§ 4.33 p.m.
§ Debate resumed.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I think that this House will count itself fortunate that within the last week we were present on the historic occasion when President de Gaulle made his memorable and moving speech to both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall. And to-day we have heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, a speech of great distinction on the theme of the unity of Europe. Last week, when the President was talking to us, I think that the spontaneous reaction of Members 1085 of both Houses of Parliament who were listening to the President demonstrated a conviction which is deeply held, but which perhaps is not spoken of as much as it should be, by the people of this country: that the peace of Europe, and therefore the peace of the world, depends upon the ability of France and Britain to live and work in harmony together.
Years ago (I must not, of course, say how many years ago), I remember the noble Baroness addressing another place in a speech there; and I have heard her make a number of speeches, too, in the country, in which she began to educate the public, perhaps before anybody else in this country was doing so, in the fact that the security of Western Europe hinges on a strong and a confident France in alliance with Britain; and that the safety of France and Britain lies in a political and military system in which Germany's strength is integrated in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has mentioned, after two world wars the rearmament of Germany is bound to arouse emotions. But my noble friend Lady Horsbrugh saw the choice and made it some years ago—and few can counter its logic: that the closer the German forces are brought into the structure of N.A.T.O. the greater is the confidence between the Allies and the more effective is the shield against a Communist advance in Europe. As the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, if we accept Germany as an Ally, then we must treat her as such. My noble friend has given her many gifts, and her experience, in enlisting public support for Western European Union. We hope that we shall often hear her speak on these matters which concern international affairs, on which she has so much knowledge and on which she speaks with authority. Perhaps there is one warning I might give to the Benches opposite. To-day she described her speech as non-contentious. In future the Opposition may find that a little deceptive, because the noble Baroness is a seasoned campaigner; and if she had to choose a missile I am not sure whether she would choose the bouquets thrown to her by your Lordships to-day or the marmalade oranges with which she was acquainted in Dundee.
When we look at the picture of Western Europe there is one serious anxiety, 1086 to which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and my noble friend drew attention; that is, the threat of economic discrimination, which might turn into economic division and which, carried to that point, would have the most serious political consequences. Therefore, it has been our objective, through the formation of the European Free Trade Association, to try to create a situation in which there is a single European market that will include all the present members of O.E.E.C., and meanwhile to avoid discrimination which might result on July 1 of this year; or, if discrimination cannot be avoided, at least to limit it.
My noble friend Lord Lansdowne, when he winds up this debate, will be talking in more detail about this aspect of the economic co-operation in Europe. Perhaps in response to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, I might say this. We have made it quite clear, I think, that we welcome the establishment of the European Economic Community; that is to say, of the Six. The conception of a strong Europe, a Europe politically and economically united, is one which appeals to us. And I would go further: I think it appeals to the whole of the Commonwealth as well. But if the unity of the Six is bought at the cost of economic damage to the others, we shall have averted one danger only to create another. That is why we believe that the Common Market must be complemented by a wider organisation which would embrace the rest of Western Europe; and, as I say, we shall try our best to minimise the effects of the discrimination and to find some way of wider co-operation with the countries of Europe. However, my noble friend will examine and develop that theme in greater detail at the end of this debate.
Now, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, reminded us, we are within sight of two objectives which have been very elusive, but both of which my right honourable friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have pursued with patience and perseverance. They have tried to get away from what the noble Lord described as the atmosphere of crisis and ultimatum into one of negotiation; and we are approaching the beginnings of what we hope will be an agreement to ban nuclear tests. My Lords, if we can establish a treaty which includes an effective international inspecttion 1087 system and a system of control, then we shall achieve certain very desirable ends. First of all, we should restrict the spread of nuclear weapons; we should prevent the development of new types of weapons; we should end the contamination of the atmosphere which there is at present from the atmospheric tests in the upper atmosphere; and if we could prove a control system in practice in respect of nuclear tests, it would give confidence and we could extend it more widely and perhaps use it in wider disarmament schemes.
The House is familiar, I think, with the latest position which has been reached in the Conference on the Abolition of Nuclear Tests—that is to say, that there is broad agreement on a treaty to ban all tests except those underground of a seismic magnitude below 4.725. Below that magnitude it is proposed that there should be a co-ordinated programme of research conducted by the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia in order to improve the methods of detection; and as that programme of reasearch is successful, then the findings could be added on to the main treaty. Meanwhile, it is proposed that there should be a moratorium for a period—and I am not sure that the noble Lord was quite accurate here—the length of which is yet to be decided.
THE EARL OF HOME
Although I cannot indicate what that period might be, we are, nevertheless, on the whole, hopeful (although there are still a number of points which remain outstanding) that it ought to be possible to reach a settlement reasonably quickly on banning nuclear tests. Of course, we must not fall into the error—and there is certainly no doubt, as I recollect from previous debates, that your Lordships will not do so—of thinking that the abolition of tests achieves disarmament. It does not. Therefore, there is a committee of ten which has been set up to study the wider disarmament plans: broadly speaking, the two plans, one produced by Mr. Khrushchev and the other which was produced originally by Mr. Selwyn Lloyd and which has been 1088 adapted and is now the plan used by the Western nations.
I think it is fair to say that, while the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, suggested that discussions are based on one plan or the other and "ne'er the twain shall meet", in fact discussion is taking place on both plans. It is true to say, I think, that certain broad areas of agreement exist: first, that disarmament and control are inseparable; and secondly, that control demands an international organisation. My Lords if, as is the case, I think, Russia now accepts those propositions, then that in itself is an advance on any previous situation. The main difference between the two plans—and this is what may give rise to the suggestion that there is already an unhealthy rivalry between the two—is, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, that the plan of Mr. Khrushchev did not take proposals beyond the broad proposition of general and complete disarmament, and did not go into any detail. The Western plan worked out in a practical form details for every stage of disarmament, and, so far as I can judge, in the discussions up to now there has been little sign that the need for preparation and study is seriously admitted by the Russians.
Of course, it is clear, as the noble Lord himself hinted, that there are some very formidable, practical problems in the field of disarmament which must be pinpointed and settled before any international confidence can be given. I would just suggest to your Lordships one or two of those problems. One is how to verify that States really disarm. That involves an international organisation. What type should that be? Others are how to limit armaments in relation to permitted manpower sizes; how to stop the production of nuclear weapons and eventually eliminate stocks of fissile material; how to guard against surprise attack. And your Lordships can probably think of many more practical problems which have to be identified and settled.
But, as the noble Lord so truly said, the essence of any successful disarmament plan is confidence, and that will never be established by vague assurances, promises and aspirations. Our task, as I see it, is to keep up the enthusiasm and the momentum for the ideal of disarmament, keeping always, therefore, 1089 total disarmament in sight, while trying to arrange and agree a positive timetable of action, where disarmament is carried out by agreed and supervised stages. Disarmament, therefore, my Lords, requires not only faith, but works; and I hope that, if there is a lull in the disarmament conference, the Summit can lay down the future line of progress which it should follow.
The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has rightly reminded us that there is another formidable task before the Summit meeting, and that is the task of settling the future of Berlin. I do not think it would be right for any Government spokesman to-day, when the Foreign Ministers are actually conferring in Washington, to speculate on possible solutions. Her Majesty's Government's views have been made clear in debates, and have been published in White Papers. The essential condition which we make is the same as the condition which the noble Lord himself laid down: that is, that any solution must preserve the freedom of the 2¼ million peoples in West Berlin. Like the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, I feel that the only proposal so far which the Russians have put forward, that of a "free city", fails in its present form to justify itself against the touchstone which I have mentioned. There is no indication so far that the Russians are willing to see the conception of a "free city" extend to that part of Berlin which is under their own control. On the contrary, their intention has been made plain: that their sector shall remain enmeshed in the Communist system of Eastern Germany. So there must be a solution other than that plan; and it will again be for the Summit Conference, I think, to try to find a way through this particular difficulty.
My Lords, to conclude, then, on the two main themes on which the noble Lord spoke—that of the nuclear test conference and of the wider disarmament conference—we wish to see a treaty which bans all nuclear tests, and we believe that there is a possibility that that can be concluded quickly. As far as disarmament is concerned, there are certain principles to which a disarmament plan must conform. The first is that nuclear disarmament must not be unilateral; the second, that conventional arms and nuclear strength must be 1090 reduced together. The third is that inspection and control are essential from the start of a scheme, and that implies an international organisation in order to conduct it. But within these broad conceptions it should be possible at least to make a start with a practical plan, staged and controlled.
My Lords, I think it is true to say that the international atmosphere is perhaps more propitious than it has been for some time for a real start on disarmament. It has been proved beyond doubt, not only to the peoples of the various countries in the world but also, I think, to statesmen and leaders, that nuclear war is bound to bring almost total destruction to those who participate in it. These deadly weapons are at present held by great nations who have great responsibilities and much to lose. Therefore I should think that we might trust them never to let off these weapons, because they realise the totally disastrous destruction that that would bring upon their great nation. But the wider the circle that holds the nuclear weapon, if that comes in future, the greater, of course, will be the chances that some day one of those weapons may be fired. Then again, the economic burden, even to the richest country, is becoming almost unbearable and almost unthinkable, particularly when it is contrasted with the poverty and hunger of under-developed countries of the world, and when the people begin to realise what money translated from weapons that may never be shot off to plans to assist the under-developed countries could mean in human happiness and progress.
There is one last factor, and it is by no means negligible. Since the Prime Minister went to Moscow, on his well-timed visit, to see Mr. Khrushchev at the time when he had delivered an ultimatum on Berlin, the leaders of the various countries have met each other in each other's country; and I think that Mr. Khrushchev, having travelled to this country, to France and to America, must be convinced that, although we will always defend those principles which we believe to be right, nevertheless, there is no aggressive intention in any country in the West.
Therefore, the Summit comes together not as a final Summit, we hope, but as one which will begin practical work and 1091 be followed by other meetings which will carry it on. There is, therefore, ground for hope. We should aim high and we should persevere, but in prudence we must leaven that hope with caution, because there is a long way to go.
Not for the first time the House is indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for allowing us to discuss foreign affairs on the eve of an international conference, and I can assure him and your Lordships that, although the Government spokesman cannot say a great deal to-day, nevertheless, any suggestions which your Lordships make—and the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has made some—will be taken into the most careful consideration and will be useful in the international discussions which are about to be staged.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ LORD GRANTCHESTER
My Lords, I should like to add my congratulations to those of the noble Earl the Leader of the House to the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, who has spoken in your Lordships' House to-day for the first time. She has for some years led the British delegation to Strasbourg on which I have had the honour to serve. Her courtesy and her industry never fail us. This is what one would expect, bearing in mind her long record of public service; nevertheless, it is much appreciated and admired by the delegates of all nations represented at those Assemblies.
I should like to follow on from what the noble Baroness has said, and I will confine my observations to Europe and what I believe is developing there before our eyes—in fact, it would not be exaggerating to call it a situation fraught with very real dangers. So much was admitted, I think, by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and by the noble Earl who has just spoken. I want to be quite frank, because in the serious circumstances as I see them, I think this is necessary. I am rather reminded of a turn in British sentiment which occurred in this country towards the end of the 'twenties or the beginning of the 'thirties. After the First World War there was a lot of idealism prevailing which anticipated real co-operation in Europe, in place of the strife and struggle which had left Europe exhausted. But almost imperceptibly the mood changed, 1092 and the antagonisms started to build up again to the disaster of 1939. As noble Lords know, for ten years there have been operating in Europe organisations for co-operation, such as the O.E.E.C., the Council of Europe, Western European Union and N.A.T.O. But to-day these organisations are disintegrating. I am not accusing anyone of planning this, or of having designed it. It is being brought about by the divergent views that have been developing almost unobserved, except by those who have continuously met together; and even to them it has been a slow process, a little more marked at every meeting, so that the significance of the change was perhaps not immediately apparent. But to-day we are faced with a rapidly hardening build-up.
I wonder how many of the British public appreciated the full significance of the title which General de Gaulle used while in this country last week, and which was inscribed under every official picture of the General. The description was:President of the French Republic: President of the Community".*As your Lordships know, the Community is a union of six nations in process of being welded together into a unity. Economically it is controlled by an efficient machine, manned already by nearly 2,000 officials, with many Germans in key positions, under the control of a highly efficient German who has already been mentioned, Professor Hallstein. Soon there will be directly elected Parliamentary representatives of all the Community, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has already reminded us. At a recent meeting in London of the Economic Committee of the Council of Europe the principal French representative, in trying to make clear to us the position of the Community, said: "You will find it easier to understand our position if instead of referring to us as 'The Six' you refer to us as 'The One'". The other night in London, a German trying to explain why the Community did not include this country, said, "We understand you have to look after your Commonwealth".
