§ 2.47 Pm.
§ VISCOUNT TEMPLEWOODhad given Notice that he would move to resolve, That it is essential that, subject to the overriding claim of security, the fullest possible use should be made of the industrial resources of Germany for the pur- 322 pose of economic recovery, and that His Majesty's Government, being primarily responsible for a zone in which a great part of these resources is concentrated, should regularly publish reports as to the course of employment and production in the zone, the state of the population and the extent of the contribution made by the zone towards the economic needs of the Continent.
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I rise to move the Resolution which stands in my name but, before entering upon the detailed arguments connected with it, I wish to make two preliminary observations. I should like to say, first of all, that I have no intention of raising a general debate upon foreign affairs. I agree entirely with what took place in another place when the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Leader of the Opposition agreed that the time was not yet ripe to discuss a number of the controversial questions connected with the recent Conference of Foreign Ministers and I take it that we must wait for a day for this debate. In the meanwhile, with deference, I would suggest that we keep this discussion to the two or three specific points which I wish to raise. Secondly, I should like to make it clear that my Resolution is in no way intended to suggest what are called "soft terms" for Germany. Like every other noble Lord, I am of the opinion that German crimes have been so terrible that they deserve any retribution that we can conceive possible. I do not desire to suggest any soft terms for Germany, nor do I move the Resolution out of any sentiment or pity either for the German leaders or for the German people.
§ It is rather out of anxiety for Europe in general and for this country in particular, that I venture to draw the attention of your Lordships to certain very urgent economic considerations. I fear, myself, that unless more comprehensive and more far-sighted action is taken quickly, Europe will drift into such a slough of despond that it will be years, and perhaps generations, before we can hope for European recovery and that in the meanwhile this country, dependent as it always has been in the past to a great extent upon its export trade to the Continent, will be the greatest sufferer. Let me give your Lordships one or two statistics to illustrate what is in my mind. I begin by pointing to the fact, known to 323 every member of your Lordships' House, that for many years past the Continent of Europe depended to a very great extent upon the industrial resources of the German Empire. I am not here to-day to go into the reasons why that state of affairs came about, still less to suggest that this German economic domination was good for Europe or should ever be allowed to be recreated. The point that I want to make is that for many years past German industry, German skill, German resources were in the very centre of the economic life of Europe. When that system is completely smashed, as it is to-day and as I hope it will be for ever, it means that a great vacuum is created in Europe in which, unless action is taken quickly by the Allies, chaos will increase and the possibilities of European recovery will be postponed until an indefinite date.
§ Before the war Germany produced more than half the hard coal of Europe and more than 90 per cent. of the coking coal. Besides that, German trade with the rest of the Continent covered 20 per cent. of the very large amount of German exports, while she took about 20 per cent. as imports from the other countries of the Continent. Side by side with these German figures, let me point out the fact that before the war no less than 20 per cent. of British overseas trade went to and from the Continent of Europe. I lay stress upon that figure as showing the great interest that we have here in Continental markets, and as showing further that if, as we all hope, we are to increase British exports on a substantial scale, we cannot allow this European market to come to an end. There are these figures on the one hand of German resources before the war and on the other hand the figures showing our great interest in the recovery of the economic prosperity of Europe and the recovery of our Continental markets. I fear that, as things are going to-day, the German population will suffer greatly, but that is not what is in my mind. What is in my mind is the suffering which will be inflicted upon the Continent in general and the effect upon British trade in particular.
§ There have in recent months been several very interesting reports on this unsatisfactory state of affairs. For the most part they have come from American sources. I am glad that that is so. I think it is better to quote reports from 324 American sources rather than reports from British sources that might be held to be prejudiced propaganda for British trade. The first of these reports was made last July by Judge Rosenman to President Truman. Judge Rosenman was dealing in particular with the economic problems of the liberated countries of Europe. He laid very great stress upon the importance of utilizing German resources for the liberated countries and in particular he emphasized the problem of German coal. He pointed to the fact that in the past the liberated countries, particularly in the north-west of Europe, were largely dependent on German coal from the Ruhr Rhineland territory. He pointed to the sinister figure that at this moment, when these countries and indeed the whole of Europe are urgently in need of a supply of coal, the production in Germany is down to 15 per cent.
Shortly afterwards General Eisenhower made the first of two very important reports upon the state of Germany, particularly in the American zone. Noble Lords will see, if they refer to his report of last August, still more if they refer to the report which is in the Press to-day, that he confirms the alarmist statements made by Judge Rosenman. Indeed, he goes further and draws an even blacker picture of the position of Germany from the point of view of a potential source of supplies for the liberated countries and for the rest of Europe. Let me quote two or three sentences from this last report of General Eisenhower which is published in the papers to-day:
The most immediate general economic problems in Germany remain the provision of food, fuel and transportation. For the next few months the Germans must be aided to re-establish production and communications, and prior to the harvest of 1946 large food imports will be required if very serious and widespread malnutrition and economic troubles are to be avoided.
I would draw your Lordships' particular attention to those sentences. Just at the moment when we here are short of almost everything that the British population needs, General Eisenhower contemplates a period in which we shall have to send substantially larger quantities of relief to the German population. It is a very serious and depressing warning.
He goes on:
The food situation in Western Germany remains critical. While the maximum per-
missible food ration is 1,550 calories per day for the normal consumer, this level has not been met since the occupation. … Preliminary estimates of food import requirements for the United States, British and French zones for 1945–46 amount to approximately 4,000,000 metric tons, bread grain equivalent, based on a daily ration for non-farm population of 2,000 calcifies a person. This figure does not take into account the proposed evacuation of Germans from territories in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, estimated at over 10,000,000 people.
This is my last quotation:
Industral activity is at a dangerously low level and is expected to decrease further if raw materials are not available and present stocks are depleted. It is estimated that plants now operating represent about 15 per cent. of the total industrial establishments in the zone. In terms of output, however, it is believed 'that the industrial plants of the zone are operating at no more than 5 per cent. of capacity.
§ That is a very serious state of affairs to contemplate—a state of affairs in which, in the view of General Eisenhower, we here shall inevitably be called upon to make greater sacrifices in the way of rebel to the German population unless we can succeed in stimulating much greater production within Germany than is at present the case, particularly in regard to coal. Coal is at the very heart of almost every one of these European economic problems. Is it possible—I put this question to the Government—greatly to expand the production of German coal? As things are now, although past Germany produced more than half the coal of Europe, very little coal is being produced in that country, with the result, so I am informed, that we are actually sending coal from here to Germany. That is to say, it is we who suffer from this lack of production in our German zone. It is we who are smiling coal to liberated countries like Holland and Belgium, countries that in the past depended to a great extent upon the coal from the Ruhr Rhineland.
