§ 2.46 p.m.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (VISCOUNT ADDISON) rose to move to resolve, That this House approves the North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Washington on 4th April, 1949, relating to the promotion of stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area, and to collective defence for the preservation of peace and security. The noble Viscount said: My Lords, the Motion I have the honour to move concerns, as we all recognise, a very great matter indeed. It is a consummation that many of us have desired for a long time. We hope that it marks the beginning of a wider and more effective international co-operation. This nation, by the Motion I have the honour to submit, is invited to join with others in a resolute partnership to preserve peace. Tragic and desolating experience during the last two generations has taught us that peace is indivisible. The destruction of the freedom of nations one after another, piecemeal, manifestly can in the end mean only the destruction of the freedom of us all. The nations who desire to join in this association have many and differing histories, and many and varied institutions, but there is amongst us all a passionate desire to preserve our distinctive 804 national life, the personal and social freedoms for which we have striven, and to develop along our own lines in accordance with our own traditions and practice; and we wish, above all things, to be able to do so without the perpetual threat of a repetition of the horrors of the past two generations. This is the governing motive behind the great international instrument which I am now asking your Lordships to ratify.
§ There is in it no vestige of aggressive intent. It is entirely an act of self-defence, forced upon us by the experiences of past years. I am sure your Lordships will all say with me: Thank God that in this matter the wide Atlantic is no barrier! The tremendous power of the United States is at one with us, with our brothers in Canada and with our neighbours in Europe, for the first time in history in days of peace, in a united, constructive bond to restrain aggression. The new world is prepared to join with nations of the old. It has been a bitter experience to all of us that the unity of effort achieved during the war has not been continued into the problems of settlement and restoration.
§ We have all longed, and we still long, that the great Soviet Power would cooperate in a frank and friendly way with other nations in the sorely-needed efforts to adjust differences and to promote peaceable development. But it is impossible to deny that this hope has been more and more dissipated by the spectacle of this great Power subjugating her smaller neighbours, one by one, and obliterating their freedom by the imposition upon them of a police State. It is this—and it cannot be denied—that has inspired dread. At the same time, we have seen the forum of the United Nations used, not for constructive consultation, as we would wish, but often for the spread of disruptive propaganda, and even for the use of vituperation which, I believe, is almost a new feature in international gatherings. Coupled with this, we know that there has been a sustained and organised endeavour to promote dissension in many parts of the world. The inevitable response to these things is that those who value their freedom have come closer together.
§ It is this that has really made the Brussels Treaty; it is this, with the conditions of post-war impoverishment 805 before us and with the dangers that attach to it, that has impelled the United States to co-operate with the European nations and to place their abounding wealth at our service. It raises many difficult and intricate problems, but we can say that they are being faced with united good will. Happily, we see emerging also a greater and better organised unity of Europe. It will require careful development and wise handling, but it is a significant, a great and a promising development.
§ But none of these things is before us to-day. Every one of them has involved months of patient labour, and the settlement by friendly consultation of a host of difficulties. Their settlement has been made possible only by good will and by resolution, and by keeping the great objectives always in view. I hope that some day the history of these great matters which I have mentioned in passing will be more fully disclosed. We shall then realise, more than it is possible to realise now, what a debt is owed to many great American statesmen and to other leaders who have helped, in practical, detailed, long and anxious consultations, to formulate these agreements; and prominent amongst those leaders is our own Foreign Secretary, Mr. Bevin. That should be said. His patience, his self-control, his fixity of purpose and his infinite sagacity have been invaluable in the fashioning of this instrument. As I have said, the purpose of this great Treaty, from first to last, is to safeguard peace; and within that safeguard we hope that it will be possible for the nations to build a better world. I beg to move.
§ Moved to resolve, That this House approves the North Atlantic Treaty, signed in Washington on 4th April, 1949, relating to the promotion of stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area, and to collective defence for the preservation of peace and security.—(Viscount Addison.)
§ 2.57 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, happily this debate, at any rate, is a thoroughly non-controversial occasion, and on behalf of those who sit on these Benches, I am very glad to be able to voice broad agreement with the sentiments which have been expressed by the Leader of the House. I agree with him entirely, if I may say so, that it is convenient 806 and desirable that the Government should have tabled this Motion of approval of the Atlantic Pact, for it underlines the unity of view which at present undoubtedly exists among the more responsible elements in every Party on the main issues of foreign policy. It is right that this should be recognised at home and abroad. I do not say that on individual questions we all see quite eye-to-eye. That, perhaps, is inevitable. But it is essential, if this country is to exert its full influence in international affairs, that on the general conduct of foreign policy there should be the same fundamental aims which actuate all Parties alike. Fortunately, I think that is at present the case. I am glad, therefore, to be able to-day to congratulate the Government and, if I may say so, in particular the Foreign Secretary, on the successful result of their long and patient endeavours. I am quite sure that they, on their part, will be willing to give some credit to the Opposition for the part they have played in maintaining national unity over what has inevitably been a very difficult period.
The Leader of the House has said that the signature of the Atlantic Pact constitutes an important milestone on the road to international peace. I think that is absolutely true. Of course, it would be a mistake for us, so early as this, to throw our hats in the air and assume prematurely that we have achieved our goal. We are a long way from that yet. But the Pact—at least in my view—is certainly a definite step it the right direction, for which the Government can fairly claim credit. In congratulating His Majesty's Government, I should also like, if I may, to join in the tribute which the Leader of the House has paid to the farsighted wisdom of the Government and people of the United States, to whom, above all, this happy result is due. I think we in this country are sometimes too apt to take as a matter of course the contribution which that great country is making. There is no doubt that it is to the American interest that European peace should be preserved. As a nation which believes, as we do, in free institutions, its frontier, as ours, lies in Central Europe. There are to be found the outer bastions of the citadel of freedom; and if these are driven in, the citadel itself, wherever it may be, is inevitably threatened.
807 But I should have thought that this might very easily have been more difficult of comprehension to the people of the United States than it is to us, who, after all, live very much nearer the danger area. They are separated from it by 3,000 miles of sea, and often by many hundreds of miles of land as well; and one would have thought that Europe might well seem to them a very long way off and the danger to the Americas an extremely illusory one. But to their eternal credit they have not taken that view. On the contrary, first through the Marshall Plan and now through the Atlantic Pact, they have shown that they are able to rise to the full measure of their responsibility. By doing this, they have shown statesmanship of a very high order, and have converted what was becoming an extremely serious and even desperate situation into one which now gives us reasonable ground for hope—I put it no higher than that.
