HL Deb 18 March 1942 vol 122 cc301-44

VISCOUNT ELIBANK had the following Notice on the Paper: To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will state the number of enemy aliens now employed in connexion with German broadcasts and propaganda and whether, when engaging enemy aliens for such employment, the Minister of Information and the other Ministers associated with political warfare act upon the assumption that Anti-Nazism is a sufficient guarantee of their reliability and integrity; further, whether there is full co-operation between those Ministers and the Minister of Home Security when selecting aliens for such employment as well as in the selection of other aliens employed by the British Broadcasting Corporation for overseas broadcasting and propaganda, or for any other purposes; and to move for Papers.

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, before I proceed to move my Motion I feel that as this is the first time the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, will have spoken to a Motion in your Lordships' House since his succession to the title, you will permit me on your behalf to extend to him sympathy in the great loss which he has suffered. The late Lord Selborne was a very old friend of mine. I served under him, I do not know how many years ago—thirty-five or forty—in South Africa, and I had the greatest regard for him and for his abilities. While he performed, before he went to South Africa, work of great responsibility with great distinction in this country, the work he performed in South Africa will always stand as a monument to his name. I refer particularly to the foundations he laid for the South African Union. I feel that the noble Lord who has taken his place—also an old friend; he and I served together in the House of Commons—will fill the office that he has reached with equal distinction. I can only wish him on your Lordships' behalf every success in the path upon which he has entered.

The Motion I have to make to-day is concerned principally with German broadcasts and propaganda sent out from this country to Germany, and with the integrity of the agents employed for that purpose. When I say "agents" I mean enemy aliens particularly. Not long ago correspondence took place in the Sunday Times in which certain German refugees stated that, whilst certain other German refugees in this country were known to be Anti-Nazi, they were not assuredly—and they emphasized that word—Pro-British. They pointed out that whilst these refugees were taking refuge in this country from Hitler Germany, and, generally speaking, were anxious to see Hitler defeated, nevertheless their principal aim was the restoration of Germany's greatness and splendour after the war. They added that therefore as they were not Pro-British, they were Pro-German and not to be trusted. This led to further bitter correspondence in the same paper, in which one of the writers, Herr Fraenckel, a German refugee, admitted and asserted that he and other German refugees here, though thoroughly Anti-Nazi, were still proud to call themselves Germans in spite of everything that had happened.

It is interesting to note that Herr Fraenckel has recently written a book entitled Help us Germans to beat the Nazis. In this book, which I cannot but describe as mischievous, he has the impertinence to describe our present war with Germany as an international civil war. We all know that that is obsolutely contrary to the fact, that it is absolutely ridiculous, and that this idea is being put out as an obvious piece of propaganda, meant to throw dust in the eyes of the people here and deflect them from the real purpose of Hitler's war, which is the domination of the world and the enslavement of peoples in it. Herr Fraenckel further states in this book that we have no right to blame 80,000,000 Germans for the bestialities committed by a few thousands. In this statement he actually ignores the wholesale savage atrocities committed by the German Army in Czecho-Slovakia, in Poland, in Belgium, in Norway and in the other conquered countries, and especially in Russia, where their acts have been even more barbarous than elsewhere. Finally, after giving utterance to these flagrant misrepresentations, he has the audacity to suggest that the best thing we can do is to let the German exiles here look after the propaganda to German from this country. That is, I fear, unfortunately what we have largely been doing. That is probably the reason for some of the harmful and injurious propaganda which has been going out over the air from this country to Germany.

In giving that last quotation I do not want your Lordships to think that I am so prejudiced as to believe that there are no good German refugees, and that we should exclude any advice at all from the German exiles in connexion with the type of propaganda which we have to put over to Germany. I believe there are good German refugees in this country; I believe also that they can help us in certain ways, and that they are to be trusted. But from the nature of the broadcasts that are going out, it seems pretty obvious that it is the wrong type of German refugee, the wrong exiles who are being used for this purpose, and I should like to ask His Majesty's Government quite categorically who is responsible for the selection of the German refugees so employed. I would also like to ask His Majesty's Government to have the method of selection carefully reviewed, so as to make sure that only the right and trustworthy German refugees are used for this purpose in the future. Incidentally, I should like to know how it is permitted, in the total war which we are waging, that this kind of attack should be published by an enemy alien in this country. Surely, to-day, any book by an alien which it is proposed to publish in this country should be censored before it is allowed to go out to the public, because it is always difficult to catch up with uncensored material.

There are, unfortunately, in this country numbers of British people of both sexes whose heads, like the ostrich's, are still buried in the sand. These people are still so blind that they have yet failed to realize that we are fighting the whole German nation for our very existence as a nation and as an Empire, and that this is not the time to try to separate good Germans from bad Germans. This is the time to go all out to win. These simple-minded sentimentalists, probably quite sincere, but credulous and failing to see further than their noses, have apparently little or no knowledge of German character or of German history. I believe many of them in their folly—and in the circumstances I would call it criminal folly—would be prepared to make a patched-up peace or a negotiated peace. If this happens it would of a certainty lead the next generation into a war as devastating as—perhaps more devastating than—the one in which we are engaged to-day.

I am a realist in these matters, and I believe that we have no alternative than to fight this war to the bitter end until Hitler and his crew of gangsters and all the German nation are finally defeated. When that happens we must impose such terms of peace as will prevent Germany ever again throwing the world into the havoc, turmoil and misery into which she has cast it to-day. I am glad to think that there are millions in this country who are also realists and have the same outlook and intention as I have, but unfortunately they are far less vocal than the deluded sentimentalists who seem to be quite ignorant of German psychology. The whole German nation will go on fighting as long as Germany is victorious, and only when she has sustained a series of defeats will her morale crash and will she give in. Therefore the only way for us to win this war, so far as I can see, is to go on fighting Germany as a whole and not to pretend that we are fighting a section of the people.

That is a form of propaganda which does not impress Germans but certainly deceives a good many of our own people, and it is a form of propaganda which, so far as I can judge, the Minister responsible for our political warfare permits to pass over the air to Germany. For instance, one of these broadcasts to Germany recently contained an utterly untrue statement to the effect that the British people respect the German Army and the German people, quite ignoring Germany's aggressive acts during the past few years. Again, there was an instance in a recent broadcast to Germany of a fierce attack upon the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, and if the: noble Lord will permit me to speak of it in his presence would like to say a few words about that. In this broadcast he was accused of, or was taken to task for, saying that "Militarism has deep roots in Germany." Well, that, as your Lordships know, is, in any case, a truism and a fact; we know it to be absolutely true historically. Why should this broadcaster have said this at all, except that in the same broadcast Lord Vansittart was described as an ordinary private individual with whose views the British Government were not in sympathy at all. One can only assume that the broadcaster was apparently endeavouring to convey to the German people that anything Lord Vansittart said should be discounted and was of no importance.

Fancy declaring to Germany in a broadcast from Britain of an official source, that one of our ablest ex-civil servants, a man who has rendered, for many years, valuable and distinguished service to the State, and one whose name is now known all over the world, is only an ordinary private individual and of no account. If this crawling belittlement of Lord Vansittart had come from Germany on a German broadcast by "Lord Haw-Haw" to this country, we should have laughed at it for its utter absurdity. But that it should be given out from this country to Germany apparently as the view of the Government and the people of this country, is a matter of very grave concern, and a severe indictment of the propaganda sent out from our centres here and of the gentlemen employed to do it. In fact, the German refugees employed in connexion with broadcasting are misrepresenting to the German people the views of a large majority of the people of this country, obviously with the intention of paving the way for the restoration of a great and glorious Germany after the war. The so-called "Free German" movement is without doubt instigated by the same motive, and looking at the names associated with it one can only assume that those people too are out, after the war, for the restoration of a great and glorious Germany. I wish to commend the attitude taken up in this matter by our Government in refusing, to recognize them and I hope that they will continue to do so.

This is the same old game, which was played by the Germans resident in this country during and after the last war, when a stream of propaganda was poured out by them and by their British sympathizers with the object of ameliorating the terms of peace and reducing the retribution which was justly Germany's for the turmoil, chaos and tragedy which she as a nation had cast upon the world. As we now know, Germany benefited wrongfully to our disadvantage in many ways by the false sympathy created for her in this country by that propaganda. For instance, she was not properly disarmed, and masses of money were poured into Germany from here and from the United States of America to help her peaceful reconstruction. And how did she use it? She used it, instead, for rearming herself. Are we as a nation going to be taken in by such tricks again? Having been deceived once, are we going to be such fools as to be deceived again? If this question of propaganda to Germany over the air, and the Pan-German refugee propaganda now going on inside this country, is not seriously taken in hand, and effectively controlled, I am positive that we shall be betrayed again, and that all the immense efforts which we have made in this tense struggle will have been in vain.

