§ 2.51 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON rose to call attention to the international situation; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is the last opportunity that we shall have to discuss foreign affairs, before Parliament rises for the Christmas Recess. The world has many troubles and problems, and it is sad to reflect that at this season of peace and goodwill there are two continents with areas of armed conflict.
§ The Congo crisis has received a good deal of Parliamentary attention and public attention in recent days, because of its special urgency. Here the United Nations has been compelled to use armed force, despite its efforts to implement the policy of the Security Council by peaceful means. But there are other urgent problems which should receive our attention to-day. There is the question of East-West relations, and whether there are going to be negotiations on Berlin and other matters relating to European security. Then there is the question of nuclear tests and also the question of general disarmament. These and many other problems that might be mentioned confront us now, and the way in which they are dealt with and decided will have an important effect on the changing world's life in the years to come.
§ I do not think there can be any doubt that, on the handling of some of these problems, there is division and disagreement among the Western Allies. We know that they have been disunited on Congo policy. It seems clear that there are divisions on the question of East-West negotiations. Neither the personal consultations nor the formal conferences which have recently taken place has produced the degree of unity of mind and action which is a basic need of the free world to-day.
§ Therefore we welcome the immediate visit of the Prime Minister and the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, to Bermuda, where they are to have intimate talks with President Kennedy and his Secretary of State. I regard this as of the highest importance. If the meeting succeeds in bringing our two countries to a new harmony of policy and action, and in recording a common view 507 that in the interests of the West and of the peace of the world East-West negotiations must be opened, it may prove to be of historic importance. Certainly, we all hope for productive results.
My Lords, as I have stated, the Congo, and especially Katanga, is the most urgent and also perhaps the most controversial issue of the moment. It has raised strong emotions in some quarters and has led to an outpouring of criticism of the United Nations' action in Katanga. Some of the criticism has been very intemperate; for instance, the statement by Sir Roy Welensky that the record of United Nations' representatives in Katanga
is one long succession of deliberate distortions and untruths uttered to suit their own purposes.
§ I can only describe this as an outrageous attack by a Prime Minister on responsible international civil servants, a bald accusation without any evidence to support it.
§ I am not going to take up time covering the history of the present Katanga crisis. What I will say is that I have read all the reports sent by the officer in charge of the United Nations' operations in the Congo to the Secretary-General since September 24. To me it is clear beyond doubt that the foreign military and para-military personnel, political advisers and mercenaries have been throughout a major, indeed a decisive, influence in provoking violence and frustrating the cease-fire.
In almost the last communication to Mr. Tshombe from the late Secretary-General, Mr. Hammarskjoeld said:
The efforts to bring about a cease-fire have failed for reasons which we do not know but which seem to derive from the opposition of those responsible for military operations in Katanga.
When, at a later date, a cease-fire was achieved, it was these same elements who were responsible for its being flouted, time and again. And it was also those same elements whose attacks on the United Nations' forces and their lines of communication compelled the United Nations' forces to take defensive action.
§ Charges have been made that the United Nations' efforts have been directed to smashing the Katangan forces, deposing Mr. Tshombe and com- 508 pelling Katanga to submit to the will of the Central Government. I regard these as irresponsible charges. Indeed, it seems to me that there are anti-United Nations elements, both in this country and elsewhere, who are becoming quite unrestrained in their denunciation and denigration of the United Nations, and who seem to be prepared to inflict upon it as much damage as possible. This, to me, is one of the most disturbing features of the Katanga issue, but I am quite confident that these elements will make a great mistake if they think that they will be allowed to get away with their campaign to destroy the United Nations.
§ My Lords, from Katanga itself a good deal of confused and contradictory information has been issued about the way in which the United Nations' troops have acted. They have been accused of firing on non-military targets, installations and civil buildings. It has been difficult to sort out fact from rumour, and to discover—as I asked in a question last week —whether these places have been used as fire positions by the Katanga forces themselves. I believe that there has been a good deal of misrepresentation and false propaganda, with the deliberate intention of discrediting the United Nations. I hope, therefore, that in due course the United Nations will setup a Commission which will make a study of the conduct of the operation, establish the facts and publish a report.
§ There may, of course, have been errors of judgment made in the conduct of the United Nations' military action; but what is plain to see and understand is that aggression was on the part of the Katanga forces and that the United Nations' command was compelled to take action to keep open their lines of communication and to defend themselves. No political consideration entered into it, and I cannot understand why they should be so severely criticised and denounced for taking action to defend themselves. Throughout, the United Nations' operation has been conducted strictly within the terms of the mandate which they received from he Security Council. The United Kingdom is apermanent member, and, notwithstanding that the Government opposed the provision for the use of force, if necessary, in the Resolution of Novem 509 ber 24, they are committed under Article 25 of the Charter to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council. Legally, they were bound to co-operate. The Government have not clone so. They did not agree with the use of force as authorised by the Resolution and they have maintained their opposition.
My Lords, this has led me to wonder whether the timing of the cease-fire proposal made by Her Majesty's Government was not dictated by internal political considerations. Was there any prior consultation with the United States, or any discussion with the Secretary-General? We know now that the United States do not agree with the BritishGovernment's call for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire. What is more, The Times Washington correspondent, when reportingthe Acting Secretary of State's statement rejecting a cease-fire until the minimum objects of the United Nations have been achieved, went on to state that
Anglo-American differences on the conduct of Congo policy are as serious as any since the Suez crisis of 1956".
The British call has already been rejected by the Acting Secretary-General with the unanimous support of his 19-nation Advisory Committee, which includes a number of Commonwealth countries. The Government's single-handed effort has failed. Now there is Mr. Tshombe's appeal to President Kennedy, asking for his mediation in the Congo dispute. He is prepared to meet Mr. Adoula. The United Nations' troops have successfully restored the freedom of their communications and the security of the United Nations' personnel in Elisabethville. A cease-fire may soon become practicable. We must all hope so, because none of us wants to see violence continued in the form of guerrilla warfare and a further deterioration of conditions in Katanga. I sincerely hope that President Kennedy will succeed in his efforts to bring Mr. Adoula and Mr. Tshombe together (perhaps, also, Mr. Gizenga) at a neutral spot, to work out the principles of a political agreement on the basis of the integrity of the Congo. To end conflict and toget a constitutional settlement is, I am sure, what all of us would like to see achieved as speedily as possible.
§ My Lords, I come back now to Europe. There may be some tempted to think that from the moment that Mr. Khrushchev withdrew the end of the year as the deadline for signing a separate peace treaty with East Germany there had ceased to be a crisis over Berlin. But I feel sure that the Foreign Secretary and the Government have not lost sight of the fact that Mr. Khrushchev has not changed his decision that a separate peace treaty will be signed with East Germany. If the Soviet Union reached the conclusion that the Western Powers were not prepared to negotiate on Berlin, they would soon go ahead with signing a separate treaty, and the Western position in relation to the freedom of Berlin and access to the city from the West will be greatly weakened, and we shall be faced with the need to negotiate from a position of diplomatic weakness.
This question of East-West negotiations has received a good deal of attention from Western statesmen during recent months. It was a subject of discussion last week, both by the Western Foreign Ministers and by the N.A.T.O. Council. I hope we may hear from the Foreign Secretary as much as he feels able to tell the House at this stage. I am certainly not asking him to disclose any cards. The Press has given the impression that the Foreign Ministers were no nearer agreement at the conclusion of their talks than they had been at the opening. We have also been told that the resumption of diplomatic contacts by the United Kingdom and the United States with Soviet Russia was approved after what The Times Paris correspondent described as
one of the most fretful meetings ever held by the Atlantic Council".
President de Gaulle remains adamant. The impression has been put about that since Dr. Adenauer's vist to Paris a fortnight ago there has been an increasing tendency to sympathise with the French point of view, and that this negative approach has some support in other Allied countries. It is of course true that evidence could be found for the view that conditions for successful negotiation have not beenhelped in recent weeks. Certainly we must condemn the pressures which the Soviet Union
have brought to bear upon the Scandinavian nations—first Finland, then Norway and, later, Denmark. Austria, too, is under severe pressure as a result of her decision to make an approach to the Six to discuss the establishment of some form of association with the European Economic Community. I do not think that it can be denied thatthe Austrian Government has been scrupulous in emphasising its neutral status and its refusal to become committed to any of the political aims of the Common Market. She hardly needs to be reminded by Moscow of the responsibilities of the neutral and exposed position in which she finds herself between the Powers of N.A.T.O. and of the Warsaw Pact.
§ From the Western side there have also been statements which, to say the least, hardly increase the prospects for successful negotiations. When Dr. Erhard, in the absence of Dr. Adenauer, read the long-awaited policy statement of the new Federal German Government to the Bundestag on November 29, he appeared to adopt a rather inflexible position. The statement gave far more restricted approval to the principle of East-West negotiations than many of us had expected, and laid great stress on German reunification, which none of us regards as practicable in the immediate future. Dr. Erhard said that the problem of European security could be discussed only in connection with the restoration of German unity, and could not be linked with the Berlin crisis. The emphasis was almost entirely on the strengthening of the military capabilities of the West, and left little hope of early and productive negotiations.
§ On the other hand, my Lords, there have also been some encouraging moves. In particular, I want to pay warm tribute to the admirable statement of policy which President Kennedy made to the editor of Izvestia and which was subsequently published in full in that newspaper. He made it clear that the Western Powers would not fail in their commitments to the people of West Berlin, neither in terms of providing effective guarantees of their freedom and right to choose their own Government, nor of the unwillingness of the Western Allies to retract from their position in Berlin or from their right of access to 512 Berlin. It was a good thing that the Russian people, as well as the Soviet Government, should be left in no doubt about this.
But at the same time the President showed a genuine willingness to enter into negotiations with the Soviet Union. He gave an encouraging response to the idea of an agreement between the Power blocs to live in peace with each other in Europe. He said:
I think it would be helpful if N.A.T.O. and the Warsaw Pact engaged in a commitment to live at peace with each other. I certainly believe that we should take every conceivable step to prevent surprise attack. I believe that if the relations between our two countries can be normalised, there will be less military builds-up by both sides".
My Lords, I feel sure, in the light of the speeches he has made in this House, that the Foreign Secretary must have found himself in pretty close accord with the views expressed by President Kennedy in the interview to which I have referred. It seems to me that Britain and America are in close harmony, at least about East-West negotiations.
§ I know there are some in this country, and many more on the Continent, who are opposed to negotiations on the ground that, as they believe, they will end in the West's having to make concessions. But to negotiate does not mean to surrender. Negotiations are not successful if one side alone is to make concessions; both sides must do so, otherwise the negotiations will fail. I hope, therefore, that the British and the American Governments will carry on with their diplomatic probings in an endeavour to find an agreed basis for productive negotiations.
§ In our last debate on Foreign Affairs, I put forward a number of suggestions for the Foreign Secretary's consideration. I am not going to repeat them to-day. I will add only one. We should endeavour to establish some agreement on the limitation of armaments in the whole of Central Europe. Frequently from this side of the House we have urged the Government to undertake the studies which the Prime Minister promised after his return from Moscow in 1959. The case that was put then is even more relevant to-day.
§ There is no doubt that there is a genuine fear in Eastern Europe of the 513 prospect of a West Germany armed with nuclear weapons; and it is probable that we could not secure from the Germans a willingness forever to deprive themselves of these weapons and to submit to some form of inspection system, unless we were able to secure similar agreement and effective inspection in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland. There is never, in such negotiations as these, any point in asking one side to make concessions which are not balanced by concessions from the other, and in seeking such an arms limitation agreement, East and West have something in common.
§ At the same time as urging that the Western Powers should now seek an agreed position to negotiate, and should in the meantime refrain from actions which would make those negotiations Jess fruitful, I must direct with even greater force that appeal to the Communist leaders. It does not help for Mr. Khrushchev to make threatening noises about nuclear weapons of even greater magnitude than 100 megatons. We shall not be cowed by any such reminders of the destructive forces available to the Soviet Union. It is clear to all of us that each side has the ability to destroy the other. Neither is it helpful for the Soviet Union to insist that, though West Berlin is not part of West Germany, East Berlin is part of East Germany. He should remember that a special form of Government was set up for the whole of Berlin, and building a wall through the middle of the City, and insisting that the wall makes East Berlin part of East Germany, is simply to emphasise the extent to which the Soviet Union has broken previous agreements.
§ Finally, my Lords, I want to say a word about disarmament. In the field of disarmament there is also a debit and credit side to the balance sheet. On the debit side, we have, of course, seen the breakdown of the tests moratorium and the series of fifty nuclear explosions—one now estimated at fifty-six megatons —conducted by the Soviet Union. These tests, which may have brought some tactical advantage to the Soviet Union, as well as emphasising again the massive weight of her nuclear potential, have led to the American decision also to test nuclear devices. Fortunately, the first five in the American series have 514 been underground, and I sincerely hope that the American Government will not feel it necessary to conduct tests in the atmosphere. For, apart from the danger of fall-out, it is difficult to believe that this would not lead to further Soviet tests and a never-ending round of nuclear explosions.
