that the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) has a long speech to make and I hope that he will forgive me if I trespass slightly into his time. I do so to say a word about the political aspects. Originally, as I understand it, the main aim of the founders 1268 of the European movement was to try to bring France and Germany together. The raison d'etreof the European Coal and Steel Community was so to bind the economies of France and Germany so that they would never again be able to take politically separate paths. This process has been succeeding to a remarkable degree, but they seem to have been moving on to a more adventurous path since that original aim. This new aim has been mentioned by a number of hon. Members who have referred to it as the "concept of the third force".
I am not altogether happy about this idea. I do not want to see a great and powerful unit rising in Europe as a rival to the United States and the Soviet Union. More important than rivalling the United States is that we should maintain the closest possible association and links in Europe with America. I hope, therefore, that the third force concept will change, and I strongly believe that it is already becoming past history. President Kennedy has assisted this in his new trade proposals.
With the advent of the United Kingdom and other countries as members of me Common Market this process away from the third force concept will be still further accelerated, and with our partnership—if that comes about—the whole nature of the Common Market itself will change. We shall then be dealing with a totally different structure from the one confronting us at the moment. That is why it is inevitable that quite a number of necessary steps which we shall ultimately be required to take will have to be negotiated after we have joined when we see the differing circumstances of which we shall then be a part.
The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) mentioned that he wanted to see us as part of a wider outward-looking Community, but I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) and others who have said that the mere confrontation of ourselves with the Common Market negotiators has resulted in a change of outlook. Professor Hallstein himself on 17th September at Strasbourg, when saying some very right things about the importance of the Commonwealth, recognised that the view taken of the Community by history would depend in very large part on the 1269 success with which its internal development corresponds with its European, Atlantic and world-wide responsibilities. He said:The background of our development is not only wider than the Europe of the Community; it is wider than Europe itself.This gives us some hope for the future. I think we shall be nearer to the original Free Trade Area than we might ever have thought possible.
One question concerns the development of the political institutions. My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal has stressed that we must allow the political institutions to develop and to evolve. We must take the pragmatic approach. If so, why is it so necessary to have a completely separate treaty for the political union of Europe? I am not completely clear about what will be the main topics of this political treaty, but I hope that when it is considered it will not be too rigid, because I agree with my right hon. Friend and I should like to see these institutions develop naturally over a time.
Naturally, we would wish to create effective means of controlling permanent officials. France has been accustomed to Government by officialdom. We do not take kindly to that in this country, and rightly so. We have suffered some experience in international organisations of the power of the permanent officials. The United Nations Organisation is a good example. Although we are active members and pay our bills regularly we do not have a strong say in what takes place, and much of the work is initiated by permanent officials.
During the course of my experiences with the Council of Europe, Western European Union, and now with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, I have met many of those active in this movement. I recognise the enthusiasm and spirit in which they are embarking on it and I find it extremely infectious. I hope that they too will see this Common Market as a stage on the road to the much closer co-operation of free peoples throughout the world.
I supported Her Majesty's Government in the Lobby when they decided to enter these negotiations. Like many of my hon. Friends, I am anxious to reserve my position and to wait and see what the final picture is when the terms have been produced. I am sure that many diffi- 1270 culties lie ahead. Perhaps not the least difficulty will be to evaluate the terms when they are finally brought to us the ability accurately to foresee the prospect of greater gains in the future, albeit under changed conditions, which may well have to be bought at the price of temporary setbacks at present. This will be the most difficult aspect for many of us to judge. I am sure that I echo the sentiments of most hon. Members when I say that we are glad to have someone of the skill and pertinacity of my right hon. Friend to guide us in these matters.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)
I think that this debate for the last two days has justified what was said about it by my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) this afternoon—that it has been practical, constructive and detailed and has not been a striking of general philosophical attitudes for or against the Market.
There has still been some misrepresentation, even on the Government Front Bench, about the position of the Opposition on the subject. Perhaps I should first make it clear what our attitude is not. We are emphatically not against the European Economic Community or against the greater unity which has been achieved in Europe in the past few years. We have welcomed it, and we have welcomed it clearly. The first sentence of our policy statement, issued by the National Executive Committee of the party and overwhelmingly accepted by the Labour Party conference at Brighton. reads:The Labour Party regards the European Community as a great and imaginative conception. It believes that the coming together of the six nations which have in the past so often been torn by war and economic rivalry is in the context of Western Europe a step of great significance.This is our view. No one in any part of the House will under-rate the work which has been done to guard against the danger of further conflict between France and Germany, which twice in our lifetime has plunged the world into war. We all welcome what they have achieved and what they may achieve. Some time ago I criticised the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, during the period of his negotiations, for failing to realise what was inspiring the Six and driving them forward. I said that he was approaching 1271 these problems with the posture of a greengrocer. But the question, of course, is not what we feel about the Six. It is whether and on what terms we can join the Six.
The second thing which I have to say is that none of us has said—and if any of us had done so it would have been a complete denial of the whole development of our policy on this issue—that we are against Britain going in. We reject the two extreme points of view— that we must go in at any cost, which is one view, or that we must stay out whatever the terms. Our document makes it clear, and my right hon. Friend repeated it yesterday. I hope that there is no doubt where we stand on this issue. Our position is that if we can get the terms, then we go in.
The third thing which I must say— and it is perhaps a pity that I need say it, but our position has been misrepresented so much—is that our attitude is not based on national sovereignty. We are not clinging like woad-painted aboriginal Britons to outmoded concepts of national sovereignty. In our first debate in August, 1961, I said:The question is not whether sovereignty remains absolute or not, but in what way one is prepared to sacrifice sovereignty, to whom and for what purpose. That is the real issue before us. The question is whether any proposed surrender of sovereignty will advance or retard our progress to the kind of world we all want to see."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd August, 1961; Vol. 645, c. 1667.]That has been our attitude right through.
Of course we should be willing to surrender national sovereignty to create an effective system of world government for the outlawry of war. We should surrender it gladly for the sake of a comprehensive disarmament agreement. We have made it clear that we would surrender our rights to our so-called independent nuclear deterrent as part of an international treaty preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. This jibe, which has frequently been thrown at us, particularly in the Press, is too cheap. It certainly would not lie in the mouths of right hon. Gentleman opposite to talk about sovereignty after their unequivocal refusal to accept the option clause for the reference of international disputes to the International Court at The Hague. It would not be for them to talk about sovereignty.