§ I take in particular the case of our own zone. Our own zone happens to be the chief centre of German industrial resources. I suppose the Ruhr was the most highly industrialized area anywhere in Europe. It comes within our zone. From that zone in the past 80 per cent. of the total production of German coal emerged, and a similar percentage of the coking coal. Here is a very grave responsibility upon the British authorities. It is we who are chiefly responsible for this zone, and I imagine that, being 326 responsible for this zone, we have, anyhow to a certain extent, liberty of action in dealing with it on broad lines.
§ I am aware that behind these questions are more difficult issues that may take months and years to settle. For instance, it may be said that, ultimately, they depend upon the settlement of German reparations, the method to be used for German reparations, the length of time for which they are to be paid, the manner in which they are to be paid, and so on. But I venture to urge upon your Lordships this afternoon that a question like the increased production of coal can he isolated from these bigger issues. It is too urgent to wait until there is a full settlement of the appallingly difficult question of reparations as a whole, and whatever may be that ultimate settlement, I would have thought that everyone in Europe would agree that what is needed is a much greater production of coal from the Ruhr Rhineland area than is at present taking place.
§ I venture, therefore, not in any critical spirit, to impress upon the Government that here they are faced with a problem of the very greatest importance, and of the very greatest urgency. I make no criticism of the administration of our zone, so far as it has been carried out within its present limitations. I think, myself, from all that I have heard, that our zone is much better administered than the other zones. I believe, also, that the military authorities, and the comparatively small civil staff that has been assisting them, have done, within limitations, a very fine piece of work, but I believe that this problem is so urgent, and so complicated, that it needs a much bigger organization, and a much more defined policy, for increased coal production than is at present the case. It is a problem of immense difficulty. This great industrial area, damaged by air raids, filled with a huge industrial population, faced with the additional problem of the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, has a small military organization attempting to administer it, a military administration that inevitably, in the course of time, will come to an end. It may be a matter of years, of several years, but I cannot conceive that the British Government are going to continue to administer this highly industrialized German area for ever. Therefore, it seems to me vitally important that, first 327 of all, we should have a sufficiently strong civil and expert administration to get the greatest possible amount of coal out of the Ruhr at the earliest possible date.
§ I observe that the Government are already taking action in that direction. They have appointed the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, so I understand, as the Minister, if not primarly, at any rate, principally, in charge of the very difficult questions. They have. appointed to his staff one of the most able civil servants in Whitehall, Sir Arthur Street, with whom I have had the great privilege of working in past years at the Air Ministry. That all gives me hope that they will regard sympathetically the case, which I have put before them to-day, for greater urgency and for a stronger administration. I am aware how difficult it is at such a time for experts in this kind of work in this country, and still more in the countries overseas, but I venture to urge upon your Lordships that this problem of coal production in the Ruhr is just as urgent, and just as important, to us here in Great Britain as is the production of the coalfields of this country. That being so, I have suggested to His Majesty's Government that, our interest being as great as it is in these problems, it is essential that we should be regularly informed as to what is taking place. I feel that in administering an area such as this, as important as any administrative area in this country, it is important that we should have regular reports and regular statistics.
§ So far, the reports that we have had of conditions in Germany have, for the most part, come from American sources. I would press upon noble Lords opposite that we should now have regular and full statistics showing, for instance, what is the coal production, how many men work upon it, and how it is proposed to increase the number of employees and the amount of production. In this way, my Lords, we shall be able to follow what is happening. It may be that the Government will be able to tell us a less pessimistic story than I have told the House this afternoon. I hope that will be the case, but let us, at least, have regular—shall I say monthly?—statistics upon these all-important questions.
§ And let me, if I may, make two further suggestions to the Government. I feel 328 that the stake of the liberated countries, and particularly of the liberated countries in North-West Europe, is so great in these questions that any plan which we make for increased production ought to be made in the closest possible contact with the countries mainly concerned. I have in mind the countries which were dealt with in the report of Judge Rosen-man from which I made some quotations at the beginning of my speech, the countries of North-West Europe. I should like to see, out of these discussions and out of this campaign for benefiting Europe by the provision of German coal, something arise in the nature of an international control. I shall not delay your Lordships this afternoon by going into details on that subject; I merely tell you what is in my mind.
There is a further suggestion which I should like to make, and in making it I am reinforced by what General Eisenhower says in the report which has been published to-day. Almost the last sentence in that report is as follows:
The creation of trade unions appears more important to the workers than the newly-authorized establishment of political Parties.
From what little knowledge I may have of the Continent of Europe, I strongly agree with that view. I believe that most of the Parties whose activities we follow upon the Continent of Europe are fleeting organizations. I believe that whether one looks to the Right or to the Left there is very little substance, or at any rate very little permanent substance, behind most of them. What eventually will emerge I cannot say, but I do not believe that a number of the Parties whose names appear so often in the Press have any serious backing behind them. My advice, therefore, would be to begin the campaign for the re-establishment of an ordered economic recovery in Europe at the economic rather than at the political end, and I would venture to commend to the very serious attention of His Majesty's Government that in the Ruhr Rhineland it is probably wiser to base our programme upon organizations such as the trade unions—weak though they were, as I know, in the past, judged by our standards—than upon fleeting political Parties which are here to-day and may be gone to-morrow.
§ My Lords, I have finished my story. I only hope that the Government will be able to reassure the House and to make 329 it clear that they intend to use to the fullest possible extent, on behalf of the liberated countries of Europe and the recovery of economic prosperity, the immense resources to be found in Germany, and particularly the concentration of resources which exists in our own zone. I beg to move.
§ Moved to resolve, That it is essential that, subject to the overriding claim of security, the fullest possible use should be made of the industrial resources of Germany for the purpose of economic recovery, and that His Majesty's Government, being primarily responsible for a zone in which a great part of these resources is concentrated, should regularly publish reports as to the course of employment and production in the zone, the state of the population and the extent of the contribution made by the zone towards the economic needs of the Continent.—(Viscount Templewood.)
§ 3.26 p.m.
had the following Notice on the Paper: To move to resolve, That it is essential in the interests of the economic recovery of those Western European countries which have been brutally occupied, ravaged and pillaged by Germany, that every help and opportunity be given to those countries to revive and restore their own industrial activities and economy, and that, with that object, the industrial machinery in the Ruhr and elsewhere in Germany, which was stolen from those countries during the war, should be restored to them immediately, and that in any event no steps should be taken by this country or the Allies that would enable Germany to create; as she did after the last war, a German industrial machine and economy, as this would only lead on to a fresh world war.
The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I have a Resolution on the Paper which is of a similar nature to that moved by my noble friend, but in a conversation which a I had with the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, who is going to reply, he suggested to me that it would be convenient to him if I were to speak to my Resolution after the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, had spoken, as he wished to reply to both at the same time. Before actually speaking to my Resolution, I should like to refer to the speech made by my noble friend who has just sat down. When I read the Resolution 330 standing in his name, I was particularly concerned by the wording of it, and particularly by the reference to the fullest possible use being made of "the industrial resources of Germany" and to the extent of the contribution which could be made in our zone, presumably by those industrial resources, to the economic needs of the Continent.