§ On the other hand, there has been much that we can welcome. Not nearly enough weight has been attached, in my opinion, to the statement of agreed principles for disarmament negotiations signed by the American and Russian Governments on September 20, and summing up a series of talks which have taken place between Mr. Mcloy and Mr. Zorin. This statement provides a real basis for a renewal of negotiations, and I was glad that the President, in his interview with Izvestia, laid such stress on the importance of the joint statement. There is now, in my opinion, enough common ground to warrant the early commencement of disarmament negotiations. I thus warmly welcome the announcement from New York that agreement has been reached by the Russians and Americans concerning the composition of a new Disarmament Commission—namely, five from N.A.T.O., five from the Warsaw Pact, with eight others to be drawn from the uncommitted nations. We have always urged that it was unreal to set up a Commission with none who could act as mediators, and we feel that the new Commission, which should start its work very soon, should have more chances of success than its predecessors.
§ My Lords, we are coming to the close of another troubled year, with all its difficulties, disappointments and anxieties. We are now within sight of a new year. I am confident that it is the hope of all of us that it may bring new opportunities to ease tension and to take positive steps toward achieving the conditions of a happier and more peaceful world, and that to this end Her Majesty's Government will play an active part. I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.20 p.m.
My Lords, I confess that when I decided to take the liberty of addressing your Lordships this afternoon, I did so with both trepidation and doubt. The world situation is so tense, as the 515 noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, that it is really a matter of opinion whether it is wise to air all our views at this particular time. However, we are scattering for the Christmas Recess and it might be wise that we should, I hope rather shortly, make clear how we stand, so that the Government may at least know the views that are held by the various Parties. This debate also gives us an opportunity to wish the very best luck and good success to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary when they go to Bermuda.
I hope that pressure will not be put upon the Government in this debate to say more than they want to say, because we appreciate the delicate position they are in. The world picture is in such a state that it is not easy to take a few steps back from the easel and regard the picture, to see what our contribution has been, artistic or inartistic, helpful or unhelpful. Since we cannot tell the Government what they should do and not do, perhaps I may give them a little idea of particular warnings in certain directions with examples of thingswe have perhaps approved and others of which perhaps we have not always approved.
It seems to us on this side of the House that one of the grave dangers in which this nation stands is that Her Majesty's Government, after ten years of office, are rather losing touch with the people who elected them, the people they were elected to represent—the British people, and not just the Conservative Party or even the best part of the Conservative Party. I have heard it said, not only in the Opposition Parties, not only in non-Party gatherings, but even among supporters of the Government, that it is a dangerous thing to be too long in office, when one tends to regard a temporary tenure of office as a sort of permanent Divine Right to impose the opinions of the few on the acceptance of the many.
Were we, as a country, living in isolation, as we used to do, this fault would be less serious, because in the course of time, by our rather clumsy electoral system, which not all of us support, we should probably come to some answer in the end. But in these days no country lives in isolation and in our prominent and historic position in international 516 affairs we have to be particularly careful that Britain is presented in true terms, without even involuntary slants of opinion. We have to express the wishes and decisions of the British people, not of individuals.
Those who are overseas regard us in some puzzlement about what is going to happen in future on the assumption that the Conservative Government are not everlasting. The people of this country feel that the Government are avoiding responsibility in failing to provide any facilities whatever to ensure that their successors, after they leave office, shall be other than, if I may say so, the equally unwanted Socialist Party. Of course, this is primarily internal politics, but I think that its impact on world affairs is serious, when Great Britain, still influenced in some degree by the heirs of Victorian imperialism, though they have not very much say to-day, vacillates and plunges into decisions and policies that have to be seductively and persuasively justified afterwards to the best of the Government's ability, instead of pursuing lines and giving leadership in accordance with the will of the electorate.
There is, at the moment, such a dominant fashion for what is loosely termed "leadership", which is a dangerous word—leadership in commerce, leadership in politics, leadership in youth clubs, leadership in character, in ambition, in planning British life—that if this goes on, it may put us in the position where nobody is left to be led and everybody will consider it a moral duty to lead in anydirection whatsoever, so long as competitive individuality is the unthinking criterion and leadership in vacuo is considered to be a prime virtue, which I do not believe it to be.
In an atmosphere like this, one cannot blame the Government for not knowing where to improvise next. But it is extremely undermining to national prestige and morale if this should result, in international affairs, in Britain being in danger of being regarded as increasingly unreliable and inconsistent. In the past, it has been historicallya fact that any one nation, believing in its own righteousness, was not automatically condemned for a unilateral stand against majority opinion; for in those days such an opinion was not co-ordinated, as it is to-day, by the pacific ideals of the League of Nations or the United 517 Nations; and, indeed, such an opinion was seldom disinterested.
But to-day, there exists a system of co-ordinated idealism; and when both large and small nations are facing bravely the uncomfortable but essential new theory of diminishing national sovereignty, I think that we must take a different look at this. Those nations which have enjoyed a very large measure of national sovereignty in the recent past are necessarily finding it more difficult to accept this new theory, and for them —for France and ourselves, in particular —the going is hard. But I think that the people of this country at least are prepared to take that course and go towards some relinquishment of national sovereignty. Therefore, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, it is disturbing to find in Great Britain an element virtually ready to consider contracting out of the Community of Nations rather than ready to make every effort to seek, by negotiation and conference and compromise and good will, some other way out of a position which, as in the Congo, is unpalatable and harsh and brimming over with difficulties of conscience and even of expediency.
On this side of the House, and particularly from the Liberal Benches, we have been troubled by the application of traditional, but what we think to be outdated, Tory methods applied to these problems, which in fact have only been solved or militated by the reversal of these policies and belated acceptance of the advice given by the Opposition Parties. I do not want to recriminate and I do not want to go back to the old word, "Suez". but your Lordships will remember that the position was saved only by a very belated recognition of the strength of hostile public opinion and the policy had to be put in reverse. Cyprus was a festering sore for many years. I am not going to recriminate, but the advice was given to the Government that they must meet these people somewhere on their own ground. The Government refused to take that advice, but in the end they had to come round to it and more liberal counsels prevailed.
The impasse in the situation in Berlin at last, as the noble Lord. Lord Henderson, said, shows signs of improve 518 ment, of approaching an easement through the abandoning of 19th century dogmatism in several quarters. Very recently, it has been interesting to note that the unswerving refusal of the present Government over many years and in both Houses of Parliament to support the entry of China into the United Nations has suddenly vanished into thin air, with no explanation of this sudden conversion to liberal equity. But we welcome it, belated though it be. Now we have the phenomenon of a Conservative Government advocating entry into the Common Market, to facilitate the lowering of tariffs and the freer movement of goods and peoples between the countries of the world. Of course, we very much welcome this adoption by the Conservative Party, after a hundred years of opposition, of the basic and fundamental free trade aims of the Liberal Party.
I am not going to say anything about the position in Goa, because it is too new, too delicate, too fresh. I do not think that anybody, except possibly the Foreign Secretary, can give us much information on that subject which would be of benefit to us.
Just to go back to the Congo and the incident of the cease fire, it seems to me, on the face of it, that to have a cease-fire is a most reasonable object. No one wants to see the present bloodshed continue, nor can there be any desire to see the United Nations become involved in indefinite and prolonged jungle warfare against guerrilla forces. But if the cease-fire simply means returning to the previous state of affairs, where the Katanga side can build up more hostility and more arms, and prepare Ito carry on the war, then I think it is not a cease-fire that we should wish at all. The point is: how are we to get anything better than that? I am glad to see that only two hours ago a message came through on the tape machine that the United Nations' Commander in the Congo said that he hoped the fighting would cease very soon. That, I think, is some of the most encouraging news that we have had for some time.
But as regards the cease fire itself, if your Lordships will bear with me, I should like to read an Amendment put down by the Liberal Party in another place in the debate on that subject. It 519 is a reasonably short Amendment which says:Recognising that it is in the interests of the West and of world peace that the United Nations operations in the Congo should not fail and that Her Majesty's Government should take no step which might contribute to such failure, this House"—that is, the other place—would support a formal request to the Secretary-General of the United Nations to secure a cease fire on the condition that Mr. Tshombe gives assurances acceptable to the United Nations, agreeing to enter into negotiations with the Central Government of the Congo, and undertaking to dismiss the mercenaries at present fighting in Katanga; and further urges Her Majesty's Government to request the United Nations to use its good offices to convene a conference with the object of settling peacefully the future of the congo.In general terms, I think I may say that the Government will always have the general support of everybody in this country while they pursue a course in international affairs based on what I would call the newly-found practicability of combining material advancement, national and international, with the idealisms of the altruistic religions and philosophies of the past. For at last we are coming to the point where these two could merge together. But if the Government abandon their course, or give an example to the world of backsliding towards nationalistic self-interest, they will find, I am afraid, not only that their tenure of office is even more precarious than it is to-day, but also that they will have performed a deep disservice to the reputation and standing of our country in world affairs.
§ 3.33 p.m.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I shall try to respond during the course of what I have to say to the questions and the problems which were posed to me by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, on a wide variety of subjects. The noble Lord made, as usual, a careful review of world affairs. I found it a little more difficult to come to grips with the early part of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Rea, and perhaps he will excuse me if I do not follow him in a debate about whether there should or should not be proportional representation. I am bound to say that I was intrigued by the idea that a Conservative Government might be ever 520 lasting—a proposition which up to now the Liberal Party have done little to disprove. But I hope that by the end of my speech I shall restore harmony with the noble Lord and be able to show him that the Conservative Government's foreign policy follows the best Liberal principles.
I should like to apologise to your Lordships for the fact that I was absent from my place last week, because I should have liked to have been here to take the responsibility for advice which I had given to my colleagues—advice which legitimately caused anxiety in your Lordships' House and caused a debate in another place. I think that, even though I was absent in Paris with good cause, I went through the whole range of the emotions and anxieties which afflicted your Lordships and other members of Parliament. While, therefore, I shall spend some time on the question of the Congo, as indeed the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, did, I am grateful to him for reminding your Lordships, and, indeed, Parliament in general, that there are other areas of the world where British interests are directly and dangerously involved.
For instance, in Laos (although I shall be able to make a more hopeful report on that) there is still a danger of war in South-East Asia which might involve the United Kingdom and the United States; and the problem of Berlin, with all its difficulties, is still with us.
So far as the Congo is concerned, the noble Lord is always very polite, but I noticed that accusations were made against the Government of bad judgment, indecision, gullibility and lack of foresight. I shall answer these with less emphasis this week on the incident of the bombs, because I think that the bombs were a symptom of the wider concern which Parliament felt about the direction that the United Nations' action was taking in the Congo. Therefore, I will set the bombs in the setting of the Congo operation, and I will try to put the Congo operation in the wider setting of the United Nations and its functions and to draw some lessons for the future, both from the particular case of the Congo and also from Britain's relations with the United Nations.
On one charge I ask that my colleagues and I may be acquitted and that is lack 521 of foresight. In the eighteen months that have passed since I have been Foreign Secretary I have persistently warned the country and the United Nations of the dangers which would result in the United Nations by reason of the fact that the balance of responsibility as it was laid down in the Charter has been upset. I can express these apprehensions and anxieties quite simply. "One country one vote" is an ideal and a very good idea. But if that vote is not used with wisdom, discretion, tolerance and restraint, then the United Nations could become nothing less than a demonstration of power without responsibility. Then, again, if the emphasis is taken off the first duty of the United Nations, which is peace-making and security, and laid on the acceleration of independence and the eradication of colonialism, which is a subsidiary issue, then the United Nations places itself in danger of becoming political and partisan and adopting double standards. If it were to do that, then it would sow the seeds of its own destruction.
I felt it necessary, as your Lordships may remember, to call attention in the United Nations General Assembly in September to these dangers which, if the United Nations Organisation is not careful, might overtake it, and sow the seeds of its own destruction. Therefore, I will put the matter of bombs for the Congo under the wider canvas, because that is where it belongs. One aspect of it is the British Government's attitude towards the United Nations in the Congo, and the other Britain's attitude to the United Nations. It is my duty to put it in the widest setting, and, if I may say so, your Lordships' duty so to judge it.
In every Queen's Speech there is a sentence which pledges the British Government's support for the United Nations. That has been true of every Party, and I have no doubt it has the support of the Liberal Party too. Therefore, loyalty to the United Nations and to the rules of the Charter has been deliberately placed, not by my Government, but by Parliament, in the forefront of British foreign policy. I think that Governments and parliaments have been right, because peace-making or "harmonising the interests of nations", which are the actual words that are 522 used in the Charter, is the first of British interests.
We have at home based our society on law and order, and law and order abroad is a vital British interest. Let us remember that it is no accident that the period of the Pax Britannica coincided with the period of Britain's greatest prosperity. Imperfect though it is, we believe that the United Nations still offers the best prospect of the organisation of peaceful, international order and is the best signpost towards interdependence.