Since 1950, I gather, the West German Government has been spending considerable sums of money through a public* Vide Vol. 223 (No. 77), col. 505.1093 relations organisation in America under the direction of the very able West German Press Chief, Herr von Eckardt, interpreting Germany and its achievements. Since 1959, according to my information, the same Herr von Eckardt has been employing and directing the same costly organisation to interpret the aims of the Community in a manner likely to impress the American Government and the American public. The Germans are skilful propagandists, and the recent experience of our Prime Minister when he raised questions about Europe with the American President confirms the success of their propaganda. The American Government has committed itself to general support of the aims of the Community, and to opposing the Stockholm set-up. Germans are now undertaking development projects in Southern Italy, and American-German co-operation in the promotion of industrial development in Spain is at this present time under discussion.
The sponsors of the Community reject as disruptive the idea of any general wider association in Europe, and the rules adopted by the Community automatically shut out countries like Switzerland and Austria, who cannot contract obligations with any political implications. What will be the tragic consequences for Europe of this development? The Stockholm Agreement is purely commercial in character, and it is capable of wide extension. Can it be doubted that, as Russia becomes more inward-looking and inward-developing, the East European part of Europe, which has been temporarily torn from Europe, will increasingly feel once again the pull of Europe? The Stockholm Agreement may soon attract applications for membership from countries like Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Roumania.
I think we should ask whether Germany is prepared to abandon reunification to keep us out of Europe. I do not believe that Europe as a whole is prepared to accept the hegemony of Germany, even with a French President of the Community, or ever will be in our time. So as soon as this appears likely—and to many it appears already to be well on the road—new disasters will begin to threaten Europe. Before it is too late, cannot what I regard as possible disaster be averted? There is surely no room in 1094 Europe for three groups working against each other. The Sixes and the Sevens should be working together in co-operation to extend their association eastwards instead of starting to undermine each other's position by a line-up into opposing groups. The economic split is bad enough, but businessmen can to some extent overcome the difficulties created by differences between Governments. What is worse, and what is tragic, is the split mind which is developing in Europe and which it would seem is most likely to bring more trouble in its train.
The British Foreign Secretary, and also the noble Marquess who is to reply to this debate, have, I know, an open mind, for they have both said at meetings of the Council of Europe that they are willing to consider any proposals to heal the breach and to avert the dangers of which I have spoken very frankly. I suggest that at this stage an open mind is not enough. We must, in conjunction with the other Stockholm Powers, work out and ourselves put forward to the Community, as a matter of urgency, some definite proposals for co-operation. It is late already to catch up with events. I hope that the noble Marquess, when he replies, will have something a little concrete to say on this aspect of the matter, and I am sure that in doing so he would have the support of all Parties in this House.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
My Lords, I am sure the House is indebted to my noble friend Lord Henderson for having put down the Motion under discussion and for the excellent speech with which he introduced it. May I say that I was very pleased to hear the maiden speech of the noble Baroness who addressed us this afternoon. We all thought it was a most able and competent speech. She made good speeches in another place, and I am not sure that, in this gilded Chamber, she is not going to make better speeches than she made there. At all events, we were delighted to hear her, and, as they say on maiden speeches in another place (and perhaps we do here also; I do not know yet, though I never had it said to me), we all hope that he shall hear the noble Baroness on many occasions in the future.
We are discussing foreign affairs, and we cannot keep out of our minds this 1095 "on and off" kind of struggle (with nice convivial visits to each other now and again) as between the East and the West of Europe. The fact is that we on our side, the Western democratic Powers, cannot, and it must not be thought that we could, surrender our beliefs in freedom and democracy. The right to say what we like and, in particular, to say what we like about Her Majesty's Government, is a sacred British possession, and we would not give it up for worlds. The right to write what we like and the right to think what we like is sacred to us. Therefore, we could not give it up; and at any rate some of us, myself included, if we were faced with that situation and believed that it would last, would sooner be dead. Therefore it must be clearly understood that we are not prepared to give up the rights of freedom and of democracy.
On the other hand, the Communist countries probably, so far as their Governments are concerned, deeply believe in the system which they have embraced and imposed upon their countries. They take the view that it was the only way to eradicate permanently and decisively the capitalist system, the only way to secure the mastery over material things. There we are. There are the two contrary beliefs. There is, however, this difference between the two camps: that while we should like to persuade the Communist countries to embrace the cause of freedom and to achieve freedom and liberty, we should seek to do that only by persuasion and not by force; whereas there is always a danger that, either by political manœuvring, by fifth-column methods or even, in some cases, by force, the Communist countries do not exclude the possibility of imposing their system, the totalitarian system, on the freedom-loving countries. And that, of course, is one of the dangers of the present situation.
There is, however, this hope as regards the totalitarian countries: that they seek to achieve large-scale industrial and economic progress. They are right to do so. They are right from the point of view of the standard of life of their peoples, and they are right from the point of view of war potential, if they think about that, as I imagine they do. Therefore industrial productivity, the development of the economic resources, is one 1096 of the things for which they strongly stand. But there is this feature about it: if industrial progress is to be achieved, if greater economic productivity is to be achieved, it is probable there must be a considerable degree of individual initiative on the part of the managers of these economic undertakings. If they treat those people as serfs, as slaves of the Police State, they will not get out of them the amount of progressive initiative they would otherwise achieve. And that can be a very good factor in the situation.
There has, of course, been a great change in the Government of Russia. Mr. Stalin died, and in due course Mr. Khrushchev came to power, both as Prime Minister and as First Secretary of the Communist Party, or at any rate of its Central Committee, which is the body that matters. They are men of great contrast. I never had the opportunity of meeting Mr. Stalin—I wish I had—but I gather that he was a witty kind of person, but serious, not perhaps over-blessed with human qualities or a sense of humour; whereas Mr. Khrushchev I think has got human qualities; he has a sense of humour; he enjoys himself and he goes to great trouble to get on with people with whom he has dealings. Moreover, he is one of the few Soviet leaders who is working-class. I think the bulk of them were either middle-class or professional people, some of them even the descendants of the aristocracy.
The way Mr. Khrushchev walks about, with great confidence and so on, with a touch of humour for somebody now and again, and with supreme confidence in himself and in his power and authority, sometimes reminds me a little of my late friend Ernest Bevin when he was walking round a Labour Party Conference or the T.U.C., with a million votes of the Transport and General Workers' Union in his pocket—something that is certainly calculated to give a man a certain degree of confidence. Mr. Khrushchev is a very different man from Mr. Stalin, and let us hope that he is better. But the question is whether his human touch and sense of humour represents a real change of heart and outlook and policy, or whether it is a matter of tactics in putting the Communist line across. Mr. Khrushchev, unlike Mr. Stalin, sees the world; he goes about the world, and it is a very 1097 good thing that that should be so. But he is liable to contradict himself. One week he may be a man of peace and the next week he may be threatening the West with complete destruction. He denounces speaking from strength; he thinks it very wrong if people speak from strength, but that does not stop him from speaking from strength himself when he feels like it.
The propaganda in which he engages, which is well done and cleverly done, again is a bit contradictory. He went to India, which has been emancipated from British rule, and has become independent. Nevertheless when he went there, after this had happened, and he knew that it had happened, he made a speech denouncing Britain: he still accused us and the other Western countries of colonialism and Imperialism, notwithstanding the fact that the greatest survival of colonialism and Imperialism is now to be found in Eastern Europe under the Communist dictatorships. Then on the occasion of his recent visit to France, he made a strong speech against Germany, notwithstanding the fact that it was French Government policy that France and Germany should be friendly. Indeed, General de Gaulle, when he was here last week, in the speech which he delivered to the Houses of Parliament, was very pleased with the fact that France and Germany had become much more friendly than they had been for a very long time; and surely it is a good thing that it should be so. After all, we were bitter enemies with France for a long time, and then we became friends; and I think everybody would agree that was a good thing. It is a good thing that France and Germany should be good friends as well; and I think it is a good thing that we should be good friends with Germany whenever we can.
Then Mr. Khrushchev came to our country, when he had a famous meal with the Labour Party and there was a little trouble, whereupon he said that he preferred the Conservatives to the Labour Party—which was a curious statement, coming from a revolutionary Communist. After the recent General Election he actually sent a telegram congratulating the Prime Minister on the great victory of the Conservative Party. So you never know with Mr. Khrushchev; indeed, it is one of his charms, in a way, that it depends on the day of the week 1098 or the week which side of the fence he will come down on, and we must not be cross about it: it is one of the things we have to understand. But it is very necessary that we must take every opportunity, as I hope the Soviet Union and its associates will take every opportunity, to establish peace, good friendship and understanding between the Eastern countries of Europe and the Western countries of Europe, because that is vital for the future peace and well being of the world.
I sometimes ask myself whether Britain is being beaten in the process of propaganda. There is no doubt that the Soviet Union, in particular, and some of the other Communist countries as well, are most able in the art of propaganda. I sometimes wonder whether those escaped bad men, Burgess and Maclean, have not given the Soviet Union a good deal of advice on how to conduct propaganda against the democratic West. It may be the best service that they have rendered to the Soviet Union, rather than espionage. But there it is. I think that at times, and perhaps most times, the Russian Communists get the best of the propaganda battle between East and West, and that we are rather being beaten about it. If we can, and to such an extent as we can, which I know is limited, we should find some means of letting the voice of the West be heard behind the Iron Curtain—in the words of the B.B.C.: Let nation speak unto nation.
Then do we effectively answer back when the Communist countries and their leaders make speeches and statements? I think that sometimes our response—I am not wanting it to be bitter, quarrelsome and provocative—is quite ineffective in relation to the speeches, observations and publications of leaders of Communist countries. I do not think we initiate enough or put questions enough, which they do—it is legitimate that they should—in order to provide some sort of an agenda of international discussion.
I do not think we respond enough to ideas which they put forward now and again, some of which are good. For example, I think Mr. Khrushchev's proposal about international disarmament was one well worthy of consideration, and a good one in itself. He is right 1099 that large-scale disarmament is likely to do the most good. I should have thought it would have been a good thing if our Government had responded by saying, "This is a good idea. Come on, let us talk about it and see how we can agree to implement this excellent proposition". But somehow we did not. We made some sympathetic noises, but otherwise there was no effective response and not much encouragement for the idea to go on. That, I think, was unfortunate. On the other hand, it is to be admitted that we ourselves, through our own Government, have put forward some good plans for disarmament. There have been some recent ones, but about two or three years ago there was put forward to the United Nations a scheme of processes of disarmament. That was carried by everybody, I think, excepting the Communist Powers. That was a case for us and it was a case against the Soviet Union, because it would have been worth their while to have pursued the proposals of the British Government.
Of course, disarmament must be carried through by international agreement between the parties. I do not think that unilateral disarmament—I understand the sincerity of those who advocate it—has any good sense in it. It is a dangerous thing to engage in, and you may be sacrificing your country in the process, with no guarantee that others are going to follow suit. As Mr. Aneurin Bevan said—I am sure we all hope that he will soon be restored to health—if we had unilateral disarmament, then, if he became Foreign Secretary, he would have to go into international conferences naked. He is quite right. It is not only a military question in regard to some sort of approximation of equality in armaments, but equally a diplomatic question which can lead to great difficulty. But disarmament is vital for peace, for international well-being and for all the world, because greater help could be given to the underdeveloped countries if much of the enormous sums of money that all of us are spending on arms could be saved. Thus we should have money left for other purposes. So I think that disarmament is perhaps the most vital single element in the international situation.
The questions of Berlin and of Germany will have to be discussed at the Summit Conference. I myself do not 1100 think that there is, or was, a real problem of Berlin, except in so far as it has been invented by the Soviet Government. The people of Berlin are fine people; I have a great respect for them. But the Russians keep talking about the problem of Berlin, which it is not. It is one that they have created in order to have an argument about something. I think we should be careful about giving way over Berlin unless there is some sort of solution based upon the whole city of Berlin, including the Communist sector, becoming absolutely free, with the absolute right of free elections and free speech, in which case I prophesy that there would be a Social Democratic majority on the Berlin City Council. I am not advocating it for that reason, but I feel quite certain that there would not be a Communist majority if there were free elections. That might be worth thinking about. Otherwise there is no real problem, and we ought not to encourage the idea that there is merely because the Soviet Union and East Germany have said that there is. Therefore I do not think that we should weaken. The division of Germany as a whole is quite unnatural. It ought not to be so, and the two German States or Provinces ought to be brought together. Some day I think they will be.
