§ 3.15 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF READING rose to call attention to the problem of aid to under-developed countries, with special reference to the Colombo Plan; and to move for Papers. The noble Marquess said: My Lords, I put down this Motion because it appeared to me that a very considerable time had passed since your Lordships discussed this specific subject of aid to the under-developed countries, although it has been inferentially mentioned in other debates. It seemed to me that the time had come when we should devote some consideration to it, for I think your Lordships will agree that it is probably one of the two or three most important questions which confront the world to-day. I have linked with it a special reference to the Colombo Plan, though I do not propose to enter into any detail of its mechanism but rather to use it as an illustration. I have mentioned the Colombo Plan for two reasons. The first is that, having in the past led the United Kingdom delegation on four occasions to the meetings 271 of the Consultative Committee of that Plan, it is the aspect of aid with which I am personally most familiar. The second reason was that I was sure that your Lordships would welcome an opportunity to hear from my noble friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs some account of the most recent meeting from which he has lately returned, I have no doubt bringing with him not less agreeable and reassuring memories than I still cherish of my experience in the past.
§ It so happens that fortuitously this Motion is particularly opportune at this time, because, as I gather from the Press, there are considerable stirrings in this field—new ideas, fresh thinkings on the subject, especially perhaps in the United States of America, although it is not at this stage possible to ascertain with any precision the exact lines they are likely to follow. The United States has, with prodigal generosity, since the end of the war borne the vastly predominant share of the heavy burden of aid, and it is a matter for little surprise and less resentment if it should at this moment be concerned to devise ways in which that burden could be more equitably and comprehensively distributed. For the fact remains that, perhaps from no fault of their own, there are countries, some of them with very flourishing economies, which under present conditions take no part in the provision of aid of this kind.
§ There was at the outset of our business to-day a direct reference to Marshall Scholarships, and it occurred to me that it might be just worth while pointing out that there is indeed no real analogy between Marshall Aid and the type of aid with which we are concerned to-day. Marshall Aid was in the nature of an emergency operation, an attempt to restore the previously highly organised industrial and commercial system of a number of countries of Europe which had been disrupted and indeed battered out of shape by the impact of a prolonged and destructive war. It was intended to be, and it was, a matter of rapid results. But the aid which we are discussing to-day is not first aid; it is a question of a long, systematic course of treatment if through the years the patient's constitution is to be built up and he is to be able to look forward to a healthy and a vigorous life.272
§ It is perhaps convenient for our purpose to-day to deal chiefly with the undeveloped countries of Asia, for the reason that it is upon them that, hitherto, the weight of aid has been concentrated and from them that the greatest volume of experience can be derived to enable us to arrive at our conclusions. It might not be inappropriate to pause for a moment in reference to South and South-East Asia, to say what I am sure the whole House feels—how warmly we wish success to the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, who is shortly setting out on a most important and attractive enterprise. Although we shall miss him, we shall realise that he is rendering most valuable services to the country in a new sphere. I said that it is not only the countries of South and South-East Asia, because we must remember that there are undeveloped countries in Africa as well—and not only in Africa; there are undeveloped countries in Latin America. I have also a recollection of a meeting of the Economic Commission for Europe in which, when there appeared to be some prospect of a measure of aid being forthcoming, certainly four countries lined themselves up under the banner of under-development in order to be able to partake in any aid that might be forthcoming.
§ It is, therefore, not by any means a restricted sphere with which we are dealing in this context; in fact, I think it is a very wide one. But certainly, I think that mainly we have to consider the position of the Asian countries. I do not propose to argue the basic ethics of aid to undeveloped countries at this stage. There are, I think it would be generally acknowledged, three main grounds: a moral, an economic and a political. As regards the moral, I believe it to be true to say that out of the brutalities and barbarities of the last war something in the nature of an international conscience was born. As regards the economic aspect, it is a truism that to any trading countries the more widespread can be the volume of international trade, the better it is for all. As regards the political, it would be hypocrisy to pretend that there is not a political element in aid, and that a part of that element is not directed towards an endeavour to counter the persistent penetration by Russia of Asian and other countries. But it would be 273 equally wrong if we were to forget that the prime purpose of aid is an endeavour to raise the standard of living of the populations of a number of countries in which, at present, their peoples are enjoying a standard of life which merely oscillates from side to side of subsistence level.
§ The ultimate test of aid is not what we want, but what they need. Nevertheless, if we seek, as we do, to offer them not only fuller stomachs but fuller lives, surely we are justified in upholding and advocating our own doctrines of liberty, tolerance, democracy and the rule of law, and advocating them as a positive remedy and not merely as a negative antidote. We may preach to them what we practise, but we should be making a very great mistake if we sought, as a condition of aid, to make them practise what we preach. Most of these countries have learned at least the outline of their political institutions from our example and in many cases from our presence in them over a period of time; and we can, I believe, help them immensely in the elusive art and mystery of government, if our advice is asked. But we must avoid the temptation to endeavour to thrust it down their throats. Nationalism is essentially sensitive and suspicious. Many countries of Asia are apt not to distinguish between strings and chains.
§ The Colombo Plan, I think, draws its greatest strength from the fact that there is no fear of secret strings attaching to it. The countries which are members of the Plan, the Asian countries, realise that there is nothing to hide; that everybody is on terms of perfect frankness, and that they are being offered no more and no less than the particular aid which is extended to them at any one given moment. And it is that knowledge, that confidence, which has given them the warmth of appreciation they have for the Colombo Plan and its organisation, and has led them to put their trust in the Plan and those who work it, and to stimulate the extraordinarily friendly relations which have always existed between the delegations of all the countries present at these meetings of the Consultative Committee.
§ My Lords, that is a matter of great importance. I myself have always believed that properly administered aid 274 can be an invaluable instrument of international goodwill. But it is a delicate instrument, and if it is clumsily handled the barometer very quickly shifts from"fair" to"stormy"; and, in the end, more harm than good is done. In that connection, I hope I may be allowed to say that I have seen with some apprehension suggestions emanating from America that funds contributed by the United States for aid should be exclusively used for the purchase of American goods. That may seem to them, and indeed to us, a very reasonable term to attach, but it is just the kind of restrictive covenant that creates suspicion and resentment amongst the recipient countries, who see in any move of this kind a covert attempt to lay rough hands upon their still precarious economies and in that way to throttle their infant independence. I would myself venture to express the view that so strongly do they feel about that kind of condition that, if it were imposed. I should not be at all surprised if even those countries in the greatest need of assistance rejected it rather than be bound by a condition of that kind.
§ As your Lordships know, aid, in general terms, falls under three main heads: the provision of loans and grants, the supply of capital goods and the furnishing of technical assistance. I believe that, from the point of view of this country, the policy we have followed, certainly in regard to the Colombo Plan, is the right one, in so far as we have largely concentrated our effort—though not to the exclusion of other attempts—in the field of technical assistance, a field in which this country is perhaps peculiarly qualified to be of help. Technical assistance itself, as your Lordships equally know, falls under three main headings: sending out experts to the Asian countries, in order that they may instruct the inhabitants of those countries on the spot; bringing people here from those countries, in order that they may undergo courses of training here, and providing such things as equipment, machinery, libraries and so forth for technical institutions and laboratories in those countries. All of those forms of aid are, I believe, most welcome, most necessary and most valuable.
§ I want, in parenthesis, to put in one special plea which, though perhaps not 275 exactly part of aid, is so closely connected with it that it is difficult not to regard it as intrinsic. I believe it to be of preponderant importance that we should make a tremendous effort towards the more adequate and widespread teaching of English in those countries. Apart from all other considerations, it is difficult for a man to take full advantage of a course, whether from an expert who has come out to his own country or from people who are instructing him here, unless he has at least a certain standard of proficiency in the English language to enable him to derive the fullest benefit from it.
§ It is a remarkable thing that the whole of the proceedings of the Colombo Plan, with representatives of nineteen countries seated round a table, should be conducted, from first to last, in the English language without the intervention of an interpreter at any stage; but we have to consider whether that state of affairs is likely to last unless we make some effort to perpetuate it. With the passing of the direct British connection in India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Burma, it is almost inevitable that, unless we make an effort, the standard of knowledge of English in those countries will decline. And that is not the end of the matter. I do not know how many times I have been asked—and probably my noble friend will support me in this—by leading personalities in all those countries of Asia:"What are you going to do to help us to diffuse more widely in our countries knowledge of the English language?" In countries, on the one hand, like Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and, on the other, Indonesia, the first group of which had as their second language until recently French, and the second until recently Dutch, they have now turned their backs upon those languages and are seeking to introduce English as their second tongue. They must have help. A person may be able to speak English yet at the same time be incapable of teaching it, and the teachers that we send out must be qualified teachers.
§ The British Council—and I have visited them in a great many places in all quarters of the world—have in my view done an heroic job in the teaching of English, often in conditions of immense difficulty, discomfort and discouragement. 276 But they must have support if they are to extend their activities into the wider sphere in which it is demanded. It is indeed a scandal that English should to-day be taught, as I am told with great efficiency, to Asians by Russians while we stand aside. It is quite true that in some ways the Russians have advantages with which it is difficult for us to compete. We are apt to forget that three-quarters of the U.S.S.R. is itself in Asia; and there are, I believe, great institutions of oriental studies in Leningrad, Moscow, Tashkent, Vladivostok and elsewhere, institutions on a scale with which we are quite unable to compete. On that I would make the point that this traffic in language has to be a two-way traffic. It is little good sending out people to teach a language in a foreign country unless they have at least some working knowledge of the language of the country to which they are going.
§ From these academies to which I have referred, those under Soviet control, diplomats (in the somewhat elastic sense attached by the Soviet to that word) emerge fully instructed in the language, customs and culture of the countries to which they are to he, officially or unofficially, accredited. We cannot afford to lag behind in this field. It is one of immense importance, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government will do what they can. I know that there is a shortage of teachers here, but there may be among them some young adventurous people of both sexes who at the end of their period of training may not find themselves greatly attracted by the immediate prospect of a life of teaching in this country but who would be fired by the possibility of adventure in some of these countries in Asia, with all the immense results for the future that would lie in their hands to collect. So much for my rather lengthy parenthesis.
§ If I may return to my main theme, I have seen it advocated lately in some quarters that there should be superimposed upon the various and numerous agencies which at present exist for the supervision and distribution of aid some further organisation. I confess that I am always a little suspicious of any kind of global omnipotent control. It is very apt to become out of touch with the work which it is supposed to be doing. 277 There may be good reason for greater co-ordination and elimination inside different countries, or some countries, among the agencies which are at work. But I feel that one central dominant organisation would not be anything like so effective as regional organisations, which would be much better capable of getting into touch with the actual countries for which they were responsible, of understanding local conditions, and of appreciating the immense diversities that exist in the problem as it arises in different q darters of the world.
§ EARL WINTERTON
My Lords, may I ask my noble friend a question? I am sorry to interrupt his most interesting speech. Is not the reason for the advocacy to which he referred the very serious charge which has been made in several quarters, including, I think, The Times, that far too much of this aid does not percolate down to the peasant but is used by the politicians, the professional classes and the industrial classes for their own enhancement? That is a very serious charge.
THE MARQUESS OF READING
My Lords, I saw that accusation, and all I can say is that in my experience I have no evidence to justify it at all. There may be occasions. I have heard the same thing said: that machinery sent out for technical assistance is left to deteriorate in sheds or out in the open, and nobody takes any notice of it. I believe that that may have happened in the early stages. I do not believe—and I have some authority for saying it, because I have had some consultation on the subject—that it exists to-day. So far as this country is concerned, I think that, certainly as regards the Colombo Plan and the other agencies which work in South and South-East Asia, it may confidently be said that duplication of effort has been reduced to a minimum by the system of co-ordination which has been adopted.
My Lords, if there is to be any super-body I should like to see it with something more of the character of an advisory body, on which all the different regions should be represented under a wing of the World Bank. Because, after all, this is, in the end, very largely a question of,"Where is finance coming from?" It might, of course, be possible to devise a new group of suitable initials for any new body which was established, but I should 278 prefer to see it come under the ægis of an existing body. New initials do not always mean new initiatives. In saying that, in laying so much emphasis on the necessity for a regional lay-out of any system of distribution of aid, I am, I confess, greatly influenced by my experience of the Colombo Plan, because there we have it perhaps in its most visible form. It may be that, vast though the area over which they extend is, the countries of South and South-East Asia are, in a sense, compact; they form an entity on their own. And, my Lords, I believe that one of the values of the Colombo Plan has been to give them a sense of that entity and to make them feel that they are, each one, common members with the others of a union of that kind.