1272 So much for what we are not saying. Now for what we are saying and what our position really is. We say that we should go in if, and only if, the five conditions which we have laid down are achieved in negotiations. My right hon. Friend made it clear yesterday that he feels that these terms could still be obtained, and, as he said, we hope that they are obtained. But we must equally say that on the negotiations so far, on the outline which we have been given, on he terms which were so flatly and brutally put to the Commonwealth Conference, we are nowhere near securing the minimum on any one of the five issues which we have raised. The negotiations in Brussels are one long record of surrender.
The White Paper of August, which was set against the clear and specific pledges made by the Prime Minister and all his colleagues, was a humiliation for this country. Let us be clear about it. If the situation looked bad at the time of the August White Paper, it has got a good deal worse since. Since Llandudno, the Six have toughened their attitude still further.
We read the accounts of what happened at Llandudno—Ministers of the Crown stationed on the "prom", glad-handing bewildered delegates to manoeuvre them into supporting entry into the Common Market. What a role for them. There was the last minute flood of Central Office propaganda. There were the buttons which were issued marked "Yes". "Yes" to what? Perhaps the Lord Privy Seal will tell us. [Interruption.]I might have guessed that it would be quite impossible to explain to hon. Members opposite the workings of party democracy. It would be like trying to explain the principles of vegetarianism to a tribe of cannibals. I am sorry that the Prime Minister is not here. He was democratically elected to his position by the Marquess of Salisbury, and he lost the confidence of that electoral college within six weeks. I shall not mention the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd).
I hope that the Lord Privy Seal, at least—perhaps he is a little more serious —will tell us what these buttons marked "Yes" meant. Was it "Yes" to entry on any terms? Was it "Yes" to the 1273 terms so far negotiated? We were told yesterday that they were only provisional. I do not suppose that anyone really knew at Llandudno what he was saying "Yes" to. They just said "Yes" because they were told to do so.
The impression created, not least by the Prime Minister—this is the serious aspect of it—was of a Government party falling over itself to get into Europe at almost any price. I should sympathise with the Lord Privy Seal in the impossible negotiating position into which he has been put as a consequence were it not for the fact that he was one of the main organisers of the demonstration. He went along and addressed the agents and told them all about it, telling them to say "Yes".
Our charge is that the Government began to negotiate at a time of economic crisis in July, 1961, in such a way that the impression was given that we had no alternative way out of economic crisis except entry into Europe. Our charge is that this posture has been maintained throughout. At all times since then the whole range of Ministers' speeches in the country, particularly those of the Prime Minister stressing the political and cold war aspects of his approach, have given the idea that we are determined to go in at virtually any price. How can the Lord Privy Seal negotiate on that basis? No one could negotiate the purchase or sale of a chip shop on a basis like that.
I come now to the five conditions. I shall not repeat all that my right hon. and hon. Friends have said. As regards the E.F.T.A. I say only this. We think —we hope—that we got from the Lord Privy Seal yesterday a clear repetition of the pledge. We take it from what he said—the Lord Privy Seal will make it clear if I misrepresent him—that Britain will not enter the Common Market or make any commitment or irrevocable step in that direction unless and until—I stress the word "until" because there is an important question of timing—our E.F.T.A. partners are satisfied that their legitimate interests have been met in their own bilateral negotiations whether for full membership or associate membership. I should like the Lord Privy Seal to tell us if we have got that right.
1274 Secondly, on economic planning, I am not going to repeat all the anxieties we have expressed in previous debates, but we are concerned about three things. First, the distribution of industry. We are anxious—I hope that we are wrong about this—lest the system that we have today of location certificates, inducements and all the rest, inadequate though it is and even more inadequately implemented by the Government, will be inoperable under the Treaty of Rome. I hope we shall be told about this. There is no power, as far as I can see, left to our Government under the Treaty of Rome to prevent take-overs by foreign interests which the Government might consider undesirable. I do not want to raise unnecessary bogies. It is only too easy here. But is it possible, under the Treaty of Rome, for the firm of Krupps, which should not have been allowed to raise its ugly head again in Germany anyhow, to come here and take over a vital British steel or engineering firm without any power of intervention by the Government? If that is so, I should be even more worried.
The next point concerns our anxieties about our balance of payments. We are genuinely concerned that some of the terms of the Treaty of Rome make it impossible for any Government—Tory, Labour or any other kind—to take the action necessary if we should get into balance of payments difficulties, particularly when there is free movement of capital, and, perhaps, at a very tricky time, soon after we enter the Market, if some of our Sterling Area partners should decide—which I hope they will not do—that we have written them off and want to cash their sterling into some other currency.
We have been told that we can nationalise steel and that coal will remain nationalised, but there is all the difference in the world between the form of public ownership and the substance of it—the right to nationalise and the right to use nationalisation as an instrument of national planning. That is what we want to know. Will the Lord Privy Seal tell us? Is it a fact that the Six have objected to the structure of the National Coal Board, and that we may be forced back to setting district against district in some move to stimulate competition? Is it a fact that even the Steel Board, that 1275 shadowy and useless substitute for national ownership which this Government set up, will have to go if we join the Common Market? I was worried when I read a few weeks ago that Dr. Erhard, who has been a good friend towards Britain's entry, said at Russel-heim on 15th August last:A nationally planned economy is incompatible with membership of the Common Market.Perhaps the Lord Privy Seal will tell us. I wonder whether members of a Tory Government would be able to follow a Tory planning policy. We are not very sure. Could they, without challenge, impose the 7 per cent. Bank Rate midway between General Elections, which is a vital element in their economic planning? We got it for four years; enough deflation, enough elbow room to make reflationary handouts look respectable in the twelve months before an election.
Thirdly, I come to agriculture. Neither the Lord Privy Seal nor the Minister of Agriculture has achieved a fraction of what, in June, they regarded as their minimum terms. The August breakdown was bad enough, but last week's was even worse. Let us be quite clear about this. What we are up against here is not the Treaty of Rome; it is the agricultural policy and structure agreed upon last February. I cannot find any enthusiasm for this Common Market agricultural structure even among strong supporters of the Common Market. I do not think that anyone can regard this as anything but a monstrosity. This agricultural system is not a system of free trade but of market rigging and manipulation dependent upon entirely untried methods and untried men. It can fairly be said that the industrial part of the Treaty of Rome is, if we like, free trade over a limited area, and there is nothing to stop it being outward looking. But the agricultural system—this is not free trade. It is mercantilism on a European scale. How does the Liberal Party feel about it? I must tell its members that the inspiration of the agricultural system of the Common Market is not Adam Smith or Cobden, or any of their heroes. It is pure Schacht. Last June, the Minister of Agriculture proclaimed in ringing tones all he was going to demand in the negotiations. I will not quote what he said; it would not be kind. He said three 1276 times that we must get a period of adjustment and that deficiency payments would continue. He made those remarks in columns 596 and 597.