People really must make up their minds about our relationship with Germany. Some people are being rather foolish about it. They cannot stand up to an argument, because they have to admit that they are wrong. Is Germany to be a friend, which I prefer; or neutral, which I think is dangerous for everybody, including Germany; or has she to be a foe and to be driven into another camp or combination? Is she to be treated as an untouchable? The curious thing is that some of the people who, like myself, denounced the Treaty of Versailles and its consequences, which, unfortunately, were bad consequences, indirectly helping to produce Hitler—some of those people, including the Soviet Communists themselves, who denounced the Treaty as they did the First World War, now tend to develop an attitude to Germany which is not a sort of Versailles attitude but nevertheless is one of something like hatred, of antagonism, of making untruthful propaganda against the country. I think that that is wrong. Unfortunately, some of 1101 our own British people get misled by this kind of propaganda.
It seems to me that the thing that we ought to aim at, and that Germany ought to aim at, is what, under Dr. Adenauer, Germany has been aiming at. I do not always agree with Dr. Adenauer. I do not always agree with what Germany does. I think the venture about the Spanish bases was foolish and unwise, but they can say that they were rather encouraged to do it by somebody speaking with authority on behalf of N.A.T.O., though probably not a Minister. Of course, the United States has military facilities in Spain—a matter which, curiously enough, has not created any material trouble or international discussion. I do not always agree with the German Government or with what they do or say; but surely it is desirable that Germany should be a good Parliamentary democracy. I believe that since the Second World War she has been, on the whole, a good Parliamentary democracy. Elections have come and gone and the people and the Bundestag have accepted the result, and it is proceeding. It is desirable that that should continue—desirable for Germany and for everybody else. It is desirable that Germany should be a friend of freedom in the West generally, including herself, and that she should seek, with us, to have good relationships in settling problems, if we can, with the Soviet Union. That should be done as well.
It is quite legitimate that the division of Germany should be ended. That is a bad and unjust thing, just as it would be if Britain were carved in half. We should not like it and we should not be satisfied until we had reunited the place again. The division is bad, and therefore there ought to be unity between the two elements of Germany and a Government for the whole country, as well as for the States. There should be free and secret voting. It is desirable, too, that West Germany should play her part in the collective defence of the West, which she has indicated her willingness to do and for which she has begun to prepare—although perhaps not as quickly as was desirable. It is desirable that that should be under N.A.T.O., for then the freedom of enterprise of the old German military school cannot proceed.
If we do not encourage this attitude towards Germany either she will be 1102 neutral, and open to the highest bidder, or she will (or might) go over to the Eastern European States, which would be a very bad thing for peace and world controversy. I say these things because I was in a great controversy in the Labour Party on this matter and, thank goodness! we just won through—but only just—at a certain Party Conference. I believe it is desirable that Germany should play her part in the collective affairs of Europe and in the protection of the peace of Europe and the world; and that this line is the best check upon militarism. Therefore I think the anti-German campaign is really silly, ridiculous and contrary to our national interest and to the world interest, and I wish very much that it would come to an end.
Similarly, we need good relationships with the United States of America. Again there are some funny people about who are somewhat anti-American. The Americans, like the Germans—and the British, come to that—have their faults; but I like them very much. I feel it is a great thing that the Americans have given up their isolationism and are ready to play their part in the collective defence of the world; and therefore the idea, found in some quarters, of being somewhat anti-American is wrong, also. These things need not and ought not to prejudice our good relations with countries of the British Commonwealth. It is a vital necessity that we should be good friends with them, and good co-operators. I believe that this debate has been useful, and I hope, with other noble Lords, that Britain will be able to play a big and leading part in developing the peace and security of the world.
§ 5.35 p.m.
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
My Lords, in what I have to say I have been tremendously fortified by what I have just heard from the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth. If he will listen to what I have to say I think he will appreciate exactly what I mean. Among the many occasions on which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has given us his survey of the international scene I can think of no moment of greater urgency than that of our debate here this afternoon. I had anticipated that he would be covering Europe and Germany, and 1103 the position of Germany in Europe; and with that in mind I intend to concentrate almost entirely on that particular aspect of the international scene. I should like to say how fortified I was, too, by the maiden speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, because from it, apart from the great clarity with which she presented her case, I sensed that she was a great European; and much of what I have to say is concerned with the unity of Europe.
I always feel that our debates on international affairs are rather like letting a monkey loose in a sweetshop. There are so many choices and all seem so very important. I shall have nothing to say on the wrangle between the Six and the Seven, not because I do not realise the great significance of that but because I want to concentrate on what I believe should be the political background to our thought about it. For much the same reason I shall not say anything about disarmament. Because I want deliberately to divert your Lordships' attention from these great technical matters, however important, and to concentrate thought on these great human problems, these human questions which, in my submission, are behind all our fear of war and armament, whether it be nuclear or otherwise.
At the risk of irritating some of your Lordships who may have been closely associated with immediate post-war developments, I am going to say a word about the record of history; and I hope that before I have finished your Lordships will understand my reason for doing so. It will be remembered that at Potsdam a decision was taken that Germany should be treated as an economic whole. The United States and United Kingdom honoured that agreement; the Soviet Union did not. A decision was taken that reparations should not be taken out of Germany's current production. The United States and the United Kingdom honoured that, too. The Soviet Union did not. As a result of recommendations of the European Advisory Commission it was agreed that there should be a joint Occupation of Berlin with free and independent access by the Western Powers into their two sectors. The Soviet Union immediately accepted that. The date, I believe, was February 18, 1944. Yet 1104 only four years later on July 14, 1948, the Russians were already demanding that Berlin should be incorporated into the Eastern Zone.
That is not the kind of record to encourage the placing of trust and confidence in the Soviet Union in the future, and I want to turn for a moment to the purely political field and remind your Lordships of the manner in which a Communist authority was established in the Eastern Zone. Your Lordships will remember that in July, 1945, a German administration was first established by the Soviet Union in their Zone, and four parties were allowed to function: the Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats, the Liberal Democrats and the Communists. Soviet policy was, quite naturally, based on anti-Nazi sentiment. He who could be most vigilant in his efforts to suppress all traces of Nazism was promoted. The possibility that an individual might wish to be both anti-Nazi and anti-Communist was just ignored. And so it came about that an anti-Nazi crusade was the method by which Communists were placed in power, by-passing, of course, the normal process of free democratic election, they knowing well that they could never dare face the vote of a free public.
That was followed by the enforced amalgamation in 1946 of the Communist Party and the Socialist Party, in the official jargon "in the interests of working class solidarity"; and under a bogus label a new party—the Socialist Unity Party—took the stage, Socialist in name but Communist in fact. Little is known of the extraordinary and sinister processes by which that fusion was carried through, against the will of the greater number of Socialists. Having been successful, the process was continued. Societies, associations, youth movements, trade unions were all, one by one, swallowed up, and always by the simple process of placing Communists in key positions.
My Lords, you may have wondered why I have bothered in a few minutes to try to sum up this process. It is because there is a terrifying gullibility as to the nature of the East German authority and a complete disregard of the methods by which the authority was established. The noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, reminded us that we hear responsible Members of Parliament defending the Eastern German régime, 1105 on the ground that political Parties are allowed to function in opposition in freedom. Yet only ten days ago we had cruel evidence of the true nature of conditions from peasants escaping from the attempted blackmailing of them into collectivisation.
But there is another reason for having a look at this past record. It seems sometimes that we might be drifting towards a recognition of this régime. If that view were ever to prevail I wonder if those who would then be satisfied would in any way be conscious of the process by which they had been manœuvred into acceptance—again, I think the term used by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, was "manœuvred". We hear it said with complete complacency that the East Germans "are here to stay, and therefore we must accept them." We hear it said by a Conservative Member of Parliament thatto understand Eastern German leadership is to serve the cause of peace and freedom.Freedom indeed! One wonders what kind of freedom he would have in mind. If we were to accept the East German authority, fully conscious of the aims of Ulbricht and his "Yes-men", and fully conscious indeed of our own guilt in ever having allowed them to come to power, then there might be some dim logic behind the recognition. But we do not think that way.
I am going to continue to drive home the truth with my own personal experience. Your Lordships may have read in the Daily Telegraph some days ago about a certain Dr. Gotthard Eberlein who came to this country. I saw him only a few days ago. He used to keep a propaganda office 300 yards on the Eastern side of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and became well known as a very effective agent for Eastern Germany. In that capacity Members of Parliament would visit him and would be impressed, believing, with him, that all we had to do was to make our peace with an enlightened and liberal régime living in legitimate fear of Adenauer's Germany and its future intentions and ambitions.
When I visited him in his office he was indignant at any suggestion that there was anything wrong with the attractions of life under Ulbricht. About a month ago I had his letter to say he had crossed over to the West and was in Frankfurt. 1106 It is a very long letter. I will not read it, but I have it here and any noble Lords who wish to read it can do so. It amounts to a complete confession that at last the truth had come home to him, that all liberalism and socialism had been slowly but surely strangled. My Lords, here in this letter, in a mood of mingled disgust and dismay, is the truth; that the whole Eastern German structure is but a façade to hide the intentions of a small dedicated minority who are prepared to gain power by force. And so let those who might wish to see the division of Germany in perpetuation just note the kind of circumstances to which they would be condemning, and indeed betraying, some 15 or 16 million.
If your Lordships accept some of this as true, it follows that anything said by that régime about Chancellor Adenauer and Western German policies is all said with the one object: to make its contribution towards our recognition and confirmation of the East German authority. And, quite incidentally, some of the activities to which I have drawn attention in this country in your Lordships' House, put out, for example, from a poisonous film agency in Soho, are of course nothing but a contribution to that purpose on this side of the Channel. Bearing this in mind, is it not a tragedy that this insidious, evil process finds support—tacit, unwitting, perhaps—from the Beaverbrook Press? I do not like having to say the things I am going to say, but I have come to the conclusion that unless one is quite frank nothing happens at all.
In the past we have regarded the man at the helm as a patriot, a great patriot, serving his country in its hour of need. I do not know what service he considers he is performing for his country by allowing this irresponsible writing in his newspapers. I know this: that those who take the trouble to go over to Germany—and I have particularly in mind two of your Lordships' House, my noble friends Lord Jellicoe and the noble Baroness who has spoken, who recently returned from the meeting at Königswinter—return dismayed to find for the first time that there is an anti-British sentiment where it was never before; and for that, I submit, we have a malicious and uninformed Press campaign in certain sections of the Press to hold entirely responsible. What a noble achievement it is !
1107 Again, I believe that those who take the trouble to go to Germany and talk to German leadership—and I think I may class myself among them—would agree (and I think the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, stressed the point) that to-day in Germany there is a Government and an Opposition struggling to assimilate democracy in a manner which was beyond our wildest dreams in 1945; struggling to play their part in Europe as Europeans in a manner one might have assumed could have received some encouragement. In those circumstances this veiled campaign of insinuation is, of course, certainly no service to Germany, and is not intended to be. But, more than that, it is no service to Europe; and still more than that, it is damaging, and has been, to the fair name of this country and our reputation in Europe. That then, my Lords, is the achievement of a modern section in Fleet Street. How proud they must be
With this rather strange situation I think it is appropriate to remind your Lordships of two developments, for which, in all reverence, I think we might thank God. First of all, the sudden French-German understanding, to which some of your Lordships have referred; and secondly, a very significant and moving encounter the other day between Chancellor Adenauer and Prime Minister Ben-Gurion. One wonders what sort of mind it is that can be so divorced from reality, so out of date, as to have nothing better to do than play on hatred when there is the evidence of better and nobler trends under our eyes.
There is yet one more reason for being emphatic on this point. I do not know whether these particular newspapermen realise how successfully they have played into the hands of Communists. I know this much: the effect at every point has been to satisfy the Communists by leading us away from those objectives we held at the end of the war in relation to a united Germany playing its part in Europe. In these fourteen years we have allowed ourselves to drift. We talk to-day of two Germanys and their reunification. We have been manœuvred skilfully and relentlessly into that talk. Had we instead, from the beginning, talked of the liberation of Eastern Germany, we 1108 might to-day, I believe, have been not only nearer that particular liberation but nearer the liberation of what I would term the Eastern Zone of Europe. This will perhaps be regarded as just the view of a Back-Bencher. I know this: that it is shared by that greatest of international Liberals, Senor Salvador de Madriga. It is his claim that never yet since the war has the freedom of Eastern Europe figured on an international agenda. You may say, "We should never have got anywhere if we had done so." I could not agree. I submit that had Western Europe, had the Western Allies, as a matter or urgent priority, relentlessly, year after year, placed this one objective in the forefront, prepared to regard it as the focus of all negotiation and bargain, by now the barriers could have been down.
