§ 2.47 p.m.
LORD BEVERIDGE rose to call attention to statements made by leading members of Her Majesty's Government as to the need for some form of world government which shall substitute justice for war in the relations between nations, and to urge Her Majesty's Government to formulate proposals for meeting this need, designed to abolish war without restricting in any other respect the self-government of each nation or the free co-operation of nations for any peaceful purpose; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to move the Motion standing in my name for this day. Your Lordships will see that the Motion is in two parts. On the first part, which refers to statements made by members of Her Majesty's Gov—ernment, what I have to say can be very short indeed. Two important statements have already been given to the House by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, in his not—able speech in the debate on the Address on November 7 last [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 206, cols. 178–185]. There is the Prime Minister's statement of March, 1955, when he expressed a desire for "a supranational authority invested with real power," and added that if it was something like world government it was none the worse for that. Then in the
following year, 1956, the Foreign Secre—tary said:
… peace will not be permanently assured until there has been created a world instrument endowed with the necessary authority to maintain the rule of law.
I am able to add to those two statements two made since the noble Lord, Lord spoke. One was the statement of the noble Earl, Lord Gosford, in replying to the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, when he said:
Her Majesty's Government are fully in agreement with world government".
And he went on to say that they would take every step to bring it about. Then, finally, there is the Report on Defence published by the Ministry of Defence in February, 1958, paragraph 8 of which says:
The ultimate aim must be comprehensive disarmament of all nations, coupled with com—prehensive inspection and control by a world authority".
And listen to this:
Nothing less than this makes sense.
May I say that that Report on Defence, which I have read with great care, seems to me a quite admirable document, very well written, very persuasive. In saying that it is admirable, I do not mean that I am qualified to judge of its particular proposals for defence, on which I gather there is some dispute—on that I am saying nothing. But what it says on the subject of this debate is very well ex—pressed. Here in four years we have four statements by four of the most important Ministers of Her Majesty's Government on this subject. Could any—thing be more impressive? That is all I have to say on those statements.
§ To-day I wish to invite Her Majesty's Government to take those impressive statements a stage further. I wish to put to them two questions: Just what do they mean, and not mean, by "world government" or a "World Authority". And what practical proposals have they for getting what they want? Most of us in our time, myself included, have talked a certain amount of hot air about world government. I invite Her Majesty's Government to give us a lead by descend—ing from hot air to brass tacks. In putting my first question it is not I who have chosen the term "world government": it is Her Majesty's Ministers who have used it. Your Lordships will notice that the term does not occur in 307 the second question, where I have used my own words. It is not that I am afraid of the term, but the words "world government" often lead to misapprehension, and suggest to some people's minds that we are all to be subject to a central authority for all or most of the things that concern our lives. So I never use the term "world government" without putting before it the word "federal"——meaning that some things will be done by a single world authority while other things will be left to many separate national Governments. Let me say at once that many things—in my view most things—should be left to separate national Governments.
§ I believe that there are two desires which are common to all the peoples of all the nations of the world. One is the desire for peace, and the second is the desire to have their own way of life, not something forced on them from out—side; to govern or, if they prefer, mis—govern, themselves. How can they get both those things—peace and self-government, or self-misgovernment, as they prefer? How can they make certain of peace? Let me return to the Report on Defence. I have said that it is ad—mirably written. I am not concerned with the details of the particular organisa—tion of our defence forces, but rather with two conclusions which stand out starkly from this Report, both of which have been referred to recently by the right honourable gentleman the Prime Minister.
§ One is that peace cannot be secured by partial disarmament, by abolition of nuclear weapons alone, as Soviet Russia proposes, for that would leave them in control of everything in the world. The second is that peace cannot be secured by unilateral disarmament—disarmament by ourselves, whatever anybody else does—as some of our pacifists and, I believe, though I am not sure, even some of the Liberals have urged. I agree entirely with the Report on Defence and what the right honourable gentleman the Prime Minister has said upon that. But he went on to say—and this is implicit in the Report—that our armed power is a con—tribution to peace because it maintains the balance of power. I find that open to serious, indeed tragic, question.
§ I have lived a long time. I have seen how the balance of armed power between different nations has led to two world 308 wars, as it had to sooner or later. I want to urge upon this House, upon Her Majesty's Government and upon everyone in this country that we cannot afford to take the risk of the balance of power leading to a Third World War. World War III, with nuclear weapons, as every one of us knows, would mean the total destruction of practically everything that matters in this country and in Western Europe—nothing less than that; and I believe that it would mean also the total destruction of a large part either of Soviet Russia or of the United States of America—or perhaps of both.
§ People like myself who in the past have talked of ending war finally and making peace certain have been called idle dreamers. I want to urge your Lordships to consider that the real dreamers are not those who dream of ending wars but those who dream of making war remain pos—sible in the world. That is a dream—or rather a nightmare—of unimaginable horror. I appeal to Her Majesty's Gov—ernment not to be dreamers of night—mares like that but to set down in black and white, and as quickly as they can, a design for a World Authority strong enough to stop war with certainty while leaving freedom to every nation to live in its own way.
§ Her Majesty's Government may ask me what is my design for a form of world government which will secure peace while leaving freedom, responsibility and variety among the nations of the world. Even if I took the whole time of this debate I could not give that design; and there is no need for me to do so. For I have in my hand a book written in America, published there by the Harvard Press and in this country by the Oxford University Press, which sets out one of the most valuable contributions that has been made by any book at any time—a considered design for what a world authority should be and how it should be constituted, and every practical question arising from that.
An important and rather interesting point is that the book does not contain in its title the words "world government": it is called World Peace Through World Law. It starts by recalling the statement made by President Eisenhower in 1956, that
There can be no peace without law.
And law means two things; a judge to declare justice when people or nations disagree and police to enforce the decision of the judge. And here this book agrees with every word that I have said about the limitations of a World Government or a World Authority: Subject to the prohibition on the use of force by any nation on its own account, it leaves every nation to manage its own affairs, through the kind of Government it establishes or accepts. There is only one thing in this scheme which is added to the functions of a World Authority, and that is that it should have at its disposal a substantial annual sum raised by taxation from all member nations to improve the standard of living in backward countries. Broadly speaking, the authors think that 10 billion dollars a year will do for the Court of Justice, the Police Force and the rest, and that 25 billion dollars should be set aside for equalising or bringing up the standard of living of the backward nations. That seems to me a most attractive idea. It would make the idea of world government popular in many places where it is now unpopular; it would abolish one of the causes of war, which is the inequality between nations and their tendency to fight to improve their position.
§ The central purpose of having judge and policeman raises many practical problems—I am not going to discuss them; your Lordships will find them all dealt with in this book, most practically and most persuasively: How are the judges to be appointed and changed? How is the police force to be recruited? How is disarmament to be enforced? What penalties should there be for a breach of law by a nation? As I say, I am not going to dwell upon those matters. Anyone who is interested—and I hope your Lordships are all interested, for stop—ping war is in the interest of every one of us—should read this book and study it. All those questions are dealt with there.
§ I do not ask Her Majesty's Government to accept all the propositions in this book, or any of them; but I ask them, and I ask every person who takes this problem of war seriously—and no sane man can avoid taking it seriously—to study this book and to make up their mind what they will accept or what they will not accept in what it says, or whether they have an alternative. That kind of scheme, or some alternative like it, is 310 the one way to combine two desires common to all people of all nations in the world: one, to have peace; and, second, to have their own self-government and their own way of life.
§ Therefore, in the second part of my Motion I invite Her Majesty's Government to prepare a statement of the terms on which they, as representing the British people, are prepared to surrender the right to make arms and war upon other people by their own decision, and are prepared, in any difference with any other nation, to accept the decision of an impartial tribunal, enforced by adequate sanctions, including the use of a world police force. If Her Majesty's Government would only do that they would come down to brass tacks. May I encourage them by making my own small contribution of brass tacks, instead of hot air. My own small contribution would lie in giving my own answers to two questions with which I hope to end what I am saying to you to-day.
§ The first question is: What chance is there that a plan such as I have outlined, if put forward by Her Majesty's Government, would he accepted by other nations, including, of course, in particu—lar, the nation of Soviet Russia? And, second, if Her Majesty's Government were to prepare such a plan and con—sidered statement, should I like them to publish the statement or to lock it up for future use? In trying to suggest an answer to the first question—What chance is there of acceptance by Soviet Russia of a plan for effective, complete disarmament, coupled with freedom for their own way of life?—I would only mention that the omens seem favourable to a positive answer. I can go only on what I, like everyone else, read in the papers, or in the interminable correspondence between Soviet Russia and our Government, but I think that probably the rulers of Soviet Russia are desperately frightened of nuclear weapons; and I think also that they are, rightly or wrongly (I think wrongly), desperately attached to a Communist system and Government.
§ Your Lordships have probably all seen what the only man who is enabled to speak for Russia without being sent to Siberia, Mr. Khrushchev, has said in urging that our capitalists should not push their noses (he calls them their "pigs' 311 snouts") into his Socialist garden. I hope that the statement that I should like to see from Her Majesty's Government would make it clear that, whatever we think of Communism (I need hardly say that I think very badly of Communism), we cannot think of fighting it by any means except argument, if we are allowed to argue; and if we are not allowed to argue we must leave it alone. But no one in the world should try to make war to abolish Communism in any country, any more than I think any country which is Communist should use war to establish Communism in a country which is not Communist.
