§ LORD STRABOLGI had the following Notice on the Paper: To ask His Majesty's Government, what measures are proposed to relieve the shortage of certain necessities in the States of subjugated Europe as soon as these States are freed from Nazi control; to ask when it is intended to make these measures more widely known; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, my noble friends on these Benches attach the greatest importance to the Motion which they have been good enough to ask me to move. If I may remind your Lordships of the history of the terrible months immediately following the Armistice after the first Great War—and I speak with much diffidence in the presence of the noble Viscount, Lord Cecil of Chelwood—it will be remembered that before the Armistice, in October, 1918, an attempt was made to form, out of the Inter-Allied Food Council and the Allied Maritime Transport Council, an Inter-Allied Council for dealing with this problem, and for dealing with the vast mass of destitution and starvation in devastated Europe, the four participants being, of course, the British Empire, France, the United States of America and Italy. Agreement was not reached in time. I do not want to go into the causes of the disagreement, but they led to three months' delay before the Supreme Economic Council was set up; and the sufferings of the people in consequence left a good deal of bitterness, some of which, at any rate, 476 has been capitalized by the Nazis and I used to the detriment of the world.
§ We are very anxious to be assured that there will be no repetition of that delay and its consequences on this occasion. On the previous occasion, the failure to agree before February, 1919, when the Supreme Economic Council was set up, cost the lives of thousands of children, who died like flies, apart from the other evils to which it gave rise. We say—and I am sure that here we shall have the agreement of the noble Viscount who is to reply on behalf of His Majesty's Government—that we must have the machinery ready beforehand. This problem naturally divides itself into two stages. First of all, there is the problem of immediate relief to prevent people dying of starvation and cold. That means that we must have ready the ships and the supplies, and the shipping problem is going to be more difficult this time than it was in 1918–19. In 1918–19 there was a large tonnage laid up in the harbours under the control of the Central Powers, our enemies, and also a good deal of neutral tonnage which was available. This time there will not be that reserve of tonnage on which to fall back.
§ The second problem is what I may describe as the problem of rehabilitation. We must as soon as possible get Europe's industries and agriculture started again in the subjugated territories, and the wheels of international trade turning. Your Lordships are well aware that, in the countries which have been overrun by the Nazis, industry and agriculture alike are simply being strangled. They are allowed to function only to supply the German war machine. It will be a difficult task to get them going again, and the immediate necessities, of course, will be raw materials, and probably fuel. It will be necessary to get these industries working again as soon as possible for the good of the people of these countries, and to help in the general task of restoring the damaged European economic system. When I speak of Europe, I am not overlooking the fact that in Asia also a great deal of help will be required by our Chinese Allies. I am sure that, as always, the British people, and I believe our Allies in this war as well, will be very anxious to help them.
§ We believe that it is very necessary that there should be a unitary authority. In addition to the principal combatants 477 in our cause, it must include, for example, such States as our Ally Brazil, with her immense resources, and also certain other South American States, as well as Australasia. Obviously the Russians must come in this time on terms of equal partnership. Last time there was a cordon sanitaire around Russia. There will be nothing of the sort this time. I am sure there is agreement in Government circles that Russia must come in. We are told that the policy has been agreed upon—and this, of course, is encouraging—that, as each country is liberated from the Nazi tyranny, the people shall immediately receive help. We have an example of that now in French North Africa, where I understand an Anglo-American Mission is already at work, sending necessities to the peoples of Morocco and Algeria. The fact that two great producing countries like Morocco and Algeria need help immediately, and that there is great distress there, is a pointer to the extent of the destitution and suffering in Europe which will have to be relieved once the Germans have been driven out of the occupied countries.
§ I hear curious suggestions in certain quarters as to how the second part of the problem—the rehabilitation of Europe, the provision of raw materials and finance—is to be tackled. One of the curious suggestions which I hear is that it is necessary to keep the Bank for International Settlements in being for this purpose. I hope there is no foundation for that suggestion at all. The Bank for International Settlements has played a very sinister part in the past few years, and it is present under Nazi, Japanese and Italian domination. I hope that the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, will give an assurance on that point. A very distinguished Treasury adviser, Sir Frederick Leith-Ross, I understand has been for some time studying this problem, and he has been sitting behind closed doors at the Treasury working upon it. I have the greatest admiration for the British Treasury and the greatest respect for Treasury officials, but they are not the kind of people for this sort of work. This body, apparently composed, as I say, of British civil servants, is called the Post-War Requirements Bureau, and it has some liaison with the Allied Governments of the Twenty-six Powers associated in this war, whose 478 representatives work as a Committee. I am also informed that since it was set up in the autumn of 1941 the Committee which performs these liaison duties has met only once. I hope it has met more often than that, but that is my information.
We have unimpeachable statements from important members of the Government on this problem, but they are all extraordinarily vague. For example, the Paymaster-General, Sir William Jowitt, speaking in another place on December devoted very little time to this problem and then he spoke only of discussions which were going on. Discussions! This is fourteen months after Sir Frederick Leith-Ross's Committee was set up. Still worse, my right honourable friend Sir Stafford Cripps, broadcasting on November 16 to the American Forum when he was still Lord Privy Seal—the noble Viscount knows that this is a very important meeting place organized by the New York Herald-Tribune, that the most eminent persons in America contribute to it, and that it has a great influence on public opinion there—spoke of economic difficulties after the war. He used phrases of this sort:
It will require all the combined ingenuity of the statesmen of the United Nations to find a way out.
All these problems demand a new outlook.
We must now try methods that are different.
All this indicates that we are still in the stage of arguing, discussing, exploring and experimenting, and there is really a danger of our being caught without our plans and machinery ready, just as we were in November, 1918. My noble friends suggest that what is needed is a plan; it should not really be difficult, and it must he a United Nations plan.
§ Now I come to the most important consideration of all. I suggest that this plan must be circulated everywhere and made known as widely as possible. Here you have a great strategical weapon. You must convince the peoples now groaning under the Nazi yoke that when their oppressors have been driven out they will immediately receive help in necessities and will also be assisted as soon as possible to restart their industries. My suggestion is that the broadcasting systems under the control of the United Nations should drum into them night after night and day after 479 day this message: "You are suffering now from cold and misery but the day of deliverance will come, and we are ready to implement your deliverance and relieve your necessities." One hopeful factor is that the President of the United States has appointed a very able administrator, Governor Lehman, to prepare the American part of this work of salvage and relief. His work, character and capacity are very well known and I suppose no better choice could have been made. May I ask who corresponds to Governor Lehman in this country? My right honourable friend Mr. Arthur Greenwood was, I know, over many months doing most valuable preparatory work, and I can never understand why he was displaced. I hope his work has not been lost.