I believe we have many people in this country of our own nationality who are excellent linguists and who are perfectly capable of broadcasting to Germany in German whatever form of propaganda may be decided upon by the Ministers responsible for political warfare. Why not use some of those German-speaking people whom we can really trust rather than German refugees many of whom we cannot trust? In my belief the best form of propaganda to Germany would be to tell them that we are going on fighting until Germany as a whole is defeated—that the longer they go on fighting the worse will be their defeat and the worse will become the conditions in Germany, which, as we know, are already bad, that disease will become rife, that many more of their people will be killed and maimed, that their cities and towns and their industrial centres will be bombed to blazes, and that it is Hitler and his crew of gangsters who will have led them into all this.

I would add, and rub it in as often and in as many ways as possible, and every day, that Germany has not got a ghost of a chance in the long run of defeating the Allies, consisting of Britain and her Empire and the other and powerful nations—Russia and her Empire, the United States of America, the Chinese Empire and those smaller European Allies who are with us—that it is only a matter of time before Germany must be hopelessly and utterly defeated, and that we are not going to stop until she is. I would further tell them that the same story applies to Japan; that whilst Japan may be having temporary successes and may be of temporary help to Germany, this is only temporary, and that Japan, in the long run, has no more chance of defeating the same great Allies, with all their resources, with all their masses of men, with everything they possess, and especially in view of their spirit of determination to win, than has Germany herself. That sort of propaganda is simple, true and telling, and will impress the German people far more than any sectional form of propaganda because they will instinctively know it is the truth, the naked truth and the whole truth.

Let me pass to another point in my Motion. I am not at all satisfied that there is real co-operation between the Ministers responsible for foreign propaganda and the Minister for Home Security in the selection of individuals both of enemy and of other alien birth employed in propaganda duties, whether of a direct or of an advisory nature. In the light of the experience gained and of what has happened in the conquered countries, such cooperation is of vital importance, in order to ensure that no one to whom the slightest suspicion attaches is so employed. Apart from the points to which I have already referred, it is quite certain that, if an invasion of this country took place, the first institutions which would be attacked, and if possible seized, by the enemy would be the broadcasting centres, wherever they are situated. In these circumstances, any person sympathetic to the enemy who might be employed at such a centre would constitute a grave danger to our defence; and for this reason alone great care in selection should be taken. I should like to refer your Lordships in this connexion to what has apparently happened in Rangoon. I may be wrong, but I saw in the Press recently that, within twenty-four hours of our evacuating Rangoon, the broadcasting centre, in spite of a "scorched earth" policy, was operating again. That seems to me an extraordinary thing to happen if the station had really been properly put out of action; and it may be the case—I cannot say whether it is—that the reason for this was that someone was attached to that station who somehow or other took some steps which prevented the real destruction of the station which had been ordered.

What is the existing Government machinery for formulating and directing political warfare against the enemy? In the debate last year in your Lordships' House which I had the honour of initiating, we were told that there had been set up for this purpose a triumvirate consisting of the Minister of Economic Warfare, the Minister of Information and the Foreign Secretary. I should like to ask the noble Earl who is going to reply whether this triumvirate is still functioning, and, if so, whether it is this triumvirate which is responsible for the present laxity both in the form of the propaganda to Germany, to which I have already referred, and in the selection of the German refugee agents who are employed as advisers and broadcasters. Perhaps the noble Earl will be so good as to say who really controls and directs these important matters.

In conclusion, I venture to urge, with all the persistence at my command, that the Government should take immediate action in these matters to which I have referred. The time has passed for kid-glove methods. Our backs are definitely to the wall; the Prime Minister has quite recently told us so in no uncertain language, and we know it ourselves. Hitler is staging his biggest effort to win the war, and we can afford to take no risks whatsoever. The recent anxiety expressed in the country and in Parliament has led to changes in the War Cabinet and in the Government which have the express purpose of tightening up and invigorating our war effort. The best form of defence is attack. All I ask is that the Ministers concerned in our political warfare shall, in the policy which they pursue in the future, show that they, too, are fully imbued with this new spirit, and that they will take early action in the matters to which I have directed their attention, matters which are of vital importance in their effect now, and which will certainly be of importance in the future. I beg to move.


My Lords, I venture to think that this Motion raises one point of fundamental importance: do we accept Anti-Nazism as a sufficient guarantee of reliability? I think the answer is that we tend to do so; not in all cases, of course, but at least in some within my personal knowledge and experience. I think that there has been perhaps a tendency to forget some of the experiences of the last war, and to assume rather too easily that because a man has left Germany he is necessarily a good German. In the firs: place, that does not always follow; and in the second place, what exactly do we mean by "a good German"? Nietzsche said on one occasion that to be a good German meant to de-Germanise oneself; and, although I do not suppose that any of us would go so far as that, it still remains unwise to assume that a good German is necessarily a good European, let alone Pro-British.

In all that I have to say to-day I should like to make it plain from the start that I am referring only to the activities of a small portion of our visitors, and I am doing so on account of the influence which I think that they have begun to establish on our outlook. I am the first to recognize that the great majority of our German guests deserve every sympathy and support, and, even in regard to the minority, I do not suggest that our hospitality but rather their political activities might be moderated. Even in regard to that minority, I do not suggest for a moment that they would wish to lose us the war; certainly not, for that would not be in their interests; but some of them, I think, might contribute to losing us the peace, precisely because they are good Germans. I think that we may say quite fairly that their idea of what would constitute an adequate guarantee of security and safety in Europe is not really compatible with the interests of the people of this country, or indeed of our Allies; and the reason for that is a perfectly simple one—that they have remained good Germans, and sometimes Pan-Germans, and often strong nationalists.

To realize that, it is only necessary to glance back; and I shall be as brief as I can. The plain fact is that German Socialism has been deeply tainted with militarism and expansionism. That is really why there was no change of heart in 1918. The spirit of 1914 was carried on into Weimar, and that again is why there was no revolution. Such revolution as there was was extinguished by the Socialists themselves, in unhappy alliance with the militarists, and, in unhappy alliance with the militarists, they went into re-armament, and so laid the foundations of this war. The story of Weimar is the story of long deceit which was practised for the sake of a Greater Germany, and, the further it went, the further it went to the Right and the worse it became. I think, therefore, that we have to be a little cautious in our dealings with the survivors of the Weimar alliance.

I for one—and I should imagine every sane man—not only naturally but immeasurably prefer the German Left to the German Right. I cannot conceive that any sane man could have a word to say in favour of that awful combination of militarism, Junkerdom and heavy industry which makes up the German Right; the Left seems to be the only hope. On the other hand, that other combination of German Socialism plus Anti-Nazism is nothing like an adequate guarantee of security or reliability, either now or in the future. On that point experience has spoken, and we cannot be fooled twice. Perhaps I am peculiarly entitled to be sceptical in regard to Anti-Nazism because, during all the years that I was at the Foreign Office before the war, perfectly good Germans and perfectly genuine Anti-Nazis continually came to me and said "Why cannot you get your Government to stand up to-Hitler? Make them push him to the verge of war, or even into war. Then of course he will have to arm us, and we will finish him off in no time." And some of them went so far—and very often went so far—as to suggest that the good Germans would do the job. I think any comment on these fictions is superfluous, except to say that the tune of the good Germans is still played over for practice, and I am not at all sure that we have yet heard the last of it.

In the further comments that I venture to make to-day I shall quote as few names as I possibly can, because I am not here to pillory anybody. I wish only to check certain practices, because I think they incline to be sharp practices. The first example that occurs to my mind I have no hesitation in putting a name to, partly because he has already left the country, and partly because he has already been challenged in public and has wisely, if not very honestly, evaded the challenge, and that is the case of Herr Stampfer. Herr Stampfer in the last war was so bellicose, was such a warmonger in fact, that when the Socialist Vorwärts was temporarily suspended the militarists allowed it to be revived with Herr Stampfer as chief editor—and he gave them every satisfaction. Therefore I was not altogether surprised that when Herr Stampfer came to this country he indulged in considerable activities with a view of wrecking Article 8 of the Atlantic Charter, which provides for unilateral disarmament—the Article which I regard as the most valuable in the whole of that instrument. And when he returned to the United States he left here disciples who were engaged in the same kind of activity.

I am the last person, I hope, to exaggerate these activities. I do not dignify them by any name like "campaign" or "agitation"; that would be an exaggeration. I will just call them goings-on, or infiltration. But the fact remains that they are going on, and there are quite a number of them, rather fantastic goings-on in war-time. Thus we have one against unilateral disarmament, another against the liberation of Austria, another for the retention of the Sudetenland, and another for the retention of an over-industrialized Germany, to which our Allies would be agricultural vassals; and, arising out of that very naturally, another for the retention of German heavy industry. And all these goings-on or infiltrations—I consider them all rather undesirable in wartime—are conducted by perfectly genuine Anti-Nazis.