What is the position now? There is very great doubt about the production grants. It is very doubtful whether we shall be allowed even to have hill farming subsidies and the rest unless they are agreed on for the whole European area. It is virtually certain that fertiliser subsidies will go. The Minister of Agriculture entirely failed to answer our questions about whether even the marketing board system could remain. What did he tell us? He said that there would be room for marketing boards. Of course there will be room, but are there going to be marketing boards? Is the right hon. Gentleman banging the table at Brussels and saying, "There are going to be marketing boards or else"? This is the way in which he should be negotiating.
There will be no guaranteed markets and no deficiency payments and not even a period of transitional assistance. The right hon. Gentleman may say a lot about his little consolation prize. They have given him his annual review. But there is no guarantee that action will follow it. He was very vague about this. He is committed to the proposition, because he said on 6th June that a review without action is meaningless. He also said:An annual review is not an end in itself." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th June, 1962; Vol. 661, c. 606.]He told us then all the grave things which would follow the review.
I put this to the Lord Privy Seal and to the Minister of Agriculture. Suppose that farm incomes were to fall between one little review and the next. Would action follow? The Lord Privy Seal yesterday made a great deal in the Commonwealth context about this concept of the "reasonable price" for foodstuffs, whatever that may mean. But suppose that a "reasonable price" is fixed for these agricultural commodities at a level which, as the Government hope, will mean some continuance of imports from the outside world. Suppose we get that reasonable price and suppose that the Minister of Agriculture's annual review shows that farming incomes are below a reasonable level, 1277 what will happen? Will prices be raised? Obviously, he hopes so. But what happens if they are raised to what the Lord Privy Seal considers to be an unreasonable level?
This is the whole problem. We are trying to run an agricultural policy on the basis of a single price, and we cannot do it. The whole basis of our agricultural policy for the past fifteen years has been that, for this country apart from Europe, there is no reasonable price, no single price which allows in a fair proportion of imports from the Commonwealth and elsewhere and at the same time provides adequate standards for the farming community in this country.
For fifteen years we have operated a two-price system—a higher price for British farmers with a lower price for imports from the Commonwealth. We have bridged the two prices—'under the Labour Government by guaranteed markets and under the Conservative Government by deficiency payments. The essence of these negotiations is that the two-price system must go. We must have a single price system, and I tell the right hon. Gentleman that it cannot work. He has not even secured interim arrangements for cushioning the shock.
This brings me to the problem of the Commonwealth. This has been very fully dealt with in the debate and I shall not go over the facts so clearly set out by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. GaitskeM) and by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey). Our Amendment, which shows a great deal more courage than the Government's Motion because, after Llandudno, they have gone right back to their resolution of August, 1961, says that…the terms so far provisionally negotiated do not satisfy either these conditions"—that is, our five points—or the binding pledges given by Her Majesty's Government.Can right hon. Members opposite deny that they have gone back on every pledge that they have given about the Commonwealth?
Yesterday, my right hon. Friend referred to possible elections. Let us be clear about what Ministers said on this 1278 subject before the last election, the arguments with which they won their votes. The Prime Minister said:I do not believe that this House would ever agree to our entering arrangements which, as a matter of principle, would prevent our treating the great range of imports from the Commonwealth at least as favourably as those from the European countries.Yet the arrangement that the Lord Privy Seal has made is one of outright discrimination in favour of Europe and against the Commonwealth. No hon. Member can deny this. The Prime Minister went on:We must remain free to continue to grant to this great volume of imports the preferential arrangements we have built up over the last twenty-five years.Are we now free to do what the Prime Minister said?
Or let us take the Minister of Defence, when he was President of the Board of Trade. He said:We cannot enter into a Customs union because that would mean that we should have to put up tariffs, where no tariffs exist today, against a whole range of Commonwealth goods."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th November, 1956; Vol. 561, c. 37–155.]That was the Minister of Defence. Or what about the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he was at the Board of Trade, who said:As the House is aware, we have given a clear undertaking to the Commonwealth countries to maintain their position in our markets for foodstuffs, drink and tobacco."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th March, 1958; Vol. 585, c. 793.]Does the Lord Privy Seal think that we have maintained their position in our markets for foodstuffs, drink and tobacco?
Again, let us take the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who said only a few months before the last election:I cannot conceive that any Government of this country would put forward a proposition which would involve the abandonment of Commonwealth free entry. It would be wrong for us and for the whole free world to adopt a policy of new duties on foodstuffs and raw materials, many of which come from underdeveloped countries, at present entering a major market duty-free."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 12th February, 1959; Vol. 599, c. 1381.]That is a clear and solemn pledge made by a Minister of the Crown and that was the kind of guff that the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues were talking at the last election. That is what they got their votes for saying.
1279 Of course, there was a more recent pledge by the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations at his party's conference last year, and he repeated it in similar terms in June this year. This was the theme of the party opposite that we would not—we could not—surrender the principle of free entry for Commonwealth foodstuffs and raw materials; we could not dismantle preferences.
That was where the Lord Privy Seal started from in his negotiations. The preference horse, however, fell at the first fence. So the Government backed another. They backed comparable outlets as the way out. If Commonwealth countries were to lose some of their market here, they would be compensated by an equivalent increase in their sales to Europe. This was the theme of the Lord Privy Seal's speech of 10th October, 1961, paragraph 45.
That horse went down, too. Now we hear nothing about comparable outlets. Then we backed commodity agreements. That is fine. We on this side have always pressed for commodity agreements. We took the initiative when we were the Government against fairly strong American opposition. We insisted on the drafting of Chapter VI of the Havana Charter on inter-governmental commodity agreements. I had a lot to do with the first drafting of the International Wheat Agreement. As late as last February, however, the present Government were voting against commodity agreements at the G.A.T.T. conference in Geneva.
We on this side want commodity agreements. There is no guarantee, however, that we shall get them. Merely to say that we want them will not give them to us. Other countries are involved besides the Six; there is the United States. Certainly there is no prospect of getting commodity agreements before the negotiations are supposed to reach finality. If that is so, if we have whittled down these solemn pledges made by the Prime Minister— which I quoted before the right hon. Gentleman was able to join us, as he has now done—and there is no more than a vague hope for commodity agreements, why are we dismantling our defences before we get them? Why give away the card of preferences before we are sure of getting these?