§ May I remind your Lordships of the great gravity of this problem? Ex-President Hoover stated on the 20th of last month that 500,000,000 people will be suffering from some degree of food shortage, and that to the total of those who needed relief from his organization after the last war must now he added another fifteen to twenty millions. In Mr. Hoover's opinion the problem is greater and more urgent than it was in 1918–19. He, also, pleads for plans to be made now. A little time ago Sir Frederick Leith-Ross visited the United States in connexion with this business, and if it is convenient I should be glad if the noble Viscount could explain what were the results of that visit.
§ Now I come to a nettle which has to be grasped. I believe it will be found—and here I speak with some confidence—that after the armistice which will end this war most of the present rationing and controls must continue for some time. I think that is a fact that will have to be admitted. My noble friend Lord Wedgwood says it is obvious. I will show in a moment that some people do not think so. We shall have to begin educating public opinion in this country. Already you have strong pressure from interested parties to remove all controls on commerce and production. The entrepreneurs want to get to work again, the people who cannot make money under the present system want to resume their prewar control. After the last war we had the same thing. "Away with Dora" 480 was the demand. I used to stand on political platforms after the last war and say, "We have had quite enough of Dora; let us get back to political freedom." I then had the honour of being a member of the Liberal Party, and I dare say many other people said the same. In addition to interested parties who want controls and rationing removed, you have the natural desire of the people to get rid of restrictions and rules, which are very irk-some. They want to get back to the liberty of pre-war days. The housewife wants to be able once more to look her butcher in the eye and speak quite harshly to him if he does not give her satisfaction. I am afraid the hard facts of the situation, as my noble friend Lord Wedgwood says, make it obvious that these controls must continue.
§ I believe it will do a great deal of good if we let these subjugated populations know that we intend to continue these minor sacrifices—because, compared with their sufferings, they are only minor sacrifices—for the general good. There is a formidable opposition already to this very policy in the United States. May I quote from the influential Chicago Tribune of December 1? It calls President Roosevelt's plan for post-war beneficencies—that is what it calls them—"appeasement," saying that Mr. Chamberlain and his friends were far-sighted logical statesmen in comparison. This leading article also warns that the American people will not tolerate long-term post-war rationing for the benefit of others. There you have it. I can see certain organs of the Press here, which I need not specify—they are well-known to your Lordships—entering into this controversy and supporting that point of view. "Why," they will ask, "should we ration ourselves for the sake of a lot of needy foreigners?" Why continue these restrictions that hamper recovery when the need is past? You will have a great campaign for the removal of all these restrictions and rationing. These problems must be tackled with firmness and courage. There are undoubtedly, as I suggest, political and strategical advantages in convincing the conquered peoples that, when they have helped to drive out or slaughter the Nazi garrisons, there will be a few necessities of life for them and that they will be helped to restore their agriculture and industries. I gave warning to the noble Viscount of certain questions that I 481 intended to ask, and I think I have put them all in the course of my remarks. If I have left any of them out I apologize. My noble friends attach the greatest importance to the nature of the Government's reply, which we hope will be adequate to the extent and gravity of this problem. I beg to move for Papers.
§ VISCOUNT CECIL OF CHELWOOD
My Lords, the Motion before your Lordships deals with the position which will arise when States are freed from Nazi control—that is, of course, at the end of the war, substantially, though there may be, and let us hope will be, some States liberated before that. Substantially, however, it is a post-war problem. That relieves me of any necessity to discuss the present condition of the world and the impossibility, as it appears, of relieving the terrible distress that is occurring in many Countries owing to the very natural and over-mastering distrust of the present German Government, which makes it impossible to trust any single promise that they make. Therefore, though I personally regret that nothing has been done, and apparently can be done, at the present moment, I do not propose to deal with that aspect of the question. I want only to make a comparatively few observations in support of the general thesis which my noble friend has just declared.
He began, and rightly began, with a reference to what happened at the end of the last war. I quite recognize that from many points of view there is no comparison between the last war and the present war, but in this particular instance there is the broad fact that there was very considerable distress in certain countries—nothing like the extent of the distress which exists at the present time, nor probably the intensity of distress, but still very considerable distress. It was agreed, as my noble friend has reminded your Lordships, that it would be part of the duty of this country and other countries—the Allies—to do their best to relieve that distress. In point of fact, as he also stated, there was a very considerable breakdown, and that has been used very much by our enemies and by the Nazis before the war as demonstrating the wickedness of the it adversaries in the last war and consequently the wickedness of their adversaries in the present war.
No doubt the breakdown was considerable. The Germans claim that something 482 like three-quarters of a million people died in consequence of inability to get sufficient nourishment after the fighting had ceased. I do not accept those figures, for. I have no means of checking them, and I do not know whether they are accepted by our statisticians here; but whether they are accurate or not, there is no doubt there was something of the kind indicated not only in Germany but in other countries. There was very great distress in Russia, and terrible distress in Austria and in Poland and, no doubt, in other countries also. The German thesis is that that was all due to the fact that we prolonged the blockade after the fighting had finished. It is perfectly true—I was not in fact in charge of the blockade at the time—that the blockade was not removed as quickly as it ought to have been in my judgment, but that was only a matter of a few weeks at the very outside. It had nothing whatever to do with the undoubted want of nourishment that prevailed in Europe, and particularly in Germany. The real reason was not even a breakdown in the amount of food available, but a great breakdown in the process of getting that food to the people.
My noble friend said there was a great deal of shipping available, but my recollection certainly is that there was a tremendous lack of shipping. An immense lot had been destroyed, and much of the shipping available was used necessarily for the work of demobilization and for the restoration of people to their various countries. Therefore there was a tremendous want of shipping; but it was not only want of shipping. Another great difficulty in getting food from the place where it was grown to the starving populations was the want of finance. Evidently it could not be done without considerable expenditure of money. Money was extremely difficult to get at in the circumstances that then prevailed, and as far as I can see it will be at least as difficult to get at at the end of the present war. It is therefore a question not only of the actual existence of the food, but of transport and finance.
No doubt the members of the Government are well aware of that fact. It is an elementary proposition when you come to look into it, but it is very important that adequate preparations should be made for dealing with it because, under the conditions which will certainly exist 483 at the end of the war, you must not rely on being able to improvise an elaborate system of that kind sufficient to deal with the immense difficulties that will occur. Just consider what the situation is at the present moment. I shall not attempt to do more than suggest it to your Lordships, because you are in as good a position as I am to realize it; but the distress is terrific at the present moment. Not only in the belligerent countries but in every country where the Germans are in occupation there is this terrible want of food. We have all heard what horrors are going on in Greece and in Poland, but they are only, perhaps, rather exaggerated examples of what is taking place in many countries. Therefore what I am anxious most particularly to press on the Government is not to be satisfied with merely collecting food. We were all very glad to learn, not only from the speech of the Paymaster-General but from other indications, that considerable preparations of that kind have been made and that there are stores of food which are being heaped up so as to be available when the time comes. But that is not enough. Unless adequate preparations for transportation and finance at least are made in addition to that, the great dangers and difficulties which beset us will not be overcome.
