§ 3.7 p.m.
§ Debate resumed (according to Order) on the Motion moved on Thursday last by Viscount Runciman of Doxford—namely, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as followeth:
§ "Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."
§ THE PAYMASTER GENERAL (THE EARL OF SELKIRK)
My Lords, in Continuing this debate, I know that I can say with what general relief it has been learned that the railway strike referred to in the first paragraph of the gracious Speech is now at an end. It will be the hope of everyone that the final agreement which is to be reached will be satisfactory, and will continue to give satisfaction, not only to all those in the railway industry, where we hope to see such great developments in the not too far distant future, but also to the general public for whom the services are provided. I know that your Lordships would wish me to express our gratitude to all those who 124 have undertaken such unstinting work in trying to reach an agreement. I do not think anyone misconceives the tremendous advantage which this country has in being able to call on the remarkable and high qualities of my right honourable friend the Minister of Labour in difficulties of this sort.
We have no grounds for complaining of the manner in which noble Lords have spoken on the gracious Speech. They have said, quite frankly, that they expect performance, which is a reasonable and proper view. It is not a very serious criticism that the worst adjective the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, or the Economist could produce was "stodgy." That is not a serious stricture of something which, after all, was never intended to be more than a blueprint; and it is certainly better than some adjectives which have been applied to the gracious Speech on other occasions.
I was glad that two noble Lords opposite referred to the future of this House, and I should like to make two remarks about that subject. The first is that no-one in this country really knows what does go to make up public opinion. What we do know, however, is that public opinion is very real and very influential. The noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, rather suggested that possibly the popular Press, in which our debates are not extensively reported as a rule, played a considerable part. It is at least curious that, after the Press had said all they wanted to say about the General Election, after the extensive use of television, radio, the innumerable speeches which were made and the activities of countless canvassers, one out of four of the electors of this country did not think it worth while to go to the polls; yet nobody advised them not to vote.
The other point is with reference to the work of this House. The whole House is deeply indebted to noble Lords opposite for the work which they have done in the last Session. Anyone who knows what preparation goes into that work knows that it is a tremendous grind. I am conscious that I am in a different position from noble Lords opposite—I am paid, and noble Lords opposite are not. I have the assistance of a wide range of advisers if I want help. Noble Lords opposite have to do their own work; and I am keenly aware, and I 125 think the whole House is aware, of how much we owe them for bringing out the many points that have been brought before the House. There is even, I think, some criticism that has arisen from the very assiduity with which they do their work, because I believe that sometimes the Back-Benchers feel that the discussions in this House are too much of a duologue between the two Front Benches. If we do fall into this error, I am sure that noble Lords sitting in other parts of the House will not hesitate to draw our attention to a proper sense of proportion of the breadth and width of this House.
The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said that we on these Benches were being rather stubborn. If that is so, and in so far as it is so, it is a grievous sin. I would agree with the prophet Samuel, that stubbornness is an iniquity. I think it would he quite wrong to give any impression that the impact of this House on legislation has not been considerable; indeed, I think it has been greater than sometimes appears on the surface. I should like to assure noble Lords opposite that, without falling into the error of vacillation, we are most anxious to get the full benefit of their advice and guidance, and, indeed, of any admonition which they may care to make on proposals we put before the House.
Last night the noble Lords, Lord Silkin, Lord Meston and Lord Wolverton referred to the question of local government. We have in mind certain developments there which we hope will be of considerable importance to local government in this country, the health of which I know this House has very much in mind. The Rating and Valuation Bill, which has already been introduced, is similar to the one which was placed before the House in the last Session and which received, I think, an, unopposed Second Reading in another place. It will be a considerable step forward if it is possible now to carry through valuations which have been held up for a considerable number of years. In Scotland, even more important developments are taking place. There are the Rating and Valuation (Scotland) Bill and an inquiry into the working of the equalisation grant. Rating in Scotland, which may be a subject of some complexity to many of your Lordships, has been a bone of contention for many years, and we are indebted to the 126 noble Lord, Lord Sorn, for his departmental report, which we hope will lay the foundations for a much sounder basis of local government assessment than exists at the present time.
