§ 3.5 p.m.
§ Debate resumed (according to Order) on the Motion moved yesterday by Lord Derwent—namely, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as followeth:
§ "Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, in opening what I have to say this afternoon upon the gracious Speech from the Throne, I should like to join on behalf of myself and my noble friends in the expressions of thanks to Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family for two things. First of all, I would mention the record we had in the gracious Speech at the time of the Prorogation, giving particulars of what Her Majesty and her Consort, Prince Philip, and other members of the Royal Family had been able to do in various parts of the Commonwealth. I am grateful for the very heavy programme that the Sovereign has undertaken in the present gracious Speech from the Throne, and I feel sure that the whole House will want to wish her great success in the visits she and her husband are making to the East, to a number of places in Africa, and especially to the Republic of Italy. In relation to the visit Her Majesty is making to the Indian and Pakistan leaders, I feel sure that my noble friends Lord Attlee and Lord Pethick-Lawrence have been particularly interested in that section of the gracious Speech from the Throne promising Government aid to India and Pakistan for the solution of problems in the Indus River Valley. I feel certain that from our knowledge and from discussions during our various visits to India we shall fully expect to see great improvement not only in the conditions of the people in that area but in the relationships between India and Pakistan as separate nations in the future.
41 We wish Her Majesty every success in that direction.
I want to pay to Her Majesty—and I think it is appropriate at the present time—a special tribute for the great service she rendered, in my view, to the Protestants of the country in her visit to Scotland at the Fourth Centenary of the Reformation in Scotland. Knowing as we do that Her Majesty is the Head of the Reformed Church of England as well, and has taken this stand at this Fourth Centenary, we are sure that it will be an enormous encouragement to the Protestant majority in this country.
I would point out that it is the general desire that to-day the debate should concentrate mainly, at any rate, upon foreign affairs, and I am sure it would be welcome to all Members of your Lordships' House that, so far as possible, this matter should be introduced first by the noble Earl, Lord Home, now established in this House as the leading expert on foreign affairs and the operative Minister. After his visit to the United Nations Assembly, I am certain that he will have something interesting to tell us; and I am sure, too, that he will have a contribution to make of importance about the general question to which the Prime Minister referred yesterday—namely, the complete necessity of making progress in the negotiations to avoid a developing situation between East and West. When the Foreign Secretary has spoken, the matter will be dealt with from our Benches by my noble friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth.
But perhaps the House would permit me to say, before I go on to mention briefly other points in the gracious Speech, that perhaps one of the things that has projected itself more than ever in the last few exciting weeks in international affairs has been the fact that, despite Mr. Khrushchev's antics (shall I call them?) at the the United Nations Assembly, there can be little doubt that the position, tragic as it has been in the Congo, would have been far worse, and might have led even to major conflict which it is hardly possible to contemplate, but for the interposition of the United Nations decision and the operation of that decision. I am thankful that, whatever else we may differ about, in these matters in regard to foreign affairs, there is one thing in which there is an 42 enormous amount of unanimity in this country of ours, and that is in support of the United Nations in all such questions as that.
I suppose that all people who have been concerned at some time in their lives with the beginning of a movement, say, for social reform or for the advancement of social democracy, or even for a socialism which is Communistic, must over and over again have come across the words:When Adam delved and Eve span,Who was then the gentleman?I must say that I do not think Mr. Khrushchev has done much good to any one of the three causes I have mentioned, and certainly not to his own, for not having learnt that, if we are to make such good progress as one would desire to make in any ordinary marriage between individuals, probably Compton Mackenzie is quite right when he says that the real secret of married happiness is the development in the household of good manners. If Mr. Khrushchev could get on with the problem of getting negotiations into a real unity of feeling in the world for peace, he would do a lot better if he developed good manners.
I should like to say that I fully agree with the reference in the gracious Speech to the importance of our alliance with the United States of America. As one who was concerned with my noble friend Lord Attlee and the late Ernest Bevin, in the beginning of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, your Lordships would hardly expect me to say otherwise. But I am concerned to ask the Foreign Secretary, in view of the statement yesterday by the Prime Minister in another place about The Polaris missile to be fired from nuclear submarines, whether he has had his attention drawn to the front page of the Evening News and Star to-day, which says:United States authorities said today they were surprised by Mr. Macmillan's statement that the Polaris rockets in United States' nuclear submarines using their supply station in Scotland will be fired only after fullest possible previous consultation.I have looked at the context of those words in the speech made by Mr. Macmillan, and I am sure that the Prime Minister was quite bona fide in his intention of conveying to his interrogators in another place that such consultation would certainly take place; and he was 43 pretty confident about it. But if this statement to-day comes from any sort of authoritative source in the United States, I think it would help the nation a great deal, in coming to a proper decision upon the important step the Government are taking in this matter, if we could have the Foreign Office view upon that statement.
Another very important item in the gracious Speech from the Throne is the reference to the Federation in Central Africa, and to the consideration of the Report of the Monckton Commission. Let me say at once that I think all Parties in the State should be grateful to our noble colleague, Lord Monckton of Brenchley, for the manner in which the work of this Commission has been carried through. It seems to me that he must have had an enormous task. I have looked at it as carefully as I can up to the moment, and I have read most of the body of the Report. I certainly read all its recommendations, and the reservations. But when we consider that there are appended to this Report 36 pages of either individual reservations to paragraphs, or the complete Minority Report, signed by two of the members of the Commission, it is obvious that whatever Government was in power at the present time would have a tremendous task in getting a solution of the problem satisfactory to all sides.
I do not think that the wooing of the support of the African population has been improved by more recent actions in parts of the Central African Federation, and I am sure the House will have read with considerable concern the Report in The Times this morning of the resignation of Sir Robert Tredgold, Chief Justice since 1955 of the Central African Federation. I must say that, whatever may be said from time to time, by either part of the population, on this problem, when a Rhodesian, and probably the most outstanding Rhodesian in the law, Sir Robert Tredgold, resigns on the grounds which are stated, and which I do not propose to put into detail to-day, then it must bring a much greater difficulty to the Government here in trying to move to a solution; and unless the authorities for the policy which is complained about by the Chief Justice in the Central Federation and which has caused his resignation can be changed—
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF HOME)
I think it was a Southern Rhodesian Bill which caused the resignation of Sir Robert Tredgold, and not a Federation Bill.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
I am happy that the Foreign Secretary has intervened to say that, because although I had intended coming to it I might easily have overlooked it. I take it that the appointment he is resigning is his appointment to the Central Federation on the ground, as the Foreign Secretary says, of the action being taken in Southern Rhodesia. Anyway, I shall hope that better counsels will prevail, and I hope very much that, when we come to the actual Conference which is promised in the gracious Speech, nothing will be barred.
I have read the speech of the Prime Minister yesterday. I should say that he certainly intended to convey to us that nothing in the Report will be barred from full consultation, but it is also perfectly plain to me that unless there is really adequate African representation, both at the Conference and in the major proposals which may arise from the Conference for a solution of this problem in the future, we are not likely to get the success I am sure all parts of the House desire. However, we have asked, through the usual channels, for a day later on, when this question could be debated perhaps at more length. I am quite sure that in this very important matter every side of the House will want to debate it with the sense of the fullest possible responsibility.
Now I come, very briefly, to the question of Sierra Leone and I want to join with my noble friend in congratulating Sierra Leone very sincerely on the inclusion in the gracious Speech of the decision about her independence; and we desire to wish her very well indeed.
Then I should like to say a very brief word about the paragraph in the gracious Speech about the general economic position. The paragraph says:My Government will seek to maintain a sound economy and to ensure a well-balanced growth of production in conditions of high and stable employment.As the House will have seen from our Notice on the Order Paper, we propose 45 to move an Amendment to the humble Address, and it is to be debated on Monday and Tuesday. That has been arranged through the usual channels, for which we are grateful. At the time we decided to do this we had not seen this confirmation of what we in Opposition had been suspecting—I refer to an article which appeared yesterday in that highly conservative and Well-informed newspaper, the Financial Times. I often quote it; I read it at home very frequently; I usually read it at night. In the article, which some noble Lords may have read, and which was headed, "Too Many Speeches", there seems to be fairly good inside information that there is a pretty good split in Cabinet circles as to what is the right economic policy; and I, as an Essex resident, have observed in the last two or three weeks the attitude of Mr. R. A. Butler, the Home Secretary, and the need that he must have for giving a proper consideration in this well-balanced economic position to agriculture. However, I do not propose to say more about it now, because on Monday my noble friend Lord Pethick-Lawrence, will move the Amendment on our behalf. We shall have a good number of speakers to give our various views, but we shall certainly include a number of specific points and not exclude that which concerns the position of agriculture in a well-balanced British economy.
We have already dealt to-day, before the debate opened, with pensions. I was going to say a word about that question, but I need not now do so. I am bound to say that we are very glad to welcome the statement made with regard to young persons in general, the youth of the country, and the intention to proceed with expanding the aid and conditions necessary for the development of education generally for them. I gather, from the conversations I have had with my friends in another place and my own colleagues, that that does not mean we are completely satisfied with the proposals so far as they have yet been revealed. Of course, we observe that there is nothing very secret about what was in the Queen's speech—we had a fairly good inkling last month from a conference that took place for the Conservative Party—but we shall watch with very grave anxiety to see that what looks to be a hopeful and promising move will 46 come to the fruition we desire on behalf of those who need—and the country needs—this education, particularly for the development of the proper number of teachers.
Then I should like to say a brief word about the paragraph relating to the fishing industry. I expect there are people much more expert on the actual operation of sea fishing than I am, but nobody could have a greater interest, as one who was First Lord of the Admiralty for nearly nine years, in really understanding the trawlerman and the kind of life and difficulties he meets in fishing. One thing I was concerned about in the paragraph, which otherwise was quite acceptable, was the use of the word "traditional", It would be of interest perhaps at the end of the debate on the Address if the noble Viscount the Leader of the House, with his legal knowledge, would stress the other side as it appeals to me. It is all very well to say "traditional", but so far as I know our fishermen have not been fishing there because it was traditional; they have been fishing there because we have always had agreement as to the limits of territorial waters. We have always claimed that we have not been fishing there from tradition but because it was part of the open waters not covered by limitation of territorial waters. I hope that the Government will continue what they have done in the past, especially in regard to Iceland, and protect our fishermen in pursuing their lawful occasions in fishing.
In all the conferences that I am quite sure will have to go on until we get wider agreement in these sea fishing matters there always seems to me to be a Roland for an Oliver. We have suffered greatly from time to time, and I remember numerous commissions of inquiry which have inquired into the matter of over-fishing in different places; some of our inshore fishermen in our country here have suffered greatly from over-fishing in the waters of our own country. If we are going to be subject to twelve miles or more of territorial waters elsewhere, surely we ought to have greater protection for the fishermen in the waters of our own country. I hope that when the authorities working on behalf of the Government come to this matter for further discussion they will perhaps keep that point in hand.
47 Then I am hopeful that the discussions we have had through the usual channels will give us the opportunity of being able not to obstruct but to further the consideration of the Bills which are announced on patents and weights and measures. I feel certain that the people who will be interested in all parts of your Lordships' House in the proper completion of the amendment and consolidation of weights and measures practice, not only under the Statute but in certain local authority provisions, will be greatly helped if there is sufficient time between the publication of the Bill and the opening of business on it here for the various Peers who are interested in this matter to have contact with the trades and professions concerned and be able therefore to speak straight on.
There is one other question that I think will be included, like education and other things, in the debate on Home Affairs on Thursday next, and that is the very important question of transport. There is a reference in the Queen's Speech to—what shall I call it?—the reconstruction of the Transport Commission, or at least to a very considerable alteration, and the changes lead one to wonder exactly how it is going to be done. I am particularly pressing this point upon the Leader of the House. Transport questions are so vastly important in this country at the present time that it would be a great pity if, as is rumoured—I have no authority for saying it is true, but it is rumoured—decisions are going to be made without the publication in full of the reports of either the Stedeford Committee or (in relation to the subsidy to be paid for the construction of the new substitute ship for the Queen Mary) the Chandos Committee.
I hope that when we come to discuss this matter on Thursday—and my noble friends will be raising these matters—the Government may be in a position to reply with regard to those two Reports. We ought not to have fundamental changes made in the construction of the Transport Executive, and so on, without seeing the whole of the Stedeford Report. Nor ought we to be witnessing the reduction of loans or grants already promised to the Transport Commission for developmental work, while at the same time a large grant is promised for the 48 building of a ship somewhere for another form of transport, without considering the whole of the Report on the shipbuilding industry, which is important I hope that the Government may see their way to be able to provide us with the necessary information. I am much obliged to your Lordships for listening to me.
§ 3.31 p.m.
My Lords, in our proceedings yesterday it was the privilege of very few Peers, of whom I am happy to have been one, to pay tribute in the usual way to, and to express our loyalty and respectful affection for, the Royal Family. It is the tradition on this occasion that speeches should again refer to that matter, and I would only underline once more how deeply sensible we are of the enormous sense of duty of the Royal Family and of their personal characteristics which make their efforts in all these directions so very successful both at home and abroad and in every class of society.
I hope I may claim in truth that it is not usually my habit to address your Lordships at great length. But this is a very special occasion, and I am going to crave your Lordships' indulgence to alter my rule and, instead of making a rather short speech, to make a very short speech. I have come to this decision for two reasons: first of all that, although I may be wrong, it seems to me that the gracious Speech, interesting as it is, and beautifully expressed, is rather a vague expression of benevolent hopes which it is difficult to analyse and discuss together in one debate on a day such as this. I think it would be better—indeed I am looking forward to it—to wait for the time when it is split up into its component parts and then we can deal with it in more detail.
The second reason why I am going to be almost silent is that, if I sense the feeling of the House aright, nearly every noble Lord and Lady in this Chamber is really waiting for the speech from our new Foreign Secretary. We had occasion a short time ago, in welcoming the new Leader to his new position, to say at the same time how sorry we were to lose the old one and to congratulate him upon his new office. But I think it would not be improper, and I hope not embarrassing, to the noble Earl, if I just 49 mentioned that when he was appointed there seemed to be in the Press some element of surprise and, in some branches of the Press, slight criticism. I feel certain that no Member of your Lordships' House on reading the news was in the least startled. We have come to admire the noble Earl very much, and we know that he is absolutely sincere in his approach to things. His only fault—which is a great fault—is that he belongs to the wrong Party, and I do not subscribe to his political views at all. If I were the Conservative Prime Minister—I say this at some danger to my own political neck—arranging my Conservative Administration to-day, I should feel satisfaction all my life that I had appointed to a most difficult assignment the best man to fulfil it.
I have referred, and other noble Lords will refer, to the Royal duties which we admire so much and should like to have this admiration recorded. But there are other points in the gracious Speech which I would just touch on. I do so not in detail because they seem to be put in such a way that it is almost impossible to disagree. In fact, one of my difficulties in this House is that with at least one noble Lord opposite and at least one noble Lord on my left I find it almost impossible to disagree. But that does not mean that the Liberal Party as a whole does not flourish. There was a sentence in the gracious Speech which informed us that our friendship with the United States of America was a powerful element for peace. If that is a piece of Tory propaganda I am very much surprised. I should have thought that it could equally have been said by the Socialist Party or by the Liberal Party, or any combination of the Parties. We are very glad to know that; but we did know it before.
There are expressions of general goodwill and encouragement towards the Commonwealth. But I do not think any Party wishes to do any damage to the Commonwealth—quite the reverse. There is a reference to the United Nations, wishing it well. As one who happened to see the birth of the United Nations in a little club called the United Nations Society in the year 1914, I am of course entirely with the Government in their approval of the United Nations, and, as a Liberal, I hope that we are going to encourage the formation of a 50 United Nations police force. The Government give their blessing to the Geneva Conference—a most important conference. I think everybody on this side of the House would wish it well, as the Government wish it well. They wish well to N.A.T.O. We wish well to N.A.T.O., because we know very well that the fate of the whole of mankind will depend on N.A.T.O., which, after all, was the conception of a great British statesman or more than one statesman. They talk of the desirability of improving the methods of trading in Europe. That is much more complex a subject, upon which I am not going to embark here. We certainly want to discuss that in much more detail.
One thing that interested me greatly is a phrase which has cropped up more and more frequently, particularly from the Conservative side of the Government and also from, though not quite so much, the Socialist side—that is, the reference to the reduction of trade harriers. My memory may be at fault, but I seem to remember that there was a phrase "Free Trade" which was opposed by the Conservative Party for a long period with great violence. I am delighted to see that they are coming round and are advocating a lowering of trade barriers. I only regret that in the gracious Speech there is no acknowledgement of either John Bright or Richard Cobden, but I suppose one cannot hope for too much. Indeed, in respect of this point of trade barriers, I think everybody will have noticed that both the Party in Opposition and the Party in power, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, when they want to make a special appeal to the public because they feel they are perhaps doing something which is not popular and they want to be thought better of, say, "We are taking liberal action. We are liberalising ourselves. Do look at us; we are becoming more liberal." I do not think I need elaborate on that. It seems that now there is some movement towards some sort of realignment of the Radical side of the country, which I honestly believe is a larger element in the country than the Conservative side, because, I suggest humbly, the Conservatives are partly supported by those who are frightened of a Socialist Government. If I am not being indiscreet, I should say that that bogy is perhaps 51 receding slightly. How this situation will appear in the future, with the Radicals against our good friends the Conservatives, remains to be seen.
There is just one point that I think I have made before. I feel, in criticism of the Government, that they should make it clear to the ordinary people of the country that we are not living in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries. I have put that perhaps a little too exaggeratedly. I have the feeling that they are somehow hiding from the people the unpleasant fact that we, as a country, are no longer supreme or in the first rank as a power in Europe or in the world. We must be frank about this, and I think our nation is ignorant about it. I do not think that we have to take a second-rate place, because we have a tremendous opportunity of leading in other ways.
I wonder whether I may remind your Lordships of a Motion introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Simon of Wythenshawe, whose absence we so much regret. It was not a pacifist Motion; it was not a unilateralist Motion. The point of it was this: that the big Powers—America and Russia, and possibly China—are committed to the hilt to the policy of nuclear defence or deterrence. The rest of us may be of help by our contribution, but not much. Could not Her Majesty's Government go to all the other countries (barring these giants) and say, "Will you not abjure all nuclear weapons? If you will, we will come in with you and lead you"? That seems to me to be a very fine conception, a good and realistic conception. But I am sorry to say that Lord Simon of Wythenshawe had, of course, no support from the Conservative Benches. Unfortunately, too, he had no support from his own Benches; and when I rose to second him I am afraid I was also in a lonely position.
But we on these Benches are not at all unilateralist in our views. We fully realise the responsibilities we have to take and that we must take our share in the horrible responsibilities which face all nations. But those of us who believe in the ultimate triumph of the decencies over the ugly threat of complete human extermination—and I think it is a belief that one can hold fairly and is not just a vague hope—feel that 52 Britain still has a possible, even a probable, rÔle of supreme leadership in other ways. That, again, was the notion of Lord Simon of Wythenshawe. The "anti-nuclear club" was sometimes attributed to other politicians, but I believe it was Lord Simon of Wythenshawe who really formed that club. I believe we have a rÔle among those nations in the world which do not look upon the nuclear weapon as their first and last trump card, as do the big nations.
I will not elaborate upon what I believe all of your Lordships know to be the idea of my Party about more internationalism, some relinquishment of national sovereignty—which is necessary in the modern world when no nation can exist in isolation; the emancipation of backward people and, in fact, the freeing of all sorts of things, including restrictions at home for ourselves and abroad for people who come to visit us and the freeing of trade—in fact, a general freeing all round which, of course, is expressed in the Latin word from which we as a Party take our name. With those words I shall no longer stand between the House and our new Foreign Secretary, whose speech is so eagerly awaited both inside and outside the House.
§ 3.43 p.m.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I should like, in the beginning of what I have to say to-day, to join with the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition and the noble Lord, Lord Rea, in congratulating the Mover and Seconder of the Address in reply to the gracious Speech. I felt myself very secure, driving round the home country with my noble friend Lord Derwent, and we shall hope to hear him very often on the matters of domestic concern which are raised in the Queen's Speech. Then, again, I was very much refreshed by the outlook of my fellow countryman, the noble Duke, the Duke of Atholl. A certain number of your Lordships recalled that he was the one person who still had a private army—and I dare say that one of these days I, as Foreign Secretary, shall wish it was at my disposal. But for the sake of historical accuracy I should like to make it clear that the Highlanders never penetrated into the Lowlands. True we did not ever expose very much surface, least of all our knees.