My noble friend said something about the machinery that would be necessary. As I see it, there are two heads of that machinery. You want a central machine to organize the transportation of the food from the other side of the Atlantic to this side. That would be one thing. But you want more than that. That central body must, I suppose, make some kind of rough division as to which countries require assistance and the nature and extent of the assistance which would be necessary. That will be a very difficult job because, no doubt, you will have competing claims from different countries. You will have to balance the various claims against one another on some kind of system of priorities and arrange that the food and other supplies shall be taken to the countries which are most in need of them and which we regard as having the strongest claim for relief. Once you have got the food into each country I do not see that the central body can do very much more. I should regard with great anxiety any attempt to convert any 484 central organization, however carefully devised, into a machine for what would be substantially the charitable relief of the actual people who are in want of food. I cannot believe they would be able to do anything of the kind. Therefore, that must be done by a local organization, in my view. I have no right to put it so dogmatically as that, but I suggest that something of that kind must be done by local organizations.
There you are faced by a difficulty which did not really exist in the last war. You are up against the incredible wickedness and brutality of the way in which the Germans have waged this war. They have not been content to occupy the countries, they have not been content even to see that the countries are not used for the purposes of their opponents. They have insisted in almost every case on destroying the existing national Governments and replacing them either by what we now call Quisling Governments, or in some cases by actual German administrators. The result is, as far as I can see, that there will be a period immediately after the war in which many countries will be without any organized and established Government consisting of people that we can really trust to be working in the general interest of peace and not in some local interest of a party character in that country. That will be another tremendous difficulty. But, assuming you have got over all those difficulties, then you will be able to hand over the food to the local organizations that exist, and they will be in a position to distribute that food to the people who are actually in want. I hope my noble friends are in close consultation with the representatives of the Governments of the United Nations, pointing out to them all these difficulties and urging them in each country to have their plan ready, so that when the moment comes they can say: "Use such and such a body, it is a body which is entrusted with the duty of ministering to the wants of the people in this or that country." All the central organization has got to do is to hand the food over to that body. I hope that my noble friends will be able to say something to soothe the anxieties of many of us who feel very anxious indeed about what will happen in this respect, as in many other respects, after the war is over.
485 I cannot help feeling that an immense lot will depend on how this great urgent need is dealt with at the end of the war. I read constantly, as every member of your Lordships' House reads, a great number of different plans for the economic and social reform of the world as soon as the war comes to an end. Far be it from me to say anything which would discourage the reformers of that description. On the contrary, I am quite of their opinion, that a great deal will have to be done; but I think that some of them at any rate very much underrate the practical difficulties that will be met with the moment they come to state for any particular country the kind of reforms they desire to see established. I cannot believe, as some of them seem to believe, that they have merely got to state their reforms and there will be such an immense wave of popular feeling in favour of those reforms that they will be immediately or quickly put in force in each country. I do not think that is at all likely to occur. I believe the difficulties of establishing these reforms will be very great, and, personally, I look to the existence of a strong central international authority as the best hope for pressing the reforms and enforcing them on the different countries. If, at the time these very difficult problems have to be dealt with, the international authority have succeeded in establishing a reputation in the world for a genuine desire to help everybody, and a genuine rejection of any kind of policy which is advocated merely for the benefit of this or that country or this or that group of countries; if they have achieved that kind of reputation then their influence will be very great and, if it is properly used, may be of enormous importance in carrying through these reforms or whatever reforms are thought to be necessary at the time.
My noble friend said something about the necessity of publication. To my mind this is not a question of propaganda. I do not disagree with but that is not the kind of thing that will really be sufficient. It is no use our merely saying what we will do. We must be judged by our acts and policy. It is only by the facts of the case that you can hope for any large measure of confidence. For my part I very strongly believe that whatever hope there may be for a really new departure after this terrible war, what- 486 ever real expectation we can have that we shall not miss our chance again, we shall set up some system in the world which will make a repetition of these horrors impracticable in the future. And whatever hope there may be of that will very largely depend on whether we have created in the world that atmosphere of trust and confidence without which none of these reforms can possibly he successful.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF YORK
My Lords, I shall detain your Lordships for two or three minutes only and I hope that the brevity of my speech may be regarded as an extenuating circumstance if I stretch to the utmost the elasticity of discussion which we so happily enjoy in this House. I agree with all that has been said by the two noble Lords who have spoken on the matter of making plans for bringing relief to the subjugated countries as soon as they are released from the yoke of the tyrant. I trust also that we shall bring hope to them at once by stating the plans we have and the action we propose to take. There is, however, a preliminary question which has to be solved. There is a doubt as to how many people in these countries will survive, and if the war goes on there seems to be the possibility that one nation, at any rate, may be exterminated. We know that there are multitudes of people who are starving in Greece, but in Poland there is taking place one of the most appalling outrages that the whole history of the world has ever seen.
We are watching the deliberate and cold-blooded massacre of a nation. It is doubtful how many people will survive the treatment which they are now receiving. The Times told us only last week that the extermination of all the Jews in that country had been decided upon and will be carried out ruthlessly. It is horrible to think that these things are now happening. Men, women and children are being ruthlessly put to death by massacre, by poison gas, by electrocution and by being sent long journeys to unknown destinations in bitterly cold weather without food and without drink; and dead children are being cast from the open trucks on to the side of the railway. It is really impossible to know what can be done when we are dealing with monsters of iniquity of this type who are ordering this cruelty, but I do venture to 487 express the hope that the Government, who of course have in their possession fuller facts than we have, will do everything in their power. I would urge them to say repeatedly and solemnly that when the hour of deliverance comes retribution will be dealt out not only on the cold-blooded, cowardly brutes who are ordering these massacres, but also on the thousands of underlings who appear to be joyfully and gladly carrying out these crimes. I am certain that any action His Majesty's Government and the Governments of the Allied Nations can take in this matter will receive the warm and enthusiastic support of the whole of the nation.
House adjourned during pleasure; and resumed by The LORD CHANCELLOR.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, this debate would have been important enough in any event, but the intervention of the most reverend Prelate gives me the opportunity of thanking him for seizing the occasion to make his severe indictment in such eloquent terms. I hope it will receive very wide publicity so that from this high platform there should once more go out to the world a repetition of the warnings which have already been made. With the indulgence of your Lordships I should like to associate myself with this Motion. In the last twenty years I have spent much time in visiting Poland, and therefore on personal and sentimental grounds I have a very strong feeling in the matter. If any other members of your Lordships' House were present, like myself, yesterday at the Mass celebrated in Westminster Cathedral, they will have realized the sadness which is permeating so many of Polish nationality in this country.