For let us face the truth: while we are ready to be vigilant enough of the hypothetical revival of past dangers, we seem oblivious to the dangers which, as a matter of harsh reality, face us in Europe to-day. Who would know from reading the newspapers, for example, that, for a distance of 380 miles, the common frontier between Czechoslovakia and Hungary, on the one side, and Austria, on the other, is completely sealed, so that no human traffic can take place across it? Who would know from reading the newspapers that, in an age which boasts its ability to send sputniks floating around the high heavens, a Czech frontier guardsman can be awarded a prize for his ability to shoot down one of his own countrymen in his effort to escape across his own frontier?
My Lords, is it too late to plead that the fate of Eastern Europe and Eastern Germany together can be placed on the Summit agenda? We do not ask for a return to former régimes. We do not ask, even, for a formal renunciation of Communism. We ask only that, under international auspices, these people should be allowed to achieve their own form of government in their own way, without fear of Soviet tanks in the background. There are certain features of Soviet policy of which we are all aware. We are aware, as has been stressed this afternoon, that they wish, with us, to call a complete stop to armaments, and they wish passionately to open up the avenues of international trade. Very well. Without going into the details of 1109 the bargain, I would only submit that here is a situation which could be turned into reality. They could realise these desires if, in turn, they were prepared to accept a perfectly just and sane solution of a vast, human problem.
My Lords, I have spoken in rather general terms, but before I finish I want to place before Her Majesty's Government one factual approach to Europe—and I realise that here I risk facing the fierce criticism of good friends in Germany. I have placed my complete faith in the Germany of the future playing its vital part in Europe's preservation, and offering its contribution in every sphere of life. And if what I say appears harsh, I would beg my German friends to believe that I say this only because they are conclusions reached after deep thought, and because I believe them finally to be in the interests of Germany and of peace in Europe.
If I were a wealthy man, with money to spare, I believe that I should devote my spare cash to doing what I could to promote the dawn of an understanding between Germany and Poland. Your Lordships will recall that when the Poles were forced to yield a great slice of their territory in the East to the Russians they believed that the land they received from Germany up to the Oder-Neisse line was given to them in compensation. At the same time, at Potsdam the Germans were told that the country which had been taken away from them to the East of the Oder-Neisse line was only in the nature of a provisional settlement, and that the final settlement was to await the signing of a Peace Treaty with a united Germany. So to-day we have a situation in which both the Poles and the Germans are right.
The question arises: how is this dilemma to be resolved? There are living in Western Germany some 5 million or 6 million Germans from that territory taken away East of the Oder-Neisse line; and, politics being what they are, the same the whole world over, no political Party in Germany dare tell their people they will not receive back those territories. I can see only one way round this, and that is for the Allies—the United States and the United Kingdom, because President de Gaulle has, in effect, already said so—to say to the 1110 German people, "I am sorry; at Potsdam we were wrong. We were deceived. We thought the position would remain one of open negotiation. We were deceived. We now have to tell you officially that, perhaps with the exception of minor modifications, you will not get back this territory."
What would happen if that were done? For the moment, there would be bitter resentment in Germany, quite naturally. The Germans could, quite naturally, turn to us and say, "After all, you have never recognised officially that Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have been absorbed by the Russians. Why, then, are you doing this to us?" But that would not be the end of the story. If the Western Powers were to follow that up with a guarantee of the Oder-Neisse line against aggression from either the West or the East (and I think the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, mentioned that particular point) then there, surely, are the terms for demanding the return of the peoples of Eastern Germany to their full nationhood with their fellow countrymen. If I am told that it is useless to put up that kind of proposition to the Soviet, my reply would be, "Let those terms be submitted; let them be refused; and let the world know exactly where the responsibility rests for the frustration of peace in Europe".
With this Western guarantee, what then would be left of Khrushchev's efforts to play on hate, played up so subtly on the eve of a Summit Conference? What then would be left of his attempts to exploit hatred? European security is complete from danger, hypothetical or real. The door is open for a German-Polish reconciliation; and once you have got a conciliation, it does not matter very much which side of the frontier you live, as a majority or a minority. Furthermore, that conciliation could be the key, as I see it, by which the door could remain open for the freedom of the whole Eastern Zone of Europe—for that, surely, remains the goal at the end of the road.
My Lords, in the twin loyalties which we experience to Europe and to the British Commonwealth of Nations—and the noble Baroness, I think, referred to this point—I like to believe that, so far from those loyalties being in competition, they are in mutual support: that 1111 Canadians, for example, are all the more drawn into Commonwealth loyalty by virtue of their recognition that they also have a stake in Europe. And it is because one senses that this continuation of the division of Europe might spell the twilight of European unity and greatness that one fears for the future, and for the part that we are at present playing in Europe as compared with the part we could, and should, play. When the late Lord Grey wrote:The lamps are going out all over Europe, and we will not see them lit again in our lifetime",he was speaking in the shadow of a great war. To-day, technically, we are at peace; and yet, I suggest, there is a danger of the lamps going out. At the moment, two elderly statesmen in France and Germany, miraculously, have restored our hopes for the future of Europe. But they, in the nature of things, cannot go on for very much longer together, and if France and Germany were ever again to drift apart, would it not be our regret and our shame that we had failed to be strong enough in Europe's interests in time to provide that cement which would enable her to resist the great Communist political and economic offensive? It would indeed be tragic if we, who had sometimes saved Europe by our example in war, were to fail her in peace through blurred thinking and apathy. These, my Lords, are the thoughts which I, in humility, would pray should be in the minds of Western leadership in the not distant future.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ LORD BRABAZON OF TARA
My Lords, one of the most remarkable things in history, I think, has occurred since the last war. At the end of the last war, I do not suppose that this country had greater good will towards any country in the world than that which it had towards Russia. We would have done anything on earth for her. We admired her self-sacrifice, we admired her victory, and anything she had asked us to do we should have done. Yet by the direction within that country that good will was thrown away. It was the most tragic thing that was ever done. And, of course, we have to realise that this ideology of Communism has alienated most of the world, and especially the West and America. We should 1112 not fall into the trap that America seems to have fallen into, of thinking that anti-Communism is automatically anti-Russian. They are really two separate things. I agreed very much with my noble friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth when he said that we do not answer Communism nearly enough but let it go by the board, whereas we should be continually having this argument on the ideological question. But that has really nothing to do with our relations with Russia itself.
The foreign policy of Russia to-day is exactly the same as it was in the days of the Czar. Russia is, and always has been, terrified of the West; and very rightly so. For hundreds of years the West has been a highly civilised part of Europe when Russia has been backward. That policy goes on to-day: they are still frightened of the West. They have put all these buffer States right across Europe to protect themselves, quite frankly, in a very disgraceful way: Hungary has been separated from Austria and East Germany from West—everything has been done to get this ring of buffer States. What must be her attitude? She sees the whole of Europe bound together against her, and that basic fear of the West is increased every day.
From the point of view of trade, nobody can deny that Europe is at sixes and sevens, in every sense of the words. But from the point of view of Russia, although this new Community, this Six, is an economic arrangement, is it not true that economic arrangements finally become political arrangements? It automatically happens. Is it not another new horror, from Russia's point of view, that such a remarkable combination as France, Germany and others should spring into being? Must it not be rather a comfort to her that Great Britain is not in it? It would seem to me that we have a singular opportunity at the moment of doing something which would assuage a little the fear of Russia of the whole of the rest of Europe. Now is the time to make every form of trade agreement with Russia; it is a great opportunity to do it.
Is there any country that really requires peace more than does Russia, if you think of the vast job she has got to get even comparatively equal from the point of 1113 view of the standard of living of Western Europe? Nobody looking at the history of Russia, or even at Russia at the present time, can imagine that she is aggressive against Europe. I cannot believe that that is true. Of course, she utters threats and that sort of thing simply to show how strong she is against the possibility of attack. But that there is a potential danger from the point of view of invasion from Russia, I cannot believe. Now is the opportunity to show that in the great West there are at any rate some countries who do not look upon her as a pariah, but who would be prepared to trade with her, and are not to associate with this new combine, which must be, from her point of view, a serious threat.
It seems to me that we have an opportunity here not to be used to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for West Germany relative to East, but to show that our great country is not ill-disposed towards Russia, and from the point of view of attack that such a thing has never been in our heads. With trade increasing between that great country and ourselves, and with internal trade in Europe getting together, we should not build up two opposing camps, but there should grow up increasing prosperity and understanding.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, it was with the greatest pleasure that I listened to the extremely fine maiden speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, especially as I was one of the few Members of the House who, two years ago, spoke against the inclusion of noble Ladies in the House and voted against it. It only goes to show how wrong I was.
I, too, deplore this anti-German campaign which is being waged in this country. Germany is our ally in N.A.T.O., and an important ally. We cannot differentiate between allies. Allies in N.A.T.O. should all be on equal terms. What those who indulge in this continual pinpricking of Germany hope to gain, I cannot imagine. The only thing they can gain is the break-up of N.A.T.O. They can perhaps do something that Mr. Khrushchev with all his adroitness and hard work has failed to do. No one was 1114 more pleased than I to witness the great welcome given to President de Gaulle last week, but I cannot help contrasting that with the icy reception given in the streets of London to the German President on his visit here.
It is not surprising that foreigners often cannot understand the English, because if you work it out, we applauded, quite rightly, through sentiment, for old times and all that, the French President, who, after all, to put it mildly, has not been extremely helpful in our negotiations with Europe, whereas the Germans have, as I think everyone who studies this will agree, lent a far more sympathetic ear to our needs in Europe. I would remind your Lordships that the Germans were far more willing than the French to agree to our joining in a free trade area in association with the Six. We have now, of course, formed the Outer Seven, which cannot really harm France, but can harm Germany, through, for instance, her trade with Sweden, to quite a degree. We must also not forget that in the future a major part of N.A.T.O. defence is going to be borne by Germany. With the outcry over the suggestion that Germany should have training facilities in our country, you would think that a large section of our Press regards Germany not as an ally, but as our deadly enemy. This is 1960, not 1940. It appears as if some of us in this country are 20 years behind in our political thinking. The raising of alleged German militarism is only playing into the hands of vicious Communist propaganda.
Fortunately, other European countries are not so easily duped by Communist propaganda. For instance, Belgium has entered into a reciprocal agreement with Germany to allow German arms maintenance depôts on her territory. Yet Belgium has endured the horror of two German invasions. I am no military strategist, good heavens!; I was in an extremely junior position in Her Majesty's Army; but we were taught that the important thing about defence is depth. If we look at West Germany on the map, we find that her average depth is under 200 miles and she has, after all, to bear the brunt of any invasion. It is quite impossible, with a depth of 200 miles, and in a war with atomic missiles, to have all your bases there. It is crazy.
1115 I would also remind the House of President de Gaulle's fine speech in Westminster Hall, which I was privileged to hear. In that speech he said that what France expects of the peace which the world is now striving to rescue wasthat it shall not widen divisions nor poison wounds, including those suffered by the German people who were yesterday our enemies but who are today a vital part of the West and our common ally.If France and Belgium—who, as I have said, have suffered far more at the hands of German militarism than we have—can show such magnanimity and vision, it only goes to show that their political thinking is ahead of ours. We all know that, if Europe dissolves into two rival economic blocs, economic rivalries soon blossom into political rivalries. We have only ourselves to blame, in that having proposed a united Europe after the war, we have turned our backs on the practical considerations necessary to bring it into being.
As the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, said, time is now running short. If the Hallstein proposals are ratified by the Common Market, we shall come up against a high tariff wall on July 1. If this should happen, I hope our attitude towards the Common Market will be conciliatory and not bellicose. "Peaceful co-existence" ought to be our motto. If we embark on a restrictive trade policy in self defence, this is sure to make the Common Market more restrictive than ever, and the political division of Europe will become more certain. As every speaker has said, we must at all costs guard against this. It would be disastrous if Europe were to be politically divided.
Personally, I should like us to acknowledge our earlier mistake and, when possible, to join the European Economic Community. I know all the objections to this. We hear about our trade with the Commonwealth. There is no more Imperial-minded person than I am. If I had my way, I should like the whole map to be British. But if we really look into the facts, we find that Imperial preference is steadily declining. We exported under a quarter of our total exports to the Commonwealth last year, and our imports from the Commonwealth were barely a quarter of our total. When we come to the question of the 1116 links of the Crown with the Commonwealth, I personally cannot see that our joining E.E.C. would harm those political links at all. At any rate, I am positive that if we went into a united Europe the advantages would far outweigh the disadvantages. Of course, we have also the extremely important question of food, but the E.E.C. would, I am sure, come to some arrangement for safeguarding our imports of cheap food, because we are in a very vulnerable position as regards foodstuffs. A strong Britain playing a leading r ôle in a united Europe could, I am sure, be of far more use to the Commonwealth and the free world generally.