The success of the Colombo Plan which I call in aid in this context is, I think, evidenced not only by a great deal that has been done but by two main factors. The first is that, although it started under the inspiration of the late Mr. Ernest Bevin, it started as a purely Commonwealth concept and was confined to seven countries. It is now extended to include nineteen countries which have come in voluntarily to supplement the original seven, come in after having been present, in many cases, as observers and having approved what they saw, and having applied and been elected to full membership of the organisation My Lords, every country which is eligible is now a member, and that, surely, is an immense tribute to the work of the Colombo Plan and to the faith of those countries of Asia for whose benefit it is designed.
The second piece of evidence, I think, lies in the fact that, though it was originally devised to run only seven years from 1950, that period has already been twice extended and is now, I think, to run as far as 1965; and, for my part, I have little doubt that a further extension will be warmly advocated and generally approved. Those are among the factors which lead me to see a future largely on a regional basis, although I would agree that there may be some, and perhaps sometimes considerable, adaptations of the Colombo Plan needed in order to fit the particular conditions of other parts of the world. There, I think, is the basis.
My Lords, I greatly hope that Her Majesty's Government will be far-sighted 279 and generous in dealing with this question of aid. But I would add two riders. The first is that here, if anywhere in the world, is a field for long-term planning, and what is essential is that such sum as is to be contributed must be made known long beforehand and must extend over a substantial period of time. We cannot work this kind of arrangement on a fluctuating basis and without knowing where we are going to stand from one year to the next. I would rather that in the end the aggregate was smaller than it might have been, provided that it is known beforehand and that those responsible are perfectly aware of how they can plan for the future.
The second rider that I would add is this. Do let us be careful in the type of people whom we send out in the course of this aid. It is much better to send nobody at all than to send the wrong people into countries of this kind. Two or three bad choices can upset all the benefit, all the progress, that has been made by their better qualified colleagues. I hope that great attention will be paid to thorough examination of those who are to go out, to make sure not only that they are properly qualified with such technical knowledge as they may be required to possess, but also that they are the kind of person who will take a friendly, human interest in the inhabitants of that country; and it will be better still if we can find those who have a real vocation—and there have been plenty of people of that kind in the past in this country—for work of that kind. It may be that so far the progress has not been as rapid or as extensive as some of your Lordships may have hoped. But there have been great obstacles, and it must be borne in mind that some of the schemes which have been undertaken and are now in process of development are very large-scale schemes indeed, which could not in this country be completed in a brief period of time but which will in due course, I am sure, bring great benefit to the countries in which they are situated.
My Lords, the whole political situation in the world has perhaps not made the task of the application of aid any easier, but the existence of difficulties is no justification for the adoption of defeatism. There is, in my view, great 280 scope for this country to give to this particular object, not only of our substance but of our experience, in order that millions of mankind may begin at least to look forward to a life which will be something ampler and higher than a mere lifelong battle to keep alive. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.
§ Moved, That there be Papers laid before the House relating to the problem of aid to under-developed countries, with special reference to the Colombo Plan.—(The Marquess of Reading.)
§ 3.51 p.m.
My Lords, the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, has already a very considerable record of achievement in this field, and he speaks to us from great first-hand experience of many of the problems under discussion. He is always, if I may say so, one of the most attractive speakers in the House—and, if this is not impertinent, may I say that I think he speaks even better without the aid of the Dispatch Box, which to many of us is an almost indispensable requirement of oratory. We on this side have listened with a great deal of admiration to his speech, and agree with a high proportion of the important things he has said and has expressed so well. I have no personal qualifications of that kind for addressing your Lordships; but it is to me a privilege to speak on a subject which, as the noble Marquess has rightly said, is one of the two or three most important questions in the world—and some would put it even higher.
Moreover, it is a privilege to me to speak on such a subject on behalf of the Labour Party because this is a cause to which our Party has again and again committed itself beyond any question. I should hope that I can avoid introducing an unwelcome degree of partisanship. I certainly have not come down this afternoon to try to boast of our record whilst in office—though certainly we have nothing to be a ashamed of in our record in this connection when we were in office. As the noble Marquess mentioned, Mr. Ernest Bevin and his colleagues were the main initiators of the Colombo Plan; and there is much else of which we have every reason to be proud. But, as I say, I have not come down to compare one record with another, and I am not seeking to prove (which would be offensive and otiose) 281 that, individually, the hearts of those who sit on these Benches are more sensitive to suffering than those of noble Lords opposite. If I found myself in dilficulties—and, heaven knows, it might happen to anybody!—I would sooner approach the noble Earl, Lord Winterton, for a"fiver" than any other Member of the House: and I cannot pay any more of a tribute to the personal generosity of true-blue Conservatives than that.
As I say, we in our Party are committed to certain doctrines—though that is not an attractive word, and is not very popular in England—or to a certain ideology or philosophy. We draw our own philosophy from the brotherhood and equality of man, although we know how difficult it is to give effect to that in practice. To us, the disparity between the standards of life of the poor countries and of the rich countries—and we are ourselves numbered among the rich countries—must represent a special horror and affliction of conscience: and it is a disparity which we all know is steadily increasing. That is, if you like, from the point of view of the Labour Party. But from the national point of view, the duty seems to me to be put far better than I, at any rate, can put it, in many passages from a book by a friend of many of us here, Mr. John Strachey, which book has received a good deal of acclaim in the Press of all Parties. It is a book called The End of Empire.
I intend to quote him more than once, but I quote him now partly because I think the quotation will appeal to members of all Parties and partly because it compensates a little for what I am afraid I must call the rather crude, quantitive approach of my remarks this afternoon. For reasons of time, I shall be talking of so many millions of pounds for this and so many millions of pounds for that: but I think that this passage from the book by Mr. John Strachey shows that we are well aware of the subtle and human aspects, some of which were touched on so well by the noble and learned Marquess. Mr. Strachey says this, among many other interesting things in his book:The highest mission of Britain in our day is to help the under-developed world. It is a mission that cannot be fulfilled by means of Government-sponsored loans and grants alone: though these are its necessary foundation. It must be fulfilled also by individual men and 282 women going out themselves into the struggling, surging four-fifths of the world which are today in the throes of 'the great awakening'. In doing so they will be building upon, though at the same time transforming, one of our deepest national traditions".Those words by Mr. Strachey—whose family has done a great deal of service in India in the past—will be widely acceptable, and I cannot improve upon them at all.
My Lords, I am afraid I am now going to throw out a number of figures. In some cases I may be told, either to-day or later, that more up-to-date figures are available, or that my figures are 1 or 2 per cent. wrong; but they are the figures which have been given to me, and I am offering them for illustration, and not because the exact figure proves anything very particular. These are the latest figures given to me as being the per capita national incomes per year for the United Kingdom and same countries which were until recently or still are, under British control. Britain's national income per head is £300 a year; Egypt's is £43; Ceylon's is £39; Rhodesia and Nyasaland's is £35; Pakistan's is £30; Kenya's is £28; India's is £28, and Uganda's is £22. Taking India, for the sake of argument, the amount is less than £30, and for the United Kingdom it is £300, or ten times as much. That is the starting point, it seems to me, for our general discussion of this problem. I am advised and should mention something that is known to all Members of the House who follow these things, and that is that one should make some allowance for the parts of the economy which never pass through any national income assessment, such as subsistence agriculture; but even if you raise the bottom figure a little, the disparity is certainly very terrible.
That is the world's problem and it is not getting any easier. In Asia the population is increasing by 2 per cent. a year, and this means some 25 million extra mouths to feed in that continent alone each year. So the national income of a country like India must increase by 2 per cent. a year simply to maintain the present average level. It is fairly obvious to all of us—because nobody supposes we can save money in these countries by cutting the standard of life—that in some sense or other large investments of capital must be brought to bear.
283 May I divide what is done or can be done into four headings? They do not conflict with the categories of the noble Marquess but they are drawn up on a different basis. First of all there is private capital; then there is the World Bank; then there is bilateral Government-to-Government aid—our Government lending money, for example, to one other country such as India; then there is international aid—through the United Nations, for example. These methods, though useful for exposition, in fact overlap, and if we take the Colombo Plan I suppose one can say that most of the aid actually given or recorded that goes from this country under the Colombo Plan would be bilateral, although the amount which goes to the administration of the Plan—a figure which was mentioned as being £1.2 million, I think, the last time the Minister spoke of it—would count as multilateral aid. Most of the aid goes directly from this country to other particular countries under the Colombo Plan, but a small proportion of it should perhaps be described as international.
First, I take private capital. I am not going to deride what private capital has done, or can do, and if I stress other forms of aid it is only because I think that they are the greatest need at the present time. It certainly is not my hope that private capital should not be brought in or greatly increased. But private capital is naturally attracted to developed and established countries. Some estimates have been given me, and whether they are right down to the last syllable or not, I think that they are something in the right order of magnitude. It appears that since the war we have invested £500 million in Australia, £500 million in South Africa and £150 million in India. Again, I am not saying anything against investment in Australia and South Africa, but if private capital has its way, it is unlikely to go to the areas where the need is greatest. Even when it does go to under-developed countries, it tends always to go into industries which are established or could be quickly established. There again we cannot assume—
§ EARL WINTERTON
My Lords, would the noble Earl allow me to ask this question, as one who has for a long time had official connection with India? 284 Is it not the case with India that there is not a free influx of capital? The Indians make certain conditions, whereas in the case of Australia and South Africa there is a perfectly free inflow. There is a rather different situation.
My Lords, I am pot trying to prove anything at the moment. I am saying only that we find that private capital does not go where the need is greatest. That could happen, but it is unlikely; and there is no evidence that it ever does happen.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, may I elucidate this point a little further? The noble Lord will find that 90 per cent. of the capital in India is British, because it is practically all private capital.
My Lords, that does not disprove my point that the standard of life in India is one-tenth of the standard of life here. I do not think that up to now what I have said comes into conflict with the proposition advanced by the noble Lords or that what they have said comes into conflict with mine. If it were left to private capital, this aid would never be obtained. That is putting it as plainly as I can put it. But that is not for a moment to disparage what has been done or can be done by private capital.
I come to the World Bank. Again, it is not part of our purpose to disparage or under-estimate what the World Bank has achieved. Last year its capital was doubled. I do not know what part we played in that doubling of the Bank's capital, but we should take any credit which should come to us and wish all luck to the World Bank. Now we have the International Development Association. I do not know whether the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, will say anything about that when he replies but, we naturally welcome this as a new arrival on the scene. I do not know whether it would cause any embarrassment and I dare say the answer could not be very definite, but perhaps the noble Marquess could tell us something about this new mission—it has been called the Bankers' Mission—which I have read about in the papers.
The name of Sir Oliver Franks has been mentioned, and certainly no better name could be mentioned in connection with any mission of that kind, but I 285 believe that, when asked a few days ago, he said that no invitation had come his way. I do not know whether we can be told anything to-day about these bankers or whether what has come out is, perhaps, something of a leak; but it would be helpful to your Lordships who have read the Press reports to know whether these eminent men are going out in connection with the World Bank and to hear more about their activities.
Then I come to bilateral aid. Undoubtedly we have made available very considerable sums. It appears that between 1951 and 1958 we have provided £123 million to Colombo Plan countries. I gave the noble Marquess notice of this question, but I am afraid rather short notice, and therefore I am not sure it is fair to expect an answer. But perhaps he will be able to say whether that figure excludes military expenditure—for instance, in Malaya.
I am very glad to hear that. We must give credit to the Government, or to whoever arranged for this bilateral aid of £123 million.
I come to the international agencies, excluding the World Bank, and here I am afraid that I must describe our record as doleful. According to the best figures available to us (again the noble Marquess may have something more up to date or better), the total United Kingdom contributions in 1958 to all United Nations agencies and bodies were £5.8 million. That is the figure supplied to me, but it may be that we shall hear that it does not include everything. Certainly not all of this was for development. It appears that £1 million is the assessed United Kingdom contribution to the United Nations administrative machine. I am aware that we have increased our contribution to the Special Fund from 1 million dollars, the 1959 figure, to 5 million dollars for the coming year. That is all to the good. But at the same time the Colonial Office have submitted requests for 15 million dollars of loans, so how much we can be said to be doing on balance for the world under this heading is rather hard to make out. Certainly I must regard the whole effort to assist the United Nations administration 286 as being on a depressingly low level and unworthy of the resources of our great country. This, I am sure, is the general view of my noble friends.