This is the first occasion on which your Lordships have had the opportunity of discussing post-war problems since the speech of the Paymaster-General in another place, and the speech which followed by the Foreign Secretary who dealt with the wider angles of the international problem which were raised. I do not think your Lordships have discussed the matter since August 5, when the noble Lord, Lord Davies, urged that the Government should "submit proposals for the closest collaboration of the United Nations in post-war construction through the establishment of 488 an international authority." If I correctly understood him that is what the noble Viscount, Lord Cecil, urged should be the basis of action. I do not doubt that we are going to hear a pronouncement from the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, which will take us some way further along the road of interpretation of the Government's intention beyond what was stated in such masterly fashion by the noble and learned Viscount, the Lord Chancellor, on August 5. Since then, of course, things have progressed a great deal and it is certainly appropriate that this Motion should be moved from the Labour Benches.
It is natural that there should be some perplexity as to the relationship of private enterprise to the Governmental agencies responsible for directing this work. My noble friend emphasized the fear that this might be left entirely to Governmental agencies and questioned whether the policy and training of those charged with it would be appropriate to the work. I want to stress that, and I hope the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, will be able to give us some further light as to what is to be the degree and character of the collaboration—it may be only advisory—which agencies concerned with organized trade in this country will have in that work. I hope he will also give us some further interpretation of what the Foreign Secretary indicated in his speech when he drew attention to the fact that the President of the United States had laid it does that Lease-Lend food and raw material, and presumably other aid, would be available to all countries occupied by American Forces. There may be no particular intention to suggest limitation by that. Indeed, it may well be that he will say that it may be preferable to avoid any interpretation of it. At least, I suggest, were it possible, there would be advantage in it.
My noble friend Lord Strabolgi, in moving the Motion, if I correctly understood him, divided the problem into two sections; that of food and that of raw materials. On the question of raw materials, I hope that there may be some attempt to give us some indication of the intention of the Government. Here again, should it not be possible, I would urge the Leader of the House to bear actively in mind that, at some point at any rate, there would be advantage in giving some indication of what will be the intention 489 with regard to raw materials. Obviously, raw materials after the war will be in shut supply even in this country. It is natural, therefore, that there will be an inclination to hold for our own use such raw materials as may be available and to run to the maximum capacity our own plants, possibly to the detriment of the urgent requirements of other European countries. That, as I say, is quite natural. But it does mean that the problem of getting essential food to the consumers will be almost as acute, and it may well be that there will be a conflict between the arrangements for bringing employment to the territories released from Nazi occupation and our own urgent needs at home.
for that reason I would particularly refer to this question, and reiterate that all civilian agencies which can help should be drawn into collaboration with the Governmental agencies charged with this work. In the case of raw materials, the present set-up of Government Departments dealing with them, in itself, introduces difficulties. We have had debates in this House on the question of the functions of the Minister of Production. There was widespread criticism to the effect that a Minister of Production who controlled neither raw materials nor labour was under an initial handicap. Since those debates the Ministry of Production has come into full operation, and it is to be hoped that regionally it is functioning so that the Ministry of Supply and the Ministry of Aircraft Production are not in any way handicapped in the attempt to achieve co-ordination in regional areas. This is important. In this matter raw materials function with as much importance as food, and the body which should be charged with the duty of dealing with raw materials for purposes of reconstruction after the war is the Board of Trade. To-day we have the peculiar position that raw materials, in the main, are under the Minister of Supply, but, for some reason which is difficult to understand, in so far as responsibility for co-ordination with the United States authorities is concerned, they are under the Minister of Production. The Minister therefore is handling what he has not in charge. I mention this because it suggests to those who care to study the matter that the mechanics are far from being clear.
490 The noble Viscount, Lord Cecil of Chelwood, emphasized, by implication if not directly, that the degree of action taken by the United States would have a very strong bearing on the solution of these problems. The United States is a dominant force on the financial side, and therefore contemporary thought in the United States on the structure of those bodies after the war is, on the whole, very important. Perhaps with the indulgence of the House I may be permitted to say that I have just returned from the United States and Canada. It was, I think, my fifth visit to the United States during the war. I have tried to keep in close touch with American Government agencies, and on this last visit I have had the advantage of talking to people holding responsible positions at the top, both in Washington and Ottawa. Without mentioning any names, I can assure your Lordships that these conversations of mine were carried on with most responsible individuals in the Administration in this particular field. There was perhaps some reluctance to view as an advantage the setting up of bodies particularly for dealing with post-war problems. The feeling seems to be that there would be advantage in arranging that the existing agencies for the prosecution of the war should be put into different gear, and immediately charged with the responsibility, within the mechanics of their own organization, of handling the problems as they will present themselves immediately an Armistice is proclaimed.
From conversations which I had in Canada, I came to the conclusion that people there have a very open mind on the subject. I should like to take the opportunity of emphasizing what may be clear to us on this side of the Atlantic but what is not, perhaps, sufficiently widely recognized in Canada—namely, that the economy of the United States of America and the economy of the British Commonwealth of Nations can probably best be co-ordinated by Canada forming the link between them. There are certain political difficulties in Canada to which discretion makes it wiser not to refer, but I hope that the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, will be able to make some comment upon this matter, expressing the hope that all Parties in Canada will realize what importance we in London attach to the part which Canada can play in the post-war harmonization of the economy, and therefore of the post-war possibilities 491 of the United States and of the British Commonwealth.
Perhaps the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, will be able to tell us something about the position of the United Kingdom Commercial Corporation. That is an organization which, from a recent reply that was given in another place, appears to be entirely Treasury-owned, and it is carrying out wide functions which would normally fall within the sphere of private enterprise. There is some uneasiness lest the activities of this Corporation should disregard the interests of private trade, without at the same time being rendered necessary solely by war requirements. There is some uneasiness lest its functions should encroach to a greater extent than necessary on the sphere of private enterprise.
So far as the participation of the United States of America in the solution of postwar problems is concerned, I should like to ask the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, whether he can give us any further information on a matter which was referred to in the Sunday Times some ten days ago, and which has also been raised by Lord Hinchingbrooke in another place—namely, that the United States have set up a School of Military Government which aims at preparing officers for administering areas liberated after the Armistice.
My right honourable friend the Paymaster-General, in his speech in another place last week, described in some detail the machinery which he visualized as carrying out what the noble Lord who moved this Motion desires. I should like to take this opportunity of paying a respectful tribute to the brilliant exposition of the subject by the Paymaster-General on that occasion. Those who have taken the trouble to read his speech in full will realize that he hardly deserves the inferential criticism of my noble friend Lord Strabolgi, because he gave a very comprehensive and brilliant review, containing the maximum amount of information which could be given in the limited though lengthy time which he devoted to the subject. Perhaps the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, will be able to tell us something more about the two official Committees, one internal and one external, to which the Paymaster-General referred. Do they consist entirely of civil servants? The 492 Paymaster General also referred to a Ministerial Committee. I do not wish to make any unreasonable request, but perhaps more could be said about the personnel of these Committees. I should like to repeat an appeal which I have made several times before, that in these matters, where vision for the future is required, younger men should be in charge. My right honourable friend who preceded the Paymaster-General in dealing with these matters had some men round him who did not qualify for that description. I hope we may be able to have some assurance from the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, that he will urge the Paymaster-General and others who are responsible for appointing the members of these Committees to make their choice from among the more brilliant men in the younger ranks of the Civil Service, who will bring to the consideration of these problems minds free from the rigid and conventional approach which has existed hitherto.