§ On these lines peace can be brought about with the second great desire of all people in the world: to have their own way of life, their own national self government. Whether I interpret these omens rightly or wrongly, there is no way of finding out, except by preparing the statement for which I have asked, setting out the terms on which we should be prepared to disarm, giving freedom to all nations and having made war impossible. We can find out whether that would be accepted only by making the statement. That is what I urge the Government to do.
§ I come to my last point. Do I want the statement for which I asked the Government to be not only prepared but also published? Of course, Her Majesty's Government, in their constant and interminable correspondence with Soviet Russia, must themselves be the final judges of the time and place to act. But my answer, my ignorant answer, to the question I pose is: "Yes, I should like them to publish as soon as they are ready with their considered opinion." The February Report on Defence has as its short title, The British Contribution to Peace and Security. I venture one criticism of this document, which I have read with great interest and admiration, and suggest that only paragraph 8, which I quoted, is a contribution to peace and security. The rest is on how to make the most effective war. As a Report on Defence, it has to be that. I am not going to say, as paragraph 8 rather suggests, that all the rest is nonsense—I leave others to say that, if they think it—but I do say that we cannot afford to leave what is laid down in paragraph 8 as the only sensible thing to remain a long way off. 312 No country in the world, we least of all, can afford to take the risk of World War 3.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I do not want to interrupt the noble Lord, because we are listening to him with great interest, but when he speaks of establishing or helping to establish a World Authority is he asking for the setting up of something entirely new or does he wish us to use the United Nations? Perhaps the noble Lord will make that clear before he concludes.
§ LORD BEVERIDGE
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Earl for putting that question to me. I left out what I meant to say about the contents of this book, which essentially asks for a review of the United Nations Charter. For considered reasons, the authors come to that conclusion. Again I would say that if I were Her Majesty's Government I would start from that as the most profitable standpoint: "Could we revise the United Nations Charter sufficiently to get a real World Authority?" The authors of the book think that they could, and that is what they propose. I hope that they are right. It means, of course, an Assembly with an elaborate scheme for representation and an Executive Council, but an Executive Council with nothing like the Veto of the Security Council. I think that on the whole it is better to proceed by trying to revise the Charter, but, if we cannot get that done, then to proceed in some other way less hopeful but equally possible. I am glad that I was given the occasion of answering that fundamental and important question of procedure. May I end by saying: let us have another White Paper, as well written as the Report on Defence, let us have it as soon as possible, and let its title be The British Contribution to Peace and Security for All. I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.14 p.m.
§ LORD MACDONALD OF GWAENYSGOR
My Lords, in the first place I think on behalf of your Lordships I ought to extend our congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, for presenting his case with such clarity. I happen to know that he addressed a big gathering this morning for almost an hour, dealing with some difficult problems. I cannot help feeling pleased that he did so well for us this afternoon.
313 When I first saw this Motion I thought I caught a glimpse of the politician and of the statesman. I heard the threadbare definition of the difference many years ago: that the politician has his eyes on the next election and the statesman has his eyes on the next generation. The earlier part of the noble Lord's Motion rather suggests the politician saying to his political opponents, "You must practise what you preach. You have been making certain announcements and declarations; what are you doing to implement them?" I think that it is right that from time to time politicians should be asked whether they are redeeming their pledges. Those who spend their lives in politics realise that there is a tendency sometimes for us to make statements because we think that they will be well received by our audiences. What the noble Lord is saying to the politicians is this: either cease to make statements at all or make an effort to redeem the pledges that you make.
The Prime Minister—in quite a safe place, too, I thought—in Edinburgh, on Saturday last, suggested the same thing in a different way. He told us that as regards the industrial struggle which is going on the Government were practising what they preached. That is what they are being asked to do on this occasion. Whatever may apply with regard to the industrial situation, that is what they are being asked to do to-day—to redeem their pledges.
I see the statesman clearly in the second part of the noble Lord's Motion. He has been careful to provide that the form of world government he wants is one which will be in accord with his personal views. Every tyrant and every dictator down the ages has been in favour of world government of that kind, of a World Government in accordance with his conception of things, in accord—ance with what he wants. The noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, is in that category. He supports world government providing that it is (let me read the Motion, to do justice to the noble Lord):… some form of world government which shall substitute justice for war in the relations between nations, and to urge Her Majesty's Government to formulate proposals for meet—ing this need, designed to abolish war without restricting in any other respect the self-govern—ment of each nation or the free co-operation of nations for any peaceful purpose; …I do not think that there is a Member of your Lordships' House who would not 314 accept a World Government of that kind, providing we could establish such a World Government. The point I am making, however, is this: if the leaders in Russia were to put down a motion for world government, their motion would be for a World Government which would safeguard the U.S.S.R., its policy, its functions and its way of life. The Government are asked to say what form of world government they have in mind. I was pleased that the noble Earl the Leader of the House, very wisely I thought, put a question to the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, on this point. I was wondering where the noble Lord stood: whether he thought it was possible to amend the Charter of the United Nations in such a way as to provide the type of world government he wanted, or whether he thought that some new authority, some new international organisation, ought to be created.
I would warn your Lordships, should that be necessary, that setting up a world organisation is a very difficult task. I have been a member of an industrial organisation all my working life. We had a district organisation, and I shall never forget the struggle we had to establish a national organisation for the miners of this country. And when we tried to carry that further into an international organisation of miners, then we certainly ran up against something. Do not forget that this was an organisation of those on the same side of industry—the workers in the industry—and still we had a difficult task.
The idea of setting up an international organisation as a means of abolishing war needs to be looked at carefully. Personally, I believe it is possible to amend the Charter in such a way as to make it more effective. But let us remember this: that when this is attempted—as I expect it will be—it will leave us in the position that Russia will see to it that any amendment of the Charter safeguards the Russian ideas. We need not worry about that; she is sure to do it. The view I have found amongst my friends regarding the suggestion contained in this Motion is: why waste time on something which will not be realised for generations, if not for centuries, when there are so many pressing problems now?
Let me suggest that the world has come along right down the centuries by 315 extending the territory of government. I well remember—and I know that others of my noble friends on this side of the House will remember, too—a debate in the other place twenty-five years ago. We debated then an international police force on the Motion introduced by a Liberal Member, now Sir Geoffrey Mander. In the course of the debate a young Back—bencher of the name of Lord Cranborne intervened, and he had this to say:No one who has considered the subject can deny that the world is becoming internationalised and is being welded closer and closer together. If we go a long way back in history we find this country of England was originally seven little kingdoms; in time they were combined into one kingdom with one force to maintain law and order; later there were added the countries of Scotland and Wales. And if we pass further on we find that these three became one unit in a vast confederation of the British Empire. Nor is there any reason to suppose that that process which has now been going on throughout history is going to stop now. On the contrary, the increasing communications of various kinds are going to accelerate the process, and perhaps sooner than we imagine all the nations may be part of one vast world confederation, perhaps not in our lifetime, but perhaps in the lifetime of our children or our children's children.When I decided to use that quotation I little thought that following me in this debate would be that young Lord Cranborne translated into the present Marquess of Salisbury. That puts the position to us quite clearly.
I have sometimes wondered—and here I speak for myself only—whether it would be possible, if we cannot get a World Government, to get a Government that included the whole of the British Empire; whether we could not weld our—selves closer and closer together and get this one Government for the Common—wealth on the lines suggested for the world by the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge. If that were realisable, it would be a tremendous incentive to world government. But it has not yet been suggested, and I do not think that at the moment it is a practicable proposition, for the same reason that I doubt whether at the moment world government is. But, having said that, I do not subscribe to those who say that to concentrate on the ultimate objective usually results in neglecting the immediate problem. I have never seen a war between the ultimate and the immediate. The immediate can be used as a step forward towards the ultimate, especially in this case.
316 I well remember over twenty years ago reading a book written by one who had been Foreign Secretary for two years and Chairman of the Arms Conference for three years—and I am pleased to see his son here to-day. In the book he deals with this problem of the ultimate handicapping the immediate, or neglecting the immediate because of the ultimate. He says this—and do not forget that he is speaking with great authority:The only way to stop the new arms race is to practise the kind of foreign policy that takes full account of two hard facts: the increasing interdependence of nations and the growing deadliness of war.How applicable that is to-day! He goes on:Today, war anywhere may become war everywhere, and the price of victory and the penalty of defeat alike may be social disillusion and the collapse of civilisation. Precisely because it is a policy soundly grounded in facts, necessities and treaty obligations, it is also a policy directed towards the establishment of world commonwealth as its final objective.There is an indication from a man speaking from experience—and I am sure every ex-Foreign Secretary in your Lord—ships' House would agree—saying that it is possible to attend to the immediate problem and still have the ultimate goal in mind, and so deal with the immediate problem as a step towards that goal. I do not accept the argument that some—thing has to be neglected; that if we fix our eyes on the ultimate objective we shall neglect our immediate problems.
We have here to-day my noble friend Lord Russell, and I am delighted to see him. He and others have from time to time been writing at great length to The Times on the hydrogen bomb; he has even had an argument in writing with one of my right honourable friends in another place, Mr. Emanuel Shinwell; and, if I may say so, I am inclined to think that my noble friend has come better out of that than my right honourable friend. But what happens? We are attending now to this problem of the hydrogen bomb. It is being thoroughly considered as the immediate problem, and we should like to solve it. But does anyone suggest that a consideration of the abolition of the hydrogen bomb will make it difficult to keep this objective in mind? No. I say that there is a way of dealing with the immediate international problems which takes us in the direction of our ultimate goal of world government of one kind or another.
