HL Deb 19 December 1944 vol 134 cc373-417

2.22 p.m.

VISCOUNT TEMPLEWOOD rose to move to resolve, That the unifying forces of Europe stand in urgent need of strengthening, and in particular that every European citizen should be ensured of certain fundamental rights and liberties without which European civilization cannot continue.


My Lords, before the noble Lord begins I wonder if I may say one or two words about the business of the House. I thought I ought to consult your Lordships about it in connexion with the Motion in the name of the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, which is on the Paper. This is one of those rather difficult cases where it is a little uncertain whether we shall get through to-day or not. I would hope that we might manage to complete the debate this afternoon, but if later on it appears that we are approaching our usual adjournment time and still only about half-way through, I would suggest that we might adjourn the debate. In that case our proper procedure, I think, would be to start at twelve o'clock tomorrow, complete the debate, and then continue with the business on the Paper for to-morrow afternoon. I do not want to say anything quite definite at the present stage; we must just see how we get on, but I thought I ought to consult your Lordships as to whether that would be a proper procedure.


My Lords, in the absence of the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, perhaps I may be permitted to say that I feel sure that your Lordships will agree that that is the most convenient course to pursue.

2.24 p.m.


My Lords, in normal times I should have hesitated to address your Lordships so soon after my entry into this House, particularly upon a Resolution as wide and as comprehensive as that which I am now moving. I hope, however, that your Lordships will agree that these are not normal times. Events are moving very quickly. It may be that we have now reached the most critical moment of the war. I do not mean by that that we need have any anxiety as to the development of the military campaign, but I do mean that now that the common bond of acute danger is somewhat relaxed other questions, some of them disturbing, some of them maybe creating divisions that have hitherto been effaced and pushed into the background, are now coming to the front. On that account I felt that it was due to your Lordships that as soon as my mission in Spain was terminated I should put before you the impressions that I have formed during this long absence, in case any of them may be of use to us in facing these difficult problems in the future.

I should explain that I have been abroad for nearly five years. I suppose it is a unique experience for anyone who has had an active political life here to spend so long a period of time as that on the Continent during the course of a great war. I should indeed have been insensitive to my surroundings if I had not taken some advantage of this new political education, and reached certain conclusions based upon my own direct experiences that may be of interest to this House and to my fellow countrymen in England. During all this time, or perhaps I should say during the greater part of this time, Spain was practically a semi-occupied country. The German Armies were on the frontier, German influences pervaded many important sections of the national life. The Germans, for instance, had great influence in the police, they had great influence in the Press, and though, as I say, Spain was not militarily occupied, for those early years of the war Spain was morally occupied. I had many instances in my own experience of this kind of nonmilitary occupation. I had the Gestapo living in the next house looking over the wall between me and them, watching every one of my movements. I had the Gestapo constantly trying to suborn my domestic staff. I saw the Gestapo taking photographs when a not was stirred up for the purpose of breaking the windows of the British Embassy. I saw what was more sinister, how from time to time the Gestapo would seize some man or woman on Spanish territory and take them over the frontier, where they might be tortured or done to death.

Your Lordships will not be surprised if I say that these experiences have left a very deep impression upon me. But worse than these personal incidents was the conviction that this terrible German trail was leaving behind it corruption, leaving behind it bitter hatreds and vendettas and was steadly undermining all the moral standards of the life into which it instilled its poison. I do not believe that anybody who has not lived with those German influences around him can realize the moral devastation that they are leaving wherever they are exercised. Indeed, when the final count is made against the Nazi régime, I believe that, great though the material devastation of Europe may be, posterity will say that the worst German crime was the studied destruction of all the moral values of Europe. I ask myself to-day, as I have asked myself many times in the last five years, what can we do to recreate these moral values and to re-establish the basis of European civilization that is now in such urgent danger? I venture to say this afternoon that this is not an academic question; this is not a question that can be pushed indefinitely into the future. It is—this is my conviction, based on direct experience—a question fundamental to all the other many issues that we are considering to-day. How can we give once again to Europe a backbone that will prevent it drifting into this invertebrate anarchy in which there is no hope, in which there is no chance of the better world that all of us wish to see at the end of the war, in which the state of Europe will be far worse than at the end of the first Thirty Years War, worse than at any moment since the Dark Ages and the break-up of the Roman Empire?

Let me, with great diffidence, and basing my suggestions always upon my direct experiences, suggest certain concrete ways in which I believe we in England, and the great Allies generally, can help to recreate these moral values. Let me first suggest that there are certain obstacles—I admit very formidable obstacles—that must he removed before we can contemplate any substantial moral revival in Europe. These obstacles are so obvious that I do not think I need labour them to your Lordships this afternoon. First of all, for instance, it is obvious that before there can be any moral revival in Europe there must be an end to the fear of German military aggression. Here again, if I may once more quote my own experiences—and I do so from no egotistical point of view but simply because I feel they will be more interesting to you than any recorded at second hand—I have seen the effect of this fear of German aggression in a country where, for four years, we had the German Army upon the frontier. I have seen the numbing and the enervating effect that it has, even upon the strongest men and even upon the finest characters.

I am not sure whether here we always realize how dominating has been this element of the fear of German military aggression upon these Continental countries. Do not let us think of this fear as necessarily something to condemn indiscriminately. It is not always fear for a man's possessions; it is not always fear for his own life. It is something much worse than that. It is fear of his wife and family being tortured. I talked to scores of refugees who had come through Spain, direct from Germany, and I have realized the terrible strength of this fear—the fear that a man's wife and children may be tortured, and the fear, even worse, that the man himself will not have the strength of mind or the physical endurance to be able to face the German tortures. I have seen some of our bravest supporters in the occupied countries, men and women—the women just as fine as the men—who have faced these terrible dangers, and they have said to me, "What made us most fearful was the fear that if the Gestapo caught us we could not physically and mentally withstand the tortures that would be inflicted upon us." I venture to say that in passing, lest we should be inclined to assume that all the men and women who have not been strong enough actively to fight against the German terror should be indiscriminately condemned.

But I must come back to the point that I was venturing to make—namely, that before there can be any moral revival in Europe, this danger of another German military aggression must, once and for all, be eliminated. On that account I welcome whole-heartedly and without reservation what I believe to be the two most effective steps that have been taken against the possibility of this revival of military aggression—the Anglo-Russian Treaty and the Franco-Russian Treaty. I feel that no more effective step could have been taken by the Allies than this safeguarding both of the East and the West. But I wonder whether, within that framework, we are moving fast enough to fill in the details. I have in my mind in particular the question of defence agreements other than those contained in the Anglo-Russian-American-French scheme. If there is going to be another war—we pray that there may not be another war, but if there is going to be another war—I imagine that it is unlikely to come about before, say, ten or fifteen years from now. I imagine that if that be the case, the air then will be even more predominant than it is to-day. Are we, I wonder, moving quickly enough in making air defence agreements, both in the East and the West, that will make it hopeless for any German to contemplate another military aggression? I have a feeling that we may be losing the present atmosphere of common effort and of comradeship that has grown up between the various Allied Forces, and I venture to urge upon your Lordships that it is essential that we should make the most of this common outlook for the purpose of building up, in the near future, a common system, so far as it is possible, of bases and training and radiolocation and all those other essentials of air warfare that can only be effectively ensured upon a big scale. But I do not want to linger upon this point of my observations as I think it can be assumed in every quarter of the House that everyone will agree that before there can be a moral revival it is essential that this fear of military aggression will be eliminated.

I come now to two other essential conditions and I need only mention them in a sentence. Before we can hope for a revival in Europe, Europe must be fed. That is self-evident to every noble Lord. I mention it because I have had the feeling, from time to time, that the extreme urgency of this problem is not always realized. The slow motion of great conferences, the building up of great machines—it may be they are quite necessary in themselves but it may be also that they move too slowly. Having seen something of the need of urgent relief measures in Spain—we have had from 50,000 to 60,000 refugees on our hands in the last few years—I would suggest that the problem is terribly urgent and that it is better to act even though you cannot act upon a watertight, comprehensive plan rather than to delay and let these men, women and children drift on to the verge of starvation. Then again—and this is the last of the preliminary conditions for the moral revival in Europe—there is the problem of preventing anarchy. This is a terribly difficult problem after these years of almost complete material and moral devastation, a problem that is rather euphemistically called law and order. It may raise a whole series of difficult issues—the difficult issue of avoiding the setting up of Quisling Governments, the difficult issue of seeing a country drifting into gangster rule. I can only give your Lordships my own personal impressions for what they are worth and I would confine myself to three observations that have burnt themselves into my mind during my stay on the Continent.