1280 As I have reminded the House before, commodity agreements do not solve the problems. The Government are still involved in the International Sugar Agreement, but everybody agreed that that agreement did not provide the guarantees required by West Indian and other sugar producers. On top of that we had to put the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. The Lord Privy Seal has never told us whether we shall be able to carry on with the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement if we join the Treaty of Rome. Has he negotiated this yet? Is the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement one of the fish that he has landed safe and dry on to the bank? There are not many of them, but we hope that he has got this one.
Where do the Commonwealth negotiations stands? We have been promised —this was the great thing offered to us yesterday by the Lord Privy Seal—a reasonable price policy. The Six have generously said that their price policy will be reasonable. The idea is that if the price for wheat, dairy produce and other commodities is low enough, there will be a margin for third countries to export into Europe—and, of course Commonwealth countries will be able to scramble for their share of this. But how low is such a reasonable price? On a single price system—I come back to the point I was making about the in-operability of a system of this kind— when the price is low enough, if it is reasonable enough for the Lord Privy Seal's definition, to allow a continuance of Commonwealth imports, the Minister of Agriculture will have apoplexy, because it is far too low to meet the requirements of the farmers. He is counting on a high price. He told us so in June.
The Lord Privy Seal has secured his negotiating triumph, but all he has got, after twelve months of negotiation, and after the solemn pledges I have read from the Prime Minister just now, is a form of words that they will allow us to pursue a reasonable price policy. Did he expect the Six to say they would be unreasonable about the price policy? Has he got so much? A brilliant negotiator always says he will be reasonable. The Chinese have just asked India to stop resisting aggression and to start negotiating reasonable terms. Would any hon. Member, buying a second-hand 1281 car, or a house, would one of the growing number of hon. Members involved in mergers and take-over struggles, drop his guard and dismantle his defences in return for a promise by his negotiating partner that he will be reasonable about the price he was going to be paid? Of course they would not. Not one of us would do that in his private life. But the right hon. Gentleman would. He did. In the Yorkshire phrase, "They saw him coming."
I hope he will tell us tonight what would be a reasonable price for wheat, because everybody who knows these figures knows perfectly well that if we get a price for wheat somewhere near the European price this will be as much as 12½ per cent. above the British farmer's price, and it would mean an increase of anything between £10 and £13 per ton—and the right hon. Gentleman said it was inconceivable that this House could ever agree to scrapping the free entry of Commonwealth products.
So with all this uncertainty, with nothing at all secure for the permanent basis after 1970, and with virtually nothing for the transitional period up to 1970, why, I ask the right hon. Gentleman, why give away his one negotiating card and agree to scrap the preference system and to scrap free entry till he has got something in return? This is not negotiation. This is unilateral disarmament.
The same applies to the whole question of Asian manufactured exports: give away the principle and try to salve a few reassuring words about the future. I understand that the Hong Kong talks are starting tomorrow and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will say something about them. These words about exports have no gold backing. The right way to ensure gold backing for them is to hold on to one's negotiating card till promises are matched by performance.
Independent foreign policy I shall refer to only very briefly. It was dealt with by my right hon. Friend. We are very worried about the Government's ambivalence on this. It is not only causing concern in this country but it may lead to grave charges of bad faith in Europe if we go into a federation which is moving quickly to political union and then, after we have got there, we start dragging our feet over political union.
1282 The Government have blown hot and cold. On the eve of the Conservative Party Conference the Prime Minister's pamphlet—an extraordinary thing to do on the eve of a conference—played it down; but after his speech which followed that "Yes" he played it up, but there is no doubt in the minds of many of our European friends that to join the Common Market does mean a commitment towards federation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, whom I have already quoted, and who spent the best years of his life negotiating in Europe, was never in any doubt. A few months before the election he said that…we must recognise that for us to sign the Treaty of Rome would be to accept as the ultimate goal, political federation in Europe, including ourselves."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th February, 1959; Vol. 599, c. 1382.]The Times,in a leader on 18th October, regarded it as axiomatic that joining the Common Market would mean some form of European Government, and it said:With the power to formulate a common foreign policy this in turn will have to be supported by a common strategy.Is the House really ready to surrender the right to our independent foreign policy?
The mere fact that we were not consulted over Cuba does not mean that an independent foreign policy for Britain is already dead. As I argued last week, that was merely a measure of where the Government have brought this country. We have a rôle to play in issues going far beyond Europe. In the past we have looked at the problems—African and Asian problems, becoming more important every day—not through European eyes but through eyes whose vision has been sharpened by years of active partnership in the greatest multi-racial system in the world. That is what is at risk now.
Before I conclude I want to refer to one myth which has been brought out, that of the declining Commonwealth. Commonwealth imports are rising. It is our ability to hold our market there which has been at fault. From 1953 to 1960 Australia increased her imports to us by 83 per cent., but Britain's exports to Australia rose by only 22 per cent. India increased her imports to us by 57 per cent., but our exports to her rose by only 32 per cent., despite the fact that 1283 loans in her case were tied to purchases in this country. Pakistan increased her imports to us by 86 per cent., while Britain's exports to her increased by only 22 per cent. The fault lies not in the Commonwealth but in ourselves.
That is why if the terms are unacceptable to us we have a real job to do in mounting a determined export drive to the Commonwealth. We must have a link with other Governments at governmental level in their Commonwealth development plans and must by every means open to a modern government recast our industrial development so that we get less expansion in the soft-centre industries and more in the hard-centre industries which are capable of making goods which the Commonwealth wants and for which so often Commonwealth countries turn to Germany, Japan and the United States.
The other thing that we have to do if the terms are unacceptable is to look at trade problems not on a narrow European basis but on an Atlantic basis— indeed, on a free world basis. I commend to the House the report by Mr. Herter and Mr. Clayton published a year ago in the United States. If we could have something on those lines bringing in the Commonwealth and Latin America—the whole free world—we should be on the right lines. We hear about the economic value of a market of 200 million people. What about a market provided by 1,200 million people?
I hope that, in viewing the future, the Government will realise that one card that we have in our hands if Europe turns us down, if the terms are unacceptable, as that we have still to go to G.A.T.T. Do not let us forget that, because the agriculture proposals of the Six are absolutely contrary to the whole letter and spirit of G.A.T.T. and can go through only if they have the support of ourselves and others.