§ LORD PETHICK-LAWRENCE
My Lords, before my noble friend continues would he allow me to raise a point? I should be interested, after he has given these important figures of what has been done, to know whether he has taken into account the large sum of money that was owing, in particular, to India, and also to Pakistan, as a result of the war sacrifices. That has enormously assisted the Indian peninsula in its work of recovery and extending its economy.
My Lords, according to my view, the development plan of the Indian Government has been financed up to the present time largely by withdrawals from Indian balances. I entirely accept the importance of what my noble friend has said, but I do not know how far back he wants me to go. I was dealing with assistance through the United Nation agencies, and was not, therefore, giving the total figure for assistance to India, whether through private channels or otherwise. I was dealing with United Nations assistance—what I would call international aid in the full sense.
What are the Labour Party saying should be done? Your Lordships will forgive me, I know, for quoting round figures and speaking in broad terms. And once again the figures may be improved by the time the noble Marquess has wound up. We insist that the bilateral. Government-to-Government aid, and the multilateral aid through the United Nations, should be expanded until it is at least 1 per cent. of out national income. We would exclude, of course, private capital investments. I am not sure what our official view is about the World Bank in this connection, but I should hope that World Bank assistance is also excluded from the 1 per cent. although I cannot commit the Party to that view. That is what the Labour Party are talking about when they talk about providing 1 per cent. of the national income to help the underdeveloped areas. We are not talking about private capital investments, useful and invaluable though they may be; we are talking about Government-to-Government aid, both bilateral and multilateral.
287 According to the latest calculations, the national income, in spite of our beneficient rulers, appears to be going up, and according to the latest figures we have, 1 per cent. would be about £180 million. Again according to the latest figures given by the Minister, the comparable figure actually being provided through the Government at the present time would be about £90 million, or about a half. The Minister, the right honourable gentleman Mr. Erroll, explained in July that that figure was increasing. So I dare say that the aid now being given is running at a good deal higher level than that figure of £90 million a year. But then, as I say, the national income is increasing. At any rate, according to our latest figures, it is the provision of, say, a half, or, if you like, not much more than half, the total which we ourselves would have in mind.
But the total quantity provided is not the whole matter under argument. At the present time, we are providing, as I say, only £5.8 million in international aid out of the £180 million which we should like to see provided. We lay special importance on the aid coming through the United Nations. Let me repeat, ad nauseam I am afraid, that we do not want to disparage other forms of aid, but we do think that aid coming through the United Nations is the most valuable.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I think the noble Lord is being a little misleading. He says that we are providing only £5 million out of the total of £180 million which the Labour Party would like to see. But there is the World Bank, the subscription to the International Monetary Fund and there is to be the I.D.A. These all come under the heading of aid, but they do not happen to channel through the United Nations. As I say, the noble Lord is being a little misleading in the way he puts it.
I am always open to correction about my method of exposition, but I think that when the noble Earl reads Hansard he will see that I said that the Government were providing £90 million in total, against £180 million; and I said that that figure was said to be increasing. So what I 288 actually said was that if you take the target of the Labour Party of £180 million, we are going only half way towards that object, or possibly rather more than half way, because I appreciate that the figure would be going up in the current year. If I slightly blurred that statement by going back to the £5.8 million, I apologise. Heaven knows how difficult it is to make figures intelligible to oneself, let alone to others!
§ LORD MCCORQUODALE OF NEWTON
My Lords, may I be allowed to say this? The noble Lord emphasised that private enterprise money is going in, and that he is not taking that into calculation, although it is of vital importance. There is a great deal of enterprise money which would go into the under-developed countries if they would accept it and give it a right deal. But it is difficult to suggest that private enterprise money should go into a country like Ceylon, which is threatening to nationalise it at any moment.
I must be forgiven if I do not pursue that line of argument or defend the Government of Ceylon. I am sticking to my point that our national duty is represented most directly by our contribution through these Government agencies. I have said three or four times already, but I will say it again, that we welcome anything that private enterprise can do, in addition.
What I was trying to say—and I apologise if I did not make it plain—was this: that £5.8 million is rather a derisory figure. If I misled the House by comparing that with the £180 million, I withdraw that comparison. It does not go very far, in any case, whatever comparison may be taken. We say that, while the total ought to be increased, the proportion going through the United Nations should be much expanded: there should be an increase in total and a much higher proportion going through the United Nations. If noble Lords ask,"Why do we prefer the United Nations?", I could give several explanations or reasons for that. The general one, which I will not dwell upon—and I think we all in this House agree upon this—is that anything which strengthens the United Nations is itself likely to strengthen world peace Another reason 289 is that the United Nations could be the best of all co-ordinating pieces of machinery. I will not become involved in an argument with the noble Marquess as to that matter, but I put it on record as our view.
The two main reasons that we have for preferring the United Nations are these. The first is one with which the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, dealt with great effect by using that very telling expression about the fear that strings will become chains. That puts it better than I can put it. But we are most anxious to see that this aid is likely to be much more acceptable to the receiving county in question, and we think it is more likely to be acceptable if it is shorn of any possible taint of exploitation or patronage. The second reason is a wider one, which I put forward with conviction and yet also somewhat tentatively, because it involves a number of considerations about some of which, at least, the position is not entirely plain to me. Certainly if we operate through the United Nations that eliminates any suggestion of a connection with the cold war, and one would think, therefore, that it would make co-operation easier with the U.S.S.R. I hope that the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, may feel able to say something about that.
We are well aware that Mr. Khrushchev, in his speech on September 18, laid considerable stress on the opportunities which disarmament would provide for a great increase in aid to the underdeveloped areas. We on these Benches—and I think this is probably common to the whole House—feel that these questions of aid and disarmament are inextricably linked together. Certainly we regard with horror, as I think everyone must, the thought that we are spending £1,500 million a year on armaments and are yet having the greatest difficulty in making these much smaller sums available for aid. I appreciate that it is easier to spend a large sum of money in your own country than to transfer it, as was found after the last war when an attempt was made to extract reparations from Germany. But when we think of £1,500 million a year spent on armaments, and compare it with the sums we are now taking about, of £100 million or £200 million, for aid, there is a painful moral to be drawn which does not 290 reflect discredit on our country in particular, but which does reflect discredit on the whole of the modern world.
At the same time, I agree that there is a certain danger in linking these questions too closely together, because if disarmament proves difficult, or appears to be impossible for a time, that, in turn, can be used as an argument against extending aid; and I am sure that nobody on these Benches would like to use the argument that we must hold up aid in the hope of achieving disarmament in that sort of connection. The fact is that in the current Session of the Assembly the Soviet Union have stated a willingness to work through the United Nations in this field, and we on these Benches feel that Her Majesty's Government should explore carefully what machinery the Soviet Union would be prepared to join in. We put that forward in an exploratory way, but with a great deal of concern and interest. I hope that the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, will be able to say something about it.
We strongly agree, I am sure, with what the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, said on a rather wider though related point, about the need for broadening the whole front of the aid among countries. I thought he expressed that most effectively. Let me be quite blunt and ask: should we not seek to draw in Germany, in general, and in the prosperous countries of the West, on a much wider front than has yet been possible? The noble Marquess will not accuse me of any desire to be anti-German. I have no reason whatever to think that the Germans would not play a good and helpful part in this matter, and I think the effort should be made to find out what can be done among countries that have not yet been approached.
THE MARQUESS OF READING
I think I said in that connection, when I was referring quite obviously, though perhaps not by name, to Germany, that it might well be that the mechanism for helping had not yet presented itself. I did not attach any blame.
Exactly. I am sure that we are at one there. We certainly feel that this is a case where we 291 can give a lead, even with our limited population and our always limited resources. This is a case where a British lead could, and should, be given. But one is bound to say that when one tries to give a lead of that kind one's experience, initiative, and all the rest I suppose, weigh comparatively little against the example. The question comes down to this: what is the example we are setting? We do not consider that we have yet set a sufficiently high example of sacrifice, and we ask the Government to consider whether, by greater sacrifices ourselves, a lead could not be given.
I come to a close. The case for economic aid of this kind can be presented as a moral one, an economic one or a political one—and the noble Marquess who opened the debate dealt with all those aspects. It would certainly be wrong to assume that a sacrifice of this kind must necessarily damage us. It may be that a policy of generosity will also be a policy of economic wisdom. We could cast our bread on the waters and recover it after not so many days. It might well be that a more generous policy would lead to greater exports, and certainly from the political point of view it might be something to combat Communism. If one takes that point of view, is one saying something different from what is said in the Gospel?:I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in:… Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.Is there a conflict between the two? I think there could be. It is wrong to assume that when we make a sacrifice we always get our money back. I do not think there need be a conflict, but I think it would be right to assume that we are taking this matter primarily from the moral point of view. You must pay attention to economic realities and to the question of what is possible for a country with resources such as ours. On this great question I have searched for years and I have not found words better than those in Mr. Strachey's book The End of Empire. I do not think he would describe himself doctrinally, but no more Christian words can be found than those 292 in the chapter"My Brother's Keeper?", where he says:The truth is that there is only one conclusive reason why we should help the peoples of the undeveloped world: and that is because it is right for us to do so. It is morally right. It is to-day a moral imperative for the nations of the Western world to use a part of their great resources to aid the peoples who still live and die in destitution. If this is not right, what is?He goes on to say:The moral and the material factors are inextricably united … two thousand million hungering, suffering, struggling men and women need the help which we alone can give. The world to-day is a ten thousand times more dynamic place than ever before in its history We have only to go out into it both to lose and to find ourselves.I do not think that I or anyone here is likely to improve on those words, and I have much pleasure in supporting the spirit of the Motion of the noble Marquess.
§ 4.25 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I am sure we are all very grateful to my noble friend Lord Reading for moving this Motion. He was able to speak with such intimate knowledge, particularly of the Colombo Plan and of the South-East Asian region, to which he principally confined his remarks. I think we must all have listened with great interest to the most sincere observations of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, although I confess that I was unable to follow some of his mathematical arguments. I have just come back from Indonesia, where the last Colombo Plan Conference was held, and inevitably my remarks will be coloured by my experience and in my subsequent travels through South-East Asia. But perhaps it would not be a waste of your Lordships' time if I tried to outline what in fact the Colombo Plan is doing. I do not do this only as a rebuttal of some of the observations made by the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, but to put on record what in fact is happening. I think, perhaps, some of your Lordships may care to hear some of the details.
As your Lordships will remember, the Colombo Plan started ten years ago and, as the noble Marquess reminded us, it was then a relatively small affair, with only seven countries. It was largely the brain-child of Mr. Ernest Bevin, and I, too, should like to pay my personal 293 tribute to his vision—vision that has been so well proved right by the growth of this organisation and by the strength and importance that it has achieved. We owe a lot to this wise man. This Plan was supported right from the start by the United States of America, although she did not become a full member until 1951. As the noble Marquess has reminded us, the Colombo Plan Conference new consists of no fewer than nineteen countries. We added another one this year, Singapore, and I had the honour, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, of proposing the acceptance of Singapore as a full member of the Colombo Plan—this, of course, as your Lordships realise, is in conformity with the new Constitution of Singapore. So we now have this group of nineteen countries covering all the countries of South-East Asia, from Pakistan through the Philippines up to Japan.
Perhaps it would be well if we reflected for a moment about the thought which was behind the Colombo Plan when it was initiated, and think that here the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, will wish to listen with attention. I believe that the thought which was behind the Colombo Plan, and the thought which is in the minds of the supporters of the Colombo Plan now, was that it should focus the attention of the whole world on the practical problems facing the countries of South-East Asia: the problems arising from the massive increases of populations in those countries; the problems arising from the determination of those countries to provide higher living standards, education, health services and skilled manpower, all in this generation: and the problem of how to convert waterless wastes into fertile lands which ultimately can absorb these alarmingly increasing populations.
The founders of the Plan did not attempt to draw up a blueprint. What they wanted to do, I think, and what they have largely achieved, was to create a sense of international responsibility, with each member country making its own best effort and helping others—in fact, the idea of co-operation and interdependence. For this plan to be successful, the question of consultation and review is obviously vital, and it is through these annual conferences of the Colombo Plan Consultative Committee 294 that we are able to discuss together what has been achieved and what should be planned for the future.