317 I well remember a conference in Southport in 1934—this is again going back sonic years—and we then had a resolution dealing with a Co-operative World Commonwealth. The late Mr. Arthur Henderson and my noble friend Lord Attlee took part in that debate. The following day The Times had an article on this debate, and it is an article well worth reading. This is what it says:The Co-operative World Commonwealth was the proposed aim not only of a particular Party or of a particular Government but of every country which belongs to the League of Nations, and in this country at least there is a wholehearted desire to see the reign of law established among nations and war abolished as an instrument of policy.The concluding sentence of this article reads:The fear of militarism in the bordering minorities is sweeping over Europe, and in these circumstances it is clearly premature to evolve schemes which cannot now be anything more than schemes of world federation or to propose the formation of an international police force. The best that can be done is on the negative side"—and I am not too sure that this does not apply to-day with equal force—to maintain the defences of this country in good order, and on the positive side to pursue a policy of conciliation on the lines of the Locarno Treaty, thus establishing security which may lead to the Co-operative Commonwealth.That was twenty-four years ago. But I do not think we need to go very far for to-day's position. We have it portrayed very clearly before us. The question I have been asking myself is: what good purpose can this debate serve? After all, it is vitally important that the debates in your Lordships' House should be useful outside your Lordships' House. Now what is the best this debate can achieve? I would say it is to get the people of this and other countries thinking about world government as a means of abolishing war from human experience. It is very necessary that that should be done. It may be that they would reject the idea, but I do not think they would. What do I find in my native Wales? Every weekend there are speakers advocating—what? World government? No—Home Rule for Wales. I have never yet heard a speech for world government amongst them. That gives an indication that the average individual in his home is con—sidering whence immediate advantage can come. It is necessary that it should be shown that we are going to establish some 318 type of world government which can deal with difficulties here, there and everywhere as they arise, having law behind them and the power to enforce it. That is necessary if ever peace is to be established permanently.
I did some arithmetic during the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, and I hope I shall not be taken to task for it. I took down the ages of all who are participating in the debate to-day. Do not let any one of them be troubled at all, because I am not going to disclose the age of any individual. I found that the twelve speakers total something just short of 840 years. Roughly 70 years is the average age of those taking part in this debate, and were it not for a number of noble Lords who help to bring it down—the noble Earl, the Leader of the House himself helped to bring the average down immensely, and there are others of whom I will mention but one: the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood—the average would have been a little higher. What came to my mind was that we, in that "seventy group", were living before the First World War. I wonder, did we do all we could then to prevent that war? It was a tremendous responsibility. But what about the Second World War? Did we do all we could then to prevent that war?
Our generation, the generation of the older Members of your Lordships' House, has a tremendous responsibility. Each individual knows what contribution he made before the First and Second World Wars; and my noble friend on the Liberal Benches, Lord Samuel, could give us information as to what happened before the First World War. The First World War took millions of young men out of the world, and the Second World War took millions more. Surely, our generation have a duty and responsibility to do all they can to see to it that the Third World War never happens. I submit that supporting the idea behind this Motion will help to prevent that Third World War.
§ 3.34 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, if I may be allowed to say so in his presence, is so highly respected in this House for the distinction of his mind and for the idealism which inspires it, that I imagine many others, besides myself, have been looking forward eagerly to 319 what he had to say on this great subject of world government; and I am quite certain that we have not been disappointed. Not that any of us, in any case, would have been likely in theory to disagree with him as to the desirability of such a development. In principle, of course, it has everything to commend it, especially in a world which, as I think he himself said, is steadily being more welded together, by the discoveries of science, into a single economic unit. Here I was in complete agreement with the extracts from the speeches by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary which the noble Lord quoted.
But, unhappily, to say that we look forward with eagerness to world government as an ultimate solution to all our troubles—and I think we do—is not by any means necessarily quite the same thing as saying that it is a goal which is likely to be achieved in the immediate or even in the foreseeable future. After all, at any rate as I see it, successful centralised government, whether that government be national or international, is possible only on one of two bases: first, dictatorship by a minority; secondly, the voluntary subordination by every member and every section of the community of their personal interests to the interests of the community as a whole, and a consequent willingness by all to accept the decisions of the majority, even if that decision goes against them in matters which affect them personally.
The first of those two alternatives, government by a minority dictatorship, all of us, I am sure—and most of all, I imagine, Lord Beveridge himself—would unhesitatingly discard. It is therefore evident (and I think his speech bore that out) that he and we must think on lines of some voluntary action by the nations of the world to place their national interests, and possibly their national destiny, in the hands of some international body, some super-Government which is above and outside their own control. That, as I see it, is the essential prerequisite of any real scheme of world government. I find it difficult, I must confess, to believe, in the light of such experience as I have had in the international field, that many nations are yet quite ready for that. Most countries, I should have thought, would not be prepared to accept it, especially at a time 320 when it is idle to ignore the fact that the world is divided into two main blocs, ideologically poles apart.
It may be said—and I think the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, himself empha—sised this in his speech—that the sort of World Government that he had in mind should not deal with the domestic affairs of member States; those would remain their own personal concern. It would be concerned only with international relations. But how difficult it is in practice entirely to separate domestic affairs from international relations! How difficult it is to draw a hard and fast line! If I may take some examples, is Kashmir a domestic affair of India, as she asserts, or is it an international problem? Is Algeria a domestic affair of France, as she claims, or has it wider repercussions? To come a little nearer home, what about Cyprus? Would the countries directly concerned in these particularly difficult and delicate situations—the French, the Government of India and so on—be willing at present to accept dictation by an outside body? I regret it, but I am quite certain they would not.
I am therefore driven reluctantly to the conclusion that, though considerable advances are now possible, and I hope will be made, in the economic and social fields, similar advances in the political field are bound to be slow. I say that with all deference to the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, who I think was a little more optimistic in that respect than I am. No Summit talks or other initiatives, however desirable in themselves—and I am not questioning their desirability—are likely to alter that fact. I am afraid that failure to recognise this would only, for all of us, pave the way to disappointment and disillusion. Those, as I see it, are at present the hard facts of the world situation.
What then, my Lords, can be done? I certainly would not accept the view, any more than the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, would, that there is nothing. That, I think, would be the counsel of despair. If indeed there is not sufficient measure of agreement throughout the world to justify world government, there are, I believe, certain developments which, wisely handled, might gradually lead us rather nearer to our goal: and first among these I personally would put 321 combinations of nations into larger blocs. I was glad to find from a quotation made by the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, from a speech I made in another place twenty-five years ago, that I have not changed in that respect, though perhaps with age I have become slightly more cautious.
I know that I shall be told by some speaker who follows me that the creation of larger blocs, so far from easing the position, might well increase the dreadful perils with which we are faced. On the shorter view that may well appear to be true. But in the long run it must surely be easier to get agreement, an agreement covering the whole world, from a few large blocs than from innumerable small countries, with varying characters, scattered over the whole face of the globe. If, then, we can produce two blocs, so equally balanced that they are capable of preventing an explosion over the awkward period which in my view must elapse, pending that modification of Communist doctrine which I believe must inevitably occur as a result of further contacts with the outer world, we shall not have clone so badly; and we shall at any rate have gained the breathing space that the world so desperately needs.
But, my Lords, as I see it, there is one essential condition to the success of that policy. The two blocs must remain comparatively equal, both in strength and in resolution, over the dangerous period that lies immediately ahead. And that is just where I feel the main peril lies today. I am afraid I do not feel at the moment that that balance is being maintained. So far as Russia and her bloc are concerned, whatever we may feel about the ideas that inspire her and her Government—and I do not suppose that any of us likes them very much—I do not think anyone would suggest that their policy is not united, resolute and even dynamic. We have seen during recent months her influence driving forward everywhere.
In Indonesia, the Dutch have been driven out, and the forces of the extreme Left, I am told, are gaining increasing control. In the Middle East, what can only be regarded as an anti-Western Arab Federation is being set up, apparently with Russian blessing; and the fruits are already becoming apparent in the Middle East and in Africa. In Arabia there are increasing attacks on our position in the Aden Protectorate, openly backed by 322 Egypt and her allies. In Asia Minor our old friend President Chamoun appears to be fighting for his life; and if the Lebanon were to go there would be increasing pressure, as we all know, on Iraq and Jordan. Nor, is the position much more encouraging in Africa. As I understand the position (and I have no doubt I shall be corrected if I am wrong), following the recent Afro-Asian Conference which took place in Cairo a propaganda bureau has been set up there, and anti-Western agitation is being intensified, by broadcasting and other methods, throughout the African continent, from North to South. Slowly but surely, in all these ways, the balance of power is, I believe, being swung against the West. And what is the West doing to counteract it? So far as I know there is no united policy at all.
That thought, my Lords, brings me to a subject which is very delicate yet about which I feel I must say something—and I speak, as your Lordships know, as a life-long friend of our great Allies, the United States. What is United States policy about all this? Her Majesty's Government may know more than the rest of us, but certainly there has been no public indication—at least I have seen none. Yet it is, I believe, essential that we who belong to the Western bloc should know what is the nature of United States foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, if the policy of the West is to be as united and dynamic as the policy of the East; if in fact the drift to the East is to be halted.