We have another and more selfish reason why Britain should support the United Nations. Western civilisation is challenged everywhere from the East and that challenge is divisive—divisive of man from man and of nation from nation. The Communists deride those things which unite and harmonise. They do not seek what man has in common; they magnify what destructs and divides. By contrast, this country seeks one world, and therefore our response to the challenge of the East must stress and take every opportunity, and use every organisation, which stresses the essential unity of mankind. We seek it consciously ourselves in the Commonwealth; we seek it in Europe and, so long as there is a hope of the United Nations Organisation honestly directing its policies towards the greater unity and interdependence of the world, then it is in the British interest that it should be sustained.
Therefore, the conclusion of this part of the analysis which I make of our relations with the United Nations, which I was almost invitedto make by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, is that Britain's interest in the United Nations is threefold: our interest in an organisation which stands for peace and order, our response to the Communist challenge, and our desire and belief in interdependence. All these things seem to me to be bound unmistakably to Britain's support for theUnited Nations, and on the evidence as I have it until now, I could not give to Parliament any different advice.
I detect two attitudes among minorities in this country, and I will mention them, if I may, only to dismiss them as unreal. The first is a certain nostalgia that Britain should continue to dictate 523 world events. I think it is probably unfortunate that we do not. At the time, when we did, we did it, I think we can say without arrogance, with great beneficence. But life in 1961 is not like that. Britain must exercise her influence as one of a number. We are one in twelve in the Commonwealth; we are one in fifteen in N.A.T.O.; and we are one in 104 in the United Nations. That means —and it is essential that we should accept all the implications of this—that our views will prevail in proportion as we attract the sympathy of other people, whether it be in Europe, in the Commonwealth, or in the United Nations as it represents the world. The other extreme seems to think that we have lost total power, that the United Nations is the remedy for all ills, and that we should therefore accept its verdicts, right or wrong. I think that attitude is unthinking and uncritical. The United Nations' operations have been distorted because the Soviet has chosen to make the United Nations a platform for the cold war. In consequence, it has been prevented from adapting itself to meet the changed conditions in modern international society. We must always remember when we are talking of the United Nations to-day that the conduct of its affairs has been made almost intolerable by the way the Russians have misused it. But although we may have sympathy with, and although we may believe in the United Nations, if there is evidence that emotional prejudice is destroying objectivity, if there is a noticeable disparity between the readiness to take decisions and to carry financial responsibility, if there are signs that the organisation is adopting double standards, then it is no service to the United Nations to remain silent.
If there is evidence that some of the countries in the United Nations are deliberately seeking to involve the United Nations in adventures far beyond its strength, then where does loyalty lie? With those nations who deliberately tax the organisation with tasks which they know it cannot fulfil and, in one particular case at least, have gone very near driving it to take the rôle of a colonial power, or with those who say that this infant State (because it is in its youth and on trial) should act within its capacity and always give first place to pacification, which was the main instruc 524 tion of the Charter? No one can say that Britain has not tried to help the United Nations in these difficulties. We have eschewed the Veto, and quite often when it was in our selfish interest to use it, because we did not want the United Nations to be just a petrified reflection of the cold war. We have abstained on resolutions and courted misunderstanding among our friends, even in this country, because we wanted to prove to the new nations who have taken their seats that our motives were sincere and that we had a desire to co-operate with them. Everywhere, every time (I think I can say this) when the United Nations has made mistakes, we have given it the benefit of the doubt, and we have done that because we have thought that that is what Parliament wished to be done. That is part of the answer that I would give to those who would suggest, for instance, in the case of the Congo, that we should cut off our financial supplies to the United Nations, either for the Congo or some other particular operation. If we support the United Nations in the greater things, then we must support them in the lesser, although our support must not be uncritical.
I will give two more reasons for continuing our support. First, we regard our payments, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, as legally assessed under the rules of the Charter and, secondly, if we withdraw from the particular operation, of course we lose all influenceon events. Indeed, I hope I shall be able to say later on that we have had some success in this matter of the Congo in this particular situation. I must say that matters could come to such a pass that we would have to withdraw our support, but I say equally. that that would be a melancholy and desolate day, both for the United Kingdom and for the United Nations.
I am going to spare your Lordships most of the Post mortem on the actual events of the "bombs for the Congo", but I must again ask your Lordships to acquit us of one accusation. I have heard it suggested that we were gullible and that because the Indians had 4,000 bombs, or something of that kind, they ought to give them for the Congo operation. I am not passing any comment on that, but what I am saying is that we could not pass the buck to the Indians.
525 If we were asked directly and publicly to supply bombs it would have been despicable to hide behind the Indians, and we had to give an answer for ourselves, Yes or No.
Nor was the decision, when we gave it, undecided or ambiguous. It was perfectly true that we hesitated whether or not to give the bombs. My Lords, who would not do so? Bombs are not a weapon which you give without very carefully weighing the consequences of giving them; and we concluded that if bombs were to be used at all there was one purpose and one purpose only for which they could be justified and that was the use against aircraft on jungle runways—aircraft which, so we were told by the United Nations, were being used against United Nations' troops and Commonwealth contingents who had no defence against that form of attack. That was the only purpose for which we considered bombs could be used and our decision was not a hazy decision. On the contrary, it was clear and exact. We said we would give the bombs for that purpose. We told the United Nations Secretary-General that they must be restricted to that purpose and that orders to that effect must be known from the top of the command down to the pilots who had to fly on any particular sortie; and, what is more, we required the Secretary-General to give us an assurance in general that the United Nations' operations were conducted only in self-defence and, in this case, that there would be obedience to his instructions right down the whole chain of command. That is not an ambiguous decision.
Where the ambiguity comes in is in this way. It came in first in the Resolution of the United Nations on November 24, when, I would remind your Lordships, the Russians vetoed all the paragraphs dealing with conciliation and therefore left a Resolution on the Paper unbalanced as between the use of force and the use of conciliation. We said so. We felt so strongly at the time that we dissociated ourselves from the Resolution as it stood because we felt it left too much to interpretation. The second part of the ambiguity arose from evidence, which became apparent in September, of the appalling bungling on the spot which followed the operations of August 28; the evidence that United Nations officials on the spot 526 were putting their own interpretation upon the Secretary-General's orders.
Thirdly, our anxieties were fed by the course and character of the fighting itself which seemed to us—and, after all, we have had some experience of these kind of Colonial situations—to exceed by far the limits of force that were necessary to maintain law and order and for self-protection. What did we do? We expressed our anxieties most forcibly in New York and through diplomatic channels and we required a cease-fire. I do not have to apologise for one moment for asking the United Nations to organise a cease-fire. That has been held by some people to have been done because we wanted to sabotage United Nations' operations in the Congo. Quite the contrary: it was done to swing the balance back to conciliation from what it ought never to have departed in the Resolution of November 24.
I have expressed to your Lordships before my fears that the United Nations might find itself bogged down in an endless war. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, mentioned the mercenaries. If there are soldiers of fortune from outside, it is quite right and proper that they should be got out of the Congo. But the United Nations' operation was in danger of doing something else. Where there were 100 mercenaries in the Katanga before, last week there were probably about 1,000 or 2,000 Europeans who had armed themselves and lined up with the gendarmerie. The United Nations were in danger of creating a situation where Katanga would go nationalist and they would be bogged down in an endless fight, with the people feeling deeply in their souls that the United Nations were their enemies, and that we wanted at all costs to avoid.
I believe our action has had some effect. More and more countries, I believe, in the last few days have come to recognise—and I believe the United States is coming to this point of view, too—the danger of the United Nations' being involved in a war which will spread out over the months and over the years; and more and more people are beginning to agree that there are two things that ought to be done—I do not mind if you call it a cease-fire, but that the fighting 527 should stop and, concurrently with the fighting stopping, that Adoula and Tshombe should be brought together to meet. I can hardly countthe times when I have said to your Lordships that a meeting between Adoula and Tshombe was the only foundation upon which the unity of the Congo could be restored, and indeed the reasons for it are overwhelming. It is the only way in which we shall get any agreement amongthe Congolese on the Loi Fondamentale and therefore on their constitution, and it is the only way in which we may be sure that Gizenga, who is the real secessionist, will be brought into a confederal or federal Congo under proper control.
We have been working very hard in these weeks and days with the United States on a plan to achieve a meeting between Tshombe and Adoula. It was our hope, and we worked for this, that Tshombe would be willing to meet Adoula and that, concurrently, the fighting should stop. Mr. Gullion, the United States Ambassador, is flying to Ndola to collect Mr. Tshombe for a talk with Mr. Adoula and I hold in my hand a telegram saying thatit seems likely that Mr. Tshombe will leave Ndola about 4 p.m. to-day on way to meet Mr. Adoula".I profoundly hope that that is true because it may be the beginning of a happier chapter in this terrible story of conflict in the Congo.
What then are the British interests in the Congo? The Congo should be independent and there should be no danger of a take-over from outside by Communist Powers. I would want normal and good relations with the Congolese, to trade with them and to get to know their people better, and the sooner that happens for us the better it will be. Therefore I do trust that the Congolese will succeed in settling their own political pattern, and I believe, too, that we must be patient with the United Nations in all its errors because when passions have cooled it will have a useful part to play in the building of this new nation.
The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, reminded me that there are other parts of the world, apart from the Congo, where British interests are directly in danger and engaged and where the choice is starkly opposed between war and settlements of disputes by negotiation. 528 The situation in Laos could have resulted, and could still result, in conflict in Asia. We have been very afraid of that and we have been working for months to avoid it. I am very glad to report that of the forty points of difference between us and the Russians at Geneva only two remain, and those cannot be settled until there is a national Government elected in Laos to represent that country at Geneva. If there is a national Government, I think we can sign an Agreement in Geneva; at least that would be my strong hope. It depends on the meeting of the three princes. It seems whether it is in Africa or in Asia we are always trying to bring together people who refuse to meet each other, and this we have been trying to do with the three princes for months. But I trust again that they are now meeting in Vientiane or some other part of Laos. This is perhaps in a small way a demonstration of how, if you take it patiently and have a purpose and goal to go for, it is possible to find an area of agreement between the Russians and the Chinese and ourselves.
Finally, I would respond to the noble Lord on the question of Berlin. I know it is the wish of this House that this dispute with Russia should be peacefully resolved. If that is the hope it must mean negotiation. The contacts which Mr. Rusk and myself had with Mr. Gromyko in New York may have been described as a probe or as exploratory. But the line between a probe and negotiation is extremely thin, and they could equally well be described as the early and tentative moves in a negotiation. These contacts enabled us to discover more of the Soviet's intentions and to tell Mr. Gromyko of the very serious consequences which would follow any attempt by the Soviet Government to get their own way by unilateral action, and in particular to sign a peace treaty with the East Germans handing over all the responsibility for the access routes to Berlin to Herr Ulbricht, who is the one person in Europe who has the greatest vested interest in seeing them extinguished.
It was clear that after we had talked the Soviets had a better understanding of the dangers than they had before. But the gap between what the Russians publicly demand and what the West is 529 prepared to contemplate was very wide and it could not be said that a basis for negotiation had really been found. Then came the series of Soviet actions in Berlin, the interference with Allied access through the Friederichstrasse crossing point, and again, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, statements by Russian politicians and others designed for public consumption which certainly did not improve the prospect of successful negotiation.
However, the House will have noticed that the N.A.T.O. Council communiqué, in spite of all this, contained a passage approving the intention of the Powers mainly concerned to resume contacts with the Soviet Government. This resolution definitely enables a fresh initiative to be taken, and the contacts, if they are to provide the basis for negotiation, must entail talks about the substance of the matter to be settled. Much work has already been done by the Allies on agreeing on establishing agreed positions for the day when we get into actual negotiation. I think the method most likely to be adopted will be contact between Ambassadors, but I do not want to commit myself to that absolutely, because we will adopt any means of contact which seems likely to lead to success.
I cannot forecast the result. If you take the Russian speeches at their face value, then the chances of agreement are small, particularly the speech made by Mr. Menshikov, who need not have asked for publicity for it but did, in Washington, when he went out of his way to emphasise all the Soviet demands which he knew, and must have known, could not be accepted by the Allies. By contrast, we have President Kennedy's interview, which I agree with the noble Lord is a masterly presentation and a reasonable presentation of the point of view of the Allies. I do not know—I suppose nobody knows—whether now that Mr. Khrushchev has buil; the wall across the city he is less interested for some reason in a settlement with the West, or whether his tactics are the time-honoured Russian technique of raising the "ante" before the game starts. We shall see. But what I want your Lordships to know to-day is that it emerged from the N.A.T.O. Council unanimously among the Allies that while we were not prepared to abandon the rights and duties and our responsibilities in Berlin and we would agree to no arrangement which 530 would not ensure the freedom of the people of West Berlin to live the life of their choosing, nevertheless we still wanted to make contact to establish a basis for negotiation and we still look forward hopefully to a peaceful settlement of this problem with the Russians.