I was very glad to notice that the Paymaster-General suggested that there would be need for a survey of the problems affecting this country from the industrial point of view industry by industry. He admitted that each industry presented a different problem, and that a common formula could not be applied to them all; in his own words, they could not all be fitted into a common mould. I am interested to find that my noble friend who moved this Motion, if I correctly understood him, strongly endorsed the view that private enterprise should play an active part in dealing with these problems. The whole question of private enterprise and of the private profit motive, as compared with collectivism, has caused wide perplexity and uneasiness. In the early part of this year, when our fortunes were less good than they are to-day, there were many who were anxious about whether the future for private enterprise was all that we would wish it to be. Although my noble friend Lord Latham said recently that he had seen nothing to suggest that private enterprise was quicker and more effective than collective enterprise, he omitted to add whether the test of profitable result was included in his observations. A few weeks ago, in Toronto, I had the privilege of attending the Convention of the American Federation of Labour, and from the platform I 493 listened to the speeches. I was impressed by the pronouncement by Mr. William Green that organized labour in the United States believes in the continuance of private enterprise and of the private profit motive. I think that that is an impressive statement, and it comes at a time when it will be fond very reassuring. It was categorical, and calculated to allay the anxieties which exist in Canada, as well as anxieties which exist here.
The Pay-master-General emphasized in his speech that the points of contact between Government and industry require to be strengthened and simplified, and therefore I was glad to notice that he contemplated conferences with organized industry and with organized labour. I think he will be the first to suggest that the emission of schemes for post-war reconstruction by groups of individual industrialists will be apt only to confuse the issue. Flow confusing it must be for agencies in Washington or Ottawa correctly to interpret what is the sense of British industry when pronouncements are given wide publicity which have not the endorsement of the recognized trade federations in this country. The Paymaster-General said that finance was no longer to be our master. I assume that the Leader of the House will be able to give us the assurance that questions of finance, now so happily solved by the generous participation of the United Status in these post-war problems, are no longer to be feared as a limitation upon what we would do.
I would conclude with a reference to the point made by my noble friend the mover of the Resolution. He reminded us that immediately after the war great pressure will be applied for the removal of controls and regulations, as was the case after the last war. I think that most of us who were in another place were returned in the Election of 1918 on the principle o1 the abolition of Dora and "Hang the Kaiser" and "Make Germany pay for the war." A good many members got their seats on those slogans. It is well, I think, that the interest of Parliament and particularly another place has turned recently to post-war reconstruction as against the previous tendency to criticize the Government. I wanted to emphasize my conviction that there is a need for an early pronouncement on the problem on the lines urged 494 by the mover of the Resolution to-day. I hope that the Leader of the House will be able to give us some information.
§ LORD WEDGWOOD
My Lords, I suppose this debate ought really to be confined to the subject of the post-war feeding of the starving countries, and I think my noble friend Lord Strabolgi has conferred a great benefit on the House by initiating an extremely interesting and informative debate. But there is one point that seems so far to have been omitted from our calculations. Where are all the foodstuffs to come from? We know very well that they are not coming from us; indeed we are one of the principal supplicants for assistance. Foodstuffs, I hope, will continue to come to us. That is my answer to my noble friend when he asks: "Will the controls last?" Yes, of course they will last. We cannot unpeg the exchange now. I do not know whether we. ever shall, and as long as that exchange remains pegged as it is we shall continue, I trust, to depend on the United States. The last war was a very different pair of shoes. At the end of the last war there was still a certain amount of security and a certain amount of credit going, and at the end of the last war most of this feeding was done by the private charity of the Quakers, or the Feed the Children Fund. Still there was credit. Now who is going to trust anybody?
§ LORD BARNBY
The noble Lord over-looks the fact that the British Empire possesses a considerable amount of raw material.
§ LORD WEDGWOOD
There will not be much rubber in the Malay States. After the last war inflation as a policy had not been invented. The result was that America lent—was it £1,000,000,000 or £5,000,000,000?—to Germany and never got a penny of it back. And we did much the same kind of thing. It is to a very different world we have to look forward after this war. My noble friend Viscount Cecil of Chelwood said the key of the whole question is finance.
§ LORD WEDGWOOD
Yes, transportation and finance. I think there will be more trouble about finance than about transportation. The situation will be met equally well if the United States will 495 grant credits to those different countries and the countries can decide what they will do with the food and the raw material which they get on the credits. But it is only America who can do it. We cannot find anything. Russia may possibly find something for these starving countries. But this is a problem in which we really have no deciding voice at all. As long as we are a creditor nation, and as long as we need all these foodstuffs ourselves we are competitors for what little food there is going. It is ail very well to be beneficent and talk of what we are going to do. But I think the President has been quite right in saying that he is going to extend the Lease-Lend provisions to all the countries occupied by the American troops. I only hope that we are going to be occupied by American troops in that case. But there are limits to what even America can do. And how long the feeding of the rest of the world, including China and possibly ourselves, is to go on, I do not know.
This is first and foremost a problem not for us but for America to face. I think myself that America has faced the problem with immense generosity. Do let us realize that it is an enormous and generous act on the part of America at a time when security, especially security for private enterprise, is extremely low. Nobody in this country after this war will lend money abroad unless there is a very different financial situation from that which we envisage to-day. You have a state of affairs coming at the end of this war when we shall be in a far more real sense than ever before all "members one of another," all starving, and transactions such as we are envisaging to-day will have to be transactions between Governments supported by the overriding financial unity of the trading world. It will not be the Bank for International Settlements; the conquering Powers will have their financial organization so arranged that they will control expenditure and at the same time control the production of the country to which the expenditure goes. It will not be so much Socialism as a super-national Socialism, and we, I hope, will be tied close enough to America to co-operate with it in this great work.
§ VISCOUNT MAUGHAM
My Lords, I shall detain your Lordships only a few minutes. As the speech to which we have 496 just listened has shown, war as waged by Hitler involves a great many problems which are not always at once obvious to people who are considering the matter. I should not like the debate to close without having reminded your Lordships of a subject which I have mentioned before in this House and which, in my opinion, is of the very greatest importance. People so often do not seem to remember that this war is of a very different character from any which the civilized world has seen, and many have forgotten that the system of Hitler has been to despoil those countries which he has managed to occupy. The war would have been over long ago, in my opinion, at any rate, and I know in the opinion of other people better able to form a judgment, if Hitler had not taken from the occupied countries every conceivable article necessary for transport, for manufacture, for carrying on the business of war that he could get from those countries.