The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, referred to the more general question of the reform of local government and, although this is a subject on which he speaks with great authority, he frankly admitted that it was a perplexing one. In this field, too, we have made some progress. Owing to a change in certain points of view, early this year we were able to reach among the local authority associations a fairly wide measure of agreement on certain proposals. They do not cover the whole field, and there are certain matters which will certainly require further examination and discussion. But if these discussions continue in the same successful way, we hope to be able to bring forward a measure of legislation which will deal, we trust effectively, with a number of these points. I can say to the noble Lord that the points which he made yesterday will be carefully considered by my right honourable friend. There were one or two references to slum clearance. I am sure that I am expressing the view of all your Lordships when I say that if there is one feature in this time which remains a blot on our life it is the condition of some of the slums which remain in this country. After an interval of some fifteen years, we have restarted on that work, and I can say that at present nearly 170 authorities have already submitted schemes to the Minister.
I should like now to say one word on the subject of monopolies, a subject which has been extensively canvassed at one time or another. Two extreme views are taken about monopolies. One is that, as there are some monopolies, there ought to be more. The other view is perhaps the American view, that all monopolies are necessarily harmful and must be abolished. I was glad that the noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, did not take either view. He took a view in between them and, indeed, there has not been a wide measure of difference of opinion between Parties since the publication in 1944 of the White Paper on Employment Policy. The fact is that, although we are a fairly small country, industry must none the less be able to manufacture on a fairly large scale. 127 Moreover, many of the practices which may be considered monopolistic grew up in an entirely different industrial atmosphere. And that applies just as much to trade unions as it does to industry. To-day, the atmosphere is different, and we require a new outlook on these things. I think it is common knowledge that the discussions on the legislation passed in 1948, and the extension of that legislation in 1953, showed little controversy between the Parties.
The Commission's reports, for which we are deeply indebted, have revealed a number of interesting things. Some restrictions on competition have not been contrary to public interest, and in others the trade itself has been quite willing to accept the conclusions which the Commission have reached. There are two further reports which will shortly be published, one of which deals with a class of practices known as exclusive dealing and collective boycott. But as this report has not been published, I will not make further reference to that matter. It has already been announced that steel frames for buildings will shortly be referred to the Monopolies Commission, and the Government will continue to make references where there seems to be need for inquiry. I should like to emphasise that we believe that practices which are found to be contrary to the public interest, and which no longer serve the purposes for which they were intended, must be altered. By far the best way of doing that is to persuade those who are engaged in industry themselves that they can conduct their industry in a better way without those practices. That is the policy which we intend to pursue; but, where persuasion proves ineffective, we shall not hesitate to use the statutory powers of the 1948 Act.
The noble Lord, Lord Wolverton, emphasised the need to curb national expenditure, and may I say how warmly I welcome his remarks. The general tendency of Parliament is to rejoice in spending money. Very few candidates go to their electors and say: "We have saved the Government £1 million." No—they go to the electors and say: "We have persuaded the Government to spend £1 million on these houses, on these roads, on this hospital," so that the whole tendency of Parliamentary government, 128 in both Houses, is to press the Government for more money. What I may describe as the theory of the bottomless purse still has a pretty wide currency at the present time. I have heard even noble Lords say how ridiculous it is for the Government to say they have not the money for, or cannot afford to carry out, certain expenditure. It is not only officials in the Treasury who have to guard the public purse; if I may say so, it is the duty of every Member of either House to keep a watch on the purse which is public and which belongs to, or at least is drawn from, every member of the general public.
Passing from that to the antithesis, perhaps I may say a word about one or two of the capital developments which are taking place, particularly in reference to a matter which I know is in the minds of many noble Lords—that is, the question of roads. It is estimated that in the next three years there will be an increase of about 1,500,000 in the number of vehicles on the roads. Very little has been done in the way of a major roads programme for at least sixteen years, and the Government are quite willing to recognise this as a matter of great urgency. A certain programme has already been announced by the Ministry of Transport. The speed with which that programme may be further developed depends necessarily on the general economy of the country. The programme deals with different needs of the modern road. It includes motorways, which will have two carriageways and three traffic lanes and will be equipped with a modern design for junction and points of entry. Dangerous points will be dealt with, and it is hoped that we shall be able, even this year, to deal with up to a hundred of them. Already, a good deal of preparatory work has been done, and both big and medium-sized work will start this year. Work has already begun on the Conway Bridge, and in the next month or two work will begin on the Cromwell Road extension and the Markyate bypass. There will be an extension of the dual-carriageways on the Western Avenue and improvements in Wales and Scotland.