Now let us take the case of German heavy industry. The record there is really ghastly, I think. I do not think any body of men in the world has ever so battened upon human bodies. Yet, to my surprise, I find here German Liberals and Socialists who plead for its retention, and at first sight that may seem very odd to your Lordships. The real explanation, I think, makes it seem a good deal less odd. It is the old game. The German heavy industry is needed for a Greater Germany. The explanation is pure nationalism, and I do not think that that kind of Anti-Nazism is worth much. Or take again the case of agricultural vassalage for our Allies. That seems to be rather an impudent campaign, but it has certainly been pressed, and you cannot be surprised if our Allies protest. And they do, and they are right. Because that kind of Anti-Nazism is worth nothing. Or reverting again to the case of unilateral disarmament, here is the case of another German in a very influential position. This is what he says: It is wrong to speak only of the danger of future German aggression: there might also be English aggression. Well that is a very clear plea to maintain the German Army and wreck Article 8, and I think that kind of Anti-Nazism is worth less than nothing. Others again urge their fellows to say nothing in England which might compromise them in Germany. I do not object to that at all, on the contrary; but I think it is not unreasonable on my part to suggest that they might also be careful to say nothing in England which would compromise them in England.

Now the cases to which I have referred, I think would mostly profess adherence to the German Left, but the Right in their way are sometimes very active, and from them I choose an illustration of another kind, which I think is also undesirable. Here is one of them speaking, a member of a German Catholic organization in this country. He says: Every refugee who speaks in London must remember that he will have to answer for what he says to a million men in Germany. Now again I do not want to exaggerate at all: I do not call that intimidation, I prefer to use the word "pressure". There is a certain amount of pressure being used on the better Germans who do not hold nationalist views, and I think it is not unreasonable on my part to suggest that those who profess Anti-Nazi doctrines should not even obliquely imitate Nazi methods. Arising out of all this, I venture to ask the Government whether they would not see their way to take a perfectly simple step. I hope they will think my request a reasonable one. I feel that we should esteem our Allies not only by their size, but by their suffering. I therefore would ask the Government to call together a conference of all our weaker and more menaced Allies—those, in fact, who are being subjected to Hitler's New Order—and ask them to say frankly whether they are satisfied with German activities in this country and their effect on our outlook I think they would tell you that they are distinctly disquieted. Indeed in many quarters I consider it incontestable that the German case is receiving far more consideration than all their cases put together, and you cannot expect them not to feel that—they do.

I take another type, to which my noble friend has already referred. There again I do not hesitate to use a name, because the gentleman in question has courted publicity and that is the case of Anti-Nazi Herr Fraenckel. Herr Fraenckel wants class war: he says so. I am not going to detain your Lordships with his effusions, but I think it only right and fair to say that people of that type appear to be so keen to augment the differences between Right and Left that they obliterate the differences between Right and Wrong, and that kind of Anti-Nazism, I think, is not only worthless but poisonous. Now, let us take an example of the poison at work. I take the example of a certain publisher-author and, according to him, of course, the Germans are entirely guiltless as far as I can make out. The culprit is an 'ism, or perhaps a whole bunch of 'isms. But when you come to look at the 'ism on which he wants to put his money you find that it bears a suspicious resemblance to the German horse that fooled and failed us last time. It is easy to see where that bookmaker gets his stuff. That kind of Anti-Nazism is not only worthless but flat-catching.

I will take another example of evil communications, which have really upset our Allies a very great deal. Recently there appeared in the Tribune an article which said that atrocities committed by Germans "are against the conscience of mankind and not against this or that particular nation." That: Is very comfortable. They then went on to belittle and extenuate German atrocities, and that proved too much for our Allies, They pointed out at once that this was an attempt not only to exonerate Germany, but to exonerate Hitler as well. They wrote: It is easy for any member of a great nation which suffered its last invasion in 1066 to snigger at the sufferings of contemptible small nations. Your indignant refusal to consider the possibility that small nations who have suffered should punish those who have inflicted our sufferings disguises only very thinly your desire to let the majority of the criminals go scot-free. That is signed by the representatives of Belgium, France, Holland and Poland, and the first name on the list is that of M. de Brouckère, a man of international repute, a former President of the Internationale; and I think we are really getting into some confusion when Anti-Nazi influence can cause such an organ to receive such a rebuke from such hands.

The interest of these observations is not that the reflections of dupes are, like reflections in a spoon, unavoidably upside down. The point is, where do they get them from? The answer is simple. They get them from Anti-Nazis. The gentleman who puffs and publishes himself—which is a little on the level of a man laughing at his own jokes—also publishes and puffs Herr Fraenckel. Here are we fighting for our existence. I do not suppose the position of this country has ever been more critical in all its history, yet we have here Anti-Nazis who accept our hospitality but do not really observe the rules of hospitality. One of them at least admits he is interfering in our home politics, and others are doing the same who do not admit it. All this is important because they have silently established, in my judgment, an unhappy influence on our outlook—on part of it, anyhow—and perhaps on our propaganda.

To-day I shall confine my observations to one point only, and that is our German broadcasting section. I do not blame the B.B.C., and I hope no one else will either. The truth is that there are some good Germans employed there, but they have been relegated to the background by other influences. This section has got rather out of control, particularly in one respect, and again I shall confine my observations to that respect. It seems to think exceedingly well of the German Army just as the Anti-Nazis did who used to come and see me before the war started. That is why we have had something like a ban on criticism of the German Army. Some of our propagandists appear not only to feel but to express admiration for it, and that is why, even in the Russian campaign, there has been practically, as far as I can make out, a ban on criticism of the military caste in whose hands Hitler has been a tool from the beginning. Here also the cloak of Anti-Nazism can be a little bit thin. It can cover all the old Weimar sins and a few new ones. One can quite well be Anti-Nazi and militarist. I ask your Lordships how is one to square this with Mr. Molotov's indictment of the German Army, and how are we to square it with President Roosevelt's declaration, "We will certainly not settle for less than the destruction of German militarism"? How are we to square this with all that the German Army has done to all our Allies? I do not think you can square it.

This incoherence appears to me to be largely based on the myth that there are two Germanys—that the good one is just round the corner—a jack-o'-lantern that leads all its pursuers into a bog, and that led us unarmed into two wars. Now this myth is being stretched to include the German Army, and I have never known it go so wide before. I ask who inspires this. I can only blame Mr. Cross-man or his assistants or advisers. Anyhow, be that as it may, since these views are apparently entertained and certainly uttered, I ask whether it is not time to have a fresh stocktaking in the field of this Motion, and even perhaps in our general approach in propaganda. I wonder if we do not sometimes go wrong by laying too much emphasis on the purely Anti-Nazi test, because we are producing no positive results now, and we cannot expect to do so in present circumstances. If we are really to endeavour to fulfil President Roosevelt's wise programme of destroying German militarism, we cannot begin too soon to disgust the German people with it instead of sidling up to it, which is surely wrong and immoral.

I ask myself sometimes, and I ask the Government to-day, whether perhaps we do not need a tougher line in our approach, and whether the Russians have not found it. At least they intimate that a death-bed repentance is no use, and that if the Germans expect credit or indulgence they must do something to earn it now. It may be they will get no immediate results from that line also, for there is neither sign nor voice that answers them, but at least it avoids putting a premium on Germany resisting to the end on the assumption that "Heads we shall win the earth, and tails we won't lose much." I have long had an uneasy feeling that that is the impression we are creating. We are doing it at the cost of deceiving our own people. It will be seen from what I have said that there is no divergence between my views and those of Russian propaganda, as has been suggested. On the contrary, there is harmony. Stalin says he does not identify the German people with Hitler. No more do I. I have never identified the hounds and the huntsmen, but I know, and all Europe knows, only too well what hounds do when the huntsmen sound the horn that promises blood. So does Premier Stalin. If there is the least doubt about that, you have only got to read or re-read the Molotov note on German atrocities practised by the German Army, which is a representative cross section of the German people.

In quality there is nothing to choose between the Germans and the Japanese in savagery, but in quantity the Germans have still got a long lead. When these Japanese atrocities were first published, I said I did not think it would be long before an effort was made in some quarters to deflect attention from or perhaps to exonerate the German Army. I had not long to wait. On March 13 we put out the following on our German section. We said: There is an important difference between the Germans and the Japanese. In the German case the atrocities were practised by the scum of the earth, by the torturers of Himmler's Gestapo. In the case of the Japanese the culprits were the soldiers of the Japanese Army. The Japanese is lower than the beast; but we don't want to insult the beast. There will be no improvement in the world until this Bushido Army is destroyed. I think that is both untrue and unwise, and it is unwise precisely because it is untrue. Everybody knows it is untrue, and we should sometimes remember that when we are broadcasting to Germany it is not Germans only who are listening. A lot of other people are listening who not only know the facts but have suffered from them; and I do not see how one can very well command either credence or respect on a line like that. The German atrocities have been committed by the rank and file of the German Army just as they were in the last war, and there was no Gestapo then. You can search Mr. Molotov's note from end to end and you will not find one single mention of the Gestapo in it. Let us note well that there is plenty of talk of destroying the Bushido Army, but there is not one word of getting rid of German militarism. What then becomes of President Roosevelt's declaration?