As the noble Lord ended his speech, this is a melancholy end to the year 1961. I described the state of the world earlier on as one of international anarchy. Here and there, for instance in the Laos Conference, for instance in the resumption of disarmament talks on an agreed formula between the Americans and Russians, here and there there is light; and all I can say is, whether it be in the Congo where we want to see the fighting stop or in Goa where we feel that the fighting must stop before further grave injustice and harshness takes place against the Portuguese in that area, whether it is there, or whether it is in the larger questions of Germany and the future of Europe, I can pledge that Her Majesty's Government at any rate will enter the New Year with the determination to do all they can to secure peace and honour.
§ 4.8 p.m.
§ LORD ROBERTSON OF OAKRIDGE
My Lords, I am very well aware that in choosing to address your Lordships' House for the first time on the question of foreign affairs I am being very brave, because I am well aware of the stern tradition of your Lordships' House that those who stand up to address it should know what they are talking about. Well, there was a time when if I spoke on Germany I might have claimed to know what I was talking about, but not now having access to the Foreign Office despatches and other secret documents I clearly cannot make that claim with the same assurance. I am also under the handicap that on the Benches about me, and indeed quite close to me, are noble Lords who have spent their whole career immersed in the German question. My aim will be a very modest one, and that is just to make a few comments on this situation against the background of my own experience and of a couple of visits paid recently to West Germany and to Berlin. I shall speak only on that, though 1 know that you are perhaps mainly interested this afternoon in the Katanga problem. I do not under- 531 stand what is going on behind what is going on in Katanga, and I think I had better leave it alone.
The policy of Her Majesty's Government in regard to Germany has been clearly stated in this House on the last occasion when we debated it and again to-day by the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, and, so far as I know, that policy has been generally accepted, without serious dissent, both within Parliament and without, and it has been reaffirmed in the gracious Speech. Yet I think your Lordships will agree that here and there are voices asking some insidious questions about this policy. Is Berlin really as important as all that? Is Berlin worth a nuclear war? Can you expect the British to fight for a German city? Are not the Germans, anyway, leaving Berlin and taking all their money out? Will there be anything left to fight for?
Your Lordships will, I think, agree, that these questions are being asked and, lest they should cause misunderstanding in the minds of the Soviet leaders, or of the Germans, or of our Allies, or even of our own people, I hope that Her Majesty's Government will go on repeating and restating their policy and giving the reasons behind it. I think your Lordships would agree that it is a good axiom of public relations that you must never weary of repeating your story, nor be ashamed of repeating it, over and over again.
As to these questions, there are just two on which I should like to make a comment. The first concerns the statement that the Germans are quitting Berlin and taking their money out. It is a coincidence that only last week, I think on December 12, in the Daily Telegraph there appeared a letter from a noble Marquess, a Member of your Lordships' House, on this very subject. It is not difficult to get at the facts because the Regierende Burgermeister, Herr Willi Brandt, has made a full statement in which he gave facts and figures. He said, indeed, that on the average the number of people leaving Berlin during the week —it fluctuates a good deal—exceeds the number coming in by approximately 1,000; but 1,000 in a week is, I think, a little under 2 per cent. in a year, which is not very consequential.
Moreover, Herr Brandt has said in private conversation to more than one 532 person that 80 per cent. of the population of the city either could not or would not quit the city in any circumstances. That, I think, shows that the proposal that has been put forward in some places, that one might evacuate everybody out of the city and build them a new city elsewhere, is not one that would work. As to money, there was a bit of a scurry after August 13, but the business of the lending institutions in Berlin has long since returned to normal and savings are satisfactory, deposits regularly exceeding withdrawals.
The other question on which I would venture to say a word or two is, can we expect the British to fight for a German city? As the noble Earl, Lord Avon, said in his memorable first speech to your Lordships' House, the future of Berlin is not the real issue. In any case, the question is put in a highly tendentious way and I would not attempt to answer it. But I would dare to make one or two remarks about the attitude behind it—not, I am afraid, original remarks, but perhaps they are worth re-saying at a point of time such as this. I think all your Lordships would agree that in framing our foreign policy we should be guided by the head rather than by the heart. I say that because, that there should be many people in this country who in their hearts are unable to forgive Germany for what she did to the world in two terrible wars is readily understandable, but surely in their heads, reason must tell these people that we need the co-operation of Germany in these days. We need her co-operation, not only for the defence of Western Europe as a member of N.A.T.O., but in the organisation of Western Europe to enable it to stand up to the political and economic threats which come from the East and which, in some people's minds, are more imminent and threatening than the danger of nuclear war.
Then, again, I would suggest that in one's head reason and reasonableness say to one that, since the Germans received their new Constitution at the hands of the Military Governors in 1949, they have shown evidence of a desire to conduct their own internal affairs in a democratic manner, and as regards their external affairs, to behave as a fully responsible and indeed co-operative member of the comity of nations. Of course twelve years is not a long time, 533 and it is not of itself a guarantee that things will go on like that for ever. Much of the credit belongs to Konrad Adenauer—and he, unfortunately, will not live for ever. But a great deal of credit also belongs to other men who occupy leading positions in the German political Parties, both the Government and the Opposition Parties, and I suggest that reason tells us that it is right and wise to encourage the present leaders of Germany, who have led her in this way during these twelve years, and to discourage the German people from looking for other leaders with other ideas.
But to go back to the question, we do not of course want to fight for Berlin—we do not want to fight at all; we want peace. Therefore, we want a proper agreement on Germany in general, and on Berlin in particular. That is why most of us, I am sure, will be very glad if these probes are deep probes, and if they evolve into full discussions and conversations at which all the Allies are present. The only proviso one might make about this policy is that one hopes that, before they attend, our representatives will equip themselves with a very long spoon.
I agree very much with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, when he says (I forget his exact words) that we should not pester the Government at this time to tell us what cards they have in their hands, nor how they are going to play them. To turn to the concessions which we might make, I would feel, and I think that probably most noble Lords would agree, that to talk of the concessions which we might make at this time is not at all helpful. It is not at all appropriate. It only whets the appetite of the Soviet leaders and discourages the Germans. The only concessions which I think are worth talking about at this time are the ones which we should like the Soviet to make. Nor is it a concession merely to say that in future you will honour obligations which you have steadily dishonoured in the past.
That said, I will, with much diffidence, offer two small suggestions. They are not very important ones, but I hope they may be a little helpful. I do not in the least expect that any member of the 534 Government replying to this debate will comment on them. The first concerns the re-unification of Germany, including the re-unification of Berlin. I think that the two will probably have to go together. President Kennedy has said that the re-unification of Germany is impossible without the agreement of the Soviet. Of course we are deeply committed to work for re-unification, but if we have to accept what President Kennedy has said—and may be we have —then, my suggestion is that our representatives in these discussions should insist firmly that more liberal and humane pass regulations should be agreed to facilitate the movement of Germans across the border between East and West, and in particular the border between East and West Berlin. I think it really takes a visit to the City of Berlin to appreciate the full horror of that beastly wall.
My other suggestion concerns the future arrangements for the security of Berlin and its communications. Herr Schroeder has said that he favours a continuation of the present arrangements which stem from Allied military government. I myself wonder whether that is a very wise suggestion, and certainly I doubt whether it is acceptable to the Soviets. Far more attractive, it seems to me, is the idea that the United Nations should locate some of their organs in the city and should guarantee the security of the city and its communications.
On the assumption that something of that sort may be agreed, I venture to suggest that, even so, the actual instrument for security in the city should be German, just as it is to-day all along the border of East and West Germany, and as it is on the Eastern side of the Berlin wall. Of course, there will have to be some Allied troops in Berlin, but I hope that their number may be kept small, because to lock up large and powerful Allied forces in Berlin does not seem to me to be politically necessary or even desirable; and militarily I am sure that it is highly undesirable. Until talks can be started I suggest, my Lords, that our attitude in the city of Berlin should be extremely firm, and that we should react very smartly and quickly to any encroachment by the East Germans or, indeed, by the Soviets.
535 In our last debate the Foreign Secretary said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol.233 (No. 122), col. 340]:ô when a hostile system begins to encroach upon us the moment to stop it is at the beginning ".I very much agree with that statement, particularly because it applies to Berlin. I am not, of course, suggesting that we should embark upon ill thought-out ventures which will only cause us embarrassment, but I am sure that we should be extremely firm.
I think that there has been some quite unnecessary anxiety about some recent American actions in Berlin. I do not think that it is at all necessary that we should go about the streets of Berlin on tiptoe. Of course we should be sensible, but the situation is dangerous and we shall not make it less dangerous by appearing to be nervous about it. Having said that, one feels bound to say that the longer this game of "dare" continues to be played in Berlin, the more dangerous it becomes. One has great respect for those who say that we should insist upon good conditions before talks are held on Berlin, but one may also hope that they will remember the situation in Berlin and bear it well in mind. Another thing that one is perhaps justified in hoping for is that if, alas! due to delaying the start of talks on Berlin or for any other reasons, we should find ourselves right up against the buffer stops, these people will then be equally tough.
§ 4.24 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, before I come to the main subject of the debate I should like, if I may, to offer very warm congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oak-ridge, on the remarkable maiden speech which he has just delivered in this House. As I think we all know, the noble Lord is one of our greatest and most devoted public servants. Over a long period of years he has taken on job after job, outside and inside this country, all of them arduous and responsible, and none of them always altogether pleasant. He has always shown himself to be wise and patient in all of these various spheres; and, as the speech to which we have just listened shows, he is just the kind of man to whose membership your Lordships' House always attaches the greatest 536 value. He showed in what he said just that quality of wisdom and balance to which I referred earlier. I congratulate the noble Lord most warmly, if I may, on what he said in his thoughtful speech and I can assure him that we shall all look forward with the greatest desire to hearing him again in the near future.
Now I will come to the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson. This is, of course, a general debate on foreign affairs. It covers all events of importance which are occurring in all parts of the world. But, my Lords, we meet under the shadow of two savage blows against international morality—at least, some of us feel that—in Katanga and in Goa. It is perhaps natural at this moment that, in spite of all the other thorny problems which are at present darkening the international sky, our eyes —at any rate the eyes of many noble Lords—will be turned specially on those two places to which I have referred; and it is to them that I propose to confine myself.
First, a word about Katanga. I suppose that Katanga, perhaps even more than the Congo as a whole, constitutes for Her Majesty's Government—or did until this morning— the most perplexing problem which they are at present facing. What is more, it is a problem that seems likely to involve us in more embarrassments with every day that passes, until we face fairly and squarely the ultimate cause of our own present difficulties.
That cause, my Lords, I suggest. is this. The Government have claimed from the start—and the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, repeated it last Thursday —that there is no difference in the ultimate aim between us and the United Nations. That has been the constant plea of the Government. Both we and the United Nations, the Government have constantly pointed out, want a federal, or a confederal Congo. As to that, they say, there is no difference between them. Whether this is actually true of all members of the United Nations, I beg leave to doubt. I believe that there is a substantial minority, and maybe even a majority, of member States who are not really interested in bringing a prosperous Katanga, under President Tshombe, into a federal Congo. What they want is the destruction of Katanga 537 under its present leadership. They want Katanga and its mines put out of action, wiped out of existence, as the essential prerequisite to the ejection of the white man and of Western influences from Africa. That, I believe, is the real genesis of the shocking events of the last few days, which have filled all of us, whatever our views, with such horror, and some of us, at any rate, with such shame.
But even if we accept the thesis that we and the United Nations have the same broad, long-term policy, the fact remains that where we have nothing in common, and where we never have had anything in common, is as to the means by which it is intended that that purpose should be achieved; and in matters of policy a difference as to methods may lead to as deep a cleavage as a difference as to the ultimate aim itself. I will give your Lordships just one very simple example of what I mean. It is the question of capital punishment, which causes some of the bitterest divisions in this country to-day.
We should all, I imagine, like to see a reduction in the murder rate. That is an aim on which we can all entirely agree. But that does not prevent us from disagreeing most violently as to the means which should be employed to achieve this common end. Some believe in the capital punishment of murderers as being the strongest deterrent to others which could possibly be devised; others are equally violently opposed to capital punishment because they regard it as barbaric, and seek to apply what they regard as more civilised methods—imprisonment, re-education of murderers, and so on—so as to bring them and others to a better frame of mind regarding this terrible crime. As between those two schools of thought, which I hope I have described quite fairly, there could not be a greater unity as to aim, nor more total disagreement as to means. As I see it, that is rather like the present situation which exists over Katanga. There may be the same unity as to the ultimate goal, but there certainly is complete disagreement as to the right way to get there.
My Lords, it has been, I suggest with all deference, the unwillingness of Her Majesty's Government throughout to face that cardinal fact that has got them 538 into most of their present troubles. They may well have persuaded themselves at first that the gulf between these two points of view was not unbridgeable. It may well have been that which decided them to support the United Nations' resolution of February 21. They may even have managed to persuade themselves that Dr. O'Brien's egregious activities this autumn were the product of his own unaided genius and were as embarrassing to his superiors as they were to us. But can anybody really hug that illusion now? For Dr. O'Brien has gone, and thepolicy is still being carried through—carried through, actually, more ruthlessly and more efficiently even than before.