Like, no doubt, many other of your Lordships, I have tried to read the riddle, but up to now I have conspicuously failed. So far as I understand the policy at all, it seems to be what might be described as the policy of the fence. At one moment, it seems to come down on one side—for instance in the support which the United States, very wisely I think, has given to the Baghdad Pact. The next moment, if what I read in the Press is accurate, it seems to come down on the other side, by encouraging loans to Nasser, who is opposed to the Baghdad Pact. At one stage, not many months ago, we heard of the Sixth Fleet being moved to the Eastern Mediterranean as a gesture of Western strength. At others, as today, when the position in Asia Minor appears in many ways to be just as delicate, no action is being taken at all. 323 Again, how does the attitude of the United States over Algeria fit into the framework of any general policy? Is there indeed a general framework, and if so, what is it.
I know that it may seem impertinent for anyone in this House to come here and ask questions of this kind regarding the policy of another great nation, a nation which is the greatest of all our friends. But it really is essential that we should know these things, if we are to act as loyal allies. For, make no mistake, my Lords, the United States to-day occupies almost the same position in the Western bloc as Russia does in the Eastern bloc. She is the Western collossus; and it is essential that we, whose only object is to work with her, should know where she is going and how she proposes to get there. Otherwise, I am afraid, the policy of the West will be neither united nor resolute, and the East will win the cold war.
My Lords, it is greatly to be hoped (this is the only thing I want to say to the Government) that if the Prime Minister goes to the United States in the fairly early future—and I have seen such an idea adumbrated in the Press—he may be able to come back with a clear and definite statement of American policy, a firm and resolute statement which can be subscribed to by all members of the Western bloc. I believe that nothing would do more to stabilise a situation which is at present sliding so dangerously away from us. Nothing would do more to win the support of what are now known as the uncommitted nations, who are so essential to us if the balance of power in the world is to be preserved over the next few dangerous years.
And now to return to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge. The noble Lord mentioned in the latter part of his speech—I think in answer to a question which was put to him by the Leader of the House—some possible improvements in the Charter of the United Nations which might be made as some contribution to the solution of the problem of world peace and world government. I do not in any way pretend that the United Nations organisations could not be improved. I am a signatory to the Charter, but I sometimes feel that we could have done rather better; and I expect the noble Earl, Lord 324 Halifax, feels the same. Clearly, as it is at present constituted, it is not an entirely effective instrument for the purpose for which it was created. Its record over Hungary shows that. Whether it can be improved, I do not know.
There are those who advocate the abolition of the Veto. I think that was inherent in the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge—that the Security Council should be done away with. No doubt that might do some good. In principle, I am sure the Veto is a thoroughly bad thing, but I doubt very much whether, in the present situation, even that would be a complete cure for the ills from which the United Nations Organisation is suffering. For instance, I doubt whether it would have enabled the United Nations to deal with such a situation as that which arose in Hungary. I am afraid that, in their present mood, the Russian Government, whether there had been a Veto-less vote in the Security Council or not, would have stated quite baldly that they would not permit interference in what they regarded as their sphere of influence. Therefore, even though the Veto had been entirely done away with, they would have retained a veto: it would have been an unofficial veto; it would have been a veto unsanctioned by the Charter; but it would have been just as effective for all that. In any case, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, said, I am sure that Russia would not agree at the present time to any alteration in the Charter which could weaken her position or hamper the spread of her ideas. The Charter suits her far too well as it is.
That, of course, is not an argument for scrapping the United Nations Organisation. In my view, it ought certainly to be kept in being. It can be used for myriad purposes for which it is most valuable—and among those I, like the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, would put very high an improvement in the standard of living of backward peoples. But at present I personally cannot regard it or, indeed, any similar organisation as a possible basis for effective world government. For that, I am afraid we must await a change of heart in Russia; and that, as I see it, is likely to come about only by a process of fairly slow evolution. In the meantime, our main object—I repeat this—must be to prevent, so far as we can, any radical change in the balance 325 of power, either by war or by any other means.
The noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, de—voted a fairly large part of his speech to the dangers of a world war, by which I gather he meant what we may call a "hot war", not a cold war. In spite of what he said, I am not personally much afraid at the present time of a world hot war. In my view, the weapons at the disposal of the great Powers make it far too dangerous for anybody to attempt. That, of course, is the main argument in my view in favour of the hydrogen bomb and not against it. Without the bomb we should be back almost to where we were between the two wars. And we know, to our great grief, where that led us. But with regard to the cold war (this is the very last thing I want to say) I must admit that I am deeply apprehensive. I believe indeed that, in the social, the economic and all other fields, the forces of freedom have got to act with far more resolution and unity than they have yet shown, if we are not to lose that war, and with it all our hopes of world government on a basis acceptable to the free countries of the earth—and all that we in this country have fought for throughout all the centuries of our history.
§ 3.56 p.m.
§ LORD BOYD-ORR
My Lords, I think we are indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, for initiating this debate. We have been discussing to-day the most immense subject which has ever been discussed in your Lordships' House, because it has become obvious that the only alternative to some kind of supranational authority which can keep the peace is a third world war in which, according to the scientists at their recent meeting in Canada, 90 per cent. of all the people in the Northern hemisphere will be wiped out. I do not think there is any immediate danger of that happening, because the only two nations with sufficient weapons to cause such a catastrophe are America and Russia, and it is in the interests of both not to have a conflict, because if either started that conflict they would themselves commit suicide. I believe that both America and Russia will do everything possible to prevent war, and, indeed, if necessary, will co-operate in preventing any disturbance throughout the world which would lead to a conflict between themselves.
326 But suppose that the prevention of such a war were out of the hands of America and Russia because the other nations had got the hydrogen bomb. Very soon any nation with any industrial power will have the bomb. China, where large deposits of uranium have been discovered, will have the hydrogen bomb and will be determined to produce sufficient quantities to match the American bombing stations surrounding her coasts. When these different countries get the bomb, and if any local conflict takes place, the danger is that some irresponsible person will let off a bomb and that the great Powers, however reluctantly, may be drawn into the very conflict that they wish to avoid. The most urgent, immediate need of the world to-day, therefore, is to stop the armaments race and, if possible, begin to get an agreed and gradual decrease in armaments, and to impose that on all countries. If we can get such an agreement between the great Powers of the world today we shall have taken an important step towards world government. It would be a breathing space in which the human family could gradually evolve towards a new age.
But the question of a World Government needs to be looked at in a wider sphere than merely that of disarmament, vitally important though that may be. There is need for a central World Authority to get nations to co-operate in adjusting human society to the great changes which modern science has brought about. Today the human family is passing through the greatest and most rapid revolution that has ever taken place. Let us consider some of the effects which science has created. The great advance in technology not only has produced the sputnik and the hydrogen bomb but has enabled us to produce real wealth in such overabundance that the economic system tends to break down because it cannot get that wealth dispersed. Despite the fact that America is spending 40,000 million dollars a year and we are spending £1,500 million in producing armaments, there is unemployment in America and they are considering spending another 3,000 million dollars, not because they need more armaments but to prevent unemployment.
One of the problems, therefore, is whether we can sufficiently expand world markets to carry the great weight of real wealth which the industrialised countries 327 can produce and so prevent economic difficulties in those industrialised countries. That problem raises some difficulties, because if we reduce armaments we create further unemployment. I remember seeing in an American financial journal at the time when it appeared that the Korean war was to end and peace was to be made, the words "Peace Scare"—not hope, but scare—because that meant that prices would fall on the stock market in Wall Street and unemployment would result.
In addition to the great advances made possible by the scientists and physicists, a revolution is also being caused by the great advance in biological science and medicine. To show your Lordships the great advance that has been made I would quote the fact that since the year 1900 the expectation of life at birth of people living in this country has been increased by twenty years. To-day the expectation of life in a country like ours, where modern medicine applies, is seventy years. Where we have applied these great discoveries of science, acute poverty has very largely been abolished and there has been an enormous rise in the standard of living and a great expansion of life. But, due to poverty, hunger and preventable disease, the expectation of life of two-thirds of the people of the world is still only between thirty and forty years. The poverty of those once subject nations is the fundamental cause of the revolt which is taking place among them to-day. The Algerians, for example, do not hate the French; it is only that they blame the French and white people elsewhere for having exploited their wealth and caused their poverty, and they are determined to get their resources into their own hands.
So long as two-thirds of the population of the world are living in abysmal poverty and one-third are living in what appears to them to be enormous wealth we shall never have peace in the world, whether or not Russia, America and ourselves adjust our quarrels, for we still have to deal with that two-thirds of the world population which is in revolt against the West. To my mind, therefore, there are three conditions which need to be adjusted: first, we must get disarmament begun to save us from annihilation in a third world war; secondly, we must increase world markets to carry the new wealth which is being created and pre- 328 vent unemployment; and thirdly, we must raise the standard of living of the two-thirds of the world population—the poverty-stricken people of the world today. These are all problems raised by the tremendous revolution through which we are passing at the present time.
Someone has asked about a new organisation in the United Nations. We do not need a new organisation. The United Nations was created to deal with these very problems and it created other organisations like the World Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Bank to provide money, and the World Health Organisation; and it was hoped that through those organisations the nations of the world would co-operate to apply modern science for the promotion of the well-being of people in all parts of the world, and that through those means the nations would get together instead of drifting back into a third world war.
The matter has now become urgent, and I should like to make this suggestion to your Lordships on the lines on which I have made suggestions for the last ten years. To attain these objectives, would it be possible for one or other of the great Powers or nations of the world to suggest, as a beginning of disarmament, that all nations should agree to cut their military budget by say 10 per cent.? I believe that if Russia and America and ourselves in the Western bloc agreed, we could easily impose that upon all the other countries of the world; in fact, I think they would be glad to accept.