The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said he thought the agricultural community were unlikely ever to be entirely satisfied, I agree. It is highly improbable that there will ever be a time when the farmers of 129 this country admit they are satisfied. Nevertheless, it is true to say that at present they are not dissatisfied. We are spending £250 million on agricultural subsidies at the present time; next year, it is likely to be more. In the years from 1951 to 1954, production went up about 6 or 7 per cent. Last year production went down—or it is anticipated that it will have gone down—but the remarkable thing is how little it went down, considering the nature of the climatic conditions last summer. I know your Lordships will agree that it is the highest testimony to the work of the farming community that the fall in agricultural production last year was as small as it was.
The number of rural houses has increased about nine or ten times in the last four years. Electrification of farms is higher than it has ever been before. Only last Friday, the Agriculture (Improvement of Roads) Bill, which will allow assistance to be given to unclassified and unadopted roads, was introduced into the other place. What I suggest is important is that production grants and assistance, on the whole, help the smaller farmers and farmers of more difficult land, which is exactly where I think assistance should go. I agree entirely that we can, and must, go further in the efficient development of the agricultural industry. I know that that is what the Government have in mind. A number of other points were mentioned yesterday with which I have net been able to deal, including the question of the Queen's Hall. I regret that at the moment I have been unable to get any answer to give the noble Lord who raised that matter.
May I say this? We are now a decade from the end of the fighting in the Second World War. We can no longer say that we are in the immediate post-war period —indeed, we are well into the second half of the twentieth century. It is not unfair to ask: what sort of world are we going into? The noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, very rightly and properly, emphasised to us three things on the economic side yesterday: the essential necessity of securing the balance of payments, the need for fall employment and the need for stable prices. I agree with him that to achieve those objects is a terrific task for any Government. But even that is not enough, because we live 130 in a dynamic world. If, five years hence, we were to go to the electors and report that our payments were balanced, our employment full and our prices stable, but that consumption had remained where it was, that production had remained where it was and that wages had remained where they were, we should be driven from office—and quite rightly, because, in this world, as has been so often quoted from Lewis Carroll, we have to run very fast in order to stay it the same place.
As the mover and seconder, in their remarkable speeches, emphasised, we are living in a world of change, change both in the structure of our lives and in the impact which science is making on it and on industry. There is no likelihood of that change becoming slower, because the gap between what is practised in industry and what is possible in science, far from getting narrower, is tending to get wider. Therefore, I suggest that one of the first requirements that we shall need in this world which is opening before us is an ability to adapt ourselves to changing conditions. We cannot put the future in shackles. No man can tether time or tide. We muss: be ready to use any method which will operate to the public good. That is the advantage of the Conservative empirical approach to the problems of government; and I can say there is no weapon in our economic armoury we should not use if it should prove to be necessary. We believe that the greater opportunity which freedom gives will more surely release the genius of the nation and enable us to meet the problems of the future.
In the past, we have had to use many different forms of Government control, and we shall not hesitate to use them, if necessary, in the future. We have used import control; we have used credit restrictions; we have put regulations on mines and quarries in order to improve their health and safety; and we have used regulations to free the seas from pollution. We are now seeking to clean the air, which may prove an even more difficult task. We hope to take power to maintain the safety and welfare of agricultural workers. I do not think noble Lords underestimate the control which can be exercised on Government expenditure through taxation. We have no starry-eyed vision of the sort of Utopia which was built up in the mind of Adam Smith. To meet the future we may have 131 to use every method which is useful to meet the problems that come in front of us. May I say this. In this changing world to which we will seek to adapt ourselves, whilst we seek to harness science and technology to the service of man, let us not forget that the spirit of man is not satisfied just with modern plumbing and countless television sets.
When Lord Beveridge refers quite rightly to the need for imaginative planning as an essential to encouraging a gracious way of life, important as that is, it is not the only thing. When the Scottish Parliament some six centuries ago spoke of:that freedom which no good man lays down but with his life",if was not expressing just a doctrinaire point of view—it was expressing something which is absolutely fundamental to human nature. It is just because we believe that if man is given freedom he will not only be able to live a full life but will elect to live a creative life and thereby enable his latent abilities, which in many people are most inadequately developed, to be of service to his fellow men, that we believe that the broad general policies which we have pursued, and which we intend to pursue, will be of lasting benefit, not only to the nation as a whole but to every individual, no matter what his occupation, his age or his inclinations may be.