If we are going to have a real united Europe, let us have a Europe which includes all those countries that are opposed to the Communist dictatorships. That is, I think, extremely important with regard to the effective organisation of N.A.T.O. For instance, it is quite incongruous that Spain is not a full member of N.A.T.O.; if democracy and the free world are going to be defended only by democrats we are surely going to get very thin on the ground, because two-thirds of the world are now ruled by dictatorships. We ourselves have set up dictatorships: we have set them up in Burma, Pakistan, Sudan, Ghana—the list is endless. Even France is now a dictatorship. And it is, of course, probable that in Africa we are going to set up more dictatorships. It was only a short time ago that we had an alliance with the greatest dictator of all to defend democracy: I refer, of course, to Mr. Stalin. The purges that Stalin embarked on made Hitler look like an amateur, and yet we had him as an ally.
It seems incongruous to me that at the same time when we are on friendly relations with godless dictators who are even now persecuting millions, we have this cold-shouldering of General Franco. He and Dr. Salazar of Portugal must be the mildest of all the present dictators. General Franco is no ruthless murdering demagogue; he is a man who is dedicated to the service of his country and the particular needs of Spain. Let us, for heaven's sake, stop this hypocrisy! We are honestly becoming like the Southern Irish who for any grievance always hark back to Cromwell.
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord to give any authority for that statement, which in my opinion in bunkum?
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
I often have political arguments in pubs with Irishmen, and the whole time they always bring up Cromwell. It has been my experience.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
The Spanish Civil War happened a quarter of a century ago. I appeal to Her Majesty's Government to see that we have up-to-date political thinking unfettered by old grudges. We must apply our politics to the practical realities of the day. I also appeal to Her Majestys' Government—and this will please the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham; I am sorry if I annoyed him, but now I am going to please him—to use all their influence with the United Nations and America to have Red China in the United Nations, because, here again, to keep Red China out shows that America, at any rate, is out of touch with the practical realities of politics.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I can assure the House, I am sure to their evident relief, that I am going to detain them only a very few moments this afternoon. If I rise at all it is only for two reasons. The first is, of course, that I. like other noble Lords, should like to congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, on a really outstanding maiden speech. I think I may say that even in the days when the entry of ladies into your Lordships' House was still a very controversial possibility for the future I always advocated it; and now not only is it an accomplished fact but it is one, I believe, which is almost universally welcomed as a great improvement of the House. Lady Horsbrugh's speech to-day was certainly, I think, a very strong argument in that direction. It was powerful; it was thoughtful, and it was absolutely attuned to the atmosphere of your Lordships' House. I am certain we all congratulate her most warmly on the first effort, and we all look forward to her next.
I also rise because, I suppose like practically every other noble Lord who has spoken in this debate, there are one 1118 or two things I was very anxious to say. Of course, this is the last opportunity we shall have of saying anything before we separate for Easter, and, what is yet more important, it may well be the last opportunity we shall have of discussing the international situation at all before the Summit Conference meets in a few weeks' time. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, to whom the House is always under so great a debt for raising these debates on international affairs, dealt very fully with the German position, and I do not propose to follow him at any length to-day. We all know the vexed complexity of this subject, and the Government are already well aware of the views which are generally held in this country on it.
Broadly speaking, it would, I imagine, be true to say (I think the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, would agree with this) that the ultimate policy, to which all Parties in this country are pledged, is the reunification of Germany. That has been stated and restated again and again. But I think it would be equally true to say that all Parties recognise that that is not a practical proposition at this particular moment. In the meantime, as I understand it, what we must seek to achieve, both over the local position in Berlin—which is perhaps the most urgent matter—and over the wider problem of Germany as a whole, even if it is not possible to make any definite progress, is that nothing should be done to prejudice the achievement of our long-term policy. As I understand it, that is common to every Party in the State, and in my view it is about as far as we, who have not the responsibility of Government, can go both about Berlin and the wider German issue this afternoon. The Prime Minister and his colleagues know, I think pretty fully, the views that are held all over the country on this question and it is for them so to negotiate as at any rate not to prejudice the future of the long-term policy to which the country is committed.
Of course, the question which is almost bound to be raised is that of the future of the nuclear weapon—a matter which was referred to by Lord Henderson, and also by the Leader of the House in the remarks which he made this afternoon. This is a more controversial topic. As we all know, there are many people in this country—I am not sure whether or 1119 not they include Lord Henderson himself—who would like, from the highest motives, to see the nuclear weapon abolished altogether. There are others who, equally—I suppose this applies to all of us—do not like the weapon in itself, but regard it as an essential deterrent to the outbreak of a third World War. As I expect some of your Lordships may by now appreciate, I belong to the latter school of thought. I believe that if we were to succeed in abolishing the nuclear weapon the world would be back very near where it was between the two world wars—and we all know to our cost that the deterrents which were at that time in the hands of peace-loving nations were not sufficient to prevent the outbreak of a second conflict even more catastrophic than the first.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, if I may just interrupt the noble Marquess, in order to put my own position quite clearly, I agree with the Government. I want nuclear disarmament and conventional disarmament running hand in hand.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I am coming to that in a moment. I hope most sincerely that we have learned our lesson, and that we shall not, at any rate, allow ourselves to fall back into the same unhappy situation in which we were between 1918 and 1939.
We may be told—I think the noble Lord, Lord Henderson himself suggested this—that unless the nuclear weapon is banned, whether in conjunction with general disarmament or not, there is a danger that it might fall into the hands of small countries who might use it irresponsibly. I personally am not a bit afraid of that. I should have thought that modern experience showed that small countries do not irresponsibly start great wars. If it is argued that the First Great War arose over Belgium and that the Second Great War arose over Poland, indirectly, the fact is, of course, that what I might call the Kaiser's War did not arise from any irresponsible action on the part of the Belgium Government; nor did the Second World War arise from any irresponsible action on the part of the Polish Government. Both wars arose from an attempt by a great Power, Germany, to invade territories of their 1120 smaller neighbours, the integrity of which other great Powers were already pledged to protect. I repeat that, nowadays, smaller countries do not start great wars and they do not act irresponsibly—at least, that is my view—for the very simple reason that it is far too dangerous for them to do so.
However, I am not going to attempt to carry that argument any further. My aim this afternoon is not to emphasise the differences which may exist between us on this question, but to record what I believe is the wide measure of common agreement that exists on at any rate one aspect of the problem of the nuclear weapon. I refer, of course, to the limitation, and if possible the cessation, of further nuclear tests—and I mean by that, by those who already have the weapon as well as by those who have not. Whether the time is ripe for that seems to me to depend on whether a weapon has yet been produced which is an adequate deterrent to aggression by nations great or small. I should have thought that the answer to that question was emphatically, Yes. There are already in existence, as your Lordships know, weapons so immensely powerful that they are capable of striking a deadly blow at any nation, whether it be great or small. Here I am emphatically with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in saying that surely we need no greater deterrent than that. That seems to me to be the ultimate deterrent, a deterrent which has never existed before.
As to possible progress over general disarmament, I must confess that I am rather more sceptical. While great problems exist which divide great nations—because I believe that the great nations are really the danger, and not the small nations—and while so many of those nations are still animated by a mentality based on power politics (and that seems certainly to be true in the case of the Government of Russia, if we may judge by recent events in Hungary; and of the Government of China, if we may judge by recent events in Tibet) I cannot possibly believe that either the great nations to which I have referred or their neighbours will agree to any high degree of general disarmament. I cannot believe that it is a practical policy, and I think a change of heart is necessary before they will agree to that. But a limitation, or even a cessation, of further nuclear 1121 tests is, I believe, practical politics. If the Summit Conference could achieve that, it would be something immense gained; and I am quite certain that in their work for that the Government will have the good wishes of us all. That is my great hope. Something over Berlin and something over the nuclear tests is my great hope for success from this coming Conference.
I would add, my Lords, that I greatly hope that, while these extremely delicate negotiations are going on, both we in Parliament and the Press outside will exercise a proper restraint, and will not pester our representatives, morning, noon and night, to give us precise public information as to the exact point the negotiations have reached. I believe that nothing is so hampering to success as that. To give only one example, many noble Lords will remember that just before the Second World War we sent some representatives to Moscow to conduct negotiations with the Russian Government. At the same time, the Russian Government were conducting parallel negotiations with the representatives of Hitlerite Germany. The Germans succeeded and we failed. I am quite sure that the noble Lord, Lord Strang, who, if I remember rightly, led our delegation, would agree that one of the main reasons for our failure was that we had to carry on our negotiations in the full and constant glare of public criticism and comment, while the Germans and Russians were able to work in a deadly secrecy until the results of their negotiations were complete. I am quite certain that that was a most powerful element in the course of events at that time. So now if we want the Summit negotiations to succeed, as I imagine we all passionately do, I am quite certain that both Parliament and the Press here (and of course the same is true of Congress and the Press in the United States) would be wise to exercise as much restraint as they can whilst these talks are in progress.
I should like now to turn for a moment to another topic, a very different one, but now, I believe, recognised more and more as having an international aspect—and I have given Her Majesty's Government notice of the point I propose to make. I refer to Cyprus. I do not want to ask the Government the exact position which negotiations have reached on 1122 Cyprus, because obviously that would conflict with the general principle that I have just enunciated. But I would ask the Government for an assurance on one single point which I believe does not conflict with my principle.
I understand (and I know only what I read in the newspapers) that the main issue which is still outstanding in these protracted negotiations is the size and population within the military bases which, under the Treaty, are to remain under British sovereignty. If they feel able to do so I should like Her Majesty's Government to give an assurance to the House before we go away—I think this is a legitimate request—that in the decisions they reach on this particular point they will be guided by the advice of their military advisers and not by any requirements of temporary political expediency—if the noble Marquess will not think that a rude expression to use.
We all know from our bitter experience over the Suez Base and elsewhere that there are three essential requirements for an effective military base. There must be room for the necessary military establishments: barracks, stores and so on. There must be room for the troops to train and manœuvre, although I suppose that that area, in order to get agreement, could be leased, rather than owned by us. Finally, and to my mind almost the most important, there must be a sufficient civil population at our disposal, under our sovereignty and within our control, to work the base. Can we be sure (and this is what I am asking the Government) that all these requirements, and especially the last, will be satisfied in any agreement that we sign with Archbishop Makarios in the present negotiations? And will Her Majesty's Government make sure that not only they but their military advisers also are satisfied?
To judge by the newspapers, these base areas are being whittled down week by week, and we see Archbishop Makarios pressing above all other points for virtually the whole of the civil population to be under his sovereignty (if I may so express it) and not under British sovereignty when Cyprus becomes a Republic. Are we insisting that enough of these civilians shall remain on British soil and under the control of the British Government to ensure that, if and when an emergency arises, we can operate these bases effectively for the purpose for 1123 which they were intended? We have had a great many humiliations over Cyprus, and it would really be a crowning humiliation if, when an emergency did arise, we found that we could not work our bases there because the head of the Cyprus Government—it might be Archbishop Makarios or somebody else—had declared that the purpose for which we wanted to use it was not in accordance with the policy which he himself favoured.
Those bases, my Lords, are being retained under the Treaty to carry out our policy and nobody else's, and if there are not to be left in these base areas enough of the civil population to ensure that, then I personally feel very strongly that it would be far better not to spend the very large sums of money which will be necessary to perfect a new base in the island but rather to move elsewhere, where we can be more certain that the necessary labour will be available, and certainly under our sovereignty. The kind of place I have in mind is a strip off the coast of East Africa, adjoining the port of Mombasa, or somewhere in that part of the world. With the increasing range of troop-carrying aircraft that would be very convenient for us in giving assistance to most of the places where our assistance might be needed—Aden, or the Trucial States, in the Persian Gulf, and places of that kind. Indeed, it might be convenient if we had to use troops even nearer the base than that. No doubt it is extremely nice to have a base in Cyprus, if conditions make that possible; but do not let us keep it as an entirely useless base, just to save our face in the negotiations. That as I have said, would only pile up a yet greater humiliation for us later. I hope that it may be possible for Her Majesty's Government to give an assurance on that point to-day.
My Lords, that is all I want to say this afternoon. I do not want to go into the general international situation, and I would only repeat that I wish Her Majesty's Government all good fortune in the Summit negotiations which are before them. We shall all watch, with the greatest interest and sympathy, for the results that accrue from them.
§ 6.47 p.m.