It will be obvious to your Lordships that it is not I but our propaganda that sometimes gets out of step not only with Premier Stalin but with President Roosevelt as well. Paradoxically enough the origin of this divergence is a too-narrow insistence on Anti-Nazism. I said just now that we were getting into some confusion. I venture to doubt whether we shall ever be effective by reliance on Anti-Nazism of this quality. I think indeed it is time we realized on the contrary how far from both truth and wisdom Anti-Nazism alone may lead us. Nine months ago I left the public service for reasons which are mainly irrelevant to this Motion, but one of them perhaps is not quite irrelevant. That is that I have never honestly seen, and still cannot see, how one can get a 100 per cent. national effort out of the people of this country without telling them the truth, and the truth is, and has been from the beginning, that this nation is fighting the German nation for its very existence, and that if it fails it will be literally exterminated as it would have been if it had lost the last war. Now, for reasons which are easily explained, but are also irrelevant to this Motion, the great bulk—not the whole but the great bulk—of the German nation—and please note, my Lords. I do not say race—has developed in the last three or four generations into a nation of fierce, organized and savage aggressors bent on the total destruction of the people of this country. Twice they have tried that, and this time they are nearer success than ever. I think it is obvious from that that to be Anti-Nazi is part of our concern, but it is only a part, and it will be fatal to our chances of survival if we mistake the part for the whole.

I sometimes wonder whether we do not tend on our present line to make the worst of both worlds. I think we are even doing some harm here, possibly even in the United States, and most certainly among our European Allies, and we are doing mighty little good in Germany. Only a few weeks ago the Ministry of Economic Warfare warned us, and warned us very wisely, that morale and production in Germany had never been higher, and I see the same thing repeated in the Press this very morning. That is perfectly true. In field and factory German workers are behaving just as their predecessors did under Social Democratic leadership in the last war. In other words we are getting nowhere in particular. I cannot help honestly asking myself sometimes how we can expect to get anywhere when we keep the cart mostly in front of the horse. We shall get no revolution in Germany until we are in sight of our victory, and even then we shall only get revolt without civic virtue, anyhow in the initial stages. It follows therefore that the first essential is to win, and it has always seemed to me—I speak with all deference—exceedingly difficult to win a war and very easy to lose a peace on basic misapprehension. I think you can even lose a war if the people of this country are continually lulled into halfhearted effort by the dope that millions of mythical Germans are going to do half their job for them. With that dope of the good Germans, France was drenched and France died of it.

It seems to me that we have tried our present line for two and a half years of failure—I think of foredoomed failure—and I wonder whether the moment has now come at last to try the truth, at least towards our own people. That is all I ask; but if it comes to that I do not see why we should not at least try the truth on the German people—tell them the true situation, that they and not we have created, including all the horrors that they themselves have committed. Do not attenuate anything, and tell them it is up to them to break it and break it now. I think that line would be far nearer to the Russian line, and a better one, and that you are much more likely to get results in that way than in any other. Above all, for goodness' sake do not let us flatter the German Army. The right way to get into Germany is not to crawl. We are not afraid to say that we are at war with the Japanese nation; why should we be afraid to say the same about the German nation? It is just as utterly true. I notice that the Labour Party, in their Pamphlet The Old World and the New Society, are not afraid of the word "nation." At the beginning of paragraph 39 is written: Aggressor nations, after military defeat, must be disarmed and kept disarmed. I agree with that entirely. It is wisely said. Germany is an aggressor nation, and a very brutal aggressor nation at that. I think that in evading this truth we are playing with fire which can only produce another conflagration, even if this one is extinguished, and it may yet consume us. Sooner or later I suggest that everyone will have to face the truth which burns its way even through closed eyelids. Later, my Lords, may be too late.


My Lords, perhaps I may be allowed to congratulate the noble Lord on the delivery of his maiden speech. But we are first concerned to deal with the Motion of my noble friend Lord Elibank, and I think the main point which he made was that great care must be taken in selecting the agents who are employed in the case of the B.I3.C. We should all agree with that, but we must follow him into an argument which went a good deal further than that. His Motion suggests that our propaganda is influenced by secret enemies working in the interests of Hitler. That would be a terrifying picture if we felt that it was a real one. My noble friend aims at improving that situation. Every patriotic man must want our national propaganda to be as good as can be arranged. Everyone knows how patriotic a man the noble Viscount is, but I suggest that he is going the wrong way to make an improvement in the propaganda work of the B.B.C. I would suggest to him a better way.

He fears that our propaganda is vitiated by the presence on the staff of certain enemy aliens, and again I say we cannot be too careful about that. But ought he to throw doubt on the bona fides which are assumed to have been ascertained by the most responsible agents of security who are provided for that purpose? He would distrust the B.B.C, and he would, as I gather, rely on the Ministry of Home Security. I was under the impression that it was military intelligence on which we relied for the proper "vetting" of the agents employed by the B.B.C. or by any public Department. Would he distrust M.I.5? I should think that that was going rather far. I think in fact he is barking up the wrong tree with regard to the security which is provided for the selection of agents for this and other cases. If he is still afraid of enemy influence surely some further confidence may be placed by him and us in the Foreign Office and the political warfare executive, both of which are in authority over this propaganda. The noble Viscount questions the need of these enemy alien agents in the machine. But what are the facts about their employment?


May I be allowed to intervene for a moment? The noble Lord has attributed several statements to me which I have not made, but I must object to this one. I did not question the need for the employment of any of these people. What I did say was that the wrong ones were being employed, but that there were certain people who were trustworthy and who might be employed.


Yes, but the noble Viscount does suggest a doubt as to whether they are all trustworthy.




That is the point with which we must deal. Everyone knows the reason why these aliens are employed by the B.B.C. The facts are known if only from answers given in another place. It is perfectly well known that they are not employed in influencing policy. They are employed as translators and as announcers in the main and also as programme assistants and typists and monitors. Does he suggest that these things ought not to be perfected as much as possible? Surely he cannot suggest that good translating and good announcing do not matter. Can he think that Germans will be impressed by broadcasts in broken German? Surely it stands to reason that the most perfect accent is essential for the success of this propaganda. "Lord Haw-Haw" was repulsive enough speaking in a language which at least we could understand, but if he had spoken with a German accent would the noble Viscount not think that he would have been quite intolerable and would not have been listened to even as much as he was? The employment of the most perfect announcers has to be applied on a very wide scale by the B.B.C. There are, I understand, no fewer than forty languages for which the B.B.C. provide. It is extremely difficult to find the ideal man even for very well-known languages. There are only a limited number of qualified German speakers in this country. Most of these are men of education who are easily able to get some job much more attractive than that of acting as announcer or translator with the B.B.C. Consequently I presume His Majesty's Government will tell us that it is not easy to find the ideal man for the job, and that they are compelled to employ a certain number of enemy aliens.

The Ministry of Labour not very long ago—on November 27 last—gave its view in another place about the very high value of aliens and enemy aliens in many departments of public work. The Minister described the formation of an international labour branch of the Ministry and administered the highest praise to the work that was done by aliens and enemy aliens. It was described as most successful. On the other hand the campaign of hate which has been set on foot by certain quarters is, we are given to understand, doing the greatest possible harm in counteracting the success of our own propaganda, particularly in Germany, but not only in Germany. I have heard that in Lisbon, which is of course a great centre of resort: for men of many nationalities and a place to which very large numbers of Germans go, great harm has been done by the campaign of animosity which can be described by the German broadcasters, if not as the voice of our Government, still as representing in reality the views of our Government. It is a fact that that argument is constantly used by Goebbels as anyone can tell who cares to listen to the German broadcasts.

I should like to suggest to the noble Viscount that there are other defects which might well be criticized in regard to the B.B.C. and propaganda. It seems to me from what I know of the German broadcasts that propaganda is mixed with news too often and rather fails of its effect, and that the tone of the broadcasts differs in a rather fluctuating manner. In regard to some other things it seems to me that perhaps not enough aliens, even enemy aliens, are employed on certain Balkan broadcasts. The native accent has been absent because there has been some difficulty in finding genuine members of the nations concerned familiar with the true accent as now used. Another thing which I should like to criticize is the concealment from the public of the contents of leaflets. In the early days of the war these were known and published, but now for a long time we have been waiting for information in vain. It was always understood that in the early days it was the French objection to the publication of our leaflet propaganda which prevailed with us, but since the fall of France I do not know what is the reason. If the spokesman of the Government will tell us, I am sure it will be very interesting to the public. Propaganda in other forms is easily ascertainable and can be listened to, so why should the public not be aware of what is being said by leaflets?

The noble Viscount discredits our propaganda to such an extent that one begins to doubt whether he really favours the propaganda as a whole. If he is not in favour of it, and does not merely wish to improve it but to change it altogether, it seems to me he is up against the policy of His Majesty's Government in a very direct form. He is certainly against the policy enunciated the other day by M. Stalin, who talked about the absurdity of identifying the Hitler clique with the German nation or State. He is also up against the policy of the Foreign Secretary, who said his view was not inconsistent with that of M. Stalin. It is a crusade and a formidable undertaking if he wishes to upset the well-established policy of the B.B.C. propaganda. In particular he is up against the views of the Party to which I belong, among whose official utterances have been this: We must warn you that Hitler and his system prepared and started this war. He could not continue if you ceased to support him. Until this accursed Nazi régime is overthrown there is no hope of peace between us. But if you establish a Government sincerely willing that Germany shall be a good neighbour and a good European, there shall be no humiliation nor revenge. We are opposed to any attempt from outside to break up Germany. We do not seek the humiliation or dismemberment of your country. We wholeheartedly desire to welcome you without delay into the peaceful collaboration of civilized nations. That is the fairly definite view of the Labour Party.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord just this? How does he expect the Nazi clique to be overthrown until the German nation is defeated? Can he tell us how it is going to be done?