I would say first of all that we should use the utmost care to avoid intervention in the interior politics of other countries. It is difficult enough to understand the politics of one's own country. From my own experience on the Continent I can say that, it is perfectly impossible for Englishmen to understand the internal politics of many of the continental countries to-day. I would venture therefore to say to your Lordships, let us keep clear of getting involved in the Party con- troversies of other countries. I would also venture to say, let us not project into those continental controversies our own habits of thought and our own terminology. Words on the Continent very often have meanings very different from the meanings that they have here. I note, for instance, that at this moment many of my friends here are talking airily about General Elections and plebiscites. It may be that General Elections and plebiscites are necessary, but let no one think for a moment that in certain parts of Europe to-day General Elections and plebiscites are going to resemble what they would be here where we would arrange them with all the safeguards of the Corrupt Practices Act and the Metropolitan Police Act and all the various measures that we have for ensuring that the view of the country shall be made known.

Thirdly, and upon this impression I would lay the greatest possible emphasis, let us not divide Europe into definite camps. Let us not divide Europe into Reds and Whites, Communists and Fascists. This is playing the German game. This is what the Germans are trying to do in Spain and every other country on the Continent. I do not believe in such cut-and-dried divisions. I have said very often to my Spanish friends in Spain, that I do not believe in this division in Spain between two clear-cut Parties, the Reds on the one hand and the Nationalists on the other. I believe that in Spain, as in other parts of the Continent, the great body of the population, the ordinary men and women, are neither Red nor White. They are very much what they would be here, simple people who wish to live their lives free from foreign aggression from outside and from civil war within. I would therefore say to your Lordships again, basing this upon my own experience, do not let us think of the Continent of Europe as divided into these distinct, clear-cut Parties.

I have made these observations upon what I call the preliminaries for a moral revival in Europe. Let me assume that in the immediate future we do our utmost to realize and carry into effect the safeguards which I have said are the necessary preliminaries. Let me go on from what is rather a negative side of the case to certain proposals of a more constructive character. As I said at the beginning of my speech, Europe at the present moment is in a state of moral devastation. Somehow or other we must bring Europe back to its basis of civilization. I would venture to define European civilization—it is not an original definition by any manner of means—as a civilization that differs from the other civilizations of the world in that it concentrates upon the sanctity of human personality and upon the development of the individual soul. Let me take that as the objective that we should keep in mind, when we are trying to get moral standards re-established upon the Continent. When I was abroad I lived in a totalitarian country. I do not say that the totalitarianism of Spain was identical with the totalitarianism either of Germany or of Italy, but I do say there were certain factors in common between the system in Spain and the totalitarian system in other countries. These factors gave me the opportunity of realizing at first hand what should be the basis of this human development which, as I say, is the very essence of European civilization.

I venture to suggest to your Lordships this afternoon that the first step that ought to be taken should be taken by methods upon which I will say something before I finish. The first step to be taken is to obtain for Europe—and for the world if it is possible—a guarantee of certain liberties for every European that would enable him or her to develop his or her personality in accordance with the very principles of European civilization. Let me suggest to your Lordships what I mean. I mean first of all equality before the law; no preferential treatment for members of a particular Party. I mean, secondly, a unified and established system of justice—the very opposite, that is, of the system that has grown up in so many countries of Europe of special courts, very often military courts, to try particular offences; the very opposite, also, of what is common in many countries of Europe at the present time, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment without trial, without even examination, for very many months. I mean, thirdly, no racialism. I mean, fourthly, religious freedom; and I mean fifthly, admission to professions and public employment. No doubt there are other liberties that will occur to your Lordships in addition to these basic liberties—freedom of discus- sion for instance, the freedom of the Press, freedom of movement—all of them so well described by the Prime Minister in the statement he made in Rome on August 19. These are basic liberties, they are fundamental to European civilization, and if as a result of the peace we could obtain their acceptance by each country in Europe we should have taken a long step forward to recreate the moral values of Europe that are now in such urgent danger.

It may occur to your Lordships to ask how it. would be possible to obtain agreement for these basic liberties in all the countries on the Continent of Europe, and in particular you might ask, what about Russia? I think it is much better to discuss these questions frankly and not evade any issues. As I said at the beginning of my speech the whole of what I say to-day is unreservedly within the framework of the Anglo-Russian Alliance. What about Russia? I am not sure whether every one in your Lordships' House realizes the fact that all these liberties are guaranteed under the Russian Constitution of 1936. The history of that Constitution is worth a word of comment. I do not suppose that ever in the history of the world was a Constitution composed with greater care or with more effective publicity. The consideration of the Constitution took many months. There was subsequently a campaign of unprecedented extent in the Press, on the radio and in meetings. No fewer than 527,000 meetings were held in the country to consider it and eventually it was accepted by more than 2,000 delegates taken from 63 separate nationalities. When I read of all this propaganda and publicity, I could not help thinking how much I should have liked to have had a publicity machine of this kind when, in company with other noble Lords in the House this afternoon, I spent years upon the proposals for the federation of India. I say that by the way. Never has there been a Constitution composed with such publicity or with such effective propaganda behind it.

If your Lordships will bear with me for a minute or two, let me quote one or two articles of this Constitution. I do not select them out of their context. If your Lordships will study this Constitution you will see they are wholly in accord with the whole body of the text. There is Article 123: Equal rights for citizens of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, irrespective of nationality or race, in all spheres of economic, State, cultural, social and political life, shall be an irrevocable law. Any direct or indirect limitation of these rights, or, conversely, any establishment of direct or indirect privileges for citizens on account of their race or nationality, as well as any propagation of racial or national exclusiveness or hatred and contempt, shall be punished by law. Article 124: In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the Church in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics shall be separated from the State, and the school from the Church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of anti-religious propaganda shall be recognized for all citizens. Article 125: In accordance with the interests of the working people, and in order to strengthen the Socialist system, the citizens of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are guaranteed by law (a) freedom of speech; (b) freedom of the Press; (c) freedom of assembly and meetings; (d) freedom of street processions and demonstrations. Article 126: In accordance with the interests of the working people, and for the purpose of developing the organized self-expression and political activities of the masses of the people, citizens of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are ensured the right to unite in public organizations, trade unions, co-operative organizations, youth organizations, sport and defence organizations, cultural, technical and scientific societies. … Article 127: Citizens of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics are guaranteed inviolability of the person. No one may be subject to arrest except by an order of the court or with the sanction of a State Attorney. Lastly we have Article 128, which states: The inviolability of the homes of citizens and secrecy of correspondence are protected by law. You will see from those extracts, my Lords, that there should be nothing in the proposal I am making that would run counter to the policy of Russia, as expressed in the 1936 Constitution. That Constitution has not come into operation. It can legitimately be said that the fear of foreign aggression and the fear of internal disorder inevitably postponed its operation. I venture to say, to-day, that I hope—indeed I do more than hope, I feel sure—that when the peace is finally made, when there is no further danger of military aggression, and now, also, that the possibility of internal upheaval has disappeared, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will put this Constitution into full operation. And, if that be the case, your Lordships will see that from the side of Russia there ought to be no kind of opposition to the guarantee of elementary rights that I have insisted is the very basis of any European moral recovery. Your Lordships will see from what I have said that I have insisted as strongly as I could upon these basic rights. I venture to suggest that, looking to the future of Europe, it is much wiser to concentrate upon certain basic rights than it is to start upon any plan for standardizing Constitutions. It would be a fatal error if we attempted to impose upon the Governments of Europe anything in the nature of the Westminster pattern that presupposes a whole series of conditions that do not exist over most of the Continent.

I therefore suggest that it is much wiser to accept a great variety of polities and political conditions upon the Continent, but to insist the whole time upon the recognition of these basic rights. After all, it is the rights that matter much more than the particular clauses of a particular Constitution. You will see, therefore, that I have attempted to approach this issue upon the basis of these elementary rights, rather than upon the basis of proposals of particular methods or particular types of Constitution. You will, also, see that this insistence upon these rights ought not to excite opposition amongst any of the United Nations. The proposals that I am making are in full harmony both with the traditions and the subsequent public statements of our American Allies. They are in full harmony with the Declaration of Independence and the Atlantic Charter. They are in full harmony with the traditions of our French Allies and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. They are in full accord, as I have just pointed out, with the Russian Constitution of 1936, and, so far as we here in Great Britain are concerned, they are really bone of our bone in the history of our constitutional progress. There is the concrete proposal that I venture to put before you; that we should concentrate upon these basic rights rather than upon constitutional uniformity.

I would not, however, sit down without making one or two further observations, very shortly, as to how, in my view, we should make a concrete practical advance in the direction that I wish to see Europe take. I do not wish to see the issue end in a simple declaration. I wish to see something much more than a paper charter. I feel, looking back over the last twenty-five years, that we have had too many of these paper charters that have led to very little in the way of concrete results. On that account, I venture to put before your Lordships, not as a finally considered plan, but as suggestions for an advance, the following proposals. I should like to see, first of all, the United Nations sign a convention accepting and promising to safeguard these elementary human rights. Further than that, I would like to see some body formed by the United Nations, formed very probably within the framework of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, that would be a permanent body, collecting data—there should always be variations between one country and another as to how and to what extent these rights were being safeguarded—making reports and generally helping to raise the moral standard in defence of these rights. I have in mind—though it may not be an exact analogy—the International Labour Organization as the kind of organization which might be found to be useful. I am aware that the International Labour Organization necessarily differs, so far as its constitution is concerned, from what I have in mind, because its constitution is specially adapted to deal with economic questions. I am thinking, however, not of the constitution of the International Labour Organization but of its functions—namely, advisory, informative, and generally designed for the raising of standards. I should like to see some permanent body with functions of that kind set up for dealing with these basic liberties of European citizens.