§ 3.32 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, as the noble Earl's speech indicates, the general debate so far has ranged mainly over important matters affecting the domestic life of the nation. I am not going to follow along that line; I intend to devote my remarks to some of the references in the gracious Speech to foreign affairs, and I shall hope to do it without taking any undue length of time. We are told in the gracious Speech that Her Majesty's Government will resolutely go forward with the policies to which they are pledged. Those policies have been steadily developed throughout the post-war years, and are based on principles which have the broad support of Parliament and the people. The principles find their place in the Charter of the United Nations, and we can be sure that so long as we, as a nation, remain loyal in practice to those 132 principles we shall be enabled to make a real and effective contribution to the cause of peace and security and to the safeguarding of freedom throughout the world.
We on these Benches welcome the assurance that Her Majesty's Government will give wholehearted support to the United Nations, the Atlantic Alliance and Western European Union, and that they will continue to work in close accord with the United States. These are common denominators of Government foreign policy and of Opposition foreign policy, and they provide a sure and firm basis upon which British influence can play its proper part in international affairs. In this connection, let me say that we are very glad that the Foreign Secretary is going to attend the tenth anniversary meeting of the United Nations at San Francisco next week. I hope that this can be taken as an indication that it is Mr. Macmillan's intention to lead the British delegation to the United Nations Assembly each year. That is one of the ways, and an especially good one, of showing wholehearted support. I do not, of course, mean that he should be present throughout the whole of each session, but that he should make a point of being personally present for some part of the time; that he should take an active part in some of the important deliberations and thereby make British influence more fully effective, and at the same time add to the prestige and authority of this unique international institution.
My Lords, we on these benches have been strong and convinced supporters of the Atlantic Alliance from its inception in the régime of the late Mr. Ernest Bevin as Foreign Secretary, and we have welcomed the new Association of Western European Union which derived from the Brussels Treaty for which, again, Mr. Bevin was so largely responsible. I do not think it can be doubted that the steady strengthening of the free world's defences under the ægis of these organisations has contributed powerfully to bringing about the more favourable international atmosphere which exists to-day. If the free world is safer, it is because the free world is stronger. At the same time, let none of us forget that common defence was not the only object that these collective agencies were designed to promote. Circumstances have put an overriding emphasis on defence, but as 133 circumstances become less onerous we should be able to direct increasingly greater attention to economic, social and cultural matters of common concern, and to developing a greater practical cooperation for the common benefit.
The achievement of peace and security for each and for all is still the supreme need of the world, and it must continue to be the supreme objective of British foreign policy. So long as it stands, the Iron Curtain may keep the world divided in many ways; but I do not believe that it can divide the peoples of the world in their common desire to be made secure from another war and to be able to live their lives free from the fear of another war. That desire has peen intensified into a powerful world force by the coming of the hydrogen bomb, and I am convinced that this has become a major factor in international life of which all Governments will have to take full account in the framing and conduct of their foreign policies. It has already brought the problem of comprehensive general disarmament to the very forefront of international problems. There is a wider recognition to-day than at any other period that the question of world disarmament must be given (if I may borrow the word) super-priority. The problem of world disarmament has got to be solved if humanity and civilisation are to be rescued from the terrible fate that would overtake them if a hydrogen war broke out.
We therefore welcome the promise that Her Majesty's Government will zealously maintain their efforts to reach agreement on a comprehensive disarmament plan designed to bring peace and security to all nations. I think the Government are entitled to credit for their past efforts in the Disarmament Commission, and it is most gratifying that some progress has been made. It is a month since the Soviet Union made their statement in which they adopted several of the key proposals which the Western delegates had for several weeks been urging the Russian delegate to accept. Mr. Nutting has said that Her Majesty's Government regard this change of attitude on the part of the Soviet Government as an encouraging step forward and as a dividend for the Western policy of patient and resolute negotiation in the face of repeated rebuffs.