My Lords, I am concerned to point out the discrepancy between the noble Viscount's view and the views which have been announced by the Foreign Secretary, and, in particular, by the Labour Party. If the noble Viscount will read what has further been said by the Labour Party he will find his question also dealt with.

It is very noticeable that the policy pursued by His Majesty's Government and the B.B.C. appears to be very definitely succeeding. It is notable that Goebbels constantly answers the statements made in the British news and in the propaganda broadcasts. He is compelled to assume that the German public knows what is said from this side. The Gestapo has not been able to prevent listening on the widest scale, and there appears to be a great and rapid increase of listening in spite of threats, even of execution, which apparently they do not dare, now, to put into force. Goebbels has lately taken to talking every week, and to answering in detail what is being said from this side. I only know what anyone can know from listening to the German radio. Probably there is much more evidence that is known only to official quarters here, but, on the whole, it does appear that the situation resulting partly, and largely, no doubt, from our propaganda is encouraging, and that large masses of people in Germany are running the risk of punishment in order to listen to our broadcasts. We are only handicapped by the talk of hate propaganda, which, happily, is not great in this country, but is quoted in Germany as a voice which represents the Government. Goebbels puts it this way: that our Government hypocritically refrain from directly menacing Germany with annihilation, but that their views are really to be estimated by this unofficial voice, and that is a great handicap to our success in propaganda.

That is also, however, very great proof not only that our broadcasts are getting through, but that they are taking effect. Our propaganda from this side would surely not answer the broadcasts of "Haw-Haw." That would be a confession of weakness and would advertise him. We would not answer such broadcasts unless we felt that German propaganda was succeeding here to a very great extent, and that we were compelled to answer what people in this country knew. That is sufficient indication of the success that our propaganda has achieved. Again, the German Secret Radio representing disaffection seems to be increasingly used and to be causing the German Government very great anxiety. Well, our broadcasting propaganda would fail by reason of bad pronunciation and bad translation. Surely the noble Viscount cannot think that that is an affair which does not matter, and if it is the case that the best can only be got from the ranks of people of enemy alien birth I feel sure that so long as there is proper security he would not oppose the employment of such people. The prospect of a division of opinion in Germany is one of the factors which form the very essence of our policy in regard to the war. If we spoil our propaganda by interfering with its technique we should be thwarting our own policy and throwing away our success.


My Lords, from all I have heard of the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, I should suppose that he and I are probably the two most enthusiastic Francophiles in your Lordships' House. It is therefore with great regret that I have listened to his admirably enunciated and expressed—and, therefore, in my opinion, all the more pernicious—speech to-day. Although the noble Lord has appealed to the most surprising allies, the Labour Party and Premier Stalin, I really think that most of us do not feel that either that body or that person will be found really on his side. I should like first of all to read to your Lordships the statement made by the present Deputy Prime Minister at the Labour Party Conference, which is therefore the Labour Party official policy. This, I think, must be read in connexion with the statement Lord Vansittart read to you out of what is, after all, only an interim report from a Labour Party Committee.

This is what Mr. Attlee stated on February 9, 1940. He said that: History teaches that any attempt to keep Germany an outcast after this war, or to deprive her of such security as her neighbours rightly claim for themselves, will fail. The most far-sighted and least dangerous policy is to seek to win the co-operation, as an equal partner, of a Germany governed by a political system whose aims and needs run parallel with ours. Only the equilibrium thus created, on the one hand by the effective guarantee of France's security and on the other by the recognition of equality to the future Germany, will make possible a new and hopeful approach to the achievement of our peace aims. If we fail to create this equilibrium, we shall find either France, or Germany, or both, intractable. That is the official Party policy and is binding on my friends on this Bench. It does seem to me that that must be read in conjunction with the extract read out by the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, from another Labour Party document, and a much less official one.

I should have thought that the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, and the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, when they put down this Motion, would have gone to the B.B.C. to ascertain exactly how much of this much-feared foreign influence there was in fact there. They do not seem to have done so. I myself did so, and I take it that the noble Lord, Lord Noel-Buxton, either had already done so or did likewise, because, as he has told you, and as I am informed, there is no direct alien influence on propaganda at the B.B.C. All decisions are taken by Englishmen, and they are counter-checked by Englishmen. The only work done by Germans is the reading of the news, which I understand it is impossible for English people to do; it has to be done at very short notice and in good, intelligible German. There are one or two cases in addition where talks are also read by Germans. To explain the necessity for this, I would say that one case is that of broadcasts to the dock workers in Hamburg and to the maritime community. For this purpose it was considered desirable that the speaker should have a Hamburg accent, and I imagine that there is not an Englishman alive who could produce just that peculiar accent which would give to the dock workers the impression that they were being spoken to by one of themselves—and I am sure that your Lordships will admit that that should be done if possible. Apart from that, the talks are written, arranged and spoken by Englishmen.

I think that the noble Lords whose names are associated with this Motion have overrated the extent of German influence in the B.B.C. I do not intend to defend the propaganda of the British Broadcasting Corporation; on the contrary, I think that it is hopelessly defective. I have not listened to it myself sufficiently consistently to make a definite statement on my own authority, but it has been described to me as being about 80 per cent. threats and 20 per cent. conciliatory promises. The noble Lords who have spoken would apparently prefer that it should consist entirely of threats. I think that the important thing to remember is that no wireless propaganda is any use whatever if those whom you wish to hear it will not listen. I ask you to consider how much you used to listen to "Lord Haw-Haw," and how much you listen to him now. The B.B.C. tell me—and it confirms my own experience—that only a very small number of people ever listen to "Lord Haw-Haw" now. In the past we used to listen out of interest or for amusement; and even now, when life seems grim and one wants brightening up, one still listens to him occasionally; but it is no longer funny, but merely boring.

One must consider why one does not listen, because, as I have said, no propaganda is of any use if it is not listened to. I think one of the reasons is that it consists very much of the kind of propaganda which the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, wishes us to make to Germany; it is all threats and abuse. It used at one time to be really rather seductive. I have heard broadcasts from Germany which have made me say "Gracious me, how true that is! I might have said that myself"—which of course shows how true I thought it. That is the kind of propaganda to which people will listen; but the kind of propaganda which these noble Lords would recommend us to broadcast would in fact not be listened to at all. The noble Lord, Lord Noel-Buxton, has said that there is evidence of the extent to which English broadcasting is in fact listened to at the present time in Germany, and that is extremely interesting. There are conclusive indications that more and more, especially in the last six months, our broadcasts are listened to. Very often entirely false statements are attributed to British speakers who address themselves to Germany in order that Goebbels may have the pleasure of denying those statements. But you must, in order to get people to listen, say something to which they want to listen; otherwise they will switch off.


My Lords, the description which the noble Lord has given of my views on the kind of propaganda that I wish to put over is, I think, a travesty.


I am very glad to hear the noble Lord say that, but that is the impression which he certainly gave me.


I hope that I have never given anyone in this House the impression that I correspond to "Lord Haw-Haw"; I think that my credentials are slightly different.


What I suggested, as the noble Lord must be fully aware, was that he was demanding that we should broadcast to Germany threats to frighten them.


I did not say so.


I am very glad if I am wrong, but that was my impression. As the noble Lord has withdrawn it, clearly it is not what he meant, and that is what I wanted to get at. I am perfectly certain that we should aim at an attractive propaganda. The noble Lords, Lord Vansittart and Lord Elibank, have doubted the existence of good Germans, and they have pointed out that there is no evidence of a revolutionary movement in Germany. I am not at all certain that that is in fact true. There is at any rate evidence that Himmler has thought it worth while to withdraw considerable numbers of his S.S. troops from the Russian front into Germany. One cannot help wondering exactly what he wants them there for, and I think that there is quite a possibility that they may in fact be needed in Germany. The majority—and indeed the very great majority—of the young men of Germany, men who have been brought up in the Nazi tradition, men who are indelibly, perhaps, Nazis, must have been called up into the Army, and must have gone to the Russian front. I think, therefore, that we are bound to conclude that German industry at the present time is being very largely carried on—as to some extent our own industry is also—by older men, and even by considerably older men. In Germany these will be the men who built up the fine tradition of German trade unionism, the men who knew the heroes and the martyrs of that movement, the men who inevitably, however silent they may have been during these years, do not believe in Hitler, the men who have hated the Nazi régime and who have suffered from the loss of their hard-won liberties. These men must, I should say, be a considerable majority of the present labour force of Germany.