For example—and this I remind the House is of considerable importance—the Germans have taken railway lines, locomotives, and trucks from every country they have occupied. They have cleared those countries of these articles and left them only enough to keep going. My noble friend the noble Viscount, Lord Cecil of Chelwood, spoke as to the distribution of the various foodstuffs which he hoped, and we all hope, can be brought to those countries, though for my part I realize the difficulties to which my noble friend who has just spoken has referred. It will become manifest that a very great step can be taken if the first thing done by the Allied Armies occupying Germany is to return to those countries all those articles which have been taken from them illegally and contrary to all the rules of International Law, if I may mention such a subject; and, if the articles are no longer in existence, if they return the equivalent articles which can still be found in Germany. It is not only rolling stock. I have only taken that as an example. The Germans have taken everything they have been able to take. They have taken benches, all appliances for teaching from schools, they have emptied the universities, they have taken from Poland every conceivable thing that could be of the smallest use to them. All these things; in my opinion, and I hope in the opinion of every member of this House, ought to be 497 returned, whatever disadvantages the Germans may suffer from having to give up that which they have stolen.
It is not only the things I have mentioned. I do not want to detain your Lordships, but there is a long list of articles, as those countries which have been despoiled know only too well. Raw materials will be a great difficulty. The Germans have taken all the raw materials they can put their hands on. They have stopped manufactures in nearly all the countries which they have occupied, except so far as they can make those countries manufacture war products for their own purposes. All these things I submit, or their equivalent, ought in the first instance to be returned to the countries from which they have come, whatever the result for the time being on German economy. It is absolutely monstrous that the thirteen countries, if you reckon them all, which the Germans have occupied, should be short of these things simply because the Germans have stolen them, and I submit to your Lordships this proposition in a single sentence, which is all I shall say to-day—restitution alone will involve for Germany the most terrible retribution.
THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (VISCOUNT CRANBORNE) (Lord Cecil)
My Lords, this debate, like others in your Lordships' House, has tended to range a little wide, and I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, will forgive me if I do not follow him into the more general economic and political issues which he has raised. As I understand this Motion, it was intended by the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, to be devoted primarily to the question of the immediate relief of peoples of the countries freed from Nazi control. That, of course, is a subject of very urgent importance. It is one which has been, and is, exercising the minds of all of us. As this war progresses, it becomes more important for these two reasons. First of all, although there is at present no sign of any crack in the morale of the enemy, and although there is every indication, I am afraid, that the war will continue for a considerable time yet, wars have a way of collapsing quite suddenly. Therefore it is essential we should be as ready as possible, when the time comes, to relieve the sufferings of people in the countries of Europe. There is a second reason why early action is required. It has been dealt with very fully 498 already in the debate. It is obvious that the longer the war continues, the greater will be the dislocation of European production. The Germans, as we know, are utterly ruthless.
We had a very moving intervention this afternoon from the most reverend Prelate, the Archbishop of York, who drew attention to the appalling horrors which are at this moment being perpetrated in Poland. I should like to assure him and your Lordships that His Majesty's Government feel just as strongly as any of your Lordships as to the shocking nature of these events, and if there is any helpful action we can take we shall be very ready to take it. But if the Germans are capable—as they are capable—of such brutalities as these, it is perfectly clear that they would have no compunction—and they have had no compunction—in withdrawing the subject peoples in these occupied areas from their ordinary avocations in order to provide them, the Germans, with the sinews of war. Moreover, even so far as these people are allowed to continue with their normal pursuits of agriculture and other forms of production, the first call on their products inevitably goes, not to themselves, but to the German people, and they have to remain content with what is left after the Germans have got what they need. Moreover, as the noble Viscount, Lord Cecil, said, the Germans have during their period of occupation completely smashed the ordinary administrative machinery of Government in these countries. When, therefore, the tide of German invasion begins to recede, and the occupied countries successively become freed from the German yoke, it is inevitable that there should be dislocation and distress on a quite unexampled scale.
I think it was the noble Viscount, Lord Maugham, who said that the Germans had despoiled these countries. I think they have done more than that; they have absolutely stripped them, and stripped them not only of materials but of man-power, which is for the reconstruction period even more important. Therefore there is likely to be an immediate and most urgent demand for the bare necessities of life. It is vital, as Viscount Cecil said, speaking with all the weight of his long experience of the last war, not only that supplies should be earmarked by the United Nations, but that they should be made available, that 499 proper machinery should be provided to take them where they are needed—for foodstuffs for these purposes have only value when they can be put into the mouths of the hungry. It is no use having so many millions of tons of wheat in Canada or the United States; they must be where they can be put into consumption. Therefore, for all these reasons, I think it is very natural that' those who are considering this matter should already be looking forward to the situation at the end of the war, and I would like to say how grateful the Government are to the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, for giving me the opportunity of explaining what steps are in fact being taken and how far our preparations have advanced.
As noble Lords may remember, in the debate on June 2 last I made, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, a full statement of the steps which had been taken by the Government at that time in consultation with the Allied Governments, to set up an Allied Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir Frederick Leith-Ross to prepare estimates of the post-war requirements of European Allied countries. I think the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, this afternoon had the impression that nothing much has yet been achieved. He really is mistaken in that view. I am glad to be able to tell the House this afternoon that good progress has since been made with the preparation of those estimates. Provisional estimates have now been received from all the Allied Governments in regard to their requirements of foodstuffs during the first eighteen months after the war. Most of the Allied countries have also submitted lists of their medical requirements, and have provided estimates for all, or at least the most important, classes of raw materials and industrial goods. That shows, I think, that the Committee are not confining themselves entirely to what may be called "ambulance work," but that they are taking a broader view of their functions. The estimates which are being compiled are based on the normal pre-war consumption of the countries concerned, allowance being made for the changes which the war has brought about in their productive capacity. There must, of course, as noble Lords will understand, be a considerable 500 measure of guesswork in any such estimates, and they will need constant revision in order to take account of further information as to the developments in the occupied countries concerned.
The Allied Committee are now engaged in co-ordinating these estimates so as to see that they are calculated on a reasonably comparable basis having regard to the differences of climatic and productive conditions in the several countries concerned. For this work of co-ordination a number of Allied Technical Sub-Committees have been constituted. Mention was, I think, made in the debate last June of the Agricultural Sub-Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir John Russell. They have produced a detailed report on the probable post-war seed requirements of the Allied countries of Europe. A similar study of the live-stock position is in course of completion, and the Sub-Committee will then consider the needs in regard to fertilizers and agricultural machinery. A further Advisory Committee has been set up in regard to medical supplies under the Chairmanship of Dr. Melville MacKenzie of the Ministry of. Health. This medical sub-committee is working on the preparation of a minimum list of the most essential medical supplies and considering the organization of medical services generally.
