§ 3.17 p.m.
§ Debate resumed (according to Order) on the Motion moved yesterday by Lord Henderson: That there be laid before the House Papers relating to the international situation.
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE)
My Lords, I think we shall all agree that yesterday's debate was a very valuable one. Perhaps the most useful thing I can do to-day, in opening, will be to take up some of the points that were raised by your Lordships yesterday. The noble Earl, Lord Attlee, spoke of the need to consider other States of the world besides Russia, China and the United States. I remember his words:I think that a little work among the foot-bills might be useful.I should like to assure your Lordships that Her Majesty's Government are constantly seeking to maintain good relation with all the countries of the world, both big and small, and to consider their interests in the search to create a peaceful world.
Noble Lords will be aware, of course, that next week President Frondizi of the Argentine will pay an official visit to this country; and this is the first time that a President of the Argentine will have done so. We have already welcomed President Prado of Peru to this country. Their Majesties the King and Queen of Thailand will come on a State Visit on July 19, and we also look forward to the State Visit of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Nepal in October.
I do not have to remind the noble Earl, Lord Attlee—indeed it would be impertinent to do so—of the importance we attach to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conferences. He himself attended so many of them. In the course of his remarks the noble Earl mentioned another great country—Brazil—.now engaged on creating one of the most dramatic new capital cities of the world, Brazilia. Her Majesty's Government during the past years have done their utmost to strengthen the old British friendships with countries of Latin America. Noble Lords will remember 826 the highly successful visits of Their Royal Highnesses The Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra to Mexico, Peru, Chile and Brazil in the Spring of 1959. And senior Ministers of Her. Majesty's Government, including the President of the Board of Trade, the Minister of Aviation, and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster have, by their presence in the countries of Latin America, demonstrated the goodwill and interest of the United Kingdom. The countries of Latin America are more and more actively participating in the affairs of the world and showing themselves to be an integral part of what we loosely term "Western civilisation".
In the East, my Lords, the Colombo Plan has afforded us the best possible means of co-operating there with our Asian friends. In the course of yesterday's debate the noble Lords, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, Lord Rea and Lord Chorley, and other noble Lords stressed the need for human contacts—the meeting of the ordinary peoples, I think they described them. It may be of interest to your Lordships to know that, quietly but I think very effectively, the Central Office of Information arranges visits to this country of people in every walk of life from abroad. Last year just under 1,000 foreign visitors, including journalists, politicians, trade unionists, businessmen and local government officials from some 60 different countries came to this country and were helped to see all the aspects of our British life. And this year it is our hope that the number will be increased.
All this, my Lords, is quite apart from, and in addition to, what is done by the British Council, and last year some 4,700 foreign visitors came to this country under the British Council's auspices. So, although perhaps it may not be quite so large as many of us would like, I think that a very considerable effort is being made to achieve those very desirable things to which noble Lords referred yesterday, the meetings of the ordinary peoples. Of course we should wish that it were possible for easier contact to be made between ourselves and the peoples of Soviet Russia and of China; for certainly I entirely agree with my noble friend Lord Balfour of Inchrye when he said that we are all human beings; we all love our families; 827 we all must have something in common; and the more we are able to meet one another, the greater the hope for peace in the world is likely to be.
The question of China was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, who initiated this debate, and the noble Earl, Lord Attlee. With great respect, I must say that I think that the position was somewhat over-simplified. When the vote was taken last year in the General Assembly on the question of Chinese representation, the resolution postponing consideration of the question was adopted by 44 votes in favour to 29 against, with 9 abstentions. These figures, my Lords, speak for themselves. It is for this reason, as has been explained so often in your Lordships' House, that it is the view of Her Majesty's Government that any attempt to force the issue at the present time might lead to a situation which would have the most damaging effect upon the future working, and perhaps even upon the very existence, of the United Nations itself. Such is the depth of feeling involved. Never theless, as my right honourable friend has always made perfectly clear, he does not consider that it is possible to hope for a realistic disarmament agreement without China's signature. The first step in the second stage of the Western plan, to which the United States subscribe, is to have a general conference to which China would be invited.
My Lords, a number of noble Lords referred in considerable detail to the problems of European economic co-operation, to the problems of European integration. In particular, I remember the speech of my noble friend Lord Birdwood, the speech of Lord Lothian, the intervention by the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, and the observations of Lord Craven. I will try in the course of a few moments to deal with the points raised by these noble Lords, and I will also try to deal with the points, or perhaps to reflect some of the ideas, raised in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Stranc—which, if I may be allowed to say so, I thought a particularly balanced and careful speech.
It has been said that Britain has wished to sabotage the great movement on the Continent which created the three Euro- 828 pean Communities of the Six. I do not believe for one moment that this assertion can stand up to any serious or impartial examination. We British are by nature slow and deliberate, but we have never faltered in our determination to seek ways and means of closer European co-operation. It was for this reason that the Foreign Secretary clearly stated last January in Strasbourg our belief in the greatest possible degree of unity of purpose and action between all the countries of Western Europe. At the same time, my right honourable friend explained our attitude towards the three Communities of the Six. He said:We welcomed the Rome Treaty for its own sake, because a strong political unity of the Six is good for Western Europe and for Britain. We welcome it and we will support it.He expressed the hope, however, that this new European entity created by the Rome Treaty should not develop as an inward-looking political or economic group.
I was glad to hear last week in Strasbourg a distinguished delegate from the Community of the Six assert that the Economic Community will justify its existence only if it is capable of generating a momentum such as will bring about the closest collaboration between the unified area and the other economic areas of Europe. Our membership of the European Free Trade Association brings us into even closer relationship with our fellow Europeans. Together the Seven E.F.T.A. countries form a trading group of 90 million people, sharing a high standard of living and possessing many and varied industrial and agricultural skills. We in the Seven believe that both groups, if they should so decide, could still retain their separate identities and objectives while participating together in the economic fusion of Western Europe. We are convinced that the fears expressed in some quarters that a wider European economic arrangement would destroy the personality of the Communities of the Six are utterly without foundation. Contrary to what I think some noble Lords said yesterday, there has in fact been an improvement in the atmosphere attending discussions upon these questions. I am not going to suggest that all the problems—and they are many and very real ones—which face all the countries of Western Europe can be easily solved. But we are ready to consider anything 829 which is likely to contribute to a solution of the main problem. Happily, there seems to be in all European countries a better comprehension of what the problem is.
I should like to recall the words, in his carefully reasoned speech of yesterday, of the noble Lord, Lord Strang, when he referred to the Treaty of Rome as a complex instrument whose ultimate objective is political. My Lords, any decision that Her Majesty's Government reach will be taken only with due regard for our Commonwealth and E.F.T.A. partners; and, as the Prime Minister has said, we could not contribute to a solution by adopting sudden changes of course or by abandoning old or new friends. We have to see this problem in the round, and to ensure that any action we take will in fact be a genuine contribution to the solution of the European problem.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, on that point may I ask the noble Marquess whether this particular problem in relation to the Commonwealth was in fact discussed at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference; and, if so, with what result?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I think that, if the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition agrees, it would be more appropriate for the Commonwealth Secretary to answer that question later.
My Lords, however preoccupied we may be with relations between the two main groups in Europe, we must not forget the countries who sometimes refer to themselves as "le groupe des oubliés"—the countries of free Europe who belong neither to the Six nor to the Seven. Any solution which we find to the problem of drawing the Six and the Seven closer together must provide for the special circumstances of these countries. They can rest assured that their interests will continue to be fully considered, as they now are in O.E.E.C. As your Lordships know, O.E.E.C. has made a very great contribution to our prosperity. The O.E.E.C. is now being reorganised, and Her Majesty's Government welcome the prospect of full United States and Canadian participation. This will open wide fields for future economic co-operation.
My Lords, allusion was made to Spain in the speeches yesterday of the noble 830 Lord, Lord Windlesham, the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and the noble Earl, Lord Craven.
May I ask the noble Marquess whether he has finished with the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Strang?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I have finished with the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Strang, for the moment. I now wish to refer to Spain. The forthcoming visit of the Foreign Minister, Señor Castiella, is welcomed by Her Majesty's Government. This is a natural step in the improvement of Anglo-Spanish relations, which has now been going on for some time. Your Lordships will remember that we supported the admission of Spain to the United Nations in 1955, and to O.E.E.C. in 1959. The President of the Board of Trade visited Madrid in 1958, and Señor Ullastres, the Spanish Minister of Commerce, came here last year. The last Lord Mayor of London paid a most successful visit to Spain last year, and the Mayor of Madrid has just returned a visit here. We welcome this improvement in relations with Spain, and we hope to get to know her better. As one who has lived many months in Spain and repeatedly visited that country, I have a friendship for the people of Spain—a dignified and proud people.
Lastly, my Lords, I should like to deal with the question of world government. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, tries his utmost always to approach the problems to which he addresses himself in your Lordships' House from an unequivocally Christian standpoint. I also know that he would be the last to suggest that other noble Lords in all parts of this House, both within the Government and outside it, were not trying in this respect every bit as hard as he. Only the most cynical or the most shallow could fail to sympathise with the anxieties and the questionings in the mind of the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and the many others who think like him—the questionings which he expressed yesterday so simply and so sincerely in the phrase [col. 814],… I cannot imagine any Christian being happy about a foreign policy that depended in the last resort on the use of a deterrent".I hope that I have quoted the noble Lord's words correctly.
My Lords, I am sure the noble Marquess has quoted me correctly, but I meant the H-bomb deterrent.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I thank the noble Lord. My Lords, whether Christian or not, surely it is our duty to face up to facts, however unpleasant they may be. Of course, no one can be happy about the possibility of mass destruction; but, surely, as the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, so forcefully pointed out to us in the last foreign affairs debate, it is the horror and it is the frightfulness of this possibility which has preserved and is preserving the peace of the world. Twice within the last half-century national leaders have calculated that the gamble of a world war and all its concomitant misery was worth while. We have now reached a stage in world history where such a gamble with nuclear weapons is unthinkable. But, my Lords, let us not delude ourselves that what we describe as a conventional global war would be tolerable. As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said last week in Vienna:Peace or nuclear war is not the right question: the question is peace or war".Disputes can be settled only by discussion and negotiation, however prolonged. It is perhaps important to remember the 400 frustrating and agonising meetings which finally resulted in the signing of the Austrian State Treaty.
The noble Earl, Lord Attlee, and the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, have expressed the view that, in the ultimate, world government provides the only way out. Naturally, in the course of yesterday's debate the detailed plans which the advocates of world government might put forward were not discussed. If I have in the past referred to world government as Utopian, this does not mean that I consider that the work which is being done in this direction is vain. Surely, my Lords, from bitter experience, we are all slowly learning the meaning and the value of interdependence.
I must confess that I could not help being surprised when I heard the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, say in the course of his speech—and I quote his words [col. 766]:I am not enamoured very much of a United Europe; I want a United World".832 If I may be excused such a simple analogy, this is like a great tennis player saying, "I am not particularly interested in the preliminary rounds; I want to play only in the championship". The noble Earl went on to say that what he wanted was:total disarmament coupled with a surrender of sovereignty to a re-made United Nations".Perhaps those nations which have enjoyed sovereignty for centuries may be beginning to learn that sovereignty may in fact cause the end of freedom. But the emergent countries, with less experience of self-government, may look upon the exercise of their more recently-achieved sovereignty in a very different light.
If there is to be world government, can we seriously think that at the present time the Soviet Union would participate in it except in a Communist world? Could China, with her burning faith in the Communist creed, participate in a centralised Executive which did not wholly share in her ideology? Nevertheless, I can think of nothing which would add greater impetus towards some form of World Order than agreement on a plan of general disarmament under effective control.
The Soviet leaders say that, despite the failure of the Summit Conference, they still believe in "peaceful co-existence". We hope that eventually the Communist countries may come to see the necessity for something approaching our own conception of good relations between countries—tolerance instead of suspicion, co-operation instead of rivalry. Peace with justice is our goal. May I repeat the words of my noble Leader? We will persevere to this end.
§ 3.43 p.m.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
My Lords, we are obliged to the noble Marquess for the comments which he has made on yesterday's debate, and I have no doubt that as time passes there will be comment upon what he has said on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. This debate was introduced by a characteristically clear and able speech from my noble friend Lord Henderson, who, like myself, is a Labour survivor from the Foreign Office. I am the oldest surviving Labour ex-Foreign Secretary. I still think—though one must reserve the right to change one's mind—that the general line that Ernest Bevin pursued as 833 Foreign Secretary was right. I see no reason to overthrow it or to repudiate it. I think that he was right. He tried very hard to do business with the Soviet Union and other Communist countries. He was patient for about two years of trying, until in the end he realised that, while efforts must continue, it was necessary to have collective security for possibilities, and so N.A.T.O. was born. I was glad to hear yesterday the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Strang, who was an able and conscientious Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign Office in those years; I listened to him with interest.
Part of what I shall say this afternoon will be my own personal opinions, to which I do not necessarily wish to commit in every respect the Party to which I belong. I am a great believer in Britain. I think that it is a country which has contributed much to the life of the world and that it is worth preserving. It is a country which has done good in the cause of freedom and its freedom is worth preserving. It has been in danger before, from the Nazis. It could be in danger from other countries. So I believe that it is necessary for our country to be defended and to participate in the collective protection of the peace of the world. I believe in security and freedom for all countries, not only ourselves, and I hope that that is the general view of all of us. Government policy should be directed to those ends.
There is the possibility of aggression, and while that is a possibility we must have collective security. While the world is safe, and aggression is either unlikely or unlikely to succeed, then there may be time for the modification of policies. For aggression can be not only military: it can also be political. A number of countries have lost their freedom as a result not of military action, but of political action and of fifth-column activities, and this is something which has to be considered as well.
Soviet foreign policy and military policy are quite simple. I should like to streamline the argument about defence, if I can. The policy of the Soviet and other foreign countries is to strengthen themselves and to do everything they can to weaken the countries of the democratic West. That policy is quite understandable from their point of view, but 834 I do not think that it is one that can be genuinely supported by any good British citizen. We cannot submit to a situation in which the totalitarian countries are much stronger than we are and in which we have no adequate individual or collective defence. Therefore, I would say that we must have defence, and that collective defence, or collective security is likely to be the most effective means. I do not think that it is wise for politicians to be dogmatic about the nature of that defence in detail because we cannot know what the future has in store.
The present Government have themselves done some switches and "wobblings about" in their defence policy. It is the enjoyment of the Conservative Party nowadays to point to the disunity in the Labour Party about defence and to some extent that is justified; but the Government cannot be scornful of us too much. At one time they stood for universal military service; then they abandoned it partly because of agitation by members of the Labour Party. They then came to the conclusion that the nuclear weapon was changing the whole situation of ground forces and decided that we should rely upon nuclear weapons rather than on what are known as conventional forces and they are manufacturing the hydrogen and atomic bombs. Now, in the light of experience, they have abandoned the manufacture of Blue Streak, at any rate, and whether they are going to manufacture some other nuclear weapon we do not yet know.
There is a confusion in the minds of the Government about whether our contribution to defence should be in ground forces or in more terrible methods of warfare as well. So I do not think that the Government can be too critical of the Labour Party, because they themselves have not a clear record. The Government have changed their defence policy more than once and their policy is now in a state of flux—though perhaps that may be inevitable in the nature of defence. That is why I prefer to make a streamlined argument on principle—namely, that we must have defence; that it should be collective defence, and that we must keep an elastic mind about the particular make-up of that defence, because it may have to be changed as time goes on.
835 I am a warm believer in multilateral disarmament—disarmament in all countries by agreement. I must say that I think the Government could have been quicker in responding to Mr. Khrushchev's declaration in favour of all-round disarmament. They may have thought that he had reservations in what he meant by it, but surely it would have been better if the Government had at once responded and said: "So do we. Let us talk about it and try to get an agreement on it." The hesitation and delay may have caused suspicion in countries behind the Iron Curtain. Indeed, this is one of the problems that we face in the conduct of foreign policy and defence policy: that the Government are not quick enough in these arguments. On that occasion, I feel that had they responded with an affirmation in principle and an invitation to the countries behind the Iron Curtain to talk and try to settle the business, although maybe nothing would have come of it, it is possible that something may have come of it. But they did not respond and, consequently, I think, lost the opportunity.
But multilateral disarmament, coupled with suitable inspection and control, is the right thing. We cannot support unilateral disarmament, whereby this country is disarming irrespective of what other countries are doing. That would mean not only military weakness, but weakness in the conduct of foreign policy; because if the representatives on the other side of the table know that you have unilateral disarmament, irrespective of what they have done, they are going to hold you up to ransom and get much more of their own way. Therefore we think that unilateral disarmament is a mistake and that it would be wrong; and that is a view from which we do not propose to depart.
In the meantime there is a great world debate going on about foreign policy and about armaments. It is a debate in which I feel that the British and the West are tending to get the worst of it. We do not seem to be good at conducting our side of the debate. This is a great question of world public relations, and it seems to me that we are failing and letting the Communists win that battle; and it is no doubt that they are getting a good deal of opinion on their side 836 which, in my judgment, they do not deserve. I wish that our Government, therefore, could be quicker off the mark, quicker in the uptake, quicker in response and arguments than they are. We not only need that in the world in order to do better, but we need a good deal more explanation of foreign affairs and defence to our own people in this country, where, too, I do not think we are doing so well.
I do not believe the United States are doing so well, either. They seem to have made a good many mistakes. We all have a personal liking for President Eisenhower, and we all remember his services during the war. But, if I may say so, it is a mistake for an American political Party to choose a Presidential candidate not on the basis of his proved ability, or, at any rate, some degree of proved ability, to do a job which is one of the heaviest and most difficult jobs in the world, but solely because he has a name that will win the election. That was the basis upon which President Eisenhower was chosen as a candidate at the Presidential Election. I very much hope that when both political Parties in the United States choose candidates next time it will be on the basis of their competence and ability and not solely on the fact that they have a name which is calculated to produce votes. It is not our business who they choose or who wins the election; it is only our business in the sense that we want the President and the Secretary of State of the United States to be good at their jobs, because we are Allies of theirs and they are Allies of ours: and long may that be so. But if somebody does make mistakes, it comes down on all of us.
The Paris Summit gathering failed. I think we were all ready for the possibility that nothing much in the way of effective achievement might come out of it, though we all devoutly hoped that it would. All of us, I think, supported the summoning of the Summit meeting. Well, the Geneva Conference has broken up. The Summit meeting never broke out. Mr. Khrushchev decided that he would not go into the conference and, consequently, it did not even begin. His case for not going in was the flight of the U2 aircraft on a spying mission over the Soviet Union. It was a clumsy thing to do at that time; and I think the American Government were rather 837 clumsy in the subsequent explanations they made about it, and made the situation rather worse for themselves and for the rest of us than it had been before.
It is possible, of course, for a Government not to know what its secret agents and Secret Service are doing. It is one of the disadvantages of a Secret Service that it is secret. We had our own troubles with Commander Crabbe, in the swimming, or whatever it was, underneath Soviet ships while two distinguished representatives of the Soviet Union were being treated as honoured guests in our country. That was not a very bright idea, either. But our Government said at the time that they did not know that this gentleman was doing what he was doing; and it is possible that it was so. And, as my noble friend Lord Stansgate, I think, has whispered to me, they do not know now. I think that may well be true.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
Yes, I have indeed. One does not always know what is happening. I expect that the Secret Service hold the view that if they tell Cabinets everything they are doing it will not be long before somebody will start talking to somebody else—because politicians have a liking for and get a kick out of knowing something nobody else knows—and they are afraid of the information getting to the enemy. That may be the reason; but it is one of the difficulties of having a Secret Service. It may be that the Government of the United States did not know. But I thought that they might have given a precautionary order that, while the Summit meeting was assembling and while it was being carried on, they should "lay off" any dangerous tricks at the expense of the Soviet Union. But they did not, and Mr. Khrushchev made the most of it with considerable propaganda ability. I think it was a clumsy business, and most unfortunate, because it provided an excuse to Mr. Khrushchev. It may be that he did not intend the conference to function in any case, but we cannot be sure about that. There is all the difference between his breaking up the conference out of the blue and the United States presenting him with a possible excuse for breaking it up; and that is what they did.
838 Mind you, my Lords, I think that Mr. Khrushchev was in part talking with his tongue in his cheek. It is all very well for him to be shocked about spying, but I should say that there are more spies, agents and political tools in other countries in the service of the Soviet Union than there is of any other country in the world. After all, we had our experience of Mr. Fuchs, whom we had received as a refugee, whom we treated very well and gave a job in this nuclear business. He entered the service of the Soviet Union against us and may have been the beginning of the quick Soviet advance in the nuclear field. Then there was Dr. May; and there were Burgess and Maclean. And it is true that every Communist Party in the world, including the Communist Party of Great Britain, is an instrument of the Soviet Foreign Office. They eminently want us to be weak and the Soviet Union to be strong.
However, I think Mr. Khrushchev might have been a little more restrained in his indignation. He might well have gone red in the face, but I do not see why he should have gone blue in the face about this U.2 incident. All countries do espionage, and they will go on doing it until we have real, genuine, all-round disarmament. Then it is probable that espionage will not be necessary. This espionage is a very nasty business. On the other hand, the men who engage in it are often very brave men who take their lives in their hands. It is not a job that I would run after myself. But it is there, and it has an attraction for some people, and undoubtedly it exists in every country in the world.
Personally, I find it difficult to assess the personality of Mr. Khrushchev. He is a likeable man in many ways, a cheerful, busy, energetic person. Moreover, he has this attraction for me: that he is one of the few top leaders of the Soviet Union who belong to the working class. Most of them are professional class or middle class, and some of them even of aristocratic descent. He is a genuine proletarian, and I like him for that—part of my class prejudice! He can be jolly, very friendly and even boisterously friendly; and I like that, too. My only worry about Mr. Khrushchev is that he does walk about as if he has Heaven knows how many card votes in his pocket. He has certainly some power behind him. Some 839 weeks he is friendly and talks about peace and urges disarmament, and so on, and says a lot of things with which we can all agree. It may be the very next week he will be threatening the West with complete destruction and trying to send shivers down our backs. It is very important that we should not have shivers down our backs. We must not lose our nerve, and we must not let anybody make us lose our nerve. We have to keep our heads about this business. So Mr. Khrushchev is a complex personality.
It has to be recognised also that the Soviet Union is not a democracy, but a totalitarian State. It is run by one political Party, and all the others have been wiped out. But within that political Party, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, I am inclined to think that there is some form of Party democracy. There was not much of it when Mr. Stalin was the chief man. He had little ways of his own. I do not suppose there is an extraordinary surplus of it with Mr. Khrushchev, but my impression is that he finds it expedient, or has to discuss matters with his colleagues; and, arising out of those discussions, they find what the predominant view is and the result is that the predominant view becomes binding—a Party decision outside Government—on the Soviet Government, and binding on all the members of the Party, and nobody is permitted publicly to dissent from it. I think myself that that is a miserable life. We have our troubles in the Labour Party at the moment. We shall get over them all right. But I would sooner we have a little trouble because some people are getting off the line a bit than I would have a Party where everybody is afraid to say what he believes. I think that that would be wrong. At any rate, I am trying to say what I believe.
Within the Communist Party, dictatorship there may be, but argument proceeds and even votes within the Presidium or the Central Committee. If they do not like votes they may collect them like British Cabinets do in a typically British fashion, when somebody is counting the votes under the counter. But once the decision is reached it binds all of them, and the public outside does not know what has happened until the pronouncement comes. They call it the 840 dictatorship of the proletariat. It is nearer to the dictatorship of the Communist Party Secretariat than the proletariat. But it works.
I say these things only because I think we must appreciate that it may well not be a complete personal dictatorship by Mr. Khrushchev—at any rate, not yet—and that he has to live with his colleagues of the Soviet Communist Party. They may pull him up now and again, or push him into another line he does not particularly want to take. That might well have been the case in the Paris trouble, even if the Americans had not been so foolish about the U2 affair. It may be the same about Geneva, where the Conference has been taking place. I thought it was very bad that, when he must have known—because it had been announced—that the Western Powers were preparing an answer to the Soviet proposals in which they might, for all I know, have been willing to make concessions to the Soviet point of view, two or three days before the delivery of these counter proposals the Russians walked out and left the Conference so that it became ineffective. This is not good, and I hope that the Soviet leaders can take these conferences seriously and work at them.
Our Government proposed a motion at the United Nations in favour of disarmament. I do not think there was much to quarrel with in it. I think it was a pretty sensible body of doctrine. It was carried by the United Nations with, I think, only the Communist countries dissenting. That was the situation. The Communist countries announced that they would not accept it or co-operate in it, and would not serve on the Commission it was proposed to appoint to explore these proposals further.
This is not good, and I wish some people who have a habit of thinking that the British are always wrong would remember these things. Because we are sometimes wrong, and when we are it is our duty to say so, there is no harm in saying when the other chap is wrong, and balancing the case for and against. We must try to reach the Soviet people, as was said yesterday. It is going to be difficult, but it would be a fine thing if we did. It is one of my proudest recollections that I got two articles into Pravda explaining the British point of 841 view. They did it very honourably and nicely. I wish it could be done again, just as we should be quite willing, and are quite willing, to print the speeches and pronouncements of Mr. Khrushchev.
I wish we could get ordinary relationships with the Soviet people and the peoples in the satellite countries without its being necessary to have officially conducted parties. We must also try to get ourselves better understood by the uncommitted nations, who are going to play an important part in the deliberations of the United Nations and, indeed, are doing so already. If we could get them either on our side, or at any rate not against us, and secure a free exchange of views between us, it would be a great blessing for the country and for the world.
The United Nations should be the great hope of the world. It is there; it exists; and we all hope for the best, One thing it needs is that when nations refer disputes to the United Nations, as they are supposed to do—they do not always do it—it is important that they should feel that they will get a fair and impartial hearing at the hands of the United Nations, instead of the ganging-up of groups of partisans who make up their minds about it before ever the issue is debated in the United Nations. I like the idea in principle of a World Government. I think that in the end we have to get there, but it will take time. It will need reform in the United Nations and a change of attitude if that great idea is to be successful and effective. We need to keep our people informed about these matters. The world is waiting for a rational, kindly, friendly, constructive leadership. It is my hope—and I should be proud of it—that our country will be able to give that leadership that the world so needs.
§ 4.10 p.m.
§ LORD BEVERIDGE
My Lords, a friend of mine staying in London took me last week to see three films by Charlie Chaplin revived from 1918. I have not seen a film for many years. I would not have missed one that I saw then for anything in the world. It was a film called Shoulder Arms, and gave Charlie Chaplin's view of what World War I was like in 1918. It presented World War I as being great fun in the trenches. Can anyone think of war 842 to-day as fun? To-day, thanks to science, war is utterly different from what it looked like to Charlie Chaplin. All war must be abolished, if it is not to abolish mankind. On this point I am delighted to agree wholeheartedly with what the noble Marquess who opened this debate said: that the choice is between peace and war, not between peace and nuclear war, and that as war, if once it breaks out, would lead to nuclear war, war must be abolished wholly.
But war cannot be abolished by negative methods. Positive measures are needed to-day to ensure that nations in future do by justice what hitherto they have tried to do for themselves by force in settling their disputes. That, of course, means total disarmament of all nations. It means a World Authority to enforce disarmament, to ensure disarmament, a World Authority to set up a World Court to declare justice and the world's police to enforce it. Noble Lords may have noticed that in saying this I have used, not the term "World Government", but the term "World Authority". I am not afraid of using the term "World Government", but it needs explanation, because it is my conviction that you can get and must get a World Authority to put an end to war while leaving freedom to every nation to manage its own affairs in everything else except the murder of other nations. Indeed, forcing peace upon all the world would increase the freedom and independence of every small nation in the world, because it would not have to kow-tow to the big nations to defend it. I shall come back to that point before I end. But let me say only that in this question of words I agree wholeheartedly with what the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, said yesterday, in using the term "World Government". He may be right on that term. On substance, I am delighted to think that I agree with him completely.
I hope your Lordships will forgive these truisms about the necessity of abolishing war. Truisms have a curious way sometimes of being true. Less than a year ago the abolition of war seemed well on the way. Now progress has stopped, and one asks, naturally, how and why. It may be merely a surviving tradition from World War II of getting one's way by violence. It may be because there are great organisations for 843 war in all great countries—such organisations that led to what I think we all realise as the mistake about the U2 by the United States. It may be that there are armed forces or others putting pressure on Khrushchev in Russia. I do not know. It looks as if it might be that. It may be that as people are looking forward to disarmament they are beginning to realise the practical difficulties of disarmament, of turning over from the making of arms to utterly different occupations, without mass unemployment. It may also be—and I think there is something in this—the attempt to solve, simultaneously with this major question of substituting justice for war between nations, the minor problems, important as they are, like those of Germany or Formosa and many others. I hope we are going to concentrate on the main problem of replacing war by justice between nations. But, whatever the reason, we have to admit that to-day we live, instead of among Summit Conferences, in a period of mutual criticism—I say criticism, not recrimination—between the leaders of the great Powers.
The question arises for us here of how ordinary citizens, if I may without disrespect describe ourselves in this House as ordinary citizens, should behave under these conditions; and on that I would venture to give four pieces of negative advice, four "Don'ts" to ourselves in this House. Do not let us give too much public advice to our own Government as to how they should deal with other Governments when they are seeking agreement on the abolition of war, on what they should say to them, and just when and how. I have had a good deal to do, when I was a civil servant and otherwise, with trying to get difficult things through Governments. I am inclined to think that probably our own Ministers know the ways of thought of Khrushchev and his friends better than I do, and perhaps better than a great many of your Lordships do, and I do not know that I want to give our Prime Minister advice on how he should act in these difficult negotiations. Volunteered advice given only in public is apt to complicate the problem, which is already difficult enough, of getting reason—permanent reason, lasting reason, the same point of view continually—out of people with whom he has to negotiate. That is my first "Don't".
844 My second one is, do not ignore the practical difficulties of actual disarmament when you come to it. Think them out carefully in advance. But do not question for a moment the need for total disarmament. The Leader of the House yesterday, in the admirable speech that he made, said just one or two things that slightly chilled me. He talked of persevering in defensive alliances. Of course we have to keep defensive alliances going, but I do not want to advertise that as the main thing on which we should persevere. He talked of persevering in showing the superiority of our free system. I need hardly tell the Members of this House that for me the free system of this country is the only tolerable way of life, and that if we became Communists I should have to go to America or Brazil or somewhere else; for I could not stand that absence of freedom. But I do not want to go arguing with Mr. Khrushchev on the superiority of our way of life as a way of getting peace in the world. I wish the noble Earl had gone on to add that we should persevere and work continually for total disarmament by whatever method is most likely to bring that about.
Above all—and this is my last and most important "don't"—do not criticise as a Utopian dream the replacement of war by justice between nations when they differ. If ending war is Utopian, it is still necessary to end war. The choice for us to-day is not between Utopia and the pleasant easy world our fathers knew. The choice is quite simply between Utopia and Hell. I said that in Oxford, 20 years ago, in speaking with Professor Gilbert Murray to found Federal Union. I said it before World War II, before Hiroshima and Blue Streak and all those things were ever thought of. If it was true then, it is unquestionable now; and it is true in more senses than one. If we could bring war to an end we should make a real Utopia in this world. In abolishing war by something on Federal Union lines we should not take away from mankind anything that any ordinary man anywhere wants. In all nations, all ordinary men—and, even more, all ordinary women—irrespective of colour or language, desire two things above all: peace and to manage their own affairs. We need to take nothing whatever from any nation 845 except arms and the right to use them in mass murder. We can, and in my view should, leave everything else to each nation, however it is ruled, whether it is democratic, autocratic or authoritarian, whether it is socialist, communist totalitarian, presidential, Spanish-totalitarian or whatever else it may be. Whether it is ruled by a Parliamentary party which is Socialist, Communist or Conservative, we should leave to each nation the management of its own affairs.
On that aspect, may I say just a word on two speeches that were made yesterday? The noble Lord, Lord Strang, devoted great attention to the problem of the Six and the Seven. I suggest to your Lordships that that is quite irrelevant to this question. Nobody supposes that we should commit ourselves for all time to something that we, might want to alter. If ever we find something we are prepared to accept for all time, it will be when we have peace and a World Authority to prevent war. Then we can retain freedom to make our own economic arrangements; and I hope that those arrangements will be friendly towards other nations, and not the other way. That will remain in our hands.
May I also refer to one other speech with which I agreed entirely, that of the noble Earl, Lord Attlee. He said that we must give up sovereignty. I believe that I have already said in this House that it seems to me absurd to claim that an essential part of national sovereignty is the right to commit mass murder of citizens of other countries. That is like saying that an essential liberty of the individual is the right to steal if he wishes to do so. We do not allow that, for we have order in an orderly society; and I believe that we can have order in the world. In fact, we shall not decrease anything to which the ordinary man looks as his sovereignty.
I want to come back to a point I have mentioned before. If we can put an end to war, we can put an end also to the dependence of small nations upon large nations who patronise them. We increase freedom throughout the world; and that, I believe, increases sovereignty, even though nations cannot make war or help to make war. It is only a small point of wording on which I differ from 846 the noble Earl, Lord Attlee. Secondly, having abolished war we could give mankind the material means of happiness beyond his wildest dreams. I personally should like to see at least half, probably more, of all the millions the nations of the world are now spending on armaments handed over to the United Nations, to be used by them in raising the standard of life and education—even of university education, to which we attach such importance, and rightly, in this country—wherever those standards are too low, and also in bringing men together to settle their common problems by mutual understanding. That is the positive contribution that would be made possible by ending war and arms.
I suggest to your Lordships that the world I have tried to paint to you would be Utopia in the truest sense. Such a world could be brought about now by five, six or seven men now leading the Great Powers in the world. If they said, "We will not make war", who else could possibly make war? They could bring that about, and by doing so these men would win a place in history and in the everlasting gratitude of mankind, greater than any man has won before. None of them can earn this gratitude by himself. Together they can earn it. They can be remembered for ever in Valhalla. As I have used the term "Valhalla", I should perhaps explain that after research in our admirable Library I find that "Valhalla" has two meanings. In Northern mythology it means the hall assigned to those who have died in battle, that they may go on feasting there with Odin. But "Valhalla" in modern English, like that of Lord Acton, is a place assigned to persons worthy of very special honour. So it looks as if the leaders of the Great Powers to-day were destined for Valhalla by one route or another—by dying in battle, as I hope they would die with all the rest of us if we die, or by giving to mankind the greatest gift in history, the gift of peace with justice and freedom. The choice of route to Valhalla is theirs jointly. Please, please, dear leaders, think in modern English rather than in the language of ancient mythology, which is dead. Valhalla for you for ever!
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ LORD CASEY
My Lords, I should like to take advantage of the debate initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, although I wish to speak on a different area and on quite a different subject. I should like to speak about India, in particular, and about two subjects in relation to India: first, briefly, about the series of Indian Five-Year Plans, and, secondly, the population pressure in Asia and perhaps in India in particular. I believe that these two subjects are of national and international importance. They are really linked subjects, because I think it will be admitted that no long-term economic progress in India, and perhaps in many other countries, can be achieved unless there is some substantial diminution in the rapid rate of population advance in India and other countries. I realise perhaps as well as the next man the impropriety of making any critical comment about the internal affairs of another country, of another friendly country, and perhaps in particular of another Commonwealth country. But I do not propose to be in any way critical. I aim merely to draw your Lordships' attention—and, I hope, most sympathetic attention—to matters of great consequence that I do not believe have been much discussed in your Lordships' House, or, indeed, I believe, in this Parliament.
My own direct interest in and concern with India was stimulated by the fact that I spent two years' apprenticeship in an important Province in undivided India, which gave me some conception, at least, of the problem India then was, and to an extent still is, struggling with and trying to cope with. India is struggling with man's ancient enemies: poverty, ill-health, illiteracy, and unemployment. I want to remind your Lordships, quite briefly, about the series of kidian Five-Year Plans, the first of which began in 1951 and the second of which ends in March, 1961, when the third Indian Five Year Plan begins. I believe it is no exaggerated use of words to say that this series of Indian Five-Year Plans represents the greatest economic effort ever made in the world's history by a democratic country. The first Five-Year Plan largely succeeded, and added appreciable strength to the Indian economy. The main emphasis, as no doubt your Lordships remember, was on 848 agriculture; and the output of food grains was substantially increased. There were good seasons, and terms of international trade were generally favourable to India, and she had high prices in exported products. As a result, the national income of India increased, on an estimate, by about 18 per cent. and real per capita income by about 11 per cent. These satisfactory results were achieved with only relatively moderate external financial aid of a total of about £200 millions for the five-year period.
The second Indian Five-Year Plan was very much more ambitious and aimed at a 25 per cent. increase in national income. The main emphasis was on industrialisation and the development of heavy and basic industries. The second Plan met considerably less favourable conditions than the first. The seasons were patchy and the terms of trade moved quite appreciably against India. As a result, the second Plan had to be heavily trimmed, and the anticipated targets will not be anything like as fully realised. Substantially greater financial economic aid is being needed than had been anticipated.
Planning for the third Plan is already well advanced. It is a very ambitious Plan with a total outlay of something approaching £8,000 million sterling, nearly five times as much as the first Plan and nearly double the second Plan. It will entail very large increases in the need for foreign exchange. The basic industries will be stepped up and light consumer industries increased. Agricultural production will be increased to endeavour to met the increased demand for food. It is a most ambitious Plan which will necessitate all the external aid India's friends can provide.
This is not the time or the place to discuss the problems that the third Indian Five-Year Plan will produce. Mr. Nehru is well aware of them and has spoken of them publicly. I think it is enough to say that, whatever obstacles arise in the course of the third Plan, India must be given the credit for making a gigantic effort, unprecedented, I believe, in any non-Communist country—this vast effort to modernise her own economy. To this end India, under the direct and tireless drive of Mr. Nehru, 849 is bringing a remarkable degree of purpose, imagination, constructiveness and technical skill.
A matter of high consequence in respect of the third Indian Plan is the expressed hope that the rate of economic advance that will result if the third Plan is successful may enable the Indian economy to get over the static stage and into the self-generating economic stage. As I have no doubt your Lordships know, it is a theory of economists—or perhaps even more than a theory—that every developing country needs to plough back a certain percentage of its national income into investment, in productive plant and equipment, before its economic development can become self-generating. India's rate of savings and investment has to become sufficiently high to get the economy moving with sufficient momentum to lift it to a higher plane of production, capital formation and steadily rising living standards. The Indian economy has not yet reached this "take-off" stage, but the possibility is envisaged that it may during the third Five-Year Plan, or at any rate not very long thereafter; and I believe all India's friends will readily join in the hope that such a highly important potential achievement will come about. The high rate of population increase is generally regarded in India, and I think elsewhere, as being one of the inhibiting factors which may delay—which will delay, probably—getting over the economic hurdle, because population growth reduces the amount that can be set aside for capital formation.
I. want now to deal as briefly as I can with another subject of what I believe, and what I think is very generally believed, is of the highest order of importance, economically, socially and politically: that is, the mounting population pressure in Asia and perhaps in India in particular. As your Lordships no doubt are aware, this subject of population pressure and the need for and means of coping with it has been the concern of demographers and medical specialists for many years, but until about a year ago this general broad subject had not attracted the attention of the general public, nor, indeed, I think, was it regarded as a subject for polite discussion. However, last year saw what can only be called an outburst of popular 850 attention and concern for the general subject, which has been described as "family limitation", "planned parenthood", "contraception", "birth control"—all synonyms from the same subject.
To-day I wish to speak only of the subject in regard to India and in other Asian countries similarly placed. I realise that the subject has a relevance in other areas but I want to confine my attention to the Indian scene. Never in the history of mankind, perhaps, have human beings multiplied as rapidly as is happening today. The present rate of population growth on top of the present high population figures in a country like India means that the danger point is rapidly approaching. In fact, in certain countries—and I think India is one of them—mounting population pressure is apparently in course of defeating the objective of raising the living standards from the present low levels to something more acceptable of modern standards. As I say, the population pressure problem, on top of the very high populations in India and other countries in Asia, creates social, political and economic problems of the highest order.
As I have said, the problem of population pressure has been the subject of intense demographic study for a number of years, and I believe it is right to say that, on the established facts and figures, those who study the subject objectively believe that there is no solution possible other than family limitation. In the absence of an acceptable, effective and early solution of the family limitation problem, it seems inevitable that the countries in which this problem is critical will be subjected to mounting social and economic pressures which may be destructive of their existing social and political structures. Speaking of India, I believe the essential figures to be that the population is of the order of 420 million at present; the death rate is about 20 per 1,000 (I am speaking in round figures); the birth rate is about 40 per 1,000, and the current net increase in population is 2 per cent. a year, as against 1.2 per cent. a year about ten years ago.
It is generally agreed in India that the population problem cannot be left to take its own course, to solve itself. If 851 it were, all the vast effort of successive five-year plans will be largely wasted from the point of view of trying to raise the extremely low standards of living—as well as the problems of unemployed and under-employed becoming less and less manageable. Another figure of consequence (and I will not give your Lordships many more figures) is that there are about 100 million families in India, about three-quarters of them living in the villages, which emphasises the difficulty of coping with the problem of family limitation. Of course, there is no antagonism, from the religious point of view, to birth control in India.
Rather than attempt to quote figures to make my point as to the seriousness of the population pressure problem in India, I propose to rely on three short statements from highly representative and responsible Indians to establish what I believe is the fact; that is, that there is incontrovertible evidence of the urgent need for a substantial and early drop in the Indian birth rate. About a year ago Mr. Nehru said:We have found that we can never plan for the nation, and our Five Year Plans have no meaning if the population grows at this rate.Again, in the same context, Mr. Nehru said thatthe necessity for some kind of limitation of the growing population becomes an urgent matter for us.Mrs. Lakshmi Menon, the Deputy Minister of External Affairs in the Indian Government, has said this:However fast we progress, the population seems to overtake us and render nugatory even the positive progress we have been able to make. Thus our progress in education, health and economic development, spectacular as these might have been in other circumstances, have been hardly noticeable, because in the race between development and population, the population has mercilessly outpaced development".Mrs. Menon went on to quote from John Stuart Mill thatThe production of large families should be regarded in the same light as drunkenness.Mr. Karmarkar, the Indian Minister for Health, has said:For us in India, this problem of population control is as vital as the problem of planned economic development. All our efforts to achieve a higher living standard will be frustrated if we do not take effective steps to keep our population within proper limits. An 852 important aspect of the work is the evolution of suitable and readily acceptable contraceptives,Speaking of the situation in Pakistan, President Ayub Kahn said a little over a year ago:If we continue to increase at the present rate it will ultimately lead to a standard of living which will be little better than that of animals".He went on to say thatthe menace of over-population is tantamount to spreading misery".As I have said, my Lords, the problem of population growth has been the subject of close demographic study by the United Nations and by the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East; and, if I may quote very briefly from one of their most recent Reports, that says:The growth of world population during the next 25 years has an importance which transcends economic and social considerations. It is at the very heart of the problem of our existence".The most important incidence of population growth is in Asia, of course, where nearly half the world's population lives; and on present trends, if nothing is done about the population-growth problem, the population of Asia is likely to double itself in the next 30 years.
I think, and it is generally believed, that the main reason why this problem has become so acute in the post-war years is because of the successful death-control methods that have been used—the important and increased improvements in public health. Even in countries where the birth-rate is static, by reason of improved public health measures, the reduced death-rate has meant a net increase in the population. In other words, by effective diminution of the death-rate, the net natural increase has become formidable and menacing—and I may say that the Indian death-rate is still declining. However much this is to be welcomed, it will inevitably exacerbate the population-pressure problem. The basic problem will be to feed, clothe, house, educate and employ the rising tide of Indian population, with (unless something is done about the population-pressure problem), a consequent reduction in the already low living standards of the country. The simple fact is, I think, that if birth-rates do not fall, then inevitably, in due course, death-rates must rise.
853 A great deal of scientific research work has been done in recent years in an effort to evolve an acceptable means of family limitation by simple means that will be cheap, effective and without undesirable side effects. Although there has been considerable progress made, I believe it is true to say that the optimum method has not yet been found. Looking at the matter in the broad, I believe that the problem means the studying in minute detail of all phases of the reproductive cycle, both male and female, in an effort to discover some point (or it may be points) in the cycle at which some chemical substance, taken by mouth, preferably at not too frequent intervals, can interrupt the process of reproduction. This is a gigantic task, which necessitates much more intense scientific study than is now being devoted to it anywhere in the world; and it needs a very great deal more money to finance that scientific research, if the answer is going to be found within a short period of years.
The Planned Parenthood Federation in the United States recently published a list of unanswered questions in reproductive physiology for scientific institutions to consider doing research work on. I believe that it is not an exaggeration to say that there is no more important way of helping India and other countries similarly placed than by intensifying the search for the ideal means of family limitation. That is not to say that there are not existing methods which could be put to work on a widespread scale, pending the perfection of what one might call an oral deterrent. But existing methods are not the final answer, although they may be usefully looked to to fill the gap—which I think one might possibly call five years—until the optimum method is evolved and proven.
There are those who maintain that the proper answer to this problem is to produce more food. If we apply this argument to India, the subject of what I am trying to say to your Lordships to-day, and to other Asian countries similarly placed with a high and rising population, I believe that the fallacy of regarding increased food production as the answer will be seen. As many of your Lordships know, India is a country of very small individual agricultural holdings—
§ THE EARL OF CRAVEN
My Lords, would the noble Lord agree that it is also impossible to produce enough food in China, where I believe the population is increasing even more rapidly?
§ LORD CASEY
I am not sufficiently acquainted with mainland China to be able to intelligently answer the noble Earl's question. As I was saying, India is a country of very small agricultural holdings, so small that mechanised farming practice is relatively impossible. Any substantial increase in the production of foodstuffs in India means many more large-scale, widespread and vastly expensive water conservation and irrigation schemes, as well as the increased production of chemical fertilisers on a grand scale. Calculations of the cost, and of the time element involved in bringing these aids to the many scores of millions of small farms in India, demonstrate the complete lack of feasibility of relying on increased food production as an important means of meeting the population-pressure problem. Even if India decided to concentrate on the expansion of foodstuffs as a means of coping with this problem, and if it were done on any significant scale, it would absorb so much of India's resources that the many other things that are crying out to be done—industrialisation, education, the betterment of transport and the like—could not be proceeded with or their advance would be greatly inhibited.
However, it is not necessary for me, or for anyone else, to argue for a policy of birth control in India, or in Pakistan. Family planning has been accepted as part of the national planning in both countries. In each of the first and second India Five-Year-Plans progressively more money was hypothecated for family planning schemes, and in the third Five-Year-Plan in futuro a greatly increased amount of money is being spoken of. President Ayub Khan of Pakistan has said that family planning is recognized as a Governmental responsibility and that adequate financial help will be forthcoming. So that to advance any arguments for the adoption of family planning in India and Pakistan would be pushing at an open door. The reason why I have taken up your Lordships' time in pursuing this subject is to stress the fact that a vast amount of scientific research is still necessary before the optimum means to be 855 adopted by family planners is discovered. This will necessitate a formidable amount of research in all those countries with adequate resources to pursue it. And I hope very much that this great country will not hang back in this highly important regard of accelerated and expanded research into the vast field of discovering and perfecting anti-fertility substances and procedures. I believe that it is not an exaggeration to say that, short of the great problem of peace and war, there is no more important matter in the world today than the successful coping with the population pressure in Asia generally and particularly in India. I hope your Lordships will agree that the suggestions I have chosen to speak about to-day, although they may differ from the subject matter of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, who initiated this debate, are sufficiently important to warrant ventilation in your Lordships' House.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, I listened with great interest to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Casey. He branched off a bit, if I may say so. In a wide-ranging debate of this character one must be selective, and that is what I propose to be. It is not fashionable at the moment to applaud the utterances of Lord Montgomery of Alamein; but while I do not agree that everything he says is right, I find that very often he gets to the heart of the matter. Ten years ago he said:The task before the nations of the West is primarily political. Economic fusion and military strength will not be obtained until the political association between the group of nations concerned has first been defined.He was dead right. It has not yet been defined, and I hope that it will not be long before it is. Again, the other day the noble Viscount wrote in the Sunday Times:The first task of Western leadership must be to strengthen N.A.T.O. politically and to give it that leadership and unity which it has always lacked".And again he says:Europe must render to the United States the help she is entitled to expect as leader of the Western Alliance by standing together as one united whole".Once again the noble Viscount got to the root of the matter.
856 I am not going to dilate upon the subject of N.A.T.O. this afternoon; but I suggest that both the political structure and the command structure of N.A.T.O. are in need of radical revision. The West has been trying to conduct a global struggle against the centrally-directed forces of Communism without any central organs of political decision to direct common policies upon a global scale. We have been doing that for about ten years. I suggest to your Lordships that we can no longer afford an invisible strategic directing committee in Washington; an impotent political council in Paris; and, for N.A.T.O., a Supreme Commander who has to take orders from a vacuum; because that is what we have at the present time.
A year ago Professor Friedmann of Columbia University wrote a letter to the New York Times in which he said:Continuous refusal to acknowledge a political reality, without attempting to alter it, will embarrass the West.He was right. That is precisely what has happened. New trends have been deliberately ignored, by the United States in the Far East, and by ourselves in Europe. Policies designed to maintain the status quo everywhere cannot be maintained in the modern world over a period of years. To-day nearly all the dykes have broken, under the pressure of winds and seas of change, the very existence of which we have refused to recognise. That goes for all over the world.
I have been not so very long in your Lordships' House, but I have been long enough to know that it is better and wiser to confine one's speeches to something one knows something about. Therefore I am going to confine my speech this afternoon to the relations between this country and Europe, because I was mixed up in this business pretty closely for ten years. I gave a good part of my life to it. I think that to-day we face a momentous decision: either to go into Europe or to stay out. And we cannot make a fair assessment of the situation, or a wise judgment, unless we know something of the immediate historical background. Therefore, with great trepidation, I am going to remind your Lordships of some of the events that have taken place since the war, if only for the record—it will save your 857 Lordships' time, if you want to look up what has happened, to got it down in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I have checked my facts, so they are quite accurate.
I think that the speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, makes this even more necessary because he implied what I think the Government genuinely feel: that somehow or other it is the Continental Europeans who are to blame for the situation we are in at the present time; that we are doing our best, we are trying like anything, but they are so suspicious, so doubtful about us and wondering what we are going to do, that they make everything difficult for us. I am going to suggest that is not quite so easy as that. Perhaps they may have some grounds for suspicion.
At the end of the war, as the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, said yesterday, we could have had the leadership of Europe on any terms we liked. We were the only country that had neither been defeated nor occupied. We deliberately turned down that leadership. And history will not easily forgive us. An initiative, however, did come from this country. Mr. Winston Churchill (as he then was), the greatest living Englishman in the eyes of the Continent of Europe, advocated at Zurich in 1946 a united Europe; and again in 1947 he said that Britain was:geographically and historically a part of Europe, with a full part to play as a member of the European family.Those are his actual words; and they did not, pass unnoticed on the Continent.
I am now going to do something that is quite unforgivable, and which I shall never do again as long as I live in your Lordships' House: I am going to make two brief quotations from speeches of my own delivered over ten years ago. The first was in another place on May 5, 1948—that is just twelve years ago—in which I said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 450, col. 1382]:It seems to me that the supreme object of our policy should surely be to build a democratic world order so strong that no State or combination of States will dare to challenge it … such a democratic world order can only be built by the creation of a United States of Western Europe, in some form or other, in close association with the British Commonwealth, and with the United States of America, upon whose material strength the entire structure must in the first phase depend. … The process must 858 be one of spiritual growth as well as material progress; and the end must be a series of organic acts of union. I see no other way. The choice that confronts Hon. Members … is fundamental. I do not think it is obscure. It is the choice between international anarchy and the rule of law; between the rebirth or the doom of our Western civilisation".The second quotation, which is shorter, is from a speech that I made at the first meeting of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in August:, 1949. I then said:Sovereignty, in the sense of the exercise of absolute political power, is the supreme source of law. Whenever it resides in groups of individuals within a society, and not in the society itself, there is internal anarchy. Whenever it resides in nation-States,"—and this is a point that has been brought out in this two-days debate—and not in a society of nations, there is international anarchy. For my part I am convinced that the doctrine of the sovereign equality of nations is not only nonsense but a mathematical formula for war. I share the belief of my friend, the late Lord Lothian, that insistence on absolute state sovereignty is one of the principal causes of the evils of our modern world; and hold the view that the only solution of this problem lies in some merging or pooling of national sovereignty—not so much the surrender as the joint exercise, by common consent, of certain defined sovereign powers.My Lords, that is the end of the quotations, and I sincerely apologise for them, though I think that they are extremely good. Those were my views over ten years ago, and I have never since seen the slightest reason to change them. They seemed to command a fairly wide measure of assent at the time, although they did not receive any support from the Labour Government of the day.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Or from the Conservatives.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
I am coming to them, and they get much rougher treatment than the Party of noble Lords opposite. A resolution was passed by the Strasbourg Assembly enjoining the Committee of Ministers to develop a European political authoritywith limited functions but real powers".All the Conservative members of the British delegation voted in favour of that resolution.
Next came the Schuman Plan, devised by Jean Monnet, as we have heard, for a Coal and Steel Pool. It was rejected out of hand by the Labour Government of this country, who refused even to take 859 part in the discussions, on the ground that any invasion of national sovereignty would be quite unacceptable. It was this that led to the foundation of the Six.
Then came a bombshell. In August, 1950, Winston Churchill (as he then was) demanded in the Consultative Assembly at Strasbourg:the immediate creation of a European Army under a united command and subject to proper European democratic control, in which we should all bear a worthy and honourable part."…And he added:Those who serve supreme causes must not consider what they can get but what they can give.Can one blame the Europeans for thinking that he meant something by this? Certainly I thought he did. And on this issue the speeches of the Conservative delegates to the Council of Europe were positively lyrical. The present Prime Minister said that it was a "tremendous decision". He went on to say:Of course there are doubts and fears. Perhaps there is a suspicion that Britain may be so blind as not to see the danger through European eyes, and that she may, in a mood of despair, of weariness, seek safety in isolation. Mr. President, there is a single answer to that … Britain's frontier is not on the Channel; it is not even on the Rhine; it is at least the Elbe. … I believe that if our German comrades join with us in a European Army, they must be granted, from the beginning, equally honourable military status. … There should go out to-night a recommendation which should send to the peoples and Governments in every part of the world a ringing note of courage and of faith.That was the reaction of the present Prime Minister to the proposal for a European army. Needless to say, the Labour Government would have nothing to do with it. Once again they refused to take part in the discussions which led to the projected European Defence Community, on the ground that it would commit us to a supra-national authority. I think that the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, might have taken a rather different view if he had had longer at the Foreign Office: he had not time to alter course. I do not think (he will correct me if I am wrong) that he was as inflexible on the subject of Europe as was the late Mr. Ernest Bevin; and I think he would have altered course had he stayed there. However, he was pushed out, because there was a General Election 860 in the autumn of 1951, and it brought a change of Government.
In November of that year a debate took place at Strasbourg between representatives of the Consultative Assembly and the Congress of the United States. I was invited by the new Prime Minister, Mr. Winston Churchill, to represent the Conservative Party in this debate and, by implication, the Government; and under friendly pressure from Senators Wiley and McMahon, I agreed that our attitude towards the projected Coal and Steel Community and the European army would be the acid test of our sincerity. A week later the Home Secretary, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe (as he then was), confirmed this view at a full meeting of the Consultative Assembly. On the subject of the European Army he said:I cannot promise full and unconditional participation, but I can assure you of our determination that no genuine method shall fail for lack of thorough examination which one gives to the needs of trusted friends.— There is no refusal on the part of Britain.That same night, at a Press conference in Rome, the Foreign Secretary Mr. Anthony Eden (as he then was) nounced that Britain would take no part, under any conditions or in any circumstances, in the European Army which had been demanded by Churchill in the Council of Europe. This announcement was greeted in the Council of Europe not unnaturally—and I think it really should be remembered—with the utmost consternation and dismay. I have never seen a more demoralised assembly. Indeed, so moved were the Conservative delegates to the Consultative Assembly, of whom I was one, that on December 3 we sent a formal protest to the Prime Minister, the concluding paragraph of which was:We venture to appeal to you to take some positive action designed to restore British prestige in the Consultative Assembly, and to show that His Majesty's Government mean to play their part in the military defence and economic development of a united Europe.That protest was signed by every member of the Conservative delegation; and there was no reply.
Meanwhile, M. Spaak resigned the Presidency of the Consultative Assembly in order to lead the campaign for a "Little Federation", without Britain. This was a formidable event, because the establishment of the Six was now well 861 under way. My Lords, I want to say this quite frankly. These events were regarded on the Continent of Europe, and particularly in France, as a straight betrayal of Europe on the part of Britain. I do not think it was quite as deliberate as that; but that is how they saw it. And I am not sure that they were wrong, because it certainly was a complete reversal of the course which they had been led to believe by Churchill that a Conservative Government would adopt.
Look what happened next. There followed the long struggle, the exhausting struggle, over the European Defence Community. We now have it on the authority of Mr. Anthony Nutting, at the time Minister of State at the Foreign Office, that Mr. Eden reacted to his suggestion, and that of Sir Gladwyn Jebb in Paris, that we should at least guarantee to leave our troops on the Continent of Europe for the duration of the Treaty "like a kicking mule". This was not even a proposal to join the European Army; it was merely to give a guarantee to keep our troops on the Continent.
For my part, I said what I am about to say to your Lordships on the subject of the Common Market: that the only thing for the Government to do, if they believed that the E.D.C. was the right thing, was to join it. In a letter to The limes on July 12, 1954, I said that the alternatives were the rejection of the E.D.C. Treaty by the French Assembly, or a "shot-gun wedding" between a resurgent Germany and a fear-ridden France. I further said that Franco-German reconciliation was the necessary prelude to the establishment of any genuine partnership in the common defence of the West; that it had been put in jeopardy by our attempt to force the French to enter a European Army and a political union which we were not prepared to join ourselves; and that we must face the fact that there could be no hope of European unity except on the basis of British participation in one form or another.
After a few days I received a letter, which I have here in my pocket. The interest of it really lies in the signature. It is that of Michel Debré, not unknown at the present moment. He said:"Je n'ai pas besoin de vous dire, une fois de plus, à quel point votre dernière lettre au Times a été, pour nous, d'une lecture récon- 862 fortante.… Je dirais presque émouvante, à tel point nos pensées sont identiques. Croyez, je vous prie, Mon Cher Député, à l'assurance de mes sentiments distingués et les meilleurs."That was the view in France at the time, and that was the view of M. Debri5, at the time. I say these things to your Lordships because I think it is important that we should bear them in mind.
In the event, when the French rejected the E.D.C. Treaty we had to do a salvage operation, and put British troops on the Continent, which we had said for two years we would not do. The truth is that it was too late. With one shining exception, the Ministers ran out on Europe—and I deliberately use the words "ran out", because there is another word beginning with "R" which I think would be indecorous for your Lordships' House. It is a single word. But that in fact is what happened. The shining exception is sitting in front of me at this moment upon the Woolsack, the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Kilmuir. I think he will not take exception if I remind him that he once said to me: "You and I really do believe in European union. And we shall not be forgiven." Fortunately for this country, he was forgiven. But he is the one man who stood up all the time and never deviated, while the rest went back.
Nevertheless, there came a last chance—I am nearly through the historical side of this matter, but we have to know this background before making the decision that lies ahead of us. The Strasbourg Plan of 1952, endorsed unanimously by the Assembly of the Council of Europe, was designed to harness the industrial resources of Western Europe to the raw materials of its associated territories overseas, with the object of expanding the production and trade of the whole. I was a member of the drafting committee. It envisaged a double-tier preferential system, an international Central Bank to co-ordinate monetary policies and investment plans, international commodity schemes (which think aroused considerable support in the Labour Party), and the automatic provision of credit for countries in balance-of-payments difficulties. It was rather a complicated plan, but many of the finest economic minds in Europe gave great thought to it. I think it could have been a great success; and, if so, we should never have had the division 863 between the Six and Seven to-day. But it was pole-axed by the Treasury overnight. They simply came down and said that they would have nothing to do with it. Then, as Mr. Nutting says in his book, the "last bus had gone so far as we were concerned."
The Common Market went ahead. We sent no Minister to their Messina Conference, and only an observer to their Brussels Conference. This observer was a junior official with purely negative instructions. He made no constructive contribution to their discussions at all.
Then, "suddenly last summer", the Common Market became reality, though we had never really believed that it would. As the Daily Telegraph said:a new industrial giant, a mighty union of some 165 million people, in which we have elected to have no part.Look now for a moment at the economic facts. I am not indulging in theories. Since 1953, British production has risen by 28 per cent., as against 72 per cent. in Western Germany and 76 per cent in France. Last year our exports increased by 4.5 per cent. in value, and to the sterling area they fell by 5 per cent. In contrast, the exports of France and Germany rose by 15 per cent. and to the sterling area by 7 per cent. So, whereas our exports to the sterling area fell by 5 per cent., theirs rose by 7 per cent. The rate of industrial investment, including dollar investment, and the consequent growth of productivity in the countries of the Common Market, is at present far greater than our own. The potential market there is the richest, the greatest and the most rapidly expanding in the world.
When we suddenly woke up to the fact that the Common Market existed, having drugged ourselves into the belief that it was a fantasy, what did we do? We immediately panicked and rushed into the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Seven. I believe that this was a profound mistake, and I say so without hesitation. Why? Because it consolidated the division of Europe, instead of healing it. You are not going to get successful negotiations between the Seven and the Six. Do not "kid" yourselves that this is going to happen, because it is not. All we are doing with E.F.T.A. is to consolidate and aggravate 864 the present division of Europe, and to provide the Government with another alibi for keeping out of Europe altogether. We should have joined the Common Market and brought in as many of the others afterwards as we could. And that is still the right course. When all is said and done, tariffs are only one part of the arsenal of modern economic weapons—and that a negative one. Positive common economic policies are the necessary complement of any reduction of trade barriers.
The choice, to which I referred at the beginning of my remarks, which now confronts us is a naked one. This is, as I believe, full participation in the Common Market or active estrangement. I do not believe there can be any compromise, still less agreement between the Six and the Seven. A friend of mine on the Continent of Europe said to me: "The trouble in negotiating with your Mr. Maudling is that he has never known what he really wants, and does not know to-day." It is impossible to negotiate with a man who does not know what he is trying to get. The Six are suspicious—of course they are. But have they not good reason? I have tried to show that they have. Every time we say that we might join the Coal and Steel Community, or Euratom, they think we are up to our old game of sabotaging European unity. I have tried to prove to your Lordships this afternoon that they have good justification for their suspicions because we have done it over and over again. They believe that our main objective at the moment is to smash up the Common Market, and smash up the measure of unity they have been able to achieve. Our task is to allay that suspicion, because I believe that we can still lead a United Europe. The choice is: Do we go into Europe, or do we become an isolated off-shore island? Because that is what it may well end in.
There is no choice between the Commonwealth and Europe, and there never has been. We are no longer living in the 'thirties. Imperial Preference, which mattered then, is a diminishing factor; and will be of negligible importance in another five or six years, with the present development of world economic affairs. The Commonwealth is an invaluable political association of multiracial States, many of which have 865 already recognised the necessity for participation in regional groupings. Why then, should we not participate in a regional grouping? I suggest to you, my Lords, that the Commonwealth want us to get into Europe and to lead Europe and to use a Scottish expression, they "want in" to the great European Market themselves, and they can get into it very much easier if we are a member of it.
What is involved? Primarily, acceptance of the political implications, as the noble Lord, Lord Strang, said yesterday. They have been defined by General de Gaulle as follows:The nations which are becoming associated must not cease to be Themselves, and the path to be followed must be that of organised co-operation between States, while waiting to achieve, perhaps, an imposing confederation.What is there to be frightened of in that? "Confederation" is defined in the dictionary asa permanent union of sovereign states for common external action".The Common Market goes a bit further than that, because it includes common internal action in certain defined spheres: a gradual integration of social and economic policies culminating, I hope, in an organic political union.
I would just ask those of your Lordships who are frightened of this to cast your mind back to the year 1956. Whatever views you may hold on the subject of Suez, the fact remains that in that year Western Europe proved unable to affirm or to defend, either by diplomacy or force, its vital interests in the Middle East; and this, surely, was due to the fact that small countries, acting separately, have no longer any place or power in the modern world. We must create in Europe a political and economic unit capable of standing on its own feet in face of the gigantic political and economic organisations of the Communist world, on the one hand, and the United States of America, on the other. Otherwise we may well sink, one by one. At the same time we should bear in mind the wise words of Winston Churchill in 1950:We are not making a machine; we are growing a living plant.My Lords, our policy towards Europe since the war has been as futile and as feckless as it was before the war. As 866 Sir Winston Churchill wrote of the latter (our policy before the war):in this sad tale of wrong judgments formed by well-meaning and capable people, we now reach our climax. That we should all have come to this pass makes those responsible, however honourable their motives, blameworthy before history.I believe, passionately, that our record in our dealings with Europe since the war will be viewed very gloomily by the historians of the future. It may even be compared with our record during the reign of George III in relation to the American Colonies, unless we pull up our socks, as I think we have a last chance to do. I agree with my noble friend, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, that peaceful co-existence with the Communist world must be our primary aim; but let us get peaceful co-existence in Western Europe first At the present moment Western Europe is literally at Sixes and Sevens. I cannot agree with the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, when he talked about total disarmament anti world government in the measurable future. In a world wracked by a titanic struggle between two totally opposed political and economic systems, this seems to me to be utterly unrealistic. It may come one day, but it will not come in the immediate future.
I used to think that the Foreign Office was the nigger in the woodpile. Now I am not so sure, after what the noble Lord, Lord Strang, said yesterday.We have to contemplate the possibility of joining the Six, It may be that there is no middle way.Again Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, another Permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office, wrote three years ago:If we now decide to assume the rôle of leader of a Confederate Europe our action will win the approval of the Commonwealth, and the existence of a European Executive possessing real power and authority will certainly lead to a closer co-ordination of policy in matters of world import.I suspect that the Treasury is the root of this evil, as indeed it is of most others in this country to-day.
My Lords, I hope that this speech of mine will not be described in the Guardian to-morrow as "a despairing and impassioned call which stirred the blood of those present rather in the manner of a tea-bell." That is how the Guardian yesterday described the speech of an honourable member in another place. My 867 speech has been impassioned, but not despairing. It now seems to me that all those years of unhappy frustration at Strasbourg may well have been worth while. I recall to mind Sir Winston Churchill saying to me when he first launched the idea of a United Europe, "This will either catch fire or not"; and then, as an afterthought, he added, "Or it may smoulder for a time, and then blaze". I rather think that this is what is now happening.
This is my last word, and I do apologise for being so long; I will never be so long again, but in a sense it is an apologia pro vita mea. "There is a tide in the affairs of men". Do not let us forget that. We have not got too much time. For us the European tide is ebbing—I will not say fast, but it is ebbing, and certainly the ship has cast off. There is no longer time to wade in, to test the temperature of the water, and to come out if we do not like it when it gets up to our ankles. The time has come to jump.
§ 5.28 p.m.
My Lords, when I came into your Lordships' House this afternoon a noble friend remarked that I was fighting the sixth bull. The trouble is that I am fighting the same old bull, Europa, which at least two of your Lordships have already fought with some skill this afternoon. The noble matador the Marquess of Lansdowne made some very graceful passes at it, although keeping a discreet distance from the bull. Now that great toreador of "telly", the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, has left the ring after delivering the coup de grâce with his usual panache he went in right over the horns, armed with Mr. Anthony Nutting's sword. The trouble is that this poor—I was going to flatter myself and say "young"—middle-aged picador is left without a bull. However, I have some notes.
I am afraid I agree with those of your Lordships who have described our policy in and towards Europe since the war as a failure. I should like, with less knowledge than the noble Lord I follow, to glance at some of the reasons for that failure, not out of any academic or masochistic pleasure but because I think they may have some bearing on the future.
868 To begin with, I believe that in the later 1940s we totally underestimated the underlying toughness and resilience of Western Europe. We also misjudged, I am afraid, the vitality of the European idea. With the renaissance of Europe, especially in the Six, so visible even to the casual tourist, our mistake is now quite clear. But behind these misconceptions lurk, I believe, deeper and more Freudian inhibitions and suspicions. We have feared a revival of Boche militarism. We have hesitated to be too mixed up with those volatile and possibly neutralist French and Italians. We have suffered acutely from what I might call the "Daily Express complex".
I believe these inhibitions to be pretty unrealistic. In my view, German youth to-day is non-militaristic and extremely European-minded. If I were asked to forecast whether France or Germany was likely to become the dominant partner in the Six, I personally would put my bet on France. But whether these qualms were justified or not, was the answer to try to insulate ourselves from Europe and from these capricious Europeans? If we feared the Germans and suspected the French, was not the sensible answer to bring Britain closer into Europe and to strengthen European institutions with the British presence?
I am sure that we conscientiously believed we could not marry Europe without divorcing America; but in fact it would have been quite possible for us to contract a perfectly respectable bigamous relationship with both at the same time. In my view we were wrong to think that our relationship with the United States would be impaired if we were to draw closer to Western Europe. On the contrary, it has been our very unwillingness to do precisely this which has caused so much American irritation. As I see it, the real truth of the matter—the heart of the matter—is that both America and Western Europe are vitally important to us. Nothing could be more fatal for us than if we were ever faced with a choice between the two. But I do not suppose for a moment that we are likely to be faced with this distressing option. The Six are firmly committed to the Atlantic Alliance. But if we have real doubts about this, surely the answer is not to edge away from Europe towards Ireland but rather, from 869 the strongest position we can possibly win for ourselves within Europe, to do all we can to reinforce Atlantic institutions.
There is much in this post-Summit period which I think is well worth doing in this sphere. There are hardy annuals, like trying to put flesh and blood into the idea of military interdependence and trying to inject real life into the ritual of political consultation between the N.A.T.O. members. There is the task of bringing up the new Atlantic baby—the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a promising child—as quickly as possible. There are new possibilities, like the formation of an Atlantic Institute, which are coming up over the horizon.
A third misconception about Europe was even more fundamental, and stemmed, perhaps, from an instinctive, albeit outdated, view of the Commonwealth. I think we tended to regard the Commonwealth (as perhaps some of us still do) as a power unit, dispersed it may be, but of the same nature as the United States, Russia or indeed Europe. I believe it was this, more than anything else, which really prevented us from going into Europe when the going was good. Again, I hope your Lordships will not think I set a low value on the modern Commonwealth. I do not. It is a unique link, and not only for ourselves, with the New Asia and the New Africa. It is also a mixed forum of immense value where the great questions of the latter 20th century—problems of economic development and colour—can be debated and, we hope, resolved with reasonableness land moderation as between equals. But because I regard it in this light, I do not assume that our membership of this club need necessarily debar us from applying for membership of the European club. After all, some members of Brooks's are also members of Whites's—
My Lords, the fourth factor which was at the root of our difficulties over the Six was the supra-national issue: our inability or our unwillingness to contemplate significant surrenders of national sovereignty to European institutions not under the ultimate control of this Parliament. That, 870 I believe, is probably still the great residual problem. The noble Lord, Lord Strang, drew our attention to it yesterday.
These factors underlying our coyness towards Europe have one common characteristic. They are, in the main, political. I know that there have been important economic and technical difficulties, but these have not been the really determining ones. It is also true to say that, by and large, all these factors have been present in the post-war attitudes (I hesitate to use the word "thinking") towards Europe of the two major political Parties.
What of the position to-day? What if we of the Seven cannot reach a real accommodation with the Six? In that event the risks for us and for Europe are just as great as some of the previous speakers in this debate perhaps suggested. Equally so, the gains from a real accommodation would be worth a very high price. Economically, I believe that if we stay out there is a very real prospect that over the next decade or so the Six will drive our exports out of third market after third market. Equally so, if we get in, we shall share in their remarkable economic dynamism, to which the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, drew attention. Do we wish to be a stranded whale on our off-shore Island? Would it not be better to bask prosperously in the Bay of Biscay? It is a very real question.
Politically, the potential dangers and the potential gains are equally great. Europe has already been sliced in half by the Russians. Do the Six and the Seven really wish to be reproached by history for having re-divided what was left? Put positively, is not the whole lesson of our century that the future lies with the big units—the big battalions like the United States, Russia and now China? Should not our aim, the aim of the Six and of the Seven, be to make Europe a unit of the same weight? And if it were possible to construct a closely knit Western Europe, might it not, over the long pull, exert an irresistible magnetic force upon the captive Europe of the East?
And what of our influence? I am inclined to think that now in 1960, twenty years after Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain, our influence within Western Europe may be less than it was in the dark 871 days of 1940. If the present trend continues, so will this drift. Is it an idle conjecture to suppose that at some Summit Conference in, say, 1980, we shall find the Big Five represented by the United States, the Six of Europe, Russia, China and India, whilst we are pensioned off by our richer European neighbours, a new Ireland of the Western world?
There is a further political danger in the present political situation on which I should like for a moment to focus your Lordships' attention. It is that we run the risk of exporting to our dependent or lately dependent territories, especially in Africa, the divisions we have allowed to emerge in Europe. As your Lordships know, the rival European Powers in the nineteenth century imposed a highly artificial pattern on slumbering Africa. It would be ironical if now, in the twentieth century, they were to distort the economies of that newly awakening continent.
It is very easy to say that the present state of our relations with Europe is rotten. It is easy enough to say that without a real accommodation with the Six the slide will continue. It is much more difficult to suggest precisely what we shall do about them—
It is possible that we shall secure some short-term accommodation through the Trade Committee of 21 in Paris. And it is nice to think that we can perhaps feel our way, stage by stage, first testing the temperature in Euratom, then in the Coal and Steel Community, before finally deciding to take the plunge in the Common Market. That may possibly be our immediate objective—I do not know. But, like other noble Lords, I must confess that I am sceptical now, when the going for us is no longer good, whether the Six will allow us to approach their shrine in this crabwise fashion. Perhaps, as the noble Lord, Lord Strang, suggested, we may be able to find some convenient halfway house. But the trend is towards merging the institutions of the Six, and I suspect that in the end it may turn out to be a question of "all or nothing".
So I feel we must squarely face the question, "Should we 872 or should we not go the whole hog and apply for membership of the European Economic Community?" I do not know the answer to that question; but I suspect, with other noble Lords, that so long as the Six continue to be an outward-regarding group, as they now are, our membership of that group should not prevent us from continuing to play our full rôle in the Commonwealth and in the Atlantic Alliance. Likewise, I think we must remember that under the Treaty of Rome we should have some fifteen years to complete the necessary structural changes in our national economy before the merger becomes complete—that is to say, twice the length of the Second World War.
Yet even if we can overcome most of these obstacles, two great obstacles will remain. The first is our membership of the European Free Trade Association. It may have or may not have been a mistake to create E.F.T.A. But the fact remains that it is now created and that we have our commitments and our responsibilities towards it. We cannot just shrug them off. I do not think that would do us any good in Europe or in the world.
Secondly, there is the great residual problem of the surrender of sovereignty, which the noble Lord, Lord Strang, probed yesterday. To what he said I would add only the following reflections. De facto and de jure, we have already in N.A.T.O. and in the W.E.U. undertaken commitments which involve an erosion of absolute national sovereignty. We have already expressed our willingness to examine the possibility of entering Euratom and the Iron and Steel Community. So supra-nationality in itself cannot be total anathema to us. And the Western disarmament proposals, of course, involve much more vital entrenchments on national sovereignty than do the provisions of the Rome Treaty. In any event, the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, had rather tough things to say about national sovereignty this afternoon.
I personally should have thought that General de Gaulle's conception of a confederal Europe is one which should be acceptable to us. Nevertheless—and here I would part company with the noble Lord, Lord Boothby—we must recognise that the Gaullist concept of the new Europe is not that of Dr. 873 Adenauer, let alone that of the Brussels technocrats. We must recognise that their very clear ambition is to convert the European Economic Community as soon as possible into a fully federal politico-economic unit. That is the supra-national high jump we may have to face. Admittedly, it may, in the event, turn out to be only 3 feet high. But I share the doubts of the noble Lord, Lord Strang, whether it would be wise or honest for us to enter the contest if we are not able to reach the Olympic qualifying standard.
My Lords, the atmosphere around the Six and the Seven is now a little lighter. I am glad that a breathing space has been won, and that the Government have apparently decided at the highest level to use this pause to re-examine the fundamentals of our policy towards Europe. I am convinced that that reexamination must be really drastic and long-term. We shall, I hope, approach it not in the sense of discovering what is the least we can get away with with the Six, but rather the most we can possibly offer. We must think not in terms of 1960, let alone 1930, as we have tended to, but in terms of 1990. A lot of "sacred cows" have been set up. If necessary, they need to be ruthlessly expelled from the cowsheds of Whitehall. Above all, this re-examination must not be conducted with too tender a regard for sectional interests. We really cannot base the fundamentals of British policy on the price of bacon or onions, or even orchids. This means, of course, a really thorough examination of policy. But this must not become an excuse for procrastination. Perhaps this is our last chance, as the noble Lord who preceded me suggested, of striking the right relationship with the hard core of Europe—the Six. But this is not a bus that will wait for ever and there are some pretty impatient drivers at the wheel, especially in Brussels. After all, we have already kept Europe waiting fifteen years at the church door.
May I, to conclude, make two small suggestions, neither of them novel? The negotiations which may lie ahead, and which I hope will lie ahead, will require great skill, perseverance and consistency. So will the initial preparations in Whitehall and any preliminary exchanges with the E.F.T.A. and Commonwealth countries which we may have. We just 874 cannot fail again. First, I trust that the ultimate responsibility for the conduct of these initial preparations, and any subsequent negotiations, will be laid quite firmly at the door of the Foreign Office. They will impinge on all the great central issues of British foreign policy, and ultimately, in my un-Marxian opinion, all the really basic decisions to be taken are, in essence, political.
Secondly, I should hope that a very senior Foreign Office Minister would be specifically charged, under the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, with the job of handling the formulation and conduct of our policy in and towards Europe, and with nothing else. At present, as I understand it, this is not the case. I am sure that some clear-cut and exclusive definition of ministerial responsibilities towards Europe is absolutely necessary if our policy in and towards Europe is to be prosecuted with the essential consistency and priority.
My Lords, although there is from time to time on the Front Bench opposite us a splendid array of smoking volcanoes, the Opposition in this country is not at present really able to oppose, unfortunately. I believe that this makes it all the more essential that on this historic issue of British policy towards Europe in the last half of the twentieth century the Government should really govern. And give a clear, positive [...]ead.
§ 5.48 p.m.
THE EARL OF ARRAN
My Lords, after the great speeches we have heard in this debate, I hope that I may be excused for a very slight contribution. At least it is short. I want to talk about Russia and Germany. Perhaps I may take as a text something which Mr. Khrushchev said when in Paris last month. He said he wanted friendship with the GermansBut we do not want a recurrence of militarism which is very dangerous in Europe.I believe that in this very revealing remark there may lie a clue to the amazing Russian behaviour in Europe since the war. I think that the Russians are still terribly, and reasonably, afraid of German Chauvinism, just as many of us are in this country who know the Germans well. I say unequivocally that we owe a debt to the Russians for keeping Germany apart—not that we should give them any credit for this because 875 they have been acting only out of self-interest. But I believe that it is about the luckiest thing that has happened to us for a very long time.
This may not be a popular view, and it is not the official view of any political Party, but I would ask you to consider whether it is not in fact the truth. I do not wish to weary your Lordships with a list of crimes against humanity committed by the Germans during the last 15 years; the record is there. But I cannot forget them, and I can see no reason to doubt that this same people is capable of those same things all over again.
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Earl? In speaking of crimes against humanity, would he not regard the Russian tyranny in Eastern Germany as a crime against humanity?
THE EARL OF ARRAN
Not in the sense of concentration camps, gas chambers, and all those things which we hate more than anything else.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
How would the noble Earl describe, for instance, the shooting of 60,000 Polish officers by the Russians in the forest of Katyn?
THE EARL OF ARRAN
It has never been officially recognised who did this fearful and dreadful thing. The Foreign Office has never said who it was, or who did this
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
But why did the Russian Government not allow the International Red Cross to investigate?
THE EARL OF ARRAN
I just do not know the answer; I am merely saying that the cause of this fearful thing has still not been fully established.
While we are on this general subject, could I ask the noble Earl how he would regard the deportation of the Balkan and Crimean populations?
THE EARL OF ARRAN
I regard it as a frightful and shocking thing; but the German cruelty was a cold-blooded and organised cruelty, and I do not believe that the Russians work quite that way. These are two different kinds of cruelty: the savage cruelty of a primitive race and the organised cruelty of a cultured race which knew exactly what it was doing and did it.
Anyway, my Lords, I was saying that I thought that this fear was also shared by the Russians, and their experience of Germany is ten thousand times more than our own. It just occurred to me to wonder whether, in our future negotiations with them, we could not proceed with an openly acknowledged fear of another 1914 or another 1940. At present, both sides are in the humiliating position of having to play the rôle of suppliant to the former enemy. Russia woos East Germany; we woo West Germany. I think that if we were to stop doing this and were to say to the Russians, "While we do not like each other at all, we know at least where our mutual potential enemy lies", then I think it possible that we might be able to move forward together. I cannot believe that the Soviet Union wishes for a war: I know that the Western democracies do not. I believe that if we could come to terms with Russia over Germany, we should have gone a very long way towards securing that relaxation which we all so passionately desire. I put this out as a thought; one which I have held for a very long time, and which others much wiser and more knowledgeable than myself also hold. It is at least a possible key to the problems which keep us from peace.
§ 5.54 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I was waiting for the noble Marquess, who I thought was going to intervene at this stage.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I apologise to the noble Viscount. My difficulty really was that I was kept at an official engagement, and I have heard practically nothing of the debate this afternoon. In these circumstances, I do not think it would be proper for me to intervene.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
I am quite sure that that means that the noble Marquess considers that, after this very long debate 877 of yesterday and to-day, and the variety of subjects that have been covered, both the Leader of the Opposition and the noble Earl the Leader of the House have pretty difficult tasks to perform; so perhaps I ought to be grateful that I have not to answer some new problems which might have been raised by the noble Marquess.
My Lords, we have had a very good debate for the last two days on these very important matters, and I am grateful to my noble friend for the manner in which he introduced our discussions from this side. Although the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, considers that the Opposition are at present smoking volcanoes—
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
—they are not able to intervene apparently, in his view, in opposition at the present time. However, under his dictum we do not seem to come under the sentence which I think once came from the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, on to one of his Front Bench Members; that he was an extinct volcano! Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, with all that picturesque language and phraseology to which he has treated us to-day, could have added to those parts of the comments of the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe.
I want first of all to say a word about what were the basic features of the speech of my noble friend Lord Henderson—the Summit, the setback in international diplomatic relationships caused by the cancelled visit of the President of the United States of America to Japan, and the like. I feel that the case has been so thoroughly "inquested" to-day and yesterday in all parts of the House that it would not be worth my while to go over the various points that I had originally intended to cover. What I do say is this: that when excuses are specially made for the position of Mr. Khrushchev in the matter of the walkout from the Committee of ten, which has happened since, then I think we ought to have in mind that, whereas they came along on June 7 with a revised disarmament plan—a very important, very widespread plan, strangely changed in 878 the order of the presentation of its various points—they came with the already unanimous agreement of all the satellite States; and it was pretty clear to me, at any rate, that that would have been the case whatever scheme had been submitted by the U.S.S.R. The U.S.S.R. are the dominant factor. There may be formal consultation, but, in fact, what they say has to go with all the others.
The difference between the presentation of these matters by the U.S.S.R. and by the free nations is this: that in the case of the free nations—both inside the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and outside that organisation—if you want to do things of this kind, with any hope of being realistic and of having lasting effect, you must have proper consultations with each of the free nations with which you are associating. In the circumstances, while I have felt many a time during debates on disarmament during the last two or three years that this or that country was dragging its feet unnecessarily, nevertheless I think it is absolutely essential, with a gathering of free nations, that there should be adequate consultation between the constituent members of an alliance such as N.A.T.O. before you finally put your last comments to the conference.
However, I feel that all the suggestions which have been made as to keeping calm and continuing negotiations wherever possible are absolutely sound. We certainly shall not gain anything by becoming panicky about the situation. That does not mean that we have too much time to waste. The pressure from our Government and from all other Governments should be such that our point of view is felt now by way of diplomatic submissions; because it might help, as one of my colleagues said yesterday, in view of the forthcoming Presidential Election in the United States of America and the fact that the incoming President will, as is usually the case, have to take some months to settle into the main question he has to handle internationally. It may be at least twelve months, and perhaps even longer, before there is an opportunity to have another meeting of the Summit character. I therefore want to emphasise especially the case that was made by my noble friend Lord Attlee, in his quite remarkable speech yesterday on world government: that, in the words that were used 879 by him and by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, we ought in the meantime to do all the work we possibly can in the foothills before there is another Summit Meeting.
A number of other questions were touched on during the debate. I was particularly interested in the fact that three noble Lords yesterday touched on the coming visit of the Spanish Foreign Minister. May I say at once that I hope very much that his visit will prove to be of substantial importance; that he will be well received, and that it will lead to a further improvement of our relations with that country? That is the desire of all of us. In view of some of the matters raised by the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, I wonder whether he felt he had been quite fair to those who are critics of Spain. An article appeared in the Catholic Times last Friday, June 24, with this heading:The Franca Régime is un-Christian.The article said that a petition had been submitted to the Government with the names of 340 priests from the Basque Province, urging that much more should be done in Spain to secure liberty and better treatment. After some of the things I have said in the last few years, I appreciate enormously the fact that my noble friend Lord Pakenham has actually been in Spain and made direct representations to the dictator, Señor Franco. We have seen one or two cases where evangelical places of worship in Madrid which had been closed down have been reopened.
My Lords, may I inform the noble Viscount on the matter he has just mentioned, this alleged protest of 300 Catholic priests? The fact is that no Catholic priests have signed any protest at all. One of the bishops to which it was addressed has confirmed that 300 names were on it but no signatures, and that since then one of the priests who was alleged to have signed it has written to the Bishop of Pamplona saying that he had never signed any protest and had never heard of it. I have not seen the Catholic Times, because I have been abroad, and in any case I do not subscribe to it. But for the noble Viscount's information these are the facts.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I should like to see something more supporting in evidence than that some bishop has said that this was the position. It would be interesting to get to-morrow's edition of the Catholic Times and see whether there is any withdrawal of the specific statements in the article from which I am quoting. Certainly I know that there is a serious state of affairs in Spain, with strong feelings among the population about the restrictions on their liberty, and not least about the restrictions on their religious liberty. I am profoundly grateful to my noble friend Lord Pakenham for the representations he has made and to know that there has been some little result. In these days we must all want to develop all we can religious freedom and religious toleration.
The noble Earl, Lord Craven, said yesterday that he was impressed by the fact that in Spain Communism had been beaten. He did not go on to tell us what he meant by the beating, but some of us remember that the neutrality during the war to which the noble Earl referred was with the idea of keeping Gibraltar away from any dispute; and we remember that under the so-called neutrality we had the presence of the Spanish Blue Division assisting the Germans in their main campaign.
My Lords, the noble Viscount is making some rather sweeping statements. Does he suggest that the Blue Division would have been employed against the British, the Americans or the French? Would he agree with me that they were employed only against Soviet Russian troops?
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, this régime, which has been ardently defended by the noble Lord, was capable at one moment in the years 1936 to 1938 of having Hitler's and Mussolini's troops in Spain to defeat the opponents of their dictatorship and were willing to send the Blue Division to assist the dictators in their war operations.
My Lords, the noble Viscount is still incorrect. The support which the Nationalist side received came to Spain well after support had been sent to the other side by the 881 Communists. The second was the result of the first. That is the fact.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I well remember the position. I remember speaking at the American Council of Foreign Relations on September 1, 1956. My memory is fairly good, and I am taking these two facts together. I would remind the noble Lord that Russia was our Ally when Spain sent the Blue Division. Does he approve of that?
My Lords, at no stage in the war was Russia our Ally. They happened to be fighting the same people we were fighting.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
I think the noble Lord had better go back and read the broadcasts made by the Prime Minister, whose leadership has been so well described by the noble Lord, Lord Boothby. I hope that when noble Lords get up and make the kind of speeches made yesterday on Spain, they will try to take all sides into consideration, because it is essential that we should get the facts straight.
I should like now to say a word about another matter which has occupied a great deal of your Lordships' attention in this debate—that is, our position with regard to Europe. In general, the position of the Commonwealth in regard to this matter was referred to only occasionally. In his eloquent and impassioned speech, the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, spoke on this question and expressed the view that if something had been done at a particular time, the Commonwealth would probably have been willing to join in, and things could have been arranged. I do not know whether the noble Lord still reads the prominent Commonwealth papers—I know that he used to do so—but perhaps he read an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail of June 15, which would certainly have pleased him in one respect. This article said that the Commonwealth, the Six and E.F.T.A. are all concerned about indications that this country is now trying to get into the Six. They asked a very disturbing question: what is likely to be the effect of this upon Commonwealth trade? Canada is a rapidly developing country. It is true that she is very much crossed with American capital investment, but she is very much concerned about her trade 882 direct with Europe and with the Commonwealth at large.
As I understood the article—I speak from memory, but my thoughts went back to it as I listened to the noble Lord—the Canadians send about 24 per cent. of their exports to Europe. They point out that in fact in the last twelve months or so the German nation, just one of the Six, have increased their exports to the Commonwealth by 10 per cent., while in the same period British exports to the Commonwealth declined by 5 per cent. They think that with the moving all through the various promised stages of development that the Common Market have in view they will be coming to an external tariff, and the Dominion of Canada—and they may well be followed by Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in this matter—will be wondering exactly how that external tariff is going to affect them.
Incidentally, when all these statements are made about our joining the Common Market from the point of view of business and investment, I think we might sometimes remember of what importance the Commonwealth market is to us, and the enormous investments that we have in our own Commonwealth. While I fully realise the importance of developing on the freest possible basis the trade in Europe, and of taking advantage of every possibility of developing really good political integration in thought, in will and in common purpose, that is quite another matter, it seems to me, from going as far as has been suggested by the noble Lord in his speech—although I am bound to say that I recognise that he has never held any other view upon this matter than he has expressed this afternoon. But when he attacks the Labour Government's position of 1945 to 1950, when we were trying to turn what was an internationally bankrupt position in our own country—we not only having tremendously overspent our current earnings right through the war, but having spent £45,000 million to £50,000 million in the war; and also having a debt of nearly £30,000 million—
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, if the noble Viscount will forgive me for interrupting, I am sure he will admit that I attacked the Conservative Governments just as vehemently as the Labour Government, if not even more vigorously. I 883 would also remind the noble Viscount that the Labour Government, under the terms of the American Loan in 1945, offered to eliminate Imperial Preference altogether.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
I do not happen to be so good in my memory on that point as I have been on others, but I will look it up with the greatest of pleasure. It certainly did not happen.
It was Mr. Winston Churchill who opposed Imperial Preference in the most vehement terms in 1907.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
Let me continue, if I may, upon this Common Market business. I should welcome at any time the development of trade and commerce used as a means of cementing friendship and general goodwill and common purpose. But the noble Lord has admitted, and the general statement is made, that the Common Market now, the E.E.C., has become a great political issue; and apparently the noble Lord thinks that upon that you can develop quite rapidly all sorts of other political developments. If I read aright in my mind (I hope I have done) what is likely to develop along that way, I should say that before long you would be asked to have a European Parliament, as such—not merely the kind of meetings you have been having at Strasbourg—and by direct elections; and decisions taken there, on a vastly wider basis than have ever yet been contemplated, would be in control of our ultimate policy, and would certainly affect any Government (that is why I am cautious at the moment; I say no more than that) that believed sincerely that whatever they did for the best of their country could never really be the best unless there was a planned economy for the benefit of its own community. Therefore, I cannot feel, in spite of all the applause that the noble Lord got, sometimes even from my own Benches, that we can rush quite so quickly as he seemed to imagine that we ought to do.
The other point is this. It is probably fair to say that there is a reason- 884 able charge to be made against the Government of his Party, who, having been so exceedingly prominent in bringing up the whole of the matter under discussion away back in the late 'forties, and with strong pressure from Mr. Winston Churchill at that time for what he wanted, have dragged their feet from achieving the object which the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, so desperately wishes to achieve. On the other hand, I think that the E.F.T.A. organisation might well be used to our advantage. And yet it has been charged that the only reason why the British Government went into the formation of E.F.T.A. was in order to try to force a way into the Common Market Six.
The noble Earl the Leader of the House is going to reply presently. I rather gathered from some words that fell from him yesterday that he is likely to think on this matter as I do, but I should like him to say so specifically: that having made such a vastly improved Treaty arrangement with E.F.T.A., and being, after all, the most prominent Power in that association, we ought not to be asked to carry out, and certainly ought not to carry out, the operation of saying that we are joining the Common Market Six whether or not the others are going to be admitted; that, having entered into that honourable organisation, we can as a country and as a Government speak only on behalf of all the Seven at once. If it becomes a question of "crashing in", as some people describe into the Common Market Six, I am certain that anybody is well entitled to say that that does not lead us anywhere. Yet it does not get us out of the difficult position which the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, was talking about—although I did not agree with the dire prospect that he painted if we did not happen to get into the Common Market Six—of becoming an elephant on an off-shore Island—
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
Yes, a whale. It is a picturesque phrase, but it has no relation to the economic facts. We should not be just pushed off with things like that. I am going to suggest, first of all, that there is strong opposition in the Common Market Six to our admission: and it is not wholly economic; it is political, as 885 well. I am not going into the details of that now, although if I had more time I should be glad to do so. I have not the time, owing to my other appointments this evening. But they are against us politically. Jean Monnet has been a prominent advocate and organiser of the Common Market Six from the beginning, as well as of the Coal and Steel Community and Euratom ideas. I am certain that he is not in favour of our coming in.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
All the reservations, and so on, that I have listened to have not led me to think in that way at all.
I would say that there are certain other things that might be done. First of all, I cannot see that we should have any real ground for quarrelling inside E.F.T.A. if, on a particular commodity, we were able to get the kind of Treaty which Denmark has already, I think, with Western Germany. I do not think we could grumble that anyone on E.F.T.A. has the right to look after a particular commodity understanding or agreement from that point of view. But, as regard to the attitude of Canada and the United States when the external tariff comes in, I think that we should have at least some idea of what we ought to do. I believe that the United States and Canada will probably follow the same kind of policy.
When the noble Marquess was speaking this afternoon, I tried to get from him some idea as to what had been the view of the Commonwealth Premiers when possibly they were discussing this matter, but, of course, at that stage I could not get an answer. It seems to me that Canada is most likely to "chip in" with the United States action with regard to the European market, and to make the best effort they can to get over the external tariff which is to be allowed the Common Market Six. I think, therefore, that we ought ourselves to join with them, perhaps using the influence of the whole of the Outer Seven to say, "If you are going to have an extraordinary tariff, 886 it ought at least to be not so high as to injure the trade of both sides, and ought to be the kind of tariff which will enable us still to sell our goods". That is another method which we could employ at the present time, and I hope that the noble Earl the Leader of the House may be able to say something about it.
In view of the time, I shall say nothing more except upon one subject which is of considerable concern to me, and that is the general position in the Middle East. There has been a considerable silence during the debate of the last two days about the Middle East. It looks as if we have come to a stalemate in mind and thought as to what can be done about the general situation. I do not know whether any of my noble friends or noble Lords opposite read from time to time, as I do (I read it almost every week), a paper called the Jewish Observer. It certainly keeps me thinking constantly about the situation in the Middle East.
Last week, this paper pointed out again that the Middle East is certainly taking a changing place in the general structure of the international position. The headline said that it might be described as the end of the Middle East. That would be far too broad a brush with which to paint a picture of the situation. That is not so. But in fact the whole oil supply position in the world has changed so rapidly in the last three years that the discoveries in the Middle East are far less than have been going on, apparently, in other parts of the world. You have the new discoveries in Africa coming into supply. The Russians themselves have developed so many wells in Russia, and have developed such an extraordinary pipeline system from East to West across the Soviet Republic, as to change largely the prospects of the oil position in the world to-day. How far it has brought any check upon Russian ambitions in the Middle East is another matter.
I feel very deeply the loss of the great political influence and leadership which this country had in the Middle East. When we consider that our British trade is suffering, as well as the Israeli nation itself, from the constant and continuous boycott under the orders of Nasser and all those who are combined with him, it seems a poor return to this country for the initiation (which I think was at the 887 instance of Mr. Anthony Eden, as he then was) of the Arab League. There is the boycott going on. Here is the traffic through the canal to and from Israel stopped altogether. Here are the complaints to the United Nations, with decisions arrived at. Nothing happens. We go on suffering in trade, Israel is boycotted, and the situation goes almost from bad to worse.
We have been watching with intense interest for the last couple of years the developments in Iraq and the possible suggestion that Kassem was going to break up the power of Nasser in that area. In the last two or three weeks there seems to be an idea that Kassem and Nasser can make peace between themselves and get back more to the operation of the old basis of the Arab League. All this—as a result, perhaps, of the policy which we adopted at the time of the Suez crisis—leaves us without any real influence or leadership in the Middle East. Of course, that means the spreading of our available forces in the area to carry any kind of authority to any diplomacy we may enter. I should like to hear from the Government to-day what is their present view of the situation in the Middle East and what is being done to bring it home to the United Nations at large to get some action taken to try to stop this deliberate insult to the rest of the world by refusing passage to Israeli ships through what has been always an international free waterway. I think that is a scandalous position, and I hope very much that the Government will be able to say that they will continue to bring pressure to bear in regard to that.
I would say this in conclusion. I should like to think that what my noble friends, Lord Pakenham, Lord Attlee and others have said about world government was something which could be accomplished very quickly. I have doubts whether it could be on anything like the breadth of territory which some people to whom I speak about world government seem to think would be covered by it. I have never departed from the view which I expressed to the House in 1934 and in the John Clifford lecture, which was entitled, The World Court; the Way to Peace. The first way to approach some form of development of world govern- 888 ment at the present time is to get all the States in the United Nations to agree to a World Court, with the decisions of that Court to be made and accepted by the constituents, and, if they are not accepted, there should be a Police Force able to enforce them. You cannot possibly ask nations of the world to go wider and wider into arrangements written on a piece of paper with regard to world government, unless, as my noble friend Lord Attlee said, you are able at the same time to give them some basis of security—and security is fundamental. On that point I would add that the interruption of the noble Earl yesterday of my noble friend Lord Henderson seemed to me to be very important.