When you add to them some 4,000,000 foreign workers, unwilling workers, press-ganged or forced by economic circumstances to go to work in Germany, you have a very considerable number of definitely unfriendly people in the German industrial machine; and they are key men. Moreover, we have evidence that there is considerable fraternization between the foreign workers and the German workers. It is, I understand, quite usual for a foreign worker—and, after all, 4,000,000 workers cannot be individually supervised—to find himself at the bench alongside a German and, on his first day there, to hear his neighbour whisper to him, "Our standard here is 75 units an hour." The moment a remark of that kind has been passed, a tacit agreement is entered into, and a relationship is established between those workers. I believe that there is every possibility of a rising in Germany against Hitler, though not immediately. It has been laid down authoritatively by Lenin himself that it is impossible to hope for revolution with an undefeated Army in the field. It has been the universal experience throughout history that that is so; but, when the German Army shall have been defeated, then I believe that the Germans—the good Germans, in whom the noble Lords are so disinclined to believe—will arise, and their rising will save us many months, perhaps years, of war, and many thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of lives. It is for that reason that I believe that this Motion which is before your Lordships to-day is pernicious. It is, I believe, dangerous.

The noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, denies, and has denied publicly, the impeachment of having been an appeaser, but he has admitted that he was in favour of the Hoare-Laval Agreement because, he said, he feared that we were in no position to resist the Italians. This war has surely shown how vain—


I am sorry to interrupt again, but that also I have never said. I never said we were in no position to resist the Italians—that is a complete travesty. My motives, I hope, were far more statesmanlike and far-reaching than that. I cannot sit here and have my views continually travestied without intervening. The whole of the noble Lord's speech is but an example of the technique to which I have become accustomed in this controversy, and that is to put words into my mouth which I have never pronounced, and then spend time in demolishing them. I do not, my Lords, expect such tactics in this House.


am sorry I have misquoted the noble Lord—that was the form in which I was given to understand the noble Lord had spoken. But I think he will admit that he was in favour of the Hoare-Laval Agreement. He was. I am sorry, but the noble Lord was in a key position in the Foreign Office during the whole time that led up to the present war, during the whole time that appeasement was the policy of successive British Governments. I know that it is said that a civil servant need not be in agreement with the policy which he is bound to endorse, but it does seem to me a little unfair that the noble Lord should cast doubt upon those who in their own persons suffered the horror and the tortures of the Nazi régime and have tried to escape from it and fled to this country.


That again I have never said. This speech is a long fairy tale, my Lords. If it amuses the teller I am quite willing to go on listening and I will interrupt no further because everything the noble Lord says about me is such a complete misstatement that I should only be wasting your Lordships' time by continuing the argument. So I will not interrupt again; I will simply say this is a fairy tale.


I am glad to hear that for the sake of the noble Lord's reputation. I will say at any rate that I am misinformed. As I say, it has seemed to me unfair that these imputations should be cast upon the strangers within our midst. The noble Viscount, Lord Eli-bank, has also attacked these same refugees. It was only a few years before the present war broke out that Lord Elibank was offering Colonies—our own, the Dutch and the Portuguese—to the Germans.


The noble Lord is surpassing himself this afternoon in his absolute misrepresentation of facts and is now trying to misrepresent another fact, which is that some eight or nine years ago I wrote a letter to The Times in which I suggested that possibly, if the Germans would do certain things, we might be prepared to see whether certain Colonies, excluding particularly Tanganyika, might be handed back to the Germans. But I made no offer to the Germans, and I will say further, as the noble Lord is making this misrepresentation of my words, that within one week of that letter being written to The Times Herr von Ribbentrop went to Leipzig and made a speech in which he said that he was going to get back the German Colonies by the sword, and I wiped out that letter for ever.


I think my misunderstanding perhaps will be explicable if I read an extract from the noble Lord's letter, which was dated the 5th January, 1937: Personally I have never felt any strong reason against the return to Germany of Togoland, or of the Cameroons, and I believe, if European peace were at stake. New Zealand would not feel very strongly about the return of Samoa, nor Australia about the return of German New Guinea. Japan might even be persuaded to hand back some of the islands in the Pacific which she received under Mandate. So far as Holland is concerned, she neither lost nor won anything during the last war, in her comfortable position as a neutral country protected by the Allies on both sides. She has huge undeveloped areas in Dutch New Guinea—adjacent to German New Guinea—peopled by tribes still living in the Stone; Age, and regarding all white men as belonging to the same nationality and race. There, and perhaps elsewhere, she might be able to help. Portugal likewise has large areas of very sparsely developed territories whose inhabitants need not suffer by change of mastership. Portugal could also help if so minded. In view of what the noble Viscount said about the withdrawal of that letter, I think it worth while to read the noble Lord's letter dated the 5th April, 1937—four months later. This is what he wrote: In the light of this open propaganda from Russia and of the position in Spain and France, where the so-called 'Popular Front' is in control (Sir Stafford Cripps is the principal protagonist of the 'Popular Front' in this country), there may after all be some sanity in the attitude of Germany and Italy when they continue to arm and refuse to be satisfied by Russia's noisy membership of the League of Nations and perfervid protestations in favour of world peace.


I must ask the noble Lord to go on. No European peace is at stake in that letter.


My argument was that I did not think that the noble Lord was entitled to raise this particular discussion in view of his own attitude on allied questions in the past. However that may be, it is my belief that what we must offer to the German people is participation in a future order. Hitler has offered them a New Order. It is a New Order which I believe most Germans do not really like. I am reliably informed that there is very little war enthusiasm in Germany. The Germans have suffered from their own régime; whether it brings the wealth of the Indies, the diamonds of South Africa or the gold of Canada still it will not compensate them for their loss of liberty. Let us offer them a new world in which we will all co-operate for universal prosperity and happiness, a new world of which a prosperous Germany, a prosperous German State and German people—which Mr. Stalin has said he recognizes must always exist—will be an important and a respected part. Let us tell them that, and I believe that you will shorten the war and save thousands of lives.


My Lords, I will not detain the House at any length but I should like to say a word out of my respect for the noble Lords who have brought this matter forward, and partly out of admiration for the very brilliant speech in which the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, defended his point of view—I think he will agree, a brilliant variation on a well-known theme, but none the worse for that. I do not propose to follow my noble friend who has just spoken on the objects which we have in view in this war. It is very important that they should be discussed, but it does not appear to me that this is the moment at which I, at any rate, could discuss them usefully. Any attempt to boil them down into a single sentence or something of that kind seems to me a little dangerous. You would have to express more fully what you have in view if you are to avoid being misunderstood. Here we are not discussing that. We are discussing the objects of propaganda and whether it is being carried on usefully at the present moment. The objects of propaganda are, of course, quite well known. They are partly to encourage our own people and our Allies and partly to undermine the strength, vigour, and enthusiasm of the enemy. I do not think either of the noble Lords would wish to quarrel with that as a description of the objects of our propaganda. Indeed they said quite definitely that they recognized that the purpose of sending messages to Germany was no doubt to diminish and, if possible, destroy the German will to war and, consequently, German readiness to endure the sufferings that war necessarily entails. If these are the objects, it seems to me the only thing we really have to consider this afternoon is whether, broadly speaking, the policy described, and which no doubt will be more fully described by my noble friend who replies for the Government, is likely to produce success in these two objects. Will it encourage our own people? I am not sure that very much can be done by broadcasting messages to encourage our own people. My noble friend Lord Vansittart thinks we ought to dwell more on the danger of extermination. He thinks that that topic is very useful to address to the English and equally useful to address to the Germans. He said very strongly that we ought to point out to the Germans that if they went on they would be exterminated, or something to that effect. He also said I we ought to tell our own people that if they are not careful they will be exterminated. I am not sure in the one case or the other, that you will produce any good effect by that. I certainly think we should explain to our people the great dangers and great difficulties—I prefer to say difficulties—we are in, and the immense importance of redoubling all our efforts and all that kind of topic, which has been so brilliantly deal with by the Prime Minister. I really do not think that anything the B.B.C. is likely to do will better what the Prime Minister has said so brilliantly on many occasions. That seems to me the only thing you can do as far as that aspect of propaganda for the encouragement of our people is concerned. I must be permitted to add a little doubt even on that point. I am not sure whether you do well to try, or even appear to try, to frighten the English people into taking some particular course. I remember the late Lord Roberts, after carrying on his very interesting campaign for National Service, said he had come to the conclusion that it was no use trying to frighten the English people. I believe there is a good deal of truth in that.

It is a matter for consideration in our propaganda whether we ought not to dwell more on the constructive purposes which we have. I precluded myself from going into these, but whatever view we take of this war, we are not fighting merely and solely to save ourselves. We do hope to establish some better system in the world, otherwise we should certainly be in a very miserable position at the present time. Therefore I am not sure that I would not recommend dwelling on that, from the point of view of encouraging people here, rather than on the dangers they run. In any case that is not the main subject of the criticism which is made this afternoon. It is mainly on the ground that what we are doing is not likely to undermine or lessen the German strength. I am certainly most anxious to do everything possible to lessen the German will to war, and I was very glad to hear from Lord Vansittart that he has not abandoned the hope of finding some Germans who are open to argument. He did not think there were many of them, but there were some, and he said with great truth, if he will allow me to say so, that it was a very wrong thing to make any attempt to distinguish between the German Army and the German nation. I entirely agree with that proposition. I think that is absolutely true, and Germans who are not fighting ought carefully to consider what is being done to their good name, such as it is, in international affairs, by the horrible actions of those who are nominally fighting for them. I am therefore quite in favour of any propaganda of that kind, but that is the object we all have in view—the best way of discouraging the Germans.