I have listened to the noble Viscount's speech, and I confess that there is very little in it with which I disagree; in fact I am in agreement with the greater part of it. The noble Viscount has spoken in terms with which I think most of your Lordships will agree. At the same time, I am quite unrepentent about having put down my own Resolution. The Resolution moved by the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, refers to "industrial resources." The term "industrial resources" is a very broad one; it covers not only the production of coal, about which my noble friend spoke, but the production of all kinds of industries—iron and steel, electricity, textiles and so on. I feel, therefore, that the Resolution which I have put on the Paper is a very necessary ancillary to the Resolution moved by the noble Viscount.
We all agree that the German people in our zone must be looked after to the extent of their receiving at any rate such nutrition as will prevent them becoming disease-ridden, as apparently many of them are becoming. At the same time, we have an even greater concern for those people in the liberated countries who were pillaged and robbed and cruelly ill-treated by the very Germans of whom my noble friend has spoken. It is for that reason that I am asking the Government to take note of the terms of my Resolution, in which I suggest that everything possible should be done to assist those countries towards economic recovery, especially industrially, so as to enable them to make their own goods again, which they are no longer able to do at the present time. The sending of coal from the Ruhr will not help them to do that unless they have the machinery with which to do it, and it is common knowledge that Germany stole a great deal of the industrial machinery from the neighbouring countries which she overran. My Resolution refers to the possibility of securing the return as quickly as possible to those countries of the machinery which was stolen from 331 them. I know that there are certain difficulties about picking out the machinery which belonged to particular countries. At the same time, if it is known that machinery was stolen, then highly industrialized areas like the Ruhr should be made to give up machinery in equal quantities.
What I fear, and what a great many others fear, is that the industrial resources of the Ruhr will be allowed to be built up, if not to the extent to which they had been built up before the war, at any rate to a degree which will enable them to repeat what they did before the last war, and create not industrial goods but armaments. If they do that there is grave danger that we shall be led into another world war, and we cannot afford to take that risk. We cannot even afford, in my opinion, to allow the Ruhr and the other industrial areas of Germany to manufacture anything more than industrial goods of the lighter nature. The liberated countries of Europe do not want German goods. If they cannot get goods of their own manufacture they would prefer to have ours.
I read during the week-end in a Sunday newspaper, theSunday Graphic, a communication from a Dutchman which was of a very moving nature. I am going to read just one short extract to show what they are feeling in Holland, and what indeed we know they are feeling in the other countries that were overrun by Germany:We were told after VE Day that the replacement of vehicles required for the British and Canadian Armies during the campaign amounted to 15,000 a month. One month's output would ease our transport situation a hundredfold But no! We are told that German factories are to produce 40,000 Volks-wagons which will be sold to the formerly occupied countries of Europe. A Dutchman buy a German car! Why? Why? Are your great factories at Birmingham, Coventry, Oxford and the rest idle, or are they so gorged with export orders that they do not care? The calm voice of Britain, the voice of Hope itself which we listened to during the war, announcing defeats and disasters in the beginning as calmly as it announced triumphs and victories later, says so little to us now.That is the feeling, not only in Holland, but in all the liberated countries. They do not want German goods, and I suggest that we do nothing in the Ruhr, or anywhere else in Germany, to build up the German industrial and economic situation 332 to such a degree that German goods will once more spread over Europe.
The noble Viscount referred to a statement by General Eisenhower which is published in the Press this morning. General Eisenhower has stated that he is gradually ridding the whole of the American zone of occupation of Nazi theories and Nazi people. I do not believe that that can be done in a week or in six months, as is suggested in this statement. I think it will take years to eliminate the Nazi outlook from the mass of the German people. Probably one or two generations of occupation will be needed before we can hope to do this.
I am going to conclude by reading, if your Lordships will allow me, a passage from a very important and interesting book published in 1943. The author is a well-known journalist, Mr. D'Arcy-Dawson, who fought throughout the whole war. The title of the book is,Tunisian Battle. Upon the fall of Tunis many thousands of German prisoners were taken. This is what Mr. D'Arcy-Dawson writes about them:The Germans were abject when first captured, but after twenty-four hours in a prison camp their old arrogance reasserted itself. Driving through Tunis they stood up and shouted greetings to the Italians. Indeed, they behaved like conquerors rather than prisoners who had given themselves up in thousands rather than fight to the end. I thought of those people in Great Britain who still think that we have only to remove Hitler and Nazism and the German people will then become, by some miracle, a peace-loving, tolerant nation. Had they seen those thousands of young men, sturdy, well-built and well-fed, behaving, once they knew they were safe, with traditional German arrogance, they would realize that we can never relax our vigilance on the German race.My Lords, that is why I put down my Motion on the Paper. I did not wish it to go out to the world through the wording of my noble friend's Resolution—I say this with all respect to him—that we were prepared to promote and to reintroduce the industrial resources of Germany with the object of helping the Continent. It may be that if the views which are expressed to-day by the Head of our Allied Command to the effect that Nazism is disappearing should permeate Europe again, this will lead to another war.
§ 3.36 p.m.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR AIR (VISCOUNT STANSGATE)
My Lords, 333 I realize the importance of this occasion and of the task which I have to perform. I ask your Lordships to be patient while I explain exactly how I propose to carry out my task. I have had the great advantage of seeing Lord Templewood's Motion on the Paper and of examining it; and I received a communication concerning Viscount Elibank's proposal, which is now a separate Motion. I have therefore prepared what I have to say dealing specifically with the matters referred to in these two Motions. The only matter on which I. cannot satisfy the noble Viscount fully, I am afraid, is that of regular statistical tables. There are so many political, diplomatic and international difficulties which affect and, to a certain extent, condition these mere productive figures that I think it would be a mistake if we were to start by publishing a return showing exactly what is being done. If the noble Viscount will pay us the compliment of putting a question on the Paper, we will give him the fullest information available. I shall not, however, be able to tell him to-day what are the specific figures he might require to know in connexion with some of the points which he has raised.
The noble Viscount's Motion appears to me to fall into three parts. The first represents our desire to help those countries which suffered so severely from invasion by the Germans. We are all at one on that. There is no disagreement between us and there would be no difficulty in passing the Motion if the noble Viscount so wishes, for we are prepared to accept it. We are all as one in that. I do not know whether the noble Viscounts aware that there are European organizations set up for this special purpose, the North European Coal Organization, the Transport Organization and the Emergency Economic Committee. So far as Western Europe is concerned, machinery does exist for attempting to carry out, so far as the material circumstances permit, the objects which he and all of us have in mind. As regards the restitution of machinery, I am not quite sure what he means. There is, of course, provision for the restitution of identifiable property. I should be surprised to hear that there was identifiable stolen machinery in the Ruhr, because from the moment the war broke out the Ruhr was bombed day and night, and I should be surprised if machinery was installed in so dangerous a spot. It is else 334 where that this machinery exists and in point of fact I have taken some pains to go into this in some detail.