Finally—perhaps I should refer to this —the challenge of the European negotiations was the theme of the Prime Minister's speech at Llandudno. We read it with interest. He said, "We are to be the leaders of change. We must make the best use of our brains and of the traditional skill of our people." How could he say that when skilled craftsmen 1284 are unemployed in increasing numbers, when school leavers in wide areas of the country are unable to get jobs which will enable them to be trained for skill, and many of them cannot even get jobs at all, when scientists are emigrating in droves to America and when world class scientists are seeking jobs at the employment exchanges?
We must accept change. We have said that. I said it at the T.U.C. conference this year. We have stressed it on this side of the House in every economic debate in the last few years. We have heard before from the right hon. Gentleman about change. We were heartened five years ago to hear his speech about the "wind of change" in Africa. What have the Government done about the "wind of change" in Africa?—Arms to South Africa, the Southern Rhodesian Constitution, Northern Rhodesia, Katanga, and Pilate washing his hands over Portuguese atrocities in Angola and Mozambique. [Interruption.] This has everything to do with the Common Market.
No one will deny that the change at home, to which the Prime Minister referred, is relevant to the Common Market. Change at home means more than nostalgic perorations about how bad unemployment used to be in Stockton under the Tories. In any case, Stockton opted for its change in 1945 when it threw the Prime Minister out. But, no, the right hon. Gentleman tells us—I quote him—"As a nation we are too set in our ways. We are too apt to cling to old privileges. We are too apt to fear new methods. We are often too unwilling to abandon old practices which have outlived their usefulness." That is true—such as appointing one's nephews' and in-laws to Government posts. That may not matter in this Government. I do not think it does. I do not think it either raises or lowers the level of the average quality of the Government. But it matters when it is happening in British industry or when qualified young men are being held back by the prevalence of industrial nepotism.
The Prime Minister calls for am attack on privilege. There was no sign of an attack on privilege in the Gracious Speech; on fiscal privilege where a favoured few, by one legal means or another, are able to evade their fair share of taxation—the farce of capital gains. 1285 Are the Government going to change what a Tory delegate at Llandudno called this "property developing plutocracy ", this stop-go system, red light after 'the election and green light in the last twelve months?
The Prime Minister's indictment of our economic and social system is the most telling indictment that I have read of Tory society and Tory freedom. This is Britain alter eleven years of Tory Government more than half of it, God forgive us, under the right hon. Gentleman. We all of us know that the change that we need is a change that must come in this country, in our industry. We agree about that. We agree with the right hon. Gentleman. There is no more dangerous illusion than the thought that entry into Europe is going to be a gimmick solving all our economic problems, giving us back our lost economic dynamic.
All of us know that that dynamic will come only from our own efforts in industry and our policies in this House. If we make the changes we have nothing to fear whether.inside or outside Europe, but, if we fail, the only choice is whether we are to be a backwater inside Europe or outside Europe. Change we need, and here we agree, but the right hon. Gentleman must know that the first prerequisite is that a change must be made in the leadership given to this country.
§ 9.32 p.m.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Edward Heath)
This debate was described, I think, by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition as an interim debate in these negotiations. It has covered a great deal of general ground. I hope that the House will feel that it has been given a considerable amount of information and that we can counter the charge either that the House of Commons is being kept in the dark or that the people of this country have not been given a detailed account of the negotiations or heard a full discussion about them.
We have come to the conclusion of the debate with the speech of the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson). Those who heard his speech on foreign affairs in the debate on the Address last week may, perhaps, have noticed a considerable contrast between 1286 that and his speech tonight, but then, of course, last week was before the election. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cheap."] The frivolity of the right hon. Gentleman's approach tonight is hardly worthy of what he has described as one of the greatest issues of the day.
The right hon. Gentleman decided to describe the position of the Labour Party. What we have heard in the debate has been a number of speeches describing the position of the Labour Party. First of all, that of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader, and then that of the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) last night—a quite different speech from that of the right hon Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) this afternoon and the speech of the right hon. Gentleman tonight. What the House must realise is that all the speeches, with the exception of that of the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon, have followed the same pattern—the pattern of saying what a magnificent conception the European Economic Community is, and of then going on to say that they disapprove of its commercial policy, they disapprove of its agricultural policy, they wish to have nothing to do with it politically, and, finally, putting forward alternative arrangements which they say they would much prefer. How, then, can hon. Members opposite, in all honesty, support their Amendment, in which they say that they want to go into the European Community?
The value of the debate has been that a large number of hon. Members have been able to make clear the importance which they attach to many of these great issues and, in particular, points for the future negotiations. Quite what the right hon. Member for Huyton expects to gain from so much criticism of matters which have not yet been negotiated, I cannot understand, especially since the right hon. Member for Belper was urging us not to hurry unduly in these negotiations and to take our time about them. Perhaps the right hon. Member for Huyton would confine his criticisms to matters which have been negotiated.
Right hon. and hon. Members have emphasised points which are of great value, and that is as it should be, and the countries of Europe, the Commission and those negotiating must take notice 1287 of the views which the House has expressed and realise how essential it is that the arrangements we negotiate should be acceptable to Parliament. Right hon. and hon. Members have emphasised the importance of the transitional arrangements, the phasing out, the individual commodity arrangements— which have still to be negotiated —the Commonwealth arrangements for New Zealand and the Asian members, the alternative arrangements to association, the importance of dried and canned fruit to Australia, and many other matters.
The right hon. Member for Huyton referred to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference and to the Conservative Party Conference. There must be no misunderstanding about these two conferences. The Commonwealth Prime Ministers said clearly that the decision rests with the United Kingdom. They made clear the points of importance to them and they will make their final judgment when the picture is complete. They have had many opportunities themselves of discussing these matters with Ministers of the Six and these conversations have been of the greatest value in the negotiations. I have set out the whole position following the Commonwealth Conference and the members of the Community must be fully aware of the importance of it. But let there be no mistake, either, about the conference at Llandudno.
The right hon. Member for Huyton said that the Government were determined to go in at any price and that the Conservative Party Conference endorsed that view. Nothing could be further from the truth and he has no justification for saying it. The Government will adhere to their pledges and about that I wish to say something more later.
Members of the public had said that they wished to hear a discussion about the background issues to these negotiations—the reasons as to why we should or should not become members of the Community. In the party conferences there was full discussion. The Prime Minister, in his speech at Llandudno, and in his pamphlet, set out the broad issues, and quite rightly so. What the Llandudno conference did was to show that there is a desire by the majority of 1288 the Conservative Party to play its part in Europe if it is possible. What that conference also did was to show that there is a will to do so provided proper arrangements can be made.