Do the Government not know, in their heart of hearts, that what we are seeing now, at this moment, is not defensive action? It is capital punishment applied to Katanga as it exists to-day. And, my Lords, on what grounds? Because President Tshombe seeks a limited measure of independence. As the noble Earl, Lord Avon, pointed out two days ago—and I feel we sorely miss his wise guidance at the presenttime—a desire for independence may be an error, but it is not a crime. Yet that is the reason why the United Nations are at present engaged, with all the forces at their command, in wrecking this country, economically and politically. That is the meaning of the bombing, of the mortaring, of hospitals, of railway stations, of marshalling yards and of mines, not only in Elisabethville but for miles around. Those, my Lords, are not preventive measures; they are not defensive measures: they are punitive measures, and they are meant to be.
No doubt even those in the Afro-Asian group, who to-day to a great extent control United Nations' policy, may argue that they want a cease-fire; but they do not want the cease-fire to take place now. They show no eagerness for that. They do not want to bring President Tshombe and President Adoula together as two statesmen acting each on behalf of his own people and seeking, on a basis of equality, an agreement satisfactory to both. That is not what they want. They want a cease-fire to take place on the basis of surrender, when the last Katangan soldier has laid down his arms. That is the difference between the aims of this country and the 539 aims of those other members of the United Nations. Our policy is a policy of conciliation. Their policy at the present is a policy of blasting Katanga to Hell. That is what is happening now, my Lords; that is exactly what is happening at the present moment: and nothing that happens in Parliament here will alter that salient fact.
The Government were reported in the Press, I think on Friday last, to have had an excellent day in the House of Commons on the preceding Thursday, the day before. With the aid of a Resolution which, if I may be forgiven for saying so, evaded all awkward questions and mentioned only the desirability of a cease-fire, on which everybody was agreed, they routed the Opposition, they routed the Conservative rebels and they emerged from the debate with a splendid majority of 94.My Lords, that is a notable example, I think, of successful Parliamentary stage management or staff work, or whatever you like to call it, which I feel reflects the highest credit, both on those who drafted the Resolution and on the Government Whips—and, indeed, on the Prime Minister himself.
But do not let us forget this: that while that great victory was being achieved at Westminster, at the very moment when the Prime Minister was making his most successful winding-up speech, what was happening in Katanga? I quote from the report of a Daily Telegraph correspondent in Jadotville the same day, who came by secret bush paths to check himself the Katangan claim that the hospital had been shot up by United Nations' planes and that children had been killed. My Lords, I commend it to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, who I thought threw some doubt on these reports, because this man had seen these things for himself. This is what he said:The claim is entirely true. To-day I saw two wards which were wrecked in a thirty-minute attack by four United Nations jets, picked up cannon shells beside tiny cots in the maternity ward, and saw pools of blood where three children died, one of them in its mother's arms ".He went on to give other instances of indiscriminate shooting by United Nations' jets. I will mention only one, 540 which I commend to your Lordships' particular attention.In the hospital here"—that is, at Jadotville—I talked to a mother with a six-year-old son, who was shot through the stomach. The mother and son said they were both wounded in the attack on Shinkolobwe Hospital, in which 13 women were hurt. In the next ward was a man with machine-gun bullet wounds. He was shot when his car was attacked on the road from here to Elisabethville. Two other men and women in it escaped, but a six-year-old girl named Dekuku was burned to death as the car caught fire".My Lords, those are the operations which the United Nations have described as "purely defensive". These are the operations which have been paid for with our money. And, so far as I know, those operations are still going on, and will continue to go on if the military have their way, until the United Nations attain their "minimum objectives", whatever they may be.
The Government may feel that all this is inevitable, however much they dislike it—and I am quite certain they do dislike it intensely—but I confess it seems to me (and, I believe, to other noble Lords in this House, and many people outside) intolerable that we should have continued to condone and, indeed, financially support such an abuse of everything for which the United Nations stands as this ruthless assault on a peaceful and hitherto happy people by the United Nations' forces which are now engaged there. Of course, the Prime Minister is right in working for a cease-fire, and he will have the support of every one of us in trying to get it; but if he knew, and if the Government knew, as I think they must have known, how strong were the forces in U.N.O. which were working for a policy of trampling Katanga under foot, when that was not our policy, surely they would have done better to do what General de Gaulle did, and refused to have anything to do with this atrocity. In the meantime, my Lords, one can only pray that this new move for a meeting between President Tshombe and President Adoula will bear fruit; and I wish, as I am sure we all wish, Her Majesty's Government all good fortune in furthering that.
541 But if this attempt fails—and I hope that it will not fail—I do urge the Government most strongly that the least we can do is to refuse any longer to assist financially the carrying through of a policy with which we violently disagree. I do not suggest that we should withhold our statutory contribution to the general budget of the United Nations. We all know that there is a good deal of valuable work which the United Nations can and does do in other spheres, work with which, I imagine, nearly all of us would be in full agreement. But we do not agree with them in this—or a great many of us do not; and I think the great majority of the British people do not—and in those circumstances it surely would be right to withhold what is, after all, only a voluntary contribution for this particular operation in the Congo. I would plead most earnestly with the Government: do not let us compromise any longer with our convictions for reasons of expediency. That would not only seem wrong in itself, but it could well be fatal to our whole position in the world.
That, my Lords, I think also applies to our attitude to the Indian invasion of Goa, which shocked us all so much this morning. Do not let us try to pretend that it is not really so bad just because it has been done by a member of the Commonwealth. It is, in fact, a classic example of naked, unprovoked aggression, on a true Hitlerian model, against a small, peaceful country which was in existence long before India became a nation at all; a country which has done, so far as I know, no harm to anyone at any time, and which, what is more, is also a dependency of a country which has been our ally, and a faithful ally, for nearly 600 years. My Lords, I hope, and I have great hopes, in view of what the noble Earl has already said, that we shall make it clear in no uncertain terms, when the Goan problem comes before the United Nations, that that is our view. I hope that we shall not merely "deplore it", as one Foreign Office spokesman did yesterday; I hope that we shall condemn this flagrant breach of international morality. If we can give no physical support to our old ally, Portugal, which I understand is the Government's view, I hope that we shall assure the Portuguese Government that 542 it will be our continued object in the United Nations to secure a cease-fire and a withdrawal of Indian troops from the Goan country.
My Lords, I realise very well—I am sure we all realise—the dilemma in which the Government is placed with regard to both these problems. They do not want to find themselves at odds with the United States of America over Katanga. They do not want to find themselves at odds with other members of the Commonwealth, such as India, over Goa. We can all appreciate their anxieties in this respect; they are very real. But, my Lords, what is the truth? In trying to please everyone, we may be trying the impossible, and it might very well be better to recognise that now. Indeed, for us there is something more important, I think, than mere expediency, or the dictates of expediency. It is our support of the fundamental principles for which we have always stood, and by which alone we can retain our position as a great nation. All those things are at stake in relation to these two problems of which I have been speaking this afternoon.
Moreover, my Lords, it is surely pertinent to reflect that, when we were trying six years ago, at the time of Suez, to uphold what we believed to be the principles of the Charter—I am not begging that question; noble Lords opposite can disagree as much as they like, but we thought we were doing that —neither the United States nor India showed any marked reluctance to speak against us, and indeed to vote against us, in the United Nations. They did it again and again. Why, then, should we show any excessive tenderness in speaking our own mind now?
My Lords, I think there can be no doubt—and this was much what the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, said very much better than I could—that we are reaching a fearful crisis in international affairs. And this, I agree strongly with him, is no time for expediency, for trying to be clever; this is a time for standing firmly upon principles to which we owe our position in the world. In his speech this afternoon, he gave a thoughtful and most eloquent analysis of the proper functions of the United Nations and of our relationship with it. It was, if I may say so with great deference, a very fine and moving 543 analysis. But I could not help feeling, as I listened to it, that it was in one respect rather academic. It was concerned so much with what ought to be the position, at the expense of what is the position.
The noble Earl said that one of the reasons why we should not get away from the United Nations was that one of its main purposes was to maintain international law and order. And so, my Lords, of course, it is. But in fact the United Nations is not maintaining international law and order. Take Katanga. There, U.N.O. itself is taking the lead in utterly destroying law and order. Before the United Nation's troops went there, law and order existed, and it is only since they arrived that it has been utterly destroyed. The noble Lord said, if I understood him aright, that the time might well come when we should be obliged to withdraw our co-operation. But, my Lords, many of us believe that that time has already been reached. It is our money, as I have said before, that is still subsidising what I believe Her Majesty's Government themselves regard as an indefensible extension of United Nation's action. It is this repetition of splendid words in the mouths of members of the Government, and no action, which I believe is disturbing the British people more and more with every week that passes.
My Lords, let us face the facts. The survival of the United Nations, the existence of Western civilisation itself, is today being threatened by nations who have not the same traditions or background as our own—nations still immature in many respects, nations to whom it is physical power, and physical power alone, that really matters. They are the nations which, I am sorry to say, to-day dominate U.N.O. That is one of the great tragedies of our time. In such circumstances, it is not to be expected that always our view will prevail. But we must have a view—the British view —and we must not hesitate to express it and act on it. For on that, as I believe, at any rate, our very continuance as a great nation must surely depend.
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, the noble Marquess has spoken, as always, with a tremendous sincerity, and that alone is moving; and I am sure 544 that those who agreed with him to start with have been moved additionally. I am bound to tell him that, when dealing with Katanga, he seemed to me, and I should think to many others, to have such a complete distortion of outlook that it is hard, at any rate without long reflection, to continue the conversation with him. From his remarks, one might think that Tshombe was some peace-loving, pacific figure who had never caused any provocation at all.
The House wishes to pass on, but if your Lordships wish to know what that may mean, perhaps you would turn up the speech made by the Lord Privy Seal in another place, when he described the events following the resolution of November 24, Mr. Tshombe's speech calling to Katanga troops and the incidents, of which we did not hear from the noble Marquess, although in the past he has usually been a strong supporter of British citizens, in which Mr. Smith and Mr. Urquhart were seized and beaten up. Is it not to be mentioned by the noble Marquess, who is regarded all over the world as an outspoken champion of British citizens, that a British citizen has been seized by Mr. Tshombe'smen and beaten up for several hours?
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I think my answer to the noble Earl would be this. I think it is generally agreed by people who know Africa well that if you remove European officers from African Forces they become out of control, as has happened on both sides and in many parts of Africa. I think that the United Nations should share a part of the blame for insisting that all Belgian officers should be removed. They must not be surprised if African troops behaved as they did.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I am sorry to hear the noble Marquess appearing to condone the behaviour of the troops.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I did not try to condone them. I said that they were out of control. I do not think that there is any reason to suppose that they did that on orders. I think that they did it against orders. But it is what will happen if you loose African soldiers of any kind on a country without European officers to control them.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, we were told by the noble Earl, Lord Home, earlier that there are a good many more Europeans fighting with Katanga than there were some months ago. Perhaps the noble Marquess would accept that for an answer.
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
My Lords, surely there is a great difference between some junior troops getting out of control and beating up an adult, and 'planes of the most modern description "shooting up" hospitals, with modern and destructive weapons, quite deliberately, hour after hour.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, no doubt the noble Viscount will intervene, later, if he wishes to make a speech. He is well aware that there has been a battle going on at Elisabethville, and surely he would not say that everybody who gets hurt is a victim of atrocity. One of us must keep quiet, otherwise progress will be slow this afternoon. At any rate, I only make the point that the noble Marquess has given what to us on this side seems a grossly distorted account of events in that part of the world. But I am anxious to say that there are one or two things in his speech with which I agree.
I can restore at any rate momentary harmony by joining him in a warm tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, a tribute in which all will join, particularly my noble friend Lord Henderson, who, like myself, tried to assist the noble Lord from what I might call the home base. The noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, praised the Germans who had done so much to build up their country; and those tributes were well earned. But if Dr. Adenauer were allowed to be with us in any capacity to-day, he would single out the noble Lord as the Englishman who had done most for Germany since the war—and who had done more than most Germans. Certainly the noble Lord, who spoke in such distinguished style to-day, is better equipped than anybody to speak about firmness in Berlin. I think that I was the first British Minister who went to Berlin and said that we intended to stay there. I said that I liked Berlin and had no intention of leaving. But, of course, I was leaving by an early train, and what I meant was that the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of 546 Oakridge, had no intention of leaving; and that was much more consoling for the Germans. As the noble Marquess said so well, we shall listen to the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, with exceptional attention always.
The other point on which I agree with the noble Marquess was his reference to Goa. I am not speaking for my Party: I am not qualified to do that, because there has not been time, and I do not know what their view is. But I agree entirely, so far as one understands, the situation, that this is a flagrant breach of international morality.