If the armament budgets were cut by 10 per cent. I would suggest that half of the amount saved should be kept to relieve the intolerable burden of taxation in this country and in America, while the other half, which would amount to between £2,000 million and £3,000 million, should be put into a fund of the United Nations, under the control of business men, not politicians, to be used by business methods to develop the resources of the world. Poor countries could get a grant from that fund. They would not need to pay interest for some time, but when abysmal poverty had been obliterated and the projects for which the money had been given have begun to produce wealth, they can begin to do so. Thus all the countries of the world would 329 be debtors as well as creditors; there would be no humiliation, and the money would not be spent to stop nationalism or Communism or to destroy capitalism but only to create wealth by ending poverty, to double and re-double world markets, and to create economic prosperity and full employment. I have been told that Russia would never accept such a plan: but did we ever ask her? Would the West be prepared to accept it if, as is possible, Russia should put it forward?
It should like to finish by saying that we are passing through the greatest revolution the world has known. Science has let loose these enormous forces and the future depends on whether the human family has the common sense to use them for the mutual benefit of all the people in the world or whether the world will destroy itself with these powers. Some country must take the lead, and I should like it to be this country, whose prestige stands very high by reason of our having created the sources of the new science and giving freedom to so many of our possessions. Is it possible for this country to put forward a common-sense proposal of this kind? If not, then perhaps some other country might do so with the same conclusion.
Difficult as the problem of creating a new World Government will be—and it would perhaps take many long years—the real difficulty is to get a beginning. I believe with the right honourable gentleman the Prime Minister that "There ain't gonna be no war"; but we have a long and difficult road ahead. The main difficulty is to get the nations to sit down at a table and agree to anything at all; but if we can begin to do so, that will lessen the tension and increase the possibility of further agreement which will ultimately bring us to the point at which the nations will agree to unite in using science for the elimination of war, for the creation of wealth, for the aboli—tion of poverty and for the raising of the whole human family to a much higher level of living standards and culture than has been attained in the past by the peoples of the most favoured nations.
§ 4.9 p.m.
§ LORD BRAND
My Lords, I propose to say a few prosaic words on the actual Motion moved by the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, on the question of a World Government. I never like to differ from 330 the noble Lord, but on this occasion it is possible that I shall not entirely agree with him. I venture to say a few words on this question of government, because over a long life I have spent quite a lot of time on problems of government It is just fifty years ago since I was Secretary of the Transvaal delegates at a National Convention in South Africa, which spent nine months in creating a Constitution for that country. After that, friends of mine and I started a magazine, the Round Table, devoted to the Union of the British Commonwealth. That magazine still, after fifty years, continues publication—though, alas! I am the only survivor in this country of those who started it.
We have paid a great deal of attention to these problems of federation and world government. Some of my friends, particularly a man whose name will certainly be known to your Lordships, Mr. Lionel Curtis, never varied their course. The more disappointed Mr. Curtis was in our efforts to help towards the Union of the Commonwealth, the more his ideas widened and the more he wanted union, for instance, with the United Slates. When that was found to be difficult he was an ardent supporter of world union; yet that still remains for the future.
I think the most important words, from my point of view, used by the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, were that a World Government would have to be strong enough to abolish war. An important point is to understand what are the implications of these words. The first consequence seems to me to be that a World Government must have military forces able to coerce, for instance, the military forces of either Russia or the United States. Possibly these need be only police forces, as I believe the noble Lord said, if the advent of a World Government also persuaded the Russians, the United States, ourselves and others to give over having any military forces at all. If we had no military forces, then police forces at the disposal of the World Government might be sufficient. But if the World Government must have large forces, it will certainly have huge expenditures, and it therefore must have huge revenues. It will be much too dangerous for it to rely on the giving annually of subsidies by each of what will then be the one hundred nations of U.N.O. It 331 will need to have what I always regard as the absolutely essential quality of a Government—namely, the right to tax the individual. The World Government would have to tax all the individuals in the world to get the necessary revenues to create large military forces, in order to be able to coerce any recalcitrant members out of the one hundred or so nations.
We have to remember, also, that even if there were a World Government, and even if the present Governments were greatly to reduce their armaments, there would always be, in this complicated world, very great dangers of civil wars—and civil wars lead to other wars. Therefore, the World Government would have the duty to stop civil wars as well as other wars. I conclude, therefore, that the World Government must, indeed, have power to tax, through its own officials (the World Government having officials, income tax inspectors, and so on, in every country throughout the world) all people who dwell on earth. And, as I say, it would want military forces stronger than the forces of any country. What chance is there of these powers being given to such a Government? Yet, if they were not given, then we should merely replace the League of Nations or the United Nations by another similar Authority which would try to exercise moral pressure but would have no other means of bringing its authority to bear on the nations of the world.
Perhaps it is worth asking whether such a Government would be a democratic Government or an autocratic Government. Would it be a democratic Government? And can we imagine, with ease, a world general election taking place at the same time in every country on certain world issues? What would be the size of the Cabinet? There would be one hundred independent nations. Would each of them have one member in the Cabinet? If so the Cabinet of a World Government would be rather a large one. But there is one real possibility of a World Government coming into existence, and that would be if one country were to conquer all the other countries. If Russia were able to conquer the United States and, with the United States, other countries, we might well see a World Government which would then be an autocratic Government. It might produce great benefits to the 332 world; it certainly would produce great evils. But at the present moment the only possibility of a World Government would be a Government created by force. My conclusion, in fact, is that to create a World Government would be more difficult and perhaps even more dangerous than to pursue, by all means, all possible disarmament and better political and social relations between the great nations.
I hope that your Lordships will not think that I am cynical in these matters; that I do not realise the enormous dangers of the present position. It is only that I think we must take a rational, practical view of these matters and go step by step, and hope for improvements in the future with our Russian friends. Of course, I am in favour of what the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said. I am in favour of combinations among the European nations—particularly the European nations and the Commonwealth nations. I always think it is rather strange that the United Nations was created by President Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill on board a ship, or at least that the Charter was envisaged there, they having, I think, the idea that the Europeans and the Americans would run the United Nations. But, in fact, what has happened is that the non-Europeans have run the United Nations, and all the non-European countries have said to the European nations, "You get out of every place where you are, except your own little semi-continent." We can never see how these things will work out, and possibly there might be similar surprises in the case of the World Government. I am all in favour of every means of reconciling social, political and religious opinions in the world, but I believe that at the moment it is a mirage to suppose that this can be done through a World Government.
§ 4.20 p.m.
My Lords, I have listened with great interest to this debate. I found what the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, said almost wholly such as I could agree with. I think that this whole question of world government, though it cannot come immediately, should be in our minds, because it ought to determine the directions in which we move. The noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, asked: Why waste time over what will not come for generations, perhaps for centuries? The answer to 333 that is very simple. If it does not come for generations, it will not come at all, because there will be no human beings left. This is the only method by which we can get any kind of security for the continuation of the human species.
I listened to the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who gave an extraordinarily able and persuasive exposition of the Governmental point of view, and I feel much more in agreement with him than some of my critics will suppose. But there was one vital point where I felt that I could not agree; that was when he said that a world war with nuclear weapons is not very likely in the near future. I entirely agree with him that it is not likely next year, or the year after, but when we get nuclear weapons distributed throughout the world, as we soon shall, if Government policies are not altered, then the danger will increase immensely. And if there is a risk, it exists every year and is cumulative. I believe that there have been men who walked across Niagara on a tightrope, but nobody has walked across the Atlantic on a tightrope. And if we propose to run year after year, this awful risk of a world war, sooner of later that risk will eventuate; and when it does, we shall be finished. It will be the end.
Therefore, although it is perfectly true that we cannot expect to get world government at the moment, and though we certainly cannot get it while tension between East and West remains as it is at present, nevertheless it is something we must bear in mind, if we want to continue to exist, as the only way of survival for our species. I should have thought, if I did not find so much the opposite, that this whole question could be completely uncontroversial. It seems to me that it ought to be treated like zebra street crossings and notices warning people off live lines. We do not regard those things as controversial. Yet when we say to the human race, "Do not touch that or you will die, "then that is controversial and a great many people say," Let them touch it if they like." That seems to me to be perfect madness.
The interests of all mankind are identical in this matter. That is one of the difficulties of propaganda on this question. Politics is always a business of one group against another group. You are trying to get the better of the other fellow or prevent him from getting the 334 better of you. Where there is no controversy, political methods do not apply. In this matter the interests of all mankind are exactly identical, and that makes it not one where the ordinary political methods work. It is a paradox that if a thing is good for everybody, nobody is going to bother with it. What we have to bear in mind is that, whatever agreements may be made for the abolition of nuclear weapons, another great war would inevitably be a nuclear war. If there were no nuclear weapons at the beginning of the war it would last a long time, and during that time, whatever agreements there might be to the contrary, nuclear weapons would be constructed. Therefore, it is certain that a big war would be a nuclear war and we are faced with this situation: do we wish the human race to continue? If so, we must never have another great war. People will not face that fact; yet it is, I believe, mathematically obvious.
The reason why a World Government has become so much more necessary than it ever was before is entirely connected with nuclear weapons. Your Lordships will recall that when gunpowder was invented it came into a world in which there was internal anarchy in every country. All the important people had castles, where they were very strong, and there was no sort of power in the central Government. The power in the central Government was provided by gunpowder, and it took a hundred years for the central Governments of England, France and Spain to establish themselves with the help of gunpowder. Gunpowder put an end to internal anarchy; to-day the hydrogen bomb should put an end to international anarchy in the, same sort of way, only we cannot afford a hundred years, because the weapon now is too dangerous. We must be able to do it more quickly than it was done before.