But while there is row agreement on many important points, there are still 134 serious differences which have yet to be harmonised. After the Soviet statement has been considered by the Western Governments, the work of the Commission will have to be resumed with a view to widening the area of agreement. We hope, however, that discussions at the coming "Summit" Conference will give new impetus to disarmament discussions and speed the Commission on its way to getting a comprehensive and effectively-controlled disarmament agreement. I am sure that that is what we all most ardently wish to see achieved.
I have referred to the coming conference at the summit. We all welcome the fact that it is taking place in Geneva next month. We on these Benches consider that Her Majesty's Government have been wise in reversing the policy—or perhaps I should say the procedure—which, until recently, they favoured. Almost up to the end of the last Parliament the present Prime Minister expressed his preference for meetings at the official level, at Foreign Ministers' level and at heads of Government level, in that order. I believe that the general view, both in Parliament and outside, is that conditions are more favourable to-day than they have been for many years for making a top-level effort to open the road to agreements on problems which have for so long vexed international relations. There appears to have been a change in the attitude of Moscow. The Soviet leaders seem to be less frigid and unfriendly towards the West; the cold war may be unfreezing. There are Soviet deeds which encourage that hope. Austria, at long last, has got her freedom and independence, and will soon be free of all foreign troops. There has been the favourable change, to which I have referred, in the Soviet attitude on some aspects of disarmament. There has beet the visit, at their own request, of Soviet leaders to Marshal Tito and, more recently, the Soviet invitation to the Federal German Chancellor to visit Moscow.
I agree that we have to be cautious against exaggerating the degree of change in Soviet policy or attitude which these moves may seem to suggest. But, on the other hand, we should also be careful not to minimise it. I noticed that the. 135 Vice-President of the United States warned his fellow countrymen thatthe recent conciliatory actions of world Communism represent a change of tactics rather than a change of heart.If by this is meant that Communist faith in the inevitability of world revolution has not changed, Mr. Nixon is undoubtedly right. But what we are concerned with is not so much Communist faith but Soviet Russia's foreign policy and actions, and in this context a change of tactics could be a matter of profound importance to the free world and, indeed, to the whole world. If the Soviet Union should decide to call off or abate the cold war and to adopt the method of negotiation, surely it matters little whether it is called a change of heart or a change of tactics. What does matter is that the change should prove to be a real and genuine one.
We have to find out whether there is a new approach on the part of Soviet Russia. It seems to me to be not without some significance that the Belgrade communiqué should declare that:both Governments are agreed that all nations should make further efforts to achieve positive results and agreements in negotiations so vital for the peace of the world as the reduction and limitation of armaments and the prohibition of atomic weapons, the establishment of a general system of collective security, including a system of collective security in Europe based on a treaty, and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.If that is a clear indication of the Soviet Government's mind, the emphasis on the method of negotiation may also represent an important change. The statement which I have quoted is followed immediately by another paragraph which also may have significance.Through such efforts"—the paragraph says—an atmosphere would be created which would at the same time make possible solution by peaceful means of such urgent problems of the first importance as that of an agreed settlement of the German question on a democratic basis in conformity both with the wishes and interests of the German people and in the interest of general security, and the satisfaction of the legitimate rights of the People's Republic of China with regard to Formosa.If this statement means what it appears to mean, it would seem to indicate that, in the Russian view, an agreed settlement of the German problem will depend on 136 further efforts by negotiation to achieve disarmament and collective security.
It is equally significant that Doctor Adenauer, the Federal German Chancellor, as reported in The Times only two days ago,holds today, as he has always held, that the German question can only he settled in conjunction with other questions,and that, in his view, a general disarmament agreement will have to precede a German settlement. There seems to be, therefore, an important point of agreement between the Soviet Prime Minister and the Federal German Chancellor; and it adds emphasis to the urgency of securing a comprehensive disarmament agreement. It would appear from these statements that the reunification of Germany on the basis of genuinely free elections and the attainment of full international sovereignty are closely linked with the provision of an agreed framework of a European security system and a comprehensive disarmament convention—perhaps I may be allowed to say that that is a view which I myself have always held. But that need not exclude the taking of agreed intermediate steps which would continue the easing of tensions and thereby facilitate agreement on these vital related matters.