The third point is the noble Marquess's passing reference (taking it all round, the reference was not very violent) to what he called "the egregious activities" of Dr. O.Brien. Rather unworthy references have been made to this civilian. Perhaps I have been the only Member of your Lordships' House to speak to Dr. O'Brien in the last week. I found him to be a man of passionate integrity, exceptional intellectual force and a certain reluctance to keep quiet when he considers that the issues of truth and justice are concerned. If I may say so, with great respect, he is an Irish version of the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham. I cannot pay him a higher tribute than that. Whether that is a great recommendation or any consolation to the noble Marquess, they must settle for themselves. I am only saying what I think about Dr. O'Brien.
The Foreign Secretary may have become rather bored by the compliments thrown at him in your Lordships' House, by myself among others, and therefore I hope that he will be cheered if there is no nonsense of that kind this afternoon. As I have said in his presence—and I certainly meant it, and mean it still—the Free World has had no more spirited and gallant champion in the last year in the world struggle against Communism. Speaking as one who is preoccupied to the point of obsession with the Communist menace I do not hesitate to say that personally I am glad that we have in charge of our foreign affairs one who is also preoccupied by that menace: one who is so strong, in courage and nerve and who can voice so effectively the determination of the Free World to resist.
547 But my Lords, I have before now felt, as some others have done, doubts, which we have ventured to express here, rather mildly perhaps, as to how high a priority the noble Earl gives to the establishment of a world peace system. Those doubts have certainly been underlined in recent weeks. When he states the record of the Government in the Congo in recent times, I am bound to say respectfully to the noble Earl that some of his admirers —and he has admirers in all parts of the House—will feel greatly saddened; and I hope that there will be an opportunity of clearing the record in the not distant future.
The Foreign Secretary will be the last to deny, I am sure, his central responsibility, though not the highest authority, for Government policy. I sympathise with him in not running over all the details threshed out in your Lordships' House and in another place last week, but he gave an account this afternoon which must be accepted as correct, although he would hardly offer it as a full account. Before this debate, I was looking at The Times of last Wednesday to refresh my memory as to what was said by the political correspondent of that newspaper, who seems to be a well-informed gentleman. He had a paragraph headed: "Stand on Principle", and he told us that on Thursday night—that was when the Cabinet were faced with the crucial decision whether or not to send the bombs—Lord Home is understood to have taken a stand on principle.Then, on Friday, there were rumours of what Dr. Linner had said. I realise that the noble Earl could not tell us everything to-day, but it was rather curious that he did not mention Dr. Linner, though great significance was attached to the change of policy and to what was supposed to have been said (of course it was not said) by Dr. Linner. But, apparently, according to The Times:Lord Home now took his stand once again on principle.Unfortunately, it was a different principle. We cannot understand how one can take a stand on two contrary principles within a comparatively short space of 24 hours and still be credited with taking a stand on any principle 548 at all. At any rate, the Foreign Secretary did not tell us anything about Dr. Linner, and I do not want to pursue that subject now.
But in the same column of The Times we were toldThe pressure of opinion of the Government Back Benches had become so strong that the Government were obliged to manœuvre their business so that they would get virtually full support.That is not to say that they yielded to the Katanga lobby in fact, the Cabinet have been determined not to give ground to Lord Hinchingbrooke and his men. More precisely, they found their own doubts reflected in the thinking of a broad section of the Party.When I first read that, I thought it was the most fatuous sentence or comment I had ever read of a great newspaper. But I realise now that it must have been profoundly ironical. This reference to "finding their anxieties shared" was clearly a rather biting form of irony. And the Sunday Times (I am quoting only from Conservative newspapers) made the real point with brutal frankness yesterday when it said:Make no mistake about the political reality. It was the Government which adjusted course to follow the Party's compass bearings.That is a statement which I think we can take as fairly authoritative, coming from the Sunday Times. I am not going to quote newspapers such as the Daily Herald, the Observer or the Guardian which might be thought to be favourable to my point of view or the point of view of most of us here.
I would give only one more quotation, and it is from the Sunday Telegraph of yesterday. The first note was headed "Truth pays"—and here I find myself in a good deal of sympathy with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, though coming, so to speak, to the Government from different angles. With reference to the purposes of Government, the very Conservative Sunday Telegraph, with whose policy I do not agree, says:In everyday life hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.Hypocrisy is attributed to the Government by the Sunday Telegraph, of all papers! It goes on:In politics it is the tribute that men without the courage of their convictions pay to their opponents and the marginal vote. It will, in fact, convince neither.I must say that I cannot remember a phase of Government policy which was 549 so universally and so contemptuously condemned, in this country and abroad, whether one comes to it from the angle of the noble Marquessor from the angle of those who sit on these Benches.
However, it would be dishonest for me to talk as though it were all quite easy and as if some extraordinary dispensation were delivered to me, and others on these Benches, which would enable us to do so much to clear it all up if only we were in power. The difficulties of the situation are very great. First of all, they are inherent in this present very early stage of the evolution of an International Police Force. There at least I can sympathise with something that was said by the Prime Minister, in his winding-up speech last Thursday. He said:The United Nations is through the Security Council trying to act as a kind of political director of what is now a military operation, but it has no Chiefs of Staff as we understand it".And he went on to explain it has "a very loose chain of command". Those are real difficulties, which would exist whether we were dealing with the Congo, with Goa, with Sinai or whatever we were dealing with. Therefore that, quite apart from the Congo, is a very important issue.
I am sure that the real moral is the one that was pointed out last Thursday in The Times, both by a Labour M.P., Mr. Mallalieu, and by Colonel Tilney, a Conservative M.P. who has given a lot of attention to the question of an International Police Force. I quote Colonel Tilney, who says that:… the major requirement for the United Nations… is a force…consisting of individuals owing allegiance to the United Nations"—and therefore not coming forward as national forces—and directly recruited by it as a proper disciplined international body. Such a force could and should be permanent… If such a force had been in existence neither the Suez problem nor the Katanga impasse would have occurred.He added, with considerable prescience:It might even by now have been sufficiently strong to hire off a brigade to supervise a plebescite in Goa.Those are the views of a Conservative Member of Parliament who has given a great deal of attention to this subject for a number of years. That seems to me 550 the real moral, and if we were to think of a properly organised permanent international force many of these difficulties would not arise.
My Lords, this House has heard me calling monotonously for a number of years for the establishment of an International Police Force, small to begin with; and the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, has also given particular attention to that idea. Your Lordships will perhaps forgive me for mentioning once again the report of an all-Party Committee under my chairmanship, which in 1957 published a detailed plan for such a force. I happen also to be chairman of another committee which is trying to carry that thinking further forward. This 1957 plan for a permanent force was, if 1 may say so, highly praised in this House, and was treated in a very friendly way by the Foreign Secretary of the time, Mr. Selwyn Lloyd. But that is all four and a half years ago. The question is: what have the Government done about it? Since that time we have had various developments, including the Congo crisis; and we have had the highly significant statement (as I hope it is) of the Commonwealth Premiers on March 17 this year in favour of an International Police Force. I repeat: what have the Government done about this question of setting up a permanent international force?
I have often asked (I am afraid that 1 have sometimes pressed the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, rather hard on the subject) what the Government are doing. I have been greeted with charming words (they were bound to be charming words, coming from the noble Marquess), but, so far as I could judge, meaningless words. The charm belonged to the noble Marquess, and the "meaninglessness" came from my old Department the Foreign Office but that has been the resulting blend—charm and meaninglessness. I cannot resist the conclusion that the International Police Force, like full world government itself, belongs in the Foreign Office official thinking to those things about which polite noises can be made, but about which it is not intended to do anything in the foreseeable future. If that is not so, can we be told that something is going to be done? Let us hear it to-day.
I would only say that the urgent need is to see that the present crisis in the 551 Congo is used for pressing, publicly and passionately, the movement towards the establishment of a permanent force. If we gave that sortof lead from this country—and it would only be carrying out the decision of the Commonwealth Conference—then I should feel that some good had come out of evil, as it does quite often in life, and as it did, on a small scale at least, from the horrible affair of Suez—on which I need hardly say I take a different view from the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. But in the few moments that must remain I should like to return to the Congo as we find it.
In reading through the debate in another place I was struck by a statement made by the Lord Privy Seal that there wasa complete difference of opinion in the House about the purpose of the United Nations' operation.He felt that it was that difference which was responsible for the criticism of the Government. I am sure that if the intentions of the Government are as they have been stated the right honourable gentleman is wrong. The Lord Privy Seal then went on to set out what he understood to be the four objects of the United Nations' operation in the Congo. I must not stop to quote them now, but they seem quite unexceptionable, though rather ambiguous.
But one thing at least emerges from that statement by the Lord Privy Seal in another place of our purpose in the Congo, and that is that the Government believe that a United Nations' presence and a United Nations' military force are in principle of the utmost value in the Congo. That must be the Government attitude. When I say, "a United Nations' force", I do not mean some ideal force which might exist some ten years hence; I mean the sort of force the United Nations, being what they are, would be bound to send their. If the Government really did not desire to use forces of that kind, then, of course, they had no right to support its going. But I take it that they welcome the presence of the force in the Congo.
Then the Lord Privy Seal said what has been said by Ministers on many occasions—and I am not quite sure 552 whether the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, supported this point of view or not. He, as it were, took it as a Government view, and then argued from it. But I am not sure whether he supported it. The Government, through the mouth of the Lord Privy Seal, have announced that it is in the interests of world peace, in the interests of the Congo, and also in British interests, to see that the Congo is united and stable within its present frontiers. In other words, it is the official policy of the Government to try to bring about a united Congo and to prevent secession. No doubt they wish to bring that about by negotiation. I am not sure whether the noble Marquess is identifying himself with that.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, does the noble Earl wish me to say? It depends what you mean by "united". I would be in favour of federation, or loosely-knit federation. That is a matter for the parties themselves to negotiate. I do not know that I would be in favour of a very tightly knit federation, entirely under the centre because I believe the country is too big and the inhabitants unable to manage a unit of that size.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I do not think there need be a very wide difference of principle on that point. The purpose of the Government is to bring about what they call a United Congo, and that conviction is surely as strongly held by the United Nations themselves. What happens then? This is what seems to me a part of the analysis which has not been worked out by everyone. We find ourselves with those two ideas—the idea of seeking a united Congo, and the idea of a United Nations' military force in the Congo. We find ourselves in a situation which is bound to be delicate. Even if we take the statements of the Government at their face value as expressing their real intentions (I know they were when they were made, although they were buffeted about by their supporters), we all join in supporting the United Nations' force in the Congo. That force is supposed to be impartial between the main part of the Congo and Katanga, but clearly those who are running the force share the views of what I call the main part of the Congo, or the views of Her Majesty's 553 Government, and the views of all of us —namely, that there ought to be a united Congo. That is going to make that force far more unwelcome to the secessionists. That, I think, is a fact that is bound to arise with a force whose sympathies are bound to be on one side; it is quite understandable. It would be bad enough anyway—does the noble Earl wish to interrupt?
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I am ready to give way at a moment's notice, and I am sorry I did not give way to the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, because he has now left the House. Perhaps he is preparing a speech to crush me. At any rate, that is the inevitable delicacy of this situation. En addition, you have a large number of Europeans, some of them no doubt people who are going about their lawful business, others soldiers of fortune, all of a somewhat undesirable kind, and others, I am told, fanatical French officers, who are determined to see no united Congo. But it is extremely likely that these forces, which cannot be welcome to the secessionists, will in fact be attacked.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, may I take advantage of the noble Earl's kindness and interrupt? He says, of course, that the United Nations' forces take the same view as Her Majesty's Government and the Opposition, that there should be a united Congo, but it ought not to take a view at all. Under the Security Council Resolutions the limit placed upon the use of force is, first of all, to keep the rival parties apart and, secondly, to maintain law and order. It ought not, therefore, to use force to pursue political ends at all. I agree it is a very difficult thing.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
If the noble Earl thinks that, I shall have to repeat the argument, which I would not 554 wish to do. If he thinks that the argument has been demolished when it has not been affected, I think it needs repetition. But, of course, soldiers are not supposed to have politics and principles, and I should not have used that phraseology. Obviously, the soldiers in the Congo should not have politics. Obviously, the people who are there are servants of the United Nations. The officials have no politics, either. They are engaged in trying to carry out the United Nations' mandate. The mandate, at the present time, is to try to bring about a united Congo by peaceful means. That is surely understood. The officials are there to try, among other things, to achieve this. To be quite honest, I do not see how you can have what is called complete neutrality between the large part of the Congo and the smaller, because, in fact, Her Majesty's Government, the United Nations and all the outside parties concerned are trying to bring about a united Congo which is just what the secessionists at the moment do not want. So there cannot be complete parity between them.