It will require, of course, a certain change of mental habits, and a change of mental habits is always very difficult to bring about. Your Lordships will remember that Fabre, who devoted himself to the study of the behaviour of insects, was concerned with a species of insect that always follow their leader. He put the leader on a circular disc, and the leader walked round and round, hoeing that he would get to something new; but he never did. He was followed by the others until 335 the whole lot died of exhaustion—they were not able to get a new mental approach. Your Lordships may say that these were only insects, but I must say that the story reminds me of a disarmament conference: we are not nearly so different from those creatures as we flatter ourselves that we are. I think that is the great difficulty that arises with regard to nuclear weapons—they, require new mental habits.
Organised war has existed for at least 6,000 years and is part of everybody's mental habits. The idea that we are to have institutions that will make war impossible is repulsive to almost everybody. Almost everybody continually pushes the idea away, and it is not easy to get it into our heads. I believe that safety through strength is no longer possible. Consider the dinosaurs; they ruled the world. They were immensely powerful; their armour was perfectly astounding; they had bone all over them, and they felt themselves completely safe. But it was rats and mice that survived, not the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs died because they lived in swamps and could not be bothered to move when the swamps dried up. That is the trouble. You have to be able to change your mental habits.
Of course I believe that gradual approaches are absolutely necessary. I should say that a considerable reform of the United Nations is almost the first step that ought to be taken. I think a small step can be taken in the Arctic and Antarctic, and it is being considered. It is practicable, but it is only a small step. I feel that there ought to be a greater readiness to proceed to arbitration; and in arbitration, one would need to have it made an absolute rule that the two sides should have an equal number of representatives, and that there should be some completely neutral people. Then, I believe, arbitration might become a habit; and if it were carried out under the auspices of a reformed League of Nations it might in time acquire great moral authority. Those are gradual approaches that I think are already possible.
But to get world government fully established is by no means a short or easy task, because it means placing a monopoly of all the serious weapons of war in the hands of that World Government. 336 That Government should concern itself only with preventing war, and with what is involved in preventing war; and it could not do that unless it had a monopoly of all the really important weapons of war. I am afraid that it will be a long time before we can persuade the powerful nations of the world to agree to that idea. It is a race between prejudice and death, and I honestly do not know which is going to win. I hope profoundly that men will care to know about their own species, and about what it can achieve, and will forgo the rather futile old games of power which men have played for centuries and which now are of no use. But I do not feel confident of it: I think it quite possible that, before the end of the present century, no human beings will exist.
§ 4.32 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, in following the noble Earl, I should like to say that it seems to me that, instead of lending support to the dream of the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, of a World Government, it would surely have been far easier to concentrate on the education of the people of every country, or a majority of them, to translate this universal desire for peace which we are told exists in every country into practical action; and that is merely a matter of people acquiring the power to have their views followed out. But having spent a good deal of my life with, perhaps, unusual opportunities for seeing with how little wisdom the world is governed, I confess myself at once very sceptical that a World Government, even if one could conceive of one, could achieve any of the purposes set down in the Motion which we are discussing this afternoon. I entirely agree with every single word that fell from the lips of my noble friend Lord Brand, and I do not propose to waste the time of your Lordships by repeating what seemed to me those invincible arguments.
But to come to the noble Lord who moved the Motion, it seemed to me that it was not very fair of him to leave us completely in the dark as to what he meant by "world government." It left me completely without any knowledge, apart from a reference to a book which I have not read. After all, the words "world government" are so vague that to a practical administrator they convey 337 no meaning at all. It is true that there is a great love of peace, and a universal desire for peace. But it is also true that the love of fighting and of aggressive competition pervades the world. If we look at history, I suggest that the only time when it has been possible to achieve long periods of peace has been when there has been a balance of power between two major organisations. I suggest that in a world sense, in the world as we know it, the price of peace is the suppression of liberty. You must anticipate the objections which will arise, since human beings have different views of right; and you must visualise an authority which can extirpate or keep in complete subjection those who hold such different views when they are prepared to fight for them.
I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, produced a douche of cold sense in this discussion when he made the practical approach and asked: "How much of this is a possibility?" I would have the temerity also to suggest that even the dream of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, of a federation, ultimately growing into a world authority, is based on the same old fallacy that the world has accepted our standard of values. The world has done nothing of the sort. Our standard of values has a very limited application in this world, and anybody who thinks in world terms must, I suggest, take that fact into consideration. If, as I said before, the desire for peace became so prevalent in the world, there would he no need for a World Government; peace would be the essential background upon which each individual country insisted I admit that that is such a distant dream that it almost ranks with the dream that a World Government could be instituted.
But supposing that there were a World Government—and the only World Government one can visualise is that one nation should conquer the world—what would that mean? However high might be the principles actuating those who held that authority, it would mean breeding a race of world slaves; it would mean, inevitably, the suppression of liberty—because I suggest that liberty is not a natural growth. One has to remember, too, that there are some strange ingredients in a life of liberty, 338 and one of the ingredients which is generally present is a dislike of government or authority. All of those things would have to go. At present, they provide the salt of life; but under a World Government they would have to be suppressed. All the standards which we apply when we think of authority as a viable thing, a new nation or a new Government, could never be present in a World Government. There would not be the homogeneity, or the same outlook on life, or any of those things that make for the possibility of a Government of that kind.
I suggest, too, that if there were a World Government, it certainly could never be a democracy. A World Government, if it was going to function at all, would have to be efficient, effective and wise; and I believe that nobody would suggest that efficiency is one of the noticeable hallmarks of democracy. We sacrifice a certain amount of efficiency for the sake of other values which we consider to be desirable. I suggest that you cannot finance success with a flood of beautiful slogans about "the brotherhood of man" and "federation of the world". You have ultimately to come down to whether they represent an administrative possibility; and I suggest that they do not.
The aspiring spirit of man always aspires, first of all, to control his fellow men, and I suggest that it is this itch to control one's fellow men which is at the back even of this high-souled Motion that we are discussing to-day. After all, if we go back to 1914 and to the attitude of the world then, we thought that after a long period of prosperity, dominated as the world appeared to be by beneficent enterprise, it would grow richer and better, and would slowly evolve into something we dreamed of; we thought that the nations, united in a web of accelerated progress, would be able to make a world such as the mover of this Motion dreams of. The world was still floating, if I may use the phrase, in the haze of the mentality in which, after the First World War, the League of Nations Organisation was founded, and, twenty-five years later, the all-to-similar United Nations Organisation. I suggest that the desire to improve the world is militancy in excelsis. It is the desire to exercise power over other human beings; to see 339 mankind adopt one's own thoughts and obey one's own precepts, and draw for ever the line between good and evil exactly where we have drawn it. What enterprise could be more ambitious than this, or show more extraordinary self-confidence?
But on what basis do these professors of philosophy, and others who think like them, take this somewhat arrogant (as it seems to me) attitude? They proclaim their intentions generally in terms of economic advantages to be brought to other people, but in fact what they are doing is showing a desire to regulate the lives of people who do not think as they do. They hardly conceive that these other people may have quite different aspirations, and sometimes they seem to desire to establish this universial authority to which all would have to bow, if it were able to govern. As I have suggested, moral and cultural militancy is at the back of most of these suggestions for world government, and I think one might well remember the conclusion which Professor Toynbee came to at the end of his great book. I am tempted to quote that conclusion:Suppose that the World Society found a successful conclusion to all its problems would the human race thenceforth 'live happy ever after'? No, because 'original sin' is born again in every child that comes into the world.I suggest that if we look at the way in which history has unfolded, we shall see that, so long as human nature remains human nature, this ideal of a World Government will remain nothing but a fantastic dream.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, the speech of the noble Lord who has just resumed his seat was marked by a strain of anarchistic pessimism which I am sure must have depressed the spirits of your Lordships, if any of you took what he said seriously. It seemed to me that he paid no attention to what was said in the course of the discussion this afternoon, and that the oration he delivered to us was one he worked out by guttering candlelight in the cold hours of a miserable, shivering morn—the sort of time when it is impossible to envisage anything with any sort of optimism or feel that a rosy dawn will ever creep across the sky—because he completely misrepresented what I understood to be the 340 object of the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, in bringing this matter before your Lordships' House this afternoon. He seemed to me to misunderstand the objectives of those who are putting forward world government, the minimum amount of world government which is needed in order to keep the world in being at all over the next generation.
As Lord Russell pointed out in that extraordinarily cogent and convincing speech, it is not a question of establishing in the world a World Government which interferes in every small detail of life; such a Government which Lord Milverton said could not be a democracy because democracies are not efficient. That is the sort of talk—silly talk, I do not think it is unfair to call it—which people who supported Hitler and Mussolini used to use before the war: that the poor democracies could not survive against the efficient autocracies in Italy and Germany. And yet, at the end of the war, it was not the efficient autocracies which had won, but the inefficient democracies.
The noble Lord's conception of liberty was an old anarchistic conception of liberty. I could not help thinking of the castles of the robber barons on the Rhine which one sees when one makes that delightful trip from Mainz to Köln—the sort of liberty which every robber baron had to have, the liberty to attack his neighbour and to prey upon the country people and the merchants passing down the river. It is quite true that that type of anarchistic liberty would come to an end if we had the sort of world government at which the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, is aiming. But that is not what most people in the modern world understand as liberty at all, and if that is the sort of liberty which the noble Lord regrets that we shall lose, then I think he will have few supporters in your Lordships' House and, indeed, anywhere else.