§ LORD FRASER OF NORTH CAPE
My Lords, my only claim to intervene is 1124 that as a common or garden sailor I have now been, I believe, to every country in the world except Nyasaland. In that fashion one meets both the people at the top and the people at the bottom. I have stayed with Chiang Kai-shek at Chungking, Chou En-lai has been to a cocktail party on my flagship, and I have met Mr. Nehru and the Prime Minister of Burma. But as a sailor one meets also the Chinese coolie, the Indian stationmaster and the ordinary man in the street, and one realises that what ordinary people all over the world want is just peace, food and security, and that the only fear and suspicion the ordinary chap has is of what his Government may do next.
As one looks around one sees that the only people who really quarrel seem to be Governments, politicians and agitators—and occasionally, of course, Field-Marshals. But what is it that Governments are really quarrelling about now? There is no doubt about it, the nuclear weapon has caused more quarrels than everything else put together. It is that with which I want to deal. I want to propose how it should all be settled in a month. We have talked now for years and the talk will go on for another ten years, and yet all that the world wants is "action this day", as Mr. Churchill said. That is what is required now.
I believe we ought to start a new line in regard to nuclear weapons. My arguments are really based on three factors. One is that we now have in the world sufficient nuclear weapons to destroy civilisation, so why make any more? My second argument is that I feel that we must now place a little more trust in the Russians in negotiation. It seems to me that we are always suspicious of what they are going to do next. I believe I am right in saying that in the past, in all history, Russia has never invaded Europe. Secondly, I believe she has never defaulted on an industrial contract when she has given her word. Those are two things in her favour.
And on that basis, this is what I personally would do. Mind you, I was educated partly by Sir Winston Churchill and also, I might say, by some distinguished Members on the Opposition Front Bench. I now say that we should take half a sheet of paper, and on that the Prime Minister should write, 1125 "I solemnly declare that I will carry out no further nuclear tests of any description if you will sign the same on another half sheet of paper", and deposit it with the United Nations. Details can be settled afterwards. What does it matter if Russia now surreptitiously blows up a five-ton charge under the ground in Moscow? Sooner or later she is bound to be bowled out. What difference does it make to the destruction of civilisation? That is the first thing. I would go on no longer talking about two tons of T.N.T. in the Welsh Hills and all that detail which scientists and experts just love. It wants a chap at the top now to make decisions, and that is the first decision I would make.
Then, after Easter, stage two would be to take another half sheet of paper and to say on that, "I solemnly declare that I will make no more nuclear weapons of any description". Leave the details to be settled afterwards, because we know that Russia has agreed to some form of inspection. That has settled that. The only trouble is that it will be more difficult, because if we do that we must bring the whole world into it. It involves bringing in China—and, of course, it is simply fantastic that China should now be left out of the United Nations. It is just the same as if the United Kingdom were represented at the United Nations by the Governor of Guernsey. That is really what is happening now. Going on—although I do not know much about it—I would also recognise East Germany, because there is an East German Government and nobody knows about it except the East Germans, ourselves, Members of Parliament who go to East Germany, and industrialists who buy stuff from East Germany—they go to the East German Fair. And yet the Government says, "Sorry, but there is not an East Germany". It is fantastic to my mind. They must be brought in if we are going to do stage two of my plan. I think there is nothing impossible at all in those two plans.
In the second plan, of course, we have to say how many weapons we have; each country would have to declare the weapons they had got. Intelligence people, the Services, will think that that is frightful. But when we come to think of it, does it really make much difference to know that Russia has 300 nuclear bombs and America has 400, when about 1126 20 will do the whole job? I do not see that it makes any difference at all. And I think we should say now, in stage two, that we will declare what weapons we have and we will make no more. Having done that, a month later we should go to stage three, which is putting into cold storage the necessary nuclear weapons and putting them under the United Nations, because that settles all problems of conventional weapons; it takes the deterrent out of national hands. I will not go any further into that, because I made a speech on that subject in this House about five years ago. Nobody took the slighest notice. If they had done, we should be thousands of millions richer by now. Those are just my simple proposals. Your Lordships will remember that some hundreds of years ago a king said:Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?To-day the whole world is saying;Who will rid us of this terrible weapon?
§ 6.55 p.m.
My Lords, I am sure that all who heard the last words, and indeed the whole speech, of the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of North Cape, will have a great deal to think about. He carries my eyes across to the special sanctity that attaches to a First Sea Lord who looked after a landlubber in another capacity in the Admiralty for five months. When he talks about politicians causing trouble, I suppose he means Ministers who do not do exactly what First Lords say on the first day. When he talks of those at the top, I imagine he means Service chiefs who are not Field Marshals. But he has made a real impression, and it would be wrong of him to think that a speech of that kind vanishes into the air and is never considered any more.
In the first place, I must join with others who have congratulated the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, for her most impressive, deeply impressive, maiden speech; and I think we must all feel that she understands Europe as least as well as any Member of this House, and that is saying a great deal. We on this side were all very much struck by her speech, I know, and I think that was so everywhere in the House. The noble Earl, Lord Home, said, or implied, that she carried a cane in her cupboard which she might not hesitate to use on another occasion. 1127 I feel sure that if that is so she will wield it with so much charm and precision that I should rather be castigated by her than flattered by anybody else. But we have a noble Lady on this side, who is not here to-day, Lady Wootton of Abinger, whom we shall pit against the noble Baroness when she is in the mood—and that is the highest compliment I can pay her. But certainly we all hope to hear from her very often.
Of course, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, always deserves a full reply from all who follow him. That falls to the lot of the Minister. But when I hear him speak on Cyprus I am always a little apprehensive, because there is no one whom I would rather follow on any point of personal conduct or in any complexity of life than the noble Marquess, but when he speaks on Cyprus I feel that that confidence is going to be faintly disturbed. This evening he gave us on this side a loophole. Although he asked questions with whose direction we do not altogether sympathise, he suggested that in certain circumstances a very drastic course might be preferable and one that was likely to be followed, and I think many of us would have accepted that part of his conclusions. But it will be for the Government to deal with his speech to the full extent it deserves.
I must say a word of personal apology to the noble Viscount, Lord Massereene and Ferrard, and assure him that I was very much interested by his speech; but I could not help being a little startled when such a distinguished Northern Irishman as the noble Viscount, in a speech on international affairs, suddenly whipped round on his countrymen and denounced them as humbugs on the ground of some legendary history. I think the noble Viscount has been unlucky in his contacts and I hope to put him in a better way on these things. But if it comes to history, I have no doubt that when the noble Viscount celebrates his freedom and generally celebrates on July 12 he will be expressing, I hope, a historical rather than a contemporary emotion. Therefore, I hope the noble Viscount will forgive my interruption, which was rather un-Parliamentary but in the tradition of these Northern Irish—Southern Irish exchanges.
The House was looking forward to an important speech in winding up this 1128 debate from my noble friend Lord Attlee, who in the eyes of many, with Sir Winston Churchill, is one of the two statesmen who have served their country best during the present century. I was expecting simply to act as a hyphen between the speeches of my noble friend Lord Attlee and my noble friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth, and I should have attempted to perform that task with what skill I possess. I cannot help recalling a story of the late Lady Baldwin. On one occasion she presided over a gathering, a lunch, at 10, Downing Street, and on one side were delegates from Northern Ireland and on the other side delegates from Southern Ireland, when they were discussing the Irish boundary. Lady Baldwin is said to have commented, "I want you to imagine that I am the boundary line, but I am too well covered to be a bone of contention." I was hoping to play that kind of part this evening. But it was not to be, and it falls to my lot to try to wind up, therefore, along conventional lines.
My Lords, I had prepared, and will in fact place before the House, some thoughts—and I think these thoughts would not be far removed from those of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, because I followed his momentum on this matter of World Government. I think we should all agree, however, that one of the most striking features of the debate has been the series of speeches initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson (whose whole speech was on the highest level), and carried on by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, and the noble Viscount Lord Massereene and Ferrard, in particular: I mean speeches in which at any rate considerable parts were devoted to trying to improve Anglo-German relations—and before I sit down I should like to come back to that topic. I should think hardly anybody would fail to echo the words of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, when he said, "If we are to accept Germany as an ally we must treat her as such". I think that summed up the thoughts which have been in so many minds this afternoon.
I hope the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, to whom I have been indebted so much in the past, would not dissent from that approach. I think we all sympathise with his desire, and with the desire 1129 of the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of North Cape, to promote better relations with Russia, but I do not see why that should stand in the way of better relations with Germany. I felt that the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, and still more, if I may say so, the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of North Cape, were a little kind to the post-war record of Russia. The noble Lord, Lord Fraser of North Cape, said that he understood that Russia had never invaded Europe. In that case I do not know what she is doing in Poland or in Eastern Germany at all.
§ LORD FRASER OF NORTH CAPE
My Lords, that was after being invaded herself. You cannot help that. When she has not been attacked first, she has never invaded anybody.
I did not know that Czechoslovakia had invaded her, and I did not know, even, that Poland had invaded her, if it comes to that; but if you are going to say that once you have been attacked it is permissible at some future time to overrun some other country, that is a rather extreme doctrine. We must remember that the Germans themselves have often been overrun in past history; and I think that that would be an extreme doctrine to justify. I do not think the noble Lord would really seek to justify the Russian invasion of Eastern Europe, but I thought the words he used were, if I may say so, rather extreme on that point. In fact, I would venture to say that they were mistaken as actually used by the noble Lord.
§ LORD FRASER OF NORTH CAPE
My Lords, I must disagree with that. I did not mean that. When you have had a terrific blow in the face, such as Russia had, something must happen. But then she has been provoked: she has not provoked somebody else. Before the First World War, far instance, I do not think that in all her history you will find that she ever invaded anybody else.
It is very peculiar how large she has got, if all the time she has been merely replying to attacks. If you look at Russia as she was some hundred years ago and look at Russia as she appears on the map now, it is strange how large she has grown, if that is all she has been doing. However, I do not want to bandy words; but I think that when the noble Lord looks 1130 at Hansard to-morrow he might care to criticise his own phraseology. But, as I say, I do not want to labour verbal points.
I will come back to Germany later, but I should like now to say a few words about World Government. At a meeting of the Fabian Society the other day I was rather upset because an intelligent professional man rose in his place and said that he very much admired the recent utterances of the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, in favour of World Government. Here, he said, was a man who was not only in favour of World Government, but who was prepared to leave the Government if they did not go all out for World Government. He then said that it was a pity that it had to be left to the noble Viscount to say that, and that it had not been said by one of our people, a Socialist. When you hear that said at a Fabian meeting, and consider that the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, has been touring the world during the last year or two and has been speaking in this House and elsewhere, as have other noble Lords, on this very subject, one can feel a little piqued.
However, that does not detract in any way from the fine speech made by the noble Viscount in this House in the course of the Defence debate. But it is worth recording that, after that speech, when the noble Viscount explained that he was speaking only for himself, the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, declined to answer questions put by me, and perhaps by others, as to whether the policy of the noble Viscount was the policy of the Government. On that occasion the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, was winding up. He said that my speech left a little bit to be desired: I could say that his speech left a little bit of a question to be answered. In fact, he did not attempt to answer it at all. Perhaps to-night we may be more fortunate with the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, who has had a little notice, though not perhaps so long a notice as I should have wished. Have the channels gone wrong?
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE)
No. The notice has been quite enough.
I apologise. I am glad the Foreign Office is moving as 1131 fast as ever. As the House will recall, we had a debate on World Government last July, initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, in which the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, made an important speech, and others of us inflicted our views on the House. But the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, I do not think will feel to-day that last July he had very much to say about World Government. If I may, I will quote only one sentence—and he will tell me if he can find a better one. He said:I believe that the success of international and supranational instruments must depend on our attitude of mind",and he pleaded eloquently for a better atmosphere in the world. The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, who said the last word when winding up the debate on his Motion, found the speech of the noble Marquess most unsatisfactory. As he put it, the noble Marquess had said to us, "Yes, you are perfectly right, but let us wait until the general tone is better". That is how the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, interpreted the reply of the noble Marquess; and I hope the noble Marquess, who is always most acceptable to the House and most careful in reply, will have something much more positive to-day.
Once again, we keep on asking: where do the Government really stand in regard to World Government? And I say that without any sort of sarcasm, and certainly without any kind of malice, because in so far as the Government are moving at all in this matter, they are moving in the right direction. The question is whether they are moving fast enough, or whether their movement amounts to much. I will not go through the various statements made by Ministers. Perhaps one of the best was made by the Foreign Secretary, Mr. Selwyn Lloyd, at the United Nations last September. It may be that the noble Marquess will feel that that ought to be quoted, or will wish to quote it himself.