If there are any in Europe who doubted the will for success, those doubts must have been dispelled. At the same time, there must be no doubt about the requirements for success in these negotiations. I will answer my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) and others by saying that there has been no whittling down of the Government's pledges, that they must be met if these negotiations are to be successful, and that they can only be met if the wild is there from all those taking part in the negotiations.
§ Mr. Heath
I will deal with that in a moment.
This is an interim debate and as such it places anybody who is negotiating in a peculiar position, to say the least. As the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) said, we are here to be criticised. I have no objection to that. We are completely vulnerable to criticism, because one cannot, in the middle of negotiations, very often explain the reasons why particular steps have been taken because of the influence on further stages of the negotiations.
Perhaps it is worth noticing, in passing, that those with whom we are negotiating —and the hon. Member for Leeds, East said that he wished to do everything to strengthen our hand—are not being pressed by their Parliaments. In fact, none of them has been pressed to give a detailed account of these negotiations, or to explain its negotiating position, or to say what steps it proposes to take. I have no objection to this debate, but those Who are criticising the negotiating position might recall that.
Of course, it is easy for the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and the right hon. Member for Huyton to deal with this. All they have to say is, "Look how much better we would have done it!". It is easy to say, "Look how tough we would have been if we had been there! Look how tough we have been in every other international 1289 difficulty which has arisen over the past eight years! Look how persuasive we would have been if we had been there! Just look at the success of our mission to Brussels with our Socialist colleagues!". The meeting almost broke up in disorder. They are no longer on speaking terms. The Socialists do not come to London for their meetings. That is the persuasion of the right hon. Gentleman.
Of course, it was not what he said. He has said it before. It was the way that he said it. He knows perfectly well that that is true and it is true of so many things that he says, and we have often seen it in the past. The words on the paper are one thing, but it is the way that he says them and the emotion which lies behind them—and he knows it and we have often seen it. He knows that if he had made the opening speech in these negotiations as he spoke at Brussels, the negotiations themselves would never have begun.
The right hon. Gentleman now says that he detects signs of firmness in us over agriculture. If this is an attempt to drive a wedge between ourselves and the Commonwealth by implying that we are prepared to stand up for our own interests, but not for those of the Commonwealth, there could not be a more mischievous statement by the right hon. Gentleman. He will not find very much support for that among the Commonwealth representatives in Brussels. When the history of these negotiations comes to be written, I have no fears about the verdict on the way the British negotiators have conducted these negotiations in the interests of Britain, the Commonwealth and E.F.T.A.
But, of course, one can expect this and it is all in the day's work. During the early years of the last century, Sir James Stephen was asked how he got on with Whig Ministers. He replied:You may write off the first joint of your fingers for them, and then you may write off the second joint, and all that they will say of you is, 'What a remarkably short-fingered man the fellow is' ".The right hon. Gentleman asked a question about capital movements. We have discussed this with the Commission. We discussed it in the context of the economic union.
1290 The hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) asked how we had covered roughly two-thirds of the negotiations. I must tell her that we have covered the whole of the economic union arrangements, in addition to the whole of the African, West Indian and dependent Commonwealth arrangements, as well as almost all the Asian arrangements and little less than half of the old Commonwealth arrangements. The remainder and our own agriculture have to be done. Article 67 of the Treaty provides for the progressive abolition between members of restrictions on the movement of capital so far as is necessary to ensure the functioning of the Market.
Two directives have been issued so far. We are satisfied that to comply with the two directives our present methods will need to be altered only in respect of a few items. No major points of principle are involved in the ground we have covered. After the accession to the Community, if that comes about, we should then have a voice in the timing and scope of any further measures of liberalisation as far as capital measures are concerned.
Perhaps I might now turn to the points raised by several right hon. and hon. Members. They were many raised by the right hon. Member for Belper this afternoon. At one stage he said, "Let us abandon this idea of being a supplicant", and I think that the right hon. Gentleman said the same thing. Perhaps there is a linguistic misunderstanding here. Both the right hon. Gentlemen, having been to Brussels and heard a great deal of talk about suppliantand suppleant,may not realise that suppliantis not a supplicant, but is a deputy who is acting—[Interruption.]If that is not the case, I accept it, but it is the only possible explanation of how the right hon. Gentleman could ever make such a suggestion.
§ Mr. Heath
No, I will not give way.
The right hon. Member for Belper asked about the deadline and the timing and said, "Do not worry about the timetable". There has been no deadline, and there will be no deadline, but I must again point out to the right hon. 1291 Gentleman that there are important matters of timing in this.
I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman can really discount uncertainty as much as he has done. It is of great importance to industry here, and to the Commonwealth and Europe. At the same time, this is a rapidly developing Community, and until the negotiations are completed we cannot play a part in its development. It is, therefore, of great importance that, commensurate with thoroughness, we should bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion as speedily as possible.
The right hon. Gentleman asked that no attempt should be made to put across an outline as to the final negotiations. That will certainly not be the case, because we are now negotiating all the details required for a final settlement.
The right hon. Gentleman asked about voting rights. These can only be settled at the end, when the pattern of full membership is seen, and that involves all the E.F.T.A. obligations. It is not yet the appropriate time to have preliminary discussions, but, as regards the right hon. Gentleman's question about E.F.T.A., I repeat that we adhere to the E.F.T.A. pledges which are clearly set out in the London communique, and in the Geneva communique of July last year.
There were a number of agricultural points. The right hon. Gentleman asked about the 1957 Act. We have already stated there that it is to be maintained for the life of this Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman rather trailed his coat by asking, "Does this involve amendment?" The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition revealed his interest in any election pointers which he may be able to discern in this. I do not intend to be drawn into this matter, nor to say what sort of amendments might be required to come into effect after the life of this Parliament in accordance with any changes which we negotiate within the common agricultural policy.
There was repeated the question about the Milk Marketing Board. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture dealt with these boards this afternoon and said that in principle these are not incompatible with the Treaty of Rome. The Government believe in the useful 1292 functioning of these boards, but we cannot go further than that in defining their precise role in the common agricultural policy until the regulations governing liquid milk have been drafted, discussed, and negotiated.
The hon. and learned Member for Cardigan (Mr. Bowen) put forward a number of constructive suggestions, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley). These are valuable in the context of the negotiations, especially about the transitional period, and also in the way in which the transitional period should later be handled.
There were also a number of questions about the levies. This is a complicated matter, governed by Articles 200 and 201 of the Treaty. The House will not expect me to go into the complicated legal aspects of this matter at the moment, but the regulation provides that the proceeds shall be the property of the Community in the Common Market stage. There are other arrangements in the transitional period. These proceeds will, with other resources, be available for appropriation. We have fully accepted this.