I will not weary the House with that, but the claims of the Allied Governments have been considered most sympathetically by His Majesty's Government and we are anxious to secure as soon as possible an agreement for an organized plan for the restitution of these goods. Meanwhile arrangements are being made for interim deliveries. As I understand, it means this: the return to Allied Governments of goods which are easily identifiable as having been looted from their territories. It is part of the intention of His Majesty's Government that identifiable goods shall be restored to the people from whom they were stolen.
With regard to the third part of the Motion, it is in very general terms. The noble Viscount speaks of the war potential; he says that any manufacturing capacity is bound to lead to another war. That is all very vague. It is very difficult to define a war potential A potato or a pair of shoes is a war potential and it is extremely difficult to draw the line. Fortunately, I am really only called upon to describe what we have all agreed upon. All these matters were dealt with at the Potsdam Conference and a longcommuniqué was issued describing exactly what is to be the policy of the Allied Governments. Perhaps your Lordships will permit me to describe in one or two sentences the purposes of the Allies and the machinery by which they intend to implement those purposes.
The purposes were set out in the Potsdam terms, with which we all agree, They are, first of all, to destroy the implements of war, such as ships and aeroplanes; then to destroy the machinery which might produce those implements of war; and, as regards the remainder of the industrial equipment, to leave what is necessary for a decided norm in German life and that the rest should be catalogued and be available for reparations. That is the programme of Potsdam and that is the real answer to the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, and the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank. As regards production in Germany, what did they decide? They decided that it was to be used for three purposes: first, for supplying the occupying Forces; secondly, for 335 attending to the displaced persons; and, thirdly, for providing for the German population a standard of life not below the average of European countries, excluding our own and that of Russia. Those are the defined purposes of the use of German productive capacity. In order to achieve these ends, a programme was set out describing the things which must be done at once and they are the following: transport, coal production, and emergency repair of housing. That is the agenda set down at Potsdam for immediate attention.
Now for the machinery. The machinery is, of course, the Allied Control Commission, and that Commission is interlocked; it is inter-Allied. It is interlocked at three separate levels—the level of Montgomery and Zhukov, the level of General Sokolovsky and General Robertson, and then the directorates which deal with such things as air disarmament. There is a director ate on that which meets at Berlin. Then, of course, there is coal. All the coal comes under the consideration of the coal directors when they meet internationally. I do not know how they are getting on, but I spoke to an Air Marshal on the air side of the question and he said that as they were all airmen they had a certain understanding of one another and up to date had not been doing too badly on agreeing on a practical programme.
Now I am going from here to make a funnel as it were, and go straight through to the coal issue which the noble Viscount said was very important. That is the one serious export, almost the only export, in Germany to-day, and the purpose is to distribute it to the people in need and for that purpose, as I have said, we have a European Coal Organization which advises us. That is to say the Directors of Coal Production from the different zones meet together and say: "I have got so much and so much" and with the assistance of the European Coal Organization they distribute it. I may say that the line of distribution and production is steeply rising. The noble Viscount's figures were rather more depressing than I think is necessary. I could go into long tables but I will confine myself to certain statistics. France, to-day, has got 30 per cent. of what she previously got from the Ruhr, Belgium has 56 per cent. Holland 18 336 per cent., Norway has got six times what she had and Denmark has one and a half times. These figures must not mislead you because we ourselves are unable to supply some of these countries with quantities comparable with those supplied before the war. It shows what the Ruhr is doing for the restoration of those countries with whom we are very much concerned.
A debate in this House is a very serious affair, dealing with very important matters of public opinion, and I thought that the least I could do, having been asked to reply, was to take advantage of the week-end to see conditions for myself. It is not a table of statistics but personal impressions which have helped me in the past. On Friday afternoon I got an aircraft and went to München Gladbach. We got there just before dusk. Then I took a car and spent two days motoring through the Ruhr zone. Starting off we had, of course, to cross the Rhine and went across that enormous bridge which makes a great difference to the traffic up and down the Rhine. I went through on the Saturday and the Sunday Mannheim, Düsseldorf, Dortmund and all those places which used to figure day after day in thecommuniqués of Bomber Command; and, of course, I visited Essen. If Sir Arthur Harris wanted a tribute to the efficiency of the work he was given to do, a visit of this kind would provide it. So far as I could see, there was hardly a house that was habitable in Essen itself.
Then I thought I would like to look at the Krupp works, which I visited after the last war in 1920. Although the works were just heaps of bricks, the office buildings had somehow escaped and the framework was still standing. Otherwise there was the same story of heaps and heaps of bricks. I thought also that it would be useful if I went to look at a mine. The noble Viscount in a very friendly way told me last week that he was particularly interested in coal. Therefore I thought I would see what had actually happened in the case of a mine. I found a mine at Buer, up in the north. It was called the Hibernia mine, and I wondered why, because there was a Shamrock mine and an Erin mine not far away. I found that some enterprising Irishman had started the mines, though they had been under Nazi control for years. This mine was not a particular target for the Royal Air 337 Force—I do not think mines ever were targets—but it had the great misfortune of being near neighbour to an important synthetic oil plant, and what was left over from the oil plant went down the mine. Ono thing which interested me was the way in which the Germans had covered up the mine. The machine shad—do not know mining terms—had gone, but the winding machinery and ventilation machinery could still be operated because they had put a foot-thick concrete Nissen erection over the machines. When I went to this mine it looked as if it could never be operated; yet somehow our men had managed to get it operating with 1,600 men against a normal number of 3,000.
The men who were managing the mines under the Allied Control Commission struck me as men not only of great ability but of immense devotion to their task. What are their difficulties? Of course the first difficulty is man-power. I can only give over-all figures, but I believe that the labour force of 350,000 before the war in 1938 had been raised by the Germans in 1944, with the addition of slave labour, to about 380,000. That does not mean that there were only 30,000 slave workers, because you have to take into account wastage of workers due to old age and so on. The Germans did, however, get to that peak figure of 380,000. It is now, I think, although. I forget the exact number, in the neighbourhood of 220,000. Of course, when you talk about production you have to think of the age of the workers. Certainly they are all six years older than normally, as all the men under thirty were put into the Army. The one thing I noticed about the workers was that they were elderly men, men too old for that job. But everything possible is being done. Soldiers have an amusing way of inventing names and they have what they call an "Operation Coal Scuttle" going round trying to find Germans capable of going into the mines.