I am not quite sure whether the considerable passages of the mover and seconder describing—let us use a very moderate term—the "indiscretions" of Anti-Nazi Germans have very much to do with the subject of this Motion. Even assuming your broadcaster is an Anti-Nazi German who still has a certain belief in his own country, and assuming that he is not from our point: of view a satisfactory person, does it very much matter as long as he merely utters what is approved as part of the British propaganda? I do not pretend to know exactly what precautions are taken with regard to our German propaganda, but I do know—because I have been a victim of it myself—that the greatest care is taken to "vet" and pass any script that is uttered from the B.B.C. transmitters. If there is anything those who are entrusted with the editing of these scripts disapprove of, it is immediately omitted from the script. Indeed more than one instance has occurred where a proposed broadcaster has had his script so ruthlessly edited that he has declined to go on, and the broadcast has not been delivered. I suppose that similar, and probably more rigid, editing is adopted for everything that goes out to German listeners, and therefore the actual opinions of the broadcaster seem to me of considerably less importance.

One thing you really want to do is to secure that the German listener shall listen. I do not know whether the broadcaster's name is even given, but the fact that he is not known to be a red-hot opponent of everything German is surely in his favour as a broadcaster, because he is more likely to be listened to. There fore his message, which is not his message only, but the message approved by the Governmental authorities here, is more likely to be listened to. That really is the main point that I desire to make, and I do not wish to keep the House any longer. In this matter we all respect Lord Vansittart, but I cannot help thinking he does not really take the same view as Premier Stalin. I know he said so, and said so very interestingly and persuasively, but in point of fact Stalin said in so many words—at least so I read it—that they were not fighting with the whole German nation. I think he used that exact phrase, but I have not got it before me. He certainly said something to the effect that they were fighting the Hitler Government which was in power, and that when that was destroyed they would be ready to consider what terms they could give to the rest of Germany.


I think his exact words were that they were not out to destroy the German people. Those I think were the exact words. There was nothing about attacking them. We, quite obviously, are attacking the German people.


I would not trouble about the details. My noble friend is much more likely to be right than I am. I do not care what the exact phrase was; but he did make a distinction between the German people and the German Government, and I do not think there is any doubt whatever that he said their enemies were the German Government. He said that, surely, because he believed that was the best way of stating it, and because it was true, and because he believed that to say it in so many words was the best way to reduce the German opposition. I do not want to flatter even Stalin, but I do think we should all admit that he is in a position to know more accurately what the Germans are thinking than almost anybody in this country. It has been the business of the Russians to watch most carefully Germany and German opinion, and he must know all about it now. Nor is it only Stalin who takes that view. After all, our own Foreign Secretary has said something very much the same. I remember a speech of his made in the Guildhall when he said, in effect: "We do not desire to destroy the German nation, but, on the contrary, we look to the time when, from a commercial point of view, the existence of Germany might be very valuable to us." That surely is the common sense of the matter. We are absolutely determined to destroy Hitler and Hitlerism and all they mean, not only Nazism but the whole horrible structure of the present German Government, the Gestapo and all the horrors and tyranny which they have developed. We are absolutely certain that we wish to see all that destroyed, and utterly destroyed, and, if we can secure it, that those who are responsible for this conduct shall receive condign punishment at the end of the war.

I think we are all agreed on that; at least I very strongly agree that nothing is to be gained by flattering the Germans. I doubt whether it is much use flattering any people, but the Germans themselves would never flatter anybody unless they were afraid of them, and they think that we would never flatter them unless we were afraid of them. I am sure that to flatter the Germans is perfectly useless. I do not believe it is any use abusing them cither. By all means state the truth about them, and, as far as it is essential for the guidance of public opinion here, state the truth, but I do not believe in violent abuse. I do not believe in the doctrine that Germans are wholly and irredeemably bad; I do not believe in the view that you can disregard or exterminate or get rid of 80,000,000 of the strongest and most virile people in Europe. You have to live with them. The thing to do to them is to say: "Your present policy is inconsistent with any kind of freedom or justice or liberty in the rest of Europe and it must abolished. We must destroy the Government and we can have nothing to say to you or your Government until we are quite satisfied that the present policy of Germany has been materially and permanently changed."


My Lords, I desire to detain you for only a few moments. There are one or two matters which have been raised upon which I should much like to express an opinion. I think there are certain points on which we are all agreed. The noble Viscount said that this was the moment at which we ought to go all out to win the war against Germany, and the German Army and the German nation. We all agree with that. Then a second point, that never again must Germany be in a position to commit acts of aggression such as she has taken, acts which have led to this and the last great war. The third point of agreement is that the aggressor nations, which obviously include Germany, must be disarmed for the purpose of preventing in future such actions as have occurred in the past. If we are agreed on these three points we have a very large measure of accord already. I feel that the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, with his usual brilliance—as brilliant as his writings have been—is open to challenge on the ground even of history. I do not share his views about that, nor do I share his views in regard to the German people, and I am not sure that his views regarding the Weimar Republic are correct. But that would lead to long controversy, and I do not propose to weary your Lordships with it at the present moment.

The noble Lord has a far greater knowledge than I have of what he calls the activities of certain German refugees who have had hospitality in this country. There I shall not challenge his facts, but it seems to me that they have little, if any, bearing on the Motion which is before us. The questions are (1) Are the B.B.C. broadcasters trustworthy? And (2)—so far as I can understand it—Do they broadcast the kind of matter which would help us with the German people and thereby shorten the war? On the first point, I would like to believe that every precaution is taken to see that the broadcasters are reliable. We have been assured on the authority of the B.B.C. that they only act as mouthpieces, and that everything they say has been "vetted" by our British experts. That seems to me to be quite sufficient.

With regard to the substance of the matter, what I would suggest is that our broadcasting to Germany should be based on two main doctrines or principles. The first the principles as set out in the Atlantic Charter. The principles in that Charter seem to me to be of great importance, and if they were fully brought home to the German people I cannot but believe they would have some effect. It is true they advocate disarmament so that Germany shall not be an aggressor in the future, but they also advocate that the vanquished shall have access on equal terms to the trade and raw materials of the world which are needed for their economic prosperity, and the fullest collaboration between all nations in the economic field, with the object of securing for all improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security. Lastly, 1o afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries. Those seem to me principles which we ought to publish in Germany by every means in our power.

The second document is a quotation from the President of the U.S.S.R. It is a magnificent statement and I should like to quote the following portion of it: It is very likely that the war for the liberation of our Soviet land will result in the ousting or destruction of Hitler's clique. We should welcome such an outcome. But it would be ridiculous to identify Hitler's clique with the German people and the German State. The experience of history shows that Hitlers come and go, whereas the German people and the German State remain. Then he proceeds to attack the German racial theory, and shows the horrors which it has brought on the world. I feel that if we broadcast to Germany as much as possible on these lines we shall be doing everything we can to see that broadcasts are effective.

I infinitely prefer that we should broadcast on these lines with the corollary of the Atlantic Charter rather than on the lines of the views of the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart. I have a quotation from a newspaper which states that he assumes that Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Churchill mean what they say, and that means that there will be a prolonged occupation by all the Allies of all Germany, a complete destruction of the German Army, and a drastic. control of German armament-making firms—that these will have to be destroyed. I cannot find anything in the Atlantic Charter, or in the message of Premier Stalin of prolonged occupation by all the Allies of all Germany. I cannot believe that propaganda conducted on that basis is likely to be effective.


My Lords, in replying to this debate I should like first to thank my noble friend Viscount Elibank for the very kind words with which he opened his most interesting speech and to tell him how much I appreciated what he said. I should also like to congratulate my noble friend Lord Vansittart on the very brilliant maiden speech that he made this afternoon. I must also take the opportunity of refuting the attack made upon him by the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, in his speech when he brought the extraordinary charge against Lord Vansittart of having been an appeaser when he was a permanent official. In the first place, an attack on any man for the advice that he gave when he was a civil servant is, I think, almost as unfair as to attack a man when he is a civil servant, but to attack the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, of all people as an appeaser is not only unfair but also betrays an amazing ignorance of the facts. Therefore at once on behalf of His Majesty's Government I would like to repudiate that very unfair and unjust attack made by the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon.

When I listened to my noble friend Viscount Elibank I admired the skill with which he seemed to be hanging rather a large hat on a very small peg, because if your Lordships look at the terms of the question on the Paper you will see that it was very much more limited than the scope covered in his speech. But the noble Viscount's hat was nothing compared to the whole wardrobe deposited on that very small peg by other members of your Lordships' House. I would like to explain that I am replying on behalf of the Minister of Information, because unfortunately the Minister of Information is not in your Lordships' House nor is the Parliamentary Secretary of that Ministry. Therefore it falls to me to reply to the noble Viscount's question, and if I do not answer some of the points raised which were not included in the question on the Paper I hope he will not think me guilty of any discourtesy to him.