It may be found that such an organization could deal with the whole world. If so, so much the better. But I am thinking to-day, after my experiences on the Continent, that an acceptance of these rights is the fundamental condition of any moral advance in Europe, and I am thinking mainly of Europe. I am asking your Lordships to criticize, if you so desire, the details of my proposals, but to believe me when I say that until these rights are generally accepted dictatorships will continue, moral standards will be lowered, and there will be little or no chance of the recovery that we all so passionately desire. Your Lordships will see that if these rights, which are the very antithesis of everything that is meant by Nazism, were once admitted—equality before the law, a fair judicial system, a measure of public discussion—dictatorships in the future would become almost impossible. For all these reasons I venture to press this proposal upon your attention to-day. I thank you for having listened to me with such attention when in a maiden speech I have so ambitiously embarked upon so many of these great issues. I ask you to believe that if once again we are to recreate the bases of European civilization, the finest civilization that the world has ever seen, founded on Greek liberty, on Roman order, on Jewish and Christian thought, then these elementary rights are an essential condition of advance. I pray that whatever may be the more detailed provisions of any Peace Treaty in the future, these elementary rights will by one means or another be guaranteed to Europe. I beg to move.

Moved to resolve, That the unifying forces of Europe stand in urgent need of strengthening, and in particular that every European citizen should be ensured of certain fundamental rights and liberties without which European civilization cannot continue.—(Viscount Templewood.)

3.15 p.m.


My Lords, in the regretted absence of my noble friend Lord Addison, the Leader of the Opposition, owing to indisposition, it falls to me to follow the noble Viscount who has just spoken. I feel sure that I may, in the name of the whole House, thank him for his maiden speech, to which we have just listened with such close attention. Your Lordships will also, I feel sure, desire me to take this the first opportunity of thanking him also for the great services which he has rendered to this country and to Europe during his mission to Spain. It was anticipated by many, when a totalitarian régime was established in that country as the outcome of the civil war, that if at some future time there should be an armed conflict between the Axis Powers and the Western Democracies, Spain, whose régime had owed so much to the intervention of Germany and Italy, would feel herself bound to intervene and to take, perhaps, an active part in the war on their side. That did not in fact occur, mainly, no doubt, because of the existence in Spain of powerful democratic forces, and the feeling of General Franco that a country exhausted by devastating and ferocious civil war would not be willing to embark on fresh military adventures; but also that result has been brought about in no small measure by the tact and the firmness of the British Ambassador in Madrid. We have been told lately that we must not criticize our Ambassadors, but there is no rule against praising them. There is a kind of discriminating valve which stops blame but lets praise through. However, my noble friend does not stand in any need of such a protective device, for the value of his services in Spain is recognized on all hands.

We have heard a maiden speech comprehensive, closely reasoned and carefully considered. The noble Viscount speaks with the practice of a Parliamentarian of long standing, and with the weight which comes from much reflection. With his diagnosis of the present European situation I feel sure that all must agree. The Continent is suffering from a moral sickness, and what is needed above all is, as he says, to recreate moral values and to give to Europe (to use another phrase of his) a real moral backbone. We must indeed find an ethical basis for our politics and our economics. The history of the nineteenth century and of the first half of the twentieth has been marked by three distinct phases of thought. First, through the greater part of the nineteenth century men's minds were concentrated upon political issues, and especially upon constitutional issues—national independence and democratic Constitutions. The great dates here were 1832, the date of the great Reform Bill, and 1848, the year of revolution on the Continent. Great typical names of the nineteenth century were Gladstone, Bright, Byron, Garibaldi and Kossuth, and the names of those who were struggling for liberty in Russia. In the end it seemed as though all the world would obtain democratic Constitutions. Even India was stirring; Turkey and China had their Parliaments, and the world in general believed that once that process was complete there would be peace, liberty and prosperity, and all would be well.

In the latter part of the nineteenth century, however, there came a conviction that that was not so, and economic questions came to take the foremost place in the minds of great multitudes of people. Attention was concentrated on the evils at the basis of society—poverty, ignorance, unemployment, wretched environment, and so we had the rise of the Labour movement in this country, of Social Liberalism, of Socialism on the Continent, Communism in Russia, the conspicuous figure Karl Marx and the theory of the economic interpretation of history, that all history should be valued in terms of economics—the materialist theory. From those great movements large results have been obtained and many things of value, and both the political and the economic movements have undoubtedly been essential. But now in these days we are coming more than ever to realize that neither the one nor the other is enough. We see that the war of 1914 was not the result either of political or of economic considerations. Never was the world so prosperous as at that moment. or more rapidly becoming even more prosperous. Immense changes were being effected in the cure of the evil of social maladjustment. The war came far more from national ambitions than from any other cause; and again in 1939, although it is true that the great depression and the ruin of large classes in Continental Europe, and widespread unemployment were among the causes, they were not the causes which made war inevitable. The real cause was the rise of the Nazi philosophy in Germany, with its principles of the Herrenvolk, the "Blood and Soil," the Führerprinzip, indeed the ideas of Nietzsche, who furnished wickedness with a philosophy. The question is no longer political or economic, but in a much greater degree ethical and religious.

Therefore when I come to my noble friend's diagnosis, as I say, I agree wholeheartedly. But the remedy which he propounds appears to me to be once more rather reverting to the political level. He wants to guarantee certain liberties, to make sure that there shall be the reign of law, no arbitrary arrests or imprisonment, no racialism, religious freedom, equal opportunities. It is easy to declare all these purposes, but why should they be accepted and how can we be sure that they will be maintained? He would say, because they are obviously right and just and conduce to the welfare of mankind. Perfectly true, but we are in an age when there are schools of thought that care nothing about rightness or justice or the welfare of human beings, and whose emphasis is laid on action, greatness, power. Those things, and not human welfare, are their aim. If we were to establish all my noble friend's aims and achieve the results he desires, what guarantee is there that they could be maintained against aggressive nationalism, wars of revenge, or revolutionary Communism? What he says in effect is that many of the countries of Europe in this year 1944 have still not obtained what this country secured by Magna Charta in 1215. His purpose is to help or to stimulate all the Continental countries after so many centuries to obtain a Magna Charta of their own, and then he would establish a permanent international organization to promote and propagate that idea and to watch over its development.

As to his concrete proposals, I would make one observation. In his last words he invited us to criticize. While I accept, of course, whole-heartedly his aims as being right and proper and excellent, there is this one word of caution that it would be necessary to utter before accepting whole-heartedly what is prima facie so right and proper. I am not sure that his new charter would not prove to be a charter for subversive revolutionaries. Now revolutionaries are of all types. They may be the friends of liberty who have been struggling to overthrow tyranny, as those great men whose names I have mentioned did in 1848; or they may be the agents of tyranny who are striving to overthrow democracy. We cannot be sure when this war is over and Germany is defeated that there will not be attempts made to re-establish the Nazi ideas in power. For some time after this tremendous storm there is likely to be a ground swell over the ocean, and you may have all kinds of movements, possibly violent movements, to try to upset the settlements that have been arrived at.

Now experience of recent years has shown that democracies are very easily overthrown. They went down one after the other all over the Continent of Europe. And they were easily overthrown largely because of their own attachment to the principles of liberty. A Hitler comes forward and says: "I believe in violence, I believe in organizing a riot, a Putsch, a revolution; you on the other hand believe in freedom, liberty, free speech, in no arbitrary arrest, no imprisonment without trial in accordance with the law and conviction for a definite offence. How do you dare, you democrats, to stop me in my agitation? You are being traitors to your own principles." And so you found over a large part of Europe that these subversive movements went forward. There was not sufficient evidence of actual crime having been committed to stop them. You found private armies growing up in Austria, and you found events like the murder of Chancellor Dollfuss. You found these subversive movements going forward everywhere, while the democratic Governments were so to speak tangled and trussed up in their own high principles, and unable to meet these subversive movements by methods in any degree comparable to their own.

Here in this country on various occasions of crisis it has been necessary to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and our Regulation 18B at the present time would certainly not conform, I am afraid, to any of the principles that the noble Viscount has lately been advocating. Indian revolutionary movements in Bengal, accompanied by assassination, have had to be suppressed by some arbitrary measures; and at this moment in Palestine, where shocking crimes have been committed by terrorists and where no evidence can be obtained against individuals, it has been indispensable to take somewhat arbitrary measures to arrest suspects and to confine them under restraint. If all restraints are abolished by a general principle which is to be maintained by means of an international organization we might find that in the Balkans and other countries Europe had become ungovernable. The noble Viscount said that we are not to intervene in Party quarrels in various Continental countries, and that is undoubtedly a very sound maxim. At the same time he would have a Convention signed by the great Powers enunciating these principles, and a permanent organization established which would see to their application so far as possible in difficult cases.