I should like to give my warm support to the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, in this debate. He was not putting forward any cut-and-dried proposals at all. What I understood he was asking for was a little more clear thinking and a little more hard thinking from Her Majesty's Government on this subject of world government—and I must say I do not regard the kind of speech to which we 341 have just listened as being hard thinking or clear thinking on this subject. Blank pessimism is not clear thinking, although it often masquerades as such. Apart from a few people like the noble Lord who would hate to see world government established, as I understood his speech, we all pay lip service to the ideal of some sort of world organisation which can prevent war from spreading and can preserve the peace on which the building up of a decent life for ordinary people depends.
When it comes to taking practical steps, as we all know, very little is done. It is so much easier to talk in generalities than to hammer out concrete proposals of the kind which, at any rate, can be made the subject matter of discussion with other Powers and become a practical field of international politics in debate. It was the hammering out of proposals of that kind for which, as I understood him, the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, was asking. One can very well understand how difficult it is for busy Ministers, who are oppressed with all the day-to-day problems of government, to deal with matters of this kind. It is so much easier to talk in general terms when you have got bus strikes and possibilities of railway strikes and all sorts of problems of that kind to deal with, one day after another. Therefore one can quite understand why Ministers pay lip service to the ideal of world government but never do anything, or do very little, towards bringing it about. As the Buddhists say, they are bound to the wheel of life.
My Lords, we have had recently a significant and rather depressing example of this difficulty of the politician in freeing himself from the routine of government in order to stand aside and try to look at things in the round. That is the case of Mr. Nehru. Mr. Nehru is one of the, few living statesmen who does, from time to time, attempt to stand aside from everyday politics and survey the problems of the world in the round. Of recent years it has been obvious to everybody, I think, that he has been less and less able to do so because he has been more and more weighed down with the problems of India, the post-settlement problems of that great country. Realising that this was so, he has been trying to escape to the desert or the mountain tops to get away from things, 342 so that he could try to think out the problems of politics anew and perhaps produce possible solutions. We all know equally well that he has failed in this attempt, and I, for one, think that it is a great pity, because Mr. Nehru is one of the few statesmen who have really taken a practical interest in the problem of world government. Who knows but that if he had had this opportunity which he tried to get, he might not have produced some sort of answers to those questions, the sort of answers which the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, is asking from our own Government at the present time.
So one understands how difficult it is for Ministers to answer the questions which the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, has put to them to-day. Yet, if there is sufficient urgency, time can always be found for, at any rate, attempting to deal with these things, certainly for attending to these problems. At no time are people under greater pressure than during the time of war. Yet it was during the First World War that the first project for the establishment of some sort of world authority, which afterwards became the League of Nations, was worked out, and worked out in a good deal of detail by able people who were able to find a good deal of time to devote to the subject. While it is obviously true that the League of Nations was not a great success, nevertheless it was not that complete failure which the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, and others who think like him, would have us believe.
Again, we had to wait for the stress of the Second World War to have the better project of the United Nations worked out, and then even in the stress of that great struggle we and other nations were able to find men of the highest ability and to give them the assignment and time to work on these problems. My Lords, let us not delude ourselves into thinking that we can afford to wait for a third world war before we take the next step, because the noble Earl, Lord Russell, and the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr, have made it perfectly clear to us that if we think we can wait till then the next step will never be taken.
I felt that the survey made by the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr, of the intermingled scientific and economic problems which call for a measure of world government was extraordinarily interesting and 343 most convincing. One aspect of that matter which occurs to me, and which I think reinforces the plea which he made, is the need for conserving the world's natural resources. During the present century, which, after all, is only a little more than half-a-hundred years old, the rate at which the world's resources in many ways, in raw materials particularly, have been used up almost beggars description. It is really frightening. It seems to me only too clear that there is a need for conserving the world's natural resources and making use of them in the most rational and scientific way possible, which can be secured only by first of all planning the whole problem out and then having a supranational authority to enforce the decisions of the planning authority.
One has only to consider the problem of the oil resources of the world to realise how important that is. A race is now going on between the development of atomic energy and the using up of the world's oil resources. In hardly more than fifty years the United States has almost used up the oil resources of the North American Continent, which had some of the largest oil resources in the world. If one considers the astonishing rate at which that has been brought about, surely the need for planning and utilisation in the interests of all the nations of the world becomes perfectly evident and proves the need for the sort of supranational authority for which the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, and the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Orr, are asking.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Brand, in a speech perhaps slightly less pessimistic than that of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, raised similar sorts of so-called practical problems, postulating that the world authority would have to have at its command an armed force which could coerce the United States of America or the U.S.S.R. or possibly both together; I do not know. When one once starts on that sort of not very convincing argument I never quite know where it is going to lead. Surely, it is obvious that that is not the sort of world force for which the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, and those who think like him are asking. We had recently a very encouraging example of what can be done by international co-operation, in the case 344 of the international police force which was got together very hurriedly but which operated very successfully at Gaza, after the clash between Israel and Egypt only a couple of years ago. That, I think, is an indication of how this could be built up. The noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, is not asking, I am quite sure, for Pallas Athene to step fully armed from Jupiter's breast, but that the matter should be built up in a reasonable and sensible sort of way.
The same applies, I think, to the questions about taxation and political representation which Lord Brand raised, although they are not really practical questions in the connotation of the speech which Lord Beveridge made. It is quite true that they are problems to be thought about and to be worked out, but I suspect that Lord Brand, like Lord Milverton, brought them into this debate as a douche of cold water rather than because he had any expectation that they would be answered. Yet it is curiously possible, even in the large assemblies on which Lord Brand was pouring scorn, to work things out in a surprising amount of detail.
There recently finished at Geneva a conference, attended by representatives of practically all the nations of the world, on problems of international waters, on one aspect of which—the problem of territorial waters—there was a failure to reach agreement. Any ordinary citizen reading the newspapers would have thought that nothing else was being discussed at that conference except the problem of territorial waters. Actually it was only one of a large number of problems which were discussed. The astonishing thing is that at the Geneva Assembly a great amount of agreement was reached on many intricate and difficult problems. Of course the newspapers, which are never concerned when people are getting on well together but build up their circulations on dog-fights, can be expected not to bring matters of this sort to the attention of the public. It is just disputes of that kind which appeal to the noble Lords, Lord Milverton and Lord Brand. I think one gets a completely false impression of what is going on at international conferences from the inclination of journalists to cheer on all the people who are being difficult and never to give a pat on the back to those who are taking 345 infinite trouble to bring about some sort of solution.
It seems to me—and I repeat what I said in the recent debate on foreign affairs—that part of these difficulties (and it is really this that Lord Brand stresses, if one analyses his speech) is due to the distrust and lack of confidence which exists, particularly at the present time. In the speech which I made to your Lordships in the recent foreign affairs debate I quoted a surprising passage from the interview which Mr. Khrushchev gave to The Times correspondent, in which he singled out this problem of confidence as perhaps the most outstanding of all. You will remember that he saidIf we could start a trend to a greater trust".It seems that not very long after that, the U.S.S.R. tried to start a trend to greater trust by themselves unilaterally taking the decision not to carry out any more experiments in nuclear fission. I wish it had started that trend, but it does not seem to have done so very successfully. Curiously enough, shortly after that Mr. Hammarskjoeld put his finger on exactly the same point when he said:There is a crisis of trust from which all mankind is suffering at the present juncture. It is reflected in an unwillingness to take any moves in a positive direction at their face value because of a fear of being misled.This is, I think, the heart of the trouble. Indeed, Mr. Walter Lippman, the well-known American writer, in his comment on this in the New York Herald Tribune almost used that phrase when he said:This surely is the heart of the matter.I entirely agree with him; it seems to me that this surely is the heart of the matter, and if we could only break down this crisis of distrust, if we could only establish the sort of confidence for which Mr. Khrushchev is asking, for which Mr. Hammarskjoeld is asking and for which Mr. Walter Lippman is asking, then we should be able to get a sufficient world authority to handle the sort of problems which Lord Russell so brilliantly described to us this afternoon.
It is not impossible to get this sort of confidence. After all, we have not to go very much back into history to the time when this lack of confidence existed very powerfully between England and Scotland, and at a much more recent period this lack of confidence existed just as 346 powerfully between the United States of America and Canada when they were invading across each other's frontiers. Yet now it is a commonplace that along that lengthy frontier which stretches for thousands of miles from East to West between Canada and the United States there is not even a guard box. That shows how confidence can be built up, and in a very short time, looked at in the light of the history of the world.
I revert to what I said about the First World War producing the League of Nations and the Second World War producing the United Nations. My Lords, before the Third World War we have to produce something of a World Authority to control atomic energy and its use in war. It was significant that in Lord Milverton's speech never from beginning to end did he refer to the difference which the invention of nuclear energy has made to these problems, and, in my submission, that wiped out any value that there was in his speech. There is a famous story about a great artist in his school where one of the pupils produced a drawing in which there was a wrong line. The master took his crayon and drew the line where it ought to be. The student was an obstinate student, and when the master had gone he took his rubber and rubbed it out and drew the line where it was before. A few minutes later the master came back and looked for a moment, then took his pencil and drew the line in again. But this student was very pertinacious, and he put back the line where it had been before. The master returned and, seeing what had happened, took his palette knife and cut through the paper at the line where it ought to be, in such a way that it could not on this occasion be rubbed out. The people of the world, the Governments of the world, have had two opportunities to draw their lines in the right place. They now have a third and last opportunity. Let us pray Heaven that they will know how to take it.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
My Lords, when I read the terms of the Motion put down in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, I hazarded a guess that he would refer to the great work World Peace Through World Law by the two Americans, Mr. Grenville Clark and Mr. Louis Sohn. Since he has referred to it, I ask leave to regard it also as the basis 347 of my own argument. I confess that after hearing him I go a good deal further with him than I had proposed to do before I had heard him. I do not see developments quite as he sees them, and I shall hope to indicate what I regard as the great impediment to progress in this field of world government. Let me make it quite clear that it would be quite impossible for anybody to disagree with the general thesis in that book: enforcement of world law in the limited field of war prevention; international courts to interpret and apply that law, and, finally, policemen to enforce it. That is all completely logical, and I do not attempt to deny it; nor do I quarrel at all with the method by which the authors propose to introduce this logical system.