The question of the relationship between the various sources of revenue and the expenditure of the Community, and the proportions to be borne between the various members, remains to be worked out. It is governed by the procedures of the Treaty. It would be a brave man who tried to forecast now what the financial arrangements of the Community—its budget—would look like in 1970. Therefore, I cannot forecast that or comment upon it.
Many Commonwealth points were raised. My hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish) emphasised, in his very vivid description, the position of New Zealand and Australia. Many hon. Members have raised the question of New Zealand. This is to be negotiated in this phase of the negotiations, but, as I explained yesterday, it will come after the general arrangements have been negotiated, so that it may be seen what the additional requirements of New Zealand are.
The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) suggested that there should be a policy of building up Euro-Africa. With great respect to him and his knowledge of these matters, 1293 the concept of Euro-Africa, as such, is not one which appeals to many African countries, including the Commonwealth countries. On the other hand, through Association there is the possibility of widening the association of many countries in Africa.
My hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) asked whether we are negotiating for the Commonwealth as a whole or only for its dependencies. We are negotiating for trading arrangements in the United Kingdom as a member of the European Economic Community, for the dependencies and for the independent countries of the Commonwealth, although where there is provision for trade agreements these will later be negotiated direct between the Commonwealth countries and the enlarged Community.
My hon. Friend also asked whether association had been considered for Commonwealth countries. Yes—but none of the Commonwealth countries has asked for association under Article 238 of the Treaty, to which I presume my hon. Friend was referring. It is, however, being considered by one, Cyprus, because she is not eligible for association under Part IV, being a European country.
Perhaps I may now say something about the comments upon the terms so far negotiated. These have not been discussed in very great detail, and it is notable that none of the right hon. Gentleman opposite has put forward any specific alternative arrangements to deal with these particular problems.
Let me take up, first, the question of the renegotiation of the Treaty. It is the attitude of some—I think it is the attitude of the right hon. Member for Huyton—that the first thing we should have done when we applied for membership of the Community was to apply for the book of rules and tell them that we would rewrite it, after which we would be prepared to join the Community. The hon. Member for Penistone took that view. There has never been a possibility of renegotiating the Treaty of Rome. The position is that one applies for membership and negotiates special provisions under protocols. It has never been a possibility, in the judgment of the E.F.T.A. countries, to renegotiate the Treaty of Rome.
1294 In paragraphs 11, 12 and 13 of the Paris statement I said that we accepted the Treaty of Rome and wished to negotiate only protocols. It is, therefore, somewhat unusual that at this stage it should be said that we are not making this plain. Similarly, in Paris—paragraphs 17, 18 and 19 of the Paris statement. [HON. MEMBERS: "Free entry."] I shall deal with free entry. The pledges of the Government to the Commonwealth are set out in the Motion passed on 3rd August last year—to safeguard the special interests of the Commonwealth.
What we are doing in these negotiations is finding ways of safeguarding those interests commensurate with the Treaty of Rome. This is, in some ways, a most important point, because the right hon. Gentleman is asking for things which are not compatible with the Treaty of Rome. These were not the pledges. The pledges in these negotiations are to safeguard the special interests of the Commonwealth, agriculture and E.F.T.A.
§ Mr. Gaitskell
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. Could he deal with one point? What about the Moroccan type of agreement which allows the free entry of goods from Morocco and Tunis into France? Could not that have been applied to the Commonwealth as far as we are concerned?
§ Mr. Heath
The "Morocco protocol" is designed and set out in the protocol of those countries which are to move on to associate membership of the Community. It may well be that in certain cases the Moroccan protocol is suitable and will be negotiated, but it is not suitable for those countries which are not able or which do not wish to move on to associate membership. There are many points in these negotiations to be examined in this way.
It was stated that we asked for association for all the Commonwealth. I would point out that we deliberately did so, although we already had been told that certain countries, such as India, did not 1295 wish to have it. We did it to keep it open right across the front so that all could see the details of the new Convention. When it became dear that India did not wish it we did not go on arguing for it across the board. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about Nigeria?"] Nigeria has had the offer of it. Only after the offer was made did she decide that she did not want it.
Many other points have been raised, but time does not permit me to deal with them. Proposals for alternative arrangements were made by the hon. Member for Leeds, East, first that there should be a general conference to deal with the reduction of industrial tariffs. That will happen under the Kennedy Round. Secondly, that there should be a conference to open up all the industrial markets to cheap goods from the developing countries and to their raw materials and foodstuffs. The fact is that they want higher prices for their raw materials and foodstuffs and not lower ones. We have had the Geneva conference on textiles which has dealt with this question. Thirdly, that we should have a world commodity agreement arranged between the Commonwealth and E.F.T.A. It seems that the hon. Member for Leeds, East is prepared, in a general sense, to accept something which has already been agreed in a detailed sense.
§ There is also the political aspect of this and, again, there is little time to deal with this matter. However, it is in some ways most important because of the difference in the sort of Europe we want to see. We want to see a Europe with a strong group of countries as members, with the neutral countries associated with it and with its connections through the world, through the Commonwealth and through the associated countries of the other members of the Community.
§ We want it to have power and influence because we believe that the voice of Europe should be heard in the councils of the world. It was the remarkable maiden speech of my hon. Friend for Blackpool, North (Mr. Miscampbell) which underlined this point. It is the achievement of a wider Europe in this sense, working more and more closely together—despite the difficulties of coordinating foreign policies—which we want to see. It is because there is this aspect, in addition to the economic aspects which we have so often discussed, that we wish to work for success in these negotiations.