Somebody gave me a letter which had been written to a German who, I suppose, would be '.equivalent to a county councillor in this country. The letter was not intended for our eyes but had fallen into our hands by accident. It was a letter explaining the point of view of the miners in this Ruhr mine and, with your Lordships' permission, I should like to read an extract from it. It was written in June and the writer said: 338The miner himself knows best the need for coal prevailing at present and in the future, and he might be looked on as absolutely willing to do his important job. Nobody knows better than himself that only work and work again will lead him out of the dark future he looks into.That was written by a German miner about his job, and was not intended for our eyes or for recitation in your Lordships' House. What sort of difficulties face the management of the mines? Because, although the board of directors has gone, the technical management is there, I made inquiries of Germans, one of whom spoke excellent English. I have said that one difficulty is man-power but, having got the men, what other obstacles do the. management find? One curious obstacle is brought about by the presence of an enormous number of displaced persons. The average worker is afraid that when he is down the mine some displaced person will steal things from his home or do worse things to his family and home. Then there is the difficulty of getting men to the mines. I heard of miners who had to walk 10 kilometres. That is a long way to walk to work on inadequate food.
I do not accept the view of the noble Viscount that the only way to save the world is to go on hating everybody. There is a practical way. I do not mean to be offensive to the noble Viscount, but I think, when dealing with reconstruction, we should turn our minds as far as possible along the lines of what I should call a Christian outlook.
Nowhere in my speech can the noble Viscount find that I said anything about hating. I was suggesting the whole time that we should do things to help the peoples of the world.
§ VISCOUNT STANSGATE
If I did an injustice to the noble Viscount, I would certainly like to apologize. All I meant was that there are people who say: "I am not concerned with hard conditions in Germany, I am only concerned to see what can be produced there for the good of others." I should take into consideration something for the human beings of Germany as well as some consideration for the people of other countries. That is all. I really apologize if I have done the noble Viscount an injustice and I am glad to withdraw.
In the matter of transport something has been done. Buses have been secured 339 and there are electric trams; and bicycles have been procured in the locality, so that now in this district the local transport difficulty is being overcome. Then, of course, food provides a big question. People cannot work unless they are fed. I asked for particulars of the rations. I found that in the home ration cards provide for 1,530 calories. That is for the ordinary person. Heavy workers get 1,880 calories and very heavy workers 2,129 calories in the home. In addition to that when he gets to his job the heavy worker gets 879 calories and the very heavy worker, that is the miner, gets 1,253 calories in the form of Irish stew or something of that kind in the mine. That makes 3,382 calories as against, I believe, 4,000 calories in this country. That is the food situation. Some of it is provided at work because if it went into the man's ration scale at home there is a danger that from natural paternal instinct he would distribute it to his family. You can see also a reason for absenteeism. If a man earns money, there is nothing to buy and therefore he thinks the sensible thing to do is to pack up and cultivate his garden and grow something for the sustenance of himself and his family.
I spoke about the trade union organization. I was interested, and of course naturally very much interested, so I asked the rather terrifying galaxy of officials accompanying me to stand aside while I had a talk with the men who were the nucleus of the trade union organization in that particular mine. So nobody came into the room except myself and the translator. There were five of these miners there and they had been elected. This is how the election was carried through. There were 1,600 miners, and any one could put himself forward as a candidate. If the security people had no objection to him his name was put on the ballot paper. There was then a secret ballot and the people who came out top were elected. Those were the five men I met.
They looked to me rather old and tired. One had done five years either in prison or in labour camps, so he had put in his shot against Hitler as effectively as many others. Their job was to receive complaints. I asked, "Do your miners meet together in a general session to criticize things?" He said, "No, they have not 340 met at all." He was a sort of shop steward without a trade union—that is what it looked like. I asked, "What are they doing to form a trade union?" He replied that sixty-three had met together in the Ruhr area with a view to forming some sort of general union. I asked, "What about politics?" and he gave exactly the reply of the noble Viscount. He said, "We have Socialists, Communists, Democrats and Catholics, anEinheits front." Unquestionably at this stage they are far more interested in economic questions than political questions.
As to their homes, I asked my eminent friends to wait for me while I got a German miner, put him in the car and said, "Would you mind taking me to your cottage to see your wife?" He said, "Not at all." So we went to his cottage. It was rather like my old House of Commons days when I used to wonder whether I would get the vote of the householder by calling on him. I had a talk with the frau—a very nice woman. Her husband put up a very gallant fight against Hitler. She had four children and some grandchildren. I asked how she was getting on and how the ration was serving. They had a garden and a few chickens. She wanted to show me that the bedroom had a leaky roof, but I told her that was not a thing I had not seen before. On the whole, however, in that individual case I had the impression that things were not so bad, but I think I had struck on a rather good case, because I imagine many of the people are living under far worse conditions than those. I left the cottage quite pleased with the interview and somewhat embarrassed to find two corporals standing outside with Sten guns for my protection. What they were doing I do not know, but the country is under military occupation, of course.
The next point I would like to deal with is that of denazification. A friend of mine, General Patton, got into trouble about this. It is a difficult problem, after you have had twelve years of organization of a country along one line and where the most able people have taken positions in the party. To go in and scrap all that is bound to affect production. So denazification and production are really opposite terms. I am not saying you must not denazify—not at all but when you tell a production manager, "Here 341 is a man who is efficient but he is a Nazi by the pilot and give him directions, with and you will have to sack him," he says, "I want my coal." You reply that you cannot help it; he is a Nazi and he must go. I got this, not direct from a miner but from a friend who had been talking to a miner. The man said, "We are sick and tired of having the same man manage this mine as in Hitler's day. We would like to see him come down the shaft and then we would give him a bit of what he gave the Russian and the pole slave-labourers." On the other hand, the production curve is going up. There is an essential conflict between denazification and production.
Now I come to the question of Krupp's. When I was in the Krupp works in 1920 I observed that in the yard outside the office they had preserved a little cottage in which the original Friedrich Krupp was born in 1787. It stood in the yard rather like the bedroom of Lesseps which you will find at the offices of the Suez Canal at Ismailia. I hope that from underneath all the rubble we shall be able to excavate it. Krupp dwelling No. 2 was the Villa Hügel—an example of determined impressiveness and grandeur. Everything is solid and grand, with nothing of the abandon of any of the palaces of Louis the Fourteenth, or people of that date. The central hall, I believe, is 150 feet long, and there are 500 bedrooms. Mr. Krupp had a marble bathroom and Madame Krupp had the same, and Mr. Krupp also had a bath to cure his sciatica.