Here I would like to say a word about our attitude of mind—and I think the noble Marquess, in his remarkable and interesting opening speech, has already touched on this point: it struck me, too, as it has struck him on the four occasions when he led the United Kingdom delegation. I feel that it is absolutely imperative that we of the West should not try to impose upon our brothers of the East our ways, nor attempt to impose upon them an order of priorities against their judgment. We must together consult and consider, and it is in that way that the spirit of co-operation that does exist in the Colombo Plan has been achieved. And I would not for one moment allow the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, to think that belief in the brotherhood of man is something which is held only by noble Lords on his side of the House. I myself, and noble Lords behind me, believe just as strongly as he does in the brotherhood of man.
I think it may be interesting to your Lordships if I here say something which I heard at the last Colombo Plan Conference. The Conference was opened by the President of Indonesia. President Sukarno. He made a long and striking speech, and that speech had, as it were, a background theme which permeated all his ideas. And it was simply this: that"we of the East must develop in our own ways." Later in the course of the Conference, Mr. Nash, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who was leading the New Zealand delegation, in the course of a most interesting speech, and in his own inimitable style, referred to what he called the two great crimes. The first crime, as he put it, was the crime of allowing others to starve when there were means to prevent it. The second crime was trying to make a man change from the reality of himself into something else, the twisting of man's nature to conform to a particular pattern. And in his view the second crime was the greater of the two. He put it in this way, the"destruction of a man's soul". I believe that in our co-operation with our Asian friends we have to be most careful not to approach problems from a preconceived Western viewpoint, and I believe that only in that way, with the long-term planning 295 to which the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, has referred, shall we achieve the best results.
I heard it said by people when I was travelling through South-East Asia that"the problem is so big, there is so much to do, that it does not matter where you start, so long as you start." I believe that to be a profoundly wrong attitude. I believe it to be extremely important that we should go to infinite pains to see that we start at the right place, and that every pound, every dollar, of aid is properly spent for the best possible purposes. We have, as your Lordships probably remember, the help of the organisation E.C.A.F.E.—the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East. They have their headquarters in Bangkok, and this organisation studies economic situations, problems and projects, and enormously helps the Governments in this area to assess their problems and to work out their projects. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit E.C.A.F.E. and have discussions with fifteen experts there. We particularly discussed the Mekong Valley scheme, and from talking with those men, who were drawn from every nationality, from every country, I realised that here were a devoted body of international civil servants giving of their very utmost to help these countries of South-East Asia. Some of them, of course, were South-East Asians themselves.
The nineteen member countries of the Colombo Plan are still classified as donors and recipients, but as the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, will, I am sure, bear out, the plan is evolving, and quite often the recipients are becoming donors themselves, giving technical training, and in some cases giving capital. In the year ending June, 1959, for instance, India spent over £100,000 on technical assistance outside India for the benefit of people outside India. India is also giving aid to Nepal under the current Nepalese Five-Year Plan. Similarly, Pakistan has provided training for nearly 100 trainees, Ceylon for approximately 50 trainees, and Malaya for 25. So here we have a spirit of co-operation, of interdependence, and, above all things, of self-help, which is steadily growing. In order to assist this sort of help between the countries of the area, there is a plan that the Ford 296 Foundation shall make a survey of the potential training facilities of the area, and this, I believe, will be very valuable.
What, in fact, is being done on the capital aid side? I feel that I must give your Lordships a few examples. There are many more I could give, but I should like to have these examples on record. First of all, I would remind your Lordships of the great Durgapur steelworks. The estimated cost of this project is about £105 million. The United Kingdom has made a credit to the Indian Government of £15 million. A seven-year loan of £11½ million has been arranged by a British firm of bankers, supported by five other leading United Kingdom banks. The remainder of the external costs will be met from the Indian Government's own foreign exchange resources. Then there is the Warsak Dam in Pakistan. This is a Canadian project; the Canadians are helping to build the dam and they have provided a very substantial grant. In Laos there is the Dong Dok Dam, which is being built by the United States, also under a grant. For Malaya, the Australians are sending diesel railcars to the value of £5 million. For Pakistan, the New Zealand Government is making a grant of £200,000 for the erection of a sugar mill. In Singapore the United Kingdom, with grants from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund, is financing improvements and development of the airport.
Then we come to the total amount of loans from the I.B.R.D., the World Bank, since it started in 1947 to June, 1959, which is the date of the last figure I have. The countries of the Colombo Plan area have received 1,117 million dollars. Excluding this money, from I.B.R.D. loans, the total assistance to the area since 1950 amounts to 6,000 million dollars or £2,142 million. I think that these figures may be of interest to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham.
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Marquess? I do not know whether now, or possibly later when the noble Earl replies, we could be given any idea of the total Government aid to under-developed countries during the latest year. It is rather easier for our purpose, at any rate, if it could be given for the last year.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My noble friend will deal with that in his winding-up speech. On the side of technical aid, here again a great deal has been done. The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, referred in the course of his speech to the value which he attaches to technical aid, and I believe that we in this country have perhaps more qualifications for giving this aid. For instance, we have aided in Indonesia in the civil air training school. The Australians have helped in Indonesia in making a rehabilitation centre, giving hospital equipment, X-ray machines and so on. Then there is the Mekong Valley Scheme, to which I have already referred, with the United States, Canada, Japan, France, New Zealand and ourselves all taking part. There is the Canadian highway consultation team which is helping the Government of Burma. There is the Japanese-aided agricultural technical centre in Cambodia and so on.
I could expand the list considerably, but I will not do so at the risk of boring your Lordships, except perhaps to refer in particular to United States aid to the malaria eradication programme which takes place throughout the area. India is the largest recipient of assistance in this respect, and since the programme started, in 1952, the annual incidence of malaria in India has fallen from 75 million oases to 20 million cases—still a formidable figure. Of course, we participate in this scheme through the World Health Organisation. Since 1950, training has been given to no less than 18,000 students and over 10,000 experts of one sort and another. All this aid is co-ordinated by a small permanent office in Colombo—the Colombo Plan Bureau, which is supervised by the Colombo Plan Technical Co-operation Council, a standing committee of officials in Colombo. So far as I have been able to ascertain, the administrative cost will, in all, be about £42,000 in 1959–60, of which the United Kingdom share is about £2,250–4he total cost of the administration will be about £42,000 in 1959–60, of which the United Kingdom share is about £2,250. All member countries pay an equal share. I particularly read out those figures because I thought the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, might wish to have them.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I have already read them twice. The noble Lord was not listening the first time.
I was not sure whether the figures were right. If the noble Marquess will repeat them, my point may become clear.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
That is the figure that I have. If I am incorrect, I will at once inform the noble Lord.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
Nineteen. As I have already said, a great deal of our aid goes into technical assistance, and I think it is true to say that because of our colonial experience we are particularly well placed to offer assistance of that sort. I am happy to be able to inform your Lordships that the tempo of the technical assistance which is being given from this country is increasing rapidly. In 1958 we gave technical assistance to the value of £1 million. Over the period 1956–63 our contribution will be in all £9 million, and we shall be spending at the rate of £2 million per annum over the next three years.
The Technical Co-operation Scheme of the Colombo Plan, is, I think, a particularly successful part of the Plan. That is something to which the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, referred. By June, 1959, the United Kingdom had provided 2,600 training places for Colombo Plan students in this country. The subjects that were given to these students included modern technology, engineering, agriculture, medicine, research—all valuable practical subjects for use in their own countries. The United States contribution for technical aid—of tremendous assistance—in the last year amounted to no less than 31 million dollars. In the same period, 360 United Kingdom experts have taken up assignments in Asia, helping in public administration, teaching in universities, and advising on technical projects.
299 In this connection, I think I should refer to what is being done by private firms and by the Federation of British Industries. They provide scholarships and they give a considerable amount of training to technicians overseas. I understand that they have recently formed a committee on policy towards under-developed countries. I have here a long and impressive list of the companies which are participating in this committee. I have no doubt that it will be a most valuable addition to the work of aid in South East Asia and elsewhere.
On the side of capital aid, we have many different channels through which this goes, and my noble friend the Leader of the House will have more to say about this in his winding-up speech at the end of the debate. But I would give just one figure now to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, lest he be impatient. It is, that since the beginning of the Colombo Plan the United Kingdom has committed £150 million sterling, and has actually disbursed £100 million. In the year ended June, 1959, we spent nearly £30 million, which was more than twice our average of previous years. I think that the noble Lord—I am sure not deliberately—tended rather to discount our contributions through the World Bank, which, after all, is an adjunct of the United Nations. Here, as the noble Lord well knows, our contribution is 14 per cent. of the total. After the United States we are the largest subscriber at 14 per cent. The United States stands at 33 per cent.; then we come down to France at 5½ per cent., then to West Germany at 3.45 per cent. The total loans from the World Bank since 1947, up to June, 1959, amounted to 4,426 million dollars, of which, as I have already said, 1,117 million dollars went to the present Colombo Plan countries, a not insignificant sum.
Then, of course, there is the International Development Association, and, as has already been stated in your Lordships' House, Her Majesty's Government have blessed this scheme and have undertaken to contribute £50 million—that is to say, at the same rate (14 per cent. of the whole) as our contribution to the World Bank, the total proposed capital being 1,000 million dollars.
My Lords, if the noble Marquess would not mind my 300 interrupting him—he has been very kind and helpful—I suppose he would regard that as a capital payment. He would not add the £50 million to our total for the year. It is a capital sum?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
Yes. I think the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, may feel, as I feel—and we all want to do more—that we have all played our part; and we are determined to continue to do so. We hope to maintain the momentum and if possible to increase it. As I have explained to your Lordships, it is increasing steadily all the time. But I do not think it is necessary for me to remind your Lordships that our ability to make any contribution or to give any aid at all depends upon the soundness of our own economy at home and the strength of our pound sterling.
I know that there have been some criticisms about wasted aid. I feel that it would be wrong for me or anyone to deny that it the past there has been waste. The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, referred to that in the course of his remarks. But I believe that the greatest form of waste is likely to be caused by funds being distributed without adequate knowledge for their use. This is where the question of education is vital. I was particularly glad to hear the noble Marquess talk in terms of a long-term plan, for surely education must be at the heart of all these schemes. Obviously, funds without the knowledge to use them are likely to be wasted.
In the sphere of technical education English is becoming the lingua franca, as the noble Marquess has reminded us. Until the English language has been learned, young men or women who wish to take up technological studies cannot do so, and therefore there is this cry which has been repeated to me on numerous occasions, as it has to the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, for more English teachers. One has heard that on all sides. One hears in this country, in this Welfare State of ours, that among the youth of the country there is sometimes an element of frustration; and apparently there is insufficient adventure. We have had to invent schemes such as the Outward Bound to provide adventure for our young Britons. I submit that there is plenty of scope for all the adventure that these young men and women need if they would 301 volunteer to go out to these less developed countries and offer their services as teachers of the English language and of technical subjects.
I most sincerely hope that it may be possible for some generous treatment to be given to young men and women who volunteer for such work, for I believe that they would deserve some degree of generosity; for it may be that they would feel that by leaving this country they would interrupt their normal professional careers. That is something which perhaps should be studied and carefully considered. Certainly this seems to me to be one of the first priorities. In passing, I would just add that in Indonesia all technical teaching is now done in the English language, so that we have a rôle to fulfil here; but we have not yet sufficient teachers. I know perfectly well that there is a shortage of teachers in this country, as the noble Marquess has said; but I sincerely hope that among the more adventurous spirits in this country there may be a number who will volunteer to work overseas. At the same time, we must not forget that in our universities and training colleges in this country of ours there are now no fewer than 40,000 students from overseas. Here, of course, is a great contribution which is being made by this country.