But all these instances either in this country or in any other country dealing with a situation such as I have briefly mentioned would be in contravention of those great principles, unless you have it clearly laid down that in exceptional cases for the suppression of incipient revolutions such action might be legitimate. But where are you to draw the line, and who is to decide when such action is to be regarded as proper and when it is to be considered tyrannous? Moreover, establish this system and you may find in various countries acts of violence committed by revolutionaries deliberately in order to compel measures of repression, so that those measures of repression might be brought before the public opinion of the world and invoke foreign interventions. Such measures were reduced to a fine art for many years by the Comitajis in Macedonia and other subversive elements in the Balkan States. Consequently, while I do not venture this criticism and these suggestions as in any way detracting from the truth and value of the suggestions of the noble Lord, I only wish to invite your Lordships to consider before consenting straight away to the principle of the establishment of an international authority of this sort, and to see how far realities would compel the limitation or qualification of the general principle which he has advocated.

He has suggested that much may be done by example and by influence. He says there should be an international organization which should be advisory and informative and whose object should be the raising of standards; and he has instanced the International Labour Organization. There is another example, which perhaps has not occurred to him but it is even closer and it deals specifically with one of the topics he mentioned—namely, the enforcement of the penal law—and that is the International Prison Commission which has now existed for many years. It holds a congress every five years and its purposes are exactly those which he has mentioned. A large number of States are members and this country has taken a leading part. The purposes of the Commission are to consider methods of imprisonment enforced in various countries, to formulate the best practice in the most enlightened States and to induce, by moral influence, the adoption of such measures elsewhere. That International Prison Commission, with which I was familiar when I was at the Home Office—I do not know whether my noble friend was at the Home Office during a year when one of those congresses took place—held a congress every five years, and during the interval the headquarters at Berne carried on various measures for the achievement of the objects in view, including the summoning of committees to deal with various points, and the issue of reports.

But my main criticism of the noble Viscount is that while his arguments lead to the conclusion that it is a moral reform that is needed, his conclusion is that political measures, the adoption everywhere of the principles of our own Magna Charta and Bill of Rights should be established. The political, the economic and the ethical all affect one another. He has pointed out that to make these changes in the direction of liberty is a preliminary to some moral revival. Well it might be, or it might not, and I do not know that it is really necessarily essential to a moral revival; but those three factors, the political, the economic and the ethical, must affect one another in some degree. We have read the late Mr. Wendell Willkie's admirable book One World. It is one world not only in a geographical sense but also because all human activities affect one another. We cannot divide these subjects into compartments, putting religion into one, politics into another and commerce and industry into a third. They must all affect one another.

But while my noble friend has, as I say, diagnosed a moral sickness, he advocates a political cure. To my mind—as I have intimated briefly in speeches in this House on previous occasions and very frequently outside this House—we must at this stage in the history of Europe set ourselves to bring in the spiritual forces; and not only that vague religion of humanity which does, in fact, in the modern world, to a great degree govern men's minds and influence their actions, but also the great organized religions. However, there we come to the fact that while these political, economic and ethical trends of thought have become manifest during the last century and a half, there has been another which has proved in some respects even more powerful, and that is the scientific The development of science has revolutionized man's ideas on the universe and the Deity, and when we come to invoke the aid of the organized religions we find—and it is only frank to recognize the fact which is in all men's knowledge—that all the faiths, Western and Eastern alike, have closely intertwined their ethical precepts with ancient theological dogmas which are, to a large degree, unacceptable in the modern world; and thereby their influence has been greatly weakened.

Yet they still have great power and even greater possibilities for the future; and I ask leave of your Lordships to call your attention to a movement which has recently been taking shape in America—in some respects the most lively country in the world intellectually at the present time. In America, in October, 1943, a three-faith declaration was issued over the signatures of about one hundred and forty of the leaders of the Protestant, Catholic and Jewish faiths, which has attracted great attention there and elsewhere. Perhaps your Lordships would allow me to read the Protestant Preamble to this declaration of faith, because to my mind this touches the very essence of the whole of the human situation. Each faith had its own Preamble and they all agreed on seven points. This is the Protestant Preamble: A world troubled almost to despair by the tragedy of recurrent war looks to the forces of religion for leadership. The Protestant Churches, responsive to that appeal, have already sought to show how the practical implications of their faith should guide the relations of nations. The conclusions to which they have come are in many important respects similar to those of men whose religious heritage differs from our own. In this we rejoice, for world order cannot be achieved without the co-operation of all men of good will. We appeal to our constituency to give heed to the following principles, enunciated in common by Protestants, Catholics and Jews, which must find expression in political policies if they are to establish a just and durable peace. Beyond this statement of principles, we hold that the ultimate foundations of peace require spiritual regeneration as emphasized in the Christian Gospel. The Catholics and the Jews also have their Preambles to a document which advocates seven points, which are more closely argued in the paragraphs but of which the headings are these: "The moral law must govern world order"; "the rights of the individual must be assured"; "the rights of oppressed, weak or Colonial peoples must be protected"; "the rights of minorities must be secured"; "international institutions to maintain peace with justice must be organized"; "international economic cooperation must be developed"; and "a just social order within each State must be achieved." A few months afterwards the Council of Christians and Jews in Great Britain issued a statement welcoming the declaration in May of this year. I would remind your Lordships that the Presidents of that organization were the late Archbishop of Canterbury, whose loss we so deeply deplore, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Moderator of the Free Church Council and the Chief Rabbi. That Council of Christians and Jews in Great Britain stated that it warmly welcomed the statement on the conditions of world peace signed by the Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish religious leaders in America on October 7, 1943, and found itself in general agreement with the principles therein laid down. There follows further elaboration. The World Congress of Faiths is now engaged in inviting the adhesion of religions in other countries of Europe and in the countries of the East.

This matter is, I fully recognize, outside the scope of a Legislative Assembly such as your Lordships' House to consider in any detail, yet I venture to draw your Lordships' attention to it because it is there, and on those lines, that we shall really get the answer to the question posed by the noble Viscount who has opened this debate. Valuable as the diffusion of the principles of Magna Charta may he, there is needed something more fundamental, more universal, more transcendent, if we are to create the right atmosphere in which the world's statesmen may meet after the war to frame a better order for Europe and for mankind.

3.41 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to associate myself with the gratitude that has been expressed by the noble Viscount who has just spoken to the noble Viscount who introduced this subject. He has a special right to speak on this matter after his long experience in Madrid in the post which he held with such great distinction and with such great value to this country. I propose to follow him in the part of his speech in which he spoke of the moral confusions of Europe. I cordially agree with him in feeling that the disorder in Europe to-day is not due only to political and economic causes but is also due to moral and spiritual causes. At one time Europe accepted a common moral standard. Even when nations failed to live up to it, even when they were at war with one another, they still accepted its standard. But that standard has now very largely gone. We have a great Power, the Nazi Power, rejecting all that we have regarded as of value and exalting all that we have regarded as evil. There is a simple sentence in one of Sir Richard Livingstone's books on education, in which he says that words like liberty, justice, mercy and truth have now lost their old meanings and that with this loss the bottom of civilization has fallen out.

Even when the Nazis are defeated chaos will remain in Europe unless nations recognize that there is a moral law over and above the laws which they make for their own international interests and ambitions. The civilization which we have had, as the noble Viscount has said, has come from Greece, Rome and Palestine. I would venture to say that these qualities of which I have spoken of freedom, justice, mercy and truth, have been interpreted to mankind and made popular through the Christian faith. If therefore we are to overcome the false values which are so subversive to Europe, it must be through the revival of the Christian values in different lands. And here I find myself in complete agreement with almost everything that has been said by the noble Viscount who has just spoken. His was a speech which we should have welcomed from this Bench and at times I almost thought he might translate himself here. But the hope of the future of Europe does, I believe, depend upon the work which can be done by the Christian Churches. It is true the Christian Churches are, in many cases, minority religions, but their influence extends far beyond their numbers and this war has shown how strong their influence is in many other nations. It is impossible to praise too highly the heroism shown by the Churches in Norway, Belgium, Holland and elsewhere. They have been the centres of the resistance movement and their influence has been widespread and remarkable. But the influence which they might have in their own countries will be insufficient by itself unless they are able to act together.

Some years ago it would have been almost impossible to have expected any kind of general co-operation between the Christian Churches. At that time Christian Churches, confident in their own powers and worship, refused to cooperate with others. That position, as the noble Viscount has just pointed out, has been very largely changed. The Christian Churches are as convinced as ever of the truth of their faith, but they recognize that there is a very wide field in which they can co-operate with other Churches and religions. The noble Viscount has quoted some remarkable statements which have been made in America, but I can quote a statement which I think is even more remarkable, made in 1942 when the two Archbishops, Cardinal Hinsley, and the Moderator of the Free Church Council in a declaration accepted the five points which the Pope had laid down for a just and honourable peace. There is increasing co-operation and friendship between the various Churches. Our Church of England is on terms of friendship with the great Orthodox Greek and Russian Churches, and the Protestant Churches of this country are in frequent contact with the Reformed Churches and there is a growing friendliness between the different Churches. I feel that these Churches, acting together from within their own countries, will have a profound influence on the future of the world, and the great responsibility which will rest upon the Churches in the future is not to support this or that detail of international organization but to concentrate on the effort to revive the Christian and moral values that have been very largely neglected of late.