Two further expert sub-committees have been set up recently, the first under the Chairmanship of Dr. Hondelink, who is an eminent Dutch expert, to consider the organization of inland transport in Europe. I think that is very important in the light of what Viscount Cecil said this afternoon. It will have the job of advising on methods of taking all this food and raw material where they are needed. The other is under the Chairmanship of Dr. Penrose of the United States Embassy, and is to advise on the nutritional aspects of food requirements. The result of all these inquiries will be taken into account in co-ordinating the estimates presented by the Allied Governments, and the Allied Committee will then report the estimates and the recommendations which they may have to offer upon them to the Allied Governments. A Committee has also been set up by His Majesty's Government to enlist assistance from the Society of Friends and other private organizations which did such magnificent work after the last war.
501 I think, from the account that I have given to your Lordships, you will see that good progress is being made with the estimates of requirements. It win also be necessary to organize so far as may be possible the supplies needed to meet these requirements. In view of the shortages which have been inevitably created by the war, both of goods and of shipping, it will not be easy to build up stocks of many commodities in accessible centres. It be very difficult indeed. But an important step was taken at the International Wheat Conference held in the United States last summer. It was then agreed that a pool of wheat supplies should be created to be available for relief wherever circumstances make such relief practicable. The Governments of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States have promised a total of 100,000,000 bushels to this pool, and further contributions are to be provided by the four main producing countries—Argentine and Australia as well as Canada and the United States, if required. This wheat will be distributed through such inter-governmental organization as may be created to deal with relief generally. The United States have from the outset expressed, as I think your Lordships know, their sympathetic interest in the preparation of relief plans, and as soon as they entered into the war they appointed official representatives on the Allied Committee in London and on the various sub-committees which I have mentioned, whose presence has been of the greatest assistance to their work. While, in accordance with the Prime Minister's declaration, we shall do all that we can to help, and are bound to do all that we can to help, it is evident that the supplies available will be mainly in the hands of the United States of America, the British Dominions and other oversea producing countries.
The Allied Committee in London have been dealing purely with European requirements. But, as Lord Strabolgi said this afternoon, the developments of the war in the Far East have extended the area for which relief will now be required. China, Burma, Malaya and the Dutch East Indies will all have difficult problems to face after the war, and will need assistance to re-establish their economic life. Happily, in most of these great areas, the needs will be rather different from those in Europe. Most of these 502 countries are already large producers, and they should be able to provide themselves with most of their essential food supplies. All the same, the problem of relief is now a world-wide one, and a general plan acceptable to all the United Nations will be clearly required. I would like to emphasize this point. Important consultations are now taking place with regard to the preparation of such a plan. The world-wide character of this problem has been emphasized, as I think Lord Strabolgi said in his speech, by recent events in North Africa, and I know your Lordships will very warmly welcome the important announcement recently made by the President of the United States which stated that—The President has directed Mr. Stettinius, Lend-Lease Administrator, to extend aid to areas in Africa occupied by United States Forces in co-operation with General Eisenhower and the State Department. Food, clothing and other necessities of life will be made available to the peoples in occupied territory.To this may be added the President's own comment:No one will go hungry or be without other means of a livelihood in any territory occupied by the United Nations if it is humanly within our power to make the necessary supplies available to them.Further, the President announced on November 21 that Governor Herbert H. Lehman, who has established a great reputation as a successful administrator, had been appointed as Director of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation operations. The President's statement makes it clear that the other United Nations will be expected to share the burden.Governor Lehman [he said] will undertake the work of organizing American participation in the activities of the United Nations in furnishing relief and other assistance to the victims of war.The statement went on to say that this was a step in the President's programme ofmobilizing the available resources of the United States in food, clothing, medical supplies and other necessities so that it may make an immediate and effective contribution to joint efforts of the United Nations in the field of relief and rehabilitation.His Majesty's Government warmly welcome Governor Lehman's appointment and the indication thus given that the United States are willing to play their part in this common effort and thus provide the indispensable basis for an effective plan of action. They are in close consultation with the United States 503 Government and with the other United Nations with a view to developing such a plan of action as soon as circumstances permit. These consultations have, however, not yet reached the stage when decisions can be reached and, therefore, it is not possible to lay Papers on the subject.
That, my Lords, is my answer to the question which the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi asked this afternoon. He inquired, as I understood him, what steps were being taken to create a central body to co-ordinate the various aspects of this question. I am not in a position, for the reason I have just stated, that consultations are at present going on with the United States, to make any statement on this nor upon the detailed financial arrangement which will be required, but I can assure my noble relative, Viscount Cecil, that the Government fully recognize the vital importance of the financial aspect. As I have explained, consultations are taking place and, moreover, your Lordships will see from what I have told you already this afternoon, that machinery is being steadily built up, Committees are working, the organization is getting into trim and time is not being wasted. I think the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, may also assume that the various combined Boards, the Food Board, the Raw Materials Board, the Shipping Board, which have been brought into existence for the purposes of the war, will form a nucleus for such an organization as he has in mind. It is most unlikely in any case that these Boards will come to an end immediately on the cessation of hostilities, and they will have exactly the experience that is needed to deal with international aspects of the reconstruction period such as we are discussing this afternoon.
Yes, and used to working together. You will have machinery in existence. The noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, also asked what machinery of liaison is being set up between Governor Lehman and Sir Frederick Leith-Ross. Your Lordships will appreciate that the appointment of Governor Lehman was only announced within the last few clays and machinery 504 for liaison is not yet completed, but I can assure your Lordships that Sir Frederick Leith-Ross is going to remain in charge of the problem at the English end and he will keep in closest touch with Governor Lehman. He will in effect be his opposite number here in London. I should also like to assure Lord Strabolgi that the closest contact is being maintained with Russia on this question. It is clearly essential that there should be the fullest co-operation with the Russian Government on this question as indeed at the present time on all major questions.
He also asked, I think, if I could give him any information about the visit of Sir Frederick Leith-Ross to the United States of America. There is really very little I can tell your Lordships. It was a visit for the purpose of making contact with those concerned in these matters out there, of making new contacts and maintaining contacts with those already working on this question. I understand the visit was a great success. He did make most useful contacts and he has come back confirmed in the view that the United States are determined to do all they can to secure a solution of this problem, which is, after all, our problem, their problem and everybody's problem. It must be borne in mind that the organization of relief on any adequate scale is a vast undertaking. The war and the enemy occupation have ravaged some of the most densely populated and prosperous areas of the globe. If these countries are to be restored to prosperity within any reasonable period, steps must be taken beforehand to avert the risk of famine and the even greater risk of pestilences that are bred of malnutrition, and to provide the immediate measures of assistance needed to secure the rebuilding of social and economic life.