I went into the pantry which was like a compositor's place, where they pull out the shelves. They had anything from 500 to 1,000 complete sets of spoons, forks, knives, and so forth. For their clothes they had wardrobes with double shelves, with endless accommodation for hundreds ant hundreds of dresses. There were 500 rooms with a staff of 150 people to keep them going. That was Krupp's dwelling No. 2. In the course of the journey I passed a barbed wire enclosed camp with some Nissen and wooden huts like those we lived in ourselves during the war. That was Krupp's dwelling No. 3.
Finally—because I do not want to weary the House—I thought it would be a good idea to investigate transport, and so on Monday morning we started off a little, earlier than we had intended. I sat 342 By the pilot and give him directions, with the navigator's aid, to go over at from 200 to 900 feet, so that we could examine for ourselves the difficulty in the way of the distribution of this coal, because I believe there is a stock of 6,000,000 tons in the Ruhr waiting to be distributed. We started off a little to the west of Osnabruck and came down what was the most important branch of water distribution—namely, the Ems-Weser Canal. You have heard these names time and time again in thecommuniqués. The first thing that struck me along the Canal was its admirable construction—a straight, shining line across the countryside. I began to count, almost as in the days of the last war, when I had to go on aerial reconnaissance, the number of barges. There were 1,500-ton barges, tied up. Fifteen miles along the Canal you saw why down had come a bridge. The Germans had carried out the demolition of bridges, large and small, thus bottling up this Canal.
Then we came to the junction with the Dortmund-Ems Canal—another very well-known name—but there the whole Canal had just disappeared. You could not find it. In its place was an enormous expanse of brown sand or earth, pitted with the holes of bombs. All the water had gone. In our own record, for example, there is Learoyd who got a V.C. for this type of attack. Farther on, you got the barges in the canal, but you could see grass growing. The water had gone and, from being a canal, it had become a garden. Finally, we joined the Rhine and came down as far as Cologne, and then turned and flew to Rotterdam, just over the Rhine, to have a look. That is the damage.
The use of these waterways is well-known. They are required for getting the coal out for export. The task of repair is, naturally, in hand, but it is a formidable task. At the junction of the Ruhr and Rhine we went down to see a bridge which had been blown up and had fallen into the channel. They were trying to make a fairway only 72 feet wide, and the engineers told us that they had had to use 700 depth charges—such as were used against submarines. In the case of the bridge at Cologne, they had had to use 6,000 depth charges to remove the steel-work. If it freezes in the Rhine and the ice carries these masses of steel 343 down the canal, then the winter is going to be a disaster for their work. Despite this, they have got the Rhine open, and there is a fairway of, I believe, 120 feet through these obstructions, from Cologne right down the river. Up the Rhine they have managed to get 4,000 tons a day, and down the Rhine 10,000 to 14,000 tons.
I am not drawing any deductions from all this, but I am only saying, as far as the Commission is concerned, that we are accepting it. I am just putting before your Lordships—on the agreed Potsdam plan—what this Commission is doing to carry out the task we set ourselves.
§ 4.13 p.m.
§ LORD HUTCHISON OF MONTROSE
My Lords, I do not intend to intervene in this debate, but certain statements have been made about conditions in the Ruhr. After the last war I was, for two and a half or three years, connected with Cologne, the Ruhr, Berlin and other centres, and it was then that we made the fatal mistake of not keeping control of industries. It was not so much allowing them to grow up, but keeping control of them, and I feel that if we are to be successful in providing work for the German people we must use their industries, especially the coal industry in the Ruhr, which I know so well, the chemical industry and the German heavy industries, transport, electrical power, docks, and other places. We must keep the control of those industries in the hands of the Allied Powers for many years. It is the only means through which we are going to get reparations and payment for the cost of our occupation troops. It is no good looking to any German Government in the future for payment towards those needs. It is only by using the German industries, and taking the profit out of them, that the Government can get some return for the enormous expenditure they have already incurred and which they will, in the future, have to meet.
Some of the coalfields of the Ruhr—I have been down several of their finest pits there—are equipped as well as any in the world. In fact, in some of our finer coalfields in Scotland we have taken experience from the Ruhr. Quite recently, engineers from the finest of our coalfields have been over in the Ruhr 344 inspecting the present position, and I only hope that the Government will make their report generally available to this country to show the present conditions. The present position is something like this. Their production is now down to below 30 per cent. of the pre-war figure, and it seems almost impossible to expect the population working in those mines to produce more coal unless they are better fed and better housed and looked after.
I must say that when I read the noble Viscount's Motion I was just a little bit disturbed about it, but his speech relieved my mind considerably. It is no good getting away from the fact that we have a responsibility to those people in Germany —having defeated Germany and now being in occupation—and that responsibility means that we have got to see that the people are set to work. We must produce the conditions for work in order that they may earn, and in order that they may live. That does not mean that we have not got to watch very carefully the things that happened after the last war, when hidden production for a war end went on. We must do that by the careful control of those industries and by being able to direct industry generally into the production of those things which are required by the people of Germany, by the people of Denmark, of Holland, and everywhere else. It seems to me that it is not outside the range of possibility so to control the larger industries in Germany. Another thing I would like to refer to is that after the last war there was that terrible expenditure from borrowed money all over the world in connexion with the development of industry in Germany. That money has never been repaid. It was used as a war potential for Germany, with the greatest secrecy and expediency. I hope that that will be very carefully watched in the future. That, therefore, leads to the financial control of any re-established central Government in Germany.
The main thing we have to do is to get over the first two years. It seems to me that the Allies have got to face the problem and see, as far as possible, that the German people are put back to useful work, and that the proceeds of that work are used, by the control of the Allies, for helping stricken Europe as a whole. I am not, in the least, sorry for the German population after all that we have suffered and all the world has suffered, but, all the 345 same, we have got this population, and we, if we are a Christian people, must see to it that we take every possible step to see that something is done to get Caw, country going on peaceful production The main basis in Germany is coal, and if we control the coal and handle the coat properly, with our people there controlling the policy of the mines, I think we shall go a very long way towards preventing war expansion by Germany in future years. The real trouble will take place not now but in fifteen years' time, when people are getting tired of occupation and when the next generation is coming along. That is the time for which we have to legislate now, so that we shall be in a position to exercise control when arrives. I think that the foundation can he laid now, so that when that time does arrive we are still in a position of control.
The last thing that I want to say is this. As everyone knows, the enormous industrial area of the Ruhr has been smashed to pieces. There will be reconstruction, but let us see that that reconstruction is in the form of vulnerable units an I not dispersed, so that we have the power given by a threat to that development should the Germans in the future make any attempt to do anything like what they have done recently. I apologize to your Lordships for intruding in this debate, but there are certain facts of which I have knowledge. I should like to calf attention to a book written by Brigadier-General Morgan, who was concerned with the Allied control of armaments in Berlin after the last war. He tells there the whole story of how we failed, and of how that failure led to the rearmament of Germany. I hope that that book will be read and digested by those who are concerned in this matter. It is a very valuable contribution to an understanding of the mistakes which we and our Allies made after the last war.