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, if the noble Marquess will forgive me for intervening for a moment on this question of teachers, I wonder whether it could be arranged—I thought possibly it had been—that service abroad should count towards teachers' pensions in this country. I know that at one time there was great difficulty in getting teachers to volunteer to go abroad because such periods did not count towards their pensions in this country. I do not know whether that difficulty was ever overcome. I have an idea that it was. Certainly that was one of the difficulties in getting young people to volunteer.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Lord. I must confess that I do not know the answer to his question. I hope the noble Lord is right and that something of that nature does or may exist as a helping hand to teachers.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I think that that is a very important point. I just want to mention what may appear to be a relatively small thing, but it is one that illustrates the attitude of mind in the Colombo Plan. There is also a system called"Third Country Training," of which the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, will have recollections, under which, for example, Indonesians may be trained in harbour administration in Singapore, and Cambodians may be sent to Singapore to learn English. It is a roundabout system, but it is all building up a co-operative spirit; and I believe, with the noble Marquess, that there is tremendous value in the two-way traffic. The traffic is not all one-way. If we send teachers and technologists overseas they are not only going to teach; they are also going to learn, and that in itself will be of great value to this country, quite apart from what we may be able to give.
I want to say just a few words about the terrifying problem of population. The statisticians tell us that the world population is now 2,800 million, and that in 1975 it will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3,800 million—an increase of 1,000 million in fifteen years. Approximately one-quarter of the world's population is in the Colombo Plan area, and I believe it is a fact that this is one of the fastest breeding areas in the world. Somehow or other, agriculture has to keep pace with this tremendous increase in population. I believe that probably this is the greatest problem of all. How are we going to contrive to make the land produce sufficient to feed these rapidly growing populations?
In the course of my travels, I had conversations with many leading politicians, and I remember particularly speaking with Mr. Krishna Menon, in Delhi. He spoke at great length about this problem of population, and also of how agriculture in the countries of the East could be made more efficient. I had the same conversation with Mr. Patil, who recently visited the United Kingdom and was shown round some of our experimental agricultural stations by the Minister of Agriculture and my noble friend Lord Waldegrave. This, I believe, is a matter to which we in the United Kingdom must apply our minds: how can we give help, and what advice 303 can we proffer to the countries of the East, particularly in their agricultural problems? For though we may build roads, we may put up factories and so on, if the peoples' bellies are empty all that will be useless.
The problem of birth control is, I know, being carefully studied, and I think that perhaps the principle is slowly becoming more acceptable. But, after all, as we all know, in these countries of the East the sons of a family have so long been looked upon as an investment that it is bound to be difficult to break with that old tradition. As it was put to me, family planning is a wonderful thing, and it is, I suppose, a matter for great credit that the birth rate should be going up and child mortality going down. But, of course, with family planning we do not necessarily reduce the population. Whereas before we perhaps had the tragedy of five children dying out of a family of six, now we may have families of three where two survive. So there is there a tremendous problem which, somehow or other, must be overcome. I understand that in 1962 the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East and the World Health Organisation are to hold a special conference in Tokyo, where they will study this question of family planning, the question of food and the question of housing; and in the meantime all the countries of the region are holding censuses so that they will be in a position to provide adequate data on which this conference can work.
My noble friend Lord Reading said a word or two about the question of coordination. I am entirely in agreement with him. I do not believe that some great power at the top is wise. I believe that something in the nature of a regional: scheme would be more acceptable, a regional scheme of co-ordination, relying still, as we do now, on the World Bank as being the central clearing house, as it were. Because, after all, so much of the work does in fact go through the World Bank. In conclusion, my Lords—and I apologise for speaking at such great length—I should like, very briefly, to give your Lordships two or three of my own impressions from the Colombo Plan Conference.
My Lords, would the noble Marquess allow me to interrupt? I do so only in order to apologise for having to leave the House—to apologise to him, to the noble Earl the Leader and to the House. It is not a World Bank engagement that takes me away, but the noble Marquess would think it the next best thing. And I should like to thank the noble Marquess for his very full answer.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Lord. The first thing that struck me (and I am sure that it also struck my noble friend Lord Reading) was that we sat round the table, nineteen different delegations, in a spirit of absolute co-operation, trying together to find solutions to immense human—and I emphasise that word"human"—problems. I also felt very conscious that there was no sense of the donors"lording it" (if I may use the expression), over the recipients. Nothing of that sort appeared in any of the meetings which I attended.
Then there was this point to which I have already referred: the importance of the Europeans, or the countries of European origin, not approaching Asian problems from a preconceived Western point of view—and I do not think that that point can be stressed too strongly. Another thing which struck me very forcibly was the sense of friendship that can be engendered by participating with other countries in an attempt to find solutions to problems affecting a third party: in other words, co-operating in altruism. Perhaps, my Lords, a further adoption of such a principle of action might go a long way to breaking down national barriers. I believe that might be so. My noble friend Lord Reading has reported to your Lordships that the Colombo Plan Conference is to be extended for yet a further period; and in 1964 there will be a review to consider a further period of extension after 1966. I, for my part, sincerely hope that there will be a further extension.
Before I close, I should like to put on record in your Lordships' House the gratitude of Her Majesty's Government to the Government of Indonesia who were the host country this year. I should like not only to thank them; I should like also to congratulate them on the extremely efficient way they ran the Conference and the generous and imaginative 305 way in which they looked after their guests. But Indonesia was not only a host but is also an active participant in the Colombo Plan.
My Lords, we all know that the problems involved are immense. I believe, as my noble friend Lord Reading does, and as the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, does, that what we have been discussing to-day is one of the most important things we have to think about—the problem of aid to under-developed countries. I know that on all sides of the House there are some of your Lordships who are impatient at the rate of progress. I believe that also among the thinking people outside there may be an impatience. But, my Lords, the tempo is quickening; we are learning all the time, and what we must be concerned with is what is practicable.
§ 5.9 p.m.
§ LORD SALTER
My Lords, I should like to make a few limited observations suggested by what has been said and what has not been said in the speeches that have already been made. What I say will not relate exclusively or even specially to the countries associated in the Colombo Plan as distinct from those under-developed countries which are outside that association.
The first thing I want to say is that I think we aught to have a clear distinction in our mind between charitable aid and productive investment, even though both in motive and in practice the two may often be combined. For example, the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, gave us a picture of relative need by giving us estimates of income per capita in different countries of the world. He then pointed out that the relative need as so measured was very different from the proportions in which private capital had been flowing to different parts of the world. Of course that is so. It should be so. Private investment not only is but should be related, not to human need in the sense of the lesser standards of living in certain countries, but to opportunities of productive investment. When you come to Governments and Government provided money, it is, of course, proper to have more regard to a criterion of need: but even then, my Lords, I suggest that we should all agree that it is desirable to the utmost possible extent that the public money provided should be so 306 used as to take any opportunity of productive investment, and thus make the recipient country more and more, instead of less and less, self-supporting in the future.
To-night I do not propose to say anything of the purely charitable assistance that is given without hope or expectation that it will fructify and increase the general economic resources of the recipient countries; I propose to speak only of the cases in which money is provided for the purpose and with the hope that it will fructify and raise the general economic standard of the countries receiving it. After some experience of development and reconstruction projects in many parts of the world, starting more than 30 years ago, one thing has been burnt into me, and it is this: that if you are going to get results, it is not only desirable but essential that the projects for which the money is provided should be well chosen, and that adequate safeguards should be found to ensure that that money will be efficiently spent and devoted to the purposes for which it was provided.
Secondly, it will rarely be possible to ensure this without some kind of association of the countries from which the capital is coming with the administration of those to which it is going, both in the establishment of the necessary conditions and safeguards and in their subsequent observance and carrying out. And that, my Lords, is an extraordinarily difficult thing to secure: much more difficult in the present period, when the recipient countries are so much more sensitive as to their independence and as to anything which they call political strings, than before the last war. It is extraordinarily difficult for that reason to secure that conditions shall be accepted and observed which will make the schemes for which the money is provided successful.
It is also more difficult for the representatives of a Government, or of Governments, to secure these safeguards and their maintenance than it is for institutions that present themselves to the recipient countries as banking institutions, whether private or public. I do not know precisely how the new I.D.A. is to be administered, but I am sure that, if it is administered by means of negotiations through governmental 307 representatives, they will find it much more difficult—perhaps impossible—to secure the necessary safeguards than, for example, an institution such as the World Bank. The World Bank is an official institution associated with the United Nations; but it is an institution that presents itself to a borrowing country as a banker, concerned, when he asks for a certain safeguard, to secure something that is required for the technical success of the project for which the money is being provided, rather than for a political purpose. The Bank is also, of course, more acceptable because it is an international and not a national institution.
The difficulty about making the investment through the World Bank is that it is essential that the World Bank should make its own loans only such as are proper for a prudent banker. Its prestige and its opportunity for useful work in future will depend upon its record and upon its reputation being maintained. At the same time, it is quite clear that a great deal of money ought to be spent in under-developed countries on projects that go beyond the limits that a prudent banker would think necessary. There are many projects which are promising but precarious which should, having regard to all their possible consequences and benefits, be undertaken if possible, but which cannot properly be undertaken by a body like the World Bank without the grave danger of the World Bank's prestige and opportunities for further useful work being fatally impaired.
In these circumstances, the suggestion I wish to put before your Lordships is this. I think that a body like the I.D.A., or any other form of governmental institution, would do well to use an institution like the World Bank as an instrument in relation to its own provision of money. In the case of a particular recipient country, the World Bank might go up to a certain point and on certain conditions be prepared, as it now does, to lend its own money; but beyond that point I suggest that it might act as the agent of the Government or Governments concerned. So that, in effect, the World Bank would be as safe as it is in relation to its present work; and it would, up to the point it was prepared to go, have, so to speak, a first mortgage 308 upon any return from the borrowing country. The institution providing public money would utilise, would take advantage of, the fact that it was able to get better conditions in the negotiations if these were conducted by means of people who present themselves as bankers; and it would then have, so to speak, a second mortgage only on what is available for repayment. I realise that that is a suggestion that is somewhat technical, and which wants a fuller description than it is possible for me to attempt this evening without unduly trespassing upon your Lordships' indulgence; but I commend it for your consideration.
I would add only this concluding observation. We have in the last ten years or so had many examples of how to provide capital and how not to. There are a great number of people of different countries and of different nationalities who have direct and very valuable experience that may be relevant to what has to be done in the future. It is very important that there should be a collective attempt to try to secure from a few of these very carefully selected people the fruits of this experience, to distil their wisdom and utilise it for the tasks that lie ahead. Of course, we cannot get from them, or any other source, a static or uniform doctrine. The methods adopted will have to vary from time to time and from country to country according to varying political, economic and other conditions. But I think we could derive very great help for future public loans, national or international, and increase the chance that the moneys provided for development will be utilised successfully for development and will neither be wasted by incompetence nor diverted from their proper purpose. I do not ask the noble Earl who is to reply to comment on this to-day—I realise that it wants a much fuller exposition than I have been able to give now—but I do ask him to see that this is referred for consideration to those of his colleagues who are principally concerned.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, I rise with a certain degree of embarrassment. A few moments ago, my noble friend Lord Pakenham sought the forgiveness of the noble Earl the Leader of the 309 House for having to leave before the end of the debate, and I am afraid that I must ask for the same forgiveness. When I put my name down on the list of speakers, I did not expect that I should have to be in Scotland to-morrow morning at nine o'clock. But I was anxious to take part in this debate, and as a sign of my earnestness I may say that, instead of travelling in reasonable comfort during the day, I shall be sitting up most of the night, because British Railways are having a profitable time in selling sleepers.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
Your Lordships, I know, are grateful to the noble Marquess for intiating this debate. I think that it is a happy coincidence that to-day your Lordships have also given a Third Reading to the Marshall Scholarships Bill. I am sure that your Lordships appreciate that there is a common aim between Marshall aid and the Colombo Plan. Although the methods are different, the conception of aid and generosity is the same. My noble friend Lord Pakenham has already mentioned Mr. Ernest Bevin. I was in Colombo when Mr. Bevin was attending the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers' Conference, and when I saw him I was appalled at his condition. He had to be carried into the conference room. But his dedication to his work made him continue. I believe that the name of Ernest Bevin will go down in the history of our country and the free world in the same way as that of General Marshall.
I was pleased to hear the noble Marquess stress in his speech that when we talk of under-developed countries we must not think only of South-East Asia. There are under-developed countries much closer to us. I was also pleased that a few weeks ago the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference at Washington adopted a resolution stating that N.A.T.O. countries, as one of their first aims, should give aid to the weaker countries in Europe and that the new trading organisations being built up in Europe should not raise barriers to make life in these poorer countries more difficult.