If the Churches are to do this, there are two conditions which I feel are quite essential. First of all, there must be religious freedom. Without religious freedom it is impossible for the Churches to act spontaneously and vigorously. Without religious freedom they will be suspected of being a mere Department of the State. By religious freedom I mean that the Churches should have freedom of worship, freedom of preaching and teaching and freedom of determining their own organization, and that the individual should have freedom to worship or not to worship God as his own conscience dictates. This freedom has been largely set back during the war. We have witnessed the horrible persecution of the Jews, the most horrible and widespread persecution, I suppose, that the world has ever known, but wherever Nazism has reigned there has been persecution and Christian Church after Church has had to suffer all kinds of hardship and persecution. On the other hand there have been gains. It is remarkable that since the war there has been greater freedom of religion in Russia than at any time, and I venture to say that the Russian Church to-day has probably greater freedom than it has had for long centuries. I hope indeed that when the Peace Treaties are drawn up a very special care will be taken to see that religious freedom is secured as well as political freedom and economic freedom.

My last observation is this. When the war comes to an end and the Nazi terror is removed it will be found that a number of these Churches on the Continent will be in positions of great anxiety and difficulty. Some will have gained in moral stature; others will have been humiliated. All will have suffered materially. Many of their priests and ministers will have been massacred or their health will have been undermined through long periods in concentration camps. Their churches, their halls and other buildings will often have been destroyed. They will find questions of finance extremely difficult. I hope that the Churches both in America and on this side of the Atlantic will do their utmost to help the Churches on the Continent in their difficulties. I believe there was nothing nearer to the heart of Archbishop Temple during the last weeks of his life than the question of how we may help in rebuilding the churches on the Continent. But this will not be possible unless the Government are prepared to help in various ways to make it possible for representatives of the Churches to visit one another as they are liberated from the Nazi tyranny and also to make it possible to send them material help. I have spoken on this subject because I am so deeply convinced that though physical victory over Germany is necessary, and though a hard and stern peace will be necessary to prevent Germany from ever plunging the world again into a ghastly war such as the present, physical force is not enough. We must endeavour through spiritual means to revive the spiritual and moral values which have been so gravely shattered during these last years.

3.54 P.m.


My Lords, may I associate myself in the welcome given to my noble friend who introduced this Motion? It is I think a special honour to have him as a member of your Lordships' House. I entirely agree with the principles which he has laid down. I am not quite so sure about all the actual proposals which he has made. That pact, for instance, which is to be signed by all the civilized Powers, reminds me only too forcibly of a thing called the Kellogg Pact whch was signed by practically every nation and then was completely laid aside when in their judgment occasion rendered that necessary. I am not going to take up your Lordships' time by emphasizing what was said by the noble Viscount the Liberal Leader in your Lordships' House, and by the most reverend Prelate the Archbishop of York, about the supreme importance of the spiritual motive lying behind every attempt to reestablish the shattered morale of Europe. I only want to consider the bearing of what the noble Viscount who introduced this subject in his singularly eloquent and thought-provoking speech had to say upon Germany itself.

I suppose we are all agreed that the problem of how we are to treat post-war Germany is so vast that we would rather not give it careful thought. It is very natural to say, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Let us wait until the war is over." I would reply in the words of the Prime Minister about that other thorny problem of Poland, that we can at least make sure that we face the problem in its sombre magnitude while time remains. There is nothing but sombre magnitude in the problem of the treatment of post-war Germany. I think it is most difficult to exaggerate. How are we to eradicate the poison which the German people have so readily assimilated? I need not remind you that the poison was there before the Nazis exaggerated it. It is part of the German tradition that man exists for the State and not the State for man. Therefore the first duty of every citizen is subservience to the rulers of the State. I need not enlarge on that, but I would like to give a rather significant illustration. Before the last war one of the most deservedly famous of German scholars was asked how it came to pass that he was so subservient to the Kaiser. His reply was surprising. Remember he was a man of world-wide fame. His reply was that for him there were two ways of knowing the divine will about the German people. One was the word of God and the other was the will of the Kaiser. It is not a very far cry from the Kaiser to the Führer.

Increasingly of late the other doctrines have been added that the test of the State is the test of its own power and that Might is the Right of the German race, the Herrenvolk. These doctrines have permeated deeply into the German mentality and the way has been prepared for the Nazi rule. It will be very hard indeed to eradicate these perversions which have become so common. How is it conceivable that that can be done? I would venture speaking as shortly as I can to suggest two answers. First, there must be the teaching of facts and events. By this I mean a full, complete and indubitable defeat, coupled with prevention of any future powers of military aggression and a long occupation of the country. That I hope might avail in due course to break and smash that idol of the all-powerful State which has become almost worshipped in Germany. But there must be something more. There must be punishment. We all agree that there must be punishment of those found guilty of the crimes associated with the Nazi rule. But more than that, I do not see how the German nation as such can escape some share of punishment and suffering proportionate to its share of responsibility for the existence of the Nazi rule. There are in my knowledge multitudes of Germans who are now heartily weary and tired of Nazi rule and eager to get rid of it, but it cannot be denied that very largely the acts of aggression which have plunged mankind in this agony were taken with the general consent of the German people and very little has been done to repudiate them. It is a fundamental principle that nations must be held responsible for the acts of their Governments, and I fear that, in this matter, the responsibility of the German nation is very special and clear. I should hope, there again, that we should only be doing what, as Christians, we are bound to do, and that is all we can to show a real will for their good by not withholding from them a full knowledge of the character of the crimes in which they have acquiesced so that they may be able to make some change of heart.

I think all that is obvious. But what is not obvious is this. If that were all we should be leaving in Germany a deep and sullen resentment which would only act as a breeding ground for further troubles and dangers. Therefore, I am sure we shall need not only this, what I may call, negative method, but also what I call a positive method. So I come to my second answer. There must be every effort to re-educate German mentality, or, as the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, has said, to recreate the moral basis of the country. I am sure that is the answer. Then the question at once arises, By whom is this work to be done? On that question a still further one arises, Are there in Germany enough Germans not closely associated with the Nazi rule, who, therefore, can be deemed trustworthy? I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Vansittart is not present, because I would have said to him that it seems that he believes that these people do not exist. I not only believe but I know they do exist, and in large numbers. No doubt, at first they accepted Nazi rule, partly because of the ineptitude of the Weimar Republic, and its lack of that hall-mark of power which Germans had come to regard as necessary for the State. But since then, in large numbers, they have come to see that the edifice which they helped to build has become a prison house which hems them in, and from which they cannot escape.

It may be said: "Why then have they not protested more vigorously?" The sufficient answer is that any criticism, open or private, would have been followed by consequences which it is difficult for us to imagine. Quite recently, I have had from a man who is known as a very eminent scholar both in this country and America a full and detailed description of the consequences which fell upon him and upon his family for no other crime than that of having visited a Jewess who was proscribed. The petty persecutions that followed were almost inconceivable, and they compelled him and his family to leave Germany and take refuge in this country. So it has been everywhere. There have been no organs of political life, no free Press. Even private words of criticism were almost certain to be followed by loss of position, loss of work or the concentration camp. It is very easy for us to criticize such men for their cowardice. It is very easy for us to say that because there has been silence on these matters there has been widespread support of the Nazi system. But we do not know what it is to live under a system such as that to which the noble Viscount has referred, where the Gestapo rules and where everywhere there is this all-pervading espionage.

That being so I not only believe, but I know, that there are great multitudes of Germans who are heartily tired and weary of the system—almost ashamed of it—and who would, if they could, welcome its abolition. I think that is true among the common people. I know that, as the Archbishop has pointed out, it is true as regards members of the Churches. I am sure that there are in Germany great numbers who would be only too anxious to avail themselves of any opportunity to become free men and able to say what so long has been in their minds. At any rate that is the only way in which any kind of change of the mentality of the German people towards these ideals which the Motion has brought before us, can be brought about. There is no other. If Lord Vansittart and his friends say that some of us are sentimentalists and do not face facts, I would reply that, in this matter, Lord Vansittart himself is under sentiment of another kind, and is ignoring the inescapable facts of the case. Unless a sufficient number of Germans can be found to carry on their own moral recreation then the attainment of such ideals is an empty dream, and Germany will remain a festering sore in the very body politic of Europe.