Action after the war for this purpose is not to be defended merely on humanitarian grounds. None of us can restore our own prosperity if our neighbours are going to be ruined. Nor is this all. It is, I think, a vital element in our war effort. The stubborn and unflinching resistance of the peoples in all the occupied territories will play no small part in the final overthrow of the brutal Nazi régime, to which they are at present subjected. These people must be assured, as I think Lord Strabolgi said, that the United Nations have an effective alternative to the Hitler New Order, that the 505 liberation of their territories will bring an end to the bitter years of want and suffering, and that the tools and supplies will be provided wherewith they can rebuild their former prosperity and in time carry it still further. Here in lies the importance of the provision of information to the occupied territories, to which the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, referred. Personally I prefer the word "information" to "propaganda" because we only want to give information about what is being actually done and there is a tendency for the word propaganda to give an impression that one is merely trying to make a case. I do not think the noble Lord need fear that information will not be passed on to the occupied countries, as and when it becomes available.
We all owe an undying debt of gratitude to these peoples and we must see that their faith in the cause of the United Nations is not disappointed. The attainment of this aim must inevitably call for close and sustained co-operation between all the United Nations and a general readiness to make sacrifices for the common good. As I think I said last June in a debate in this House, this is the spirit which will actuate His Majesty s Government and they are greatly encouraged by the lead which the President of the United States has now given.
Lord Strabolgi asked whether the Government recognized that some measure of rationing control would be essential after the cessation of hostilities and pressed for some definite statement of policy on this question. I would recall to him some words I used myself in the debate last June. On that occasion I said:In the immediate post-war period it is reasonable to expect that shortage of supplies and transport difficulties will continue, and measures to prevent inflation will be as necessary or even more necessary than during the continuance of the war. War-time measures, such as rationing and control and guidance of investments, must remain national needs and will necessarily continue for some time. Willingness to make sacrifices for the general good will be as important in the post-war period as in the war period. That I can assure your Lordships will be the spirit which will actuate His Majesty's Government and the Governments of the United Nations as a whole.That is what I said in your Lordships' House on June 2 and I do not wish to alter or modify one word of what I said then. Of course nobody likes control for 506 itself. We all dislike it very much and I think we all wish—I certainly do—that we may get rid of it as soon as possble. That, I believe, is the general feeling in this country. But at the same time there is a general expectation—and it is an expectation that is shared by the Government—that some form of control must continue for a certain period after the war. That probability is being envisaged and it is on that basis that plans are at present being made.
I have really come to the end of what I have to say to-day. I do not pretend that this problem is an easy one.
That was covered by my statement that I was not in a position to make any statement on financial arrangements. I think though, if the noble Lord Will allow me to say so, that his pre-occupations and anxieties are a little bit premature.
As I have said, I do not pretend that this is an easy problem. It raises many difficult issues, to many of which noble Lords have drawn attention. I can assure your Lordships that these considerations are being taken into account by His Majesty's Government and by other Governments concerned; for this is a problem not merely for us but for the United Nations as a whole. A good start has, I believe, been made, and I hope that the House will share that view after the account which I have given to-day. We must now press on in order that we may be ready when the time for action comes. In the meantime, may I assure your Lordships that everything which has been said in this House in the course of this afternoon's debate will be taken into full account by His Majesty's Government?
§ LORD WINSTER
Will the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, forgive me if I ask him a question with a view to making one matter clear? He mentioned Mr. Stettinius, but I think it was not made quite plain what part Mr. Stettinius is going to play in relation to General Eisenhower. Is he going to proceed to North Africa to act as the economic adviser to General Eisenhower? And if that is the case may I ask if we are taking any steps to appoint an economic adviser with comparable status 507 to Mr. Stettinius to proceed to North Africa?
I should like to have notice of that question. It is not quite clear from President Roosevelt's statement whether he intends Mr. Stettinius to go to North Africa himself. The statement records thatthe President has directed Mr. Stettinius, Lend-Lease Administrator, to extend aid to areas in Africa occupied by United States Forces in co-operation with General Eisenhower and the State Department.Presumably, either Mr. Stettinius himself will go to North Africa or else he will send some expert nominated by him. I am afraid I cannot give a definite answer to the noble Lord, Lord Winster's question.
§ LORD WINSTER
I hope we may take it that the Government will not rule out the possibility of our also appointing an economic adviser in this connexion.
My Lords, may I thank the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, and say how grateful I am to him, as indeed I am sure all your Lordships are also, for covering so much ground with such lucidity and for giving us so much information? I am particularly glad that he again drew attention to the important statement he made last June about rationing control, and I hope that it will receive the widest publicity. And I beg to thank him also for other information which he gave us. May I say, though, that it seems to me that, although there was a good deal in the noble Lord's statement about consultations going on and needs being surveyed, we have not come to conclusions yet? We have not set up machinery. That is our complaint.
My Lords, may I be allowed to say to the noble Lord that he always seems to tend to take the view that because the Government are unable, at a given moment, to give information about a particular matter nothing is being done. He made the same complaint about Libya, before the battle there had begun, and yet in fact at the time he was making the complaint preparations on the largest scale were 508 being made. I can assure him that in connexion with the subject of this debate to-day preparations are also being made.
The burnt child dreads the fire. I have seen so many fellow-citizens of mine burnt in consequence of Government neglect or over-caution that I am always, I am afraid, trying to stimulate them. I hope that I shall be able to go on doing so for some years yet. I am grateful to the most reverend Prelate for his intervention in this debate. I would refer briefly to a statement made by my noble friend Lord Barnby. He said that he found in America a desire to utilize the existing machinery for prosecuting the war for these purposes of relief after the war. I do not see any objection to that. I should have thought that the best existing machinery would be the Armies of Occupation in the countries which the United Nations will have to occupy. They would have the whole of the Quartermaster-Generals' Staffs as organizations for relief. I, personally, will never forget how the British Army in Cologne after the last war gave their own rations to feed the starving children of their late enemies. Indeed, the General in command—who, I believe, is a member of your Lordships' House—officially ordered Army stocks of provisions to be drawn on to prevent starvation among the civilian population. That was a most magnificent piece of military chivalry of which we were all very proud at the time, and which I hope will never be forgotten. The Army organization is an admirable one, and it carries out a task of this sort splendidly. Most soldiers, particularly British soldiers, are kind-hearted and sympathetic men. They are by nature given to performing such benefactions as they can and they are only too willing to help in work of relief such as this. I feel sure that Sir Frederick Leith-Ross will also show himself sympathetic, and that there will be no obstacle whatever to using Army machinery wherever it is available.
May I thank my noble friend Lord Wedgwood for his intervention? But I hope he was not quite serious when he spoke about our being so impoverished. We are not. We shall come out of this war better off for some raw materials than the United States. His suggestion of our impoverishment is not well-founded, and it would not be good to let either the Americans or our own 509 people get the idea that only the generosity of the Americans is going to save the world, and that we are suppliants and paupers with the rest. To let such an impression get about would do both us and the Americans harm.
My noble friend quotes Latin at me, as he always does when I happen to hit the target. But I think he will find that what I say is true; there are certain most important raw materials in which we are better off than the United States. I would conclude by again thanking the noble Lords who have assisted in this debate, and saying that I hope the object of the Motion will have been served in drawing attention to this urgent problem and in letting the facts be known. I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.