As I listened to the noble Marquess giving a report of what had been done under the Colombo Plan during the last 310 year, I shared his pride. Perhaps we have not done all that we could have done: we certainly have not done all that we should like to do. I think that there is the same feeling in the United States, where the aid given is phenomenal—not only to the under-developed countries in South-East Asia but also to those in South America. The aid they have given during the last ten years will have a proud place in American history. But while we in this country may take pride in our achievement, there are certainly no grounds for complacency.
The gap that divides the Western World and the countries of South-East Asia is growing wider every day. The reasons are obvious. In the Western World we have science at our command, a growing economic capacity and growing purchasing power. Yet in what we call the under-developed countries (I think that we should cease using that word, because it does not give a true picture of these countries, but perhaps for the sake of politeness it is better to use it) we find stagnating industrial production and squalor for the millions. It is clear that the gap is growing, and I believe that it is a potential threat, perhaps not to this generation and its civilisation, but at all events to the civilisation of our children and grandchildren. For this reason we cannot sit back complacently, believing that we are doing all we can, and not make greater efforts to develop our own economy to enable us to bring succour to these people in Asia.
The noble Marquess dealt with the rising birth rate in what I thought to be a solemn manner. He gave the figure of 2 per cent. I have a figure here which is even more telling. According to the Central Office of Information, the average number of people in South-East Asia per square kilometer is 82. The average throughout the world is 21. Not only are the number of mouths to feed increasing, but the people in these countries are occupying more land. Since 1951, food production in South-East Asia has risen by 22 per cent.—a very good record; but in spite of this increase, per head of the population the food available has fallen by 9 per cent. How long can that situation last before they will face serious famine?
311 I think it is essential—and here I entirely agree with the noble Marquess—that great efforts must be made to increase food production in this area. We can improve it with machinery, and we can improve it with fertilisers. But I believe that we shall never persuade the farmers to increase their production of food until we have done something in regard to stabilising prices. I believe this to be fundamentally true. Side by side with agriculture, the backbone of the economy of all these underdeveloped countries is their production of the primary products—the rubber, the tin and the rice. My information is that 50 to 60 per cent. of the value of exports of this area comes from primary products. I believe it is true that we must do something to bring about the stabilisation of the prices of these primary products. The noble Marquess, Lord Reading, was quite right when he made an appeal that these countries should know long-term what money would be available in the way of aid.
If the House accepts that—and I think it must—surely it is equally true that no country dependent on primary products can possibly improve its conditions and its economy unless it knows that in the foreseeable future, long-term, there will be a steady income arising from its efforts in primary products. The United Nations Report, I believe of 1956, stated that a 5 per cent. change in the average export prices was equal to the entire yearly flow of private and public capital and Government grants into that area. If your Lordships read the 1958 record of the Colombo Plan area you will see the effects on the economy of so many countries of the fall in primary product prices: all the aid that we had poured in was lost because of the fall in price of primary products. We must be careful when we talk of this aspect, however, for much of the improvement in our own economy has been brought about by the lowering of import prices, many of them of these primary products from this area. It is true to say—and I am making no Party point—that our gain was at the expense of these under-developed primary product countries, whom it is our hope to help. Therefore it is wrong that we should ignore the primary product problem.
312 I do not ask the noble Earl who is to reply to deal with this point to-day, because I am going to put down a Question next week, but I want to draw the attention of the Government to Resolution VIII passed by the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference. This resolution asked member Governments to consider and investigate methods of stabilising primary product prices. I believe that we must have an answer from the Government on this question. Again, I do not want to appear to be making a Party point, but this resolution appeared at the economic committee, and I am afraid that the Conservative members of that committee wished the resolution to be struck out. I made myself rather unpopular with the British delegation because I disagreed with them. The resolution was passed with four votes against it, the votes of members of the Party opposite. Therefore I intend to ask the Government by my Question to say whether they are prepared to carry out an investigation into methods of stabilising prices.
THE EARL OF HOME
The noble Lord does not have to wait until next week; I think I can answer him right away. As he knows, we are party to an International Wheat Agreement and to an International Tin Agreement. Copper was investigated, if I remember rightly, but that was found to be impossible. What we have said is that certainly we encourage these things, provided each commodity is looked at separately. That has been said several times by Government spokesmen.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
I thank the noble Earl. I am not, however, speaking only of primary products which we import for our own manufacturing requirements. I am thinking of the foodstuffs that are circulated within the area.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
Rice is an instance. The reason why I say that we have that responsibility in this matter is that we have had this sort of inquiry carried out by O.E.E.C. in Europe. We have many experienced men who are not available in Asia, and therefore I believe that it is a service we can give.
I have spoken far too long, particularly as I cannot stay to the end of the debate. I firmly believe that we of the 313 Western World have got to make far greater efforts. I believe that with all the scientific knowledge that is now coming our way, and with our economic capacity, if we use all that, and we plan it, and use it for a long-term plan, we can do much to help these countries in south-east Asia. But the point I should like to conclude on is this: that the gap between us is getting bigger every day, and conditions are becoming worse; and if we are to bring aid, time is very short.
§ 5.39 p.m.
§ LORD TEVIOT
My Lords, I regret extremely the speech that has just been made. It seems to me that it will put about in these countries we have been discussing that we are getting a lot out of them and are not reciprocating.
§ LORD TEVIOT
That is what it sounded like to me. I wish to give your Lordships my own experience, a great deal of which was before many of you were born, in the days of Cecil Rhodes in the last century, to show you what 'history has done in the very direction to which the noble Lord has referred. I regret extremely that he made that speech: I think it deplorable.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
Would the noble Lord permit me to interrupt? I think he has got quite the wrong end of the stick, so far as my speech is concerned. I certainly never suggested that we have taken so much out without returning it. What I did say—and this is where the noble Lord may have it wrong—was that during the economic recovery last year a lot of our gain was made at the expense of these under-developed countries, because of the reduction in primary product prices. The reduction was not of our making, but we took advantage of it.
§ LORD TEVIOT
Of course, I accept every word the noble Lord has said, but I am afraid it has not altered my mind about the conclusions which will be arrived at by the people in these countries who will read what the noble Lord has said. There are one or two questions I wish to put to your Lordships as a result of my own experience. I was a little amused at the noble Lord's remarks about the conditions of life. I went through all that—no roof over my head and very primitive food. They 314 are the conditions in these very primitive countries miles from anywhere. You are bound to have that. But it is not our fault, and we are endeavouring to deal with it; and we have dealt with it to a great extent in some parts of the world.
I have been very worried about the representatives we send out to these countries. I want this question to be dealt with in a far more academic and educational way than it appears to me is being adopted. I will give your Lordships the exact position that obtained at the beginning of this century. This is the experience of one who was a pioneer in those days. I went out in the days of Cecil Rhodes, first to Johannesburg, and then up to Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Tanganyika and the Congo. I wanted to find out what the situation was. I found that I was the only white man in the greater part of the country, and my appreciation and admiration for the natives—most of them were Matabele, Basutos and Zulus—was enormous, and has remained so ever since.
What happens when one goes out in such circumstances? The next thing that happens is the arrival of the missionary, who may be the most splendid type of man you can imagine. He comes along and teaches these people Christianity. They pick it up, because they have the greatest admiration for this man's character and his way of life. I was a mining engineer in those days. We found gold, we found copper, and we found other minerals all over that area. What is the next stage? The next stage is the development of these areas by all sorts of, people who are out to make money, with total disregard and no knowledge of the character and the general set-up of the lives of these people. What is the result? The natives find that their appreciation of the white man, the missionary, is destroyed. There is drunkenness and raping of the women, and the whole basis of Christianity which had been built up by these people flops. They never forget that. I believe that if I went back to that area now, I should find men I knew who had been through that state of affairs.
I therefore feel that it is of absolute importance that whoever we send out to deal with the various questions—these people are now much more civilised and 315 developed—should be men who are fully equipped to explain to these people what we are trying to do, and what our aim is. There was a suggestion about sending teachers out. I am all for that, but they should be young teachers, if you can get them, and, for goodness' sake! let us teach them before they go out. Let us teach them what they must know if they are going to influence these still, to a certain extent, primitive people. We are going suddenly to alter the whole set-up of the lives of these people and give them independence. I go so far as to say that in the days when I was there they lived fine lives. Their ideas on religion, social life and their regard to honesty and speaking the truth were perfectly splendid—I should think a great deal better than in some places in what we are pleased to call the civilised world to-day. These people can now read. But look at some of our local Press and see what is happening. What do they think this nation of ours is doing when they see the headlines in the papers to-day? This is a very difficult position to face, and these people are fully alive to what they used to do and what they are going to be asked to do to-day.
I was glad to hear the able speech of my noble friend Lord Reading, and that of my noble friend Lord Lansdowne, speaking about the mission from which he has just returned. I make the strongest appeal to members of the Opposition that if they are proposing to visit these countries which are at present very much in our minds with regard to aid and future development, they will do everything they can, within reason of course, to support the Government policy. Anybody who goes out and tries in any way to undermine what the Government are doing is doing no service to this country or to the people to whom he speaks. I make the strongest possible appeal to all to do as I suggest.
The code of honour, honesty, truth, straight dealing and moral and social conditions of the natives could well be adopted as part of the social standards of life by a great many of the people among whom we live; and also their great respect of loyalty to their chiefs and to the heads of their State. I see trouble facing the people who go out to try to help them to what we say are better things. Many of them remember 316 what happened in the days when I was there—I am afraid that is forty or fifty years ago now. I feel that we must train and educate the representatives of our countries of all walks of life to deal with the situation such as it is, and by all means explain to the natives, if they are in any doubt of mind with regard to what happened in the past, what our great aim is to-day. Let us show them that what we are presenting is a mode of living above the state they were in; and because they wear clothes now and did not then, that means nothing.
It is the psychological and political side that I am anxious about. They have to-day, of course, improvements in housing, in their food, in their health, particularly their medical health, as compared to the days when I was there. For instance, malaria fever was bad, and dysentery was bad. We have done a great deal, but we have not done nearly enough. So I say, on the psychological side, that it is of the utmost importance that we should take the most tremendous care in selecting those we send out to mix cheek by jowl with the people in these primitive countries far from what we call civilisation, to help them to improve their condition and take advantage of the aid that is coming to them. There is one thing of which I am quite certain. Some of your Lordships, no doubt, have met people like Sir Roy Welensky. For goodness sake, let us leave more to those on the spot who have been in these countries for years, who are thoroughly appreciative of the types of people they are dealing with, and not allow independent people to go out undermining or appearing to undermine their authority! Noble Lords seem to find this highly amusing—
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
I appreciate what the noble Lord is saying, but it has nothing to do with the subject we are discussing. I would be most happy to debate it with him if we were discussing the Central African Federation.
§ LORD TEVIOT
I am discussing it as part and parcel of the problem of the under-developed countries. Indonesia has been mentioned, and other countries, and I think I am perfectly justified, and I am glad to have the opportunity, in giving my own experience in conditions such as the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, discussed 317 to-day, though I know that some of it may not suit the noble Viscount.
I am certain that if we allow the people on the spot, whether in Indonesia, in Rhodesia or anywhere else, in the primitive world, to deal with the situation that they know—because they are on the spot; they know the type of people they are dealing with—we should get on very much better with them and should be much happier than we find ourselves at the present time. No doubt there is considerable unrest in certain places, and I should like to see all that very much reduced. I believe that it can be done by careful choice of these young men who have been described as teachers but they must be taught before they go; they must be really au fait with the situation they are going into. Therefore I welcome very much the report of my noble friend Lord Lansdowne on the whole situation.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, I should like to begin by saying how much I, in company, I am sure, with all your Lordships, appreciated the brilliant speech in which the noble Marquess introduced this debate. It takes some temerity for any speaker to rise to talk on the subject alter a speech like that, but subsequent speakers have shown that there apparently is room for a few other remarks, and I propose to make a few from my point of view.
With the passage of time this subject of aid to under-developed countries loses its apparent simplicity as one confronts not just the problem of aid to under-developed territories but the complex of problems involved in making such aid effective. If ever there was a job which required faith, this is surely it. The original tendency to think that it was just a matter of finance, of providing the necessary amount of money, has been very much tempered by experience. The core of the matter, surely, is the spirit of the people concerned. The dynamic quality which brings a community successful progress does not reside in the official structure, but resides in the interests and the desires and the purposes of the people living in that country. And without enlisting this, no amount of aid from outside will secure any permanent progress in that country, however desirable it may be. It is relatively easy to heap coals upon the fires of enthusiasm, but somebody has to 318 kindle those fires first of all; and the major problem in this matter is to persuade people to allow you to help them to help themselves. It is not enough merely to distribute to them gifts for which they may not have asked. Those who have been in charge of such work, or have seen it, know how often their efforts are handicapped by ignorance and prejudice and mental inertia, and if people prefer a life of that sort it is very difficult to shake them out of it, however desirable it may be, and certainly it cannot be done quickly.