May I take one simple illustration—the sphere of education, direct education of the young? It is not only futile, it is merely fantastic to think that in the schools of Germany a recreated mentality can be brought about by foreigners among German youth. I dare say the Hitler Youth may be mainly killed by the time this war is over, but the infiltration of Nazi views will remain. And can anything be more ludicrous than to suppose that it would be possible to provide teachers from the United Nations who can speak German and who would be able to man or woman—if I may so put it—these schools? I think that that question has only to be asked to find its own answer. On the other hand, the whole system of German educa- tion from the primary school, through the gymnasium, up to the universities has been centralized under the State—under a Ministry of Education. I see no reason why the United Nations should not send out men, and perhaps women, or commissions of carefully selected people, to take control of that great centralized system and to select men and women in Germany who could be trusted with the task of forming a Ministry of State, or Ministries if the future Constitution of Germany is to be federal and not unitary. Under strict control, these Ministries of Education who had the whole matter directly in their hands could be trusted to purge the teachers in all these elementary and secondary schools of those who have been definitely identified with the Nazi Party.

I would speak of universities, but only for a minute, because I know something about them. I know of—and their names are available—far abler men than those who have been introduced by the Nazis who are eager to have the chance of liberating their universities from the Nazi taint and from all the evils that the Nazi Party has brought upon them. It is among such men that there is a chance—I will not say more than a chance, at any rate for a considerable length of time—of Germans themselves insisting upon those elementary rights of which the Resolution speaks, and Germany becoming not a disruptive but a unifying force in Europe.

I have touched only on the very fringe of a vast subject, but to sum up I could not do better than use words spoken by the President of the United States in New York last October. Your Lordships will note that he emphasizes the two points which I have ventured very imperfectly to make, namely, that there must be both a negative treatment of the Germans (defeat, just punishment and the like) and a positive treatment, giving some hope of restoration. These are his words, and I think that it is worth quoting them in full: We shall not leave them a single element of military power or of potential military power, but I should be false to the very elements of my religious and political convictions if I should ever relinquish the hope and even the faith that in all peoples, without exception, there lives some instinct for truth, some attraction towards justice, and some passion for peace, buried, it may be, as in the German case, under a brutal régime. We bring no charge against the German race as such, for we cannot believe that God has eternally condemned any race of humanity. There is going to be stern punishment for them, for all those in Germany responsible for this agony of mankind. The German people are not going to be enslaved, because the United Nations do not traffic in human slavery, but it would be necessary for them to earn their way"— you will mark the words, my Lords, "to earn their way"— back to the fellowship of peace-loving and law-abiding nations. I feel sure that if the problem of postwar Germany could be approached in the spirit of these words, we might perhaps find at long last that Germans would welcome the United Nations and would not regard them merely as conquerors to whom they were compelled to submit, but as liberators from a tyranny and a tradition which they themselves had come to find evil and to have been responsible for nothing but dire calamities to themselves and to the world.

4.15 P.m.


My Lords, there are many factors which make the realization of European unity peculiarly difficult to-day. I agree with the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, that a preliminary necessity is the ending of German military aggression. But allowing for that there are other obstacles. Some are material, arising directly out of the sufferings and losses of the war; some are political, and have to do with the decline of European Great Powers and the rise of World Powers with their desire for spheres of influence in Europe; but I think that the chief obstacle is spiritual, a profound distrust of nation for nation, Party for Party and citizen for citizen, together with an increasing moral disintegration.

In order, therefore, to rebuild the underlying European unity, and to secure for every European citizen certain fundamental rights, of which the noble Viscount has so powerfully and impressively reminded us, we have to go beyond politics. Not only has Europe never attained political organization as a real society of peoples, but something deeper than a political impulse is required to secure lasting unity now. I suggest that we are more likely to achieve the goal of European unity if we build on the culture which all European peoples have in common. The peoples of Europe all possess a common form of culture, based on four common spiritual traditions. There is the humanist tradition, which lies behind the literary and intellectual culture of the educated classes and is largely responsible for the liberal and humanitarian element in our civilization. There is the scientific tradition, perhaps the clearest example of the part played by intellectual collaboration in European culture. There is the tradition of law and government which, while naturally more affected by national political divisions, possesses important common elements which distinguish European from Asiatic society. Lastly, there is the Christian religion, which provided the original bond of unity between European peoples and has influenced every part of Europe and every section of European society.

All these traditions are important, but it is the last which seems to me the most important and potentially unifying of them all. Few will deny—and the fact has constantly been affirmed to-day—that of all the crises in which we are involved the spiritual crisis is the gravest. There is a profound sense of frustration and despair; there is not only a material but a moral disintegration. Without a recovery of purpose, without a restoration of hope, the dissolution of European culture is inevitable. The fundamental menace to our civilization is not Communism but Nihilism—the attitude of destruction and negation which calls evil good and good evil.

I was much struck by the reflections which fell from the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, as to the possibility of a permanent body carefully composed for improving and advising on and raising moral standards. My noble friend Lord Samuel has already expressed the conviction that the best charters and Constitutions are of little avail without religion. I welcome what fell from his lips and am in full sympathy with his plea for the cooperation of the religions of the world for the general deepening of spiritual forces in all the continents. It will not be disputed, however, that when we speak of religion in Europe, it must be the Christian religion with which we have to deal. Two facts emphasize the significance of Christianity as a great unifying force for Europe, one permanent, the other bound up with our contemporary situation. The permanent fact is that in spite of the divisions between Roman Catholic and Orthodox in the eleventh century and between Roman Catholic and Protestant in the sixteenth century, and in spite of the deep differences in the dogmatic field, there is still such a thing as a common Christian faith. The contemporary fact is that throughout the World War the Churches, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox, have been among the most determined adversaries of Nazism.

Men of all the Churches have stood together against dictatorship, and have stood side by side with the men of the resistance movements. I do not say that the Church opposition has been on the same scale in every country; in some it is almost total, in others it is a minority. But the point is that all over Europe, from Trondhjem to Athens, from Stalingrad to Toulouse there is this great Church opposition to the Nazis. All over Europe there is a network of organized Christian bodies, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox, giving witness to those fundamental rights and liberties without which European civilization cannot continue. The principles which have directed and are directing the Church opposition to Nazi dictatorship in the war are not likely to be abandoned when reconstruction begins, and there is every reason to look for the continued co-operation of Christians of all Churches in following those principles up.

Allow me to remind your Lordships of various statements—I will only quote one—made by the Pope on the principles of reconstruction. There was his first Encyclical at the beginning of the war, Summi Pontificatus; there were his famous five points on Christmas Eve, 1939, and his subsequent allocutions to the Cardinals. His most recent plea for cooperation between the Roman Catholics and other Christians was made on the fifth anniversary of the war, September 1. Pointing to the misery into which the spirit of violence and the domination of force have plunged mankind and speaking of the co-operation of men of different camps as "companions in arms for the great enterprise of reconstructing a world which has been shaken to its foundations," he said: There could be nothing more natural or more timely; nothing—given the necessary precautions—more proper. For all those who pride themselves on the name of Christian and who profess their faith in Christ, with a life conforming exactly to His laws, this disposition and readiness to work together in a spirit of genuine brotherly harmony not only answers to the moral obligation to fulfil one's civic duty, but rises to the dignity of a postulate of conscience, sustained and guided by the love of God and of one's neighbour, with added strength given by the warning signs of the moment and by the intensity of effort called for in order to save the nations. There is a similar movement for co-operation in reconstruction among those who are not Roman Catholics. On this side I can speak from intimate personal experience. There is the World Council of the Churches in process of formation, in the shaping of which the Protestant and Orthodox Churches of Europe, with the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, all the Churches of the British Isles and the American Churches have been for several years actively associated. Its principal purpose is to facilitate common action by the Churches, to promote cooperation in study, to promote the growth of an œcumenical consciousness in the members of all the Churches. The late Archbishop of Canterbury was its President. The leaders of the American Churches are its active supporters. But the point to which I wish to call special attention is this. Under its auspices a Reconstruction Department has been lately formed with the special object of assisting in the rebuilding of Christian institutions in Europe. It represents a common effort on the non-Roman Catholic side to relieve and rehabilitate all the suffering Churches. No Church, either of friend or foe, is in principle excluded. Nor do the more prosperous Churches pose as patrons. The receiving and giving Churches are both upon the controlling committee. The Churches have not the resources of States, but, while the material side is necessary, it is not the principal point in a reconstruction crusade. If the Churches can together by common action help to restore the foundations of European life and bring new hope and life to the nations in which they minister the results will be very far-reaching.

I would add a special word upon the part which the Church of Russia might play in the general work of Christian reconstruction. The causes for which the World Council stands, notably reconstruction, are causes in which the Church of Russia's aid would be of outstanding value. There are many Churches, especially in Eastern and Northern Europe— the Orthodox Churches in the Balkan countries, the Evangelical, Lutheran, and Reformed Churches and some Orthodox Churches in Northern countries, the Reformed Churches and the Protestant Churches of the Augsburg Confession in Yugoslavia, Hungary and Rumania—in relation to which the co-operation of the Russian Church with the World Council of Churches would be the greatest possible gain. It would be a great satisfaction to see the Russian Church take the prominent part in the World Council of Churches and in reconstruction generally to which its history and achievements entitle it.