§ Question put,That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question: —
§ The House divided:Ayes 319, Noes 221.1299
|Division No. 2.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Brewis, John||Craddock, Sir Beresford|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col.SlrWalter||Crawley, Aidan|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver|
|Allason, James||Brooman-White, R.||Crowder, F. P.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Cunningham, Knox|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Curran, Charles|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Bryan, Paul||Currie, G. B. H.|
|Balniel, Lord||Buck, Antony||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Barber, Anthony||Bullard, Denys||Dance, James|
|Barlow, Sir John||Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry|
|Barter, John||Burden, F. A.||Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.|
|Batsford, Brian||Butcher, Sir Herbert||de Ferranti, Basil|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)||Digby, Simon Wingfield|
|Bell, Ronald||Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Doughty, Charles|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Drayson, G. B.|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Cary, Sir Robert||du Cann, Edward|
|Bidgood, John C.||Channon, H. P. G.||Duncan, Sir James|
|Biffen, John||Chataway, Christopher||Eden, John|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Elliott,R.W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne,N.)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Cleaver, Leonard||Emery, Peter|
|Bishop, F. P.||Cooke, Robert||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Cooper, A. E.||Errington, Sir Eric|
|Bossom, Clive||Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Farey-jones, F. W.|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Cordle, John||Farr, John|
|Box, Donald||Corfield, F. V.||Fisher, Nigel|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Costain, A. P.||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles|
|Boyle, Sir James||Coulson, Michael||Forrest, George|
|Braine, Bernard||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Foster, John|
|Fraser,Rt.Hon.Hugh(Stafford&Stone)||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)||Renton, Rt. Hon. David|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Freeth, Denzil||Longbottom, Charles||Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey|
|Gammans, Lady||Longden, Gilbert||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Gardner, Edward||Loveys, Walter H.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Lubbock, Eric||Roots, William|
|Gilmour, Sir John||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Russell, Ronald|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||MacArthur, Ian||St. Clair, M.|
|Goodhart, Philip||McLaren, Martin||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan|
|Goodhew, Victor||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Gough, Frederick||Maclean,SirFitzroy(Bute&N.Ayrs)||Seymour, Leslie|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||McLean, Nell (Inverness)||Shepherd, William|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Smithers, Peter|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley)||Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John|
|Gurden, Harold||Macmillan, Maurice (Hallfax)||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Macpherson.Rt.Hon.Niall(Dumfries)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Maddan, Martin||Speir, Rupert|
|Hare, Rt. Hon. John||Maginnis, John E.||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Maitland, Sir John||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Mar[...]am, Major Sir Frank||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Stodart, J. A.|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Marshall, Douglas||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Marten, Neil||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Hastings, Stephen||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Hay, John||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Talbot, John E.|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mawby, Ray||Tapsell, Peter|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hendry, Forbes||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Mills, Stratton||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Hiley, Joseph||Miscampbell, Norman||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Montgomery, Fergus||Teellng, Sir William|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)||Temple, John M.|
|Hobson, Sir John||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Hocking, Philip N.||Morgan, William||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Holland, Philip||Morrison, John||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Hollingworth, John||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Holt, Arthur||Nabarro, Gerald||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Hooson, H. E.||Neave, Airey||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Hopkins, Alan||Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Hornby, R. P.||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Turner, Colin|
|Hughes-Young, Michael||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||van straubenzee, W. R.|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|James, David||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Partridge, E.||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Wade, Donald|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Peel, John||Wakefield, Sir Wavell|
|Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith||Percival, Ian||Walder, David|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Peyton, John||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Pickthorn, sir Kenneth||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Webster, David|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Pilkington, Sir Richard||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Pitman, Sir James||Whitelaw, William|
|Kimball, Marcus||Pitt, Dame Edith||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Kirk, Peter||Pott, Percivall||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Kitson, Timothy||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Lagden, Godfrey||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Lambton, Viscount||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Prior, J. M. L.||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Leavey, J. A.||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Woollam, John|
|Leburn, Gilmour||Pym, Francis||Worsley, Marcus|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Ramsden, James|
|Lilley, F. J. P.||Rawlinson, Sir Peter||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Lindsay, Sir Martin||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Mr. Chichester-Clark and|
|Linstead, Sir Hugh||Rees, Hugh||Mr. Finlay.|
|Litchfield, Capt. John||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Abse, Leo||Awbery, Stan||Benson, Sir George|
|Ainsley, William||Bacon, Miss Alice||Blackburn, F.|
|Albu, Austen||Beaney, Alan||Blyton, William|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Boardman, H.|
|Alien, Scholefield (Crewe)||Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. w. (Leics.S.W.)||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Bowles, Frank||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Boyden, James||Hoy, James H.||Price, J. T. (Westh[...]ughton)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Probert, Arthur|
|Bradley, Tom||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hunter, A. E.||Rankin, John|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D-||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Redhead, E. c.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Rhodes, H.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Callaghan, James||Janner, Sir Barnett||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Chapman, Donald||Jeger, George||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Cliffe, Michael||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Collick, Precy||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Ross, William|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Royle, Charles (Salford, West)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Cronin, John||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Kelley, Richard||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Kenyon, Clifford||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Dalyell, Tam||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||King, Dr. Horace||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lawson, George||Small, William|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Ledger, Ron||Snow, Julian|
|Deer, George||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Delargy, Hugh||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Dempsey, James||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Diamond, John||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Steele, Thomas|
|Dodds, Norman||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Lipton, Marcus||Stonehouse, John|
|Driberg, Tom||Loughlin, Charles||Stones, William|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||McCann, John||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Edelman, Maurice||MacDermot, Niall||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Swain, Thomas|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Swingler, Stephen|
|Evans, Albert||McLeavy, Frank||Taverne, D.|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Finch, Harold||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Fitch, Alan||Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Fletcher, Eric||Manuel, Archie||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Mapp, Charles||Thornton, Ernest|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Marsh, Richard||Timmons, John|
|Forman, J. c.||Mason, Roy||Tomney, Frank|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mellish, R. J.||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Mendelson, J. J.||Warbey, William|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Millan, Bruce||Watkins, Tudor|
|George,LadyMeganLloyd(Crmrthn)||Milne, Edward||Weitzman, David|
|Ginsburg, David||Mitchison, G. R.||Wells, william (Walsall, N.)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Monslow, Walter||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Gourlay, Harry||Moody, A. S.||Whitlock William|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Morris, John||Wigg, George|
|Grey, Charles||Moyle, Arthur||Wilkins, W.A.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mulley, Frederick|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Neal, Harold||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Williams LI. (Abertillery)|
|Gunter, Ray||Oliver, G. H.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Oram, A. E.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Hannan, William||Oswald, Thomas||Willis, E. G. (Edinbrugh, E.)|
|Harper, Joseph||Owen, Will||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Padley, W. E.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Healey, Denis||Pargiter, G. A.||Woof, Robert|
|Henderson,Rt.Hn.Arthur(RwlyRegis)||Parker, John||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Parkin, B. T.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Pavitt, Laurence||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Mr. Short and|
|Holman, Percy||Peart, Frederick||Mr. G. H. R. Rogers.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Pentland, Norman|
§ Main Question put and agreed to.
That this House reaffirms its decision of 3rd August, 1961, and urges Her Majesty's Government to use every effort to bring the negotiations to a conclusion acceptable to Parliament.