The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said just now that time is short. There is all the rest of the time of mankind to do this work, and in all probability it will have to go on for many centuries, if one looks at the problems which constantly arise from the very success that we may have in the initial steps. For instance, there was one in the first Report of the Colombo Plan Committee. They were staggered to find that, after all the aid they had poured into India, the net result, apparently, after many years was that they were preserving many millions more people on the margin of subsistence. That is not a criticism. That shows the sort of problem which arises out of success, out of preserving people, out of giving them enough food to keep them alive and helping them to help themselves to that extent, but not being able to carry them further, simply because improvement of health conditions leads to enormous increases in population, thus causing the problem to be thrown back upon you once more.
One of the problems, as I see it, in this question of under-developed countries is that it is essential to keep the people intelligibly informed. In order to be attracted by what you are trying to help them to do, they must understand what it is. That in itself is one of the major problems. Obviously, in any society it is necessary to know not only the facts of life, but also how these facts are viewed by other people—the people with whom you are dealing. One must relate what is strategically possible to the facilities at one's disposal and the support one is going to be given. On the other hand, in a revulsion from this idea that monetary aid can do everything, many of us have been inclined to lay aside the material measuring rod, which seems vulgar in such exalted 319 activity, and we forget that we must be realistic in our aims and in our demands.
I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, is not here at the moment, but I think that we should not be like the philosophers who were castigated by Francis Bacon in his book Advancement of Learning. As he said:"They make imaginary laws for imaginary commonwealths and their discourses are as the stars which give little light because they are so high." So many people with good intentions fail to get desirable things done because they think and talk in vague generalisations; they do not come to grips with the real situations. For instance, to come to a modern example, the United States Government International Co-operation Administration have recently decided that their technical experts would be far more useful and acceptable if they knew something not only of their own specialities but also of the countries in which they work. So they have set up an elaborate organisation for training these men and for giving them the real knowledge of the country and the people with whom they will work.
The recent announcement in the Press that a mission of private bankers will go to India and Pakistan to help in the planning of an international development pool for those two Asian countries is of immense interest. As I see it, this is an encouraging sign of the universal acceptance of the idea that this is one world, in which the hope of future peace may well depend upon the success of efforts such as we are discussing by statesmen who are able to take a world view and to succeed in measures to improve the standard of living of these under-developed countries. We cannot, in any case, reasonably hope for ultimate peace in a world so sharply divided into proletarian and wealthy countries.
One of the criticisms of colonial policy which can be offered with some force is that political issues claim far more of Parliament's time than economic achievements. It cannot be too often repeated that economic help is one of the most valuable roads to overcoming political issues. For instance, we hear much about political problems in Kenya but too little about the miraculous economic progress achieved over recent years in spite of Mau Mau troubles. As 320 has been pointed out, not long ago it was possible to cross Kikuyuland without seeing a single man at work in the fields—it was left entirely to the women. Now, as a result of the Swynnerton Plan, the Kikuyu are being transformed into a race of genuine farmers, doing the main work themselves, caring for land and crops and healthily canalising an acquisitive instinct in farming for profit. But the solution of each problem, as I said just now, is only one link or part of a chain of consequent problems. The proper cultivation of Kikuyuland, which is potentially the most valuable productive land in Kenya, will bring in its train most serious marketing problems that will call for organising ability of the highest order. There is another problem. Economic and educational progress are so closely interlocked with political progress, and so vitally necessary to prevent political progress from being only a sham and a national disaster, that they must go hand in hand and be parts of a balanced whole.
I will turn for a moment, if I may, to Nigeria, the world's largest producer of palm oil and palm kernels. Most of West Africa's palm trees are wild, and farmers have paid little attention to improving stock or adopting scientific methods. On palm plantations 50 per cent. more oil per tree can be produced than from the wild tree. But only those who have tried to teach co-operative plantation efforts can appreciate the barricades of custom and prejudice which have to be overcome before these people can be helped to help themselves.
A little has been said this afternoon about the danger of Soviet aid intervening. Although this aid is relatively small compared to that from Western countries, it is increasing, and no doubt the centralised economy of the Soviet Union allows it to direct men and materials in a way that is not possible for a democracy. The present reasons for their intrusion commercially may be only commercial, but the danger is of such trade being under the control of an authoritarian country, and its possible use for political pressure. I came armed with a number of figures concerning the Colombo Plan which I do not propose to inflict upon your Lordships this evening. A certain amount has been said about it, but I should like once more to emphasise that 321 the Colombo Plan, in its very great success up to a point, has been based precisely on the idea—the simple idea—of helping people to help themselves. There is a tendency (I have noticed it even in some speakers here this afternoon) to talk about giving aid as if the givers of the aid were to settle how and when it was given and for what. That is only settled after the country itself has nominated certain schemes which they desire to carry out and have indicated that they themselves are willing to make sacrifices to provide a certain amount of the cost. It is then that the Colombo Plan Consultative Committee get to work; and that is why, with the greatest deference, I am not sure that I would entirely follow the noble Marquess or other speakers in talking of the danger of co-ordination.
If the Colombo Plan or the United Nations organisations were really going to settle, from beginning to end, how this aid was applied, and when and so forth, then I would be against co-ordination, for I believe that it would be dangerous. But I see no harm in coordinating an organisation whose chief function is advice, help and training and the lending of experts. It seems to me that it might well be that co-ordination would render that work more efficient.
I have recently been reading an article by Mr. Paul Hoffman, Managing Director of the United Nations Special Fund. It is of absorbing interest. The Special Fund, as your Lordships probably know, was started on January 1 this year and it is the newest agency of the United Nations. Its purpose, once more, is to help the under-developed countries to provide themselves with the basic knowledge indispensable for economic development. The Fund takes its place in the family of United Nations organisations besides those others which deal with offering advice and providing expert staff, and the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, which provide capital for investment. The Special Fund fits in between, providing capital not for commercial investment but for the prior stage of research survey and training.
The Fund does not initiate projects, but may I say once more, Governments decide for themselves which projects they wish to submit. The Fund's responsibility is to conduct investigations to establish 322 whether a project is technically feasible and economically justifiable. The actual execution, again, will be left to others. I should mention also that this Fund will participate only when the Government concerned are willing to be responsible for a portion of the cost involved, their task being in this particular way to discover new resources and to help people to develop new skills. As the people of undeveloped countries develop new skills they will produce more, they will save more and will attract more capital assistance from outside.
The final issue, as I have said, is no less than the peace of mankind. The task, of course, is immense, but the result of effective aid is cumulative—and that is the one encouraging feature about this. If one had to look only at"the petty undone, the undone vast", which characterises the field of this effort, there would indeed he room for despair. But because the help that one gives effectively is cumulative there is no need, I suggest, to despair at all. Perhaps the present season is a particularly suitable one to appreciate that good will among men is the final ingredient of peace on earth. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, whose absence I again regret, quoted from Mr. Strachey as his authority and said he knew nothing to equal that. Personally, I would prefer to go to a slightly older source, and I would conclude with the words of Mr. Rudyard Kipling, whose prayer ran:One stone the more swings into placeIn that dread Temple of Thy Worth,It is enough that through Thy GraceI saw nought common on Thy Earth.Take not that vision from my ken—Oh whatso'er may spoil or speed,Help me to need no aid from menThat I may help such men as need!
§ 6.17 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, I feel I should explain at the outset that my two noble friends who have spoken this afternoon have both been obliged to leave to fulfil engagements. My noble friend Lord Pakenham had an engagement in another part of London connected with his Bank at which he was billed to speak. My noble friend Lord Shepherd has had to catch a train to the North. That explains their absence and the reason for their not having waited, as I am sure they would have done, to hear the noble Earl wind up this debate.
323 Clearly, the next thing one must do is, with great respect, to congratulate the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, on his speech in introducing this Motion. It was impressive, as are all his speeches, and I found myself in agreement with a great deal that he said. Particularly I was glad that he emphasised the unwisdom, in giving aid, of having any strings or the appearance of strings, and the necessity that givers should be under no suspicion of using the gift in order to get something they want. All too often there have been cases of gifts of that kind being looked at with suspicion—indeed, from classical days on. The noble Marquess emphasised that the personnel who are selected to go as the instruments for distributing this aid must be most carefully chosen. As he said, there are no academic qualifications that can be laid down as necessary. What is needed is a common sympathy with other human beings, a readiness to give and to treat as equal and reasonable human beings the people with whom they are dealing. I have never heard anything to the effect that there have been any unwise selections, or that anything has gone wrong in the case of the Colombo Plan in all the years that it has been in operation.
I think that the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, said something which seemed to convey a slightly wrong emphasis about the initiation of the Plan, because he said that it was intended to cover only Commonwealth countries in South-East Asia. I see that the first Annual Report said that the intention was to providethe framework within which an international co-operative effort could be developed to assist the countries of South and South-East Asia to raise the standard of living of their peoples.The Committee were comprised initially of Commonwealth countries only. The Report continued:It was intended from the beginning, however, that other countries in the region should also be invited to participate as full members in the preparation of plans for international action and in the continuing activities of the Consultative Committee. Moreover, it was hoped that other countries from outside the area would wish to assist in the area's economic development which, it was recognised, would require resources considerably greater than the Commonwealth itself could make available.324 So the Plan has gone on in the way it was designed, and I think we can extend our congratulations to those who take part year by year in the work of the Consultative Committee, as well as to all those who, in the various countries, do the enormous amount of preparatory work for the development plans on which the assistance, the aid, is based. It cannot be too often said (it has been said by several speakers this afternoon) that it is helping countries to help themselves. To the best of my belief, the greatest trouble has always been taken to ensure that the aid, when given, is not wasted. There may have been cases of misuse and mis-application of funds, but with the careful scrutiny that the individual development plans receive, I should have thought that such cases were rare.
The noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, gave us an impressive selection of figures. Halfway through I gave up the attempt to grasp them; I confessed myself beaten. I wondered whether that was, perhaps, his intention in giving such a stream of figures. But we shall hope, I suppose, that in a very few weeks the new Annual Report will come out, with the latest figures. The noble Marquess told us that 2,600 student places had been provided in this country in the eight years or so since the scheme began. Only a day or two ago we were discussing the Commonwealth Scholarships Bill, and in that connection the United Kingdom were going to allow 500 scholarships at any one time. It seems to me that the new Commonwealth Scholarships scheme is going to add very greatly to the rather small trickle that has passed through our institutions and technical colleges in the last eight years under the Colombo Plan. He told us that 360 experts had been sent out to the Colombo Plan countries. But, of course, without knowing what sort of experts they were and in what sort of fields they were, what level of experts they were and what their tasks were meant to be, it does not really tell us very much. He told us also of the help that the United States had given towards the technical assistance plan.
The noble Marquess went on to tell us about a new scheme, of the setting up of a new committee (as I understood it) by a number of private firms to study, I 325 believe, technical help to Colombo Plan countries. My Lords, that brings up, does it not, the question of co-ordination, because this is one more body being set up to work in a field where there are already quite a number of bodies in existence. The noble Marquess who moved this Motion mentioned co-ordination. If I understood him aright, he was against any central direction but was in favour of regional schemes. I should venture rather to question that. With need for aid in so many parts of the globe, ought there not to be some channelling of help from the giving countries to the receiving countries? I know that there is the World Bank to deal with finance, but in the matter of technical assistance, is there not a danger that too many bodies will be operating? There are the various economic Commissions. In Africa, there is the special one of Technical Co-operation for Africa South of the Sahara, and no doubt there may be others in the West Indies or Latin America. I suggest, therefore, that there is a case for some co-ordination, and that it should not be confined to purely regional co-ordination, because of the need to take a world-wide view. That, I would suggest to the noble Earl, Lord Home, is deserving of a little thought.