What I have said of the United States applies, of course, in equally great measure to Canada, whose far-sighted wisdom has helped so greatly to bring about this happy result. I would also—though perhaps for slightly different reasons—pay a tribute of gratitude to the Russian Government for the result which has been achieved. For it is no doubt the attitude of Russia on the United Nations, and the threat which that attitude constituted to the Western World, which has played a vital part in welding together the free nations, as nothing else would have done. Whatever the motives of the Soviet Government, we can congratulate them and ourselves on the result. A balance of power has been created which will, I hope, be adequate to reduce the risk of war in the future; and in this way, by perhaps devious and even unintentional means, Russia has helped to strengthen the forces of peace and has helped to preserve free institutions in the world.
There is, of course, one proviso which we must all make in assessing the value of the Atlantic Pact—and this is a point which I think the noble Viscount the Leader of the House did not make. The Pact is in itself only a framework within which the signatories can co-operate. In Article V of the Pact, they promise in case of aggression to: 808assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.But this connotes that they must have at their disposal adequate armed forces for this purpose. Otherwise, the promise will be an empty one and the Pact will become ineffective—as, alas! so many similar Pacts have proved in the past. The Atlantic Pact, in fact, is merely a skeleton; and the skeleton must be given flesh and blood, if it is to do the work for which it has been created. That, it seems to me, is a solemn obligation on the signatories. It would therefore be very wrong if we, or any other nation, having signed this Pact, were to lie back and relax our efforts to improve our armed forces. On the contrary, we have a greater obligation to-day to perfect them than we have ever had before. I hope the Government will bend all their efforts to this end.
As your Lordships know, recent debates on the subject of defence have given rise, among many of us, to serious anxiety as to the state of our armed forces. I ask that we may have an assurance during this debate that it is the firm I intention of the Government to repair any weaknesses at the earliest possible moment. We must all recognise, of course, that this puts an additional burden on our national finances, and that it may well involve postponement of other objects which are very desirable in themselves. But we should never forget that the preservation of peace, however expensive, is far cheaper than war. To stint expenditure on necessary armaments at the present moment, and so imperil the success of this great new initiative, might in the long run prove the most extravagant thing that we could possibly do. It is vital that we should not let ourselves fall into that error.
There is one other comment I would make. In a debate a few months ago, I made bold to urge the Government to negotiate a Pact not only to ensure that there should be joint action when aggression occurred, but to make possible joint action in anticipation of aggression, to prevent aggression occurring. This is a point, I think, which was made, too, with very great force by my noble relative, Lord Cecil. Personally, I regret very much that it has proved impossible so to 809 frame the Atlantic Pact as to achieve this further purpose. No doubt the Government will tell me that it was not practicable within the terms of the United Nations Charter. That, I think, was the nature of the answer they gave us last time. But I hope that the possibility will be further examined at an early date, for once aggression has taken place, in the modern world, even if it is defeated, the damage which is done is bound to be terrible. I believe that if the Atlantic Pact—or any other Pact, for that matter—could be strengthened in that sense, another sturdy bulwark would be built up against aggressive war.
Now, my Lords, I have said all I wish to say this afternoon about the Atlantic Pact itself. But there are one or two other points which have been raised in connection with it about which, perhaps, your Lordships will allow me to say a few words. Firstly, there is the position of Spain, which was mentioned in the debate in another place and which has come very much into the foreground as a result of discussions that have been taking place in the United Nations within the last few days. I have often spoken on this subject in your Lordships' House, and I think that noble Lords know that I have no particular tenderness for General Franco's Government. But surely, in the present situation in the world, we have to ask ourselves: Will it strengthen or will it weaken the Atlantic Pact if Spain is permanently left out? I personally feel that the permanent omission of Spain from the Pact will weaken it.
Moreover, it now seems clear, so far as one can see, that General Franco's Government have behind them the broad mass of Spanish opinion. Whether we think that right or wrong, I believe it to be a fact. When we and other Powers withdrew our Ambassadors from Madrid a little time ago, the only effect was to rally national opinion to General Franco more solidly than ever before. In such circumstances, I cannot feel that our present policy towards Spain is any longer quite realistic. For that reason I cannot but regret the attitude which was taken by His Majesty's Government in the United Nations last week, when the question of the restoration of full diplomatic representation in Spain was discussed. I am quite certain that if we had taken a definite line in favour of that 810 course, the necessary steps would have been taken. I understand that the Minister of State, who, I think, represented the Government on that occasion, gave as his reason for abstaining from voting that though he was inclined to agree that His Majesty's Government had been mistaken in withdrawing their Ambassador, were we now to restore him it would imply a measure of approval of the present Spanish Government which the Government were unwilling to give.
If I may say so, I have never in my life heard such nonsense as that argument. As The Times very powerfully pointed out in a leading article this morning, we send an Ambassador to a country not merely, or even mainly, to register approval of the existing régime in that country; we send an Ambassador because it is to our own interest that he should be there. That is the only reason we send him. We had an Ambassador in Madrid during the late war. As the whole House knows, the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, did a fine job there for his country at that time. But, by appointing Lord Templewood to Madrid, we did not imply approval of the policy of General Franco at that time; we sent him there because it was valuable to us to have ourselves properly represented in Spain at a difficult period. Exactly the same thing is true now. I believe we have full diplomatic representation in Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria, of the régimes of which countries we fundamentally disapprove. Why should we make this special exception against Spain alone? Whether it would be wise at this stage to bring Spain into the Atlantic Pact is certainly a matter about which there may be differing views, but I believe that no harm, and possibly good, is likely to come from restoring full diplomatic representation. I hope that the Government will be able to reassure us that their mind is not permanently closed on this question.
There is one other point which I would raise very briefly. It relates to the conclusion of Mediterranean and Pacific Pacts, ancillary to the Atlantic Pact. It seems to me that these are certainly a matter for consideration. But let us approach these projects also in a spirit of realism. We must all recognise that the situation differs from one area of the world to another. It would be no good for us to conclude pacts unless they were 811 likely to be effective for the purpose for which they were intended. Clearly, the building up of any new combination of this kind will need the most careful thought, both as to its area and its membership, if disappointment is to be avoided. One thing is however already clear. It is evident that the position of two countries, Greece and Turkey, who are at present so gallantly maintaining their independent status, does need supporting and strengthening. I hope that His Majesty's Government can assure us that they are keeping in close touch with the United States with a view to assisting those countries to resist the unrelenting pressure which they are no doubt undergoing from Russia and her satellites.
I do not wish to occupy any more of your Lordships' time. There are others who are going to speak this afternoon who will do so with a great deal more authority and experience than I can. In conclusion, I would say only this. As I understand it, the Atlantic Pact—and I think the Leader of the House emphasised this point this afternoon—has fundamentally exactly the same object as the Charter of the United Nations: it seeks to bring about enduring peace. If the only result of such Pacts as these—as I think my noble relative, Lord Cecil of Chelwood, said in a former debate—were to divide the world permanently into two opposing camps, then these Pacts would achieve very little. But I hope and think that the present Pact may achieve much more than that. If only the Russian Government can be convinced that they have nothing to gain by war, they may yet turn to a policy of co-operation with the West on a basis of mutual tolerance of each other's institutions. We have shown them within recent months that we are not afraid of them and that we can get on perfectly well without them. That is a lesson it is essential that the Russian Government should learn. If they will profit by it, it is not impossible for a modus vivendi to be achieved to the advantage of all concerned. But it is certain that that transformation would never have taken place while the West was weak. It is the supreme merit of this Pact that it gives a chance for us to meet them in negotiation on equal terms. As such, I welcome it, if I may use the words used by Mr. Churchill in another place, 812 "with satisfaction if not with exultation," and it is in that spirit that I am very glad to support the Motion which the Leader of the House has moved today.
§ 3.16 p.m.
THE EARL OF PERTH
My Lords, so much has been written and said about the North Atlantic Treaty that I do not propose to inflict upon your Lordships a speech of any considerable length. The White Paper sets out admirably the events leading up to the signing of the Treaty. It contains a good commentary on the various Articles. That commentary requires little amplification. We on these Benches most cordially welcome the new Treaty. We should like, too, to congratulate the Foreign Secretary on the part which he has played in the negotiations now so happily concluded. We owe a great debt of gratitude to him, to the American people, to Senator Vandenberg, and also to Mr. St. Laurent who was the first statesman openly to propose that the Atlantic nations should get together for mutual security under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. It is appropriate that Canada should have been the first country to ratify the Treaty. I hope that we shall be the second, and that before long the Treaty may be brought into full force.
In a speech which I made a short time ago in your Lordships' House, I expressed my conviction that war was certainly not inevitable. I said then that I did not think it was probable. This Treaty makes it even less probable. I consider it a great step towards the preservation of peace. Peace is ardently desired by all the peoples of the world. If, therefore, the peoples of the world are not misled by specious propaganda, they should welcome the Treaty. The underlying purpose of the League of Nations and the United Nations was to banish, once and for all, the spectre of war. It is quite clear that that aim can be accomplished only by making certain that a potential aggressor will be faced by overwhelming force on the part of the peace-loving nations, so that he will be compelled to abandon his wicked designs and to pursue a righteous course. When I was at Geneva, endeavours were made to obtain collective security through the Treaty of Mutual Assistance and through the Geneva Protocol, but, alas! they came to naught. The nations then were not ready to 813 assume the responsibilities of protecting one another. It was not realised fully that the ultimate result of shirking the issue would certainly be war, which would entail a far, far greater burden. Now, at long last, we have made a splendid start through the North Atlantic Treaty. As I said before—and I agree with the noble Marquess—I hope that analogous Treaties may be made to cover other regions of the world so that, finally, security will be given to all countries and peace assured. Then, the Charter of the United Nations can become really effective.
May I turn for a moment or two to the Treaty itself? Articles 1 and 2 are what I may call active Articles, particularly Article 2, which provides for the encouragement of economic collaboration between the signatories of the Treaty. Happily, that has already been largely brought about through Marshall Aid and through O.E.E.C.; and the generosity shown by the American people in that respect has been remarkable. Articles 4 and 5 are what I may term passive Articles; they form the kernel of collective self-defence. It is rather a paradox that while we welcome these Articles, all the signatories must earnestly hope that they will never come into effect, and that they will prove an adequate deterrent against future dangers.
I would like to say just one word in reply to the noble Marquess about Article 4, because I rather feel that he overlooked its possibilities. The nations do agree to consult together in the event of any of them considering that a danger has arisen in regard to their independence and security. Consultation is of very great importance—
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I think I am right in saying that there is no possibility of joint action until aggression has actually occurred.
THE EARL OF PERTH
That would be a matter for consultation. I think the noble Marquess is probably right. I do not want to deal with the other Articles, except to say one word about Article 9. I hope that when this Defence Committee is set up, the Foreign Offices of the respective countries will be represented on it. Defence and foreign policies have often been isolated, and it is very important that they should be adequately co-ordinated.
814 My Lords, I should now like to say a few words about the criticisms which have been made of this Treaty. One criticism—and it is quite vocal—is that the Treaty is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations. Frankly, I do not see how that objection can be sustained for one moment. The whole Treaty is inspired by the spirit of the Charter, and is based specifically on Article 51. It may be that the authors of Article 51 did not realise, when they drafted it, how important the rights which it accords in regard to collective security might become. If so, they budded better than they knew, and provided a foundation for further steps towards world peace. I would like to digress for a moment, as his old Chief, to offer a friendly word to Mr. Zilliacus. He often talks of his Geneva experiences, and I should like to ask him whether, if we had had such a Treaty to buttress the League of Nations, he would not have been the first to rejoice. If he is honest, as I believe him to be, he would admit that had such a Treaty been brought into being when he and I were at Geneva he would have been one of the most enthusiastic and joyful of the junior members or the Secretariat. Certainly I sincerely believe that if we had had that Treaty we should have been able to avoid the last World War. I am certain that if that Treaty had been in force Hitler would never have come to power. Even if he had come to power, he would never have been allowed to go on with his wicked schemes for world domination.
My Lords, the second criticism is that the Treaty is directed against Russia. As the noble Marquess said, it may well have been brought about by Soviet policy, but it certainly is not directed against the Soviets. The Soviet Government and the Communist Parties in various countries are continually declaring that Russia has not the slightest idea of ever waging an aggressive war. If so, I do not see how Russia can possibly be affected by a Treaty which, by its main Articles, provides merely for collective self-defence. Indeed, Russia ought really to be very happy that certain of her co-members of the United Nations have taken steps to secure themselves from aggression from any quarter whatever. I could develop that argument but I will not do so.
Another criticism made is that it is very difficult to define aggression. I 815 agree that it is very difficult to give legal expression to what exactly constitutes aggression, but I think I speak now for the ordinary man and woman when I say that, although we cannot easily define aggression, we do know it when it happens; and I am quite certain that armed attack is aggression. The last criticism—and here I am not sure that the noble Marquess agrees with me—is that our armaments will have to be largely increased, and that in our present economic situation we cannot assume this additional burden. I very much doubt whether that is so. It may be that at the beginning, owing to what I may call the run-down of European defences, there will have to be an extra effort on the part of all participating countries. But by rationalisation of armaments in the various participating countries, I believe that ultimately the cost to each of them may well be reduced.
I would like to say one word about Spain, which figured largely in the speech of the noble Marquess. I am inclined to agree with what he said about the restoration of full diplomatic relations. In my experience, the withdrawal of our Ambassador has never had the slightest effect, or been of any use whatever. Having said that, I would hesitate to suggest that Spain at this moment should become a signatory to the Atlantic Pact. I would remind the House that this country is not alone in this matter. We should have to consult all the other signatories, and therefore consultation might be necessary, as I think the noble Marquess agreed.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I expressed no opinion upon that. I think that is for a later stage. I think restoration of diplomatic relations might take place at once, but any other stage must be a matter for further consideration.
THE EARL OF PERTH
I entirely agree, but quite frankly I think that the restoration of full diplomatic relations has very little to do with the Atlantic Pact.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
It has this importance: that you could hardly have as a signatory of the Atlantic Pact a nation which is not accorded even ordinary diplomatic relations.
THE EARL OF PERTH
I fully agree.
816 My Lords, in conclusion, I wish the Foreign Secretary God-speed at the meetings which are shortly to take place between the Foreign Ministers. He and his Western colleagues will face a most difficult task. We can trust him fully not to abandon any of the principles of Western democracy, of which he has shown himself such a staunch supporter. My Lords, it would be idle and foolish for me to endeavour to foretell what the results of these eventful conferences are likely to be. We can only trust that some substantial progress may be made towards a more peaceful world in which the aims of the Charter of the United Nations can be fulfilled. And I cannot but feel that the North Atlantic Treaty which is before your Lordships for approval will be of real help in that direction, which is what we all desire.
§ 3.30 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF HALIFAX
My Lords, the speeches to which the House has had the opportunity of listening have presented, with what seemed to me admirable lucidity, the contribution that the Pact may be expected to make to international order and security, and also its relation to the Charter of the United Nations. I have not sought the permission of your Lordships to intervene for a few moments in this debate in order to repeat, very much less ably, what has been so well said by those who have preceded me. Indeed, everything that has been said on that score presents what we have before us to-day, on the Motion of the noble Viscount the Leader of the House, as a very happy example of that national unity which, on great occasions and on large issues, is one of the main sources of the abiding strength of this country.
I was very happy, therefore, to hear the noble Marquess and the noble Earl, Lord Perth, join in their congratulations to His Majesty's Government and to the Foreign Secretary for the steady patience and determination with which they have succeeded in making this dream that many of us have had assume reality. I would certainly be glad to have my congratulations associated with theirs. If, as I hope will be the case, this Pact, through due constitutional processes, receives the final approval of the people of the United States, it will be, as has been recognised, an historical event of the first importance. It would, no doubt, 817 have been possible to secure a Pact, or part of the advantage of a Pact, without the inclusion of the United States. But it would have been a very different instrument, and it would certainly have lacked potency and the virtue that the adhesion of the United States (if it is, as I hope, finally given) will bring to it.
It is, perhaps, permissible and right for us, on an occasion such as this, to have in our minds how fundamental a change in the approach of the United States to these problems that fact represents. To anyone—and there are many here—who remembers how the bright hopes excited after the last war suffered eclipse when, under domestic stresses and strains, the United States withdrew from international effort, the transformation of the scene is almost unbelievable. And to anyone who, like myself, was privileged, for a period of months and years, to watch the evolution of American thought and feeling during the last war, moving very slowly at first and then like an avalanche gradually gathering momentum, the experience must be unforgettable. All nations, I suppose, like individuals, make mistakes, and great nations sometimes make great mistakes. Great nations made great mistakes after 1918, which reacted very unhappily upon one another. We certainly did, and the United States certainly did. But no nation—and this, I think, is one of the characteristics of the greatness of the United States—is more quick to learn than they are; and this Pact seems to me to be a measure of the extent to which we have both learned a very bitter lesson. I remember how, during the war, when I had the honour to represent this country in Washington, one of the greatest of living Americans, who had much to do with the war, said to me one day:After this war there will be no example in history of a nation so young as ours having such great responsibility thrust upon it.The implied question in that observation finds its answer in the agreement which we have before us to-day.
There is in this connection one other thing I would like to say. I do not think there could have been any question of such an American contribution to world peace unless both the great Parties in American politics had substantially agreed upon the removal of foreign policy from the Party political arena. That has 818 meant much—perhaps more than was realised at the time—to the world; and, therefore, without in any way trespassing upon the field of United States domestic policy, I think it not inappropriate to make reference, as indeed I was very happy to hear made a moment or two ago, to the debt we owe to those who made it possible. Both sides can very properly claim a share of the credit for it. I suppose that on the side of the Administration great credit ought rightly to be given to Mr. Cordell Hull, who, acting, as your Lordships will remember, on behalf of President Roosevelt, seized with great promptitude the opportunity, so far back as 1944, of securing the co-operation of Governor Dewey, who was then Republican candidate for the Presidential election, in non-partisan consideration of foreign policy. That spirit has been consistently maintained both on the Democratic side by Mr. Hull's successors in the State Department and by the Democratic leaders in Congress, and, on the Republican side, by Governor Dewey himself and by the responsible Republican leaders, among them—and I was very happy to hear the noble Earl, Lord Perth, mention him—the Republican stalwart Senator Vandenberg, who, from the first, has played so creative and constructive a part in this affair. To all those patriotic men who, from different standpoints, have preached to their fellow citizens on this text of the importance of common co-operation on great issues, the world owes deep thanks.
Before I sit down, may I, to be in the fashion, add my word upon the subject of Spain? I was very glad indeed that the noble Marquess said what he did about Spain, and I was also very pleased to hear the interchange which took place between him and the noble Earl, Lord Perth, a moment or two ago. That seemed to bring us all very close together in our approach to what has so often been a rather vexed topic. I am bound to say that I entirely agree with him in regarding the latest decision of the United Nations Assembly as a regrettable one. I think that that could have been avoided if His Majesty's Government had not felt it necessary to follow a course of action by way of abstention, which, indeed, never appears to me to be a very powerful posture. In this case, as the noble Marquess said, it is neither logical nor convincing. 819 What has happened seems to me to preserve the atmosphere of unreality which has long clung around Spanish affairs by suggesting that diplomatic representation implies, as the noble Marquess said, some kind of approval of domestic policy. Of course, it does nothing of the sort, and anyone who thinks it does has only to look around the world and see where we are represented to-day.
It is this unreal atmosphere that has invested Spanish relations right the way along from the beginnings of the Civil War, when, as I remember very well, the Non-Intervention Committee took shape at the Foreign Office. Certainly a strong tinge of unreality clung round that body. But, in saying that, let me also say that, at a cost which was not negligible, it did serve the purpose of preventing the nations whose sympathies ranged on opposite sides of the struggle from coming to open rupture and open blows. On that ground perhaps it was justified. But it always reminded me at the time, and has done since, of the nineteenth century method of treating matrimonial infidelities. Matrimonial infidelities persisted but they were not openly acknowledged, and family ruptures were thus often avoided. On the whole that method may be criticised, but it had certain advantages and disturbed family life less than many of the arrangements we see to-day. That is only by way of illustration of the unreality that appears to me to cling round the name and place of Spain.
I agree with everything that has been said here and elsewhere in regard to General Franco's system of Government. What the noble Marquess said is perfectly true. If we had wished to lend Franco support, we could not have done it better than by presenting him to his people as the victim of a kind of international vendetta. I venture to think that the sooner we get out of that situation the better. Most people now realise that it was a mistake to withdraw our Ambassador. I agree with the noble Earl, Lord Perth; I have never yet seen a case when such action produced valuable results. If we realise that we have made a mistake, the sooner we cut our losses and get out of it the better. It is for that reason I hope that the Foreign Secretary and the Government will be prepared 820 to think again about this matter, and as and when opportunity arises—though I realise the difficulties with which they are faced at the moment—they will, along with the United States, endeavour to use their influence in order to lead the country and I hope the world along the path of closer reality and larger wisdom.
§ 3.43 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT CECIL OF CHELWOOD
My Lords, the speakers who have already addressed your Lordships have insisted, and rightly insisted, on the very great importance of the issue that is now before the House, and have expressed the hope that the final adoption of the Atlantic Treaty may mean the opening of a new chapter in world history. I entirely agree with what has been said, but when I listened to those eloquent phrases I could not help being reminded of a passage in the second volume of Mr. Harry Hopkins's White House Papers, in which he describes how he and President Franklin Roosevelt left the Yalta Conference in, as he said, the highest spirits and with the greatest hopes, believing that now at last they had reached a new era in the world's history. He added that he was confident that they would be able to work for peace, particularly in concert with the present head of the Soviet Government. I mention this in order to emphasise what I believe to be a profound truth: that we have not reached the conclusion of our troubles, but only the beginning of them.
After all, the Atlantic Pact, to which we are asked to give our approval this afternoon, is the third attempt which has been made in the last thirty years for the international organisation of peace. Leaving aside the Geneva Protocol and the Treaty of Mutual Assistance, to which the noble Earl, Lord Perth, referred, because they were strangled at their birth, the League of Nations was the first, the United Nations and the Charter were the second, and this Atlantic Treaty is the third. All three attempts have proceeded on one basis—namely, the conception that by concentrating the peaceful forces of the world against an aggressor aggression could be prevented. I do not believe there is any other practical method which can be proposed, and even those who used to advocate the pacifist solution appear to me to have largely abandoned their view. There is, no 821 doubt the movement for a World State, but even this proceeds like its prototype, the National State, on the principle of organising strength in order to suppress crime. So that there is an almost unanimous and growing opinion that war is a colossal evil which ought at all costs to be extirpated by common action.
Yet, though that was the opinion very largely held at the end of the First World War, the League failed. I do not mean that it did no good. Your Lordships will pardon me if I venture to my that I think it did a great deal, particularly in crystallising the hatred of war and by showing that a world organisation for peace was practicable. But in spite of that, within twenty years after the close of the First World War, we were plunged into its even more disastrous successor. The cause of the League's failure was attributed, especially in the United States, to its want of "teeth"—that is, its power of enforcing peace. Accordingly, it was decided—unfortunately, as I think—to scrap the League and put the United Nations in its place. In fact, the League had plenty of "teeth." The real difficulty was that its members did not use them.
In general principles, and in the form of organisation adopted, the United Nations does not differ much from its predecessor. But in one respect, as your Lordships know, there is an entirely new departure: the Security Council are given the special duty of keeping peace, and the special powers to do so. At the end of the war that was what everybody believed to be the only way of securing peace: get the great Powers together and let them combine to impose peace. I need not enumerate the provisions of the Charter. It authorises the Council to deal with all international disputes which endanger peace and, if persuasive methods are not sufficient, then to use whatever force may be necessary for the purpose. The Council are given considerable power of planning and organisation for this purpose. In particular (and I would especially remind your Lordships of this) the Council are given the exclusive right to direct any of the United Nations to take such action as the Security Council may decide. For instance, they might order the British Fleet to coerce one of our Dominions, or the United States to invade Canada.
822 No doubt these are extreme cases, but the existence of such possibilities may perhaps explain why the San Francisco Conference insisted that the Security Council should take no vitally important action without the unanimous consent of the permanent members. That is, of course, the veto. As we all know, it is the right of veto which has been responsible for the difficulties of working the United Nations Organisation. I believe that on some twenty-nine occasions the Russian representative has refused his assent to proposals approved by more than two-thirds of his colleagues. Russian action has caused considerable irritation, but, as my noble friend and relative hinted, I am not sure that it has not been a blessing in disguise. If the Council had been allowed to function without difficulty, we might not have realised that they were quite powerless to deal with any aggression directly or indirectly approved by a permanent member State—which means in fact that they could not deal with any aggression of the first importance.
As things have turned out, the danger to peace has been perceived in time, owing to the action of the Soviet Government, and has been guarded against by this new Treaty. As we have been reminded, the object aimed at by the Treaty is precisely and expressly the same as that contained in the Charter. The actual machinery suggested is said to be within Article 51. In spite of the very ingenious observations of my noble friend, Lord Perth, I must say that I am not altogether without doubt on the point. But it does not seem to me to be of any importance. The signatories of the Pact are clearly entitled to take any measures they like preserve peace, unless such measures are definitely inconsistent with their undertakings under the Charter. It does not mean that they are never again to do anything about peace, but that they must not do anything which is inconsistent with the Charter.
I do not think anyone with even the wildest imagination can suggest that the powers proposed to be taken under the Atlantic Treaty are inconsistent with those given in the Charter. The signatories have arrived at the conclusion that to give compulsory powers to the Security Council, limited by the veto, does not work. Accordingly, they propose to return to the plan of emphasising 823 the moral duty of all peace-loving Powers to stop aggression (this is my understanding of what, in substance, the Atlantic Pact does), enabling them to combine for that purpose and leaving each of them to decide, after consultation with the others, what actual steps should be taken to prevent war. That is, in my judgment, a perfectly just and practical plan; and it is, in fact—though it is irrelevant, except perhaps to myself—very much the foundation of Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations.
I am not quite so happy—I hope the House will forgive me for saying this—about another change which is to be made, though it is, perhaps, only a change of language. By the Charter, its leading purpose was said to be the maintenance of peace and the suppression of aggression. By the Pact it is proposed to protect certain countries within the North Atlantic district from armed attack. That is not quite the same thing; it is another point of view. It is in form extremely like the old defensive alliances made by groups of countries who feared attack by other groups, and often described in the history books as the balance of power. I believe—and I venture to submit this to my noble friends on the Government Front Bench—that we must take great care not to drift back into the old system of the balance of power. It was never a very good plan, but it was tolerable in the old days, when the main object was to avoid defeat. Nowadays, as has already been said in this debate, our aim must be to prevent war—which is a different thing.
Atomic and other inventions have caused a change in the object of our foreign policy. Under atomic conditions, or even under the conditions of total war, the result of another world struggle, whoever won, would be disastrous for all engaged in it. The object of the Pact must be to create a position in which aggressors would so certainly be overwhelmed that aggression would not take place. That was the main point—I am not making any novel observation—relied on by the Foreign Secretary. Unless we succeed in that, we shall have failed. It therefore seems a pity—I say this with great deference—to talk only of protecting individual countries from attack. No doubt if all countries are protected effectively, that is much the same thing as the 824 prevention of war. But at present the Atlantic Pact deals with only a portion of the world. That may be all that we can do now, but do not let us be satisfied with it.
It is as important in diplomacy as in other things to say clearly what you mean. That leads me to the chief thing that I desire to press on your Lordships' attention. We want peace, and we want security. As things stand, even with the Pact, we have not got them. So long as the Communist threat persists, there can be no real security. I know that it is not our fault that the division between East and West has taken place, but from a world point of view it is a great misfortune. When one looks at the map and sees the gigantic territory of Russia and her satellite countries, one must feel that we have still far to go before we achieve real peace. The position may be still further complicated by the reappearance of anarchy in China. May I say how much I hope that we shall keep the door wide open for Russia and other countries—Spain has been mentioned—to join in the effort for peace if they will?
In this connection, I cannot feel happy about Articles 2 and 10 of the Pact. In Article 2 there is a eulogy of free institutions, which will be endorsed by every member of your Lordships' House, but which may perhaps be regarded in some quarters as an intimation that only countries with a Parliamentary Government will be welcome as adherents of the Pact. This construction seems strengthened by the provision in Article 10, that any invitation to further the principles of the Pact by adhering to it can be given only unanimously—a reproduction of the principle of the veto, which seems unfortunate. May I mention, in passing, that the provision that the invitation must come unanimously is not mentioned in the White Paper that has been distributed to your Lordships? I think it is a very important provision which ought not to be overlooked. Just now there appears some chance of an alteration in the Russian policy of obstruction. I do not build much on that. No one who has read the accounts of negotiations with Moscow, even during the war, can doubt that the difficulties of any understanding between East and West are enormous. But in view of the terrific consequences which a continuance of the present unrest threatens, I hope 825 that I shall not be misunderstood if I urge that we should not let our natural and justifiable indignation stand in the way of improved collaboration. No doubt prudence is essential, but suspicion carried too far may be as dangerous as credulity.
Finally, may I say this? Like everyone else here, I unreservedly desire to see the success of the Atlantic Treaty. I recognise, as has already been said, that it is a first step, and a very big first step, towards the firm establishment of peace and security. I join in the warm congratulations to the Government and to the Foreign Secretary, as well as to the other signatories of the Pact. I particularly welcome what has been said elsewhere about the part which all individual peace lovers, here and abroad, may play in tills great effort. Let us be sure of this. It is not the details of this or that Pact or Treaty which really matter. No peace policy can succeed without the vigorous support, first of the Governments and then of the peoples concerned. The fate of the League of Nations stands as a great warning against slackness or indifference. Now we have another chance. In heaven's name do not let us miss it again.
§ 4.2 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT TEMPLEWOOD
My Lords, I suppose, like the noble Earl, Lord Halifax, I must follow the fashion and say a word or two about Spain. I did not intend to speak about Spain at all, but as three noble Lords have already made reference to a country with which I was closely connected for a good many years, perhaps I had better begin my short speech by saying what I have to say about Spain before passing on to what I believe to be much more important questions.
Having spent nearly five years in Spain, I am very cautious about expressing any definite opinion at all. It may be that I am biased. It may be that I saw the Franco régime under the worst possible conditions. I saw a system of Fascism in operation, dominated by the Germans. Naturally, I cannot forget the experiences through which I then passed. I think, however, that my experience in Spain would make me very chary about making any prophecies. Therefore I would not accept the view that the Franco régime is so firmly established that nothing at 826 present can shake it. Nor, indeed, with great respect to the noble Marquess my own leader, would I restrict myself to asking the question: Will the entry of Spain help or not help the Atlantic Pact? I ask myself two further questions. First: Is the Atlantic Pact nothing more than an anti-Communist organisation? Other noble Lords may not agree with the view I hold on that matter. I take the view that the Atlantic Pact is the outward and visible expression of Western civilisation. Secondly, I ask myself this further question: Does the continuance of the Franco régime really give help to the anti-Communist forces in the West? Now here again other noble Lords may not agree with me. I hold the view very firmly that the longer the Franco régime goes on in Spain, the more is Communism stimulated under the surface.
My chief contention against the Franco régime to-day am prepared to forget the war years—is that it is eliminating the centre Parties in Spanish public life. It is eliminating at the one end the constitutional monarchists and at the other end the constitutional republicans. I do not wish to dogmatise or take up your Lordships' time this afternoon in a disquisition upon Spanish politics, but I hope I have said enough to suggest a word of caution when we so easily say, "Well, there is the Franco régime. It is a better régime than the régimes beyond the Iron Curtain. There, is a régime which is anti-Communist. Let us at once admit it into this new alliance of the West." All I say to-day is that I do not think the time has yet come for any action of that kind. I am nervous of taking any action that is likely to be exploited by the Spanish Fascists.
However, I would agree with the three noble Lords who have spoken upon that subject, that the present position in which we have no Ambassador in that country, although we still keep a Mission there, is indefensible. I said so at the time, two or three years ago, when we withdrew our Ambassador. It is just in those countries with whom relations are difficult—perhaps I may speak with some experience of Spain during the five years I was there—that an Ambassador is absolutely necessary. We now see the folly of the decision which was made by the United Nations underlined more heavily than ever. Having made this 827 mistake, they now do not know what to do, and are faced with the issue which is inevitable when you once withdraw an Ambassador: How can we get him back there? My advice would be to make it quite clear to General Franco and the Franco régime that we profoundly disapprove of his dispensation; but as to whether we have an Ambassador in Madrid or not, I take the view that, if you have a Mission, it is better to have it properly represented with a chief at the top. I apologise to the House for having made those observations upon Spain. I had no intention of doing so when I came to the House this afternoon.
With the approval of noble Lords, I will now say a word or two upon more general questions connected with the Atlantic Pact. I join with the speakers who have already congratulated all those statesmen who have done so much to bring the Pact into operation. The ratification to-day comes at the end of a series of events almost unprecedented for their speed in peace time: the Brussels Treaty; the new development of the Commonwealth; the withdrawal of the Berlin blockade, and the creation in embryo of a Council and Assembly of Europe. All those events, particularly in the manner in which they have come, are staggering in their cumulative effect. At the same time, I cannot blind myself to these two facts: first, not a single one of the great controversial questions that divide the world is at present settled; secondly, I see no sign whatever of Soviet policy having changed at all. It seems to me that all that has happened is that the Soviet have abandoned their frontal attack and are now making two flank attacks, one in the East and one by means of political propaganda in the West.
Do not let us be blind to the dangers of these two flank attacks. Take, for instance, the possibilities of Russian propaganda in the West. The Russians are obviously going to pose to the Germans as the liberators of Germany and as the unifiers of Germany; and they are obviously going to make approaches to the United States and attempt to break the Anglo-American front. They are obviously going to tempt Germany with great offers of economic expansion in the East. That being so, it surely points to our taking every step, with the utmost 828 urgency, to put real substance behind the formulæ upon which we are agreeing this afternoon. I suggest to your Lordships that in face of the present hopes and fears in Europe we must adopt the same attitude that we have maintained with the air-lift throughout the Berlin blockade.
Most of all, I feel that there must be no delay in putting real substance behind the Atlantic Pact formula; in the matter of defence. This is not the occasion for me to make a detailed speech about the state of European and British defence. I may, however, say this: that, so far as I can see, the international machinery—the machinery, that is, of the Brussels Treaty and what is contemplated under the Atlantic Pact—is very complicated and is likely to work very slowly. For instance, the military machinery under the Brussels Pact is overloaded with committees. So far as I can see, there is little evidence of national policy being subordinated to the international objective. As a single example, take the machinery at the top, the Defence Ministers, who are the final court of appeal. I understand they meet only every three months. The chairmanship goes by rotation, and the decisions have to be unanimous. I am afraid machinery of that kind reminds me of medieval Poland and the Holy Roman Empire, and not at all of the kind of international S.H.A.E.F. that is really needed in modern conditions.
Take our own system of defence. As noble Lords will remember, more than once during recent times I have raised the question of our air power. I have taken our air power because I believe it to be the most effective military deterrent in the present condition of Europe. What do we find? We have had several debates in your Lordships' House and we know little about what is happening. I have never known a Government disclose so little of their defence programme. Yet only yesterday, for instance, the Chief of the Air Staff, speaking at a conference in London—and speaking very frankly—was emphasising the fact that the Air Force is terribly short of skilled men and that the numbers of the Air Force are going down in the months immediately before us. Well, my Lords, if the Atlantic Pact is to be really effective and 829 if each of the Treaty Powers is to provide its quota and to do its part—and that is the essential foundation of the Pact—we must set our own house in order and do so at once. To-day I ask the Government, not indeed to give me a detailed answer, but to review their defence programme in face of what has happened in the last two years. I do not wish to look back and criticise the view that they may have taken two years ago; but events have changed in a most remarkable manner since then. Take our commitments, for instance. Two or three years ago we had great commitments in India and in Burma, and we had a great commitment in demobilisation. That state of affairs is past. On the other hand, under the Atlantic Pact we are undertaking new obligations, and new obligations that admittedly might have to be put into operation at almost a moment's notice.
I have taken this opportunity to-day, when we are discussing the ratification of the Pact, to point out to the House—in no sense derogatory to the Pact itself—that the Pact will be no better than the Locarno Agreement, the Kellogg Pact, or Article 16 of the League of Nations, unless the Western Powers in matters of strategy, tactics, and defence are each prepared to put into it their defence quota without any further delay. I make this appeal in the interests of British defence. I make it also in what I believe to be the interests of Anglo-American relations. The American people have agreed to this immense contribution to help Europe in the hour of Europe's need. It is the duty of the Powers of Western Europe to make it clear to the American people that every penny of the money and every detail of the help is being used effectively for the purposes for which the American people have given it. Last year, we made a splendid response: we made the response of European recovery. I suggest to the House this afternoon that in 1949 our response should not be so much economic recovery, though I hope we shall go forward with economic recovery, but European defence. It is, therefore, essential for His Majesty's Government to use their influence with the other signatory Powers at once to formulate the tactics and strategy of defence capable of meeting modern conditions, towards which defence we and the British Commonwealth will 830 be ready to offer our full and urgent quota.
§ 4.21 p.m.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (VISCOUNT HALL)
My Lords, it will be very pleasing to His Majesty's Government to know that the Pact has had such a ready welcome in your Lordships' House, and that so many of the noble Lords who have taken part in this short debate, all of whom have had a long and distinguished service in foreign affairs and world peace organisations, have given it such a hearty welcome. It is also pleasing to note that the Foreign Secretary, whose work during the past three and a half years has been most trying, and indeed difficult, has come in for a word of congratulation upon this Pact, which may be regarded as crowning the considerable amount of time and service which he has given. I should like to assure the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, that His Majesty's Government are not unmindful of the assistance which the Opposition in your Lordships' House and in another place have given them during the difficult days through which we have had to pass in relation to the foreign situation. The position of this country could have been made much more difficult had the Opposition decided to adopt an attitude different from that which they have adopted. I can assure the noble Marquess that we are indeed grateful for the assistance which has been given in that matter.
In addition to extending their welcome to the Pact, noble Lords have raised a few matters of great importance in the international field. I am afraid it is impossible for me to-day to reply fully to their points. The point made by the noble Marquess and by the noble Viscount who has just sat down—that a Pact without defence forces behind it will be of little avail—is one of great substance. I thought that the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, was hardly doing credit to the Western Union Organisation which has recently been set up. I would assure him that the Organisation which deals with Western Union defence is not cluttered up with committees. But it takes some time to get an organisation of that kind going. It is largely a question of what kind of contribution, from all aspects, the various member States of a Union of that kind can make. From my connection with the Defence Department, 831 I know that Western Union defence is now under serious and urgent consideration. In view of the fact that the Pact has only just come to fruition, one can hardly expect that much time has been given to the defence organisation which it will be necessary to set up under it. The question of the kind of organisation which will be necessary is now being considered. Indeed, not only the two, three or four Great Powers which are associated, but also all the other signatory Powers, must give their attention to the kind of defence organisation which must be set up in order to see, as the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, rightly said, that it is clothed with the necessary powers to ensure that the Atlantic Pact does not fail as other Pacts in the past have failed because they were not clothed with the power which they should have had.
The question of Spain has also played rather an important part in this debate. I was pleased that reference to Spain was made by the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, who had long experience during a difficult period in Spain. His Majesty's Government are fully seized of the importance of that situation. As the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, said, the Ambassador was withdrawn by the decision of the United Nations. We are ready, as the Minister of State said in New York recently, to continue to abide by the decision of the United Nations, but we are not prepared to vote in favour of the return of the Ambassador. One must not treat a matter of that kind so lightly as did the noble Viscount, Lord Cecil of Chelwood. Had we voted in favour of the return of the Ambassador, it would at once have indicated a recognition of the Franco régime.
§ VISCOUNT HALL
Yes. In view of all the implications, we cannot lightly cast a vote in that way. Indeed, I would not treat the Mission in Madrid quite so lightly as the noble Viscount, Lord 832 Templewood, did. There is a chargé d'affaires with a staff in Madrid and, to all intents and purposes, though they have not the full status of an Embassy, they are doing their job. I would again emphasise that, when the United Nations agree that the Ambassador should be returned to Madrid, Great Britain will readily accept that decision and see that the Ambassador is returned.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
But, as I understand it, His Majesty's Government are not willing to take any definite view on the subject. They will wait and see what everybody else does, and then accept it. I think that should not be the position of the Government of a great nation.
§ VISCOUNT HALL
I have stated the fact as it is: that Great Britain did not vote when the matter came before the United Nations Assembly; and the reason they did not vote was the one I gave.
Reference has also been made this afternoon to the need for a Mediterranean Pact, and it was suggested that we should keep in close association with the United States of America in regard to the Mediterranean question. My Lords, we are already doing that. The association between the United Kingdom and the United States of America in relation to Greece is such, I think, as to be in itself an earnest of the intention of the United States and this country to work in the closest possible association in relation to the Mediterranean. May I say next how much I welcomed the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Perth? I think he adopted the right attitude on the question of Spain; and it is the attitude of His Majesty's Government. We are not hostile to the Spanish people, but in regard to their leaders, our feelings are like those of the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood; and His Majesty's Government must be chary in relation to this and to that matter.
The noble Viscount, Lord Cecil, expressed the hope that we should not return to the old system of balance of power. His Majesty's Government fully share his hope. Indeed, the whole point of the Atlantic Pact is not to create a balance of power but to create such an overwhelming weight of strength on the side of peace and against aggression that there is no balance at all. That is the intention. 833 The noble Viscount also said he was very anxious that we should do all that we possibly could to keep in close association with Russia, and that we should not adopt too hostile an attitude in the event of her being willing to come and join in Pacts such as the Atlantic Pact. I would like to remind the noble Viscount that the genesis of this Treaty is the misuse of the veto in the United Nations. It is that which has compelled us to seek, by the arrangement between certain States for collective self-defence, as foreseen by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, that security for peace and defence against aggression which has hitherto been rendered impossible by the very Power which the noble Viscount is seeking to make eligible. It is our earnest hope that the successful operation of this arrangement for mutual defence against aggression, of nations of common origin living round the Atlantic Ocean and, as my right honourable friend, the Foreign Secretary, said in another place the other day—With moral and ethical standards and institutions derived from common origins and tradition"—will be the prelude to the full operation of the United Nations, with its worldwide membership, to the inestimable benefit of all the nations of the world.
My right honourable friend reminded us that it was the policy followed by the Soviet Union which drove us to consider:how like-minded, neighbourly peoples, whose institutions had been marked down for destruction, could get together not for the purpose of attack, but in sheer self-defence. We had to indicate to the world, that if this totalitarian method of preaching peace, and at the same time promoting disturbance and war, was to be stopped, greater cohesion and understanding amongst the peace-loving peoples were absolutely necessary.834 The justification for the coming together of these particular ten countries is their common civilisation and way of life and their common ideals, and the fact that, owing to the Soviet misuse of the veto, they could not obtain through the United Nations the security which they need. If the U.S.S.R. had been willing to behave in the United Nations in such a way that nobody need look outs de that Organisation for security, there would have been no need at all for the Atlantic Pact. To bring the Russians into the Atlantic Pact would, therefore, be to introduce the very element of weakness and insecurity which it has been designed to escape—unless, of course, the U.S.S.R. completely changed its old approach and its whole policy towards Western Europe, in which case we might as well abandon the Pact and live happily in the United Nations.
My Lords, other questions which have been raised in the course of the debate will, I am sure, receive the attention of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary, who is giving very close attention to speeches which are made in your Lordships' House, and I will convey to him certain of the suggestions which have been made. It is again left to me to express the thanks of His Majesty's Government for the very ready acceptance of this Pact.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.