I have spoken of the connexion of the Church in the occupied countries with the resistance movements. There is in these resistance movements a real spiritual quality. They stand for the European spiritual traditions of humanism, science, law and government; and a natural bond has been shown to exist between patriotic men with different backgrounds, in the Church and outside the Church, inspired by a passion for freedom and justice. The Church, be it Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox, has a unifying function to fulfil in the days which follow the liberation. Members of the Church opposition to dictatorship must stand side by side with old friends of the resistance movements in the permanent safeguarding of civic rights. It would be tragic if misunderstandings or even rival organizations were to develop between the Churches and the trade unions on the Continent after their common resistance to the Nazis in the war. The Church must take its full part with trade unionists and all men of good will in the task of improving social conditions and developing the political and social conscience. Trade unionists are not pagans.

Further, in the safeguarding of civic rights, the Church—Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox—must also think of the large masses of the population who are unable to speak for themselves. After liberation there is a danger of civil strife breaking out in many places. In all formerly occupied countries and the present occupied countries there are collaborators or Quislings—sometimes very few—and there are resisters. But there is also the non-political man-in-the-street, and he, I suppose, as a rule comprises the s great majority of the population. His rights require protection. So, just as in Athens the Greek nation seems inclined to look to the Primate of the Greek Church, Archbishop Damaskinos, for a role of mediation, I see in other countries the possibility of a role of mediation for the Church. I must crave the indulgence of your Lordships for speaking so much of the contribution which the Church has to offer for the unifying of Europe, but, after all, the Christian religion was the original bond of unity among the European peoples. I believe that in a time of distress and moral disintegration like the present, the Christian religion, together with the other spiritual traditions—humanism, science, law and government—may still prove one of the great unifying forces of Europe, one of the principal agencies for ensuring his fundamental rights and liberties to every European citizen.

4.33 P.m.


My Lords, there is an old English saying about the danger of "not seeing the wood for the trees." It is an error in which we are all rather prone to fall, and I think it is one which is particularly liable to affect politicians at times like these when we are faced with innumerable and extremely formidable problems. There is, too frequently, I think, a tendency for us to try and tackle these problems individually on what may be called a hand-to-mouth basis, without relation to any broad framework of foreign policy. As I understand it, the purpose of the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, in this the first speech which he has delivered in your Lordships' House—and I am sure we shall all agree it was an extremely remarkable maiden speech—was to counteract this tendency and to bring us back to essentials. The noble Viscount, if he will allow me, with all deference, to say so, has of course very special qualifications for this task. He has devoted his whole life, or practically his whole life, to politics. He served for many years as a Minister of the Crown and he has spent the last three years—very vital years—on the Continent of Europe.


Four and a half.


Four and a half years on the Continent of Europe in a capital with, as I think he himself said, very special facilities as a listening gallery. He has had, as we have heard this afternoon, special personal experience of the Gestapo at work, which has fortunately been denied to most of us. And now he returns to this country as an elder statesman and gives us the result of his experiences. And what is the gist of the observations which the noble Viscount has made this afternoon? First of all, at least I gathered this impression, he would say that we here in Britain enjoy the respect, even if perhaps sometimes the unwilling respect, of the nations of Europe—


Hear, hear.


—and that any lead which we give is a lead which is likely to be followed. Secondly—and this of course was the main point of his speech—he stressed with great force that the injury done in this terrible war is not to be found most of all in material destruction but even more in the moral degradation into which those people have fallen who have lain beneath the Nazi and Fascist yoke during these bitter years. He rightly emphasized that the ultimate evil of totalitarianism is that it destroys all established standards of right and wrong, and that it replaces them by a bastard moral code under which things become right or wrong according to the whim of a dictator—what I think the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, described as the philosophy of Nietzsche. Lord Templewood expressed fears that the harm that has been done by this crime against civilization will be extremely difficult to eradicate, and that the restoration of a higher general moral standard in Europe will be perhaps the most difficult task which the world has to face. I do not suppose any one in this House would dispute Lord Templewood's assessment of the situation.

There is no doubt that the evils to which he referred—the moral evils—are the dreadful result of the most odious form of tyranny which has ever been imposed upon Europe. It is a tyranny in which ruthless cunning and scientific cruelty have been combined together after years of premeditation and planning—a dreadful and appalling system. Hitler and Goebbels and those others who work the Nazi wicked will have deliberately set out—we have all heard of individual examples of it—to corrupt the minds of the people they have subjected. That is one of the main weapons in their armoury. They would almost say so quite frankly; I am not sure that it is not in Mein Kampf. They have used overwhelming force and cold-blooded cynicism in a horrible combination to achieve their ends. Indeed the most remarkable thing is that after five years of German domination—five hideous years—their success has not been greater than it has. This shows how indestructible is the spirit of liberty in the mind of free men. The indomitable struggle of the resistance movements under constant threat of imprisonment, torture and death; the immediate resurgence in liberated countries of Parliamentary institutions, as in France and Belgium—all these are signs that the deep-rooted instincts of free men are such as no tyranny can easily destroy. Viscount Templewood would, I know, agree that we need have no fears for the future if we can once re-establish conditions in which free thought and free speech can flourish.

But equally I would agree with him that it would be a great mistake to assume that this battle for free institutions has yet been won. We have only to look at Greece, about which I have to say a word later, to see that in that country, which is, after all, the birthplace of democratic government, there are powerful sections of opinion which have come to see democracy, not in terms of the ballot box but in terms of tommy guns; and the same tendency may be latent, if not evident, in other countries. It is evident, therefore, that if our peace settlement is to succeed, if it is to pave the way to better times, we have not only to fix boundaries and disarm enemy Powers; we have also got by some means or other to cut out that corruption of the human spirit that the noble Viscount described to this House in such very moving terms this afternoon. How is this to be done? Lord Templewood put forward certain definite proposals for your Lordships' consideration. First of all, he laid down certain preliminary conditions to a moral revival. He said we must ensure freedom from aggression. That, of course, connotes an effective peace system. On that, I imagine, there will be universal agreement in every part of the House. We must have enduring peace, because it is only in times of peace that true liberty can flourish or indeed exist at all. We know well that even in this country, where we have been fortunate enough to escape invasion, we have been obliged, during the last four years, under the impact of war, to surrender temporarily liberties which we British people prize above everything, and of course the ordeal of the occupied countries has been very much more severe.

The noble Viscount in his speech, if I understood him aright, suggested the conclusion of a number of defence agreements between various nations in Europe. I was not absolutely clear what he had in his mind, but the House will remember—we have already had a debate on the subject—that immense pains have been taken in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals to provide a new international defence organization. Personally I think—I am only giving a personal view—it is in such machinery, operating directly under the international organization, rather than in any sectional agreements, that we must find our best hope of enduring freedom from the fear of aggression. I do not say that sectional agreements are themselves a bad thing, but I feel certain that there must also be a central machinery.


I agree entirely.


Secondly, as a corollary to this other condition which the noble Viscount laid down, Germany must be disarmed. Here, too, I am quite certain there will be no disagreement in any part of the House. Thirdly, he said, or at least so I understood him, that food and order must be provided for liberated countries. Here also in principle I am quite certain we should all be at one. But it is surely pertinent to observe that this particular condition is a good deal easier to propound in theory than it is to apply in practice, as the events of the last few weeks have shown.

I would draw your Lordships' attention for a moment to what is happening in Greece. I do not want to make a long reference to Greece. All I wish to do is to draw attention to one aspect of the Greek situation. British troops entered Greece, when they went in some weeks ago, exactly for this exact purpose of providing food and order. That was the reason why they were sent in. They went at the express invitation of a Government comprised of all Parties, even of that Party which is now opposing us. They went in with the good will of the Great Powers, the United States and Russia, both of whom were consulted before we went there. It might have been thought that we went under almost ideal conditions to fulfil the purpose which the noble Viscount has described to your Lordships this afternoon; and yet, through no will of our own, and, so far as I know, through no fault of our own, we have been involved in hostilities. Were we to leave Greece at this present moment the inevitable result would be that the country would be drenched in blood and liberty would be completely stifled, I believe, for a considerable period of time. In my view, the present conditions in Greece and the present tendencies in Greece are an extremely good practical example of that philosophy of violence to which the noble Viscount referred. It is surely clear that in such circumstances we cannot (nor can the other United Nations) absolve ourselves from the responsibilities which the moral devastation of Europe, with its dreadful results, imposes on us. And if the second phase of which the noble Viscount has also spoken, is ever to be reached, if a higher moral standard is to be restored to Europe, it must be based on sure foundations and we must play our part in laying those foundations.