I would just say this to the noble Earl: I do not want him to be under any misapprehension as to where the Labour Party official policy is on defence; I do not want him to be under any misapprehension. We have seen the great, almost boastful, changes made in the policy of the Government in 1957, relying much more upon the nuclear deterrent and intended to make economies in the overall defence budget by reducing conventional forces. Now you have stopped the very expensive venture, which had already been on for a long time, of the production of Blue Streak, and you have given up your own independent production of a nuclear deterrent. But, you have, it is said, the stand-off bomb which can be delivered by aeroplane; and you have the V-bomber force.
My first point to the noble Earl, in view of his interruption yesterday, is this. We certainly do not intend to give up or throw away the existing nuclear deterrent that you have—certainly not. When we come to the question of what should be the future position, then we say that, having led us into this position, and having already had to spend far more than you could really afford, apparently, from the crises you get from time to time in finance, on Blue Streak, you are now asking us to believe that you will have an independent possession of a nuclear weapon which has never yet come off the drawing board, let alone anything else; a weapon which is not due to be delivered for years ahead, of which no tests have been taken, on which you have no actual evidence at 889 the present time that can give you confidence that it is going to be a really good nuclear deterrent. So I say now, in view of the changed circumstances, it remains true that as long as the U.S.S.R. and her satellites claim that a nuclear weapon is necessary to them, so long this country will have, in company with its Allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the nuclear reply, until you can get agreement under a really controlled disarmament.
I hope that I have made the point perfectly clear to the noble Earl the Leader of the House, but it certainly means that we should not at the present stage propose to go in ourselves for research and production of that type of nuclear weapon. That is the policy. It leaves us absolutely in the right position of not letting down the defence of our country. We are sorry that the action of the Conservative Government has led us into the position in which we have had to make this decision.
I should like to thank all my noble friends on this side of the House who have taken part in the debate and all other Members who have taken part in the debate. I hope that, when we have listened to the noble Earl the Leader of the House to-night, we shall go away with more confidence and hope with regard to the future than when we came to the debate. That certainly is the kind of intention we had in mind.
§ 6.34 p.m.
THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS (THE EARL OF HOME)
My Lords, as the noble Viscount has said, it is not an easy task to wind up a debate of this kind, but two days have enabled your Lordships to review and weigh some of the great problems which face the United Kingdom, which face the Free World, and to have a look at their wider implications for mankind. All the speeches that we have heard—and I think I have heard nearly all of them—have made a most telling contribution to our thoughts on these matters and on the issues we are trying to solve. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, must feel that his Motion was timely and be rewarded by the quality of the response.
The broad subjects have really, I think, selected themselves: the chal 890 lenge to Governments and to statesmen in the world to-day to try to break the grip of fear which has fastened itself on world society—the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, and a number of other speakers yesterday. Of course, the problem of fear is almost as old as man, and we know, and I need not name, the places in which we see fear operating in the world to-day; there are fears between peoples and races the roots of which are deep in history and where the situations are still unreconciled. I suppose the world could go on living with fear, although the evidence of history is that it erupts from time to time into war, but a very powerful case can be made to-day that the fear of war and the fear of the consequences of war have perhaps overridden the fear of men for each other. I think it is true to say, therefore, that the annihilating power of bombs and rockets has made men pause before they fight and that the existence of the nuclear deterrent has prevented war. If you were to abolish the nuclear bomb to-morrow I believe that war would be nearer than it is to-day.
On the other hand, with all the paraphernalia of nuclear armaments as they accumulate, the rockets, the sputniks, the submarines that go under the sea for months at a time and cannot be located, the possible widening of the circle of nations who can make fissile material and therefore arm themselves with bombs, do we feel sure in our own minds that in these circumstances security will hold? I think it is possible, more than possible, that an armaments competition can gain a kind of momentum of its own which Governments of the world will perhaps find it almost impossible to arrest. Therefore, although I admit that the nuclear deterrent is a safeguard of peace, I myself have felt that, nevertheless, provided we always accept the fact that any reductions in armaments must retain the balance of power between East and West, the world will be a safer place if we can reduce the levels both of conventional weapons and of nuclear weapons. And there will be more confidence in the world in this security if, concurrently with that, we can insert an international machinery of inspection and control which will make the extra security a reality. Therefore, while I 891 feel the deterrent is playing an essential part in maintaining the peace, nevertheless I believe that we should pursue with all our might policies to try to achieve balanced disarmament.
The noble Earl, Lord Attlee, the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, and a number of other noble Lords, yesterday talked to us a great deal about world government. The question I always want to ask is: how do they propose to begin? It is no use thinking in a sort of pink cloud of benevolence and magnanimity. You must do something to start the process towards world government. And surely world government or world authority, whatever word you use, must have two ingredients. There must be a code of conduct established, and some international body to adjudicate upon it. Secondly, surely, there must be an international instrument to make sure that the findings are obeyed. One attempt was made. I believe the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, was present when the Charter of the United Nations was devised. Many months and many good minds were spent upon perfecting it; and therefore the world has made one attempt to establish a code of conduct. If your Lordships will look at the Charter of the United Nations I believe you will find that it is not a bad code of conduct for international relations.
Again, the instrument to enforce a decision of the United Nations and peacefully to settle disputes was set up in the form of the Security Council. I will not go into the reasons why the Charter of the United Nations has not led to a better code of international conduct, or why the Security Council has failed as an instrument to ensure peace. But I have a strong feeling that it is not the fault of the rules; that the rules are well written, but that no rule will work unless the great Powers who command the strength are really prepared to work them.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear!
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, that is the real fallacy. The noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, said that the statesmen should get together and say that there will be no more war and that they wish to organise peace. I believe the right 892 honourable gentleman the Prime Minister, at least, has played a considerable and constructive part in doing just what the noble Lord asked to-day.
THE EARL OF HOME
But I am afraid it takes more than one to settle these matters, and therefore I should have thought that while we must continue to try to get the statesmen together to attempt to abolish war, nevertheless, concurrently, we must do some useful work on what the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Inchrye, yesterday called the "foothills". It seems that we have in being one Conference from which results may be obtained. If we could bring results from that, with the co-operation of the Russians, that would lead on to a wider move. I mean, of course, the Conference on nuclear tests, where the differences are narrow. If we could establish an agreement and get a system of inspection and control established on the ground and seen by the Russians to be working, they might then lose some of their historic obsession with espionage and see that international machinery can be established which will achieve results that they and we want to see.
My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl this question? What some of us who support world government are anxious to obtain from Her Majesty's Government is a direct declaration that they favour world government as a principle and an ideal. But from the noble Earl to-day, as on previous occasions, we have not had that assurance, although we have had it, in a personal sense, from the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Hailsham, who is a high Minister in the Government.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, it is rather like saying that one is in favour of Utopia. I myself have no objection to saying I am in favour of world government—
THE EARL OF HOME
But I want to make progress on that, and there is a long, long way to go before we get world government. It is much more practical to start on the lower level and to try to work up.
893 The noble Lord, Lord Casey, will forgive me if I do not follow him closely into a very large problem, which, as he truly said, had close relationship to the problems of peace and war—namely, the expansion of population in Asia measured against the potential food supply. The noble Lord talked of the Indian Five Year Plan. I believe the extent of that Plan is not yet settled. From the Indians' point of view it will have to depend on their calculations as to the rupee resources they can make available, and on the external resources which can be mobilised to meet the gap. The United Kingdom, I think, has done a lot. I would only issue this warning: if we overspend overseas and, as a result, weaken international confidence in the pound sterling, then we shall have done a great disservice to the Commonwealth and to India. But within the limits we have at our disposal we wish to help India with her Plan, as we have done in the past.
Then I would turn to the second great subject of the debate—namely, the question of the relationship of the United Kingdom, of the European Free Trade Association, and of the Commonwealth to Europe. Yesterday we heard a speech from the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, and to-day we heard powerful speeches from the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, and my noble friend Lord Boothby. He gave us the history of efforts to promote European union since the war, a most interesting account, illustrated by quotations from various authorities of which clearly he preferred his own. It was a speech which I thought could certainly entitle him to claim that he had been consistent over a great many years and that he had shown considerable foresight and perhaps wisdom. On that I reserve judgment just for the moment.
THE EARL OF HOME
Not yet. I shall study the noble Lord's speech with great care. Clearly, most powerful arguments can be given for the United Kingdom drawing closer to Europe. The world has suffered enormously from the political divisions of Europe; and so has the Commonwealth. The economy of Europe is clearly expanding very fast, 894 relatively faster than that of any other area in the world: and we should like to do everything we possibly can, within wisdom, to help Europe to a new economic and political cohesion.
If we approach the Common Market with caution, that is no real excuse for anyone to say, or Europeans to feel, that we are sabotaging the efforts of the Six. We have never intended to do that, nor have we ever intended to make our membership of the Seven anything more than an attempt to build a bridge between the Seven and the Six. The point on which I thought the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, fell into error was when he described our membership of the Seven and membership of the Commonwealth as giving alibis to the Government. We have no wish for an alibi, but surely one has to show great caution and concern when considering the effects of any new arrangements in the realisation that the Commonwealth is in itself a great political and economic structure which is exercising great influence in the world, and that the basis of the political strength of the Commonwealth is very largely built on free entry for foodstuffs and raw materials into the United Kingdom and preferential treatment for manufactures.
The noble Lord, Lord Boothby, quite truly said that our exports to Europe were 14 per cent. of our total export trade. Let me give him some figures of what imports into the United Kingdom from the Commonwealth mean to Commonwealth countries. Imports of food, beverages and tobacco from the Commonwealth countries into the United Kingdom last year were worth £721 million—or 47 per cent. of our total imports of those commodities. All those came in by the means of free entry into the United Kingdom. Secondly, there is the question of basic materials. Imports of them last year amounted to £426 million, 46 per cent. of the total; and on all of those, on that large sum, the Commonwealth countries were of course given preference. That shows that our Commonwealth trade is something which we must think of with great care, and so must the Commonwealth countries. When the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, says, "Will the Commonwealth 'want in'?" and uses that homely Scottish phrase, I would say that, like Scotsmen, too, they want to know what they are in for.
895 In answer, therefore, to the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition when he says, "What is the Commonwealth view of the closer association of the United Kingdom and the Seven with the Six?", I think the Commonwealth view may fairly be stated to be this: that they have suffered from the political division of Europe and the wars there have been in Europe, and therefore they want to do everything they properly can to contribute to the political cohesion of Europe; and they are willing themselves to make certain sacrifices, for instance in the preferential system, if that will help the United Kingdom to strengthen her economy by coming closer to Europe. But they will want to see what "actual proposals" mean. And, of course, at the time of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference we had not been able to measure, and we still cannot measure, what would be the price of coming closer to Europe.
These matters are all being examined and re-examined. All I want to say is that our membership of the Seven means this. We are in close touch with the Seven and we will negotiate along with the Seven; and we are members of the Commonwealth, and at every stage in the consideration of how we might get closer to Europe we will take the Commonwealth with us in consultation. I am not saying whether a plan can be devised—frankly, I do not know—to which the Commonwealth could give full support. But the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, may be quite sure that we are examining these matters with the full knowledge of how important these subjects are for the future of this country, both economically and politically, and that we are working on them in association with our comrades in the Seven and with our partners in the Commonwealth.
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, and the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough—and this is the last thing I have to say—in the speeches they have made to-day, I think found considerable common ground with most of your Lordships who have talked on the matters of policy towards Russia and of defence and foreign policy; and I think there is considerable agreement as to how we should 896 proceed to try to resolve the immediate difficulties following on the collapse of the Summit and the Russian boycott of the Disarmament Committee. And the whole House, I believe, would like to see us, as I said yesterday, persevere to try to get results and to try to persuade the Russians of the advantages that would come from tackling the disarmament problem in a practical way now.
The noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, analysed the Communist techniques. I think most of us would agree with his analysis. He came to the conclusion that there should be no unilateral disarmament so long as there was a threat to peace, and the way to meet the threat was collective defence. To that, the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, added just now an account of the Labour Party's defence policy. I am glad that I found a day in the calendar when a Labour Leader could tell me exactly what it is. I now understand what it is. I am not going to quarrel with him on the details. I understand from him, quite plainly, that the Labour Party approve of collective defence, approve of our Alliances, of keeping close to America, and approve that there must be a nuclear element in our defence so long as the Russians have it. That represents very considerable common ground, I think, with the Government's approach.
And so, my Lords, I think we may conclude this debate, and I believe I can truly say it has been helpful to the Government, very helpful, to have the problems of Europe analysed by those people who have given a great part of their lives to these problems and to trying to help us to understand them. It has been very helpful that we have been able to receive the support of the House in trying to recover from the difficulties following from the failure of the Summit and the collapse of the Disarmament Committee. And I should hope the debate has shown, on the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that in these essential matters of foreign policy there is a large common ground between us and we can go forward with a national policy.
§ 6.56 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, we are very grateful to the noble Earl the Leader of the House for the speech he 897 has just delivered. He has had quite a task in this debate in having to deliver two speeches. I do not propose to follow hint in that matter. But I was very glad to hear the noble Earl the Leader of the House, and my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition, say that this debate has been both valuable and constructive, and has covered many issues. I think that every speech I have heard—and I have heard most of them—has made its own contribution to our debate.
There have been 24 or 25 speakers. I would like to make only one personal reference. We had among those speakers the noble Lord, Lord Casey, who was until recently the Minister for External Affairs in Australia. We all recognise from his speech this afternoon how highly informed and experienced he is in a part of the world which is of very great importance to all of us, and I am sure that we all look forward to hearing further contributions from him in our international affairs debates. There are one or two points I should have liked to make comments on, but we have had nearly two days on the debate, and the noble Lord, Lord Cones-ford, is waiting very patiently to proceed with his Bill. I think it would be in accordance with the wishes of all noble Lords if I now brought the debate to a firm conclusion and asked permission to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.