53 Since I saw your Lordships last I have been to another Assembly. I am very grateful for the generous references which the noble Lord, Lord Rea, made to myself, and for reminding me of the virtue of brevity of speech; because it was quite easy at that other Assembly to catch some bad habits. The shortest speech to which I listened was one hour, and the longest was four and half hours. I learned some techniques of oratory and some techniques of opposition and interruption; and I must confess that sometimes I looked back with nostalgia to your Lordships' House. I reflected that it might be held to my credit that I had sat opposite noble Lords on the Front Opposition Bench, including the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, for four years and never once had I taken off my shoes.
A debate on the gracious Speech gives to your Lordships the opportunity to review the state of the world and Britain's rÔle on the international stage; and each year as the Parliamentary Session opens the United Nations Assembly closes its general debate; and so your Lordships' House has an opportunity to measure the world's problems and to test the adequacy of British policy against the needs of the times. Fresh from New York, I am going to make the theme of my speech the subject which was hinted at by the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, just now and was mentioned prominently in the gracious Speech: namely, the United Kingdom's relations, and the relations of the West, with Russia and the Communist world; because to-day it is East-West relations which affect every aspect of the foreign policy of the United Kingdom.
The state of the world as it was lately revealed in New York is not one of our choosing Peace is a prime British interest; but peace is precariously maintained, and certainly the spirit of peace is not abroad to-day. In the Congo, in Tibet, in Laos and on the Indian frontier there is unrest and disturbance, and a state of near war; and in every case the hand of the Communists can be seen. Law and order based on consent and self-discipline is the very fabric of our society here in this island and of the territories for which we are responsible as trustees overseas. But that philosophy of life and that conception of 54 society is under constant and sustained attack not only in the Communist countries but from other countries too, with, behind it, all the force of the modern propaganda machine based very often on the formidable military establishments which can be commanded in this modern age.
Our purpose in this country is to give our own people a fuller and a richer life and to share our expanding wealth, with the desire to help other people to bring to their lands the opportunities which the twentieth century offers to all men. We have been stymied in our efforts to disarm, and compelled to spend countless millions on armaments which could well and easily have been spent on betterment. We want a world in which force is renounced in favour of negotiation. Table-thumping may be better than sabre-rattling but neither contributes to tolerance, nor to reconciliation. We want a world in which there is increased authority bestowed upon the United Nations; but we have been lately met with a proposal which would freeze the United Nations, through the whole of its structure, into blocs—one West, one East and one neutral—thus transferring the Veto, which has paralysed the Security Council for many years, into the General Assembly, and indeed into any body which the United Nations might set up to deal with any world problem.
My Lords, we in this country look on the bright side of things, and I hope we shall always continue to do so; but we must not allow our easy-going tolerance to blur the facts. The world which I saw in New York lately is not an easygoing, tolerant world. And the plainest of facts is this: that our way of life is being assailed by the Communist world all along the line. They have a plan which is unvarying in its aim and constant in its execution although the tactics vary widely; and that is to create an entirely different order of world society from that which we know and that which we value and which we have very often put—and still, I hope, do put—above life itself.
My Lords, the Russians used this 1960 General Assembly of the United Nations in its new shape—because, my Lords, remember it is now nearly half Asian and African—to launch a major political offensive. The plan was carefully 55 calculated and plain in its objective. It was to create so many doubts and prejudices about the policies of the Western world that the one-third of the nations who are still finding their own feet might be swung over to the Soviet side so that thus there might be a decisive shift in the balance of power. The technique always used was a mixture of crude power and blandishment. This particular manœuvre, my Lords, cannot be said to have succeeded. It was my strong impression that those countries which were at the United Nations Assembly for the first time were alarmed by the bullying nature of the approach. And they did not care at all for the constant suggestions that came whenever they used—as they have a right to do—their vote in a way which was not approved by one of the Communist countries. They did not like the suggestion that they were still stooges of the country from which they had gained their independence.
But one must not underestimate the effect of this concentrated and sustained attack, because much of it sounds very reasonable. I had constantly to remind myself, when the Russians and the Communists at the Assembly talked about the virtues of Communist democracy, that democracy to a Communist is the dictatorship of the proletariat. When they talk about co-existence, to us, of course, it means neighbourliness; but to the Communist it is the interregnum between the present and the date when the world will become Communist. And then, again, I had the daily experience of seeing the neutrals publicly flattered and courted; and it was a constant effort to remember that ours is the world, the free world, in which there is room for neutrals but that in the Soviet bloc there can be no such thing.
My Lords, I have been for many years now obliged to follow and understand the Communist tactics, but many have not the time nor the inclination to do so; and therefore I must make plain to the country the massive and relentless challenge which cannot be met by the passive tolerance in which it is our nature to indulge. Still less, my Lords, can it be met by the tendency which I detect, I hope in a very small section of our country, to say that any awkward situation or any onerous situation can be 56 met by shifting our own responsibilities on to somebody else's shoulders. My Lords, that will not do. Therefore, the first message from the Assembly which I would give to your Lordships is this: there is a testing time ahead. And I would tell your Lordships, if I may, what I think we have to expect.
We have first to expect an all-out attack upon our Alliances, concentrated in particular upon the N.A.T.O. Alliance and upon our partnership with the United States of America. I have made clear my position, as the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, has so often done. I believe that upon the Anglo-American partnership depend the peace of the world and the future of mankind. But in addition to the attacks upon N.A.T.O. and upon the American partnership, every opportunity will be taken by the Communist world to enlist opposition, inside this country and outside it, to the nuclear deterrent which this country possesses.
In this matter of nuclear defence I respect such persons as the noble Lord, Lord Rea, has mentioned. Some have a conscientious objection. I respect them. Some swallow all the propaganda which is put out by the Communist side—every Russian rocket is a contribution to Russian security and to peace, and every British and United States weapon is an offence against morality. I did not hear a squeak of opposition or protest when Mr. Khrushchev said his rockets could sink the United Kingdom like an aircraft carrier—not a word. But, my Lords, when we come to strengthening our own defensive deterrent and to making it a reality, well then, immediately there is criticism heaped upon us. We always have had some who are deceived; we always shall have; and I am unhappy for them. But I hope they are a small minority.
Then, again, there are some who recognise the dangers but are unwilling to raise a finger themselves to avert them; and if the crisis should come then they rely upon a friend to save their skins. I do not believe the British people would think that either honourable or sense, and they have a very trustworthy idea of both. And, my Lords, I say this for myself, quite plainly: that in this matter of armament and weapons there are really only two courses which 57 will bring national or international security. The first depends on the will and determination of ourselves and our Allies, and that is: whatever the effort, the Communists must never be allowed to achieve a decisive advantage in arms. The second depends upon agreement with the Russians on disarmament; and disarmament so designed that the balance of strength with every reduction is always preserved. Our ancestors were not so far wrong and not so foolish when they relied on the balance of power, because the danger of war comes when the balance is undone.
Therefore, I do not believe that there is any halfway house, such as my noble friend Lord Rea suggested, which will offer security or peace. The basic miscalculation of the unilateralists is that weakness will buy off aggression. I do not [believe that that is true. I believe that the success of disarmament, in which every side of your Lordships' House believes and wants to see succeed, hangs on the people of this country having the backbone to endure the risks of the nuclear balance of power, because it is only when the Russians realise that they will never get an advantage that they will eventually consent to disarmament. My Lords, I trust and believe that our people have the stamina to see this through.
The second assault which is going to come upon us, and give us what I have called this testing time, is in the field of our colonial policy. The noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, referred to the Congo. I must confess, having seen the operation from the start, that I have never seen a more ruthless attempt than was made to get into the Congo, with no thought for the future welfare of the African, but merely to use the Congo as a base for the extension of Communist power. That particular operation failed; and it failed at the United Nations. The last thing that the new African countries wish is to be involved in the cold war, and the greatest mistake that anybody can make is to try to involve them in it. Their problems, my Lords, are economic. They are problems of life, not problems of politics. You can build nations on food, on irrigation, on power: you cannot build them on ideological conflict.
The second reason why the operation flailed is this: that the whole of the 58 United Nations was shocked beyond words when the failure in the Congo was immediately followed by the Russians' attempt to paralyse the Secretariat of the United Nations, and thereby prevent any further action by the Assembly. My Lords, the future in the Congo is obscure, and the enterprise costly, but I have no doubt that we must support the United Nations and see this enterprise through.
Of course, that Russia should pose as the champions of independence for colonial peoples is really unparalleled effrontery. Since 1939, they have incorporated six countries, with a population of 22 million, into the Soviet Union. In fact, the 'world's three newest Colonies are in Russia—Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. In recent years, countless efforts have been made by national movements in countries under the Russians' control to achieve self-determination. All have been suppressed. We have been told that there are settlers in our territories. In Kazakhstan, 57 per cent. of the population a short time ago were Kazakhs and nearly 20 per cent. were 'Russians. Now the figures are 43 per cent. Russians and 29 per cent. Kazakhs. And so it goes on—in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia it is the same story. If I wanted to emphasise the point, I could make the case that, without doubt, Russia is the greatest Colonial Power that the twentieth century bas seen. The world will not be slow, no doubt, to realise who are the imperialists.
Meanwhile, my Lords, I must warn Parliament and the country that the Russian intervention in the United Nations Assembly on colonial problems has done infinite harm; because I fear it has increased the difficulty of solving any colonial problem, or of having it judged in the United Nations on its merits. Therefore, my Lords, it seems to me that more than ever we must be certain of the moral basis of our colonial policies, and of their practical nature. Let me repeat what I understand our policy to be: that we should lead our Colonies to self-government and to independence; but at the same time we must fulfil the rôle of trustee, because many people of many nations have put their trust in us. In our plans for independence, the timing of independence must be linked with the territory's ability 59 to maintain law and order and justice within its boundaries—justice for individuals and justice for minorities—and to follow the policy of the good neighbour without.
Therefore, my Lords, if law and order is to be restored in the Congo—and, without it, there is no peace—have we the stamina to support the United Nations, striving to bring order out of chaos, even though it means paying a heavy bill? And if we know that law and order is the true foundation of independence in our own territories, have we the moral fibre and the physical determination to follow courses which we know to be right and which the experience of our Commonwealth has proved to be well-founded?
The noble Duke, the Duke of Atholl, touched on those problems yesterday; and he touched on another—Soviet investment overseas. My Lords, great credit is given to them for their aid and their investment; but not one Soviet rouble is subscribed to the International Bank or the International Development Association. The West provides infinitely more aid, but it is largely anonymous, whilst every Russian investment is selected according to its weighting in terms of political advantage. My Lords, are the people of this country ready to sustain the effort at home—and this may involve sacrifice—which will give us a surplus in our balance of payments, which in turn will allow British investment to have a decisive impact in the underdeveloped countries?
My Lords, I have asked some pointed and rather uncomfortable questions because, if the Foreign Secretary is to be the architect of a successful foreign policy, he must know what rôle the people wish to sustain. In a world of strain, are we willing to bear additional strains upon our resources and upon our capital? Are we willing to endure the risks involved in the nuclear deterrent, and to arm ourselves with nuclear weapons and with conventional arms, so that the Communists can never gain an advantage and be tempted to aggression? Are we willing to stand by our colonial responsibilities, ensuring that the path from dependence to independence is one of law and order and justice? Are we ready to forgo some of our own 60 welfare and wellbeing at home in order to span the gap in the standards of living between the countries of Asia and ourselves? My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Rea, has said, we can no longer live off our fat; nor can we wield the power which we had in the early days of this century. Nevertheless, we have experience; and we have not inconsiderable power. I believe that we can exercise on the international stage influence which can often be decisive; and in that sense we can be still a first-class Power.
My Lords, I take it that that is what the people want; but it is clear that in these days, if you are to have a dynamic foreign policy, the Government can give a lead, but when it comes to the execution of it, then the possibility of that policy stems directly from the work and the will of the people. If that is our rÔle, then we must protect and nourish the factors which make up our national strength: our economy at home, our alliances, our ties with the Commonwealth, our links with Europe. Tomorrow, your Lordships will debate the economic situation—always the foundation, let us remember, of all foreign policy; because unless there is a solvent and expanding economy we cannot exercise the authority which we should on the world stage. I will not develop that, my Lords, and follow the noble Viscount; but I shall say only this: if we yield too far to the temptation to live at ease, then it is doubtful if we can live at peace.
Next, the strength of our alliances. My Lords, our alliances are a reaction to threats. The noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, will remember that N.A.T.O. was founded in response to the challenges in 1948 in Czechoslovakia, in Yugoslavia and in Berlin; and since that time N.A.T.O. has been the cornerstone of our security. I will make only three points now about the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. It is defensive. In spirit and letter, it is within the Charter which gives to all nations the right of collective self-defence. And, thirdly and most important, it is entirely successful. My Lords, not one European country has disappeared behind the Iron Curtain since N.A.T.O. was formed. On the contrary, external Communism has been halted and internal Communism in Europe is on the ebb.
61 I think that the N.A.T.O. alliance is the most lively refutation of the thesis that all roads lead to Communism. There is no doubt it can be improved. I have not yet in my possession the forecast of the ten-year reconstruction plan, but I should be surprised if it were not the case—indeed, I think it is inevitable—that the logic of military development would lead to greater integration, not less; to greater interdependence, not less.
In another place on Friday, my right honourable friend the Lord Privy Seal will be dealing with a problem which is known as "Sixes and Sevens", but it is one of the problems closely allied to the N.A.T.O. Alliance. One reason for trying to bring the Six and the Seven closer together is that, in face of the Communist Challenge to Europe, we must look at every opportunity to close our ranks, to find fresh means by which we may unite our resources and translate them into action. Further reasons, of course, are that we must defend ourselves in Europe, and for that purpose go into Europe; we must earn our living in Europe for we must go where the markets are best.
Of course, in any solution we would carry with us the Commonwealth and the Seven, but I have always thought that for this country to be industrially strong is one of the greatest interests of the Commonwealth, with its members depending so much for capital upon this country for their development. It is in that spirit that we shall seek a solution. And so I would close this section of what I have to say by saying that I feel the lessons of N.A.T.O. are always valid for the other alliances, C.E.N.T.O. and S.E.A.T.O., and that we should close our ranks in united action over every field of activity which comes within those alliances.
If one part of our common policy must be to defend our way of life, then the second part of our foreign policy must be to seek out, through negotiation, areas of agreement, in particular with the Soviet Union. In the previous debate which we had in this House not long ago it was said, possibly by Lord Henderson, certainly by Lord Balfour of Inchrye, that one of the most promising routes to the Summit might be by way of foothills, in the sense that we should look for small areas of agreement 62 and make progress, for instance, in cultural relations. We have pursued that aim. There have lately been art exhibitions in Russia which have been successful. There has been an increase of visits at all levels, and students and professors in particular have been there in considerable numbers. The Old Vic goes to Moscow in January, and in May there is the first British Trade Fair which has been held in the Soviet Union.
I wish I could say that the same success attends the information services. Jamming is still common and selective. The Prime Minister's speech at the United Nations was at first jammed 100 per cent., and on the second day 75 per cent., and that was the best that was done. I wish, too, I could come to this House and say that in matters of substance which divide East and West there is definite evidence of a desire for genuine negotiation. My Lords, there is no evidence. There are certain signs, and of those we must certainly take advantage.
I want now to turn to one subject which is a source of real trouble and danger in Europe, and that is Berlin. My Lords, there need never be a crisis over Berlin unless one is provoked by the Communists. Life in the city runs smoothly and well. The Western Powers seek no change in status or arrangements. Nor do the people of West Berlin. Over this question of Berlin Mr. Khrushchev indicated to us in New York that he would talk before he ants. I trust that if and when the time comes for talk, he will talk as one of four partners in victory, none of whom has the right to abrogate the rights of the other three; and all of whom have the duty to see that Berliners are guaranteed their absolute freedom and that peace is preserved in this, the heart of Europe. My Lords, the ears of the West on all these matters are always attuned to plain speaking and sense, but never to a cacophony of threats and menaces.
The Nuclear Test Conference is a point of contact between East and West. There are only some three or four difficult technical points on which we still have to agree, and if there was the will on the part of Russia, that Conference could quickly come to a conclusion, to the great advantage of the world; and it 63 could set an example which might be helpful in the field of general disarmament.
Three times we talked to Mr. Khrushchev in New York and in every conversation we dealt with disarmament. I must tell your Lordships to-day that I am still not clear whether he really wants disarmament or merely just to talk about it, whether he misunderstands our proposals or wants to misrepresent them. There are on paper at the United Nations now a number of resolutions, both from ourselves and from the Russians, dealing with the principles and the practice of disarmament. The principles are comparatively simple: that there should be disarmament by stages; that talks on nuclear and conventional arms should be conducted simultaneously so that at no stage would any side have advantage over the other; and the whole process should be put under a system of international control. It is when we leave the principles and come to the application that the rub comes.
I will try to put the difference, as I have tried to interpret it, between the Russian position and our own, although I do not quite understand it. We propose that disarmament and control should proceed step by step together. I take it that that would be supported by the whole House. The Russians argue in some way that that simply means controlling existing armaments and means no progress and no willingness to make progress with disarmament at all. It is this that they denounce as espionage. Of course, Mr. Khrushchev has a problem. The military structure of the West is an open book. People march to our nuclear establishments. It is pretty common knowledge in our country where our military centres are, and a good many people probably know what they involve. Compared to us, the Soviet Union is a closed secret society, and that gives a great military advantage and one which, understandably, the Russians are very loth to relinquish.
Now, how can we reconcile these conflicting interests?—for relinquish this secrecy the Russians must do at some time. Otherwise there can be no confidence, because without inspection no country is going to agree to the risks of disarmament. It was to try to allay these Russian fears, which may be genuine, 64 that the Prime Minister put forward a modest and practical scheme at New York, which I can condense into two sentences. The proposal was to take various aspects of armaments in turn and get them examined by experts who would not in any way be political. They would tell us how inspection and control could best be arranged and in each case they would be instructed to do this in a matter of months. As a matter of interest, this is the technique which got things moving when the Nuclear Tests Conference was stuck, and we thought it was a reasonable suggestion.
Mr. Khrushchev's response was that it was simply a proposal which would lead us into a labyrinth and delay disarmament for ten or fifteen years. And so far he has summarily dismissed it. There are a number of questions one could ask. Why, for instance, is a form of inspection which the Russians accepted as being valid in the case of nuclear tests, espionage when it is proposed to apply it to disarmament? I need not go through the questions. We will continue to persevere in trying to get the proposal better understood. But I think that I have said enough for your Lordships to show, first of all, the determination of the United Kingdom to proceed in trying to get agreement on disarmament, and, secondly, the extraordinary difficulty in achieving positive results.
There is one thing that I should like to make plain to the Russians to-day. If, in this field of disarmament, as in so many others, they are playing for a win, then they will not get it. I am not prepared, and no Government would be prepared, to negotiate a disarmament agreement which would leave our country at a big disadvantage. What I am after is an honourable draw, in which peace itself is the victor. I understand that Mr. Khrushchev really wants disarmament; if so, I hope he will give a directive to resume work in Committee One of the United Nations or the Committee of Ten, or in some variant of it. If and when he does, then there will be a ready response from the United Kingdom.
Our attitude to another Summit, and to summitry, is much the same. We think that the Summit could be useful, even a series of Summits, provided each is preceded by preparation and could give results which are visible to the 65 world. There cannot be another failure, because out of failure could come despair and out of despair could come war. As we see it, the business of diplomacy and foreign policy is to adjust and reconcile national interests. As the Russians see it at present, it is the vehicle for victory in an ideological struggle.
Mercifully, all life is change. Revolutions do not maintain their momentum for ever. Even propaganda becomes dated. I think it is true that Mr. Khrushchev has put a gloss upon the doctrine of Lenin, if only in that he says that peaceful co-existence excludes a major war. That is a change; and if reports of the new freedom of thought and expression in Russia are true and there is a wave of ideas running through Russia today, gradually a further gloss may be put on the doctrine that Mr. Khrushchev holds now, and Communist doctrine in Russia may be brought into some sort of harmony with the hopes and aspirations of ordinary men. We must persevere in the hope that that will be so.
Inevitably, when so much in the Communist world is secret, a review of our foreign policy and a forecast of our foreign policy in terms of East-West relations must lack a certain precision. But I would sum up in language which I hope the people will understand. My interpretation of what we should do is this. We should be resolute and strong in defence of the way of life which we believe to be right and true. If we cannot induce a sympathetic response from the Communists, then we must grin and bear it—and we are not had at doing that—until they change their way. But we must persevere, searching for negotiation, searching for agreement, because the stakes for which we play are high. The other day, in a speech in the country, I tried to express it like this. I said:To-day we keep the peace by the balance of terror, because that is what life is but we must work to keep the peace by reason, because that is what life ought to be".I believe that to-day there are millions in the world looking to this country for sanity and sense in international dealings. We must not fail them, because if we do, we shall fail ourselves.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, we are much obliged to the noble Earl. Before he sits down, perhaps he could answer the question about Polaris, or perhaps he could arrange for a Question to be answered to-morrow by Private Notice.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, apologise to the noble Viscount. I had intended to say a word on that in my speech. I am not able to comment on the Press reports I have seen of a statement alleged to have been made by United States authorities, so far unidentified, but if there has been any misunderstanding I am sure that the Prime Minister's statement, read in its full context, will clear it up. It appears from reports I have seen that the Prime Minister has been misinterpreted as implying that the United States authorities are formally committed to previous consultation before the use of these missiles anywhere in the world. It is clear from the Prime Minister's statement that we are assured that there will be consultation wherever possible but that this would not necessarily be carried out in case of emergency. For this reason, the Prime Minister pointed out that it was not possible to make an agreement that was exactly on all fours with the bomber bases agreement. I would only add to that that, of course, all these matters are matters of continuous consultation in this field of defence.