I have said rather more perhaps than I intended to do upon the Greek situation because this is, I suggest, an outstanding example of the difficulties which the Allies are likely to encounter in putting into practice the noble Viscount's admirable principles. I do not dissent from those principles; on the contrary, I believe they are absolutely irrefutable; and, indeed, as the House knows, they are enshrined in the Atlantic Charter. But we must not assume that they can be easily applied. It is not necessary or indeed desirable, as Lord Templewood said, that the Westminster model should be adopted by all other countries. They have as much right to their own institutions as we have here to ours. But unless a certain standard of public conduct takes the place of brute force, the new world order, which we are trying to construct, will inevitably be built on sand—and it will collapse. So much for the conditions which make the moral revival possible.

Now, if I may, I want to turn for a moment to the second stage, to the steps which the noble Viscount outlined as necessary to make a moral revival effective. He laid down as a fundamental principle that every European should be guaranteed certain basic rights. I think he defined these as equality before the law, an established judicial system, racial equality, religious freedom and so on. These are rights which must appeal to any Englishman. They represent the goal to which we ourselves have been moving ever since Magna Charta, the goal which, I believe, in this country we have very largely attained. I was reminded, as I listened to the noble Viscount, of that definition of freedom, to which I think he himself referred, in the Prime Minister's message to the Italian people. It is clear that most of us are thinking along the same lines, that we want the same thing. But how are these great aspirations—because they are great aspirations—to be given practical form? The noble Viscount was bold enough to make a number of concrete suggestions—perhaps he will correct me if I have not got them right.

As a first step he proposed that the United Nations should discuss this subject and should institute an intensive inquiry into the methods which might be used to give effect to his general conception. He proposed that they should sign a convention pledging all the signatories to observe these basic rights in their territories, and he suggested that from this might result a permanent organization, something on the analogy of the International Labour Office, for the collection of facts and for the reception of reports as to how rights were being in fact safe-Guarded. That machinery looks admirable, at a first glance, and yet it is just over the matter of machinery that I begin to feel myself—I will be frank—a little doubtful. I think the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, had the same sensation. Anyone who has sat, as a good many of your Lordships have done, on Minority Commissions at Geneva knows how easy it is for countries to evade obligations and how difficult it is to pin them down.

The noble Viscount used in his speech the word "guarantee." I think it is right that your Lordships should realize exactly what that word means. It really means, if it means anything—and I am sure the noble Viscount intended it to have a definite meaning—that if any nation in Europe infringes, in any respect, the basic rights of individual citizens, then all the United Nations or, at any rate, all the signatories of the Convention will be pledged to take effective action to restrain that nation. Some form of sanction will be necessary. I do not think that is necessarily wrong, but it certainly does involve a very considerable intervention in the internal affairs of a State—intervention on what might be called a grand scale. The noble Viscount said in his speech that he did not want interference in internal affairs—and I am sure we all agree in that—but that is what is inevitably involved in this proposal. Frankly, I am rather doubtful whether nations would undertake such far-reaching obligations. It is one thing for nations to pledge themselves voluntarily to maintain and observe certain rights—that is not a difficult thing for them to do—but it is quite another thing to impose on them the observation of those rights by force.

The Dumbarton Oaks proposal, as your Lordships will remember, envisaged a certain interference in the internal affairs of a nation where international peace is threatened, and that is evidently quite right, since international peace is a necessity of all the members of the United Nations. But I greatly doubt whether, at any rate at the present stage, nations will agree to go very much further than that. Clearly, none of us would wish to put a burden on the new organization which it was not capable of bearing. For, only too probably, the effect would be to kill it. I have felt bound to utter that caution. But I see no conceivable reason why the Governments of the United Nations should not examine the practical possibilities of some step in the direction which the noble Viscount envisages and see how far nations are willing to go. There is no reason why it should not be explored; indeed, I think there is every reason why these matters should be explored. If Governments are to collaborate for this purpose clearly the right place for them to do it is in a world organization such as is now contemplated. Indeed, if the noble Viscount will examine Chapter IX of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, he will find that one of the objects laid down is to "promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms." That is exactly the same idea which has inspired the noble Viscount's speech this afternoon.

His Majesty's Government are not of course yet committed to the acceptance of these proposals, and it would certainly be premature for me to lay down here and now the exact machinery by which this particular object will be carried out. Whether, as the noble Viscount suggests, there should be set up some special functional organization on the lines of the International Labour Organization for this purpose or whether it will be better to have some special Commission of the Organization to consider it, is a matter upon which your Lordships will not expect me to pronounce to-day. That will be a matter for discussion by the General Assembly of the United Nations when that body is established and it will be for the nations assembled there to decide whether it would be practicable to set up machinery of the kind the noble Viscount desires. I do not pretend that I think it will be easy to discover the most practical methods of realizing these great aims, which after all men have sought for a great many years and have too often been disappointed. But, subject to this necessary proviso, I am quite certain that it will be a source of satisfaction to the noble Viscount himself and others of your Lordships who take an interest in this subject that this is a question for which a place has been found in proposals which the officials of four great countries—the four greatest countries in the world to-day—have submitted to their Governments.

My Lords, in the words with which I opened my speech, I warned your Lordships of the danger of not seeing the wood for the trees. I think we can say at least that we have had a fairly good look at the wood to-day. We have had an extremely valuable debate, in which many great experts have taken part, and I know it will be carefully studied by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. Indeed, the debate is not yet over; for we are to have a continuance of it tomorrow. I do not say that a number of trees have not obtruded themselves in the speeches of certain noble Lords. Perhaps that was unavoidable. Indeed I may be said to be the chief offender, since I did digress for a few minutes on the subject of Greece. I may, however, plead that I only did that to point my main argument.

There was also the speech of the noble and most reverend Lord, Lord Lang, a very impressive speech in which he dealt with the present situation in Germany. But I think he may plead, like me, that that has a bearing on the main theme of the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, because clearly the present moral degradation of Germany is the greatest problem we have to face in the future. There are people who, in discussing this question of Germany, seem to take comfort from the conclusion to which they themselves have come that the Nazis are not truly representative of the German people. The noble and most reverend Lord sought no such easy a way out. As I understood him, he said frankly that he had been driven to the conclusion that the Nazis were an embodiment—a particularly repellant and unpleasant embodiment—of that combination of brutality and docility which has made Germany the scourge of Europe ever since she became a great nation. I agree most strongly—and I think most of your Lordships do—with this assessment, and that is the reason why the German problem is so intractable. This is not the moment to discuss the details of peace terms which may or may not be imposed on Germany when the war comes to an end. I would only say that, while we do not want to treat Germany as she would have treated us—because that would obviously be contrary to all our traditions—at the same time one thing is essential. Whatever the terms may be they must render her harmless. Otherwise, there is not a chance of future peace for Europe.

If, after the war, Germany shows by her deeds that she has undergone a complete change of heart, if she abandons her evil ways, then ultimately she will be brought back to the comity of nations. But as yet there is no sign of this. On the contrary, from stories I have heard, the young Germans are very much worse than the old Germans; and so long as Germany remains what she is now, an international homicidal maniac—for that is in fact what she is—she will have to be kept in a strait jacket. There is no alternative if civilization is to survive. The noble and most reverend Lord, Lord Lang, said there are a large number of Germans who no doubt are heartily weary of Hitlerism. I expect that is absolutely true, but I sometimes have an uneasy feeling that they are weary of him not because he was wrong but because he failed. That is a fact I think we must bear in mind. Lord Lang expressed the hope, which was expressed I remember in a speech not long ago by my noble relative Viscount Cecil, that the Germans would be re-educated. It is a hope which we all share, and we must do our very utmost to re-educate them. But, in the meantime, I would say to your Lordships, let us run no risks. After all, the United Nations are the trustees for humanity and we must not, for reasons of kindness, be false to our trusteeship. I should like to ask the forgiveness of the House for departing from the main theme of the debate for so long, but certain points were raised, and I felt that it was right that they should be answered.

In Lord Templewood's opening speech he painted, and, I am afraid, rightly painted, an extremely sombre picture. He showed us a Europe broken and distracted and incapable, by her own efforts, of pulling herself out of the pit into which she has fallen. He indicated that a solemn responsibility rested, primarily, no doubt, on the great European nations, ourselves, Russia and France, and also, afterwards, upon the other great nations who have world wide interests, to lend a helping hand to Europe. I believe that that responsibility is quite inescapable. The great nations, if they are great nations, must accept their responsibilities even though that may involve their taking risks or even their being, at times, misunderstood. Recently, His Majesty's Government have been rather severely criticized in various quarters for what it has been suggested is a policy of interference in the affairs of others. That same criticism might equally have been levelled against the Good Samaritan. It would be very easy for us, or for any other of the great nations of the world, to allow Europe to die and putrefy. But what would inevitably happen would be that the infection would spread and would ultimately overwhelm us all. From every point of view, from Europe's point of view, from our own point of view, it is our plain, simple duty, as the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, has told us; to do what we can to heal Europe from her ills and to keep her in good health. It is our plain duty, and we must not fail.


My Lords, by arrangement I have been asked to move the adjournment of the debate. I feel that after the speech of the noble Leader of the House I shall have very little to say, but in accordance with the arrangement I move that the debate be now adjourned.

Moved, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Viscount Cecil of Chelwood.)

On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly.