§ 3.40 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF READING)
My Lords, it is not very often that a Foreign Office Bill is submitted to the House, and even now the Bill for which a Second Reading is desired is in itself a very short and simple measure. It is, in fact, no more than an enabling Bill, designed to give effect, mainly by Order in Council, to the pro- 634 visions of the Treaty of Peace with Japan, and it follows closely the precedent of the Act passed in 1947 to regulate a similar situation in regard to the Treaties of Peace with Italy, Roumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Finland.
Clause 1 (1) gives His Majesty power to take the necessary action. Clause 1 (2) provides for an Order in Council made under Clause 1 (1) containing penalties for its contravention by acts either of commission or omission. Clause 1 (3) lays down that the negative parliamentary procedure shall apply to such Order in Council.
So much for the Bill. But it is so closely linked to the Treaty of Peace itself that in considering it your Lordships will no doubt wish to include within the scope of this debate the Treaty, as well as the enabling Bill. It would, therefore, probably be the desire of the House that I should give some general picture of the Treaty and some brief account of the circumstances in which it came to be signed.
The House will recall that the Treaty was signed at San Francisco on September 8 last, and it is some indication of the extent of total war in these days that no fewer that forty-eight nations were signatories to it, those signing on behalf of this country being the then Secretary of State, Mr. Morrison, the then Minister of State, Mr. Younger, and the British Ambassador in Washington. The Treaty will not conic into force until, under Article 23, it has been ratified, first, by Japan, which has already done so, and, secondly, by a majority of the eleven signatory States, including the U.S.A., who were chiefly involved in the protracted discussions which preceded and accompanied the drafting of the actual terms. The same Article 23 contains a provision which we confidently hope will not have to be invoked, that, if the Treaty has not come into force within nine months of its ratification by Japan—a ratification which has already taken place—at any time within the subsequent three years any State which has itself ratified may bring the Treaty into force between that State and Japan by notifying the Governments of Japan and of the U.S.A. as the depository Power.
There was a time not so many years ago when this country and Japan were 635 Allies, but much has happened since then, and it is not easy to obliterate from one's memories such incidents as Pearl Harbour, the Burma road and the general treatment of prisoners of war and civilian internees. Nevertheless, those responsible for the Treaty have sought to make it a generous one and to restore to Japan her full sovereignty as rapidly as possible. That being the policy behind the Treaty, we wish to ratify it at an early date, a process which can be completed at any moment after December 6, by which time the Treaty will have lain upon the Table for the prescribed number of days. And it is obviously desirable that the Bill which empowers us to take practical advantage of the provisions of the Treaty should come into operation before, or at least simultaneously with, our ratification of the Treaty itself.
Your Lordships will, I. do not doubt, welcome the declaration by Japan in the Preamble to the Treaty of her intention to observe four highly important obligations. Those obligations are as follows: first, Japan declares her intention to apply for membership of the United Nations, and in all circumstances to conform to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations; second, to strive to realise the objectives of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; third, to seek to create within Japan conditions of stability and well-being, as defined in Articles 55 and 56 of the Charter of the United Nations—to which I will refer in a moment—and already initiated by post-surrender Japanese legislation; and fourth, in public and private trade and commerce to conform to internationally accepted fair practices. Article 55 in the Charter of the United Nations, to which I have just made reference, says:With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:636 Article 56 is a pledge by all Members
- (a) higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;
- (b) solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and educational cooperation; and
- (c) universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion."… to take joint and separate action in cooperation with the Organisation for the achievement of the purposes set forth in Article 55.The last of the four obligations to which I have referred is that Japan undertakes in private trade and commerce to conform to internationally accepted fair practices. It cannot be gainsaid that in the past Japan's conduct in regard to the last of the matters was often highly regrettable, and it is greatly to be hoped that she will in the future rigorously adhere to accepted practice. Your Lordships will note that Japan renounces all right and title to various territories, chiefly islands, over which she previously exercised sway, and in fact agrees virtually to confine her boundaries to those islands which were regarded in the Cairo Declaration and subsequently confirmed in the Potsdam Declaration as constituting Japan proper.
I do not propose to labour through the Treaty Article by Article, but the House might be interested in Article 6 (a), which lays down that all occupation Forces of the Allied Powers shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as possible after the coming into force of the present Treaty, and in any case within ninety days from that date. It adds that nothing shall prevent the stationing or retention of foreign Armed Forces in Japanese territory under, or in consequence of, any bilateral or multilateral Agreements which have been made or may be made between one or more of the Allied Powers and Japan. That particular Article, of course, derives added importance from the recently announced Security Agreement between Japan and the United States.
§ VISCOUNT STANSGATE
May I ask whether it is intended to make public in some form the exact terms of that Agreement?
THE MARQUESS OF READING
How I am to give any undertaking to make public an Agreement between the United States and Japan is not, at first blush, apparent.
Article 12 (a) is not without interest, because it offers a prospect of negotiation between Japan and the various Allied Powers in an atmosphere favourable to agreement, at least in regard to some of 637 the manifold problems created by the reentry of Japan into world markets. The remainder of Article 12 deals with the most-favoured-nation position between Japan and the other signatories. The Articles which require or may require for their implementation the powers conferred by the Bill before your Lordships are Articles 14 to 21 inclusive, together with a Protocol which is attached to the Treaty and which deals in particular with contracts, prescription and negotiable instruments. Article 16, it may be noted, provides for at least some aid being forthcoming for former prisoners of war of Japan from sources previously in the possession of Japan or of her nationals in neutral countries or countries which during the war were at war with the Allied Powers. There are also two significant declarations attached to the Treaty. In the first, Japan declares her intention to resume her obligations under various international Conventions and Agreements to which she was formerly a party, and which she recognises to be still in full force, and also to accede to a number of other Conventions and Agreements within the shortest practicable time, not exceeding one year from the coming into force of the Treaty. In the second declaration the matter of war graves, cemeteries and memorials is regularised.
May I now pass from a very brief review of the contents of the Treaty to consideration of some of the arguments advanced, both in another place and elsewhere, in opposition to it? It must be conceded that there are omissions from the list of signatories, notably Russia, China and India. As regards Russia, she was given every opportunity and, indeed, encouragement to take part, throughout the prolonged deliberations from the original statement of principles to the final drafting; and, in particular, she was invited to submit comments in time for a final text to be circulated before the San Francisco Conference assembled. She did not, however, see fit to respond to this invitation, although she had herself agreed that a Treaty of Peace was urgently required, and confined herself to an endeavour to obstruct the signing of a Treaty readily accepted by, anyhow, forty-eight out of the fifty-four countries at war with Japan who were invited to San Francisco. As regards China, there is no mystery or secrecy attaching to the situation, 638 which was inherent in the difficulty that those countries which had played the leading part in the war against Japan were almost equally divided on the issue of recognition between the Central People's Government in Pekin and the National Government in Formosa. Articles 10 and 21 give some protection to Chinese interests.
There was general assent to the proposition that a Treaty must be produced without undue delay, and in view of the fact that the two points of view upon China were not likely to be reconciled rapidly enough to anticipate the conclusion of a Treaty, it was in the end thought best by the great majority of those concerned to resolve the problem by omitting both Chinese Governments from the list of signatories. It may not have been an ideal solution; and, indeed, we greatly regret that India and Burma in particular should have found themselves unable to accept it; but it did at least avoid a manifestly undesirable and probably substantial postponement of the Treaty and the otherwise inescapable prolongation of a state of affairs which threw out of balance the whole equipoise of the Far East.
The other lines of criticism have their origins nearer home. Some people, particularly those concerned with the textile and pottery industries, are no doubt genuinely and deeply apprehensive of the effect upon our markets, both at home and abroad, of the re-entry into them of unrestricted Japanese competition. But His Majesty's then Government took the view—with which we agree—that, whatever the arguments for or against the attempt to devise adequate safeguards for a Peace Treaty, it would have been out of the question for one signatory alone to endeavour, for its own protection, to introduce into a highly multilateral Treaty the restrictions required in its own individual case. Moreover, had such an attempt been made by one party, many of the others would have been led to try to introduce their own particular cases; and with some forty-eight signatories all seeking to ensure their own economic security, the whole Treaty would have become hopelessly detailed and unwieldy. A Treaty of this kind has, after all, to incorporate the terms which are the subject of common accord; it cannot legislate specially for the benefit of one party.
639 Furthermore, Japan is, like ourselves, an island country, depending largely upon her export trade to pay for the imports which, in view of her swiftly-growing population (now over 80,000,000, with an increase of 1,500,000 a year), and also of her limited natural resources, she requires in ever-increasing quantities, not merely to maintain her present standard of living but to sustain life itself. But her vast market in China is now closed to her, while her market in India itself, as distinct from Pakistan, is on the decline. She is therefore under the necessity to enlarge her existing export markets and to create new ones if she is to survive. It is, of course, also true to say that the standard of living of her people is such as to enable her normally to produce at prices with which exporters from Western countries cannot compete; and she is today not infrequently in a position to ask prices which are on the same level as our own quotations, owing to her ability to promise prompt deliveries.
I have stated some of the more obvious aspects of the problem at this stage, not to suggest that there can be no redress against them or that the remedies do not require close consideration, but to emphasise my contention that these diverse and complex matters could not have been governed by the mechanism of a multilateral Treaty of Peace. I have endeavoured to counter some of the attacks on the Treaty, though it may be that others will develop in the course of the debate. I hope, however, that, for the purposes of our discussion to-day, the House will accept my argument and will realise that it is impracticable to introduce a large number of highly-controversial matters. I hope noble Lords will be content to reserve many of their queries and criticisms for such general debate upon our overall trade policy as may take place on some future occasion. For my immediate objective it may suffice to remind your Lordships that this Treaty was signed on behalf of the former Government and has been approved by the present one, and to invite your Lordships to accept their joint view that, if it be not perfect, it is the best that could be obtained in all the baffling circumstances of the times; that it is at least a liberal and constructive effort and, as such, strictly in accord with our tradition to set a former friend and recent enemy 640 once more upon her own feet. I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2ª.—(The Marquess of Reading.)
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, the noble Marquess's speech dealt not only with the special purposes of the Bill now before the House but also with the Treaty with Japan to which it relates, and I am sure we are all grateful to him for the concise review he has given us of the major provisions of the Treaty. Whatever may be the merits or the defects of the Treaty with Japan, they have not changed since it was signed in San Francisco on September 8. Nor have the basic conditions of the world situation which existed at that time changed in any marked degree. What has changed is that the then Government of the clay in this country have been replaced by another Government as a result of the recent General Election, and upon the new Government falls the responsibility of completing the work of their predecessors in this particular matter of the Japanese Peace Treaty. We on these Benches, to whom would otherwise have fallen the duty of submitting the Bill now before your Lordships' House, have obviously a political and a moral duty to assist in enabling the Treaty to be carried into effect. Our assistance and our co-operation will be given. We support the Bill.
Having made that position perfectly clear, I should like to deal quite briefly with two or three matters connected with the Treaty and its making. The somewhat chequered history of the making of the Treaty with Japan does. I think, underline once again that the processes of making peace are not so easy or so smooth-running as some people may be tempted to suppose. There are many points of view to be taken into account, many national interests to be reconciled, many difficulties to be faced and overcome—and sometimes they cannot be overcome. In this case, as we are all aware, Soviet Russia sought to keep the framing of the Treaty in the hands of the major Powers and to exclude other States, among them Commonwealth nations, who had taken an effective part in the struggle to defeat Japanese military aggression. This was a restrictive demand which could not be accepted, but it continued to 641 exercise a hampering and a delaying influence on the work of treaty-making.
The need to have a Treaty with Japan was generally recognised as long ago as 1947, and the continued delay for nearly three years in getting a Treaty was bound to have an unsettling effect in Japan, whose psychological condition was, I understand, deteriorating. I think it is recognised more than ever before that one cannot for long pursue the policy of keeping a defeated nation under strong control through occupation and at the same time hope to achieve the full value of a policy of liberalisation which aims at developing a stable democratic regime and bringing that nation into effective partnership with the free, peace-loving nations of the world. I am sure it will be agreed that the nations concerned were right to go ahead. If it had been decided that there could be no Treaty with Japan until Soviet Russia was ready to associate herself with it, there would not have been a Treaty now or for a long time to come.
We know only too well that Soviet obstructionism and non-co-operation in Europe have, for a long time, held up an Austrian Treaty and continue to delay German re-unification and a final peace settlement with Germany. The world cannot afford to wait and should not be compelled to wait for alleviation of the present strained international situation until there can be universal agreement. A Peace Treaty with Japan was overdue. It is six years since the war ended. We have to face present-day problems, and we cannot afford to conduct world affairs with our eyes and our minds mainly on the past. We have to think of, and legislate for, the future, and I do not think it can be seriously urged that we and the other forty-seven nations would have been justified in further delaying a settlement with Japan or that a delay would have ensured a better Treaty. Nevertheless, it is a matter for regret that Soviet Russia refused to play a constructive part in the efforts to settle one of the urgent problems in the Far Eastern situation.
Nor do I think it can be seriously maintained that the Treaty should have been delayed because of the absence of China from the negotiations. I do not think that there are many people who would deny that it is unfortunate that China could not be associated with the treaty-making: but, however regrettable that may be, I do not 642 see, given the circumstances of the time then and now, that the omission of China could have been avoided. Facts have to be faced. As the noble Marquess has reminded us, the late Government had recognised the People's Government as the Government of China, and a number of other countries had taken similar action. But the United States, France and many other countries had not recognised, and still do not recognise, the Pekin Government as the Government of China. We on these Benches consider that the policy of recognition was the right one and the policy of non-recognition a wrong one. But, be that as it may, it is no use pretending that this difference of attitude and action does not exist. It is a fact that must be taken into account.
Now is it any use closing our eyes to the fact that the Pekin Government's continued participation in the Communist aggression against South Korea was an additional obstacle. We are, I am sure, all hoping that there will soon be a "cease fire" and armistice agreement which will pave the way to the settlement of all outstanding problems, both those in Korea itself and those affecting China especially, and that in particular the People's Government will be enabled to take China's seat at the United Nations. But all that lies in the future, though we hope not the distant future. The reasons which I have given explain China's absence from the Treaty negotiations and the fact that she is not a party to the Treaty, and I do not think that any good purpose is served by burking them. Provision has been made in Articles 10, 21 and 26 to protect China's interests and to enable her and other non-Treaty Powers to make bilateral peace treaties with Japan. I myself have little doubt that, for very obvious economic and political reasons which I need not elaborate, there will be in due course a Treaty of Peace between Japan and the People's Government of China. It is of the utmost importance to the security and welfare of the world that peace and cooperation should be restored throughout the Far East, and it must be recognised that this cannot be secured without the active participation of the present Government of China.
My Lords, let me now say a word about the fear of Japanese competition, to which the noble Marquess referred in his speech. We know that in pre-war years the resort by Japan to unfair 643 methods of competition was a serious and disturbing problem. It is not surprising, therefore, that a good deal of apprehension has been caused to some of our export industries, by the thought that Japan may revert to those practices. It is both our right and our duty to protect British industries by whatever practical and legitimate means can be devised. We cannot be indifferent to the effects of unfair competition upon industries which are essential to our national economic prosperity and are based on good standards for the workers employed in them. There appears, however, to be a growing recognition of the fact referred to by the noble Marquess, that such protection cannot be provided within the terms of a Peace Treaty which is designed to restore sovereign equality.
As we have been told, Japan is one of the most heavily populated countries in the world. Her population is rapidly increasing. She is economically in a similar condition to ourselves, in that she has to import a large proportion of her needed raw materials and food and to pay for them by her own exports. It is no part of the policy of this country to keep the Japanese people in conditions of depression and poverty and thereby to help to create those very conditions in which Communism flourishes. What we want to see is a democratic and progressive Japan that will genuinely cooperate in the United Nations, through the machinery of the International Labour Organisation and by other collective and bilateral arrangements, not only to create world peace but also to promote a common welfare by raising industrial and social standards. In this work the Japanese trade union movement, with its membership of over 6,000,000, should be able to play a useful part. By effective resort to collective bargaining, and with the moral support and practical guidance of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, the Japanese trade unions have their own positive contribution to make to the building up of better wage standards and conditions of employment for the Japanese workers. What is vitally needed by Japan is that her natural markets on the mainland of China should become open to her again, so that she can find an increasing opportunity for two- 644 way trade and thereby contribute to raising the conditions of the people on the Asian continent and of her own people, to the benefit of both.
Finally, my Lords, I have noticed that some objection and criticism have been raised against Article 6 of the Treaty which provides for the security and defence of Japan. It is sometimes suggested that the primary United States interest in Japan is a strategic one. That is an important interest, but it is neither an exclusively American interest nor is it the exclusive American interest. I believe that the United States Government have been genuinely concerned to see Japan become a democratic country, taking her place with the free nations of the world in political and economic co-operation for peace. It seems to me a cardinal principle that any nation which recovers her sovereign equality will expect to enjoy equality of sovereign rights, and will claim and will seek to exercise the inherent right of self-defence. Experience has shown that it is virtually impossible to keep a sovereign nation disarmed in an insecure world in which other Powers are heavily armed or actively rearming. I do not believe that it can be done indefinitely, either with Germany or with Japan. We have seen since the end of the war that treaty restrictions on armed forces are difficult to enforce.
It is my view that, by the actions and policies of the Soviet Union since the end of the war, the world has been denied a great opportunity to reduce the heavy burden of armaments which are again oppressing the nations. Both Germany and Japan were not only defeated they were effectively disarmed. They were disarmed not only in a material sense but also in a psychological sense, and I think it is true to say that there was little disposition to become heavily-armed Powers again. If only the victorious Allies had been allowed to seize the opportunity presented to them by that situation, and had together pursued a policy of all-round drastic reduction in armaments and, at the same time, been able to develop an international security force under the United Nations, the problem of German and Japanese security would have settled itself within that world context. Instead, they have now become part of the free world's problem of security against potential aggression, and it seems to me, view- 645 ing the present international situation realistically, that it was right to make provision in the Treaty for the defence of Japan as part of the free world.
It is on that broad ground that I believe Article 6 of the Treaty is justified. It is not a decision to bring back Japanese militarism, but simply to recognise her inherent right of self-defence and to provide for her security within collective measures for the regional maintenance of peace in the Far East and the Pacific. In that regional defence plan it must be clear to all of us, for reasons with which we are all familiar, that the United States must play the major role, if the arrangements are to be adequate and effective for the common purpose. Those are the only general observations I wish to make, and I conclude by repeating that we shall hope to see the Bill before the House carried through all its stages as expeditiously as possible, and we shall assist as far as we can.
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
My Lords, this is at long last the ending of the Japanese war, so far as this country is concerned, and we might think it well to pause, if only for a single moment—and I shall not occupy more than a few sentences in stating this point—to mark the moral of this war, which is the same as the moral of all the wars that have taken place in the last half century. It is this: that whenever a militarist Power, under some form of absolutist government, makes an attack upon peaceful democratic countries, whatever may be the initial successes due to prior preparation and surprise, in the long run it is never the aggressive militarist Power but always the peace-loving democracies which have won the victory. That is a great consolation to mankind, and we may hope that for the future every other Power which might contemplate challenging a similar issue will take warning lest they court a similar disaster. It is asked, very naturally, whether it ought not to be possible, after these repeated aggressive onslaughts by militarist Powers upon democracies, to ensure some guarantee against repetition. And it may be asked why guarantees have not been taken, either by the occupation of territory or in some other way, against a repetition of such attacks by Japan. I think that the free world has wisely concluded that such attempts are likely to prove only 646 futile and, more probably, to bring about a renewal of attack, rather than to prevent it; that we must rely on other means and, above all, upon the machinery of the United Nations, recourse to which is included in the provisions of this Treaty.
As to restrictions being imposed upon Japanese trade in the interests of British trade that policy again—as the noble Marquess has made clear in his able presentation of this. Bill to the House, and as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has repeated—is in the last degree inadvisable. Trade restrictions of that kind could not permanently be maintained. We should not have gone to war originally in order to enforce restrictions upon Japanese trade, however injurious that trade might be to our own interests. In the same way, we cannot continue to be at war if Japan should refuse to accept conditions which are injurious, or which are avowedly intended to be injurious, to her own economic interests. Consequently, those interests in this country which are disappointed at the fact that no such safeguards are included in the Treaty are ill-advised to pursue that line of argument. The conclusion of a Peace Treaty is not an occasion upon which to deal with trade matters at all. If they are to be dealt with it must be by separate trade agreements with a country which has been restored and is in possession of its own sovereignty.
As has been said by previous speakers, it is most regrettable that two signatures are omitted from this Treaty—those of Russia and China. With regard to Russia, it has been her own choice. She has been offered the opportunity and she has refused it. To wait until she was willing to accept it would mean interminable delay. As has been said, we have had experience in connection with the Austrian Treaty, among other matters, of the Russian method of procrastination in order to extract, through bargaining, concessions in other directions wholly irrelevant to the causes at issue, the world, meanwhile, being kept in a state of unrest by the failure to restore normal conditions of peace. In this matter we would rather side with the United States than with Russia, not only on account of general policy, and because of our deep and close friendship with the United States, but because, in this particular 647 issue of the war with Japan, we consider it right that she should take the initiative in these matters. When we consider how the United States was the victim of a wholly unprovoked onslaught, how she was compelled to undertake a long and costly campaign, to submit to vast numbers of casualties among her own sons and the expenditure of almost uncountable treasure, and when we consider how by skill and valour she won a complete victory after four years of war, I feel that we must admit that it is right that she should take the initiative, and that we should stand by her side rather than accept the dilatory tactics of a Power which was at war with Japan not for four years but for six days.
With respect to China, the only possible course has been taken by the Powers at San Francisco—that of excluding, from the signatories of the Treaty both the so-called National Government of China and also the de facto Government of China—the Communist Government. Owing to the division in the ranks of ourselves and our Allies as to which Government is entitled to speak for China, no other course was possible except at the cost of prolonged delay. That this is a grave defect in the Treaty no one will deny, for unequestionably there can be no settlement in the Far East unless the massive weight of China is taken fully into account in the future. China has been the chief sufferer, even more than the United States, from the aggressions of Japan. Therefore it is profoundly regrettable that the whole of the Far East should not be brought at one and the same time into a peaceful settlement. Nevertheless, in the present state of international affairs it has been necessary here, as it has been necessary in Europe, to proceed by stages.
We have not been able to follow the historical examples of the Congress of Vienna after the Napoleonic Wars, and the Congress of Versailles after the First World War. In each of those cases the matter was treated as a whole, or almost as a whole, and one great Treaty, or set of Treaties, was signed between the chief belligerents. That has not been possible now in Europe, and it has not been possible in the Far East. It appears that we must necessarily proceed by stages—in this case probably four stages. The conclusion 648 of the Japanese war by the Peace Treaty is the first stage. The ending of the Korean War—which one hopes may be close at hand, though one cannot be sure—will be the second. The third stage must be the regularisation of the status of China in relation to the United Nations. Not until that is done, possibly, shall we be able to proceed to the fourth stage, which is the solution of the question of Formosa—perhaps the most difficult of the outstanding points that now lie before us. We are now at the first of the four stages, the conclusion of the Treaty with Japan. Noble Lords who sit on these Benches cordially support the Motion which has been put forward by the noble Marquess.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
My Lords, the noble Marquess, the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, described this Treaty to your Lordships, I think rightly, as generous. I would add that it is not only a generous but a forgiving Treaty. As the noble Marquess has said, we restore full sovereignty to Japan, and there are no restrictions upon Japanese rearmament or trade and industry. I agree that no limitation of armaments would be possible without some form of permanent occupation of Japan, which is unthinkable. I also agree that we should all support the aim to bring Japan back into the comity of free nations, able to exist without being a load on the back of the United States taxpayer, and able to sustain a life of her own by the exertions of her own peoples. At the same time, I think it is our duty to look for a few moments at the economic effects of what we are doing by passing, this Bill, and by the subsequent ratification of the Treaty.
If I have one word of difference from the Under-Secretary of State, it is because I thought I detected one of those Ministerial expressions of hope that a particular aspect of debate would be avoided. He said he hoped that we should leave these economic questions until there was a full debate on world economics. But there are grave economic provisions contained in this Treaty. They were debated at some considerable length in another place, and I think we should this afternoon—and I trust your Lordships will agree—spend a few minutes looking at those particular aspects. In seeking to make Japan independent of the assistance 649 of the United States, let us be careful that we do not impair our own ability to achieve that very state ourselves.
I should like to give a few facts about the remarkable economic recovery of Japan since 1945. The effects of that recovery, which is still in process, have yet to be felt on the export markets of the Western world. The population of Japan has increased by 12,000,000 in the last ten years. She has lost her former home market territories of Korea, Manchukuo and Formosa, and, as the Under-Secretary of State has said, she has lost her market in China. There are some 84,000,000 Japanese, giving her a working force of 38,000,000, all crowded together. Her post-war production is remarkable. In 1945 no steel was produced. In 1946, 6,200 tons a month were produced, and in May, 1951, that rose to 429,000 tons a month. Her production of cotton yarn in September, 1945, was none; in January, 1946, it was 1.844,000 lb., and now her monthly production is more than 59,000,000 lb. Her production of cotton fabrics was 2,000,000 square yards a month in 1946; to-day it is more than 187,000,000 square yards a month. The same kind of figures can be given of many other commodities, such as coal, pig iron and cement. The figures which I have given show the extent of the notable recovery of Japan.
In considering the future of Japanese competition, let us remember that in the Preamble of the Treaty, Japan promises to conform to internationally accepted fair practices. It is true that Japan has joined the International Labour Office and has signed various conventions, including an undertaking to adhere to the convention for the prevention of false indication of the origin of goods. Nevertheless, while we assume the fullest good will on the part of Japan in fulfilling the undertakings into which she has entered, accepting fair practices, improved wage conditions and the formation of trades unions, because of the difference between the standards of food, housing and social economies of the Orient and the West, which your Lordships know as well as I do, Japanese labour costs will permanently remain no more than one-third of the labour costs for producing similar articles in Britain.
The Japanese threat comes from two directions: first, the possibility of mal- 650 practices, and secondly, trade penetration into home and export markets, due to direct competition of lower-priced goods. On the first, Japanese history has been a sad one of fake and deceit. One hopes that by adherence to international conventions, and even more by a change of heart, we shall not see a repetition of those past practices. But your Lordships will already have seen disturbing factors. "British Rockingham china" made in Japan is now being sold in the United States, and a town called Macclesfield was started in Japan in order that goods produced in Japan could be marked "Made in Macclesfield" I hope she is not going to do so, but if Japan sins again in regard to these malpractices, what sanctions remain to us? As things are in the Treaty, there is only one possible sanction. The British Government are granting to Japan most-favourednation treatment, not, I am glad to see, as a right, but only, as it were, on an ex gratia basis, and such treatment can be withdrawn any time. It is true that this right is reciprocal, and if we withdraw it, then Japan can withdraw the similar treatment of our goods entering that country; but the effect of any such action would penalise our export trade far less than it would that of Japan.
I would ask the Government to give the assurance that if Japan plays false over this question of honesty in trade practices, His Majesty's Government will have no hesitation at all in withdrawing most-favoured-nation rights from Japan, because only thus can we restore economic liberty to ourselves to impose prohibitions severely limiting Japanese imports by quotas and tariffs and thereby stopping the entry of goods produced under malpractices. I should like to ask the Government also whether, if such a situation arose, and if because of malpractices on the part of Japan, we were forced to withdraw most-favoured-nation rights in order to impose restrictions on Japanese imports, such action on our part would automatically give similar liberty of action to British Colonial territories, on whose behalf we have signed this Treaty. This is an important question and I hope we shall have an answer from His Majesty's Government.
On the second point, the threat of open competition of Japanese goods. I believe that that is something we shall have to face. We cannot condemn as unfair the 651 fact that the Japanese labourer lives at far lower standards than ourselves and the fact that Japan supplies cheap goods to backward territories who would otherwise be unable to buy, but I believe we can describe as unfair to British trade the dumping of Japanese goods on our export markets, markets which have been built up throughout past years by Britain and in return for which Britain gives certain markets for the products of those territories.
It seems to me that on this question of Japanese competition we are in something of a dilemma. Let us take, for instance, our Colonial peoples in Africa. Our policy must be to protect our home and export markets, yet we must not deny to the Africans the benefit of low-priced goods which they might otherwise be unable to purchase. If an African can afford only plimsolls or textile loin cloths at the cheapest prices, it is a big responsibility if our economic policy is shaped to deny them the power of buying cheap Japanese goods. Therefore, one's first thought is that if Japan can supply these territories more cheaply than Britain, it is our social duty not to prevent Japanese goods from going there. But I do not think the position is so simple as that. If, by such supplies, Britain's trade positron is so adversely affected as to prevent our absorbing the primary products from these Colonial territories, then, in the long run, the supply of such cheap goods is as had for the indigenous inhabitants of Africa as it is for employment in Lancashire. The decision on what should be the economic policy to meet this dilemma rests with the Colonial Governments. We advise the Colonial Governments, but in the majority of cases they decide their own economic policies. But what the Colonial Governments may wish to do is probably impossible for them to achieve because of the international obligations which Britain has entered into on behalf of herself and the Colonial Empire, which limit, and indeed almost entirely deprive, the Dominions and Colonies of freedom of action in trade defence.
Let me refer for a moment to the Congo Basin Treaties and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Britain and the Dominions are at present unable to conclude commercial treaties between each other which would safeguard the 652 markets for exports and manufactures and at the same time secure the essential markets for the primary products produced in Colonial territories. The Congo Basin Treaties are still in force. As your Lordships may know, they started in 1885. Under the Treaty we are now discussing, Japan abrogates her rights in the St. Germain-en-Laye Convention of 1919. The welfare of the native populations was not the purpose of the original Congo Basin Treaties at all; the original Congo Basin Treaties were made in order to see that no one European manufacturer obtained any advantage over another in those vast African areas. Japan now abrogates her rights under the 1919 Convention; but that does not prevent the free entry of Japanese goods into that vast area. All it does is to prevent Japan having a veto as regards the revision or termination of the Treaty. The Treaty provides that all nations, whether they be signatories or not, shall have free entry into the Congo Basin area, and Japan will continue to enjoy that freedom of entry even after this Treaty is passed.
From many aspects I believe the Congo Basin Treaties have outlived their usefulness. With the threat of open Japanese competition to Western goods in those areas, and. I repeat, the threat also to Britain's ability to absorb the primary products from those areas if our manufacturing industries are severely damaged, I submit that now is the time when we should end those Treaties and put in their place bilateral and multilateral commercial treaties, with restored freedom to protect against Japanese undercutting. In regard to other Colonial territorities not affected by Congo Basin Treaties, we have tied our hands by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. That Agreement contains provisions preventing the imposition of new tariffs, or the granting of any new preferences, or the extending of existing preferences, for the development of Commonwealth trade. That inability is going to affect our power to protect ourselves against the entry of Japanese dumped goods. Already, long before this Treaty, there was a strong, case for the revision of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and even for denouncement, if the other signatories refused to agree. This Japanese Treaty is an additional powerful reason for so doing.
653 In accepting this Treaty, and renewed Japanese competition in the world, I do not think it is any good our talking platitudes about the desirability of restoring world free trade. I believe that we must be practical, and we have got to discharge, first, our duty of protecting the welfare, the standards of life and the employment of our own workers in this country, in our home trades and in our export trades. Secondly, I feel that we have to discharge our duty of shaping an economic policy which will allow the Dominions and the Colonies freedom to shape their economic future, so that they can find sure and certain markets for their primary products in a Britain which has the ability to continue to pay for those products. It is in the hope that the Government see the dangers of unrestricted competition in our home and overseas markets, and that they are willing to take steps to restore our commercial freedom to safeguard our own interests, that I personally give my support to this Treaty.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT STANSGATE
My Lords, I propose in a few words to say why I think this is a thoroughly bad Treaty, harmful to the unity and interests of the British Commonwealth, and also prejudicial to the prospects of peace in the world. It will have been observed that my noble friend Lord Henderson supported the Government, while the noble Lord. Lord Balfour of Inchrye, who, I think, can be described as a staunch Conservative, attacked the Government. Therefore, it is clear that this is not in any sense a Party issue. In this country we do not determine our foreign policy according to the exigencies of the domestic struggle among Parties, but that is not to say that there are no differences of opinion, differences of feeling or differences of approach to these questions. At my age, I can remember a number of occasions when people taking a minority view, a view not acceptable to those described by The Times as "all men of good sense," have subsequently been proved to have shown a path which others should have trodden. I do not think anything could have been done at San Francisco but to sign the Treaty. I think Mr. Morrison was right to turn up just in time to accept the souvenir pen. At the same time, that is not to say that 654 we should not recognise the evil that this Treaty will do, or that we must not do what we can to suggest to the Government means by which, in future, these difficulties may be avoided.
If in introducing the Bill the noble Marquess had said: "Here we are, in a great Alliance with the United States of America; they are rendering incomparable service in Western Europe in defending our liberties, and, therefore, it is not to be supposed that we, with our diminished power, can insist upon our point of view in the Pacific," that, in my view, would have been a reasonable defence. But to pretend that this is an act of charity, or that in the long run it will do good. and we are the old enemy and the new friend, does not stir my heart very much.
What is the Treaty? I will take two points which I think are objectionable. The first is the rearmament of Japan. Under one of the articles, as we all know, Japan is permitted to rearm, and perhaps will be encouraged to rearm (that is what has happened in Germany), despite the fact that in the constitution that she adopted she is to be a disarmed country. I do not, for the moment, give reasons, but I am trying to state the features of the Treaty on which I shall later comment. The second point is that under Article 6 Japan is given the right to make military Agreements with all or any Powers. When I asked the noble Marquess whether he could give us particulars of the Agreements which we know have been, or will shortly be, signed between Japan and the United States, he rather brushed that aside by asking how he, at the Foreign Office, could be expected to know about a Treaty made between Japan and the United States. That Agreement was published in full, I believe, in the New York Times, and it might perhaps have found a place in the dossier prepared for the noble Marquess. The Times did, however, give some particulars about it on which I shall base what I have to say.
The United States is to have the right to station forces in and about Japanese territory to maintain the peace, including assistance, at the express request of the Japanese Government, in putting down large-scale internal riots and disturbances instigated from without, and Japan will 655 not grant any bases to a Third Power without the prior consent of the United States. I really think that one would be hard put to it to find any agreement between Russia and the small Eastern States of Europe that would match for straitness those terms, if they are right. But, unfortunately, we have not the official papers, and we do not know whether the reported terms are right. Those are two features of the Treaty which I find objectionable: first, that it permits, and even encourages, the Japanese to rearm; and secondly, that it gives the United States an exclusive right to station troops there, and, if necessary, to quell riots in the country. Mr. Yoshida is a Liberal, which The Times calls a most conservative type of politician. Supposing Mr. Yoshida, the Liberal, found himself faced with a democratic individual, such as the noble Viscount and others, who gave trouble, the United States, at Mr. Yoshida's request, has the power to suppress the Liberal Party or any demonstrators of that kind in the country.
The second point is this. If the Treaty had been introduced as a modus vivendi with Japan, I think there would be a great deal to be said for it. But it is not a Treaty of Peace; it is simply an Agreement to go along for the time being and terminate the state of war with Japan. At the San Francisco Conference (one of the best ordered public gatherings, in which everyone had an allotted time to speak, and at which Mr. Dean Acheson had complete power), when Mr. Gromyko had the effrontery to suggest that China should be included, he was immediately ruled out of order, because Mr. Acheson pointed out that representation at the Conference was confined to the accredited delegations of Allied Powers invited to San Francisco by the United States. I should, therefore, have thought that it could hardly be called a Treaty of Peace in the Pacific when, according to Mr. Dean Acheson, the Conference was confined to Powers who were invited to San Francisco by the United States; and since the United States does not recognise China, I should hardly have called it a comprehensive Conference. Those are the two features of the Treaty to which I draw attention.
Now I want to point out the harmful effects of these terms upon our own 656 Commonwealth, upon peace in the Pacific and upon the future of the United Nations. First, I will deal with the Commonwealth. These arrangements to rearm Japan caused the most acute alarm in Australia and New Zealand. When they were first made, Mr. Menzies and the Opposition Parties felt very strongly about it. Indeed, up to the day of the signing of the Treaty Dr. Evatt described the Treaty—and I could not venture to use such words, in the presence of the noble Marquess opposite—asan open, unashamed abandonment of the standards of international justice, and a menace to security.Mr. Menzies said that he could accept the Treaty only if it were understood that the United States would make some special arrangements to protect Australia. That is why I say it shakes the one-time complete solidarity of the Commonwealth. I was a boy at the time of the Boer War—a very foolish war—and I remember how stirred I was to see those Australian soldiers, in their "wide-awake" hats, coming to fight in that unjust cause on our behalf. Now they have been compelled to insure outside the British Commonwealth. That is another Paper which I could not get at the Printed Paper Office. I will not ask the noble Marquess for it, because I do not want to incur another painful rebuke. At the same time, there is a document, an Agreement between New Zealand and Australia and the United States, which is not a British State paper at all. Therefore, should we have a Defence Conference, the Australian representatives would have to say: "Well, we may be able to do this or we may not. It is always subject to the overriding Agreement we have reached with the United States, because, after all, you must understand that we must protect our shores in the Pacific before we assist you." We are not a party to this Agreement and, therefore, we cannot get a copy of it.
The second rift is this. For the first time this Treaty puts us on a road divergent from the policy of India. India, numerically, is by far the greatest and, politically, one of the most important, elements in the Commonwealth. So far we have kept in pace. We have not always been in agreement, and we have had difficulties, but we have never taken a pace aside. One of Mr. Bevin's greatest claims to the gratitude of this country 657 is that, on going to the Colombo Conference, he decided to give recognition to China and to keep in step with Indian policy. Now we are taking a different step. We are signing a Treaty, while India is not, and no one can say what will be the end of those divergent paths and how it will draw one part of the Commonwealth from the other. I attach immense importance to Commonwealth unity because we have done very fine things, especially in Asia, and I say something for the Labour Government when I say that I regard the recognition of India and China by Mr. Bevin, and his Egyptian policy, as his two great claims to fame. Therefore, the first objection I have to the Treaty is that it creates a rift in the Commonwealth. The second is that it is not a Treaty of Peace at all. The noble Marquess said that forty-eight States had signed, and I am sure my noble friend will not mind my saying that he copied the noble Marquess. Forty-eight States! Here is a Treaty of Peace for the Pacific. We have Guatemala, Luxembourg and Costa Rica standing by our side. But unfortunately China is absent; Russia is absent; India is absent, and Burma is absent. Indonesia has signed, but has not yet ratified, and the Philippines signed with the greatest reluctance. How on earth can one imagine that that is a step in the direction of peace, as the noble Viscount said? It is an agreement to bring to an end the state of war between ourselves and Japan; but that it is a step in the direction of peace in the Pacific I totally deny.
There are those present who know China well, and particularly the noble Lord, Lord Killearn. I have had only slight acquaintance with China, but I remember sensing the feeling between China and Japan in something which was said to me by Madam Chiang when I once met her. As your Lordships know, she is the daughter of a Methodist pastor, Charlie Soong, and she said: "When I was a little girl I used to pray every night, 'God, destroy the Japanese'." She told me that on telling her mother, her mother said, "May, you have no right to offer that prayer. It is very un-Christian." I had a conversation with a gentleman who was not European and not Japanese but who had been in touch with Japan for the last year or two. He told rile that one of the dangerous things about the Chinese situation to-day is that 658 in the schools there are pictures of boys with daggers destroying the dragon. All that feeling, of militarism and expansionism which gives a great sense of a unified China is stirred deeply by, as they call it, the theft of Formosa. My friends said that Formosa has been a godsend to the Pekin Government in keeping together the patriotism of the Chinese.
Finally, I would say a word about U.N.O. I think it is quite possible that we shall see the end of the United Nations. We have already seen the end of the League of Nations, and I think it is quite possible that the end of the United Nations is in sight. Unfortunately, we are apt to be rather an arrogant people, and we imagine ourselves John Bull in the Far East, with everybody waiting upon us. My friend told me that that is not so at all. The Chinese Government are perfectly satisfied. They regard themselves as the greatest Government in the world; they have a supreme contempt for other countries, including Russia; and they are waiting for us to send a suitable representative or to be more polite. Their attitude is: "Oh! you recognise us. That is very good. We also recognise you, and if you want to recognise us, do not send diplomats to international Assemblies which are presided over by a man who is running a rebellion with American help in our own territory. That is diplomatically improper, and we cannot receive a proper diplomat from a country which behaves in this highly irregular way." It may be that they will say, "What does it matter to us; what does it matter to China now, whether she joins U.N.O. or not?" Yet if the United Nations goes, it will mean getting back to an honest-to-God policy of a Grand Alliance, in which the people of the free world join together—and the free world will manage to collect some very curious and not very reputable allies.
Well, my Lords, what can be done? That is what we all wish to know. I hope, at any rate, that the Government will, first of all, hold on to the territory we have. We have recognised China; we have said that we want U.N.O.; we have said that we want to implement the Cairo Declaration. It would not be a bad idea if. instead of the policy of habitual acquiescence which we have followed since the Fulton speech, we made it known that, albeit faithful Allies, 659 we are still the British Commonwealth, with our own national and special position, not only in this country but in the areas of the world where these differences exist.
§ 5.2 p.m.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, it is not my intention to intervene this afternoon on the actual technical provisions of this Bill. My noble friend, Lord Reading, has dealt with those, and done it much better than I could, and he is going to speak again at the end of the debate. But the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, has in the course of his remarks raised certain wider issues about which I propose to say something. We are all delighted to see the noble Viscount back on the Front Bench. He is likely to add considerably to the life, interest and charm of our debates. But, though the noble Viscount has many qualities which we all commend and which commend him to us, he has also. I feel, an unbridled Puck-like spirit of mischief which neither he nor anybody else can control. If he were a boxer, I should be inclined to describe him not as a feather-weight or a light-weight, but as a mosquito-weight. He always buzzes and often stings. I thought he showed that spirit in the last two debates on international subjects. He showed it over Egypt in the debate on foreign affairs when he made a number of statements which could be calculated only to cast doubts on the propriety of the policy of His Majesty's Government and give pleasure and encouragement to anti-British propagandists in Egypt—which. in fact, they did.
It seemed to me that to-day the noble Viscount took a similar line. On a limited view, dealing with some of the technical aspects of our commercial relations with Japan arising from the Japanese Treaty, he dragged in a number of extremely delicate questions, mostly in connection with our policy, not towards Japan but towards China. I am not going to complain about the making of any commercial points—
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
That is what I am saying—and that is what this debate, and, indeed this Bill, is concerned with.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I am afraid noble Lords must accept that statement. The noble Viscount objected to any rearmament by Japan. He objected to any military agreement between Japan and the United States under this Treaty. With the ending of a state of war, Japan becomes a sovereign State equal to every other State. In such circumstances, how can the noble Viscount suggest that it would not have been proper for this new sovereign State to make an agreement with another sovereign State if she so wished? Supposing Russia and China should make a military agreement, as perhaps they have, I am quite certain we should not have had that speech from the noble Viscount The truth is that he likes China and dislikes Japan, and moulds his policy according to his own particular views. That, in effect, means that we could not have had a Treaty if it were to be a Treaty such as the noble Viscount wants. We should have had to go on for an interminable period with a regime of occupation. Now, rightly or wrongly, the various nations, forty-eight of them who signed this Treaty, came to the conclusion that there ought to be a Treaty and that this regime ought to be at an end. In such circumstances, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has said, this is the only basis which could be found for a Treaty.
The noble Viscount is very much annoyed because China has not signed. I thought that that had been explained by the noble Marquess, Lord Reading. I would ask the noble Viscount, which Chinese Government? He would say—and I quite understand the force of it—the Chinese Government with which the late British Government was in relation. But, surely, there is an equal number of States who recognise another Chinese Government. They are not going to accept a Treaty signed by one Chinese Government if they say that they prefer another brand of Chinese Government. In such circumstances, there would be an almost equal division of States on either side. Therefore, the conclusion was reached that the only way out of the difficulty was, for the time being, for no Chinese Government to 661 sign. The noble Viscount does not like that; but he has asked us to be realistic, and he himself must be realistic. He could not have had a Treaty on the basis on which he wants it.
Then he said what a shocking thing it was to break the unity of the British Commonwealth. I am sure the noble Viscount cares very much about the British Commonwealth; but this is not the first time that the unity of the Commonwealth has been broken. It was broken when the late Government recognised the Chinese Government. I never heard a single complaint from the noble Viscount at that time. I do not expect the noble Viscount to think for one moment that this is an ideal Treaty. He may think it has many weaknesses. If he had had his way it would have been different, and if he had had the making of the negotiations I have no doubt there would have been differences. But you must find some common denominator if you are to have an agreement, and that was the basis on which this Treaty was signed. It is the only foundation on which an instrument could have been negotiated; and it is for that reason that the late Government, if they had been in power, would have submitted this Treaty. I submit that we are, in fact, realists.
§ 5.9 p.m.
§ LORD HANKEY
My Lords, the noble Marquess will not, I am sure, expect me to follow him in the wider questions with which he has dealt. Unlike my noble friend Lord Stansgate, I think that, given the circumstances of this day, this is not at all a bad Treaty. Like other post-war Treaties, it has its imperfections. There is one which I particularly dislike—namely, Article 11 on the disposal of the war criminals, which I showed in The Times of August 6 last to be inconsistent with the spirit of the Treaty and with the statements of our Ministers, and to have many other defects. But it is too late to change it, so I leave it at that and with some confidence that a way out will be found. But the imperfections of the Treaty are, to my mind, compensated by the fact that we have achieved a Treaty at all that brings Japan back of her own free will, and as a sovereign equal, into the family of free nations, to promote their common welfare and to maintain international peace and security.
662 Not only do I think that that is a great achievement, but I think that for Great Britain in particular this should be a day of rejoicing, because we have recovered a long lost friend. People are apt to forget that during the first twenty years of the present century the Japanese were close, trusted and trustworthy allies of this country, and that in the First World War they honoured their Treaty by capturing, with some token aid from this country, the only German naval base in the Far East; they helped us to "chivvy" the German fleet out of the Pacific, and they helped to convoy the Australian and New Zealand troops to this country. Later in the war they sent destroyers to the Mediterranean to co-operate in the fight against the submarine, and at the end of the war they sent a substantial force to Siberia to co-operate with the Allies. Those were appreciable operations.
At the Washington Naval Disarmament Conference, at which I was present, there was no one, either in the British delegation or in the Japanese delegation, who wanted to end the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. On the contrary, both parties felt deep foreboding of the consequences. They hated the breach so much that they could hardly speak of it, even together. The result was as we had expected. Our friends in Japan, the far-seeing statesmen who had sponsored the Treaty, lost face. Their prestige and their influence declined and, although the tradition of the Alliance held for a time, the nations fell apart and the wrong people got into power in Japan. That sometimes happens in other countries. It is well to remember now that the new Treaty has been negotiated by Mr. Sigeru Yoshida, former Ambassador in London, brought up in the old tradition, who is equally a friend of this country and of America. I would say to the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, that if there had been more Yoshidas we should not have had the bad men who got into power. I do not know whether he is Conservative or Liberal—I myself am a non-Party man—but I know Yoshida and that he is a very good man. I think we ought to do all we can to strengthen him in carrying out this Treaty.
After the ratification of this Treaty, we have a useful part to play in helping the Japanese people to resist the subtleties of the Communist creed, not, of course, in 663 rivalry or competition with the Americans, who under General MacArthur's firm but sympathetic dispensation have done such wonderful work in Japan, but in perfect harmony with them. For in Japan, great as is the admiration for the United States of America, and great as is the gratitude for what America has done and is doing in bringing modern thought and methods to bear on the reconstruction of Japan, there is also a hankering among many of the Japanese people for renewed contact with the older culture—the arts, the literature, the books and the institutions of this country—as in former years. Therefore, there is great opportunity for bodies like tile Japan Society of London and the Japan-British Society of Tokyo, both of which have been resuscitated and are resuming their former work of promoting mutual good will. And the co-operation of the British Council with its larger resources will, I hope, be made available. But, of course, all these bodies must work in the closest association with their opposite numbers from the United States.
So, the key-note of what I have to say concerns the revival of a valued friendship with Japan, in close concert with the United States of America. In saying that, I do not want to overlook the fact that the Japanese did us some horrible injuries, especially to prisoners of war. I speak of that subject openly and without apology, because the Japanese were the first to admit it. Earlier in the year I heard a very distinguished Japanese business man, an old friend of this country, at a function of British and Japanese business men in London, declare frankly that they wanted to make such atonement as they could, and some provision for that. I think, is to be found in Article 16 of the Treaty, which, for my part, I very much welcome. The Allies are not quite in a white sheet themselves. There is the story of the incendiary raids on cities built mainly of paper; and the atomic bomb and the staggering casualties to civilians—a figure so great that I shall not mention it, because I have not had time to check it. But they are not episodes that we recall with very much satisfaction. Here, as in Germany, it is a case of drawing the sponge over the past.
In our long history, our Alliances have constantly changed, sometimes in the 664 middle of a war, as the wheel of fortune turned. But we have not in the past been in the habit of reminding our new friends too seriously of their past delinquencies. To take a fairly recent example, when Hitler attacked Russia in June, 1941, we did not throw in the face of Marshal Stalin and his colleagues that only nineteen months before they had been denounced by the League of Nations as an aggressor against Finland, nor did we reproach them that they had wantonly overrun the Baltic States and other neighbours and carried off huge populations for forced labour. On the contrary, we sent off our best men to Moscow, to dine and wine with them; we dispatched everything we could scrape up to Russia through the deadly Arctic route, and we made great sacrifices at the expense of other theatres—North Africa, Greece, Crete and even Singapore, which fell largely for want of modern aircraft. My Lords, in principle we were dead right, for we were in grave peril from the same enemy as Russia, and the two countries were indispensable to one another.
I feel we should adopt the same line with our ex-enemies, including Japan whom we are discussing to-day. In the cold war the Allies and Japan are both faced with a similar threat, although perhaps in a slower tempo; and I believe and hope that, as a result of to-day's debate, notwithstanding some characteristic but I do not think harmful British plain speaking in both Houses, this House, which has a world-wide reputation for common sense and chivalry, will be able to create a cordial atmosphere in which the two nations, Great Britain and Japan, can discuss all these matters on the dead level, with sober recognition of each other's needs and in a constructive spirit, with a view to the restoration of our former happy relations in a world at peace.
§ 5.21 p.m.
My Lords, this debate is apt to become a three-cornered dual, like the historic dual of Mr. Midshipman Easy, where the two sides fired not at each other but at each flank, and each flank returned the fire, and so on. It has been made remarkable by the unexpected though always welcome intervention of the Leader of the House. I regret that the Leader of the House, who is the soul of courtesy, has had to leave 665 the House after making a very heated attack on my noble friend Lord Stansgate, and on the privileges of this House, to which I intended, and intend, to refer. The noble Marquess the Leader of His Majesty's Government in this House suggested that this Treaty of Peace Bill should be discussed only from its commercial aspect. I do not know how many Treaties of Peace we have had since the war, but I do know that after the First World War we had a series of Treaties of Peace which were discussed from the widest aspects. The first and most important discussion was the great debate on the Treaty of Versailles. I protest against the suggestion that it is not right to discuss every aspect of this settlement with Japan. I do not know whether that was the noble Marquess's intention, but if this debate is to be confined to the commercial aspects of the Treaty it is just monstrous.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Perhaps I may say something to the noble Lord. Frankly, looking back I feel that I went too far in this matter. I am quite right in saying that the Bill before the House refers to the commercial aspect, but it is no doubt true that, in a debate on the Treaty, it is impossible really to restrict the debate to that matter.
I am delighted that I have been the humble instrument in preventing the noble Marquess from laying down a most unfortunate doctrine that I am sure this House could not accept. However, I find myself only in partial agreement with my noble friend Lord Stansgate, and in some ways in agreement with my noble friend Lord Henderson and the noble Marquess, Lord Reading. First of all, if I may, I should like to protest against what I am sure was a quite unintentional remark on the part of the Leader of the Liberal Party, the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, when he suggested that the majority of the fighting against Japan in the Pacific was done by the United States. I am sure he did not mean that at all; he was contrasting the Russian effort of six days with the great amphibious operations undertaken by the American Forces in the Pacific. I think the House needs no reminding that the greatest army of the 666 Japanese was in Burma, and it was thoroughly defeated after the most arduous and terrible campaign, by our troops. I am afraid that that fact is not always too well recognised in the United States, and I am sure that the noble Viscount would not like me to neglect the opportunity of enlarging on and embroidering, if that is possible, his admirable speech.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
I am grateful to my noble friend for mentioning that. I have every reason to know those facts, since one of my sons was for four years a prisoner of war of the Japanese.
My Lords, in the presence of the Leader of the House, I also want to protest against the ordering of our Business on this day. It is very presumptuous, I know, and some would say that a private Peer has no business to raise these matters. But I have been here a little time and I have taken some small part in our affairs. This is a vitally important debate, and the speech made by the noble Marquess himself was of great importance. I protest against this Bill being taken as fourth Order. I know that it has been made difficult, owing to certain events in another place. The Home Guard Bill was delayed; this debate should have been held on Monday, and so on. But I should have thought it would have been possible, by arrangement, to place this Bill at the head of the Order Paper.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I was quite ready to say that I agreed with what the noble Lord said just now, but I cannot say that I agree on this matter. We have to manage the business of this House as best we can, and the first Bill on the Order Paper was universally agreed from all sides of the House to be relatively equal in importance. Indeed, I think one of the speakers said that if it had been left until after Christmas the unhappy men concerned would have been heavily penalised. After all it is not so terribly late; it is only twenty-five minutes past five, and we are half-way through our debate. I think the noble Lord carries his objection too far.
My Lords, for a short time I was involved in these matters as well, and I know that sometimes it is very difficult to plan Business. Nevertheless, I think it rather bad arrangement, in spite of what the noble Marquess has said.
667 I searched my soul very deeply, and I found food for thought when I found myself in disagreement with my noble friend Lord Stansgate, but I think I must take a different line on this occasion. First of all, let me say a word with regard to the commercial dangers, which were so well indicated by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchyre. The idea that you can circumscribe the economic advance of a race or people is, I think, absurd. You cannot really do it by treaties or by agreements of any kind. We remember during the war the enunciation of what was called the Morganthau Plan for the pasturalisation of Germany. Her industries and mining were to be taken away from her and she was to be reduced to a pastoral or purely agricultural country. I believe that the present Prime Minister also flirted with the idea to a certain extent. But that was during the heat of the war, and in fact that could not have been done.
We all remember the Treaty of Versailles and the various restrictions which it attempted to bring about. You can retain those things for a certain period by force or by restriction or coercion, but in the long run you have to rely on something more lasting; and it really depends on what is to the advantage of the other party. In this case I think it would be to the advantage of the Japanese themselves to avoid some of the practices which were so rightly condemned by Lord Balfour and other noble Lords. I think it is to the advantage of the Japanese not to repeat that sort of conduct in their commercial affairs. The few Japanese that I have met since the war, all men of affairs and of business, strongly hold that view. With regard to the general question of low-paid Oriental labour, may I ask noble Lords to cast their minds back to the days of the great tariff controversy? We were always hearing then about the menace of sweated coolie labour and so on. Over the generations which have passed since then—it must be a matter of two or three decades—the high-wage countries have held their own remarkably well with the low-wage countries. I instance only three high-wage countries—the United States, Germany and ourselves. Our industrial advance during those years has been tremendous. We have not been swamped by these 668 bazaar goods nor by more substantial goods produced in such cheap and abundant quantities by the Japanese.
What is the remedy that is now open to us? I suggest that a very great quickening of the activities of the International Labour Office is called for. It is true that admirable work has been done in recent years, but I think a great deal more can be accomplished. International Conventions are sometimes very successful. The best one I know is the International Shipping Convention for enforcing minimum rates of pay and reasonable conditions for crews of ships at sea. I hope that the Japanese will come into that, because we do not want to see our shipping lines undercut by Japanese ships with badly paid crews. Furthermore, even if the Japanese do a big trade in these bazaar goods and in textiles and so on, it must be borne in mind that most of the trade carried on in the world in which we are engaged is triangular or, perhaps I could say, in many cases quadrilateral. At the present moment, we are selling machinery to Japan, mining machinery and that sort of thing, as I happen to know. Let them sell their bazaar goods in order to earn the currency which they need to pay for the machinery which we sell to them. That has been the pattern of trade over many years where countries like Japan, China and India are concerned.
I hope for very much also from the advancement of the trade union movement in Japan. I trust that there will be no attempt in the future to circumscribe or check it in any way. I have not consulted anyone in authority in this matter, but I should very much like to see some leading trade unionists from this country going out to Japan, at the invitation of Japanese trade unions and with the approval of the Japanese Government, to advise, consult and give examples of their organisation. Conversely, I should very much like to see—and I throw this out as a suggestion to the noble Marquess, Lord Reading—some of the responsible trade union leaders from Japan coming to this country to see how our trade unions work. I am sure that it would add to their prestige. Their trade unions are comparatively young. I do not expect that the leaders of the Japanese trade unions have enormous prestige; they certainly have not anything like that 669 attaching to the unassailable position of our trade union leaders in this country. Whatever Government may be in power here, they have to be very careful to consult them before making a major move in labour legislation. No one in this House, I think, will agree with me more there than the noble Lord, Lord Woolton. I am sure that visits to this country by the representatives of Japanese trade unions would strengthen their position, and they would learn a great deal as the result of their being allowed to see what is happening here. I should also like them to see what is happening in France and in other countries where trade unionism has far deeper roots than it has in Japan.
It has been said that this is a liberal or even a generous Treaty. If so, I think it is in line with the best British traditions. We have tried other methods in the past, and the examples which now occur to one are the Treaties of Versailles—which was quite unworkable—Trianon and Sévres. I think that the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, and I found ourselves in the same, Lobby opposing them in another place. They could not be enforced, they were quite unenforceable and they should never have been signed by British representatives.
The fact of the matter is that the Japanese have gone through two or three very distinct phases. I went to Japan before the Russo-Japanese war. As the noble Lord, Lord Hankey, has reminded us, the Japanese were then in alliance with us. They were extremely courteous and friendly to foreigners, and especially to the British. Then came the Russo-Japanese war, in which they achieved partial victory over a great European Power. That went right to their heads. They began to think themselves the most wonderful people in the world, and they got a tremendous superiority complex. That was the beginning of their troubles. The militarists and the expansionists and imperialists in Japan were listened to. They really believed that they could conquer the world, beginning with the whole of Asia; and they have suffered terribly for that belief. Lord Hankey has already drawn attention to the hardships which the civilian population have had to endure in consequence of the defeat of their nation. Let us hope that they will return to that earlier state of mind which I have mentioned. I believe that this Treaty will 670 help them. Therefore, in spite of what my noble friend Lord Stansgate has said, I must differ from him and say that I think this Treaty is a step forward. It is a step on a very long road.
The next step, as the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, reminded us, will be to end the fighting in Korea. Perhaps, in this connection, I can make one comment without transgressing the rules of Order. It appears that in connection with the Korean war there is a great deal of uneasiness in this country at the long delay in agreeing on a cease-fire. Let us hope that now, at long last, there will be an end to the actual fighting. That should afford us a new point of departure in which the China problem can be tackled. Then there are the long-range needs of Asia, which we recognised in the Colombo Plan—one of the most historic and important documents ever drawn up. If that could be implemented on a much larger scale for the whole of Asia we might be able to see the beginnings of a settled peace in that vast Continent. This Treaty, therefore, in spite of its defects, is, I believe, worthy of our support. It is a step forward along the road which may lead us away from many of the bad conditions now existing in the world, which may help us to get away from the suspicions which are now so rife everywhere and from the fears which are at present entertained in so many countries and by so many people. This Treaty, I believe, is the beginning of a journey along a better road for mankind.
§ 5.38 p.m.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, I was beginning to think a few moments ago that when it came to my lot to follow the noble Lord who has just sat down, I should be speaking in an atmosphere of uneasy tension. It is certainly a fact that Lord Stansgate, who has been the object of attention by the noble Marquess, the Leader of the House, can always be depended upon in his present position to enliven debates in this House. While he was speaking my mind went back to a period shortly after 1919, when the First World War had come to an end. I seemed to recollect that I was then in another place and that a similar atmosphere was introduced there by Lord Stansgate and Lord Strabolgi. What they have said prompts me also to refer to memories. Those of us who have had some familiarity with Japan and the 671 Japanese—and I am one of the fortunate ones who have had the opportunity of visiting large parts of Japan and getting to know the people fairly well—have, perhaps, been able to grasp and to understand a little of their method of thought.
It was with that background that I listened on Monday to many speeches in another place. I listened to many speeches and, as no doubt many of your Lordships have also done, I have read a considerable number of others. It made me a little unhappy to note that so much time was taken up, not by eulogistic speeches and expressions of hope for a lasting peace, but in dealing with the dangers of another type of war—a commercial war. In the main the speeches to-day have been such as to encourage the atmosphere that aims to engender peace. I recognise that many speakers had to defend the interests of their constituencies. Doubtless that was very proper. But we should all bear in mind that speeches in Parliament reach a wide audience, and this debate will be read with great interest in Japan and studied by the leaders of thought there, who are intimately familiar with Britain, who admire our ways and who have sought to mould their own somewhat on ours. It is in that atmosphere this debate should be conducted, although I recognise the propriety of the cautionary remarks made in another place and of the misgivings which the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, has voiced, which are proper, timely and knowledgeable.
As one intimately associated with the wool textile industries, I cannot refrain from repeating the grave concern felt there also about the difference of costs in Japan and in England. But the standard of living is not necessarily low because earnings are low. Those of us who have visited the dormitories of the textile factories of Japan have seen the high conditions of cleanliness, discipline and comfort under which the inmates live. When we talk about the difference of costs in one country and in another, we should bear in mind that as a result of the keen competition from this country thousands of people in large industries in the Dominion of Canada are out of work, where tariffs are only around 15 per cent. Is it to be called slave labour in Great Britain if our workers producing these 672 goods receive only one-third of the pay rates that the same workers receive in the same type of industry in Canada? If such pay rate differences exist in our own Commonwealth, are we to condemn the situation as impossible because large differences exist between pay rates in East Asia and in Britain?
I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Hankey, for reminding us that we are discussing a Treaty of Peace with a recent enemy who was our former Ally under the Treaty of Alliance made by Lord Lansdowne, which for twenty years gave us collaboration by Japan in defending peace in the Far East. In the First World War Japanese destroyers escorted troops from Australia and New Zealand to the Mediterranean and they did much to assist us. There were sad and regrettable incidents in the last war, but surely the Treaty we made after the Napoleonic wars was a magnaminous one, as this one is rightly said to be; yet it then proved to be wise. In any case, we shall have to discuss terms of peace with other enemy countries. I recollect Poland being "stabbed in the back" by Russia, and France by Italy, and it is appropriate that we should keep all these things in mind when reviewing the degree of expiation under discussion.
We have all read that hostile occupation of the Southern shore of the English Channel would be a pistol pointed to the heart of England. Let us remember that hostile troops on the Southern tip of Korea would be a pistol pointed at the heart of Japan. The Straits of Shimonoseki are narrow. Without a Treaty with Japan, there can be no peace in East Asia. The noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, should not pass frivolously over the importance of complete harmony between the United States and Britain which the noble Earl, Lord Halifax, emphasised in your Lordships' House recently. May I remind your Lordships of a similar link that exists between this country and Japan? Both firmly believe in a Monarchy. The Japanese are a sensitive people and have a long history. They have a great admiration for this country and we have to remember that they are an integral factor in the reconstruction of East Asia.
Those of us who have had the opportunity of going over many of the big works and factories in Japan, studying their economic achievements, could not 673 help but admire them. I think it is appropriate in this discussion for anybody who has had those privileges to record them in this debate. What Japan has done in the past she is capable of doing in the future. If we were to say we are never going to feel at peace or work in collaboration with a former enemy, what would we be doing about France to-day, when we think of the Napoleonic era? I would also mention the Japanese social institutions. They raise nostalgic memories of the beauty, culture, art, and courtesy, and stoic courage of the Japanese. I am glad my noble friend Lord Hankey mentioned the present Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Yoshida, who knows England well and is a true admirer of this country. Knowing that the debate in your Lordships' House will receive the most intimate analysis in the Foreign Office in Japan, I feel it is appropriate that it should not pass by without our making all the references we can to the basis on which future collaboration can be hoped for. Let us feel in this debate that we are in an atmosphere of peace; let us pass the sponge over the past and hope for effective collaboration and reconstruction in East Asia. It is in that sense that I record my support for this Motion.
§ 5.52 p.m.
My Lords, may I first give expression to a thought that passed through my mind when the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, was speaking? He referred to certain episodes in Japanese history and British history which we cannot forget, and mentioned, amongst them, the Burma Road. I feel that he must have meant the Burma Railway, which was one of the most tragic episodes in the whole war. There have been one or two mild disagreements in the course of this debate, and I hesitate to introduce a further disagreement. However, I did not recognise entirely the picture drawn by my noble friend Lord Hankey. I regret having a mild disagreement with him, because I regard the noble Lord with the greatest respect as one of the most ardent and successful workers in the cause of British defence during the last forty or fifty years. The noble Lord gave us a picture of what I think he called "our ancient friendship with Japan," with the propriety of which I could not find myself in complete agreement.
674 Let me recall how the Treaty with Japan came into existence. We remember that in the 'eighties and 'nineties of the last century Great Britain found herself in disagreement with France and Russia in many parts of the world, and, therefore, her tendency was to lean towards Germany, Italy and Austria, in order to find points of friendship with them. In the Administration of the third Marquess of Salisbury, who, I think, was the grandfather of the noble Marquess who now leads the House, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain in 1899 proposed an agreement or an alliance with Germany. That extended hand was rejected by Germany, who at once entered upon the construction of a great naval fleet. It was in those circumstances that the then Marquess of Salisbury, who was Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary in the first few years of this century, entered upon a reorientation of British policy, out of which came the Alliance with Japan and, in the following year, 1903, the Anglo-French Entente, both of which were accepted by the Government which came into power in 1905, of which my noble friend Lord Stansgate became a very energetic junior Member.
The Alliance which was entered into in 1902 was carried into the 1914–18 war. When the Alliance was agreed I was in the Far East, and I think my noble friend Lord Strabolgi was there at the same time. I cannot remember any particular enthusiasm for the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. When the war came in 1914 the Japanese, acting under the Alliance, captured the German port of Tsingtao, as I think my noble friend Lord Stansgate has said to-day, and the territories of Kiaochau bordering on Tsingtao. When Japan did that she said she would hand them back to China at the end of the war. But she did nothing of the sort. I have said before in your Lordships' House that I pleaded the cause of China in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles Bill, and I asked the Peace Conference to ensure that the port of Tsingtao and the territory of Kiaochau should be handed back to China under the Agreement. That was not done and, as we remember, China refused to sign the Treaty. I am sorry to have intruded that small reminiscence—I mention it only because it conveys rather a different picture from that laid before the House by my noble friend Lord Hankey.
675 I should now like to say a few words on the subject of this Treaty, which the noble Lord said, and the noble Marquess the Leader of the House agreed, is clearly a subject which ought to be debated in this House. After all, if I read the Bill aright, it gives effect to the Treaty and, therefore, is necessarily a subject for debate in your Lordships' House. In the debate which took place in your Lordships' House on July 31 I gave expression to my opinions on the Treaty, and I do not intend to repeat them. Many of them have been reiterated in the debate which took place in another place and again in your Lordships' House to-day. All that I would say is this. In the debate which took place in your Lordships' House last week, I suggested that as soon as an armistice was concluded in Korea—and we most earnestly hope that an armistice will be concluded in the shortest possible space of time—the wider negotiations, to which the Foreign Secretary referred as a possibility in a speech which he made in another place, would, of course, have to be entered upon. I posed the question as to the body which was to negotiate the wider issues of the Far East, and said that I hoped it would not be a Commission of the United Nations upon which Great Britain played a minor part. I was in at the beginning of the stirring of the witches' caldron in the Far East, the bubbling of which has been the order of the day ever since. I am hopeful that the days of the witches are nearing their end, but I also hope that the witches will not be replaced by witch-hunters, because the latter may be just as harmful as the witches who preceded them.
In the coming months, the wider problems—and these issues all impinge upon the Treaty with which we are dealing to-day—which fall to be decided in the Far East will come before the body which is set up to endeavour to find a solution to them. I have said before in your Lordships' House—and I re-echo the sentiment which was expressed by the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, in the debate which took place on July 31—that I hope this intervening period will be used for discussing the tremendous problems which lie for decision in the months ahead. I said on that occasion—and the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, said the same thing—that I hoped that every 676 opportunity would be taken to discuss those problems with the United States with whom, as I said and as we all know, we have sharp differences of opinion upon the eventual settlement in Far Eastern waters. I wish to make only one more comment on that point to-day. I devoutly hope that His Majesty's Government are at the present moment in the closest consultation with the Commonwealth Governments on all the issues which lie before us. And I hope that out of those consultations will come a joint Commonwealth policy, one which will be maintained at all costs and at all hazards, which will lead now, once and for all, to a solution of these immensely difficult problems which lie ahead in Pacific waters.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, I intervene for a few minutes in order to support my noble friend Lord Stansgate, with whose views on this Treaty I am in complete agreement. I can assure the noble Marquess who leads the House that so far from enunciating what he termed a mosquito view, the noble Viscount. Lord Stansgate, is expressing an opinion which is held by a very large and important section of thought in this country at the present time. If the noble Marquess had attended the meetings over the last year which both I and the noble Viscount have attended, in connection with peace with China, I am quite sure that he would realise there is very strong feeling on the subject of this proposed Treaty with Japan. Indeed, after careful study of the discussion in another place, and listening to every speech which has been made in your Lordships' House this afternoon, it is borne upon me that there is no real enthusiasm for this Treaty anywhere in the country.
The noble Marquess who moved the Second Reading of the Bill was obviously lukewarm about it. There was hardly a speech in another place which was not critical of it in one way or another. We know perfectly well that throughout the Commonwealth there are very grave doubts about it. India has refused to take part in it. It is perfectly well known that the Commonwealth of Australia objected strenuously over a long period to fundamental aspects of this Treaty and gave way in the end only because of the vital importance of maintaining the desired relationship with the United 677 States of America. In other words, as my noble friend Lord Stansgate said, this is a thoroughly bad Treaty, and nobody wants it. It is clear from reading the speeches of Mr. Kenneth Younger and Mr. Herbert Morrison in another place that the last Government accepted it as a pis aller and when the noble Lord, Lord Barnby—who is no longer in his place—talks about "an atmosphere of peace," and other noble Lords talk about pacification in the Pacific, either they have got their tongues in their cheeks or they are living in sky-blue cuckoo land which is completely devoid of reality. Is it not perfectly clear that the whole object of this Treaty is to build up Japan against Russia and China in the Far East, to build up Japan as what is called a bastion of democracy? If I could believe that there was any genuine prospect of Japan becoming a bastion of democracy in the Far East, my views about this Treaty would be very different. But I do not believe there is any real sign of Japan becoming a bastion of democracy, either in respect of her internal government, or in respect of the cold war which is going on with Russia.
The great danger, of course, is that Japan may be converted into a spearhead of attack. Whether that is true or not—I hope it is not; I do not believe that it is the conscious intention of America to pursue that line—that is undoubtedly the view which is taken of it in China and in Russia, and it is particularly unfortunate that that should be so. Everybody with whom I have spoken who has been in China over the last months confirms this. And I may add that everybody with whom I have spoken who has been in Japan over the last months says that there is no real, genuine democracy being built up in that country. The result is that, so far from producing an atmosphere of peace in the Far East, we are going about producing an atmosphere of war. Rather than pouring oil on troubled waters, we are sowing the dragon's teeth. It is, of course, important that there should be a Treaty of Peace, if only to bring the technical war to an end. But that could have been achieved without all the pretence which has been made to your Lordships this afternoon, that we are building up democracy and peace in the Far East. Nothing of the sort is being done.
678 The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, said, and I think the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, took the same view, that this was a liberal treaty: the idea, so to speak, was to enable the Japanese to pay their way in the world. It was pointed out that they had a large and growing population to maintain, and that they must be allowed to engage in the trade and commerce of the world. Those are admirable sentiments, and nobody is opposing this Treaty on the ground that they are not right. But those of us who feel that what one may call the economic side of this Treaty has not been properly studied are not suggesting for a moment that the Japanese should not be given complete freedom to carry on their trade and commerce on fair lines. But surely it is perfectly clear (one or two instances given by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye this afternoon, and many in another place, prove it) that thoroughly unfair methods were unblushingly pursued by the Japanese in the years before the War. I was appalled to see that Mr. Younger suggested that this Treaty could not be made a means to prevent that kind of thing. I think the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, took that view. If these matters are not dealt with in a Treaty of Peace they will not be dealt with anywhere else. I should have thought that it would be possible to obtain in a Treaty of Peace of this kind guarantees from the Japanese Government that practices of this sort, which are manifestly unfair and are illegal according to any civilised conception of commercial law, would not be permitted. It is absurd to say that these things cannot be stopped by a Government; of course they can. All sorts of malpractices on the part of dishonest industrialists are stopped in other countries by a system of inspection and rules which forbid them. There are copyright laws, patent laws, factory laws, and many others of that kind.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
I was not referring to that kind of vicious design but to the restriction of Japanese trade itself.
§ LORD CHORLEY
So far as I know, there have been no serious proposals that Japanese trade should be restricted. It was made clear beyond a peradventure in speech after speech in another place—and Lord Balfour of Inchrye made the same point to-day—that what is objected to in 679 Lancashire and Staffordshire is that the Japanese steal—that is the only word—without paying a penny for them, designs into which weeks and months of work and large sums of money have been put, and then foist their products on consumers in other parts of the world at low prices—pretending, very often, that they are manufactured in this country.
§ LORD BARNBY
Of course that is reprehensible, but it is not confined to Japan. There are many factories in Italy where you can see tickets printed "English produce". The practice is reprehensible but the noble Lord cannot pin it all on to Japan.
§ LORD CHORLEY
I am not trying to pin it all on to Japan, but we must begin to stop it somewhere, and then perhaps we can stop it in other parts of the world. I suggest that a Treaty of this kind is the best way. A guarantee should be obtained from the Japanese Government that they will put an end to these practices. If they fail to do so they could be brought before the Court of International Justice and a ruling of that Court obtained and enforced, so far as any ruling of the Court of International Justice can be enforced. At any rate, it would be an attempt. I think it is unfortunate that the Government should throw in their hand over this matter. It is one of the greatest importance to some of the major industrial communities in this country. It seems to me that the interests of Lancashire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire are being completely disregarded in this Treaty, and that is a most unfortunate thing.
I have referred to the position of China, which I regard as the most important problem of all. I cannot see, looking at this thing as dispassionately as possible, that any real effort has been made to bring the People's Government of China into these negotiations. I am not suggesting that it would have been an easy thing to do, especially after the branding of China as an aggressor in connection with the Korean War, but it should have been attempted. The Chinese people would have had less excuse for the legitimate and genuine objection they take to this Treaty if they had been given an opportunity of coming into the negotiations and taking their part in the making of this Treaty. So far from establishing 680 an atmosphere of peace in the Far East we are sowing dragon's teeth. If the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, were prepared to go into the Division Lobby and vote against this Bill I should be glad to follow him.
§ 6.18 p.m.
My Lords, I do not intend to follow the noble Lord, Lord Chorley. I should rather leave that to other noble Lords who are capable of dealing with the policy matters which he raised. But I am sure that the Japanese are extremely lucky people. When one considers the fate that was intended for South-East Asia and for Australia, and ultimately for the whole of the Western World, under the plan for world domination which was being acted upon and which very nearly came to fruition, one feels that the Japanese are indeed fortunate to have got away with such a soft Treaty. One only hopes that our confidence is justified in this respect. Moreover, we must remember that the Japanese have accomplished half of their aims. By their action in South-East Asia and in India they have taught these people to sever the links with the West; and, in due course, if the occasion ever presented itself, those countries would become once more a portion of the Japanese Empire. One can only hope that that opportunity will never occur.
I was going to speak on the trade problems arising from this Treaty, because I have some qualification to do so, having been engaged for a number of years in competing with Japanese goods in the East and in selling Japanese goods themselves. There are surely a few fallacies in connection with ideas about Japanese trade. I think the first one is what one might call "the trade union leader dream world," in which the leader envisages the entire East paid at European rates of pay for a forty-hour week, and then the whole world would be happy. If ever such a thing came about, the only result would be that the European wage would buy only one bowl of rice instead of what it buys at the moment. If that particular dream were extended to Japan itself, if Japan, with its 84,000.000 people, were translated overnight to a European standard of living, what would be the effect? They would become the greatest importers of food in the world they would become perhaps the second or third 681 greatest importers of raw materials in the world. Where are those goods to come from? They can have only one origin, and that is at our expense. In other words, at present a Western standard for Japan means an Oriental standard for Britain.
Then there is another fallacy: that it paid Japan to sell cheap, and that they did it deliberately. They did not. The terms of trade for Japan in the 1930's were shocking. They had to export an enormous volume of goods to produce the imports that they required in return. The benefit went to their customers and the Governments of those customers, because the Governments of those customers all over the world imposed extra duties. The Governments got fat out of the proceeds, and the consumers got extremely cheap goods. The Japanese prices were much too low, quite unnecessarily low, and they were low not through deliberate dumping; they were low through internal cut-throat competition. They had in Japan every conceivable paraphernalia of the Manchester Liberal school of competition: they had no combinations; they had futures markets galore. They had a futures market for cotton, a futures market for yarn, a futures market for cloth and a futures market for different sorts of cloth. The result was that you could always buy cloth in Japan cheaper than it cost you to buy the raw material and have it made up in Japan. It was the eternal competition between those firms, some very big and some very small, that made those prices so cheap.
Then there is the question of this pirating of designs. I have suffered a great deal of that and I have come to the conclusion that, on the whole, it was not the Japanese who were directly guilty so much as the importers of goods into the other countries. The first thing that an importer of European goods into any Eastern country did when he got a new line was to send the things off by the first post, perhaps by air mail, to Japan, and say: "Please quote me for this exactly." Of course, the big Japanese firms knew the law and knew what their duties were, but the little men who were employed by the numerous export merchants of Tokyo, Osaka and so on, had no knowledge of foreign laws; they produced the things and sent them off. But the first villain of the piece was the national of the country that imported the 682 goods in the first instance. On the whole, though trade cried greatly at this pirating, it was not really necessary, because when your goods are cheap enough it is quite unnecessary to copy someone else's designs, and only too often those goods would have sold about equally as well if they had been an original design. It was what I call the insult being added to the injury, the injury being the cheap prices and the insult being the registered design.
Then there is the fallacy of the sweated labour of Japan. I have always been led to believe that the Japanese mill girls in their hostels and their dormitories were probably better looked after and better fed, and so on, than they would have been on their father's farm, because, so thick were they on the around, there was not enough food on the farm for them. Therefore, people who were employed at rates of pay enabling them to maintain themselves at the current standard of the country could not be described as "sweated labour" Japan does not need unfair practices to under-sell to the world. We do not want protection against Japan's unfair practices; we want protection against her fair practices. What are we to do about this? We have to recognise that the Japanese have to live and they will live. The first thing we should do is to exert our utmost to encourage them to concentrate on those particular forms of their activity that do the least harm to everyone else's manufacturing industries. We have an excellent instance there in the silk industry. There is hardly anybody in the world who would not like a piece of silk for one purpose or another. Why cannot he get it? Because the Governments of the world have decided that silk is a luxury and must be taxed out of existence. I suggest that a change of heart by our own Government and many of the other Governments of the world towards the taxation of silk might do a great deal to concentrate Japan on what formerly was a very great industry, using a tremendous amount of local employment, particularly women; it would keep them off our cotton and woollen goods.
There are other things. There are various sorts of toys they make which are so flimsy that they do not compete much with Western toys. You buy one to-day and throw it away to-morrow. Let them make that sort of stuff for us and the 683 Eastern bazaars. Nobody else can do anything like it at the price. Then there is our old friend the plimsoll. I still have a pair which cost me about Is. 6d., duty paid—that was after the price had gone up a great deal. They were then, I think, about 10d. c.i.f. Plimsolls are an enormous boon to the naked-footed populations of Asia and Africa, because those people cannot possibly afford footwear of a Western standard. They will either go bare-footed or trot about in the Japanese plimsoll. Some people are great believers in the eugenic propriety of going bare-footed; others say you get hook-worm, and so on. At any rate, let the natives have the choice. Let Japan become a great arsenal of "gym" shoes.
Tariffs are not the solution. There is no man-made tariff that in decency can be high enough to exclude Japanese goods. I have seen Japanese goods leap over a 200 per cent, tariff into India and sell like hot cakes. No, it cannot be done by tariffs. For that reason, Imperial Preference is quite useless when it comes to dealing with Japanese goods. It is like dealing with the Soviet Union; the yardstick is not really money—you are dealing with a completely different world. You have, more or less, to exchange goods for goods. That is where I think quotas are the only conceivable method of approach. We should ask those Dominions to whom we give guaranteed markets to say in return that they will impose a quota on Japanese imports and on exports to Japan. We might try to treat the Colonial Empire as a whole, and then parcel out to individual Colonies.
There are precedents for this method. In the late 1930's India imposed a quota of 400,000,000 yards on imports of Japanese cotton goods, and that immediately had a most salutary effect on the prices in the market. The Japanese, who by then were beginning to realise that it did not always pay to undersell the world by 100 per cent., started to auction the quota, with the result that when the goods arrived they were just cheap enough to compete with the local goods and to secure a market for the 400,000,000 yards. But the Japanese did not completely demoralise the market as they had done with some of their earlier shipments. If you sell at 5s. in a 684 market which is used to paying 10s., it demoralises the market. However small the supply of goods at 5s., the 10s. person will never sell any more. At first glance, the consumers would lose, because they would lose the cheapness of their goods. But what is their ultimate advantage? Is it that Britain should be eclipsed as a leader of world trade? If the West is to sink down in that way, I have not the slightest doubt that these dependent territories would fall into the lap of a rising Japan, and I do not think they would like it. Then, at all costs, we should assist Japanese agriculture in every possible way, making available to them artificial fertilisers and everything of that kind. With regard to trademarks, it ought to be possible to arrange some system whereby any infringements are reported back to the Japanese Government Inspection Bureau, with a view to bringing fines upon the small manufacturers. At the moment, there is no hope of punishing anybody except the importer.
Finally, we in the Commonwealth have got to settle this question with the Japanese and the United States. They must both be told that we have got to live, and have every intention of living. For talks of that sort to be held in a successful atmosphere it is essential that we should have somewhere in our armoury the power of total exclusion of Japanese goods from the British Commonwealth. Whether or not we have that power, I do not know. We should obviously have no intention of exercising it; but for the successful conclusion of a bargain you must have a strong sanction on your side, and I hope that we have those powers. In any case, we have to think about this matter urgently, because I believe that this is one of the most urgent economic problems, if not the most urgent, facing our country to-day.
§ 6.34 p.m.
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, it was not my intention to intervene in to-day's debate, but my name was mentioned by one speaker, and it is true that I spent a large part of my official career in the Far East and have been stationed both in Japan and in China. To come down right away to fundamentals, I think the Treaty is perfectly right and I consider it is high time that it was signed. I believe the unconditional surrender of Japan was 685 in August, 1945, and the Treaty was signed on September 8, 1951. The interval of six years has been quite, long enough. I would go further, although it is not the subject of to-day's debate, and say that I think it is high time that we had peace with the other ex-enemy countries. After all, surely there has been a long enough interval. I know the difficulties and the reasons why this Treaty has not come sooner. Whether or not the Treaty is perfect I would not presume to say, but to my mind it is high time that it was signed. After this debate I hope that in due course it will be ratified. It is the Royal Prerogative to ratify it, and I hope that it will be ratified.
There is an angle to this matter which, so far as I know, has not been touched upon to-day, although it is a factor of importance—I refer to the anomalous situation of the ex-enemy countries in this post-war world. We have Germany on the one side and Japan on the other. They are both beaten countries, but they are both vital to the future of world peace. I feel that very strongly. In my view, we owe a great debt to General MacArthur for having kept Japan on the right side of the Iron Curtain. That has nothing to do with subsequent events, and they have nothing to do with us. But in 1948 I saw General MacArthur, and there is no doubt whatever that through his sound guidance Japan is set on the right side of the Curtain. One cannot exaggerate the importance of that. There are 87,000,000 of these people, and they are not just timid, docile little people—perhaps that is one of the counts against them. But it is all the more important that we should have them on the right side, with the right ideas in their mind. That need not necessarily have been the case. After all, if one tramples too hard on a defeated enemy one knows what happens. Look at the Ruhr after the last war. Look at the reaction. I cannot say that we were responsible for Hitler, but in Germany there was a reaction, a sort of feeling that they must do something. They felt that they would do anything and, in fact, they did evolve Hitler. It was horrible. Therefore, it is very important that we should have Japan on the right side, the ideological side—call it what you like—of this post-war world.
One noble Lord to-day said that there were 87,000,000 Japanese. I take that figure as being accurate. But they are 686 not just 87,000,000 rabbits. Far from it. They are most tough people. If I may reminisce for one moment, I have served both in Japan and in China. The Japanese have great qualities, and they have great defects. One of the disabilities under which they suffered was that their army was entirely separate from the Government; it was not under the orders of the Japanese Government. That was a most extraordinary situation. The army was controlled by the Emperor, and, if I may use the phrase, did not care two hoots what the Minister of War said to it, or what the view of the Government was. The army dictated. And we know that it all went wrong.
To go further back, to a time even before I was there, their first prototype for the Navy was British. The Satsuma, who were always very reasonable people, were brought up in the British naval tradition. Before the Franco-Prussian war the Japanese thought the French were the top people in the military sense. Then came the Franco-Prussian war, and they turned the other way and became Prussianised, soaked in Prussianism to an abominable degree. They came completely under the domination of Prussian ideals. That went completely wrong, and they have deservedly paid for that.
We all abhor the horrors the Japanese perpetrated. I was down in Singapore shortly after they left, and I saw a lot of the unfortunate people who had been through it: the horror was indescribable. But we have to be realists. That is over and done with. I was for a very short time in Tokyo in January, 1948, and so far as I can judge, the Japanese are not, or were not then, militarists; they were anti-militarists. It was a curious reaction. Whether it was creditable or not, I do not know; but they turned against their own soldiers, feeling that they had led the country into this mess. It was not entirely arising from high ideas or ideals; it was simply that they felt they had been let down by the army. Certainly, at that time, in January, 1948, they were anti-militarists. There was no army, there were no officers—nothing at all. I hope that they have learned their lesson. I come back to what I call the fundamentals. It is very important that we should have a Treaty with Japan. I feel it is high time we had peace with Japan, and 687 that we got on with the reconstruction which must depend upon the establishment of that peace. I go further; I say: continue the good work—and in this connection I mention Germany and Austria. But that, perhaps, is a matter which is not within the purview of this debate. My Lords, I did not come here in the least prepared to speak. I have just intruded into this debate, with a few observations which I thought might be useful.
§ 6.40 p.m.
My Lords, I shall detain your Lordships for only a few minutes. I should like to say that in my view the Government of to-day and the Government of yesterday, together with the Governments of other Powers, are greatly to be congratulated on working out a Peace Treaty with Japan—a task of unexampled complexity, now successfully accomplished. The noble Marquess the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, when he opened this debate, emphasized—and the idea was taken up by the next speaker, Lord Henderson—that each country must recognise the problems of the other. And both speakers urged the need for give and take. A plan has been worked out between Governments and now, surely, it becomes the duty of trade associations and the business community at large to make this plan work, and work to the advantage of both Parties.
As one who has worked in Japan and known the Japanese industry for some thirty years, I should like to indicate a line of action in the commercial field. I emphasise this, having heard the very telling speech of Lord Balfour of Inchrye, followed by that of Lord Barnby. As your Lordships well k now, our industry is fully employed, yet it cannot meet our rearmament programme plus the needs of the home and export markets. It cannot supply at a sufficiently rapid rate the capital goods which are called for in the Colonial Empire for the present development programme which, as your Lordships know, is greatly to be accelerated. Therefore, could not the possibility of using Japanese capacity in this latter field be actively considered? The price of heavy capital equipment from Japan is to-day, in some cases, from 25 to 50 per cent. higher than similar equipment supplied 688 from Britain. That is due to the high cost of steel. The equipment is urgently required in the Colonial Empire and this gap in the price of steel should narrow. I feel that there is great scope here for trade federations and the like, with the blessing, of Government, getting together in an active way with Japanese industry. I suggest therefore, my Lords, that Japan could concentrate more on expansion in the production and export of capital goods, so sorely needed throughout the world (the Colonial Empire is but one example) rather than on the production of textiles.
§ 6.44 p.m.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, in winding up the debate from this side of the House, I feel myself in a very humble position. I think that, almost without exception, every noble Lord who has spoken so far has a personal knowledge of and acquaintance with, Japan. Most noble Lords who have spoken have been there, and so can speak from first-hand experience. I can speak only from vicarious experience of Japan. One of my sons was president of the military court which tried Japanese war criminals. That gave one some insight into Japan in war time. Another of my sons fought in the Pacific. He is a naval officer, and he speaks Japanese. My own personal experience was that of attending the dinner, to which the noble Lord, Lord Hankey, has referred, of Japanese and British businessmen, and I can confirm that the Japanese business-men who were present, and who spoke after dinner, did express their very deep regrets and apologies for the actions of their co-nationals during the war—for what their regrets and apologies were worth. But whatever one may say about Japan in war time—and no noble Lord has condoned her conduct during the war—I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Killearn, that the time has come when a Peace Treaty should be signed with the Japanese. Indeed, so far as I could gather, no noble Lord who has spoken in this debate has taken a different view. Even my noble friend Lord Stansgate, although he indicated that he thought it a bad Treaty, did not take the view that there should be no Treaty. Nor, I gather, did Lord Chorley. Therefore, this House is unanimous in holding the view that a Peace Treaty should be signed with Japan.
689 What sort of Peace Treaty? Many of us would wish to see a Treaty different in various respects from the one that is now before us, but I think we shall all agree that if it is to be a real Treaty it must be one which gives Japan complete and free sovereignty. One cannot have a Treaty which continues a policy of occupation or of dictation. A Peace Treaty must, in the nature of things, be an act of trust, an act of faith, and, in signing this Treaty, we are giving Japan complete, free independence and full sovereignty. Again, no noble Lord who has spoken in the debate has taken a contrary view. But if we accept that view we must also accept its implications, and one of those implications I would say—and I particularly draw the attention of Lord Stansgate to this—is that the Japanese have the right to rearm if they so desire. We cannot, in a Peace Treaty, give the Japanese complete freedom and independence, and at the same time dictate to them as to whether they are to have an army or not and what sort of an army. Nor can we dictate to them as to whom they should permit to occupy parts of their territory for defence purposes. I find it very difficult to follow completely the view of my noble friend Lord Stansgate—for whom, as he knows, I have the greatest respect and affection—that we are in any position, having accepted the idea that the Japanese must have complete freedom and independence, to say that they should or should not accept American Defence Forces on their territory.
A number of other obligations have been referred to, and with much of what has been said I agree. It is exceedingly unfortunate that the countries which have suffered most from Japanese occupation, with all its horrors and brutalities, should not be parties to this general Peace Treaty. That is no fault of ours. So far as this country is concerned, we should have welcomed the appearance of the Chinese People's Government, of India, of Burma, and of the Soviet Union. But, accepting that, for one reason or another, none of these Powers could or would become a party to the Peace Treaty, ought we therefore to have refused to accept it ourselves? I think the answer must be, "No." The other Powers are open to come in at any time, and for the sake of the peace of the world I hope they will come in.
690 Apprehensions have been expressed in this House and in another place which I think are fairly widespread throughout the industrial parts of the country, about Japanese competition, particularly in the textiles, pottery and light industrial fields. I agree with the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, that it would have been impossible for us to insist upon inserting in the Peace Treaty provisions dealing with Japanese competition. There is a provision in the preamble dealing with unfair practices, but I do not place much value upon such a provision, even in a Treaty. In the long run I do not think that unfair practices can be prevented by a provision in a Peace Treaty. At times all of us are the victims of unfair practices in this country. Sometimes I have dined in Soho and had wine for dinner. I should not like to vouch for the accuracy of the description on some of the bottles of wine that I have drunk. I am sure that what had been passed and paid for as claret did not come from that part of France from which it was alleged to have come. Of course, unfair practices are reprehensible. I believe that in the long run they can be dealt with only by international action of some kind, and not by individual Treaty between one country and another. I say that because I find it difficult to visualise what is the sanction for these unfair practices. How do we deal with them when we regard them as national practices? It would be difficult to discover the individual responsible. The noble Lord, Lord Hawke, who speaks with a great deal of experience in these matters, has put forward a different angle, saying that the reprehensible party is not necessarily the Japanese person who is guilty of the unfair practice but, very often, the person in the purchasing country. That makes the problem all the more difficult. I think it must be a matter for some kind of international action, and at present, so far as I am aware, there is no international law which can be invoked for dealing with it.
As to unfair competition, which is a separate matter from unfair practices, as the noble Lord. Lord Balfour of Inchrye made clear, we had to submit to competition before the war and we certainly did not go to war to prevent it. That would have been most reprehensible on our part. But, in Japan we have a nation which is able 691 to produce at a fraction of the cost at which we can produce in this country, because the standard of living—I will not call it low—enables Japan to produce at cheap rates. It seems to me that we cannot deal with this problem by negative practice. I do not think the imposition of quotas is a solution. My noble friend Lord Strabolgi made the point, which I think is a sound one, that we are selling to Japan capital goods, and if they are to buy them, they must be in a position to export their own goods. If, by means of quotas or restrictions, we try to prevent their selling to us or to the Commonwealth, how are they to pay for the capital goods which they import from Britain? If we did that, we should be benefiting one industry at the expense of another.
My Lords, I hope the noble Lord knows where he is getting to—the complete extinction of the Lancashire export trade, possibly of the West Riding export trade and possibly of other trades of which I have no knowledge.
§ LORD SILKIN
I was saying that I did not think the negative method was a satisfactory way of dealing with the problem. Moreover, we cannot keep a nation down indefinitely. The Japanese are entitled to live. They have no raw materials worth speaking about and they are a large nation living in a restricted space. They can live only by manufacture, and we cannot go on stopping them from selling their goods. We represent a large part of the markets of the world, and if we shut them out of our markets and induce some of our friends to do the same, what can the Japanese do but burst that bar? In the long run that sort of policy must lead to further conflict. Therefore, I think we have to face up to the fact that the Japanese have to live by exports, and to the further fact that in the meantime they may be selling goods cheaply and inflicting fairly serious damage on our own people. Somehow we have to find a solution to these conflicting claims. I do not think we can find any solution by ignoring one or other of these claims; we have to face up to both.
I wish I had a ready-made solution to offer your Lordships. I feel that the only direction along which a solution is 692 possible is by international action of some kind. The noble Lord, Lord Sempill, made an interesting point when he suggested that Japan has the capacity, the technical skill and the labour which ought to make it possible to benefit the world by producing the things of which the world is short, instead of competing with other countries like ourselves and causing damage to one or other of us. But that, again, implies international agreement. In the long run that has to come. If the world cannot agree upon the best method of using its resources, then we are heading for collapse and for serious unhappiness to the peoples of the world. We have to live somehow, and it looks as if the Japanese capacity for production is needed in the world. It is not necessary that she should concentrate on making what have been described by a number of noble Lords as bazaar goods. She is competent to make all sorts of goods: she is capable of producing ships, which the world needs, and capital goods for the Commonwealth, which we need very badly. If only we can get together we can somehow ensure that her great qualities are used in a way which will be of benefit to the world.
But, however urgent and important these questions are, in my submission they are not strictly relevant to the discussion we are having, to-day. The matter before us to-day is this Peace Treaty. It is not possible to amend or improve on it, and I think, in practice, it is not really possible for us to reject it. We have to accept it, and nobody suggests otherwise. I would appeal to the noble Marquess who is to reply, and through him to the Government, to regard the apprehensions which have been expressed throughout the debate on both sides of the House as being genuine and serious; they are worrying a great many people, and some solution has to be found. I would ask him to give us an assurance that His Majesty's Government will give the earliest and closest attention and consideration to the problems which confront us—they are not confined to Japan; we shall be in the same position with Germany before long—and see how we can deal with the problem of German and Japanese competition, without, on the one hand, improperly and unduly restricting those countries, or, on the other hand, injuring this country. I hope the House will give this Bill a Second Reading. I 693 further hope that the relations between this country and Japan from now on will be good relations. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, that that is more than they could have expected. It is a generous gesture by the greater part of the world, and I hope and believe that they will respond to it. In that event, it will be for the benefit of mankind as a whole.
§ 7.3 p.m.
THE MARQUESS OF READING
My Lords, if I may, with the leave of the House, endeavour briefly to wind up what has been a long but interesting, valuable and well-justified debate, I would just say this in commencing the last speech. I think the whole course of the debate, with the possible exception of two speeches, has justified what I ventured to say at the beginning in regard to two propositions: first, that this was a generous Treaty and was rightly designed to be a generous Treaty; and secondly, that the various problems which have been raised by noble Lords in the course of the debate, and the solutions which have been recommended for them, were not matters which could suitably and practicably be included in a Treaty of Peace. I would submit again to the House that the discussion which has taken place only reinforces the point which I endeavoured to make. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, was good enough to give his assent to the general sentiments which I had already expressed and to call attention to various matters in connection with the Treaty, and there is nothing in all that he said with which I desire to disagree. The same would apply to the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, whose support, especially having regard to his long experience of the making of Treaties, is, as always in these matters, most valuable to the Government.
My noble friend, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, rather took me to task for something that I said. I did not intend it to be merely a piece of what is sometimes called "Whitehall language." But I did think, and I still think, that a good many of the questions which have been raised to-day are more suitable for discussion in a general debate on future trade policy than they are for discussion on the particular matter which we have before us to-day. None the less, I need not tell my noble friend that I do not in the least 694 take exception to his having raised the question. Of course we recognise that these are very important matters. This is, after all, a great industrial country, and any Government must take the best steps it can, according to its wisdom, to safeguard the position of manufacturers and traders in its own country.
The noble Lord put to me two questions in particular. The first was that he asked for an assurance that if Japan, I think his phrase was, "played false," the Government would have no hesitation in withdrawing the most-favoured-nation treatment. May I briefly, not in any way trying to evade the noble Lord's question, put what I understand to be the provision in regard to most-favoured-nation treatment as it is contained in this Treaty, because it is not, at first view, very easy to understand? It has reference to Article 12, and I believe the position to be this. Under Article 12 the point is that the whole initiative rests with the Allied Powers, and not with Japan. Under that Article the Allied Powers accept no obligation to give most-favoured-nation treatment in respect of goods, or to give national treatment in respect of shipping, navigation, imported goods and other matters.
Under the Peace Treaty the Allied Powers maintain complete freedom of action; they accept in this regard no obligation. But Article 12 lays an obligation on Japan to give most-favoured-nation treatment, or national treatment, as the case may be, to any Allied Power which, in practice, although not obliged to do so, extends such treatment to Japan. Japan's obligation in that regard lasts under the Treaty for a period of four years only from the first coming into force of the Treaty of Peace. If after the Treaty comes into force any Allied Power which gives—and, consequently, under a reciprocal arrangement receives from Japan—most-favoured-nation treatment decides to stop giving that treatment, then Japan is automatically released from her obligation under Article 12. That is what I understand the position to be: that the initiative right through is upon the Allied Power, and that Japan has to conform in that way; and, therefore, so long as the initiative remains with the Allied Power, the Allied Power has the right to withdraw its most-favoured-nation treatment. I think that that, to a large extent, answers the question, be- 695 cause the Government retain the power to act. At what particular moment you say, "Japan has not played fair, and we are going to act" is surely a matter which cannot be stated in advance. You have to judge the particular facts as they exist at the moment you make your decision. You cannot give a guarantee in advance of what will happen if a particular set of circumstances arise. You have to look at the circumstances and say, "On those circumstances we come to this or that decision." I do not think the noble Lord would expect more.
The other point about which the noble Lord, Lord Balfour, asked was with regard to the application to the Colonies. The position there I believe to be this: that if His Majesty's Government decided to take discriminatory action against Japan they could, as a matter purely of constitutional law, require the Colonies to fall into line—to do the same thing as they were doing. In fact, whatever the constitutional position might be, in practice it would immediately he a matter for consultation between this country and the Colonies as to what was the right action to take. The Colonies' interest might not always coincide exactly with ours in these matters, and His Majesty's Government would regard it as a matter for consultation, because, although the Colonies may owe a good deal to this country, we fully recognise that this country also owes a very great deal to the Colonies.
§ LORD BALFOUR OF INCHRYE
May I make this quite clear? I absolutely support what the noble Marquess says about the Colonies' having a final right to determine. All I wanted was an assurance that if we freed ourselves for discriminatory action, the Colonies would not continue to be tied. The noble Marquess has given me that assurance.
THE MARQUESS OF READING
From the constitutional point of view it might be so; but from the practical working point of view, as I say, there would be consultation.
THE MARQUESS OF READING
May I continue my review very rapidly? My noble friend the Leader of the House has dealt with much of the speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate. In regard to 696 the document which he mentioned at one stage. I understand the position to be that the arrangement or pact, or whatever you may call it, which was included in that document has not been ratified, and the document is not yet officially published. A certain amount of information, which no doubt noble Lords have seen, has, however, been given in the Press. The noble Lord, Lord Hankey, made a strong plea for the revival of old friendships, and hope that nothing which I said in my earlier speech led him to think that I took any different view from that which he expressed in desiring, as I think I said originally, to put Japan upon her own feet.
The noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, made a suggestion in regard to an invitation to Japanese trade union leaders and also that British trade union leaders should go to Japan. I will see that that suggestion is borne in mind. The noble Lord probably knows that we now have the third delegation from Japan to visit this country within the last month. It must be within the last month, because I have seen them all. Therefore, there is already a certain inflow of persons coming to this country who we hope will take back pleasant and helpful memories of the time they have spent here. The noble Lord said something about Korea which I do not propose at this moment to follow up, nor do I think he expected me to. He also mentioned the Colombo Plan, as to the importance of which I entirely agree, and he may remember that I gave the House as full information as I could in the recent debate on Foreign Affairs.
The noble Lord, Lord Barnby, spoke with great experience on one of the particular trades involved, and also of Japan itself. I think he echoed to a large extent Lord Hankey's plea for the re-establishment of amity between the two people. The noble Viscount, Lord Eli-bank, was anxious to know that there was close consultation with the Commonwealth, and he may be assured that the Commonwealth countries are closely and regularly consulted. The noble Lord, Lord Chorley, rather championed the same cause which the noble Viscount. Lord Stansgate, had earlier advanced, but I am bound to say that I still could not make out at the end of his speech what he thought we ought to have done. He had a great deal to say 697 about it being an American Treaty, about a "bastion of democracy" and about Japan being converted into a spearhead of attack. But what does he think we ought to have done? Were we to sit there indefinitely and wait until everybody concerned had come to the same conclusion, one side or the other, about the recognition of China? Were we to wait until Russia had waived all her objections and fallen into line with the other Powers? Or were we to make the best of, I will not say a bad job, but not the best job, and go forward and arrive at a Treaty of Peace which at least restored sovereignty to Japan, showed a degree of confidence in her future and offered a reasonable prospect of peace? I would not so lightly dismiss the prospects of this Treaty resulting in a peaceful atmosphere in the Far East as some noble Lords have seen fit in the course of this debate to do.
The noble Lord, Lord Hawke, also had some interesting and constructive suggestions which, again, will be conveyed to the proper quarter. They were supplemented by the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Sempill, whose long and active interest in relations with Japan I know were by no means a thing of yesterday, but have existed through a great many years. I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Killearn, for taking advantage of the fact that his name was mentioned in the course of the discussion to participate in the debate, to place at our disposal his great experience in this part of the world and to give us his guidance as to what he considered, with all the background of that experience, to be the right attitude to the Treaty. One was grateful to hear him say that we were right in submitting this Treaty for the approval of the House.
With that backing of the noble Lord, Lord Killearn, and of a number of others of your Lordships, the position remains as it started when I opened this discussion: we believe that although the Treaty is not the perfect instrument, it is a better instrument 698 than anything else which could be obtained; and it is certainly an instrument by the use of which those nations who are concerned in this particular part of the world can hope to see the seed of peace implanted. And they have put their signatures to it in the hope that, if it may not produce a millennium to-morrow, at least it may produce a more stable and more peaceful situation than has obtained during the past unhappy years.
§ On Question, Bill read 2ª, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.