The answers to the noble Viscount's particular questions are very simple. There are in fact thirty-four enemy aliens employed and paid by the British Broadcasting Corporation in connexion with German broadcasting and propaganda. They are employed not for the purpose of directing policy—they have no opportunity of directing policy—but they are employed entirely because of their knowledge of the German language and of German local conditions. They are engaged by the B.B.C. and not by the Ministry of Information, but as many of the B.B.C. buildings in which these alien refugees are employed, or may be required to work, are scheduled as protected places, every one of them has been examined on behalf of the Home Secretary who has satisfied himself that their employment is not contrary to the public interest. In this matter I need hardly say the B.B.C. acts in full co-operation with the Home Office and does not act on the assumption that Anti-Nazi views are a guarantee of reliability and integrity. I think there I have given my noble friend precise and specific answers to the questions which he asked.

I could not, however, help feeling that my noble friend was under a number of serious misapprehensions when he framed his question and when he made his speech. I think those misapprehensions are shared by a good many other people, and so I will endeavour to explain the facts this afternoon. As I have told your Lordships, the Germans and Austrians employed in the B.B.C. are not employed to direct policy; they are not employed to write scripts, or to write propaganda. That is done by English people, and of course the Government are responsible for propaganda policy. The people who actually deliver the messages are merely carrying out the instructions and the policy of the Government. I believe I am correct in saying that the chief reason for which it is necessary to employ Germans and Austrians is to have on the staff people who are so familiar with the German language and German slang that they are able to "monitor" the broadcasts that are received from Germany and foreign countries. That work is nearly all done by German refugees. But I need hardly tell my noble friend that before anyone is employed in such a responsible position his antecedents are most carefully checked and most carefully gone into, and the fact that he is an Anti-Nazi is only one of the many facts taken into consideration before he is employed.

The actual propaganda broadcasts are not, I understand, delivered by Germans. It has been found better that they should be delivered by Englishmen. My noble friend criticized certain particular broadcasts and I should like to say a word about that. Although I am not going to defend everything that has been said by the B.B.C. since the present Government came into office, I must say that to take a particular phrase out of its context, to take a particular phrase or a particular sentence, or even a particular passage, is really not a sufficient ground on which to base an attack on the whole propaganda policy of the Government or the B.B.C. It is like our old electioneering friend: "What did Mr. Gladstone say in 1866?" You really cannot base an attack on evidence of that sort. When I tell my noble friend that no fewer than 30,000 words in German alone go out from the B.B.C. to Germany and to the world every day, I think he will see that it would not be fair to condemn the propaganda or to approve the propaganda merely on a few chance passages or phrases, or even, possibly, on one or two broadcasts. There is this great volume of spoken words going out—some 150,000 words a day, of which, as I have said, 30,000 words a day go to Germany alone—and, as noble Lords have pointed out to-day, we do know that it is being listened to in enemy countries under risk of the penalty of death. The fact that it is being listened to does seem to be a very great justification and defence of that propaganda.

In reference to a particular passage that my noble friend alluded to I should like to say this. I had heard that particular broadcast criticized, and as I thought, possibly, that my noble friend might refer to it I did take the opportunity of acquainting myself with its terms. Although I do not agree with everything that was said in that broadcast, I do not think that my noble friend gave quite an accurate account of it. I would like to assure my noble friend that this was the broadcast of an Englishman. It was written by an Englishman and was intended to carry out the policy which has been spoken of in this House, and of which I think most reasonable people would approve. Therefore, I can assure my noble friend that the idea that this or any other broadcast was due to the machinations of secret Germans who had been insinuated into the propaganda machine of the British Government is entirely devoid of any truth whatsoever. I do not think that there is very much else that I can usefully say at this late hour. I hope that I have answered all the questions that my noble friend asked.


If the noble Earl is going to finish I would like to ask him if he can tell us who is responsible now for political warfare? Do the triumvirate, of whom we were told in this House last year, still sit? Do they direct any functions, or have they been replaced?


The answer to that question is that all propaganda is under the charge of the Minister of Information so far as administration is concerned. It is all the work of the Minister of Information, but, of course, it is governed by the policy laid down by the Foreign Secretary. "Therefore the two Ministers are equally concerned in propaganda—the Minister of Information and the Foreign Secretary.


The Minister of Economic Warfare has now been withdrawn?


The Minister of Economic Warfare is not concerned in the same way. That is the answer which I think my noble friend wants. In regard to what I have referred to as the "wardrobe" hung on the small peg—the very wide range of matters dealt with by your Lordships in this most interesting debate—I can assure your Lordships that I will bring to the notice of my right honourable friend the Minister of Information all the very useful suggestions and criticisms which have been put forward. I am certain that coming, as they do, from noble Lords with wide experience of these matters, they will be given by him his most careful consideration. I do not think it would be appropriate for me to enter into a dissertation on German psychology or the responsibility of the German nation and other great questions of that sort. I have heard many things to-day with which I have profoundly agreed, and I have heard other things with which I have agreed less. But I should like to give this assurance in answer, especially, to something which fell from the lips of my noble friend Viscount Elibank. I can assure him that there are no kid gloves in the wardrobe of His Majesty's Government. Kid gloves have been thrown away long ago, and we are going to use propaganda and every other weapon that lies to our hand in the most ruthless and most thorough manner that we possibly can. In carrying out that task we shall be glad of any assistance which your Lordships can give us in the fight.


My Lords, I hope I may be permitted to say just a few words before withdrawing my Motion. I wish first of all to thank the noble Earl for his reply and for what he has been able to tell us to-day. I think that the noble Earl will recognize, from the wording of my Motion, that there was no intention of attacking His Majesty's Government in regard to these matters with which I have dealt. The intention was to obtain information, to persuade the Government to take, if possible, stronger action, and to assure ourselves of the integrity of the individuals employed in connexion with the B.B.C. broadcasts and these other matters. But, during the debate, certain points have been raised, especially by the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon—who has left the House as he has to catch a train—to which I take particular exception. I take exception both on behalf of my noble friend Lord Vansittart and on behalf of myself to the whole atmosphere of the noble Lord's speech. He did not confine himself to the matters contained in the Motion, a Motion framed under the conditions under which we exist to-day, but brought up letters and policies of five or six years ago in order to draw a red herring across the debate which was proceeding. Obviously in 1936 and 1937, when we were unarmed, and had no ships or anything else, everyone was groping to see whether it was possible to get a settlement which might secure the peace of Europe at a time when Germany had already been re-arming for three or four years.

The noble Lord's speech, in my opinion, was the most disastrous speech which could be made in this House at this time when we are fighting for our lives as nation and as an Empire, and when the enemy is almost at our gate. To uphold the German Army and the German nation, as the noble Lord did this afternoon, could be done only by one who is the greatest protagonist of the conscientious objector in your Lordships' House. I had differences of opinion with the noble Lord on a Bill some time ago on that subject. The noble Lord, who, as I say, is one of the greatest protagonists of the conscientious objector in this House, has come here and held forth in a way which is to the detriment of the whole feeling in this country and of everyone who is fighting for this country. It is perhaps too much for which to hope, but I wish that he may have to suffer for the speech which he has made to-day. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.


My Lords, on the question that leave be given for the Motion to be withdrawn, I wish to speak for a moment in order to defend my noble friend Lord Faringdon, who, as the noble Viscount has rightly said, has had to leave the House.


My Lords, I told the noble Lord what I was going to say.


My Lords, it is for your Lordships to decide, and I exercise no authority because I am sitting on the Woolsack; but hitherto I have understood that, when a noble Lord applies to withdraw a Motion, that is not in itself a new Motion which is subject to discussion. Presumably if the House was to negative the wish to withdraw a Motion we should have to vote on the Motion. I merely make that observation.


My Lords, perhaps by leave of the House I may say one word in defence of my noble friend. I can raise the same matter on the Motion for the Adjournment if necessary.


My Lords, on a point of Order, is this really in order? The other day in your Lordships' House I had put my name down in support of a Motion and wanted to say a word at this stage, but I was told that it was out of order and I immediately gave way. This seems to me to be an analogous case.


My Lords, the question before the House is whether the Motion should be withdrawn, and I do not want us to enter upon an argument as to whether this is a right procedure or not. I merely wish to say that my noble friend Lord Faringdon, in any action which he has taken in connexion with conscientious objectors—it has nothing to do with this Motion, but is part of a personal though courteous attack by the noble Viscount—was acting in accordance with the law of the land.


My Lords, I am afraid that the noble Lord is really out of order on this occasion. There is no Motion before the House, but only the formal question that the Motion be withdrawn, and this is not a new Motion or a Motion on which the noble Lord can speak.


My Lords, I am never disorderly, and I do not wish to be so now. I shall answer the noble Viscount on the Motion for the Adjournment.


My Lords, is it your pleasure that the Motion be withdrawn?

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.