There are, of course, always the two approaches to which the noble Earl the Leader of the House has referred. There is that of the iconoclast, who would sweep the slate clean and start the world off to a completely new order with a fully-fledged, perfected international constitution; and secondly, there is the reformer who would act through the existing United Nations machinery as the result of decision taken at a Charter review conference. I myself believe (and I sense that this is the feeling of the House) that the second method of reform is the more reasonable, the more rational and, indeed, the more practical; and if this debate should result in nothing more than a sense conveyed that the time for formal consideration of United Nations reform is long overdue, it must certainly serve its purpose.
But I believe that it is important to bear in mind this distinction between the two approaches. The noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, whom I had considered to be the iconoclast asking Her Majesty's Government to press for some form of world government, now seems to emerge as the reformer. It appears that, unless there is agreement on this limited appoach of United Nations reform, it is not so much a waste of time as a dissipation of our energies to concentrate on the finality of world government. It may be useful, therefore, if I remind your Lordships for a moment of the position, as I understand it, in relation to United Nations reform.
In January, 1957, a general Committee of eighty-one nations of the United 348 Nations was set up. That Committee adopted a resolution which had been put before it by ten members (including, incidentally, both India and Canada) postponing review of the Charter until the fourteenth session of the General Assembly next year. That postponement was due entirely to the fact that the Committee had come to the conclusion that the nations were in no mood to agree on a single one of the very important issues about which we all know—the Veto, the Security Council, and all the rest of it. They dared not grasp the nettle. That resolution for postponement was adopted by sixty-seven votes to nil, with nine Communist abstentions. The Soviet representative took it upon himself to re-state his case that any attempt to alter the Charter would be quite meaningless until, above all else, Communist China had been admitted to the United Nations. I regard it as our duty to continue to pursue the matter of Charter revision. Hitherto the attitude has been that until the United States of America and the Soviet are prepared to agree beforehand on these great issues, it is unwise even to debate the matter.
I suggest that there is value in holding a Charter review conference, even though failure is experienced. For the world would at least know then where responsibility for failure lies; and at least it would be harder to resist reform after that knowledge than it was before. Mr. Grenville Clark sees the introduction of the rule of law through United Nations reform, and I believe that he is right. His reforms follow the pattern which the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, has indicated. Prominent among the reforms, and one which appeals to our imagination, is the abolition of the Security Council and its replacement by an Executive Council of seventeen members to be elected by a reformed Assembly.
For the purposes of this debate perhaps it is necessary to note only that the Executive Council would be responsible for international and total disarmament, to be achieved over twelve years, and that in the meantime there would have been set up this International Police Force of some 500,000, recruited largely, I understand, from small, uncommitted nations. Technically there is absolutely nothing impossible in all that. The military problems could quite easily be worked out by a body of excellent staff officers 349 sitting down for a year or two and elaborating the structure, command, maintenance, location and terms of service of an international force. Equally, it is perfectly possible to elaborate a foolproof international constitution, with the very necessary safeguards for protecting the interests of quality, in a national sense, in contrast to quality.
The late Mr. Lionel Curtis, among others, very successfully put that all down on paper. It seems to me that there is a paradox in that once we have created the conditions which allow for the introduction of reforms we shall also have created conditions which probably will render those reforms unnecessary. Mr. Clark very wisely stipulates that all these proposals should be effective only when ratified by five-sixths of the nations of the world. I assume that to be his one recognition that the world is in fact divided, for elsewhere I could find in that great book no reference to the ideological division which faces us. In effect, the attitude is that there shall be no reform until we are quite certain that reforms will work. What I believe is missing, not only from Mr. Grenville Clark's great work but also in the approach of all of us, whether we look for reform through the United Nations or not, is any suggestion for breaking down the political and ideological division in the world without which an international five-sixths ratification of reform, or any other form of confirmation, will never be achieved.
Five years ago I made a maiden speech on world government in this House, on a Motion sponsored, I believe, by the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr. On that occasion I gave full support to the Motion, which was phrased in terms going beyond that which we are discussing to-day. But it seems to me that in five years very much has happened, and I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that by far the most formidable obstacle to permanent peace is not an imperfect system which might be referred to as the "balance of fear" but the living fact of a mental tyranny which is maintained only by refusing to allow its millions to learn the truth about the rest of the world.
I repeat, I am not saying that there is no value in seeking progress through Charter revision as a means to implement the rule of law. But let us do it with our eyes open. For example, we may 350 assume that the main obstacle is the refusal of the Soviet to discuss reform until the admission of Communist China to the United Nations. I ask: what would be our reactions to the admission of Communist China into the Security Council—a Security Council from which the Veto had not been removed and on which, therefore, two Communist Powers sat rigidly and irrevocably pledged to each other's support in all circumstances? Should we accept that? We have seen what a minority can do on a national level by hacking its way into power—a 17 per cent. minority in the case of Hungary in 1945–46 and a minority of less than 30 per cent. in Czechoslovakia in 1948. Project those similar situations into the United Nations and increase Communist representation on the Security Council: should we then not fear exactly that kind of process, that kind of insidious process operating at the United Nations?
§ VISCOUNT STANSGATE
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question, as this is very important? Is he saying that so long as the Government of China, which we recognise, remains Communist we must not admit her to the United Nations?
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
No, I am not saying that; what I am saying is: by all means admit China to the United Nations, but do not at the same time contemplate your world reform; carry on as you are.
We have had reference to a loss of confidence, as Lord Chorley reminded us—a loss of confidence, a distrust, to which the Soviet had apparently drawn our attention as the result of our failure to conform to their unilateral abandonment of tests. I might remind the noble Lord that that abandonment of tests was made the week after they had, I think, finalised five tests, which, after all, carries them on perhaps for another year or so. I may be wrong, but the evidence of one's eyes and ears seems to support this inability of the two sides to agree in an ideological sense. I would give only one glaring example, and that is that the Soviet completely deny the authenticity of the United Nations Report on Hungary, a Report which we in the Free World accept as an understatement rather than as an overstatement of the case. And when you get a great summit Power calling black white, I think we very 351 rightly doubt the wisdom of an approach which, as I see it, disregards all this ideological division.
I do not want to convey an impression of being only destructive. If there could be a group of small, uncommitted Powers that could come forward and perhaps hold a "foothill" conference, with proposals for a world police force in association with United Nations reform, then I think that collectively they might command some confidence from the Soviet Union and from ourselves. But always at present there is this issue of the political and moral division of the world as regards ideologies. I would say that it is a case that we are equally reluctant to abandon the Veto. The Soviet, it is true, have exercised the Veto on no fewer than 83 occasions in comparison to a handful of occasions on which the West have exercised it, but I doubt whether any of us are ready to renounce our power to use the Veto. If, then, we are to fail on the first and most obvious reform along the road to the rule of law, is one not right in returning to the conclusion that we first have to effect this ideological reconciliation before we can set up effective machinery for the lasting rule of law? As to how this ideological reconciliation is to be brought about is a matter for a separate debate; and I have down a Motion in terms which would enable it to be debated, and I believe that the noble Viscount, Lord Massereene and Ferrard, has also.
At this stage I would submit this thought for the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, and others who fully support him, and, indeed, for all those such as the noble Earl, Lord Russell, who have great influence, international and national influence as well: that to achieve this pre-condition of an ideological reconciliation is a very long and an arduous task. I should like just to quote from Mr. George Kennan in the second Reith lecture. He said:A wise Western policy will insist that no single falsehood or distortion from the Soviet side should ever go unanswered.This will be tiresome. We don't like repetition. But we cannot afford to dispense with it. Truth does not win over error just on its merits. It, too, has to be assiduously propagated. I have asserted that there is nothing that could be said to the Soviet leaders in the space of a few days that would change their strangely corrupted mentality. But there are things which could be said to them every day 352 over the course of several years which would exert a useful discipline upon them, would make it harder for them to ignore the distinction between the real and the unreal, and would place limitations—thus far not visible—on their use of falsehood as a weapon of political policy.By all means, my Lords, let Her Majesty's Government follow the injunction of the noble Lord and go ahead with inquiry and experiment. But could not the noble Lord and others with him sometimes play their part in this other long, uphill, unrewarding, unspectacular task to which Mr. Kennan referred? If the same sincerity of purpose as was lavished on the march to Aldermaston could be equally applied to such an objective—for instance, in the form of an appeal to the Soviet to free Imre Nagy, still lingering untried in a distant prison somewhere in Rumania—and if issues of that sort could be pressed forward with relentlessness over the years by men in authority, then so far as world government is concerned and all that goes with it, and the part it has to play within the context of the international situation which faces us to-day, I should feel that at last the cart had been placed in its proper place, behind the horse.
§ House adjourned during pleasure.
§ House resumed.