I must inform the noble Earl that while I am grateful for the correction—he is quite right to point out that soldiers have no politics—I present my argument in the same way, generally speaking, as before. This is not the reason for this pure viciousness on the part of these forces which has led to these brutal attacks. But since the noble Marquess has talked about trying to bomb Katanga out of existence, let me say that, considering the provocations and the brutal attacks, I think the United Nations' forces have been very long-suffering, and I think that is the general verdict of fair-minded people.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I have been listening with great interest to what the noble Earl has said about the United Nations' forces in Katanga. Having heard him, I am very doubtful whether we ought to be there at all.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I am glad that the noble Marquess did not attach much importance to the words of a fallen Minister of many years past. I hope he will not be guided in his view of the United Nations by chance words of mine. That is the situation as I see it.
555 Of course, we have now reached the position where we must hope that the United Nations will have asserted themselves sufficiently to feel assured that they will not be attacked any more and that peace will come about. It looks as if the United Nations might have now secured the necessary guarantees. I am still not clear whether the noble Marquess feels that, if the United Nations are there, their forces are entitled to defend themselves or not, because he left that point totally obscure.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I do not think they have been defending themselves. I think they have been pursuing a policy—and I said so in my speech—designed for "downing" President Tshombe and all that he stands for.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I will not pursue it, but I am glad to have that statement. It is obvious that Her Majesty's Ministers thought they were defending themselves, or else they would hardly have agreed last Thursday night to supply them with large bombs for the purpose of self-defence. So I think the noble Marquess can hardly bring in the Government on that side of his diagnosis.
I have spoken too long and provoked interruptions, and enjoyed them. But allow me to say that we all must agree that this is a very difficult situation, and I would try to end on a note which is not too repulsive, even to the most extreme members of the so-called Katangan lobby, a phrase I hope I may use without offence, because as there are the medical lobby and other lobbies in this House—and we shall soon be having a German lobby—I think we can talk about the Katangan lobby without imputing evil to anybody.
But to-day, we read in The Times—and this was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, at the beginning —the point was touched on, that all seven members of the Commonwealth on the Advisory Committee differed from the British attitude about the cease-fire. To quote The Times of to-day:Although seven Commonwealth countries are represented on the Committee (Canada, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Malaya, Nigeria, and Ghana), it is understood that the British attitude was endorsed by none.556 The British attitude was not endorsed by any of the seven members of the Commonwealth on the Advisory Committee. So when the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury—I am sorry he has gone —says the United Nations are engaged in a "flagrant breach of international morality" and he places it on the same level as the Indian attack on Goa, I would point out that the whole project is in fact supported by all seven members of the Commonwealth who are on the Advisory Committee. We are told, on the contrary, that there is strong criticism of this attitude of the British Government from several quarters, while the United States came in for praise for its support of the United Nations' actions in Katanga.
Noble Lords opposite vary in the priority they attach to the United Nations; some attach very great importance to it, like the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot, others very little. They vary in their friendliness towards the United States, on whom the whole world depends so immensely at the moment. They do not vary, I believe, any more than we do on this side of the House, in their devotion to the Commonwealth. May I submit to them, most respectfully and firmly, that if in the years ahead the policy of the Government separates us irretrievably from the United Nations, the Government will not only have betrayed the ideal of a world peace system for many years to come, they will have destroyed the Commonwealth itself, and left a great vacuum in place of a glorious fellowship.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, the noble Earl who has just spoken will not expect me to agree with large parts of his speech, but I would strongly agree with him when he said that a great deal of the trouble with which we are faced to-day in the Congo is due to the ad hoc, or, if I might say so, almost amateurish, arrangements which existed in the United Nations on the establishment of the forces which went into the Congo. We have had only two previous experiences. One was the case of Korea, where the force was virtually an America-led force, to such an extent that the Commander-in-Chief could be dismissed by the President of the United States without, as I understand, any consultation with her Allies. Then we had 557 the force which went into Egypt. In the Congo we have a much wider and larger operation, and the United Nations went into it without any intelligence staff, without any planning staff, without any logistics staff, and with a very limited number of what we should have called in the war Allied Military Government officers. All this had to be built up, and unfortunately it has been built up, to my mind, very ineffectually.
It seems to me that we are to-day meeting in very dark and tragic circumstances. Particularly I should like to refer to Goa, where we have witnessed an act of aggression against the territory of an old ally by a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations; and this particular member of the Commonwealth is headed by a man who has never ceased to proclaim himself a great friend of peace but whose actions and statements in regard to Hyderabad, Kashmir and Goa scarcely seem to bear out this claim. I hope that when the question of Goa does come before the United Nations we shall not find that double standard to which my noble friend referred earlier in his speech this afternoon.
In Katanga we have the forces of the United Nations, including those of at least two members of the Commonwealth, engaged in bombing, shelling and mortaring military and civil installations in Elisabethville and elsewhere, some considerable distance from the main military sites. This has brought about serious and widespread damage to life and to property; and, whatever the correspondent of the Observer, and I think the noble Earl who has just spoken, may say to the contrary, there has been wholsale bombing and shelling by United Nations' forces of hospitals, mission houses, power-houses, mining establishments and private dwelling-houses. We have seen them ourselves in photographs, on television, and we read them in the reports of reliable Press correspondents.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, since the noble Lord has referred to me, perhaps he would tell us whether he thinks that the United Nations' troops are so brutal that they are deliberately aiming at hospitals—because really that would be a fantastic claim.
§ LORD COLYTON
I never suggested that for a moment. They are using far more force in this operation than was required simply to protect their lines of communication.
The avowed object of the present operations is to protect and secure the communications of the United Nations' troops in the Elisabethville area. It does not claim to be an operation for the purpose of removing the mercenaries, nor does it claim to be an attempt to impose a political solution. But having regard to the violence of the attacks, the number of forces employed, the reluctance of the United Nations' authorities to agree to a cease-fire until they have reached a situation where the means of resistance in the city of Elisbethville itself have practically ceased, it does seem to me they have gone far wide of their original purpose of protecting their lines of communciation. They are inevitably going on towards a political settlement which will be imposed by them. This, of course, is in direct contradiction to the resolution of the Security Council of August 19, 1960,which reaffirmed that the United Nations—and I quote:will not be a party to or in any way influence or be used to influence the outcome of, or in any way intervening, or to be used to influence the outcome of any internal conflict, constitutional or otherwise.Let us look back for a moment at the reasons why the United Nations are in the Congo at all. As the noble Earl said, the four main reasons were given very succinctly in another place by my right honourable friend the Lord Privy Seal last Thursday. I think that as he is a Minister we are entitled to quote him. It was first to provide the Congo with assistance, technical and civil; secondly, to provide military assistance to enable the security forces to maintain law and order throughout the Congo; thirdly, to prevent the Congo from becoming a new area of the cold war; and, fourthly, to enable the Congo to settle its own internal differences and make its own political arrangements. This, as my right honourable friend quite properly said, has been the policy of Her Majesty's Government throughout. Let us just look at these categories as they apply to the Katanga.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt, but would the noble Lord read on, if he has the 559 quotation handy? I believe that the Lord Privy Seal went on to say that the object of the Government was, in fact, to bring about the unity of the Congo.
§ LORD COLYTON
The Government have constantly made it clear that their purpose was to bring about the unity of the Congo.
The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, in, I think, two supplementary questions on December 14, when, unfortunately, I could not be in my place, stated that the United Nations had gone into Katanga for self-defence. He used that expression, but I presume that he was referring only to the very recent military operations, and not to the original entry of the United Nations into Katanga; because originally they went in for a quite different reason. After the initial rising of the members of the Force Publique against their officers, in July, 1960, the Katanga was the only province of the Congo where order was restored in the course of a very few days, and that was particularly true of Elisabethville and the surrounding area.
We know, of course, that in Northern Katanga there were risings by the Baluba and other tribes coming in from Kivu and Kasai. But in Southern Katanga peace reigned and life was normal, and European men and women, many thousands of them, have been living there side by side in perfect harmony ever since. I believe I am right in saying, though I am not an expert, that the great copper mines ceased production for only two days after the original rising of the gendarmerie, until the recent intervention or action by the United Nations' forces put a stop to them temporarily. Why and how did this change occur when you had a perfectly peaceful situation in the Katanga?
§ LORD COLYTON
I am coming to that. It changed because the then Government of Mr. Lumumba and some of his supporters in the Afro-Asian bloc insisted that United Nations' troops should be admitted into Katanga to occupy the airfield and other key points so as to provide a United Nations' presence. I really believe that it was simply a sop 560 to the extremists who did not want to see a multi-racial system of government succeeding. This was the origin of all the trouble in the Katanga. To make matters worse, the United Nations' civilian authorities both in Leopoldville and Elisabethville soon showed that they themselves were also determined to bring Katanga to heel.
The noble Earl must forgive me if I refer to his compatriot, but of course the most notorious was Dr. Conor Cruise O'Brien. In the normal way one would have thought that when a man retired from a public position in these particular circumstances the less he said the better and the less we said about him the better. But he has come out in the open and he has made totally unjustified, unwarranted accusations against the British Government for dragging their feet and has indeed said in some of his articles that we have been giving aid covertly to the secessionist régime in Katanga. That is something absolutely not true, which the Government have denied again and again and Sir Roy Welensky has denied again and again. I have not the slightest doubt that they are completely sincere and that they have carried out their policy.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, may I intervene? I realise I cannot leap up every time Dr. O'Brien is mentioned, otherwise the House would get bored. But I should like to say once for all that Dr. O'Brien retired from the public service, gave up his career, in order to make his view of this plain. He has made a sacrifice. He has retired from the Irish Diplomatic Service because he felt he had to give his view of the truth.
§ LORD COLYTON
Obviously he will not complain if we make our views plain to him. Everybody knows that Mr. Tshombe is not one of the easiest personalities to deal with. He is an emotional man, highly volatile, very vain and surrounded by one or two rather tough Ministers. It was absolutely essential if this policy was going to succeed, with the United Nations' troops having to go against the wishes of the inhabitants, that whoever was running the United Nations' administration in Katanga should be on good terms with Mr. Tshombe and should gain his confidence. I can think of half a dozen 561 former British Colonial servants, men like Sir Charles Arden-Clarke or Sir James Robertson, who would have filled the bill and done what was wanted, and brought Mr. Tshombe along in the direction in which we wanted, towards a conciliation and understanding with the Central Government. Dr. O'Brien seems to have done nothing of the kind, in fact the exact opposite. Whatever qualities the noble Earl says he possesses, in Katanga he seems to have shown evidence of being completely lacking in tact.
The United Nations' troops were inevitably unpopular. It was up to Dr. O'Brien and his, I am afraid, still more notorious assistant, Mr.Tomburlaine, to do what they could about it. Yet they seem to have deliberately gone out of their way to antagonise Mr. Tshombe and his Ministers. Then the critical moment came when the United Nations authorities, under instructions from the Secretary-General, set out to implement that part of the Resolution of February 21 last which called for the removal of all Belgian and other foreign military and para-military personnel, political advisers not under United Nations' command and mercenaries.
Personally I have always regarded that as a most unfortunate Resolution and I regret that our Government subscribed to it. It was clearly aimed at Katanga, though it did not say so. At any rate, one must admit that it has never been applied against Mr. Gizenga in Stanleyville, not even when the eleven Italian airmen were torn to pieces; it seems never to have been able to pin the blame for that on the authorities in Stanleyville although Mr. Gizenga was personally present. It is typical of the way these things have been applied by the United Nations. I wonder why we should have voted at all for a Resolution which directed the withdrawal of Belgian political and military advisers when we ourselves encourage Europeans to remain in all our newly independent territories, and when in fact their presence was fully provided for by the Treaty under which the Belgian Government accorded independence to the Congo.
One thing this paragraph did not do, and that was to provide for the use of force, and it was the use of force which 562 led up to the tragic train of events since September 13. In the Observer yesterday I saw that Dr. O'Brien is now rather suggesting that the blame should more properly be laid on his superior in Leopoldville, Mr. Khiari, and he suggests that neither the late Mr. Hammarskjoeld nor Dr. Ralph Bunche in New York knew about these plans for using force. I can well believe that to be true, for I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Bunche this October in New York and had some talks with him on the subject. But as far as Dr. O'Brien was concerned he certainly set about carrying out these instructions with gusto. He spoke to Mr. Tshombe, I understand, late at night about a possible visit to Mr. Adoula, and said good-night to him; then, the next day at 4 o'clock in the morning the troops went in and key posts were occupied, the hospital, the Lido Hotel, the Post Office, with tremendous loss of life.
On September 14 he was reported by The Times correspondent assaying jubilantly that Katangan secession was ended and it was now a Congolese province run by the Central Government in Leopoldville. He also claimed—and this is quite contradicted by his later statements and writing—that the action had been taken to prevent civil war between the Katangans and the Central Government troops which had planned an invasion. That is according to a report in TheTimes at the time. Then he talked about the arrival of a High Commissioner who in fact arrived at Kamina airport, a Moscow-trained Communist, who was shipped back to Leopoldville in due course.