Then there was the question of the teaching of English; and the noble Marquess, quite rightly, emphasised the urgent need to increase the numbers of teachers of English. Whether it is necessary for English always to be taught by an English person from the United Kingdom, I am not sure. If it is restricted to Englishmen from the United Kingdom, obviously the rate at which the world will learn English must be very much slowed up. I agree with the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, that we should make sure that the teaching profession knows of the opportunities that exist all over the world in meeting this need of so many countries for more instruction in the English language. But it is not just a question of choosing an adventurous career, or of spending an adventurous spell in a teaching career by going to South-East Asia. What about the pay? What we should have preferred to hear from the Government is that they were going to assist the British Council in their work in these countries of setting up and staffing their institutes for the teaching of English. 326 The jobs must be well paid, because there are disadvantages, as well as great advantages, for a young man with his family in living abroad in tropical parts of the world.
This question of teachers brings up once again the matter that we referred to only two days ago—that of people keeping their place on the promotion ladder in the academic world. I suspect that it is a subject that will hit us more and more often now, as we talk of teachers and doctors and scientists taking jobs in different parts of the world. We must find a way whereby not only will they not suffer by absence for a few years from the promotion field but they will be quite confident, and it will be well known throughout the profession, that nobody will suffer by reason of taking a job abroad.
There is one other question that I think I should ask the noble Earl. There is the question of the World Malaria Fund, set up by the World Health Organisation. One of the biggest projects undertaken by the World Health Organisation and U.N.I.C.E.F.—the United Nations Children's Fund—is the plan to eradicate malaria in a campaign which is going to cost a total of £600 million, the bulk of which will be found by countries situated in the malaria areas. I am told that the fund was initiated some four years ago, but that Her Majesty's Government have as yet made no contribution. We know the ravages of malaria, and of the spectacular change that comes about in the outlook for the populations in places where malaria has been attacked and conquered. This, surely, is one of the major fields in which we can give help to the under-developed countries. I hope that we may hear from the Government that, if they have not made any contributions yet, they have the best intentions of making them.
I do not want to keep the House any longer from hearing the reply of the noble Earl; but I do not think my noble friend Lord Pakenham needed to make any apology for putting the case on a moral basis—that we owe this to our fellow human beings in the rest of the world. The standard of living, the comfort, the expectation of life, and everything else that we enjoy here, is something so much better than it is in those countries that surely we, as human beings, should feel bound to share it to 327 the best of our ability. Then, as the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, said, as well as the moral there are the economic and political aspects of it.
As to the economic aspect, we know that much of the world is starving; and, moreover, that there is the vicious circle—that they are unable to buy the food that exists in surplus in other countries. I think it is the case that certain food grains are being so overproduced in some of the Western countries that the quantities in stock are going up by millions of tons: and yet there are people going hungry in the rest of the world. It seems to me that we are getting rather dangerously near the situation that existed back in the 'thirties, when wheat was dumped in the sea and coffee was burned because it could not be distributed, as the poor countries had not the foreign exchange to buy it. So let us bear that in mind, to give us, if we need something beyond the moral motive, an economic motive.
Then, if we want something more still, there is the political motive. I think that anything like competition in giving between us and the Communist world would be a disastrous development of the cold war; and that is why I think that if we can channel whatever we can give through the United Nations, that offers the hope that we can co-operate and not compete with the Communist world.
§ 6.37 p.m.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, a speech by my noble friend Lord Reading is always something to which we look forward with keen anticipation; and particularly so to-day, when he was speaking on a subject and about a part of the world which he knows so well. No one has a closer knowledge of the Colombo Plan than he; and no one, by personal contact and personal exertion, could have demonstrated a more clear understanding for the needs, and sympathy with the ambitions, of the people of Asia. He has spent many years, and much of his time, working out schemes to benefit their economies and to help to raise their standard of living. I hope that he has found this debate peculiarly well-timed, because it enabled my noble friend Lord Lansdowne to give an up-to-date report on his return from the 328 meeting of the Consultative Committee. I hope, too, that the House was impressed by his account of the community of purpose which he found around the table among the nations who are parties to the Colombo Plan; and also some evidence of progress—which, though it may be limited, is nevertheless real.
One element which, of course, is basic to the social betterment of all these countries was mentioned by one noble Lord after another, and particularly by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd—that is, agriculture. In the twentieth century, of course, when the world is industrialising fast, there may be a temptation in any development plans to neglect it; but any country in Asia does that at its peril. And it is encouraging to note that the Committee on which my noble friend was present were able to record an expansion in agricultural output. But as the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, said, and as the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, also said, one cannot be complacent in this matter. There must be no let-up at all in organisation, because at best this is a close race, almost a desperate race, between the increase in agricultural output and the increase in the number of mouths which have to be fed. I am sure that noble Lords will agree that there is no field in which scientific and technical knowledge can pay higher dividends than that of agriculture and farming methods in the Asian countries.
The Committee also noted, and your Lordships' House will have noted, too, an improvement in recent years in the international commodity markets. Again I was extremely glad that the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, referred to the necessity for stability in the prices of the primary products of the Asian countries—in the price of rice, which is very difficult to organise; of rubber, for which the prospects seem to be good, and of tin and other commodities—because it is on these commodities that the whole ability of these countries to earn foreign exchange rests. It is out of that foreign exchange that they can equip themselves with industries which eventually will raise their living standards, so helping to bridge the gap described so vividly by the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, when he said, quite truly, that the income per capita in the 329 United Kingdom was something like £300, while that in India was something like £28.
From the inception of the Plan, which we like to remember was a Commonwealth initiative, the donors have sought no political advantage, as the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, reminded us. There are no political strings, and therefore there is no danger of a feeling among these countries that by accepting aid they would find themselves in any way tied by chains which they did not desire. In this disinterested and objective application of aid to undeveloped countries, the United Kingdom has been well to the fore and we hope that we have played a worthy part.
The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, spent part of his speech in describing the organisations which help the backward and under-developed countries and in which the Colombo Plan has a part. Of course your Lordships are familiar with the main bodies—the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank and the United Nations Fund—to all of which the United Kingdom subscribes. Then, more intimately connected with this country, is our economic assistance through the Regional Pacts, the Commonwealth assistance loans and the loans and grants to colonial territories. We have very good hopes of the International Development Association, for which the noble Lord, Lord Salter, reminded us there is a demand because there are development projects which may not be fully completed by strict banking practice. If, as we hope, there is agreement shortly on the structure of the International Development Association, the United Kingdom Government have promised to subscribe £50 million to it. I listened with a good deal of sympathy to what the noble Lord, Lord Salter, said on the proper way in which this should be organised and directed, and I will certainly hand on his ideas to my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
So, my Lords, there is a great deal of machinery. There is a large United Kingdom contribution through public funds, and of course there is the United Kingdom contribution through private investment. At this time, when overseas investment and aid are substantial and rising, noble Lords have been right, I 330 think, to ask themselves in this debate how we can keep our contribution at the maximum. We wish to do that from a moral urge to assist the under-developed countries to raise their standard of living, and we wish our aid not only to be generous but also to be steady and long-term, as the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, underlined. We do want to see our aid not limited but expanding steadily.
I wish that the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, had been here because I feel bound to issue a reminder that when we are thinking in terms of investment overseas, that investment can come only from a surplus of wealth which is earned and saved. I think that this is a timely caution, because when we look across the Atlantic, we see that even a nation as rich as the United States—which has done wonders and has been extraordinarily generous in its programme of overseas aid—cannot ignore an adverse balance of payments. If the surplus in our balance of payments falls, there is less for investment and aid overseas; and if it rises, there is more available.
Even though the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, is not here, I should like to give an illustration of this in the last few years. The surplus in our current account in 1957 was estimated to be £252 million. In 1958, it rose by over £100 million to somewhere over £350 million. From January 1, 1958, to November 30, 1959, our reserves rose by £250 million. These favourable factors enabled us to do just what the noble Lord is asking us to do. We were able to pay double our subscription to the International Bank, and to increase by 50 per cent. our subscription to the International Monetary Fund. Moreover (these are the figures for which the noble Lord asked), our contributions from public funds to economic and technical assistance rose by one-third from £75 million in 1957–58 to over £100 million in 1958–59; and if I were to make an intelligent guess, I think it would be found that there will be an increase of the same sort this year.
The lesson from this, my Lords, seems to be clear. I suggest to the Party opposite that we cannot earmark a percentage of the national income in all circumstances to be applied to overseas aid. First, we have to earn the surplus and then be as generous as we can in the aid which we give overseas and in 331 what we spend overseas. The answer really is this. So far as this country is concerned, all overseas aid depends upon this country being competitive and strong industrially. That is the source from which all overseas aid will come, and when we are in receipt of a surplus of income, we can invest a proportion in the underdeveloped countries.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I think that the main thesis which the noble Earl has just been advancing is quite sound. We cannot get increased investment overseas unless we have a prosperous economy at home with a margin available for the purpose. But I should like to look at the noble Earl's figures very carefully. I should like to look at the figures over a few more years, and not just go back to 1957. because we have to pay attention to our expenditure in other directions and at the same time to the reason why there should be this steep increase in the year 1958–59. I want the noble Earl to feel assured that we know that we have to make a surplus by saving for investment, but I do not accept his figures prima facie and shall study carefully the reasons for this statistical progress.
THE EARL OF HOME
I am glad that the noble Viscount accepts my general proposition. I am not so sure that the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, had he been here, would have done so. He did not seem to me to appreciate that you have to have a surplus before you can invest it, and that the secret for overseas investment is a surplus—although perhaps I am doing him an injustice, because he is a very eminent banker.
On the importance of technical assistance, I agree strongly with all that was said by my noble friend Lord Reading. It has seemed to me—and this was borne out certainly in our experience in the Commonwealth Economic Conference at Montreal—that probably the best value for money which we can give, or which the recipients can get, is money spent on technical help and on training in the whole field of agriculture, industry and administration, and particularly in teaching. The noble Earl, Lord Lucan, is quite right in saying that we want to send many more teachers 332 overseas. I would add to what I said on Tuesday in another context, when we were talking about Commonwealth education, that I hope that local authorities, who are the employers of teachers, will realise that two or three years abroad teaching would be of great value to a teacher, and will make arrangements so that a teacher if he wishes to return to this country will not suffer in his career. As for the teaching of English, again I agree that there ought to be a great effort, in which I hope the Americans will join, because English ought to be, if it is properly organised, the international language of science and of administration in the years to come.
Therefore, if, as my noble friend Lord Lansdowne has said, from a very gradually rising income per head in the countries of Asia they are able, as they are doing, to mobilise more capital from their own countries for development; if they recognise (and the noble Lord, Lord McCorquodale of Newton made this point in an interruption) that capital must be attracted, and the surest way of attracting capital is to find political stability and to give fair treatment to the investor; and if the donor countries can keep their economies sound and expanding, then we ought to be able to achieve a sustained programme of investment and aid in the under-developed countries which will help to bridge the gap of which all your Lordships have taken notice to-day. I think I can say that, so far as the United Kingdom are concerned, the goodwill is there and that a great deal of the machinery is there. I tend to agree with my noble friend Lord Reading rather than with the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, that regional bodies, possibly coordinated in their activities by the International Bank, may be the best solution for this problem for the time being. I have no doubt in saying that I believe that the climate is right, and that, both in the United States and in this country, and I hope in Western Europe, too, there will be mobilised a great effort to try to raise the standard of living in the under-developed countries, and that in any such organisation the Colombo Plan will play an important part.
§ 6.54 p.m.
THE MARQUESS OF READING
My Lords, I am obliged to those noble Lords who have taken part in this debate, and particularly to Her Majesty's Government for contributing two players to the team. I hope that the debate has proved as interesting to the House and as useful to the Government as it has proved gratifying to me personally. I had to select from a very wide field a relatively small number of topics which seemed to me of outstanding importance, and I am grateful to those noble Lords who have in the course of the debate filled up some of the gaps. I rather eschewed figures, because I was trying to cling to the main points; and I most carefully avoided the question of what I am now being educated to call"family planning", because I mentioned it in the course of another fairly recent debate on foreign 334 affairs and I did not want to repeat myself—nor did I want to give noble Lords any opportunity to go off at a tangent upon that absorbing subject rather than to continue along the main lines of the discussion. I think it has been a productive debate, and I hope that the country will learn and appreciate something of the effort that is being made in what, certainly not less as the result of this debate, I continue to regard as one of the outstanding questions of the moment. That is all I have to say.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, if the noble Marquess has any hesitation about withdrawing, I am sure that the Government and the Whole House accept this Motion.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House adjourned at three minutes before seven o'clock.