§ 4.28 p.m.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
My Lords, there is a slight change in the order of speakers. There was a little misunderstanding, but that has been amicably resolved and I am much obliged to the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, for his courtesy in the matter.
I think that most of us have welcomed the speech, the first in your Lordships' House, that has been made by the present Foreign Secretary. It is true that most of us who have been Members of another place would probably have voted against the noble Earl's becoming Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, had we still been Members of another place. The speech which he has made this afternoon has had a much more peaceful journey than it would have had in another place, and that must be a great advantage to the Secretary of State. The noble Earl is quite right—the big issue in foreign 67 policy is the difference of outlook between what are known as the East and the West. The sooner we are able to think on similar lines and negotiate in the light of similar principles, the better it will be. There are two ways of conducting foreign affairs. One is by argument, reason and discussion; and the other is by argument, and perhaps abuse and then by political or forceful means to subject other countries to the will of the country that is engaging in argument. We prefer the first: it is the civilised way and it ought to be the way in which these things are done.
The Foreign Secretary said that we now have what is virtually a new United Nations; and that is true. There is an enormous difference in the composition of the Assembly of the United Nations. I think that most, at any rate, of the countries attending the United Nations are to be congratulated on coming through that severe test of this Assembly with understanding and good will, which might well not have been the case. So I welcome the speech of the Foreign Secretary, and as one who has held that wearing and responsible office myself I wish him good fortune. For the more the Foreign Secretary can succeed in promoting the peace and security of all the nations of the world, the more every one of us ought to be willing to congratulate him and to wish him success.
It is true that the United Nations has grown in numbers, partly because a substantial number of former colonial territories have become independent States, and for other reasons; and let us hope that this will, as I think it will, preserve the authority and the dignity of the United Nations. But it is no good saying "United Nations" and then assuming that it will automatically solve all the problems of the world; because that is not so. We must not assume that the United Nations is yet perfect; and if I say that I do not think it is, that is not by way of derogation but merely as a recognition of the fact.
There are two things the United Nations has to try to do. It must have the ability to settle disputes between countries fairly and in a judicial frame of mind, without "ganging up" on the part of any group of the countries of the world. It has not yet learned that, 68 and there is perhaps a disposition to think that the big countries must be wrong and the little countries, even if they do thoroughly misbehave, must be right. What is important is that countries in dispute shall not have to be dragged to the United Nations but will want to go there in the assurance that they will get a fair hearing and a fair deal. That is not yet certain. Therefore we need to encourage the development of an increasingly objective and judicial frame of mind in that great body, which is the biggest single hope for the peace of the world.
The argument started, and from our own country both the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister made important contributions; and they also had private consultations with quite a number of people, including Mr. Khrushchev. I do not know whether or not the stories about a tape recorder are true, but if they are, it would make future discussions a little difficult unless everybody had a tape recorder and was additionally careful of what he said. Perhaps the noble Viscount the Leader of the House will be able to tell us authoritatively, when he replies, whether there was a tape recorder or not; but if he does not know or does not want to say, he has only to tell us, and we shall have to put up with it. But it would be a quaint way of conducting foreign affairs.
The intervention of Mr. Khrushchev in the debates by argument, which sometimes happened, was worth listening to; but the noisy episodes and the banging of the desk—which we must view with some degree of tolerance, because it appears to be a Russian custom—the taking off of the shoes and the banging of them, was a remarkable exhibition for a man who is the equivalent of Prime Minister, Secretary of the Party and everything else in the Soviet Union—because really there is no dictatorship of the proletariat in the Communist countries but, as we know, only dictatorship of the Secretariat. Mr. Khrushchev did not do himself any good; and the remarkable thing is that he seems to have had no great success with the Afro-Asian bloc, with which he might have expected, at any rate, to achieve some success. However, he did not, and I do not think they liked the exhibition. Moreover, there were the 69 threats as well as the persuasions. One is in the difficulty of not knowing whether this was meant in the offensive and rather undignified way it sounded, or whether it was his way of expressing himself, and that perhaps he did not mean it to be as bad as it sounded.
It is, of course, the case that his cry of "Colonialism" was bound to be thin, because the British, and some other countries, too, have steadily emancipated the former colonial territories. The problem in all this process is how soon to do it and how to do it. The trouble with the Belgians in the Congo was that they were both too late and, in the end, too quick; and that has not been a successful transition. But if any country can boast, perhaps with a little surprise, in view of our earlier traditions, of the decline of the old-fashioned imperialism and the growth of colonial emancipation, it is our country. Our own Labour Government played a great part in this, and took the lead, and I have been pleased that the Conservative Government have substantially followed the line which we laid down. Certainly it is not for Communists to talk about colonialism and imperialism, for, as the Foreign Secretary said, they are the greatest imperialists and the greatest colonialists on earth. More than three Baltic States were seized and incorporated by a stroke of the pen in a night. Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Roumania and East Germany all lost their freedom under something in the nature of an imposed Communist dictatorship. That is imperialism; that is colonialism. And it has to be remembered that when the Hungarians were rightly staging a revolution in order to achieve their freedom, which every enslaved people has a perfect right to do, they were resisted and shot down by Russian as well as some Hungarian Government soldiers and tanks. The record of the two countries in this respect is open for all to see.
But I must say this. Mr. Khrushchev has more than once said that he is in favour of all-round, large-scale quick disarmament. I have never understood the attitude of Her Majesty's Government to this. I should have thought that the wisest course for them would be to say "Good. We like the idea. Why should we not? It is a good idea, 70 although there may be some practical difficulties and we may meet grave snags when it comes to discussions. But let us talk about it." There must be a reason for the Governments not responding, but I do not recall hearing it, at any rate satisfactorily. I should like to know from the noble Viscount the Leader of the House, in his reply, why the Government have not responded.
I agree about the United Nations and the Congo. I think that they have done a difficult job ably, and they have at any rate kept out of serious trouble. But it is exceedingly difficult, and it is not yet finished. It is good to know that the Conference about nuclear tests is still in existence, and let us hope that it meets with success. It is the case that there are three blocs of thought in the world about international affairs—our own, and that of the West, of collective security in N.A.T.O.; that of the Communist bloc, and then the neutralists, who believe in being neither on the one side nor the other. There is a tendency among some people in our country to think that there is a special virtue in neutralism. It is for each country to make up its own mind, and I do not wish to criticise the countries which take that point of view. On the other hand, it seems to me that the best guarantee of peace in the world is effective collective security, and the more countries that are associated with collective security in the interests of peace and freedom, then the better it is. Therefore, I do not think that neutralism, is a thing for us to boast about, and I hope that the neutralist people and the neutralist countries will think deeply as to whether they agree with our philosophy of life, or with the Communist philosophy of life, and whether or not they wish to participate in the organisation of collective security for the peace and security of the world. But I do not think we should try to make it a virtue.
There are problems with France. General de Gaulle, whom I knew in the war when he was here—a man for whom we had a considerable respect; a most exceptional Frenchman; not the usual forthcoming hearty type of Frenchman, but colder and more restrained—is a problem, too, because his attitude to N.A.T.O. is a somewhat nationalist attitude, a self-sufficient attitude and a lack-of-co-operation attitude, which is a 71 bad thing. Of course, France has a different system of Constitution. It is true that they made a mess of the last one, but I do not know that it is one to run after, because it is a rather dictatorial régime. We need the friendship and co-operation of France, and I hope that General de Gaulle will be able to think again and to be more cooperative, both with our own country and with N.A.T.O. as a whole. What we need now is an overwhelming organisation such as we needed in the thirties, which might well have prevented the Second World War. We need a strong collective security organisation for the purpose of protecting the peace and security of the world.
In all these arguments, whether it be in relation to nuclear weapons, collective security, military organisation or disarmament, fundamentally the whole argument is, and should be, faced upon the basis of how best to promote and to secure the peace of the world. For people to argue that anybody who believes that our country should be defended must be a foe of peace and a militarist, is unjust and wrong. They have a right to their point of view. But the argument is not so much about these things as about the practical argument as to what is the best thing to do for the protection of the peace of the world. For that purpose we need all the friends we can get. There is a tendency in some quarters Ito be anti-American and to find quarrels with the Americans when we can. At times the Americans, like the British, take a bit of living with. That has to be faced and accepted. But I think it is essential for our well-being that we should be friends with the United States of America and co-operators with them. I wish that the America of 1939 had been more in the frame of mind which exists in the United States now. Had that been the case, she would have come then into the Second World War against Hitler, because it was a war about American ideals. Therefore, the emergence of the United States from isolation to international collaboration is a very good thing.
I think we need to be friends with France and with Germany. After all, we need all the friends we can get in the world and it ought not to be a principle of British foreign policy to 72 make as few friends as possible. We need them, and so does collective security. Nor need we be afraid that the Russians will not like this and that they will be so upset that it might precipitate warlike operations. It has been shown by history that the Soviet Union respects strength. What it does not respect is weakness. There is the example of the two incidents of Berlin, one in which, under the Labour Government, we engaged in the air lift and refused to be frightened, and one recently in which Mr. Khrushchev made various threats and we refused to be frightened, when, of course, there was no real problem of Berlin except a manufactured one. When we in the Labour Government stood firm, and when this Government stood firm, the Russians understood it and discreetly and diplomatically retired, and thereby the situation was very much improved.
Nevertheless, we must, of course, take every opportunity to make and seek chances for the promotion of negotiations between East and West, to make the atmosphere better and warmer, and to promote peace and security wherever and however we can. Are we doing so? That is one of the question marks. The Russians and the Communist organisations are running great peace campaigns. There is an element of deception and fraud about it, but it has an effect. I think our own Government ought to consider action in that direction. I am still not happy about the propaganda, so-called, or public information in which we engage in relation to the international situation, and I am inclined to think that the East is getting the best of the propaganda, even though the East has not got the best case to argue. Take, for example, the Middle East. It is true that we have had our troubles there—troubles that were not unprovoked by Colonel Nasser, but they were troubles. But somehow we do not get the British case across in the Middle East, even though we retired from Egypt years ago, retired from the Suez Canal and have done other things conducive to the freedom, not only of Egypt, but of all Middle East countries. Somehow we do not get it over, and I think there is something gravely wrong with the technique, the brains and the competence of our information and so-called propaganda services.
73 Now I want to refer, without provocation and without adding to the trouble, to some controversies that are going on within my own political Party about defence and foreign policy. Let not noble Lords on the other side make merry about this—and, indeed, I do not think the Conservative Party have, because the truth is that an Opposition which is in trouble is not only a trouble to itself but a trouble to Parliamentary government and Parliamentary democracy, and is not a good thing. After all, the Conservative Party have had their troubles and their divisions—Free Trade and Protection, Suez, Munich, Ireland—in fact, plenty of troubles. So no political Party has a right to jeer at another because there is a bit of excitement and debating going on. I would not say anything to add to the fuel. Indeed, I have kept out of the argument deliberately in public until this moment, because T thought it was a private war which really belonged to another place rather than to this place. However, now it is nearly all over bar the counting, and so it is much safer to say something, and I hope earnestly, and believe earnestly, that the problem will be solved. I believe it is in the interests of the country that the Labour Party should solve its problems and have its discussions about this amicably, in order that it can effectively function in Parliament as the Parliamentary Opposition, particularly in another place.
It is all very sad. I think there have been rather too many editions of defence policy and perhaps too much detail in them, particularly the last. The truth about defence is that nobody, whether in Government or—much less—in Opposition, can know enough about the future to commit themselves in detail about defence policy. Look at what happened to this Government. They spent enormous sums on Blue Streak and then abandoned it. That had repercussions upon the other side of the House. So they have had their troubles. It is better to streamline the argument about defence in order to get the maximum of agreement, because directly you go into detail, even if it is meant as a concession, you get arguments about the details rather than the principle, and I wish we could all streamline the arguments about defence so that it is readily understood by our own people and the peoples of other countries.
74 My Lords, we want peace with the Soviet Union and the other Communist countries. We want peace and we will seek it. Meanwhile, however, the West must be strong and the United Kingdom must make its contribution. There are complications, because apparently the Chinese Communist leaders think that war is one of the essential elements in solving the problem of the Communist conquest of power, and they are willing to face a loss, so it is said, of up to half their population. It is true that in countries like China death is not disliked as much as it is in the Western countries. Our people are willing to die in a very good cause but they are not looking for death. In the case of some other countries, like China, Japan and, to some extent, the Soviet Union, they are willing to die with some degree of equanimity, and that is always a problem.
Nevertheless, it would be a cynical point of view for the Chinese Government to take the view that they would wish to go into war for the purpose of getting their own way in the probable knowledge that they are going to lose all those lives. I think it would be a rather cynical point of view if it were true. We want peace. We must seek it, seek every opportunity to get it. In the meantime the West must be strong and the United Kingdom must be willing to make its contribution to collective Western defence. But there is no reason why we should go into detail, especially about the future, because it is highly probable that the detail will be upset. I do not think there would be any offence in flatly refusing to go into detail about the particular forms of defence which are required at a given moment in time.
But, my Lords, we are living in a somewhat mad world, and the issue is whether humanity is to be destroyed or whether the so-called deterrent is going to be effective. There is the fear of the deterrent; that may be useful. On the other hand, there is the opportunity to use the deterrent; that may be profoundly dangerous. I do not think that the West can do without this beastly bomb instrument while the U.S.S.R. has it, but I must agree that you cannot expect the Soviet Union to do without the bomb while the West has it. That 75 is where both groups of Powers are, and it can be settled only by international agreement about disarmament. But these discussions about disarmament should not be merely about the nuclear weapon as if the conventional weapons did not matter. I was Home Secretary and Minister of Home Security in the war-time Government, and I can assure the House, as the House knows, that many of these so-called conventional weapons were very, very nasty destructive things, causing a great deal of suffering in our country and other countries as well. So I think that these not so conventional weapons should come into the argument as well, and for myself I say, "Down with all of them", because the cost of armaments to all countries is enormous. The total bill for armaments in our own country is a terrible burden; so it is in the Soviet Union; so it is all over the world.
It is true that the Communist Parties and Communist Powers would like themselves to be strong and us to be weak, but that would not be conducive to peace, even though it is advocated by all the Communist Parties, including the Communist Party in our own country. The truth about Communist Parties is that their only loyalty is to the Soviet Union and not to their own country. That is the sad state of affairs into which they have got. But the cost of all this in labour, material and money is terrific. The burden is bad for the standard of life of our working people; it is bad for the Budget; it is bad for industry; it is bad for all countries, including the workers and peasants of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I think that in international affairs, disarmament is the first and prior need; it is the great thing at which we should aim, because it is the existence of vast armaments that are the danger.
The final ideal, of course, about all armaments is that they should be generally reduced and that some day we should reach some form of world government, not dominating all the affairs of all the nations of the world but taking care of the order and security of the world. The problem is to do that and, at the same time, to stop the machinery of World Government from being run away with by one clique or another to the danger of the rest. That is the practical 76 problem. But the ideal is right. It is right that the power to use force should be an international power, with an understanding and a guarantee, if it is possible, that force shall not be used by nation against nation unilaterally or by themselves. Therefore I think that the ideal of the principle of world government is the thing to work for, as and when it becomes practicable to implement it. My Lords, we are having, I hope, a useful debate, and I am grateful to your Lordships for listening to me with such patience.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, as the former Leader of the House and present Foreign Secretary said at the beginning of his remarks, the debate on the gracious Speech is a great occasion which occurs only once a year, when Parliament can review the whole field of politics—the home field, the foreign field, the doings of our own Government and the doings of other Goverments during the preceding twelve months. When I first came into this House, nearly twenty years ago, it was a largely formal occasion in which very few people except the leaders of the various Parties ever spoke. But I am glad to say that that has given way within recent years to a new and far better practice, in which others are encouraged to take part. That is why I am intervening to-day to talk about the international situation, on which this House is, I think, in the unusually happy position of having had already striking and eminently sensible contributions from two Foreign Secretaries, a past one, the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, and the present occupant of that great office, the noble Earl, Lord Home.
Of the Foreign Secretary's speech today, I do not propose to say much except: this: that I think I found myself in complete agreement with everything he said. He has no illusions about Russia's intentions and policy. He made it clear this afternoon that he entirely recognises that the Soviet Government is inspired by one, and one only, unremitting aim, the domination by Communist imperialism of the whole world, and that it will never, at any rate under its present leadership, relax its efforts towards that end. He warned the House and the country of this in no uncertain words.
77 By his fine speech I feel sure we should all agree he has already amply justified his selection for the important post which he holds, and I hope that what he said this afternoon will have some effect upon those neutralists of whom the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, spoke. I am not going to say any more about that.
For I have really intervened to say something about another and extremely interesting speech which was delivered by the Prime Minister in Cambridge last week and which contained, I thought, much food for thought. It was a most stimulating speech, as all the Prime Minister's speeches are, and there was a great deal in it with which most of us, I hope, will cordially agree. I believe he was entirely right in what he said as to the essential value of the nuclear deterrent. I am glad that he made it absolutely clear that the present Government do not intend to abandon it and that the Foreign Secretary was able to confirm that this afternoon. But while many of us will entirely share the view of the Prime Minister that the existence of the nuclear weapon has decreased the probability of another hot war, and while we are indeed grateful to him for stating that in such unequivocal words, there must be at any rate some of us who cannot go with him all the way and comfort ourselves with his further reflection—I quote his words—thatMr. Khrushchev himself, while he has not ceased to sound the bugle for Communist advance to the tune of co-existence, has carefully explained that world war is not necessary for his purpose"—and he added some words to say that he was glad that Mr. Khrushchev had repeated that view on his return to Moscow.
In so far as that means that we are going, to paraphrase the Prime Minister's quotation from Sir Winston Churchill, to have no "war-war", I am sure we are all extremely glad. But it does not, I am afraid, mean that we are going to get the alternative of "law-law." What it means is that Mr. Khrushchev is convinced that he can get what he wants without a hot war, and that all he has to do is, to quote once again the Prime Minister's wordsto sound the bugle for Communist advance to the tune of co-existence.78 I personally cannot feel that there is much in that to cheer us up, for who shall say in the light of recent events that Mr. Khrushchev is wrong?
For myself, though I do not want to pose always as a prophet of woe, a kind of aged male Cassandra, I do not think that the general condition of the world has ever been more menacing than it is today, even in the days immediately before the last war. I would ask your Lordships first to cast your minds back five years and to think of the situation at that time, and then to try to cast your minds forward five years and think what the situation may have become by then. I think it may be broadly said that five years ago the Communist sphere covered the greater part of Asia, including the vast countries of Russia and China, and the whole of Eastern Europe. Then there was what might be described as a "betwixt and between" sphere, which included Egypt and a few other places. Finally, there was the Western sphere, which embraced Western Europe, the African Continent, the American Continent and Australasia, with the Middle East sharply divided between the two camps, but—with Iraq, as a firm friend of the West—predominantly in the Western camp. I hope I have not misstated it.
That seems to have been the position, say in 1955; and at that time one of the main aims of Western policy was to prevent the extension of Communism to the African Continent and the involvement of Africa in the cold war, from which it had been, up till then, immune. And what is the situation now, after only five years, which is not a long time? The Middle East, if not actually in the Eastern camp, is no longer certainly in the Western; and Africa, which up to five years ago was remote from the cold war, has now become one of its main theatres. We see the Congo, which was lately so quiet and prosperous, now the stamping ground of warring tribes, with murder and rape rampant, the authority of the United Nations flouted, and confusion being fanned by Communist agents and Communist arms. Further, from what I hear at any rate, French Guinea and Mali are now very near to the Communist bloc, if they are not actually in it. Even Ghana, by the latest reports that I have received, is moving—not so much, 79 I would say, under the influence of Dr. Nkrumah himself, but of his more extreme associates—more and more into the position of a police state.
Moreover, only last week in Kenya, the Acting Chief Secretary announced—I am quoting the Daily Telegraph:Hitherto, the Kenya Government has been able to prevent any significant Communist influence gaining ground in Kenya. But recent visits to Communist States and the extent to which students from Kenya are going to educational establishments in Communist countries (despite the lack of sufficient academic qualifications for them), constitutes a threat to Kenya's security in future years.And, as your Lordships know, he announced the withdrawal of passports from African leaders and others. That it should have been necessary to take that action, no doubt with the approval of the Secretary of State, must, I think, give us all furiously to think; because after all, these are the people to whom we contemplate the early transfer of the destinies of their country, with all that that will mean to its inhabitants, black and white, who are at present loyal to the West.
There are, of course, brighter spots in Africa. There is the great country of Nigeria, with its ancient traditions and culture. That, at any rate at present, stands like a rock of stability among the quaking bogs that surround it, and I am sure we all welcome the new chapter in its history which is now open before it. There is also Tanganyika, which appears to be being piloted forward on a safe course by the powerful personality of Mr. Julius Ngerere, and will, one may hope, continue on that course, at any rate while he is at the helm. But, broadly speaking, the African scene is, I think we must confess, on the whole, a darkening one, and, with Communist infiltration going on all the time, it may well be a much darker one in five years' time.
May I turn aside for a moment to a matter of great importance but comparatively limited scope compared with what I have been saying up to now? It is one of the reasons why I should like, not indeed to discuss the Report of the Monckton Commission itself—because I understand that it is to be the subject of a debate at a later date—but the unfortunate misunderstandings which 80 have arisen between the Prime Minister and Sir Roy Welensky over the terms of reference of the Commission. It is perhaps not surprising that there should be anxiety in many quarters here and in the Federation itself that this matter should be cleared up. For if Nigeria occupies a key position in the cold war which is raging over Africa—and which, I believe, is likely to rage more furiously in the future—so does the Central African Federation. If the Federation were to disintegrate, a severe blow would be dealt to the whole principle of partnership between black and white on the African continent; and the Northern Territories at any rate, which are so immature, might well go the way of the Congo. That would be a major disaster not only for the people, white and black, who live in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia but for the whole cause of Western civilisation; and for that reason surely it was never more necessary that there should be absolute trust between the Governments of the United Kingdom and the Federation, who are jointly responsible for the future of that country. That is why I make no apology for raising this matter briefly once more.
Sir Roy Welensky, as we all know, has been strongly criticised here for asking that the question of secession should be excluded from the ambit of the Monckton Commission. Words so strong as "disingenuous" and "impertinent" were used of him in one of the great Sunday newspapers in this country. Personally I think that criticism is, to put it mildly, very unfair: for, like the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, I was in the talks in 1952 which brought federation into being; and my recollection certainly is that, at that Conference, it was deliberately decided to omit any provision for secession from the new Constitution, on the grounds that to include it could only strengthen those centrifugal forces which are always present in any new Federation; and we should remember that it was only on that basis that Southern Rhodesia agreed to join the Federation at all.
I suggest that it is not surprising, therefore, that Sir Roy should have asked for an assurance on this point before he felt he could agree to cooperate in the work of the Monckton 81 Commission. For that Report was bound to influence—and probably influence to a great degree—the inter-Governmental talks which were to follow. And in fact, it seems, he understood that he had received from the right honourable gentleman the Prime Minister all the assurances for which he had asked. Yet, in the event, not only was secession mentioned but there were definite recommendations on the subject of secession included in the Report of the Commission.
In another place yesterday the Prime Minister himself dealt at length with the question of these assurances, and it now seems clear, from the latest pronouncements by him and by Sir Roy Welensky, that, first, the noble Viscount, Lord Monckton of Brenchley, never told the Prime Minister that he proposed to widen the terms of reference of his Corn-mission, and secondly, that that was why the Prime Minister never passed on the information to Sir Roy Welensky. He simply had not got the information himself I think we must all be very glad that that has been made clear, and we must all be extremely grateful to the Prime Minister for making so unequivocal a statement on the subject. But apparently the right honourable gentleman is still unwilling to give Parliament the exact terms of the assurances which he gave to Sir Roy Welensky. He explained that the communications of government were always confidential. But is that so? I have never heard before that there was such a sacrosanct rule as that; and, after all, there is nothing particularly secret about this.
Moreover, much hangs on the exact wording, for it seems there is still a serious conflict of view between Sir Roy Welensky and the Prime Minister as to what those assurances really meant. Clearly, Sir Roy Welensky thinks they meant that the question of secession could not be discussed at all in the Report. On the other hand, the Prime Minister said yesterday that, while he understood the argument that the Commission had gone beyond their terms of reference if these were interpreted strictly, yet in his view they did not exclude even a recommendation that there should be a qualified option to secede in certain circumstances. I am not quoting the Prime Minister's words, 82 but I do not think I am misrepresenting him—
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, did not the right honourable gentleman the Prime Minister say yesterday that he made this quite plain publicly, both in the House and outside, on two occasions, and that reference was made quite publicly to the terms of reference?
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Yes, and the Prime Minister said that the assurances he gave to Sir Roy Welensky were in the exact sense of what he had said in the House; but he did not say to which of the many statements he has made on the subject he was referring. That is not at all the same thing; but I think it will be better now to go on with my argument.
It is at any rate evident, I think, that there is still a considerable difference of view between these two interpretations; and, were matters to be allowed to drift on as they are, this might well lead to a widening cleavage between the two countries. That is surely something to be avoided if that is in any way possible, and I feel that the only way to ease the minds of us all, whether we live in Rhodesia or in the United Kingdom, is to let us see the terms of these assurances and judge for ourselves. I hope very much, therefore, that Her Majesty's Government will reconsider the matter, even now, and decide to publish the text of the assurances and so clear up this mystery. They have nothing to fear ii the Prime Minister's interpretation is correct; and I believe that that is the only way by which the confidence of Rhodesians in the United Kingdom can be restored.
In any case, I am afraid that a good deal of harm has been clone by this unhappy episode. It will be long before the Rhodesians place the same trust in the good word of the home Government as they did before. That is a very sad thing—and a very dangerous thing, too. For it is just that feeling that they have been deserted and deceived, and that they will have to stand alone to avert the perils which have overwhelmed their neighbours in the Congo, that is most likely to drive them to desperate measures which we shall all regret and of which, I am afraid, there are already some signs in Southern Rhodesia. The future is 83 going to be difficult enough even if we are all united. If we are divided, it may well be hopeless.
This brings me back to the wider theme on which I started my speech. Surely no one can ignore the fact that new and yet more urgent dangers are facing the Western Allies throughout the world. We see Communist imperialism stretching out its tentacles ever more widely over the whole continent of Africa, and even further—right into the Western hemisphere, in Cuba—by methods of the cold war and not-so-cold war, such as the supply of arms; and although we may believe that we have the nobler cause, the West, make no mistake! is at present being pressed steadily back. Khrushchev's policy of sounding the bugle for Communist advance to the tune of co-existence is, in fact, paying dividends. And why is this? Largely because, I believe, the West is disunited—mutually distrustful and mutually critical—on some of the greatest issues of policy. The Western Powers are not, in fact, I am afraid, sounding the bugle for advance of free civilisation to any tune at all. There are divisions over the future of Europe, or that part of Europe which still belongs to the free world. There are divisions over the future of Africa; and, according to some accounts, there are divisions even over such questions as Cuba. That is a most unhappy position. For, as St. Paul said a great many years ago:If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?In this situation, my Lords, I suggest that what is surely needed to-day, before it is too late, is a far closer knitting together, not so much of the nations of Western Europe, as is so often urged, but, much more important (and here I agree most strongly with the Foreign Secretary), of the nations of the Atlantic Alliance, which means, at any rate at the start, the nations of Western Europe plus the United States and Canada. Western Europe without the United States and Canada is not, and never can be, a counter to the Eastern bloc. Western Europe, with the addition of these two countries and such other members of the Commonwealth as sympathise with its aims, can still, I believe, if they are really united, provide that balance of power on 84 which rests the only hope of enduring peace. But they must act as one and they must speak with a single voice.
It may of course be argued that the relations, say, between this country and the United States are already close and cordial; and no doubt, with some sad gaps, that is true. And no doubt it is equally true that in moments of crisis there are intensive exchanges of view through diplomatic and other channels as to what should be done, and perhaps even prior consultations over matters directly affecting the Atlantic area. But there must be many people on both sides of the Atlantic who are beginning to feel that this is quite inadequate to counter the present urgent threat against the whole of Western civilisation. For no one knows when or where the next blow will come. Something more continuous in the way of consultation is surely needed, some inter-allied body in permanent session, with a staff of political and strategic experts, which could review not only the present position in the various danger areas—and by that I mean not only in the Atlantic area but all potential developments in areas important to the Western Allies and which could draw up, in advance, plans to deal with such developments for submission to Governments—something, of course, on a far larger scale, analogous to the old Committee of Imperial Defence in this country.
Such a body could obviously only be, at the present stage, consultative; and its conclusions could merely be recommendations to Government. But it is hardly to be doubted, I think, that an objective examination such as I have suggested would lead to the ironing-out of many differences of view over problems and the formulation, in advance, of joint plans to enable immediate and concerted action to be taken if a situation in any of these areas called for concerted action. In this way, wherever crises developed, however suddenly and in whatever part of the world, the Western Alliance would be prepared beforehand with an agreed plan for dealing with them. How valuable such a body might have been in recent years over the Middle East and Africa.
The Foreign Secretary may no doubt tell me—or might if he were speaking after me—in suitably veiled terms that there is nothing Her Majesty's Govern- 85 ment would like better, but that it would never be possible to get the United States to agree in practice to anything so far reaching. That is one advantage in the comparative freedom of Back-Benchers: one can say what one likes. One can blurt when Ministers cannot. And the hard truth, I think, is that Western nations must all face the fact that, if the battle for freedom is not to be lost, we must close our ranks to a far greater extent than we have done up to now. We must form a united front with a united policy. Possibly we shall have to compromise on more than one aspect of international policy to get this united front, even if it means to some extent modifying our preconceived views. And this applies particularly, I believe, just at this very present juncture, to the United States and colonial policy. We know very well that the whole conception of Colonial Powers, the very word "Colonies" is repugnant to a great many of our American friends; and we know the reason why.
But if there is any body of opinion in the United States that believes that at the present moment of history the new African countries which are now emerging are yet capable of standing on their own feet, isolated and immunised from the pressures of the outside world, they are surely living in a world of illusion. The majority of these countries are still quite incapable of standing alone. They will have to lean on somebody if they are not to fall by the way, as the Congo is falling; and if they go out of our sphere, the Western sphere they are only too likely to go into the Communist sphere, with all the disastrous results which would be involved to the balance of power over the whole world. If the American people do not want all these vast areas to slip into the Communist sphere, they must manage to achieve a common policy with the nations which to-day administer these Colonies, so that the Western Powers may be able to march forward (to use the Prime Minister's metaphor) to the same tune. No doubt it will be difficult to persuade them, but even over questions as difficult as this I myself believe: firmly that a harmonisation of views should not be impossible, if there is really a will to agree: and an inter-Allied organisation such as I have tried very broadly to sketch should make it far easier, I think, to find common 86 ground. Moreover, my Lords, defeat through dissension in our ranks is a thing too horrible to contemplate. In every direction—in Africa, in South America—this Communist attack is being pressed forward; and now, if ever, I repeat. is the time to close our ranks.
And let us, above all, my Lords—this is the last thing I want to say—be realistic. The Prime Minister, in the speech at Cambridge to which I have already referred, said in a very fine passage:We have nothing to fear from an open confrontation of opposed ideas. For we believe that our way of life is better materially, morally and spiritually: and that placed on trial before an impartial and unfettered jury, the faith that we hold must triumph.Those are splendid and moving words, with which in principle, I think, we should all agree. But as I read them, there came to me this one disturbing thought: where, exactly, at the present time, is that "impartial and unfettered jury" to be found on which the Prime Minister places such reliance? Is it in the Communist sphere, among the peoples behind the Iron Curtain? Unfettered—that is a queer word for them. Or is it even in the United Nations? And, in any case, is, in fact, our faith at present being preached at all, anywhere, with that united voice which alone can command real respect? I am afraid that the answer must be at present, No.
Moreover, when the Prime Minister goes on to say:Our prospects and security and that of any other peoples rest for the time being at least on a basis of collective security, based in turn on armed force",where in fact is that unity of view which alone can make collective action and collective security effective? The prophet, Jeremiah, if I may go back once more to the Bible, inveighed against those who cried, "Peace, Peace!" when there was no peace. Do not let us fall into the same error and cry, "Collective security! Collective security!" when there is no collective security. When one looks at the efforts of the Communist Powers, although they are members of the United Nations, to nullify the policy of the United Nations in the Congo; when we look at their refusal to pay their share of the costs which the United Nations has 87 incurred, in its attempts to restore peace to that distracted country; and when one hears of the supply of arms being sent to Algerian rebels, to Castro and to anyone anywhere which can cause embarrassment to the Western Powers; when one hears of these things, my Lords, one cannot feel that the United Nations, at any rate at present, is a very firm basis for collective security.
But is there any other basis?—because I do not want to put forward merely a negative argument. There is one other basis. Like the Foreign Secretary, I believe that there is one other basis—one and one alone. It is the Atlantic Alliance. If the Atlantic Alliance could be welded closer together; if it could be given the machinery to enable it to speak as one and act as one; and if—a vital condition—the will is there to operate that machinery swiftly and firmly, then I believe the present drift might still be halted and the free world turn from retreat to advance. But everything turns on the Atlantic Alliance. On that, I am convinced, all our hopes at present must be based. It is to the strengthening of that Alliance into a more homogeneous and more effective instrument than that which exists to-day—it is to that, I am sure, that all our efforts must be bent. It will need arms and preconcerted plans to deal with any sudden Communist move in any area vital to us. It will need, even more, a creed which can be preached with a united voice from both sides of the Atlantic and Which will enable us to carry the cold war of ideas into the Communist countries. But these things are not impossible.
Moreover, I suggest, this present time may be propitious for bringing them about and creating a closer integration of the Western forces. In a few weeks the Presidential Election in the United States will be over and a new President will be able to face the problems of the world with a fresh eye. I hope that no time will be lost in approaching him; for, on the success of the nations of the Alliance in putting their house in order with speed and resolution, enduring peace and the whole future of the world, as we know it, is likely to depend.
§ 5.32 p.m.
§ LORD BEVERIDGE
My Lords, the speech made by the noble Earl the 88 Foreign Secretary makes it impossible for me to open what I have to say in any way but one. I must begin by expressing my delight—and am sure it is a delight shared by many others in this House—that we should have the Foreign Secretary in this House, able to make such a speech as he has made. I am glad, in this, to follow up what was said at the beginning of his speech by the noble Marquess who has just sat down.
I hope that the Foreign Secretary will allow me to follow up a few of the things that he said about Mr. Khrushchev—but I hope that I shall be allowed to shorten it and to call him Mr. "K". I believe there is still a certain amount of salt that ought to be rubbed into the wounds that the noble Earl has made in him. I am sure there is a lot of additional truth which should, if possible, be rubbed into him and into the world at large about the nature of British colonialism. As is known to those of us who have tried to keep up with what Mr. "K." has said of late, he speaks of colonialism and imperialism as the same thing. Indeed, they are entirely different things. There is no difficulty at all in showing that what Mr. "K." has said about our colonialism is baseless and absurd; and, equally, in showing that in looking for imperialism he is looking in the wrong direction.
I have two theses which I hope the House will give me time to put as shortly as I can. The first is that British colonialism to-day, and for many years, has been the reverse of imperialism, and the source of many benefits to mankind throughout the world. The second is that there is an imperialism full of dangers for all mankind coming to the world from Mr. "K.'s" own country, Soviet Russia. There will be not the slightest difficulty in establishing those two theses by undeniable facts. I shall try to do so as shortly as I can; but I want to end on a slightly different note, relating to the fifth paragraph of the Speech to which we are replying—the Speech of our gracious Majesty the Queen on the opening of Parliament. That reads:My Government … will do their utmost to achieve comprehensive disarmament under effective international control.As some consolation, if possible, to Mr. "K.", I shall end by appealing to 89 him to go back to what he said in September, 1959, in favour of total disarmament.
I begin with a few things about British colonialism which many people do not know but which they ought to know. Of course, we all know that the British Colonies, and what has come out of the Colonies, came to us in many different ways and are of many different kinds—from empty Australia to half-populated New Zealand; to India, with its immense population and its great history; to Africa, South and Central; to the West Indies, and so on. But what has to be stressed is that in fact now, and for many years, there has been a common policy in regard to practically the whole of these colonial possessions.
That policy was set out in 1948 by the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr. Creech Jones, in words which are worth quoting:The central purpose of British policy is simple. It is to guide the colonial territories to responsible government within the Commonwealth in conditions that ensure to the people concerned both a fair standard of living and freedom from oppression from any quarter.That was written in 1948, but the policy that it set out had been our policy for a long time before that. Responsible self-government for Colonies had been our objective for many years. I need not go back as far as the Lord Durham Report of 1832, although that was vital; or to the announcement of trusteeship by Lord Lugard in 1922; or to what was done about India in 1917. Remember, the declaration of responsible government for India came in 1917.
The transfer of power from the Government in Britain to the Governments in all the countries which had been first colonised by Britain, or occupied by Britain in various ways, was inevitable, I think, as soon as the British decided that they would introduce Parliamentary machinery into all these countries. In so doing, they were bound, sooner or later—they have done so in practice sooner, rather than later—to give to these other countries the kind of freedom and right to self-government that they insist on for themselves. In saying this, I am in effect quoting from a very interesting book that is on the point of publication entitled Transfer of Power and written by a former Deputy Secretary in the 90 Colonial Office. If any Member of the House is interested in this subject I would say that he cannot get from any other book a better statement of what has been involved in the transfer of power. He will learn at the same time quite easily some of the benefits that our colonial system has given to the world.
My Lords, take such an example as the attack on tropical diseases in Africa, which was perhaps first introduced to keep alive the people we sent out there. That has been spread to encompass everybody. Mention is also made of such a thing as a missionary attack, which we naturally welcomed, on slavery; and of course mention is made of all that has been done by way of education in so many of these countries. If I ever want to look at the evidence of what we have done for education, I have no need to go abroad. For the Colonies and Dominions, I have only to go to an institution with which I was connected for nineteen years—namely, the London School of Economics—which is absolutelly full of students who have come of their own free will to learn from British people here.
My Lords, is that a sign of hatred of Britain, of distrust of the British Government? What rubbish it is to suggest that we are Imperialists about whom people have only to be told to come to hate! In fact, so much of our power has already been transferred that people are inclined sometimes to ask: "Is not British colonialism already dead or dying?" It is not dead, because there are still difficult problems to be solved. We know the problems of Nyasaland and the very difficult problem, which is not really our problem or our responsibility, of apartheid in South Africa. There are many more problems still to be dealt with; and they will be dealt with. But it is often untrue to say of any individual, man or woman, that he or she is dead. Even though they are no longer living, they may have, in fact, left behind a tremendous progeny of vigorous living beings, living together in happiness. They have left a family as we English have left a family of Dominions and Colonies, all working together and remembering their parents, and Wishing to be connected in history with their parents.
Nor is a man or woman dead, even though leaving no physical progeny, 91 when he or she has filled the world and mankind's knowledge, with ideas and inventions. And we British have done that, and our ideas continue. The difference between British leaders and Soviet leaders is that the British believe in freedom of thought and speech, of learning and teaching, and will fight for that always. They have inculcated that same desire all over the world. The Soviet leaders of to-day do not believe in that at all. They believe in force and its use to spread central power.
That is one difference between the British point of view and the Soviet point of view, but there is another difference, which I find very taxing—that is, the difficulty of understanding the Russian language. I understand it even less when it is translated into English. Take for example, this term "peaceful coexistence". We think of peaceful co-existence as the relation in which we stand to the United States of America, to all the Dominions and to many other countries. But oh no! not Mr. "K". Mr. "K", only just recently (I think about a month ago), when speaking in Novosibirsk, defined peaceful co-existence in the following terms:Peaceful co-existence is the continuation of the political, economic and ideological struggle".That means that for Mr. "K" peaceful co-existence means continuing the war of Communism against the rest of the world. That is peaceful co-existence in Russia.
There is another very difficult set of words of which Mr. "K" and his friends are rather fond, and that is the term the right of secession". The right of secession of a country means, in English, the right to be completely independent, as was Burma the moment she asked to be independent; as was India when she wanted to be a Republic, and as are really all the Dominions. But not so in Russia. The right of secession, about which they talk a great deal, is, even legally, confined to border regions, and is not allowed, in practice, to apply to anyone.
My Lords, that brings me to sum up the nature of Russian Imperialism to-day. All the rulers of Russia, from Peter the Great on, have been imperialists, right up to Stalin, Molotov and Mr.
92 Khrushchev. I should say that the Soviet rulers of to-day are even more Imperialist than were the Czars; because added to the natural desire, which I shall mention in a moment, of spreading their territorial possessions, they have a Communist creed to propagate. I would sum up my case gainst Russian imperialism really under five heads. First, the Russian imperialists to-day have no shame in admitting territorial aspirations, or in giving utterly selfish reasons for them. Secondly, they have little sense of honour about keeping their word when they have declared acceptance of autonomy and everlasting friendship with another country. Thirdly, they have no regard to the political and social views of other people. Fourthly, they have tragic episodes of killing people by the ten thousand when they have made them helpless. Finally, they have little or no understanding of the nature of mankind.
My Lords, these are hard things to say, but they are no harder than the facts. I have no time to set out fully the facts which prove this statement. If any noble Lord is interested I shall be happy to show him the printed and typed facts that prove every one of these statements, but I must content myself here by giving a few illustrations only. In the first place, the fact that Russian leaders to-day have been dominated by a desire to spread their power over other countries does not need any illustration at all. This stands out from the beginning, in one forcible annexation after the other. Most of them have already been mentioned, so I need not repeat them at length. The noble Earl, Lord Home, set them out, beginning with Georgia and Turkestan in the 1920's, moving on to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bessarabia and Finland in the years 1939 to 1947. As an alternative to annexation they have set up Communist Governments—for example, in Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Roumania, Poland, and so on. The reasons for this were stated quite frankly by Stalin as early as 1920, when he said:Central Russia cannot hold out long without the assistance of the border regions, which are abundant in raw materials, fuel and foodstuffs.He was not thinking of the benefit to the border regions but of the benefit to Central Russia. And that is the attitude 93 of Communist imperialism, in Russia to-day.
There is one more striking case recorded of their territorial aspirations which should not be left out of account. In 1940, a time when Communist Russia, Fascist Germany and Mussolini's Italy were in a league of robbers together, after discussions between Molotov and Ribbentrop, the Soviet was invited to declarethat its territorial aspirations centre south of the Soviet Union in the direction of the Indian Ocean.That was following up Peter the Great, a repetition of past history. On further consideration, even that which was offered him did not seem enough to Molotov and he asked for more. But, as it happened, nothing was signed in the end, because those discussions took place at the end of 1940. Early in 1941 the two chief robbers fell out and went to war with one another. This territorial expansion is a dominant motive of the Communist imperialism with which we are faced.
I come to my second point, that they are not to be trusted to keep to their word on declarations of peace and friendship. There are any number of examples that I could give, but two are sufficient for today—Georgia and Finland. On February 10, 1921, the Soviet plenipotentiary announced that his country wanted "to live in peace and friendship with Georgia" and on the night of February 11 the Red Army, by way of living in peace and friendship with Georgia, crossed the border, and a fortnight later occupied the Georgian capital. In 1932, the U.S.S.R. guaranteed until 1945 the inviolability of the frontiers between the U.S.S.R. and Finland. In 1939, they proceeded to make demands on Finland which, in spite of one concession after another made by the wretched Finns, in the hope of getting peace, led to one war after another, ending in the conquest of their country, which is now incorporated in Russia. That is the kind of people with whom we have to deal, and I need hardly point out that it indicates that when we come to make a disarmament agreement with them, we shall have to have a very efficient body of inspectors.
94 About their disregard of the political views of the non-Communist world, I need say little. Everybody knows the way in which Britain has acted in India, Burma, Newfoundland and Ghana, on the wishes expressed by the people—decisions taken, if necessary, after a vote to determine what the people really wanted. But can anyone imagine the Soviet Government giving the people of any country now in its sphere of interest a chance of expressing such political opinions and acting on them? Would they, for instance, allow the people of East Germany to hold a genuinely independent election as between Communism and another form of government or as between joining West Germany or not? A day or two ago I found that the answer had already been given by Molotov at Geneva in November, 1955, when he made it perfectly plain that they had no intention of ever letting the German people decide for themselves. That is the attitude of Communist imperialism.
I come to my last point: that the fervour for Communism, both for its own sake and as an instrument of Soviet power, shuts the eyes of Russia's leaders to many of the natural desires of men, particularly the ideas of men about the kind of people with whom they would like to be associated in a nation or in a Government. In the smaller countries, one attempt after another of citizens to live as their fathers had lived, and not as the Communists wished them to live, was liquidated. But there came a time when the Soviet leaders began to learn from larger nations that these larger nations valued the way of life which had come down to them from their fathers too highly to take the slightest chance of compromising that way of life by any contact with Communism.
The first, and in many ways the most important, of those larger nations was India. The Communists tried to woo India, already a Republic under Nehru, to come in with the Soviet and to accept Communist help. The answer was, No. India preferred to stay in the Commonwealth with Britain. Then we all know that the nations of the Congo, having established their independence of Belgium, have made it plain, both in Africa and in the debates in the United Nations, that they prefer association 95 with the United Nations to acceptance of help from Soviet Russia which might compromise them. Men are happiest in association with other men looking and speaking like themselves and inheriting the same past. That has been well understood by British colonialists but not by Russian imperialists.
My Lords, there is no question about all these facts. But are there other facts throwing a different light on Soviet actions? Of course, there is the fact that on the whole they inhabit a rather cold country, and that they want to spread to somewhere a little warmer than Archangel and Siberia. And, of course, they feel the duty to spread Communism as a religion—that is what Beatrice Webb once called it. To-day probably all of us are in favour of letting the ordinary Russians come in numbers to see this country and to get to know our people. I believe that that would be a very good thing to allow. And if, for any reason, some of them wanted to settle down here, I would not bar that. I think that it is good to bring human beings together in terms of free thinking, free study and free talking. Some people may think also that if the Communists have a religion in Communism they ought to be allowed to urge a religious war. Well, I suggest that the time for religious wars has gone past; the day for war at all has gone.
That brings me to my third thesis. When speaking critically I felt at times that it was a little unjust to ignore the welcome that I and many others gave to Mr. "K's" proposal in September, 1959, for total disarmament of all nations. I should like to end by asking whether Mr. "K." will not go back to that now and earn the everlasting gratitude of mankind as one of the greatest figures in history. But going back to that has a price, of course. It means, in the first place, making total disarmament of all nations absolutely certain by some kind of World Authority with an army of inspectors—I suppose that Mr. "K." would call them spies—to make certain that war preparations were not being made anywhere secretly, with a World Police Force to stop them if found. Every nation before it disarms—and this applies to us and all others․must feel safe against the possibility of 96 attack. The second thing is that one must put total disarmament before anything else. No country would try to sell tits own disarmament at a price, as Mr. "K" is quite openly and shamelessly trying to sell it: he asks, before he disarms, to get in Berlin just what he wants, and just what he wants in the United Nations. That is as good as saying: "I pretend to believe in disarmament, but there are many things I prefer to it." You cannot believe seriously in disarmament if there is anything else that you prefer to; it means that you have not begun to think out what a different world will come when war has been displaced by justice and co-operation between nations.
Then it means, in the third place, forgetting old hates and fears. We know that Germany under Hitler was justly feared and hated; but effective total disarmament of Germany, as of everyone else, would make such feelings absurd. It means, in the fourth place, abandonment by all large nations of intervention backed by force in the domestic affairs and political structure of other nations. Whatever may be said for Communism as a means of organising industry, to me, as it is to most people in this country, and always will be, Communism as an interference with individual freedom of thought, speech, writing, teaching and learning is hateful and absurd. But I have no wish to attack Communism by force; I should be content to trust to argument. I beg Mr. Khrushchev to return, in regard to all countries, to the belief in argument that he expressed once when he said that he did not want to go to war with America; that he could destroy American capitalism by Communist argument. Let him try to give up anything else but argument.
It means also that he should give up interfering in the domestic affairs of all smaller nations. Anybody who knows the lesser nations in Europe to-day (I know them because I have relations there; I know them well in many ways) knows that to-day many people are feeling bound, and have felt so for a long time past, to live outside the country of their birth. That kind of feeling has not ended with Hitler. That feeling cannot end until we get peaceful co-existence in the English sense, not the Russian sense. Can it not end in something better than mere co-existence; in 97 co-operation to raise the standard of human life and education throughout the world, by using for that purpose, after total disarmament, a substantial part of the vast sums that we now devote to preparing mutual destruction? I am afraid that it is unlikely that he will hear me but I make that appeal to Mr. Khrushchev, above all, so that he may consider the possibility of making an entirely new and happy world, with a free run for Communism and other beliefs, but no force. I make that appeal to him because, although, as we know, he has many wrong ideas, he had once, at least, a good idea also.
§ 6.7 p.m.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, I propose to speak about Central Africa and South Africa, more especially because, as many of your Lordships know, South Africa is my home country. But before doing that, having regard to the fact that a statement about war pensions was made this day, it might not be amiss if as an old friend of many ex-Servicemen I were to make an observation or two on that statement.
It is now five years since a previous Government made some similar provisions to those which we heard announced to-day, and it is three years ago, almost exactly, since the largest review and favourable improvement in war pensions was made—and I may say, in passing, that I hope history will repeat itself. The cost of living has remained steady for three years, and I congratulate the Government upon that most difficult accomplishment. In that same period, according to the statistics given to us by the Ministry of Labour, the average weekly earnings of the largest body of men of whom account is made has risen from £12 1 Is. 7d. to £14 2s. ld. That represents a rise of some 12 per cent., and from the figure given by the Minister to-day it appears that the basic rate of war pension is to be raised by 12s. 6d., or 14 per cent. I offer my thanks and congratulations to the Government upon this award, and I assume that the other awards, which were not specified but are to be published in a White Paper, will be similar in nature. The British Legion, the Royal Air Force Association, St. Dunstan's and a good many other societies of a specialised character have 98 a Joint Committee who I know have been making representations to the Government for the past year. They will, of course, study these proposals, and I hope that they will agree with my personal view that this is a reasonably swift and a wholly satisfactory implementation of the Government's Election promises in two respects.
In their Election Manifesto the Conservative Party said that they wished to link the standard of living of war pensioners to the standard of living of the people generally. That was a wholly new conception. Before this, all Governments had concerned themselves with formultæ about the cost of living and whether certain sums of money matched certain changes in the cost of living. But now the new conception is that the war pensioners and other pensioners shall enjoy the change in the standard of living—shall "share in these good things", to quote the words of the Manifesto. I congratulate the Government upon having carried out so swiftly those undertakings and upon having gone, so far as I can calculate in my head, a point or two better than the figures would have warranted. I do not doubt that the associations which I have mentioned will be in touch with Her Majesty's Government during the next two or three years, and I hope that the Minister of Pensions, whoever he may be, will always be willing to consult them.
Now I want to ask your Lordships to go with me for a few minutes to Central Africa. I agree with my noble friend, Lord Salisbury, to whose speech I listened with great interest and which I admired very much, that it is a most anxious situation in the world, and one of the most anxious parts of it is in Central Africa. I have not any doubt that if the British were to get out of Kenya or Rhodesia in anything like the manner in which the Belgians got out of the Congo—and, in my judgment, shamelessly got out—there would be similar bloodshed, similar horrors and a similar lack of law and order. Therefore I say that a duty and a trust rests upon Britain—and I should hope that the Commonwealth countries might share it with us—to maintain our responsibility and our political power in these lands until it is clear beyond a peradventure that anything like a "Congo" cannot happen to the people who are committed to our charge.
99 I have read a great part of the Monckton Report, and I should like to congratulate my noble friend upon having devoted so much of his time, thought and great ability to this subject, and upon having travelled so far and thought so hard and seriously. I have noted that the principal recommendation of the Report, which is almost unanimous, is that the Federation should continue, and I regard that as the signal recommendation to which we ought to give our attention—that federation should continue and that the principal reason why it should continue is that the territories are not by themselves viable. They could not survive—and "survive" is Lord Monckton's word. If these territories cannot survive by themselves, I should have thought it was clear that they should be made to survive by us in a Federation, and we should not fear the responsibility of saying that we will not permit secession in such cases which would be giving to territories which are not viable something which they cannot undertake.
I am not going to say that the Federation itself should never be free from British power or bonds if in due course the Federation develops to a well-found State, a well-found entity, capable of survival, of viability, and with a large measure of representation of all people of all colours in it. If then it chooses to become independent in the way in which Burma did, it might be so, but not because of some option which it exercises in five years' time. I should have thought that the test of survival should be the test, and that we should reject this proposal that secession should be optional.
If your Lordships carry your minds back to 1707, you will recall that it was in that year that Scotland and England were united. In 1715, only eight years later, there was rebellion in Scotland because they wanted to secede, and in 1745 there was rebellion again. It seems to me absolutely certain that if, at the time of the union between England and Scotland, there had been a provision in the Act that within five years or seven-and-a-half years Scotland should be allowed to secede, they would have seceded. In fact, they have not 100 seceded because they could not, and now after 200 years they do not want to.
Now what is the lesson of history? We in our Commonwealth, with all the experience we have of these matters, ought to learn from history and ought not to think in terms of five years. The argument of Lord Monckton of Brenchley's Committee is that the people in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia will not operate at all reasonably with Southern Rhodesia in a Federation unless they know that they have the option to be out of it. It may be true; but I submit to your Lordships that if you give these people the option to secede, then secession will be the issue that divides them for the next five years. Every politician in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia will make secession his platform, and will use the argument, "Vote for me and I will get you secession in three years instead of five." He who promises secession more quickly or shouts the loudest about it will get the votes. You are inviting them to make secession a cause of difference between the three territories—indeed, it invites agitation—instead of closing the door and saying: "It is not open; these territories cannot go on by themselves but must go on together, and we will see that they do." I would not allow Southern Rhodesia to secede to South Africa, or Nyasaland or Northern Rhodesia to secede somewhere else. There I wholly disagree with the noble Viscount, Lord Monckton of Brenchley.
I may say that my name being what it is, there is a certain amount of family history which I will mention extremely briefly. My kinsman of 200 years ago was beheaded—the last traitor to be beheaded on Tower Hill, or the last patriot, depending upon from which side of the Border you look at him. He was beheaded because he was the leader of a resistance movement and because he was the most awkward and the most notorious of them. All the Fraser clan of those days would have supported him then and five years later, as indeed they did in 1715 and again in 1745. But not now. The clan Fraser has been represented by United Kingdom Members of Parliament in the other House with English votes, and in this House there are two Barons of the United Kingdom who are not ashamed to be so. Now why 101 is this? It is because in 200 years things change. It is a strange thing to say, but it is true. They do not change much in five years but they do change in 200, and I believe you should take away this power to secede within the lifetime of the existing politicians. So long as any politician in Nyasaland knows that he has the power to recommend secession during his lifetime he will play that card for all he is worth. Take the card away and he cannot play it.
I would also ask your Lordships this question. Does any one of you believe that the Southern States, the Confederacy in America, would have remained n the Union after the Civil War if they had been given the right to secede after five years? Of course they would not. But they do not want to secede now. Do any of you imagine that Natal would stay in the Union of South Africa if they had the right to secede? But they have not the right to secede, so they will stay in and history will prove them to be right. As time passes, as the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge said, men should forget and heal old wounds and come to live together as Scotland and England live together, and this is what will happen if only we are firm and strong and do not give way before it is time.
Now, I should like to turn away from Central Africa to South Africa, and I repeat that it is my country. The policy of apartheid, as it is called, or separation of persons on account of colour, is very much disliked in Britain, and I understand that. It is something of which, in my judgment, South Africa should take account. But I think that the dislike of apartheid, the emotional dislike of apartheid, has led to actions on the part of many people in Britain which are neither fair to the Union of South Africa nor likely to produce the kind of result which those who initiate them hope for. The South African people, especially in this context the Afrikaner South African people, have been at war with us in this century. They, too, have been defeated, and they, too, have carried on the resistance movement over the decades; and since 60 per cent. of all the people who live in South Africa are Afrikaans speaking, it is not surprising they they should feel it was right and proper that they should, for historic and other reasons, free themselves from this old country and that they should resent the 102 emotional way in which we interfere, as they see it, with their way of ordering their affairs.
May we remember that it was a Liberal Government in this country which in 1909, passed the South Africa Act, supported by the small representation of the Labour Party of those days, without a Division on Second Reading or Third Reading. It was a Liberal Party in liberal England which placed the political power in South Africa in the hands of the Europeans. Why? Because they knew that no other persons there were fit to hold that power. Some in this country in those days thought it was too early to do it, but not Mr. Asquith's Government. It was the right thing to do, in their view, and they did it and carried it through Parliament, and the power was placed in the hands of the Europeans. There it still rests.
Let us remember also that separation of persons according to colour, or apartheid, is not a policy exclusively followed in South Africa. It is followed in many other parts of the British Commonwealth and it is followed in many countries of whom we are allies, including some of our oldest and most cherished allies. We do not spend time in Parliament and in the newspapers abusing our allies, as we frequently do abusing South Africa when we do not know what they are doing and have not been there to see. It is my belief that what is so upsetting to us in Great Britain, and it is upsetting to me, too, is not the policy itself as it works itself out but the fact that the majority in the Government in South Africa suggest that it can never be changed. "Never" is a dangerous word, as the British found out in Cyprus; and it is my hope that the South African Government will move from this position of "Never" and show some signs that it has other thoughts.
But, my Lords, instead of deploring everything that is done in the Union of South Africa instead of refusing to see all the good things that South Africa has done, some of which I will mention to your Lordships a little later, let us rejoice that there is a bastion at the bottom end of that continent of sound, good government, strong enough to maintain itself in all circumstances, and that law and order will at least prevail in that part of Africa, whatever troubles and difficulties may arise in other parts.
103 Let us rejoice that that is so. I personally regret that the South Africans have voted by referendum to become a Republic. I could have hoped, and indeed I believe, that the association with the Crown, which the late King and the present Queen, when she went to South Africa with her father, did so much to try to cement, could have continued in the more intimate form to which we are used. I believe that the closest possible association with Britain through the Crown and through our various institutions is one of the strongest powers for good in that country and for all of us. I therefore deeply regret the decision they have come to. But let us recognise that they have the absolute right to come to that decision. They arrived at it by a constitutional process of referendum, and we must all of us, it seems to me, now try to make the best of the situation with which we are faced for the welfare and good living and happiness of all the people who live in South Africa—and I say all the people of all colours.
Ought we to be debating this matter here or is it a matter so exclusively South African that it should be left for debate in Cape Town? I submit that it should be debated here. We are the Mother Country. Some prefer to think of us as the "Old Country" and others might regard us merely as the pivotal or central country of the Commonwealth, but at least we are that. We cannot escape that responsibility. And my purpose in raising this matter is to ask Her Majesty's Government, not merely to let these matters slide and come forward as and when they will, but to use their good offices to try to solve the problem of South Africa's place within the British Commonwealth. Do not let us assume that South Africa must necessarily be shut out until we have let a little time go by and they settle down in their new shape and form with the new sentiment which may be moving there. Let us take the initiative and try to see whether we cannot, within this family of nations, reconcile the differences.
I spoke of the use of the idea "Never". We should like to see some signs that the Government in South Africa is changing its mind a little in directions which would make it easier for us in Britain to persuade the 104 coloured members of the Prime Ministers' Conference to be patient and to see what is happening before taking swift and irrevocable action. There are already signs that South Africa is moving in directions which might commend themselves to many of us. They have decided to set up what they call Bantu Homelands—that is to say, to make places like Zululand, the Kaffraria and other parts of the Union of South Africa where natives live in reserves, into local government communities and to give the local population there a kind of nursery government, something like a county council government under a Minister, as the county council is here, but nevertheless with a large measure of autonomy. That is surely a good thing. It has the advantage of teaching the natives what are the elements of government and how to recognise the responsibilities of government. It is very much better than leaving them in ignorance as was done in the Congo. They are setting up councils in the big urban areas round the big towns like Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Bloemfontein, where natives will at first be appointed to serve their populations in local matters, in town matters, but later may be elected.
We have heard a great deal about the police and the pass laws. If some noble Lords, as I lam sure is the case, have lived in South Africa for long periods of their lives, as I have done, they will know that in the mixed populations and in the circumstances which exist there it is absolutely necessary that the natives should have some document which can identify them. May I give just one example? The most forward-looking city council in Johannesburg-almost as forward—looking as Mr. Morrison (as he then was) was at the London County Council when he and I were there—decided to build a town outside Johannesburg, just like he and we did, called Meadowlands. It was an excellent proposition and a fine place, with air and light, water and rooms and plenty of other things. Various people criticised these proposals but did not inquire into them; they did not find out how valuable They were. The proposition was, shall we say, that 100,000 natives could be given good area accommodation in a certain satellite town.
105 Unless you identify those natives and all the others who might come into that town, then, in three weeks, certainly in three months, there would be one million instead of 100,000 in that place and it would be quite impossible for the police ever to deal with the situation. You would simply have made a new slum of the Sophia Town variety which you want to get rid of. You must therefore follow that course until many years or decades have passed and it is possible to educate the natives to the point at which they will have regard to overcrowding and respect for property. You may put it in a more adverse way to South Africa and say that it is South Africa's fault for not having enough houses for all. But even Britain has not enough houses for all, and everthing cannot be done in a little time. Let us give praise where praise is due.
Now with regard to these passes, there is no question but that they do offer the police the opportunity of arbitrary action with regard to the natives. From time to time there has been arbitrary action by trigger-happy young men who have behaved in a way of which we would not approve and of which South Africa does not approve. But that passes are necessary would not be gainsaid by anyone who goes there. The point that I am making is that Doctor Verwoerd has now told the police that they are to administer the pass laws with more respect for native feelings, with more humanity, and they are not going to put into force the passes for women which they were talking about a few months ago. These are small changes.
Some people tell me that Doctor Verwoerd is now thinking of bringing the coloured people back into closer association with the Europeans—possibly giving them representation in Parliament, possibly even by men of their own colour. That is not for us to determine. It must be determined by the South Africans in South Africa—the people to whom we gave the power and who have the power because they are an independent country. I am bound to say that I hope that he will. If I were to put myself in Doctor Verwoerd's shoes now—knowing him as I do to be a most able Parliamentarian and political leader, and a successful one, and knowing what Parliamentarians and political leaders do, as I have observed 106 them over the last 40 years—I should be saying to myself and to my Cabinet, "Well, we have won that political victory over the referendum. We are now quits with the British who defeated us 60 years ago. But our people cannot live on referenda; they cannot live on emotion. We have now two years before our next eledtion;"—every leader of every Party thinks of the next election from time to time—"let us make our Republic a success: not only a success to the souls of our people, but a success to the pockets of all our people, of all colours, white, Indian and black. Let us make them all richer and better off, and show them that a Republic is a good show. That is the way we shall be elected next time. That is the way of the great dream which, as we see it, we have now made come true. Our names will go down in history as the great men who put South Africa back where she ought to be, and who made a success of it."
So, as the months go by, when they are seeking to secure British support and are asking us to help, let us—let any Members of any Party who know them, who meet the Prime Ministers and Ministers socially or in any other way—examine with sympathy what they have to tell us, not only with the courtesy which we always extend to our Commonwealth friends but with a readiness to hear what they have to say and what they are going to do. It really would seem rather a grievous thing if the vote of Ghana was to be the single vote which, by making the Prime Ministers' Conference not unanimous, was to turn South Africa out. Ghana is the youngest child of all and is evidently not yet capable of behaving in an adult manner—certainly not showing any sign of responsibility to the democratic system; possibly even moving away from it.
May I conclude by saying a word or two about the Union of South Africa itself? It is a country with a fine legal system, a good sense of law and order and of justice and equity. Its judges and magistrates compare favourably with those in any other country in the Commonwealth and are much above those to be found in most other countries in the world outside the Commonwealth. It is a country that is solvent and whose finances, in spite of the drain that has 107 taken place in the last few months, are beyond reproach. It is a country that has always paid its debts; whose Administration, formed by Lord Milner and his kindergarten, is beyond reproach and admirable, both centrally and in the provinces. Its Parliament is not perfect—whose is? Having sat in another House for nearly 40 years I could not say that everything I observed there was perfect. I have not been here long enough to know if this House will look different as time goes by. But the South African Parliament is a good Parliament, and by comparison with the Parliaments of many countries with whom we are on most friendly terms I would say that it is a very good Parliament.
The standard of living for natives in South Africa is higher than in any other country in the whole of Africa, leaving out only Egypt; and most of the people in Egypt are desperately poor. The actual living conditions of the natives in the Union of South Africa are higher than those of any other part of Africa or any other country or British Colony; and the natives who are employed as teachers and parsons there are paid more than such people are paid in any other country in Southern Africa, whether British or otherwise. These are things which ought to be known about my country. Its welfare, its hospitals, its care and its education are tremendously developed for a country of its size and with the burdens which it has to bear. I discern that there may be a move towards further immigration of Europeans into South Africa. It may be that Dr. Verwoerd will feel that it is a good thing to bring in some more Europeans. He could not bring in as many as Australia did in ten years—I wish he could! But he may bring in some scores of thousands. He is no longer so much afraid as he was that those who come in from Europe will vote against him, because he thinks he is strong enough. I believe that out of this strength which he has demonstrated so often will come responsibility and reasonableness; because he is a responsible and a reasonable man. In my own personal judgment he is not a fanatical chap who is unpredictable. It is possible to predict what he will do and I have already made quite a number of predictions in this speech to-day of what I think he will do.
108 Now, on the material side: South Africa is the largest gold producer in the world; the largest platinum producer in the world; the world's largest producer of gem diamonds, chrome and antimony; the second largest producer in the world of manganese and also of asbestos—and she is part of our Commonwealth; a very big producer (perhaps the third biggest) of uranium; and, at the season of the year when it comes, a very big producer of fruit, and very good fruit. On the strategic side, South Africa fought with us in two wars after the Anglo-Afrikaans War. Her ports are always of value to us in war and in peace and were especially valuable to us when the Suez Canal was shut in the second war and again when it was shut during the time of the Suez affair of four years ago. The harbour of Simonstown and the naval establishment is available to us by treaty whether or not South Africa is at war at the same time as we are. Even if we are at war, and she is neutral, Simonstown is available to us. Are these not circumstances that should be taken into account?
Finally, there are 11 million black and coloured persons living in South Africa out of a population of 14 million: and these 11 million, in so far as they understand—and that is not very much—have always looked upon Britain as their friend. Ought we lightly, without stirring ourselves, to let this country go out of the Commonwealth at the behest of new members of the family, bearing in mind that the Union of South Africa was a founder-member?
EARL ST. ALDWYN
My Lords, it might be convenient to the House if we were to adjourn at about 7.30 for an hour, for dinner.
§ 6.46 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for his comforting remark. I believe we all listened with equal attention to the striking speech of the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, and whether or not we agreed with everything he said, one or other of his remarks struck a chord in each of us. I was particularly impressed by what he said about the free world as distinct from the Communist bloc accepting neutralism and not wishing to force the Africans 109 into the cold war. I am sure that that statement will be very well received in Africa and I believe it represents a policy which is essential if the Commonwealth which, after all, includes many neutral countries, is to be firmly held together.
I am sorry that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, is not in his place, because I really must challenge one of his remarks and I should hate to think I had misunderstood him. I understood the noble Marquess to say that Ghana is a police state. A police state does not tolerate an Opposition Party. In Ghana the Opposition Party denounce the Government just as vigorously as do the Opposition in another place, and on my experience I should say a good deal more vigorously than the Opposition in this place. In fact, the form of government in Ghana is a presidential democracy like that of the United States of America, and not a dictatorship; and I am sure your Lordships would agree that it would be a great pity if the notion that Ghana is a dictatorship were to gain currency in this country with the authority of the noble Marquess behind it.
There is just one matter in the gracious Speech to which I have come here intending to refer. I shall do so extremely briefly, because I notice that we are exactly halfway through the list of speakers in this debate and I should not like to take up more than my fair share of the remaining time available. I would refer to the statement in the beginning of the gracious Speech on Her Majesty's intention to visit, in company with her husband His Royal Highness Prince Philip, a number of Commonwealth countries and territories in the course of the coming year. I am particularly glad about the visit to Ghana in the Autumn of 1961, because I know it will give immense pleasure to all my Ghanaian friends.
Your Lordships will remember that Her Majesty had wished to visit West Africa last year, but that visit had to be postponed on account of the approaching birth of His Royal Highness Prince Andrew. The result of that postponement is very interesting and, I think, very novel: it is that Her Majesty will come to Ghana not as Head of State or as Queen of Ghana but—because Ghana became a Republic in June—in 110 a completely different capacity, as Head of the Commonwealth. It is sometimes thought that when a country becomes a Republic its people feel less affection and respect for the Royal Family. This I can assure your Lordships is not the case in Ghana, and I doubt whether it is ever true. The noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, would know more than I know in this respect about South Africa.
After all, constitutional changes and the laws Which bring them about do not alter in the least the deeper currents of feeling and emotion that move the hearts of ordinary men and women. I have not the slightest doubt that Her Majesty will receive just as enthusiastic a reception when she goes to Ghana next year as she would have done had she gone while she was still Queen of that country: and I have little doubt that the noble Viscount the Leader of the House, who has been to Ghana recently, will endorse that view. There will, I am quite certain, be no sense of diminution in regard to the affection and respect in which the Queen and the Royal. Family are held.
One illustration of this fact is that of the many distinguished visitors, which included the noble Viscount the Leader of the House (who most successfully, if I may say so, represented Her Majesty's Government at the inauguration of the Republic) and also the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, in a previous incarnation (his visit was much appreciated), none was received with as much acclamation and popularity by everyone as the Queen's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. People turned out in their thousands just to get a glimpse of him, even when they had no opportunity of meeting him; and the tremendous welcome which he received—and which, if I may say so, he certainly deserved, because he was working unremittingly for five days without even an afternoon off—showed the warmth of feeling everywhere in Ghana, wherever he went, towards the Royal Family.
May I draw one general conclusion from these facts? It is, I think, striking that three of the Commonwealth countries in the Royal itinerary for the coming year, India and Pakistan as well as Ghana, are all Republics, for this will be the first time in the history of the 111 Commonwealth that the Queen has visited any of its republican members. And this (this is my generality) I think shows the flexibility of the Crown in adapting itself to the rapid constitutional changes that characterise the modern world and its very important rôle in maintaining Commonwealth unity, for these visits will be a real contribution to Commonwealth unity. They will establish the same direct personal contact between the Head of the Commonwealth and the peoples of these republican countries as the Queen already exercises in relation to her own subjects in the Commonwealth monarchies. And this is the first time that this has happened.
My Lords, the unifying influence of the Crown as Head of the Commonwealth is, I think, acquiring an even more vital significance with the increasing diversity—a diversity that is bound to continue—of Commonwealth constitutions. The Crown in this capacity helps to make the Commonwealth what indeed it has already become: the most remarkable example in history of freedom combined with unity. We are all, I know, on both sides of the House, equally grateful to Her Majesty and to Prince Philip for undertaking these long and extremely tiring journeys, because they are of the utmost value to the whole Commonwealth.
§ 6.54 p.m.
THE EARL OF BESSBOROUGH
My Lords, I should like briefly to raise two, and possibly three, matters arising out of the gracious Speech. They are all of special interest to your Lordships, and international co-operation lies at the heart of each. I am very glad that my noble friend Lord Home, the Foreign Secretary, who has been selected to help try to resolve some of these problems, is with us in this House. He is to be congratulated on his appointment as Secretary of State, and we can congratulate ourselves that we have him with us. I agree with every word he said in that very remarkable speech, and not forgetting a word of it I should like to raise the first question which concerns Anglo-Soviet relations.
I was one of those—the only Member of your Lordships' House—who had the privilege of being a member of the Parliamentary delegation which was in the Soviet Union in the latter part of 112 July of this year under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. This was the first Parliamentary delegation to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics since that which was led by the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, some six years ago, and of which the noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington, and the noble Lord who has just spoken were also members. I think it is true to say that all of us were impressed by what we saw in the Soviet Union. Perhaps what impressed some of us most (these may be only straws in the wind but I think that they are worth mentioning to your Lordships) was the fact that we were allowed to go to certain places and see certain things which were not on the official programme and which our hosts, the members of the Supreme Soviet, did not particularly want us to see. However, by being insistent, reasonably insistent and courteously insistent, and saying that if they wanted us to go back to Britain and give a reasonably interesting account of our trip they should let us go to these places, we got them, in the end, to agree.
It was thus that my right honourable friend Mr. Aubrey Jones, who led the delegation, was able to visit the industrial centres at Novo Sibirsk, Kemerovo and Stalinsk, places which have hardly been seen, if at all, by members of Western Embassies in Moscow or by Western correspondents there. Similarly, our hosts, somewhat reluctantly, it is true, permitted Dame Irene Ward and myself to attend an important religious festival at Zagorsk, which is some 60 miles outside Moscow, on the day of the Feast of St. Sergius, whose relics still repose in the chapel there. We were both fascinated to see the Primate of all the Russias, the Metropolitan Nicholas from Moscow and nearly all the Orthodox Bishops in Europe officiating at a festival where there were a few thousand pilgrims.
I told our hosts afterwards that allowing us to go on such visits had enabled us to see with our own eyes the extent to which religious worship was now tolerated in the Soviet Union. Our hosts' reply was that even if religious worship was tolerated, it was not approved, and they rather regretted that two of us should have wasted our time to go to such a festival and thus give support to what they described as superstitions of 113 the past. But we did go to these places, and I quote these two instances—there were several others—to show that, while the B.B.C. service in Russian is still jammed, and the only English paper you can find at an airport is the Daily Worker, none the less there is a general easing-up and, I think, an increase in mutual understanding in several fields as a result of the numerous delegations and tourists who have been in that country lately.
I do not think we need be taken in if we keep constantly in mind the grave warnings which the Foreign Secretary gave us to-day and the historique of Russia which the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, gave to us. There is no reason why we should be taken in. As we have heard this evening, relations in the political field are very bad—perhaps they have never been so bad—in consequence not only of the RB.47 incident but also of Russia's present policy of infiltration by every possible means into Africa and Asia. Despite this, there is no doubt, I think, that in the educational, the scientific, the cultural, the financial, the industrial and the commercial fields important and useful relations have been recently established. The decision to hold trade fairs in London and Moscow next year is most satisfactory. This will be the largest foreign fair that has been held in Russia in their history. As your Lordships will have read in the newspapers recently, 650 British firms are to exhibit there, and the Soviet Government welcomes that exhibition. I hope that more and more Soviet delegations and tourists will be able to visit this country. I was glad to see that this summer there were some Russian tourists here, as well as officials.
Of course, there are very strong feelings in this country, both against consolidation of the Western Alliance and against co-operation with the Soviet Union. There are two extremes in this country. A disturbing feature is that these extremists, on both sides, sometimes refuse even to listen to the other point of view. They are interested only in creating public disturbances. This is a very sinister aspect of certain gatherings in England to-day. Recently I went up to Coventry with General Norstad, and those of us who were with him found that he was subjected to continuous interruption for 90 minutes by young 114 hooligan supporters of unilateral nuclear disarmament. They would not listen to a word the General said; and I am very glad to see that the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, has put down a Question on this matter to be answered next week.
Then, only last week, there was an example of the other extreme during a meeting in London. Someone saw fit to protest and withdraw from the meeting because representatives of the Soviet Embassy were present in the room. In that case they left before any discussion had started; and in neither of these cases would the disturbers give even half an ear to the other point of view. It is a serious matter, my Lords, if free discussion and meetings in this country are to become impossible. It is true that we must not forget what happened in Hungary; nor what has been going on in Africa and in Asia; nor what has happened in the Congo; nor the situation of the Cubans, who we sincerely hope will soon liberate themselves.
In view of these events, there is no doubt at all that we must maintain in every possible way the unity and strength of the West and of N.A.T.O., and show no weakness. The establishment of the Polaris base in Scotland must be considered as part of that necessary strength. While there is this paramount necessity to maintain our strength, I should like to support what the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said. If I understood him aright, he said that he would not necessarily seek to extend the sphere of N.A.T.O. itself but perhaps would create some new body which would extend beyond the North Atlantic areas and the areas of the other regional pacts. Whether or not it is practicable to establish such a body, I believe that there is a need for it in the world to-day.
But whilst we must continue to consolidate the West and the free world as a whole, I do not think that should deter us from encouraging as much contact as possible between the citizens of the U.S.S.R. and ourselves—and I was very glad indeed, my Lords, to see that an improvement in East-West relations was placed so high in the gracious Speech. I was glad to see from The Times of yesterday that Sir Frank Roberts, Her Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow, when he presented his Letters of Credence to President Brezhnev, had 115 an hour's private conversation with him in the Kremlin, and that this conversation was described as "very friendly". I see that, according to The Times, Sir Frank spoke of the winds of change and of our two political and social systems, which differ so much; and that he also said that Britain regarded these as a challenge and a stimulus rather than a barrier to normal and neighbourly relations.
The Parliamentary delegation of which I was a member had a very long meeting with President Brezhnev. It lasted for two and a half hours, and the President answered questions from all members of the delegation. Although we were supposed to meet him for only an hour, he insisted that we should stay on so that we could all say what we felt and could ask him all the questions that we wished to ask. We were most favourably impressed by the President. We were impressed by his friendliness; and may I say, although the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, is not here, that we were impressed by his good manners. I can assure the Foreign Secretary that he did not take off his shoe. As your Lordships know, President Brezhnev succeeded Marshal Voroshilov as Head of the State earlier this year. He is quite a young man, who seems particularly interested in this country. I believe that his son was here recently. Perhaps we shall hear more of the President. It will be interesting to the British public to hear more about him. At present, he is relatively unknown in this country.
The second matter I should like to mention briefly this evening is the question of Britain's contribution to space research. I was glad to read in the speech which the noble Viscount the Lord President of the Council, who is also Minister for Science, made at Scarborough, that there was "no chance whatever of our withdrawing from it". As is known, several industrial and scientific firms have already invested considerable sums in space research. They have taken a very considerable commercial risk. They cannot, in my view, continue to do this without the energetic support of the Government, which I am sure, to a large extent, they do receive.
116 If, my Lords, an acceptable arrangement with other countries can be achieved, it would obviously Abe desirable to have as many as possible of our friends and Allies in the Commonwealth and in the West co-operating with us; and I hope that your Lordships will join with me in wishing every success to my right honourable friend the Minister of Aviation in the approaches he is making to members of the Commonwealth and to certain countries of, Europe. I feel that even if his approaches are not successful we should enter wholeheartedly into this important field. Clearly, a collective effort will achieve far greater results, but the more we do ourselves—and I think this is very important—the more likely other countries will wish to join with us.
I feel that we should go ahead at the earliest possible moment to adapt Blue Streak and Black Knight, in order to launch a communications satellite, which might well prove revenue-earning in a big way. Australia will have to be with us in this; and I hope that the General Post Office here are being as active in their research in this field as are the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in the United States. I am glad to see that we have a delegation in the United States studying this matter now, and, from the Press this morning, that the American behind the idea of a telephone exchange in outer space is now in this country. There are, of course, other by-products of space research which will prove beneficial to those who remain strictly earth-bound: Professor Lovell, of Jodrell Bank, would enumerate them to your Lordships. My Lords, we must not opt out of this field of research, and I hope that the Government feel that the financial provision they are making is adequate. I appreciate that large sums of money will have to be expended; but, bearing in mind the sums involved in other fields, surely the figures are not so astronomical, even if the space ships themselves may be. Who knows? The time may come when your Lordships, or your Lordships' sons, may prefer to go into orbit in a British ship. But I repeat, let us first try to make this an internationally co-operative effort.
The third matter which I had thought of raising this evening was the question of the Seven, the European Free Trade 117 Association of the Seven and its relationships with the Six. However, time is getting on, and all I will say now is that I believe that, whatever we may have felt in the past, we have to try to make the Seven work. At the same time we must build as many industrial bridges and as many financial and investment bridges as possible between the two areas. I hope that we may establish as many factories in the Six as possible, and vice versa; that is to say, those firms that have not already done so. I believe that we might thus eventually come to the point where there could be a kind of merging of both trading areas which, for reasons that I will not go into this evening, is certainly impossible at the moment. I hope that in all such new trading policies the full co-operation of the industrialists themselves will be sought and that they will be consulted at an early stage.
Finally, my Lords, may I add my own tribute to the truly remarkable and magnificent contribution which Her Majesty the Queen and Members of the Royal Family have made, and are still making, to Britain's prestige, not only within the Commonwealth but also everywhere abroad, even in the Soviet Union. Without their superb efforts Britain's stock in the world would be nothing like so high as I believe it still to be.
§ 7.12 p.m.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, as I rise in rather lonely state this evening I feel that one word of explanation should be made. I have not been deserted by my political friends, but we arranged some many weeks ago a small reception to welcome back into our ranks the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and his wife. We are relatively small in number and therefore we have a special regard for someone who has been away performing notable service and then returns. However, I would assure the noble Viscount the Leader of the House that we will endeavour to fill our Benches when he rises to reply to this debate.
I do not know whether I should cast aside the notes I have prepared for this speech; perhaps my friends who are in another room would prefer that I continue speaking until the recess. I think that this debate will be remembered by all of those who were privileged to hear the speech of the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary. If I may say so, It 118 was a Parliamentary triumph. It was a speech of clarity, beautifully delivered. It alternated between gentle humour and deadly seriousness; at all times it was spoken with sincerity. I hope that he will not take it as a platitude when I say that those who sit on this side of the House felt it was a privilege to listen to such a speech. I think we all agreed with it.
At the same time, I must say that I was one who did not welcome the noble Earl's appointment as Foreign Secretary. It is not that he was a Member of this House. It is not that he had not the capabilities. I regretted his appointment because, at the very point when Commonwealth relations were becoming strained, that important office was being denied a man not only of character but who understood what the Commonwealth means to-day and what we should like to see in the Commonwealth of the future. Therefore, I would say to the noble Earl, with the greatest of sincerity, that although, as Foreign Secretary, he has no Ministerial responsibility in the Commonwealth, I hope he will keep in close contact with Commonwealth developments, and I ask him to give the benefit of his wisdom to the Government in guiding Commonwealth affairs.
My Lords, I have listened to many foreign affairs debates and this is the first time I have ever spoken in one. I have been conscious of the fact that our attention tends to be focused on Europe, East and West. We pay so little regard to what is going on in the free countries of Asia, and of course in Africa. We in Europe tend to grow accustomed to a cold military war, but I would say few of us in this country appreciate the skirmishes, the quick penetrations, which are being made by Soviet bodies in psychological warfare and also in trade, not only in the Commonwealth but in the free countries of the world. When one sees the developing economic power of the Soviet Union, one can believe that we are feeling only the penetration, the probing, and have yet to feel the whole weight of their economic power which will be concentrated at the point where it most hurts. Therefore, we must be very much on our guard to-day. We must look beyond the horizon of Europe. We must look, shall I say, to the flanks of our 119 position:and the flank to-day is the rest of the world.
In a few remarks the noble Earl dealt with Communist propaganda. This is very strong in Asia to-day, and I should like to make a concrete suggestion as to where we could, with not a great deal of expenditure, counteract that propaganda. The noble Earl knows as well as I of the tremendous growth in Soviet external radio programmes. I wonder whether the House realises that the Soviet Union has radio programmes beamed in 48 languages extending over 984 hours per week. Soviet satellites in Europe are beaming their message of hate through the world over some 1,094 hours per week. Let us take Communist China. To-day their programmes extend over 525 hours. That figure is taken from the B.B.C. Annual Report; it may well have been increased since. In comparison, the United States Voice of America has a mere 620 hours, and we are now below Communist China. It would not require a great deal of expenditure to increase our message to the free world.
I believe that this is a very serious matter. As an exporter, I know of the volume of radio receivers that go out of this country, receivers capable of obtaining the British message. I know the value of the B.B.C. programmes. One university in the Far East uses the Voice of Asia, which is a discussion for students, as a basis on which their students can continue their own discussions. I would ask the noble Earl whether he would not press upon the Treasury, not to provide funds, but to allow the B.B.C. to retain a bigger percentage of the licence money that they receive from the taxpayers to provide this essential service. Here is something concrete that we can do, which I believe must be done. In the coming years we are going to face severe economic and psychological warfare, and it would be quite wrong for us to concentrate on the military side and not to take this into account.
The noble Earl touched on our responsibilities in Africa. We all must take note of the tragic story of the Congo. I wonder who was to blame. Was it the African who demanded his independence, or was it the country which owned 120 the Congo, and which failed in its duty as a Colonial Power as we know and accept to-day? In Portuguese East Africa the same sorry story could be repeated. This is something about which the noble Earl, with his experience of colonial affairs, could have discussions with the Portuguese Government. Obviously it would have to be in an unofficial manner. But what might happen in Portuguese East Africa might well affect our own territories. The African countries will more and more demand their independence and I do not believe it can be denied them. I appreciate the noble Earl's point, that we must act with responsibility; but I believe that the process must be accelerated. We must bring forward those people as quickly as possible to understand democracy and to work it, which perhaps is the harder part.
I should like to turn to Europe for a few minutes. I fully endorse the words of the noble Earl in regard to N.A.T.O. I do not deny that in my Party we have some conflict. This is a serious matter, which in time we shall deal with, but the causes that have made many sincere and genuine men believe yin unilateral disarmament are problems which lie not only on the Left. I believe that this policy, where it is genuinely held, arises from fear. People are groping for a way out of the stalemate of nuclear weapons. I think that this should be a warning to the country as a whole. We should have speeches, such as that made by the noble Earl this afternoon, made through the length and breadth of the country, because Government policy can be strong and understood outside this country only if it is understood inside. To-day, as I have listened to the arguments one way or another, I have thought that much is due to not understanding the real issue.
I support N.A.T.O. So long as it is necessary to hold nuclear weapons, we must hold them. We must continue to work for disarmament, a disarmament from parity and, so far as this country is concerned, a disarmament based on collective security. But we must also take into account that in N.A.T.O. there is much to be done. There are many grave weaknesses, military weaknesses and weaknesses in supply. But the strengthening of the N.A.T.O. shield can be done 121 only if we develop the economic strength of Europe as a whole. Therefore I regret very much this growth of two trading groups in Europe. Whatever may be the protestations of statesmen, the existence of two strong trading groups in competition with each other can result only in political strife which will create weaknesses in N.A.T.O.
There must be unity in Europe for this other reason. The noble Earl knows of the gap that has developed between the industrial countries of the West and the underdeveloped countries of the world. I am making no political point here, but is it not a fact that our economic position to-day is not strong enough to give all the resources that these countries require? Therefore we must develop, either by planned organisation or free development—I think that the former is the only answer—a greater dynamic power behind our economic policy in Europe. Because time is not on our side. The squalor and misery which exists throughout the world can be only a Soviet gain. I believe that the challenge of the sixties is that we have to raise the world, not to equal standards, because that is impossible, but to some form of parity which will give these countries hope for the future. If we destroy hope, we open the whole field to Communist aggression.
§ [The Sitting was suspended at half past seven o'clock and resumed at twenty-five minutes before nine o'clock.]
§ 8.35 p.m.
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, I ask your Lordships' pardon for holding up the House in its proceedings. As my noble Leader has just remarked, I was not next on the list, but I happened to be here. I will come straight to the point and not waste your Lordships' time at this late hour. I want to refer to some remarks made in. the speech of the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary and in the speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, for, as your Lordships may well have guessed, I am going to concentrate on the problems of Africa in the general sphere of foreign and colonial policy. I desire to make one or two comments, in particular, on the Congo.
The noble Earl the Foreign Secretary told us that we must back up the United 122 Nations to the maximum of our ability in order that the situation in the Congo may be stabilised; but I rather wish he had been able to tell us a little more of what in fact the United Nations is actually doing and achieving in the Congo. I think it is difficult for us to understand quite what is going on. We understand that there has already been expenditure of £23 million, the burden of which will fall largely, perhaps almost entirely, on the Western nations, and mainly, I assume, on the United States of America end ourselves. Of course, it is part of the policy of Russia not to pay her share, and thereby to make it more difficult for us to bring the situation under control.
It seems that at the moment the United Nations is merely in the position of a caretaker barely maintaining the position—certainly not governing the country; and surely the United Nations must face up to the situation that the Congo must be governed. Either the Congolese themselves must be obliged to form a Government, or the United Nations must eventually form a Government. If neither of those possibilities can be achieved, then we shall have to face up to the situation that a Mandate must be given or there must be a Condominium which would fall most agreeably to the Afro-Asian nations. Yet they themselves, of course, are in a difficult position, fully occupied with their own affairs and with comparatively weak powers.
I am not sure that we all appreciate the serious situation which can develop in the Congo—I am not thinking in the political sense but more in the economic sense and what follows from that. It is probably true that the economy of the Congo, as it was, has been lost for a generation. But what we have to realise is that so many of the ordinary services which are accepted in any civilised country where law and order is maintained have collapsed. I am told that the health services are not functioning to any good effect; that there are outbreaks of smallpox and even of the bubonic plague. If diseases of that sort get a hold in the Congo, what is going to stop them sweeping throughout Africa? There is no immunity in these days to those old-fashioned diseases—perhaps there is to smallpox, but not, I think, to the bubonic plague. In the 123 field of animal life, the veterinary services have come to a standstill. The research services are not functioning, and, talking of cattle, rinderpest, which has been excluded for many years from the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, is rife in the Congo and could easily spread to other parts of the continent.
My Lords, I think what has happened and what may yet happen in the Congo must be very much in the mind of Her Majesty's Government, when considering their own colonial policy, and I was very much encouraged by the noble Earl's speech when he said that we cannot shift our responsibilities on to somebody else's shoulders; we cannot expect the United Nations, for example, to undertake another situation such as is found in the Congo. And he added that we must be ever more certain of the moral basis and practical effects of our colonial policy.
When we give independence to some of our African territories in the future, whether it be the near future or the distant future, we must be sure of two things: the first is the ability of the Government to which we hand over to maintain law and order, and the second is the ability of that Government to maintain at least, if not improve, the economy of the country. And if, for any reason of political expediency, we find ourselves obliged to hand over the government and to grant independence to one of those African countries which is not in a position to maintain and improve its economy, I think that Great Britain must face up to the fact that it is our responsibility to finance that country. That has not so far been generally accepted. But if we do not face up to that responsibility and make the taxpayer of this country face up to it, then we are only inviting trouble in the country which gains its independence and defeating the very object of our foreign policy, which is, in fact, to keep Africa out of the cold war and also to prevent the entry of Communism into that continent, and especially into the parts which belong to the Commonwealth. I feel that any other policy and trying to shirk our financial responsibilities in that respect would be both morally indefensible and politically dishonest.
124 Now I come to the speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and in particular that part of it which dealt with the differences of opinion between the Federal Government and Her Majesty's Government. For the last five or six weeks I have been in Africa, in Southern Rhodesia mainly, but also on a brief visit to Lusaka in Northern Rhodesia and for two weeks in Kenya, when I travelled fairly extensively through the farming areas of the White Highlands. The noble Marquess said that there was a lack of trust between the Federal Government and Her Majesty's Government which was a serious matter, and he was inclined to blame the Report of the Monckton Commission for discussing the matter of secession. Well, my Lords, I am not going to talk about the Monckton Commission; we shall have another opportunity. I agree with him, certainly, that the chapter which went into great detail on secession, with specific recommendations, did a great deal of damage to relations between the Federal Government and Her Majesty's Government. But I also contend that that was merely confirmation of a suspicion which already existed, a suspicion which was founded in the recent past and which I found widely held by all but a few Europeans throughout East and Central Africa.
Before I go on to say what I feel I have to say, I should like to tell the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition who mentioned the troubles in Southern Rhodesia that in putting the other side of the picture, which I am about to do, I do not in any way minimise the importance of his remarks. I feel that one will be able to deal more fully with the position in Southern Rhodesia when we are in fact discussing the Monckton Report in a few weeks' time, but I would assure him that I do not approve of all that is being done by the Southern Rhodesian Government; in fact, I disapprove in respect of some things which are not being done and I feel ought to be done in Southern Rhodesia. But that is a different matter.
I would now go on to say that among the mass of European opinion in Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Kenya there is, unfortunately, a serious mistrust of Her Majesty's Government. I must confess that I have been deeply shocked. We know that in 125 the past in our imperial history there have been times when Her Majesty's Government have been disliked. But distrust is a different matter; it is an accusation of bad faith. I hope the Government will take it seriously, because shortly they are going to be faced with a conference in London to review the Federal Constitution. I am afraid it is not a sufficient answer to say, as the noble Viscount the Leader of the House might be inclined to say, that "this mistrust is not justified and you know it is not justified." That is not the point. The Government have to face the fact of distrust in these parts among the Europeans, and they have to face the reality at the Conference in London, and overcome it. It is not going to be very easy. I believe firmly that all the members of Her Majesty's Government are honourable men. But I would ask Her Majesty's Government to make that fact, which is plain to me, self-evident to the Europeans in Kenya and throughout the Federation; and to make it self-evident in words which are clear and unmistakable, and in the acts which should follow those words.
The Europeans there (I am talking of the ordinary people I have met in going about, not particularly politically-minded, not extremists in any way) are not fools. They realise very well that the part of Africa in which they live is in the centre of this desperate struggle between East and West, and is a part of world affairs and, in particular, of the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government. They can understand that it may seem., from a distance of 6,000 miles in London, or from the Olympian heights of the United Nations, that 350,000 Europeans, who over the past 70 years have made it possible for the Africans to live in peace, to hope for a reasonable standard of living and to achieve personal and national freedom, may, in the context of the 1960s, be considered expendable. But what they want to know precisely is what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government; and they would rather know that they are considered expendable than be left to drift uncertainly in a kind of vacuum. Either they want to know that or—what they would very much prefer to know—they want to know that they are not considered expendable and that the Government are 126 prepared to ensure their rights and their security. It is one thing or the other, and I would ask Her Majesty's Government to make perfectly plain from now on what their position is to be in East and Central Africa.
My Lords, I have not enjoyed making this speech. I am dedicated to the welfare and interests of all inhabitants of East and Central Africa and I felt that I would be failing my duty if I did not make perfectly clear to your Lordships, and perhaps to the general public in this country, the seriousness of the situation; and that I should be failing in my duty to the Government if I did not tell them of this situation. I felt that I should bring this matter to your Lordships' notice on the first debating day that we have at the opening of a new Session of Parliament before too many words have been spoken, before too much water has passed under the bridges and before there has been set a course which is irrevocable and cannot be altered; and, in particular before it is too late to do something to save our own honour—for that, ultimately, is at stake.
§ 8.52 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, in rising to make a brief contribution to this debate I propose to confine my remarks to colonial affairs. I have waited for an opportunity of making these few remarks because there are certain things which I feel ought to be said on this occasion. Perhaps I may begin by congratulating Her Majesty's Government on their recent publication of the Paper (Cmnd. 1193), Service with Overseas Governments. Her Majesty's Government have now faced, with understanding and sympathy, the problems—which are very considerable and very important—of a continuing and diminishing Colonial Service; and although in the past that understanding and sympathy have, as I have felt, and have said in this House, been rather lacking, this problem is now certainly being dealt with in that spirit. I believe that that will be of great importance in obtaining the officers and the best Service which is so vital to these emerging territories.
Next, I should like to acid my tribute to the immense importance of visits overseas by the Royal Family. During my service all over the world I have constantly had impressed upon me what I have seen in the immense affection and 127 respect which is felt for the Royal Family—an affection and respect which, while it is sometimes not felt for the British Government, never fails to be felt for the Royal Family. I should like to add my tribute to the immense services which they render in that way to the Commonwealth.
In passing, I should like to say, too, that those of us who had the privilege—and many Members of your Lordships' House did—of being present as guests of the Nigerian Government at their recent independence celebrations, even those of us who knew the country well, were immensely impressed and almost astonished at the universal exhibition of good will and of dignified gratitude towards this country, and of recognition of what they owed to the work of hundreds of people in all walks of life, not only those in the Services but the bankers, traders and miners who helped them towards that auspicious occasion. I had a personal experience of the amazement felt by some leading Americans at what they saw. One leading American said to me, which was a very refreshing experience, "I guess that you people have something to teach us, after all."
To pass on from that, I now come to the paragraph in the gracious Speech dealing with the Constitution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Although I feel that this is not the occasion to go into the Monckton Report (and I do not propose to do so in any detail), yet I believe that those who look at it in the way I do could hardly let this occasion pass without saying something in a general way to indicate how profoundly we differ from much that is therein recommended. I appreciate the immense amount of trouble which has gone into the preparation of that Report. But, my Lords, if we look at the constitution of the Monckton Commission we see that after the retirement of one member there were 25 members, and the Report is signed by all of them, except 2 who wrote a Minority Report, and that leaves 23. Of the 23 who signed the general Report, 16 did it with reservations.
If we read carefully those reservations we see that they, practically speaking, destroy a great deal of the recommenda- 128 tions; and the one thing that stands is their very valuable study and description of the immense value of the Federation and what a disaster it would be if it were broken up. I mention that because I think it would be a pity if a public impression were created that the recommendations of that Report had the approval of a big majority of the Commission, because many of the reservations would lead one to qualify any such opinion. In fact, I feel that the Report as signed gave a facade of unity which was not really there.
When the British Government set out to prepare a country for independence they surely have to consider the creation of something of an entity to Which authority can reasonably be handed over; and many of the recommendations of this Commission seam to me to strike at the strength, the necessary strength, of a Federation of this kind if it is to have that authority handed over to it. And in the Report the transfer of functions from the centre to the units seems to me to be overdone, and the Federation is being apparently emasculated to pacify a largely emotional prejudice of the African inhabitants of two, at any rate, of the constituent territories. The danger is that the anemic remnant of the Federation would be unable to excite fear, but it would also fail to command the respect or the confidence which is absolutely necessary for its economic future.
The Commission themselves have set forth the difficulties with a clarity that is refreshing. Then they proceed to put up proposals which, in my opinion and in the opinion of many other administrators, simply would not work. To look at just one instance, defence, we find that that is an important subject which is left nominally to the Federation. We are told that the Federal Government must not use defence forces in any territory for the purposes of internal security except at the request of the Territorial Government; that the Federal Government must not use these forces outside of the territory except with the permission of Her Majesty's Government; and that it must not raise, train or maintain military forces in time of peace except after consultation with Territorial Governments. My Lords, if you do not raise and train forces in time of peace, it is 129 not likely that you are going to have them ready in time of war. Apart from that it seems to me that the basic quesition one should ask of recommendations of this kind is: Do they and will they work? I think that an examination on that basis would reveal that they are largely concessions to the popular policy of giving way firmly all along the line.
My Lords, responsible government by irresponsible people is just an imperial contradiction. If you look at the composition proposed for the Federal Legislature, you find it is not a progressive scheme. I have always been brought up to believe, and I do believe, that the right way to self-government is by a series of stages. Agreed, your only hope of getting consent is not to have radical reforms all in a lump, but to do it in stages for which you can get general approbation. The proposal that you should have 30 Africans on one side and 30 Europeans on the other is at once giving to this Council a racial basis which we are told is the thing that every effort should be made to avoid. It seems to me, too—this has been said already to-day, I think—that the African extremists are bound to take the Monckton Report as a minimum from which to operate; and that, in itself, I suggest is a pity, to use very mild words for it. It seems to me that, in order to make the Federation acceptable in theory, the Commission have made it impossible in practice.
I do not want to go into details, because I understand that another opportunity will arise later on. I appreciate that change is necessary—we all do—but change, surely, should be, as I have said, a continuing process, piecemeal; and I believe that it is an error to think that there is a formula or a pattern or a balance of representation which will serve as a final solution to problems in human relations. That, as I see it, is not the way in which you will solve them. You will not find in this Report any assessment of whether Africans in Central Africa have been trained to carry the responsibilities of government and administration. You will not find any information regarding how many African graduates there are; or how many professional men; or of the highest level reached by an African in any branch of the Civil Service, industry or 130 commerce. All such practical considerations are ignored.
Let us go back for a moment to 1938, when another Royal Commission, under the chairmanship of the then Lord Bledisloe, reported on this question of federation. They said that federation was unlikely to succeed while the countries enjoyed such different measures of responsibility and were in such different stages of social and political development. To my mind, that is the real kernel of the question. How does anybody suppose that they could be comfortable companions in a Federation, when one has had, over a long period of years, responsible government with people trained to exercise it, and in the other two Protectorates there is nobody of that kind among the indigenous population but they are governed entirely by expatriates working under the authority of Whitehall?
I suggest that if we have to examine why these difficulties have arisen, it is rather a mistake to blame Southern Rhodesia and the people there, as is so easily and frequently done, for some alleged deficiencies in their attitudes. Neither Southern Rhodesia nor the Federal Government has had any power whatever over many of the things for which they have been blamed. That has rested with the Territorial Governments. And who, my Lords, is responsible for the Territorial Governments and for the progress, or otherwise, of the Africans in those Protectorates? The responsibility and the guilt lies here in London, in Whitehall. When the Federation was founded in 1952 or 1953, why did not the powers that be in London say: "We do not envisage any further progress towards independence in this Federation until we have brought the Africans in the two Protectorates to a stage where there are many of them who can carry responsibilities and who are able to play a genuine and responsible part in the government of their country"? I do not think I am being unfair in saying that that was not done, and now they are suffering a good deal as a result.
If one looks at the Report of the Monckton Commission one finds it is recorded even there—a surprising thing to me, but apparently it is so—that the majority of Africans in Southern 131 Rhodesia are not against federation; they are rather in favour of it. And why, my Lords? Because the Federation is bringing about changes in Southern Rhodesia and the Africans there see opportunities for participation in political power and have therefore tended to favour it. The African in the two Protectorates is no better educated and no better equipped to run a Government than his opposite number in the Congo.
I suggest that if we do not want to see at least those two constituent parts of the Federation relapsing into a similar chaos, we ought to think very seriously about some of the recommendations of this Commission. I do not want to say any more about it than that now, but I felt it a pity that these recommendations should have been allowed to go forward, for some time now, before we had an opportunity of debating them in detail and putting forward some of the very grave objections which I and many others feel toward a lot of the recommendations discussed. We have been invited by the Commission to take the Report as a whole. Probably that is what I should find very hard to digest, because I think it would have fatal results and would not in any way serve the purpose which has been envisaged for it.
I want to conclude by making one brief reference to the Bill for independence for Sierra Leone, and to say how greatly I welcome that and wish it all success under the able guidance of Sir Milton Margai, a remarkable man, now Chief Minister in that country.
§ 9.11 p.m.
§ EARL ATTLEE
My Lords, a good deal of the debate to-day has been taken up by discussions of African affairs. We have had some notable speeches. I am very glad to welcome back to our debates my noble friend Lord Listowel, who will no doubt add to his previous experiences as he is fresh from West Africa. Having had only a short visit to the two Rhodesias, I think that I should be better advised to leave this to the experts and follow the advice of the noble Lord who has just sat down and not discuss the Monckton Report. Anyway, at this time of the evening, a short speech is desirable. I have great 132 sympathy with the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary in having had to listen to speeches, not of one hour but of two, three or four hours, and I am sure that anything I can do to shorten the burden of his hearing would be welcome.
The noble Earl gave a rather melancholy account of the meeting of the United Nations. It seems to have been dominated by the speeches of Mr. Khrushchev. I gather that the noble Earl thought that the main object of Mr. Khrushchev was to impress the delegates from Asia and Africa. This, it appears, he failed to do because, coming from more civilised countries, they all had better manners and did not appreciate the rather curious efforts of Mr. Khrushchev. I sometimes wonder what to make of the motives of Mr. Khrushchev. It may be that he desired to impress the Asian and African delegates. On the other hand, it may have been merely for home consumption. After all, he had had a bit of trouble at home. He scrapped a great deal of what Mr. Stalin did, and there may be "hot-gospellers" at home who had to be impressed by all this temperament. There is a third possibility. Perhaps he wanted to throw his weight about because his ascendancy is rather seriously menaced by a greater personality, that of Mr. Mao Tse-tung. It is very awkward, when you have succeeded to the leadership, to find yourself cut out by somebody else. After all, in comparison to the achievements of Mr. Mao Tse-tung. Mr. Khrushchev is comparatively "small beer".
Be that as it may, it is obvious that Mr. Khrushchev was in a difficult mood. There is nothing to be gained by thinking that we can achieve something by a moral gesture to the Communist world. To suggest that by making some high moral act we shall be followed by the Communist world is to make the same mistake that Mr. Chamberlain made in thinking that Hitler would appreciate a gesture of that kind. These are not people who act with any moral sentiment whatever. If you want to work with the Communists you have to do something that appeals to their self-interest. Therefore I am not surprised at the difficulties. It does mean that we in the Western world have to be careful 133 that we do not give opportunities for Communist propaganda.
Without going into the questions in Africa, there is no doubt at all that there is a considerable feeling that the Union of South Africa is not a great source of strength to the Western World in supporting the principles of freedom and democracy. Nor are we alone in this difficulty. I cannot think—although I know that it is a difficult problem—that the actions of the French in Algeria help us very much. I am not even sure that all the activities of the United States are very well calculated. I am entirely in agreement with the Foreign Secretary about the need for maintaining our firm Alliance with our American friends, but I sometimes think that we do not lead enough and are a little apt to follow America when they are demonstrably wrong.
A point that struck me particularly in the gracious Speech was that our Government, quite rightly, are out for disarmament and to make disarmament a success. But what prospect is there of getting world disarmament if we leave out China, with her 600 million people? Year after year we get these debates at U.N.O., and I think there is a growing opposition to the obstinacy of the United States of America in refusing to admit the Republic of China into the United Nations. I was speaking on this subject the other day and a questioner said to me, most pertinently: "Do you really think that you ought to let China into the United Nations, seeing the way she behaves?" "Well," I said, "not all the members of the United Nations are exactly blameless in this matter; and you really cannot expect a person to observe the rules of the club when you will not let him into the club." Hitherto America has been obdurate. I agree that one could not expect anything different in an Election year. I am quite sure that it would be impossible for the candidates in a Presidential Election to take anything other than the present official line. But in my experience there are a great many thoughtful people in the United States who think that it is about time that we got away from this hopeless attempt at ignoring the existence of a State of 600 million people.
It seems to me that there is no real prospect of getting anything like dis- 134 armament, whether partial or total, so long as China is excluded from the United Nations. So long as that position obtains, China will continue to take a more and more active part in causing trouble. And why should she not? Therefore I feel that, before the next meeting of the United Nations, this country should give a lead and not just follow slavishly what I consider to be the mistaken policy of the United States of America. Someone has said—and it may be true—that we have ceased to be a first-class Power. We still wield a first-class influence in the world, however, and as a matter of fact what we do does influence many people.
I suggest it is quite unrealistic at this stage to try to keep out of the government of the world a great people like the Chinese. I am not suggesting that a gesture of this sort will necessarily change the line of the Communists in China, but it may well be that as the Chinese progress—and they are making considerable progress—in building up that country, we shall find a certain change, as I think we discern already in Russia, where material prosperity leads them to be not quite so ready as they might have been 20 or 40 years ago to set the whole world in a blaze. The only real hope for getting disarmament and peace is when those countries which do not accept our outlook realise that it is in their interests to have a peaceful world and believe that their ideology will win. I have not the slightest doubt that ours will win, so I do not mind in the least competing on ideological terms. It is no good being afraid of the Communists. But I am quite convinced that unless you bring China into the United Nations you will not make any impressionable advance in the Disarmament Conference.
I further believe that you will not make a great advance in disarmament until you have made repeated alterations in the constitution and powers of the United Nations. I have watched these negotiations for disarmament over a great period of years now. However much you may debate questions of this kind or that kind of weapon, in the end it all comes down to what is going to be the substitute for arms. Until you have a substitute, until you have, with disarmament, a world police force and a 135 court where its decisions can be enforced, you will not, I believe, make any great advance.
I have welcomed the line taken by Her Majesty's Government in being realistic by departing from old romantic notions and realising that we have one world to-day and a world that may be destroyed in almost a moment of time; and in having realistically declared that disarmament must be our policy. But disarmament must be accompanied by some measure of control and by some method for the settlement of disputes, in the same way as we in this country did away with all private armies—except that belonging to the Duke of Atholl; we disarmed all armies but one—and provided that if there is any trouble resort must be had to the courts. Until we can get the world to do that, hope for disarmament will be illusory.
§ 9.23 p.m.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL AND MINISTER FOR SCIENCE (VISCOUNT HAILSHAM)
My Lords, as several noble Lords have reminded us, the debate on the humble Address is an opportunity to speak, as perhaps we too seldom do, in generalities, and it really precludes the close examination of detail. Of course, it follows from this that the task of the member of the Government whose duty it is to reply to the debate at any stage of it is by that much more difficult, because I feel, too, that it is our duty to try once a year to see the wood for the trees; and by the time a day's debate is completed a good many trees have been planted in the wood which were not growing at 2.30 in the afternoon.
My first thought is to try not to mar in any way the remarkable impression made by the speech of my noble friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. And, having said that, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, for his friendly and generous tribute to that speech, which I think came so much the more effectively from a member of the Opposition. I should like to say this for myself—perhaps it is more than I should say as a colleague: my noble friend spoke with authority and clarity, and to my mind Britain is hungry for authority and clarity in this realm of policy.
136 We are all to blame for this. It is no criticism, either of the Government or any member of it, or of the Opposition. We are afraid of offending our friends. We do not wish to add' o the difficulties of a dangerous situation. And therefore sometimes in our own minds, we deliberately blur the issue and do not say the things which need to be said to one another. But as my noble friend observed, if we are to succeed in foreign policy it will be because the people know that the Government mean the same things that the people mean; but for this to be the case things must be said with great clarity and great force. And my noble friend said the things with great clarity and force this afternoon. Indeed, to my mind not since Sir Winston Churchill ceased speaking upon great matters of international import has the British public heard more plain speaking than came from my noble friend this afternoon, and I think this is something wholly to be welcomed. Not only is it wholly to be welcomed, but it is something which the House has welcomed, I think, from all sides, with great generosity.
I came to this debate myself without a set speech of any kind. It is my duty to wind up the proceedings and not to add to the complexity of the argument. But I do not think that I should be wrong in starting by stressing the degree of unanimity which has really emerged from this debate. I shall continue on that theme, if I may, as I deal with one side of the matter after another, but there is a refreshing contrast between this virtual unanimity on great matters and the frame of mind in which many people approach public affairs—that there is great need for criticism and opposition. Of course there is need for criticism and opposition where there is a genuine difference of opinion. But where members of different political organisations happen to agree about great issues there is none the less an outstanding duty to express that agreement; and I think that has been done. It is not the kind of agreement that comes from compulsion. Much of the argumentation which was attractive to one speaker would have been strange, and possibly even disagreeable, to the other, but the agreement emerged, and I think was real.
There was, I felt, a genuine desire, arising out of recent events, to tear away 137 the cobwebs of hypocrisy and humbug which conceal Communist aggression and imperialism and their attacks upon this country which provides an outstanding example to the world of a great Power deliberately enfranchising peoples who were hitherto subject. And this appeared not only from my noble friend's speech but also from the arresting speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury; from the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth; from the Liberal Benches, from the noble Lord, Lord 13everidge, and, I think, in a real sense from the thoughtful speech to which we have just listened from the noble Earl, Lord Attlee.
There is no advantage in concealing from ourselves the fact that the Communist leaders are pursuing a plan based on a theory which is perfectly well ascertained and very well publicized—a theory which is based upon a continuous struggle until Communism achieves world domination. Therein lies our difficulty. We do not want a continuous struggle. We do not want anyone to obtain world domination. We contend that our ideas should compete in a free atmosphere with theirs because we believe that ours are better. But we do not accept the theory of co-existence according to which, when we criticise their domination of their colonies in Hungary, Estonia and Lithuania, or the fact that half the control of Europe is subject to imperialism, and when we say things which need to be said, we are accused of disturbing international amity; whereas when they make false accusations against us about our policy in the Continent of Africa or elsewhere, then it is only part of the understanding of peaceful co-existence according to which alone we are permitted to survive. We are not prepared to accept that view of the subject. We must be free to speak our mind as well.
But there is a second fact which I think has gradually emerged—that is, the sad deterioration which has in fact taken place in international relationships during the last few months. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, put it in the last five years. He described himself as an elderly Cassandra. He spoke as if this marked deterioration were something about which no member of the Governrnent, could speak frankly. But I think 138 it is something about which we could all agree, and which we could all agree to deplore.
I would very much agree, if I may pass to a relatively minor matter, with the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition, who pointed out that a small, but none the less important, aspect of the deterioration in international relationships which has been taking place is the gradual lowering of the standards of personal behaviour by great leaders to one another. When the world is in danger of destroying itself over deep differences, the least that statesmen can do is to treat each other with personal courtesy. Socially unacceptable behaviour in public places by great leaders arouses alarm and distrust and should not I believe, be tolerated by the public opinion of the world. This applies not only to the great leaders of great States, but sometimes to the rather smaller leaders of smaller States who, by carefully conditioned charades and exhibitions of hysteria, and exhibitionism, do not do much to increase the prestige in which their countries are held. With the noble Viscount, I would make a plea in international affairs for a return, where men differ, to the punctilio of courtesy wherever it can possibly be observed.
That again leads me to make one observation which may be at variance with the public mood in one respect. Again I draw attention to the fact that we are all talking about how we can form an adequate and united Opposition to the present Government. I can assure noble Lords opposite that this talk is as rife in Conservative circles as elsewhere. But I would say quite seriously, as one replying for Her Majesty's Government in this debate., that my reading of the world situation is quite different. I believe that the Government will need all the support they can get in the next Session. I think the ride which we shall have in international affairs is going to be a rough one; and, speaking for myself, I should not be at all ashamed to appeal for public-minded support from noble Lords in the Liberal and Labour Parties where they feel that the policies we are enunciating—as some of them, I believe, certainly do; or might be thought to do, from the result of the debate to-day—represent not the opinion of one Party but the opinion of 139 Britain in international affairs. Because there is one thing, I believe, that emerges very clearly from this debate: we are all very convinced, and none more so than myself, that Britain has an influential part to play in the world to-day.
It is not that we wish to arbitrate between the fire brigade and the fire. It is not that we are disloyal to our alliances or untrue to principles of law and freedom in which we all believe. But there is about this country a kind of restraint, a maturity, a tolerance and a great experience in maintaining its own integrity without necessarily breaking the peace, which is very much needed in the present day, and which can be spoken well by the leaders of this country, in places like the United Nations and elsewhere where the statesmen of the world congregate, if those leaders can be seen to speak not only with the authority of a Party but with the authority of the nation behind them.
We hear a great deal nowadays about personalities of nations—the African personality, the Asian personality and the New Man of Soviet Russia; but Britain has her personality, too, and that personality very largely consists in the power of expressing differences of opinion without offence and the power of not pressing issues to the point at which it is impossible to keep the peace; the power of self-restraint and maturity in human relationships which is badly needed in the present state of the world to-day. And I should think myself that we have a duty to show those qualities and to play that part.
One of the solutions put forward with which I personally very much agreed was the need to build up in that part of the world which is not Communist and with which we can therefore deal in terms of complete friendship and partnership a new and closer relationship than that which has existed heretofore. Again, I would agree with what was said by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, when he made pleas for this kind of thing; and that, I would say, is very largely the meaning of our foreign policy. We have been trying to build up not only our relationship with the United States, not only our relationship with the Common 140 wealth—now so largely a Commonwealth composed of nations of many racial origins and many religious backgrounds—and not only our relations with Europe; but we have tried and are trying to build up these three groups of our friends into a solid and interdependent network of economic and political relationships which really can challenge the Communist world with its success.
We believe that the time has gone by in the free world where a single Power can hope to achieve this object by itself. It is not (as some have suggested) that we are no longer a first-class Power. We believe that it is equally true that America, with all her additional wealth, population and military strength, cannot achieve the necessary power to withstand the Communist world. We believe that Europe, the Commonwealth and America can together build up something which can be a force for good, which can do these things; and I would say this, notwithstanding that I agree—as I do—with what the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, reminded us of in the speech to which we listened with so much pleasure. I think it is a mistake, as he said, to try to persuade those who wish to remain neutralist at the moment to join our camp in any positive or aggressive sense. I think it is a wrong way of approach.
But, none the less, we can by a system of trade, by a system of cultural relationships, by the many points of contact that we have, build a friendship with them in which they come to see that they too believe sincerely in the moral values for which we stand. And if, at the end, they come to see that the Communist world does not stand for them at all, but rather for the opposite, that will be not as a result of our persuasion, which I think would be misguided, but as a result of their experience, which will not be our fault.
I would therefore say that the second theme which emerged from this debate was that the way in which to deal with the deterioration in the international relationships from our side was, first, the clear enunciation of the differences between ourselves and the Communists, and, second, the attempt to build up this system of interdependence between 141 nations with whom our interests are so closely allied.
Then, again, I think there was no doubt in anybody's mind that we must carry on, according to the light which we see, with the policy which we have been endeavouring to pursue in the Commonwealth and in our former colonial and actual colonial dependencies. We cannot be deterred from our objective in conferring independence—the moral basis, as I think my noble friend put it, of our colonial policy. Nor can we he blackmailed into abandoning the need for each step as we take it to be a step of practical value, capable of standing the test of experience, as I think he also put it.
And, my Lords, this is where I should like to say a little about some of the things which have been spoken about Africa. Another place to-morrow will have an opportunity of debating the Monckton Report, and we ourselves shall be debating it in exactly a fortnight's time. I do not think, therefore, that I should be acting within my terms of reference, whatever may be true of Lord Monckton, if I were to deal in any detail with that subject to-night. But I should like to say one or two things which may have a certain bearing on it.
My Lords, never very far from our minds, and not often from our words when we spoke about this, was the lesson of the Congo, which we all deplore: the opportunity for Communist infiltration and cynicism and opportunism which it has afforded, as my noble friend said, wholly regardless of the interests of the African population, who are the first and the worst sufferers from what has taken place. But what is the correct lesson of the Congo? Of course, it is true that a certain responsibility must be borne by Those who over a long period of years did not prepare the administrative apparatus and skills in the population to wham power was to be given, which would enable them to exercise that power efficiently. That must be true. I hope that other people—perhaps it is not so appropriate for ourselves, but I hope that other people, at least—may learn as a result of the Congo to sympathise with our difficulties in Eastern and Central Africa, where nothing similar has happened.
142 I should like to say this, too, to those in East Africa—and I listened with great interest and admiration to the speech of my noble friend behind me, Lord Hastings—who certainly have written to many of us during the course of the past few months. I am not now going to talk about the exchange of communications between the two Prime Ministers. I had myself understood that communications of that kind were confidential, and I see much advantage in maintaining the confidential character of those communications. But I will, of course, bring to the attention of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister what the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said to the Government about the matter this evening. But there really is no ground for mistrust of Her Majesty's Government in this respect.
Of course, in our policy we have had to take risks during the past few months and years. There is nothing you can do, or fail to do, in this field which is not risky. It is risky if you transfer power; it is risky if you seek to retain it. We took a great risk this summer with regard to Somaliland; and so far, we may. I think, congratulate ourselves that that risk was justified, although it would be foolish for anybody to predict anything with confidence about any part of Africa at the present time. The risks of inaction are as serious as the risks of action. If I were to speak with confidence about what has happened so far, I might in six months' time be accused of dangerous complacency. But I would, none the less, point out this fact: since 1945 we have given to the populations of the world—to about 650 million of them, which is something like a quarter of the world's population—complete independence. The greatest example, if not the first, is that of India and Pakistan, for which the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, was responsible when he was Prime Minister. We have enfranchised one people after another; and I will say this seriously to our white friends in Kenya and Rhodesia who are, quite genuinely and naturally, concerned about their future. In not one case—I speak subject to contradiction—where we have given independence so far has there yet developed a general attack on British lives and property.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear!143
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
Not one. There never has been a case like the Congo so far, thank God! This is not entirely due to chance. We have not treated our fellow subjects as expendable; nor will we ever do so. On the contrary, with a sober sense of our responsibility to ourselves and others, we have done what we thought was right. Where, before independence (as in Malaya, and as in Kenya, with Mau Mau) there has been a general attack upon European lives and property, we have fought that attack and we have broken that attack before giving independence.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
Just for the sake of correctness I would point out that in Malaya the attack on the whites was a Communist attack, not a Nationalist one.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I absolutely agree with the noble Lord. I was speaking in terms of a general attack—not a Nationalist attack but a general attack, upon European lives and property. Wherever that has happened, we have in fact fought it; we have broken it—and we have broken it, let it be added, with the consent, and often the active support, of the population concerned, who themselves have very often been the first and the worst victims of such an attack.
Therefore, I would say only this tonight: that, as we look at things at a distance and in general, without examining, them in detail, there is nothing, whatever in our colonial record, either in giving independence or in withholding it, to justify any mistrust, either on the part of our European fellow subjects in Rhodesia or on the part of those who are outside the ambit of the Commonwealth and who seem to fear that we shall be slow in granting independence where independence is justified. I would sincerely say that we must carry on our mission in this respect, and I would sincerely hope that we do not necessarily get bogged down in too detailed discussion, provided that we can create and deserve the confidence of the people of all races upon which alone this policy can ultimately succeed.
144 There are only two things I should like to mention, in conclusion, about our policy in this realm of affairs. We must not forget, despite the clarity with which it has now become our duty to state our differences between ourselves and the Communists, despite the absolutely ruthless and relentless way in which the general theory of Communism is now being applied, in one field after another, with great versatility, with great brutality and with great cynicism, that none the less our ultimate objective is, as the gracious. Speech observes,the improvement of relations between East and West".I believe that we can claim not only to have public opinion behind us when we are trying to do that, but also to have earned the confidence of the whole world in our sincerity in so doing.
There was a time—I think it is now past—when should one profess moderation in such matters one was suspected of disloyalty to one's Allies or to one's own country. But, as I say, I think that time has passed. The Prime Minister has established the absolute integrity and sincerity of his endeavours in this respect. Moderation is not the same thing as weakness, and there never was a time in the history of the world when both integrity and moderation were more in demand.
Of course it is true—I would never pretend otherwise to this House—that, so far as one can tell from available evidence, the Communists have not deviated one iota from the full measure of their ultimate ambitions. I can see no evidence that they have. Indeed, sometimes one has been tempted to wonder whether to the dangers of the general theory which professes the inevitability of struggle, if not of war, there was not added a certain degree of personal instability, wrongheadedness and inability to control emotions. But, my Lords, at the end of the day, if we are to succeed in what we have in mind we have to succeed without war, whatever may be the truth about the Communist theory. We have to achieve a situation in which the Communist theory, as the result of long experience 145 with the West, has become modified to the extent that we can live together in a real and absolute sense. I believe that in that endeavour, which is a highly difficult and responsible one, Great Britain has an honourable and important rôle to play, and I think that to-day's debate will afford some measure of the unity and determination with which we intend to play it.
§ Moved, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Lord Silkin.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly until tomorrow.
§ House adjourned at six minutes before ten o'clock.