But, in the time available, perhaps I should concentrate attention on only one document, or extract from a document, and that is the Western plan for disarmament. I am sorry to quote this at length, or to quote several sentences, but I feel that we are entitled to ask the noble Marquess whether this Western plan for 1132 disarmament is to be read in a sense that in fact proclaims the ideal of a World Government and a World Police Force. There is a reference toan international organisation to be an organ of, or linked to, the United Nationsas a means of preventing aggression and preserving world peace and security. When we reach the third stage, which comes much later, there will be a reduction in conventional forces so thatno single nation or group of nations can effectively oppose enforcement of international law; and measures towards this objective phased to coincide with the build-up of international law enforcement capability"—what a terrible phrase!—will include…completion of the establishment of international organisations and arrangements to preserve world peace.What I want to ask the noble Marquess specifically is this. Are we to understand that these proposals, in any of their stages, contemplate the transfer of armaments to a world police force? Obviously, the transfer of armaments to a World Police Force would be perfectly compatible with language of that kind; but that is not enough. We want to know: does this, in fact, envisage or contemplate the transfer of armaments to a World Police Force? I am anxious to believe that the Government have moved forward, and their international colleagues with them. Are we to understand that this document really does point the way, in an improved sense and in a new sense, to an International Police Force at least? That I put as a plain question to the noble Marquess, and I feel sure he will give the clearest answer in his reply.
I feel that if the Government have moved—and it would not be a criticism of them to say that they had—then everyone ought to be well aware that this movement has taken place. For a long time those associated with the project of world government have pleaded for a top-level declaration by our own Government at least. We have had individual statements. We have had the arresting statement made by the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, but that was rather deliberately referred to by the noble Viscount himself as a personal statement. That calls attention to the fact that that was not in itself provided by the Government, as a whole—or so it would seem. But I think it was a 1133 sensible one, and I hope that, with the new move a little further on, the noble Marquess will be able to say, whatever his colleagues may think of the noble Viscount's speech, that they support it hook, line and sinker. If the noble Marquess is trying to discover what the reaction of his colleagues was to the noble Viscount's statement, I hope that the answer is favourable, but perhaps he will tell us whether the policy of the noble Viscount, as stated in that speech, is yet the policy of the Government. If so, it seems to many of us that there should be a clear statement from the Government, or from the Prime Minister—and it would come well before the Summit, at the Summit or at the Commonwealth Conference. We have, if I may say so, been left in partial darkness for too long on this subject, and if the Government can come forward now they will confer a tremendous blessing, not only on this country but on all those in the world who care for peace.
I should like to deal with one other topic this evening, and that is the question of Germany. Here I must be careful not to go outside the framework of thought which was deployed by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, whose speech, coming from an ex-Foreign Secretary, carried so much weight; and I must be careful, too, not to allow any personal idiosyncrasies to creep in. As I see it, if we take this German story (the House will forgive me for putting this a little crudely) the policy of this country towards Germany, always in association with certain Allies, has passed through three phases since the war; and it is thought by some people—but this is more doubtful—to be now involved in a fourth phase.
In the first phase, which roughly came to an end with the failure of the Council of Foreign Ministers at the end of 1947, at which I had the honour to act as one of the minor figures assisting that wonderful man, the late Mr. Ernest Bevin, the policy, frankly, was one of treating Germany as subordinate, both in a military and in a civil sense. In the second phase, from about the end of 1947 to some date which began, so to speak, to reveal itself at about the end of 1950, we in this country set out to treat the Germans as partners in a civil sense but as still subordinate in a military sense, 1134 and we continued for some time to talk of dismantling their factories. In the third phase, which I think was foreshadowed, at any rate, in 1950, though it does not become clear until about 1954, our policy has been to treat the Germans as equal partners both in a military and in a civil sense. That is the way history has gone. I say that we treated them in that way, but in each phase we had Allies: we were leaders, but not the only leaders of the policy of the moment. In the first phase, up to the end of 1947 we were seeking to collaborate with the Russians; in the second and third phases we looked to the Germans for assistance in resisting the Russian menace. That has been, as I say, the history of it.
Most people in this country are now, I suppose, rightly or wrongly, possibly under the change from Stalin to Khrushchev, and possibly under the threat of mutual annihilation, more hopeful of a settlement with the Russians than at any time since the end of 1947. From the German point of view, what intelligent Germans, many of them friendly to Britain, are bound to ask is this—and I should like the attention of the noble Marquess to this question if I may attract it, because he may be able to give an emphatic answer to it. What they want to know is the answer to this question: Are the British and their Western Allies, having used the Germans to secure a kind of parity with the Russians, preparing to throw them over in order to do a deal with the Russians? That is a question that undoubtedly arouses suspicion in German minds. I hope and believe that this debate will have done much, both in the clarifying attitude of the leading speakers on the Opposition side of the House, and, above all, by the kind of statement which I hope we shall obtain from the noble Marquess, to remove any such doubt, anxiety or suspicion from the minds of the Germans. I hope that the noble Marquess will give a clear repudiation of that idea.
We are in a phase that cannot be regarded as a continuation of this 1954 to 1959 phase. It is rather hard to see its outlines or to know how it will be viewed abroad. The question of anti-German feeling in Britain has been dealt with effectively by the noble Lords, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, Lord Henderson and Lord Birdwood. I am often asked, as 1135 Chairman of the Anglo-German Association since it was founded in 1851—
I mean 1951. It seems a long time ago, but it cannot be as long as that. I am often asked how much anti-German feeling there is in Britain. I would say that there is not very much active anti-German feeling in Britain: not so much as the Germans suppose, but more than there should be if we were all angels. I am afraid that I must endorse the criticisms of the Express Newspapers made by the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood. I have nothing against the Express Newspapers; I have enjoyed them for many years, and quite a part of my life would disappear if I ceased to read those newspapers. But their attitude to Germany has been quite deplorable. I would say that it was something of which many of the journalists themselves were ashamed. If one has spoken to journalists of Express Newspapers in the last few years and asked them about this form of treatment, they have said: "You know our line. You cannot expect us to be pro-German". That is the position. The noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, is quite right, and it is high time that it was altered.
I feel that there is a certain amount of reservation about Germany (there is bound to be after the experiences of the two wars and the dreadful Nazi atrocities), particularly among those who do not know post-war Germany. But I thoroughly endorse what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth—and I do not suppose there is anybody in this House, or anyone else, who would not admit that candidly: that the Germans have put up a much better democratic show since the war than any person would have expected. Nevertheless, if you argue with people who are anti-German, they will sometimes say: "I am afraid I have a prejudice about the Germans." So long as people admit that it is a prejudice, I think it cannot do much harm, because once one knows something is a prejudice, one is on the way to curing it. Then they say: "Do 1136 the Germans show any sign of penitence?" I should like, before I sit down, to say a word or two about the question of penitence.
How many nations, my Lords, have ever shown any collective penitence? In this country have we ever particularly shown penitence? Many of us are ready to criticise the actions of our country or Government in unbridled terms. We criticised the Boer War, and we on this side criticised Munich and Suez. Noble Lords opposite may find other things to criticise. But as a country I do not think we can say that Britain has ever gone on record in the mood of penitence, and I do not know any country that has. That is a feature of national sovereignty. Of course, it may be said that the Germans, under the Nazis, committed crimes without parallel in modern times, so that they ought to set an example. However, that point could be argued: I think that the matter is best left to the country itself. As a matter of fact, as the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, said, nothing has been more remarkable than this entente recently entered into. There is every sign of mutual respect between Dr. Adenauer and Mr. Ben-Gurion, and if Mr. Ben-Gurion can accept Dr. Adenauer as a genuine democratic man, with a full sense of sorrow for the past, I do not think anyone else is in a position to begin casting stones. I think this question of penitence can safely be left to the Germans.
It is worth asking whether all countries could not do with a small lesson in humility. I believe—and the noble Viscount will correct me if I am wrong—that in the Anglican liturgy in the last century there was a day of humiliation, which was embarked on in this country after outbreaks of cholera and similar occasions. Whatever the actual words used, I think that when the World State is inaugurated there might be a day of repentance, and I think we should all benefit greatly from it. It seems to me that if we wish to fit ourselves for the World State, we should do well to recognise that there are other countries who have sinned enormously and that our own sins are not small and may, indeed, be larger than we suppose. I feel that, if we really believe in the World State, if it is not just a form of words, we must approach it in a spirit of self-criticism; 1137 because, when all is said and done, I think that all countries have behaved much worse than the individuals who make them up. I stand wholeheartedly with those, in all Parties—and this is an all-Party affair—who believe that not until we whittle down national sovereignty and ultimately destroy it shall we secure peace on earth. I feel that the noble Marquess will not be able to answer all the points, but I hope he will be able to give a clear assurance that the Government are moving forward with this idea of world government, not just in words but in deeds, or at any rate with the kind of words that lead to deeds in the not too far distant future.
§ 7.23 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, once again we are indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for having initiated a debate on foreign affairs. As always, in my short experience of them, thoughts have been ventilated which cannot fail to be of paramount importance to Her Majesty's Government—not all the thoughts, perhaps, but many of them. In the remarks of my noble Leader, he made it plain that it was difficult for a Government spokesman at this particular time to say as much as other speakers would like, and I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, would be the first to appreciate the difficulty of the position. Nonetheless, I will do my best to deal with the many points that have been raised in this interesting debate.
First and foremost, I should like to say a few words on the general subject of Germany. I rejoice at the attitude which has been shown on all sides of your Lordships' House. I heartily endorse the words of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that we must treat Germany as our ally, for, after all, she is. Perhaps your Lordships would not object to my recalling that, when I was subjected to a good deal of questioning on the suggestion that there might be German bases in Spain, I took the liberty of reminding your Lordships that Germany was our ally. I said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 221 (No. 44), col. 494]:…after we have heard these repeated statements from the German Federal Government, that our Ally is doing anything sinister or underhand or not correct.1138 I hope I emphasised the word "ally". I am glad noble Lords on the Benches opposite have repeated and echoed that expression.
On that particular occasion my impression was that the attitude was one of a certain degree of suspicion. Certainly there has been complete accord on how we should behave towards Germany. The noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, said that in their opinion this anti-German campaign, if it existed, was silly. I entirely agree. As to the question of penitence, to which the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, referred, I was only recently at Wiston where I had the honour of addressing a group of young Britishers and young Germans who were there through the good auspices of the society of which I understand the noble Lord is chairman, the Anglo-German Association. At Wiston a serious effort is being made to get our young men and the young men of Germany to meet and to make friends. I am quite certain that this work is valuable and important. It may be of interest to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, if I tell him that, in response to a short speech of welcome which I made, a young German got up and, as I thought with great courage, referred to the past. He said, "It is taking us a long time to bury our past".
I do not believe that there is any wisdom in any of us, whether we are German or English, in forgetting the terrible things which took place in Germany under the Nazi régime. This young man had the courage to say so. I admired him for that, and I thought the short speech he made was a salutary one. I cannot follow the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, here. We cannot just brush these things aside. There was a terrible time, and it is important that young Germany should be aware of it and remember it. Of course, we do not want her to go about in ashes and tears and in a state of penitence. We want her to build anew, but we do not want her to forget what transpired.
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Marquess? I did not say that I wanted her to forget.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I am sorry if I misunderstood the noble Lord's attitude of mind. Many noble Lords have referred to Germany. The 1139 noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, talked about pinpricking of Germans, and the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, spoke, I thought very carefully, on this question, as indeed did all noble Lords. But if I remember rightly, he said that he did not believe that the reunification of Germany was a practical proposition at the present time. He further went on to say that nothing we do now must prejudice the future of any long-term policy. I should like to say how heartily I agree with that second observation of the noble Marquess, that nothing we do now must prejudice the future of our long-term policy. In this respect I think I must allude to the observations of the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of North Cape, when he referred to the possibility of the recognition of the East German authority. I put it to the noble Lord that that is something which he should consider when we are thinking about what might be prejudicial to our long-term policy.
I turn to the question of Berlin, which has been touched on by many noble Lords: in particular I think the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, who referred to the possibility of Berlin as a free city. I do not think I have to remind the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, or the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, that the West Berlin elections which were held in December, 1958, were really in a sense a plebiscite on the Soviet proposal for a so-called free city of Berlin, and the fact that the Communist Party, the only Party in favour of the Soviet proposal, received a mere 1.9 per cent. of the vote cast I think is a pretty fair indication of what the real wishes of the Berliners are. I doubt, with great respect, whether the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, for this free city of Berlin in fact is feasible, although I can quite see the attraction of the idea. But, above all, I wish to refer to the observation made by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and I wrote down his very words. He said:We would never be a party to any arrangements that would compromise the freedom of West Berliners".I think I have quoted the noble Lord correctly. That is, of course, 100 per cent.
1140 the view held by Her Majesty's Government.