My Lords, I am not going to speculate on possible lines of advance or on possible new proposals or new counter-proposals that may see the light of day when the conference is in being. Many helpful suggestions have been projected in recent weeks and months and Her Majesty's Government are no doubt giving them careful consideration. May I be permitted to remind your Lordships that I myself, in this House, some twelve or fourteen months ago suggested that consideration should be given to providing overall security for Europe by linking the defence systems of East and West with reciprocal guarantees to ensure collective resistance to any aggression in Europe.
We have been told in the gracious Speech that Her Majesty's Government are going to the conference in a spirit of confidence and good will and that they are looking forward to fruitful negotiations. But the noble Marquess the Leader of the House, when he speaks at the end of this debate, may intend to expand that statement and to give the 137 House some indication of the Government's views and plans. I hope he may be able to do so. We on these Benches are equally anxious to see fruitful results come out of the conference, which we hope will be the beginning of a new concerted effort by negotiation to remove the causes of the world's dangers and fears. We trust that the Western representatives, as a result of the preparatory consultations that are proceeding, will enter the conference with unity of mind and purpose, with agreement on a constructive and flexible approach, and with a determination to do their utmost to get such a measure of agreement and understanding with the Russian representatives as will bring increasing stability to international life and increasing security to world peace and freedom.
The only other paragraph in the gracious Speech to which I will refer is that which says thatIn consultation with the other governments concerned, My Government will continue earnestly to seek a peaceful settlement of the situation in the Formosa Strait.The lead given by the Prime Minister, when he was Foreign Secretary, to bring about a cease-fire seems to be winning through. Though there is no formal agreement for a cease-fire, active hostilities seem to have come to an end, and what is, we hope, a de facto cease-fire is operating. I notice that Mr. Walter Lippman, the eminent American commentator on foreign affairs, has stated that:the firing has virtually ceased though none of the three principal parties directly concerned—namely, the two Chinese Governments and the United States—has renounced any of its legal or political claims in the final settlement.That position shows the value of a British initiative, because it is broadly in harmony with what might be called "the Eden formula."
That we seem to be passing safely out of a situation that was fraught with the most dangerous possibilities to peace is also due in part to the wise statesmanship of President Eisenhower, who has displayed both political courage and moral strength in getting an end put to offensive operations from Formosa against the mainland. Communist China, for its part, shows no sign of launching an attack for the conquest of Formosa. One naturally wonders what are the prospects ahead. Can the tacit cease-fire 138 subsist indefinitely? Is there any likelihood of the People's Government of China forswearing the use of force for the recovery of territory which it claims, just as the Federal German Government has declared that it will not resort to force for the recovery of its lost territories?
What is needed in the Far East is a permanent peace settlement. It is pretty certain that, during his recent visit to Pekin, Mr. Krishna Menon obtained an insight into Mr. Chou En-lai's mind, and that he has some idea of the lines along which the leaders of Communist China are thinking. Since then, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have been fully informed of the views and conclusions which Mr. Menon has brought away with him as the result of his mediation efforts. We hope that the recent release of the four American airmen will soon be followed by the release of the other American Service personnel who continue to be detained in China. When that stage has been reached, more favourable conditions will exist for taking in hand the problem of a permanent peace settlement.
I do not doubt that Her Majesty's Government lime already given careful thought to sonic of the main issues on which agreement will have to be sought: entry of Communist China into membership of the United Nations, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, Formosa to be neutralised for a period and thereafter the people of Formosa to be enabled to determine their own destiny. It will be surprising if the position in the Formosa Strait, the future of Formosa, and China's entry into the United Nations are not among the subjects discussed at the coming Geneva Conference. In any case, it seems hardly likely that the position in the Far East can be left indefinitely where it is at present, and the sooner a real peace settlement can be brought about the better it will be for all concerned.
Finally, my Lords, I hope that both in Europe and in the Far East the coming weeks and months are going to see an increasing relaxation of tensions, the elimination of sources of friction, and the settlement of tit least some of the problems which have kept the world on the brink of danger in recent years. I am not looking for any miracle or magic decision but for steady progress as the result 139 of patient, tenacious and constructive effort; and when our next debate on the international situation takes place in this House I hope it will be an occasion for us to consider progress made and results achieved by the coming meetings of heads of Governments and Foreign Ministers.