§ 4.22 p.m.
My Lords, at this late hour, in the normal course of events, after so full, so very competent, and, if I may say so, so entertaining a reply from the Government, I should not have dreamt of detaining your Lordships any longer; but I am emboldened to say what I was going to say by three facts. One is that the Government reply, though very interesting, dealt mainly with the immediate practical difficulties of the situation, and not with the inherent 346 political implications of the position as it is now and as it it going to be in the near future, which I think comes within the terms of the noble Viscount's Resolution. The second is that the noble Viscount did refer in the second part of his speech to what I am proposing to advance. Thirdly, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart, who is going to speak after me, will also have something to say on the same point.
It seems to me that the fears expressed by the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, in his Resolution, are very natural. The noble Viscount is afraid of German commercial competition and eventually of renewed German supremacy. I believe that with proper organization and initiative, on which I continue to say that it is our duty to embark, means can perfectly well be found to render the noble Viscount's fears quite groundless. In a recent article inWorld Reviewby Mr. Simon Harcourt-Smith, whose main thesis is the necessity to set up close Franco-British association, I find the following arguments advanced, which seem to me to represent a possible solution of this problem. He says this:The Russians and the Germans have all along been inspired by one thesis—apparently impregnable. Modern wars demand a high degree of industrialization in the combatant nations. De-industrialize, 'pastoralize' Germany, to use the fashionable new word, and you rob her of all power to make war.fair enough argument; hence you find the Russians stripping Silesia of all machinery, and the Americans dismantling the Bavarian factories. Unfortunately, however, it ignores the fact that German industry, and particularly the Ruhr coal and steel, has become over the last fifty years almost the corner-stone of European economy. Remove it suddenly, and the whole edifice is likely to collapse. No, it is no good merely telling the French that German industry must be revived. They heard that story last time; despite their warnings the heavy industries of the Reich were left unfettered; as they revived, so German military power rose up again. But the choice is not merely between German militarism and a poverty-ridden but free Europe. There is a third choice—the exploitation of the Ruhr within a Franco-British or a Franco-British-Belgo-Dutch association.The French have proposed the 'internationalization' of the Ruhr. If that means the closing down of the mines, then that only means an extension of chaos. By the time this article appears, we should know exactly what signification -the phrase does carry. Meanwhile, the only way to induce -the French to accept a revival of German industry is for that revival to be directed to our general benefit.347We advocate, then, the immediate negotiation of a Western Pact, to include the Ruhr. Without the Ruhr, the rest of Germany could plot little mischief, though of course we must never dismiss the possibility of some German in Saxony or Upper Franconia ten years hence blowing all Europe and himself to perdition atomically, in a Gotterdümmerung-like gesture. But to deprive the Reich of the Ruhr is the greatest safeguard we can take, short of exterminating the whole race.Upon the Ruhr, upon the repairing of the miners' shattered houses, the provision of adequate food for them and their families, the raising of coal production from the present one-and-a-half million tons monthly to eleven millions, reposes, it is hardly too much to say, the safety of Europe.It seems to me particularly interesting, in view of our present relations with France, which arc, as everyone knows, rendered rather difficult at this moment by the Syrian question, to try to arrive at an arrangement of some sort with the French over this matter. It might not only ease the present tension but dispose as well of such arguments as they advance as: were quoted the other day by the Paris correspondent ofThe Timesapropos of the rooted objection on the part of the French to centralized administrative machinery in Germany, The correspondent in question hit the nail on the head when he said that the French Government recognized all too well that the restoration of German administrative, economic and financial unity would cut across their own proposals for the separate treatment of Western Germany. In other words, French fears are identical with those of the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank. The solution proposed in the article which I have quoted seems to me an admirable way out of the difficulty—namely, that, in conjunction with the French, or, much better still, with the French, the Belgians and the Dutch, we should set up a permanent body to exploit the riches of the Ruhr for the benefit of Western Europe in general, possibly on the lines of something resembling the Suez Canal Company, which, if we except the perfectly comprehensible Egyptian objections, seems to have worked well over a long period of years.
I should like, in support of my argument, to read to your Lordships an extract from an article in theNew Statesman and Nationby Mr. R. H. S. Crossman, who, he noble Viscount, has just returned from Germany. He writes: 348The defence of the Soviet Union justifies in the Russian view any means, however ruthless. The British policy, on the other hand, seeks to remove the German danger while permitting European economy to recover. This objective—complex enough already—is still further complicated by our refusal to use methods which would cause millions of Germans to die this winter. At the moment indeed, we are so busy ensuring that Germany—or at least, the British zone—provides the maximum food, fuel and housing this winter, that we are grievously neglecting the task of denazification, and thereby sharpening Russian suspicions. In between these opposing policies stand the Americans, anxious to pull out as soon as possible, favouring the Russian policy of 'pastoralization' on principle but fighting shy of its inevitable consequences—disease and famine. An American officer told me quite frankly that he and his colleagues were seriously disturbed by the British attitude. 'There too many factory chimneys smoking in the British zone, for our liking. We want to smash the Germans before we get out—and many of us are getting out already. You seem as though your main interest was to put the Germans on their feet again and turn your zone into a British colony. And those miserable French are tagging along behind you. Lately I have discussed this with Russian officers, and they share our anxiety.' When I suggested that German coal and iron were needed by all the peoples of Western Europe, he looked at me with that well-known American expression which means ' Those British are out-smarting us again.' A Four-Power policy is not going to be easy to work out.That brings me back to the same point. The noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, is only one of many people who are concerned about the danger of restoring German economy to the point where the Germans themselves could turn it to their own devastating and destructive uses. I suggest that a perfectly clear-cut plan to turn it to our uses as an intrinsic part of Western Europe, in conjunction with the friendly and interested Western European Powers, would remove, if properly handled, even American prejudice, would hearten the French, and would make it clear to the Russians that their visible and most unfortunate non-collaboration was bit by bit making this inevitable. If to this His Majesty's Government answer that it is essential to maintain collaboration between the Big Three, I can only suggest that the proper counter to that is that the Russians must take the first steps in showing that they visibly desire it in this as in other matters.
To sum up, I cannot help being of opinion that to split up, as General Eisenhower has suggested, the present industrial potential of Western Germany, 349 except in cases such as the noble Viscount has described as absolutely necessary, with a view to following what may appear to lie the interests of abstract justice and restoring the actual machinery, if it were possible, to the different plundered countries, would merely be to defeat our own collective ends by wasting what is, after all, permanently and geographically an ideal distribution centre for coal and industrial power in Western Europe as a whole. I offer this suggestion for its collective utilization as a corollary to the Resolution moved by the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, of the essential points of which I most heartily approve.
§ 4.30 P.m.