Now I should like particularly to turn, if I may say this with great respect, to the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, under whom I had the privilege of serving as a member of the Conservative delegation to the Council of Europe and to Western European Union. I would associate myself with all those noble Lords who have congratulated Lady Horsbrugh on her admirable speech. In the course of her remarks she referred to what she believed to be the importance of personal contacts, the fact that more and more leading people in political life are meeting; and not only the leading people in political life but all sorts of people are meeting. I remember that the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, had some satisfaction from the thought that Mr. Khrushchev is also a traveller, that he gets about and sees people, and I think the noble Lord thought that perhaps that might be a valuable thing too. I entirely agree with him. As to Mr. Khrushchev's sense of humour, I do not quite know what form it takes—
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
If he has a sense of humour, so much the better. But I feel certain it is valuable that we should move about and meet each other. I do not have to remind your Lordships that it was thanks to our Prime Minister and to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs that this move towards meeting, particularly meeting the Russian leaders, took place. Something was set in motion then for which I am certain we must all be eternally thankful, and I only hope that process will go on.
The noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, and the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, all referred to the importance of proper reporting and publicity and countering what might be untruths put out by the Communists. It was interesting to listen to the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, when he called your Lordships' attention to the danger as he saw it of negotiating in public. I think there is a very delicate 1141 balance here. I am convinced that it is important that the British case and the case of the West should be fairly and loudly and repeatedly put. But I cannot help agreeing with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, that there are considerable drawbacks in carrying out delicate negotiations in a blare of publicity. None the less, I am sure it is essential that when dealing with people who are not perhaps in matters of propaganda without a high degree of ruthlessness, we should take care to ensure that our case and the case of the West is always fairly and squarely put, and put in time. And I take note of the warning, or the advice, that was given by the noble Baroness when she said that she hoped that the necessary arrangements would be made to take care of any leak, deliberate or otherwise, in good time. I can assure the noble Baroness that the point she raised was carefully noted.
My noble Leader referred briefly to the question of the "Sixes" and the "Sevens", as they have come to be called, and he told your Lordships that I would go into the matter in rather greater detail than he was able to do in the course of his remarks. I make no apology, although it is late; I wish to get certain of these points quite clearly on record. If I understood correctly what the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, he would welcome a slight clarification of the exact position now. As your Lordships may remember, the first meeting of the Trade Committee which was established as a result of the special economic conference in Paris last January was held on March 29 and 30. It is required by its mandate to give priority to the question of Six and Seven relations. This Committee consists of the present members of the O.E.E.C., the United States, Canada and the European Commission—the European Commission, which is the executive body of the Six. We particularly welcome the participation of the United States and Canada in the efforts which are being made to find a solution to this European trade problem.
The immediate task of the Trade Committee is to deal with the situation which will arise on July 1 when the Seven are due to make their first tariff reduction of 20 per cent. and the Six their second tariff reduction of 10 per cent. Thus, on 1142 July 1, in the absence of some solution of this problem, there would be discrimination between the two European groups, each of which would have reduced their internal tariffs by a total of 20 per cent. The members of each group would maintain their national tariffs against the members of the other group and against all other countries. Noble Lords will remember that one of the objects of the Six is the eventual creation of a common external tariff which they would apply as a group to imports from all other countries. Apart from its immediate commercial effects, the accentuation of the division between the Seven and the Six will make it harder for us and for the European Free Trade Association partners to achieve our long-term objective of creating a single European market which would include all the present members of the O.E.E.C.
I must confess that when I was listening to the observations of the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, I wondered whether perhaps he wants the bridge that we hope to build between the Six and the Seven ever to be built, as that might be a further matter which would alarm the Russians. As a contribution towards a solution of this problem, the Seven have made a constructive offer. A communiqué issued after the meeting of the European Free Trade Association Ministers in Vienna on March 11 and 12 stated that the Seven are prepared to discuss extending on July 1 to the Six, and to other countries, the tariff cuts which they are due to make by that date, to the extent that the Six are prepared to act on a reciprocal basis.
That seemed a constructive and, we hoped, helpful suggestion. The Seven hoped to eliminate discrimination between the Six and the Seven until January 1, 1962, when both groups are due to make further tariff cuts among themselves. The proposal would therefore provide a breathing space during which progress could be made towards a general European solution. But meanwhile the Six, as the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, reminded us, are considering a proposal by the European Commission, under the Presidency of Professor Hallstein, for the acceleration of the Treaty of Rome. Under this, the 1143 Six would advance their programme by eighteen months and would carry out on July 1 the action prescribed by the Rome Treaty for that date and for January 1, 1962, as well. That is to say, they would reduce tariffs between themselves by 20 per cent., instead of by 10 per cent., and would take the first step towards establishing the common external tariffs which would be reduced by 20 per cent.
This acceleration would have serious consequences for us. It would lead to a sharp discrimination in a most serious way. If I may quote from the Economic Survey of Europe of 1959, which was published yesterday, as some of your Lordships may already have seen, I think it will show what is happening. It says:The growth of the trade of the Common Market countries was accompanied by a significant trade diversion. From January to September, 1958, compared to the corresponding period of 1959, imports of the Common Market countries from all Western European countries rose by slightly less than 11 per cent., while their intra-trade increased by more than 14 per cent. and accounted for about 60 per cent. of the growth of intra-Western European trade.I think these figures are particularly significant. The rise in the value of West German imports between 1958 and 1959 from the European Economic Community (that is the Six) amounted to a 29.7 per cent. increase, whereas from the European Free Trade Association there was an increase of only 14.4 per cent.
The Report goes on to say:It therefore seems likely that trade inside the Common Market has intensified very largely in response to the first stages of the implementation of the Treaty of Rome and—doubtless more importantly—in anticipation of the further stages of this process.I do not wish to over-dramatise the situation, but certainly it is one which gives rise to considerable anxiety. As the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, reminded us, although it may not be immediate, it seems that if there is a sheer economic division in Europe, and if this situation is allowed to crystallise, it is probable, alas! that it may lead to a political division thereafter. It is for this reason that we most earnestly hope that some solution can be found.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I do not want to interrupt the noble 1144 Marquess, but I do not think I said that. I did not deal with this subject at all. I am sorry to have to say that: I am not dissenting.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I beg my noble friend's pardon. Somebody said it. I apologise if I attributed it to the wrong speaker. My noble Leader, I think, made it abundantly clear that Her Majesty's Government have at no time ever wished in any way to sabotage the Six. That has never been our intention, and we welcome this degree of unity which has been achieved in Europe. What we pray is that the price of the Franco-German friendship is not, in fact going to mean two divisive camps. That we earnestly pray will not come about.
Many of your Lordships listened to the speech of President de Gaulle, and I am sure it was a source of great satisfaction to us all to hear him when he said that we would go forward together, shoulder to shoulder, as allies in an unshakable friendship. I believe that the French people may be able to help us to find a solution to this problem. I believe that they would not wish in any way to divide Europe. They believe very strongly in the importance of their Franco-German relations; they believe very strongly in the importance of a united Europe, and they appreciate our difficulties over not being able to become members of the European Economic Community. I believe it is possible that the political will may somehow find an answer to this difficult problem.
I should like, if I may, to remind your Lordships of one observation in the speech of President de Gaulle which particularly impressed me. He said:But whatever arrangements may be made one day either for reducing the means of war, for bringing peace to this Europe of ours or for bringing about a detente from one end of the world to the other, France is convinced that peace will remain precarious so long as two thousand million human beings remain in the depths of misery alongside their more fortunate brothers.That was an observation which it was interesting to hear, and I think it is a view which is shared by your Lordships in many different parts of this House.
My Lords, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, put a direct question to me in regard to bases in Cyprus. He asked me 1145 whether Her Majesty's Government would refrain from making a decision—I think the words he used were "prompted by political expediency." I can assure the noble Marquess that the intention is to be absolutely certain that the bases that we have in Cyprus will be effective and efficient. It would be well, perhaps, if I reminded the noble Marquess of the terms of the London Agreement, signed by my right honourable and learned friend the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd. These are the words:To enable the two areas as aforesaid to be used effectively as military bases.Now obviously Her Majesty's Government will be advised and will take into consideration most carefully the opinion of the Combined Chiefs of Staff as to whether or not the bases that we propose to have will be effective. And so I am able to give the noble Marquess an absolute assurance that Her Majesty's Government will, of course, take the advice of the military experts on this matter; will consider it very carefully and decide upon it from the military standpoint and not from the standpoint of (as he put it) political expediency. I hope that that answers the question put to me by the noble Marquess.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, referred to the question of world government. He also referred to the speech of my noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham. Perhaps it would be right if I reminded your Lordships of the words which the noble Viscount used in the debate on Defence: [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 221 (No. 50), col. 912]:But as I contemplate the hideous weapons on both sides, which even in my partially informed state I know to have been invented—and here I speak only for myself—I regard either a world authority or total disarmament, in the long run, as the only rational objectives.I should also like to remind the noble Lord of my own observations, to which he was good enough to allude, though not in a very complimentary way.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I was not acting within chains. What I gave to your Lordships was, I believe, a perfectly fair appreciation of the view of Her Majesty's Government. Your Lordships will remember that in the debate on a World Authority initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, I said—and I make no apology to the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, for repeating my words [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 218, col. 430]:While in no way wishing to belittle the aims and ideals of the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, which indeed in all essentials we share, Her Majesty's Government cannot but agree with the very profound statement made by the distinguished Secretary-General of the United Nations when he was in this country in April of last year. With your Lordships' permission I will quote his words,"—and I then echoed what Mr. Hammarskjoeld had said:Some are tempted to seek for a solution in constitutional reform which would turn the United Nations into a world authority enforcing the law upon the nations. While respecting the goal of those who advocate such a course, most of us would agree that the political realities with which we live, rooted as they are deep in the disparate histories and cultures of many peoples, make this course impracticable for the foreseeable future.If I may be allowed to say so, I believe that that is the view of my noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham. It is certainly mine—but, of course, as an ultimate objective. This is something Utopian, to which, no doubt, all of us would strive.
My Lords, I can only express horror and astonishment if the noble Marquess is saying that what he said last July is the last word of Her Majesty's Government on the subject. If the noble Marquess is really saying that the noble and learned Viscount said no more than that in a speech which aroused enormous interest and goodwill in the country, then the noble Marquess is a far simpler political man than I should have supposed.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, simplicity is not always a fault, As to whether what I have said is the last word, as the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, knows perfectly well, there is never a last word on political matters. But it is all I am going to be able to give the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, this evening as an answer to his question 1147 —and, I believe, it is a fair and honest answer.
My Lords, I hope that it is a totally incorrect one, so far as the view of Her Majesty's Government is concerned.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, is entitled to all his hopes. I believe that this debate, which has gone on for many hours, has given us food for thought, as debates such as these always do. I know that Her Majesty's Government will be encouraged by the good wishes that have been given to us by noble Lords from all sides of the House; and, like other noble Lords, I most fervently pray that the efforts on which my right honourable and learned friend the Foreign Secretary is now engaged in America will be fruitful. I pray also that some concrete result will emerge from this first high-level meeting which we have come to call the Summit—an expression which I personally have always disliked. It has always been my view that this can be only the beginning of a series of discussions on a high level. In conclusion, I only wish to say that Her Majesty's Government are very conscious of the responsibility which they bear at this time, and all of us will do our best to see that the best interests of our beloved country and of humanity will be served.
§ 6.58 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, I rise to ask permission to withdraw my Motion but before I do so there are two things I should like to say. First, I would say how gratified I was that the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, made her maiden speech on a Motion which stood on the Order Paper in my name. In the course of her speech, which has been so enthusiastically received by the House, she said she was not an expert. I am not sure that I know what an expert is, and I am always rather afraid of them when I meet them. But I believe the House was impressed by the fact that the noble Lady displayed knowledge, experience and understanding of the problems with which she dealt, and I would join with others who have expressed the hope that we may often hear 1148 her voice again; and in particular I hope that we may have her taking part in future foreign affairs discussions.
The second point to which I wish to refer is this. In the course of my remarks I raised the question of the Middle East, and I urged that it should receive close and constructive attention at the Summit Conference. I attach very great importance to the Middle East situation, and I am very disappointed that neither the noble Earl the Leader of the House, nor the noble Marquess, made any reference to that. I hope we may receive, even now, at this late hour, some comment from the noble Marquess before I withdraw my Motion.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I must apologise to the noble Lord. I can assure the noble Lord that his observations about trying to stabilise the position in the Middle East will be given most serious consideration and thought by Her Majesty's Government. I must apologise for not having said that before.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, I am greatly obliged to the noble Marquess, and I hope the undertaking he has given means that the matter will be discussed at the Summit Conference. Having said that, my Lords, I do not wish to detain the House any longer, and I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.