§ LORD VANSITTART
My Lords, the first of the Motions before us to-day, as it stands, would require considerable qualification. It is, I think, liable in its present form to create considerable apprehension and misapprehension abroad, although, of course, the speech made by the noble Viscount was in itself far less alarming. It is only with a view to allaying these possible repercussions that I propose to say a few words to your Lordships this afternoon. As a matter of fact, I have a Motion down for next Week, in submitting which I propose, if possible, to cover a pretty wide section of the German field. I, therefore, would not wish to inflict myself twice on the patience and courtesy of the House.
The Motion, as it stands, is somewhat loosely drawn. That, I expect, was intentional. Had the noble Viscount confined his Motion, as I understand him to have confined his speech, to the possibility of getting as much coal as possible out of the Ruhr, I am sure that all of your Lordships would be in agreement with him. But, of course, the Motion goes a very great deal wider than that. It urges us, subject to the overriding claim of security, to get the fullest use and development out of German industry. Now that is a different pair of shoes, and it might take us a very long way. The words imply enormous latitude; they would open the door to almost anything and in years to come might conceivably lead to an increase of German war potential, though I am sure that that is not the intention. The Motion supports on the one hand the overriding claim of security and, on the other, the fullest possible use of German industry. Of 350 course, it will be obvious to your Lordships that once we have developed German industry generally to its fullest possible extent, all security factors may be likely to vanish automatically andipso facto. Which of your Lordships to-day would care to predict the form and efficacy of control in 1970? I am sure that I would not undertake any such prophecy, nor do I think would the noble Viscount. For that reason I would feel bound to oppose the Motion in its present form, though, as I have already said, the noble Viscount's speech was far less alarming.
I cannot imagine that anyone would wish to bring about a general revival of German industry without going a great deal further than we have done at present in eliminating the heavy German industrialists, who, even more than the Junkers, have been the backbone of Germany's great wars. Some of these German heavy industrialists have, in the past, been frank in this matter. Noble Lords may remember that as early as 1918 Herr Thyssen admitted publicly that Germany had long been over-industrialized. That is exactly what many of us have thought and felt and said all our lives. We do not want to go back to that.
One other point, I think, might be considered in connexion with this, and that is that Germany has already lost her traditional and habitual markets in South-Eastern Europe, and the Russians, at present, are displaying a rather forbidding exclusiveness. If we unwisely and unreasonably stimulate German industry the result may well be congestion in free markets in which we have traded profitably in the past, and in which we now hope to compete successfully again. While no sensible man would dream of pastoralizing Germany, it is clear that here is a case for reasonable de-industrialization and not for over-stimulation.
Finally, I would beg the House to remember that antiquity had its sirens and this century has its economic sentimentalists, who will run you just as surely on the rocks if you will listen to them. They have done so once, and I think that we should now display suitable sales resistance to their blandishments. Otherwise I think, we may find ourselves departing from some of the most valuable and least tendentious of the Potsdam recommendations to which the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, rightly drew attention.
§ 4.36 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT TEMPLEWOOD
My Lords, I think that for once, at any rate, the House ought to be extremely grateful to me. By raising this debate I have drawn from the noble Viscount, the Secretary of State for Air, a very delightful and informative speech, to which we all listened not only with the greatest interest but with the greatest pleasure. I hesitate to criticize anything that he said because he expressed himself so delightfully, but I cannot help commenting that I think he was a little bit over optimistic. At the same time I hope that that will not prove to be the case. The last thing in the world I wish to see is things getting worse. It was on that account that I pressed in my Resolution for statistics. I felt that it was necessary for the public here to be enabled to follow what is happening. I fear very much that if the public is not better informed then, if the noble Viscount proves to be wrong and things get worse and not better, the British public will receive a terrible shock. It will certainly be a great shock to our people if, for instance, in two or three months' time we have to increase the amount of relief and coal and other raw materials that we send out of the country.
I would, therefore, venture to press upon the noble Viscount—without asking him for an answer to-day—the need for keeping the public a great deal better informed of the position than they are informed at present. Supposing, for example, the Government were to issue for the British zone the kind of report that General Eisenhower has issued today, principally for the American zone. That perhaps is not the best possible detailed suggestion; I only give it as an illustration. But I do ask the noble Viscount to think again as to whether a more regular flow of information than is at present available could not be provided. The reason he gave for the difficulty of doing that was that questions of this kind are very much tied up with agreements between the Allies and so on. I see the point, but none the less I should have thought t hat for simple matters, such as the numbers employed in the mines, the figures could be given. I know it is difficult to get the correct figures, but if we could have figures as correct as possible, without undue trouble, showing the numbers of workers in the mines, and the 352 output of the mines, it would be most interesting. The figures relating to the output of the mines should, I suggest, include comparisons with the output of pre-war years. Figures might also be given to show what coal is going into Germany from this country or South America or other outside sources. As I say, I do not want to be meticulous in my demands, but I would ask the noble Viscount to think these points over and see if we cannot have more information of that kind in future.
I think his picture was a good deal more optimistic than that given in General Eisenhower's report. The noble Viscount quoted figures of the mine he visited in which something like half the number of pre-war miners were at work. I think he also gave some figures on production. I would remind him that General Eisenhower has repeated the statement which was made by Judge Rosenman towards the end of the summer that the coal production in Germany is 15 per cent, or less than 15 per cent. If the noble Viscount would think over the possibility of giving that information I should be very much obliged.
Lastly, I come to the speech which was delivered by the noble Lord, Lord Vansittart. I am sorry that he is worried about the looseness of the drafting of my Resolution. I was under the impression that the risk that he foresaw was completely covered by the phrase I used prior to the words "claim of security." I should have thought myself that that safeguard was sufficient, but I should like to say to him that the last thing in the world I should desire would be that there should be any misunderstanding at all about my Resolution. My position was, I hope, made abundantly clear in my speech and I think it is also made abundantly clear in the wording of my Resolution. If the noble Lord thinks otherwise—and I would much rather end this debate in unanimity—I would rather accept what the noble Viscount has said in answer to my Resolution and ask leave to withdraw it rather than to press upon the Government what they have offered—namely, that they would accept it. My object has been to start a debate. Thanks to the other speakers the debate has been a very interesting one and, feeling that there is so much general agreement from all quarters of the House, I beg leave to withdraw.
§ VISCOUNT STANSGATE
My Lords, I am sorry if I gave the impression of a rosy picture. That is not what I meant to give at all. No one can go to the rusty twisted ruins and come back with a cheerful heart. The pilots' comment on if was: "It breaks your heart to see what a mess we have made." That is what the pilots said As regards the figures, I suggest to the noble Viscount that, as he knows, the Chancellor of the Duchy is taking a special responsibility in this matter as from October 22 and Sir Arthur Street is leaving my office. Will the noble Viscount consent to consideration being given to that as soon as the new Department is in order?
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.