§ LORD COLYTON
I understand he came from Leopoldville, to Kamina, the United Nations' air base. At any rate this attempt to remove the remaining mercenaries by force ended in a fiasco and culminated in a cease-fire following great loss of life and, of course, bringing considerable humiliation to the United Nations' forces. There has been a lot of talk about breaches in the ceasefire by the Katangan forces and I am quite sure that is true. But let us bear in mind that from the beginning the Katangan Government were also accus- 563 ing the United Nations of carrying out similar breaches in the cease-fire, and no doubt there was truth in that too. But certainly after this last Resolution, the Resolution of November 24, tension increased quite remarkably.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, why does the noble Lord say that no doubt there were breaches by the United Nations? Has he any evidence of it? Why does he assume that there must have been?
§ LORD COLYTON
I have no moreevidence of it than I have of breaches of the truce by the Katangan forces. But after the unfortunate Resolution of November 24, there certainly were such ugly incidents as the attack on Mr. Urquhart and Mr. Smith, and the erection of road blocks, and finally the decision of the United Nations to assert its right of freedom of movement.
I do not propose to comment on the matter of the request for 24 1,000 lb. bombs by the United Nations' authorities, except to draw attention to one rather curious aspect of this incident. From the date of the cease-fire in September until the recent incidents, Her Majesty's Government were concerned with one thing, and one thing only, and that was to bring about a conciliation between Mr. Adoula's Government and Mr. Tshombe. They had been pressing it at Leopoldville; they had been pressing it in Elisabethville and at United Nations headquarters in New York; our Ambassador and our Consul-General have laboured unceasingly to that end. Then, on October 21 came the request from the Secretary-General—I think it was before Mr. U Thant had been appointed—for 1,000 lb. bombs.
If these attempts to secure conciliation were going on, and if at that moment no question had arisen about United Nations' forces seeking to assert their right of freedom of movement, or feeling anxiety about their communications, what were those bombs wanted for? That is the question which, if I had been my noble friend, I should have put to the Secretariat-General on receipt of that request. Moreover, in the light of this request and of our efforts to pursue the path of concilation, I should have been most reluctant, as indeed was my noble friend, to accept the resolution of 564 November 24, which, whatever, one may say, certainly goes further than previous resolutions, in that force can now be used, to expel political advisers and so-called mercenaries.
I am fully aware of all the arguments against using the Veto, particularly when it has to be used in the face of some of our African friends—the members of the Brazzaville group, for example, who are seeking to find a via media. But if the resolution of November 24 was as fraught with danger as I believe it to have been, and as I think it has proved to be, I feel that Her Majesty's Government would have been well advised on this occasion to use the Veto. After all, the Soviet delegation had already used the Veto to cut out the important American amendments which would have made it acceptable to provide, for example, for conciliation and to make the resolution applicable to Mr. Gizenga and his advisers or those in any other part of the Congo. I really believe that there are occasions when, however unpopular and whatever the immediate disadvantages, it is better not only to speak but to vote according to one's principles. I think that in the long run it avoids misunderstandings which sometimes lead to one's being trusted by nobody.
I should like to say one word about the mercenaries. So long as there were regular Belgian officers and N.C.O.s and political and technical advisers in Katanga, the mercenaries were quite unimportant. That situation lasted about up to the end of August, when the mass of the Belgian Officers and N.C.O.s were removed. I think I am right in saying that by September 15 there were only 28 Belgian officers and N.C.O.s left, of whom 11 were employed in repatriation. I would not swear to those figures, but I think that was the situation. As I say, the mercenaries were relatively unimportant; and, indeed, there were few of them. But as my noble friend has said. if you take away the regular soldiers and policemen it is not surprising that you get indiscipline, and the sort of incidents of which Mr. Smith and Mr. Urquhart were the victims. It seems to me that the mercenaries have assumed an importance which is totally out of proportion to the basic political issues involved in this question of the Katanga.
565 My Lords, I have one further point that I should like to make. I have spoken too long, and I have no voice left. Something which has struck me and has dismayed me is the tragic lack of understanding, agreement and, if you like, coordination with our American Allies throughout this affair. I do not think this is an isolated case. We find this same lack of co-ordination so often on other issues, whether it is in the Far East, in Cuba, in Southern Vietnam. Nor is it only the United States; it may be Italy, France, Japan, or Pakistan. Of course, in this case, if I may say so, as a great admirer and friend of the American alliance, it was due partly to the lamentable ignorance by the Americans, right up to the top, of African conditions.
I do not know whether your Lordships read a statement of Mr. Chester Bowles in the newspapers to-day, drawing attention to the danger of Katanga's going Communist if the separatist movement succeeded, because then the central Government would step in and, with its 40 per cent. Communist membership in Parliament, would soon take over power. He went on, in a most sinister way, to say that the Americans might then have to act unilaterally and outside the United Nations. If that was the view of one of the senior advisers to the President on African affairs, why is it that the policy which we have been pursuing,which, after all, has had among other many important objectives, that of keeping the Communists out of Katanga, has not been understood by them? It seems to me to be an almost incredible blindness on their part, and a complete failure to understand our fears and our aims.
My Lords, I was most relieved to hear from the Foreign Secretary that there is now a possibility of a cease-fire, albeit after the United Nations' troops have, as I imagine, attained most of their objectives. I am glad to hear that there is a real possibility of a meeting between Mr. Tshombe and Mr. Adoula, for which I know Her Majesty's Government have been working for at least four months. I hope that both of these things will occur. But there is one final thing that I should like to say. In my view (and this perhaps answers the noble Lord, who asked me whether there was evidence on some of these matters), we know so little, and have so little accurate information, about what has been going 566 on over these past four months that we ought to press strongly for an impartial judicial inquiry into the events of September 13, the intervening period and the current events. I think it ought to be a judicial inquiry—something like the Devlin Commission, possibly under a Judge of the International Court at The Hague, with impartial, non-political assessors. I believe that if we could do that, it might help us a great deal to understand what has taken place over these months; and I think that it would also help the United Nations to avoid for the future, in any action which they may be called upon to take, the sort of mistakes that they have made on this occasion.
§ 5.50 p.m.
§ LORD STRANG
My Lords, it gave me especial pleasure to hear the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge. I served with him for several years in Germany when he was Deputy Military Governor in Berlin, and I know how wise and enlightened was his administration of the British zone, how skilful were his operations in the international forum, and how close and fruitful was his co-operation with his United States colleagues. He is one who can speak to us with special authority on Germany and Berlin, and he has so spoken to us to-day with a grace and a skill which I think most of us would envy.
My Lords, I want to say something to-day about the Congo and, in particular, about the role of the United Nations there. I want, first of all, to deal with one or two questions of administration, the conditions in which and the mechanism through which the United Nations has to do its job. We know how United Nations' resolutions are produced. They are the result of conflict and compromise. Diplomacy, which has as one of its purposes the accurate recording of agreements which have been reached, is now too often used for another purpose; it is used too often to paper over differences which stand in the way of agreements and to give the appearance of agreement when there is no agreement. The Congo resolutions suffered from that fault, but that is only the first stage. If it is an operative resolution, equivocal as it may be, the Secretary-General must carry it out and he must do so under 567 fire from the various contesting authors of the resolution. Then there is a further stage. Instructions have to go to the civilian and military servants of the United Nations thousands of miles away where communications may be precarious, where conditions may be disturbed, and where the situation may be in constant flux.
I know myself what it is like as a junior officer to be left in charge of a distant post abroad. No matter how efficient the system of communications is, no matter how well integrated the professional methods of work may be, no matter how strong the links of sympathy and understanding between the centre and the circumference may be, it is difficult to convey how absolutely alone and unprotected one feels; how hard it is sometimes to guess what effect one's recommendations and reports may have had at the centre; and, what is more important, to understand what can have moved headquarters to send the instructions which one receives and which one has to carry out.
How much more will that be so where the representatives in question of the United Nations do not belong to a single service? They are recruited from here, there and everywhere, of diverse nationalities, sometimes ad hoc on a temporary basis, like Dr. O'Brien. The wide geographical origin of candidates makes it inevitable that there will be widely varying standards of ability and experience. Some, who may be best suited for some particular assignment, will be by their nationality politically ineligible, while those who are politically eligible may not be those best suited for the job. In those circumstances, is it surprising that there have sometimes been unfortunate appointments or that mistakes have been made?
What I have said about the civilians applies just as much to the military. That point has been made both by the noble Earl, Lord Longford, and by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton. I think that the problems of the polyglot national military contingents serving with the United Nations deserve sympathetic understanding. These men are suffering hardship and risking their lives in conditions of great confusion, in fulfilment of a mandate which it would take the 568 wisdom of Solomon to interpret correctly.
My Lords, there are two general points of administration which I should like to make. The first is that I think it would be wiser if, when matters of this moment are in question, the Secretary-General were to send out a very senior member of his staff to take direct charge on his behalf. That would be better than leaving the conduct of affairs to relatively inexperienced officers. With so much at stake no precautions should be spared. Quite clearly, in the present instance those precautions were not taken. The veil was stripped from the scene in Dr. O'Brien's article in the Observer yesterday. I am not going to attack Dr. O'Brien at all. Dr. O'Brien made his recommendations for action under the United Nations' resolution in the early days of September, and he had a perfect right to do that as that was his job. One of his recommendations, which is quite noteworthy, was thatif we did have to use force we should not desist until the secession of Katanga, source of all these ills and many others, had been ended.That was a recommendation made to his headquarters by Dr. O'Brien, and he says that he still thinks his recommendations were correct. That, I think, is a matter of opinion.
But what matters is not the recommendations which Dr. O'Brien made, but what instructions he and his military colleagues actually received. Dr. O'Brien's own evidence on this point is quite startling. Instructions were brought orally on September 10 by Dr. Khiari, the Tunisian who is nominally head of the United Nations' civilian operations in the Congo, but to whom Dr. Linner, the Swedish head of the United Nations' staff in the Congo, had delegated wide political authority. The instructions brought orally by Dr. Khiari to Dr. O'Brien and his colleagues were: to take over the post office and radio station; to raid the Silrete and the Ministry of Information; to arrest the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Finance and the so-called Minister of Foreign Affairs, and, if absolutely necessary, Mr. Tshombe himself. The necessary warrants for these arrests were provided.
569 These instructions purported to be for action under the relevant United Nations' resolutions. From whom did these instructions come? Dr. O'Brien tells us that Dr. Linner, the head United Nations' man in the Congo, did not know of these instructions; that General MacKeown, the Irish Commander of the United Nations' force in the Congo, did not know of them that Dr. Bunche in New York and the Indian General who is military adviser there, did not know of them either; and his final revelation is a statement, which is no more than his own opinion, that it is unlikely that Mr. Hammarskjoeld himself knew about these instructions. Who authorised these instructions? Dr. Khiari, according to Dr. O'Brien, claims to have had a secret line of communication with Mr. Hammarskjoeld. That may well be, but that somehow does not remove Dr. O'Brien's doubts. There I leave the question.
But the moral of all this, as I have said, is that the Acting Secretary-General should see to it that he is adequately represented by a very senior colleague, at any scene of trouble which is likely to create world-wide concern. Someone of the calibre of Dr. Bunche or Mr.Gardiner ought to have been stationed in Katanga long ago. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, has gone further and suggested that someone of the type of an ex-colonial Governor would have been best suited to this job, and I agree with him had it been politically possible. That is my first point on administration.
My second point is that if officers of the United Nations do not want to be misquoted or misinterpreted by the Press, they should be especially careful to refrain from making incautious pronouncements of policy "off the cuff". Ministers of the Crown with long experience in the House of Commons learn the hard way how to evade or stonewall the indiscreet, or embarrassing question, and even Ministers sometimes slip up. Civil servants, speaking for their Ministers, by dint of burning their fingers, as we all know, learn how to conform to their Ministers' views. United Nations' officials are in a different category. They have no Ministers to train them day by day in the way they should go. They may lack, shall I say, the keen 570 sense which is sometimes required to distinguish a platitude from an indiscretion. They need, therefore, to exercise an especial care, and I doubt whether that is what they have recently been doing.
Now, my Lords, I turn for a moment to questions of policy. I am in agreement with the line which the Government have taken. Unlike so many other people, they have kept their heads and have fixed their eyes on essentials. They realise that there are some political problems which are not to be solved by violence; that once you resort to violence there is no telling where it will lead you; and that if you go on pursuing it in the quest for a final, political objective, the last state is likely to be worse than the first. They do not subscribe to the view that violence is all right, no matter how it is resorted to nor for what purpose, so long as it is exercised by the United Nations. The United Nations is just as fallible as any national authority, and I think that the Government were wise to see, if they could, that United Nations' action was confined within the limits of the Security Council resolutions. Those resolutions mean different things to different people. All the more reason, therefore, for Her Majesty's Government to fear lest United Nations' forces should exceed their mandate.
They were right to be vigilant, and were right in thinking that the sooner the fighting stopped, the better for everyone, including the United Nations. Too many people nowadays think that violence is the cure for everything. That, I think, is one of the most sinister marks of the age in which we live. You do not build peace by letting the men of blood have their way, whether inside or outside the United Nations. When tempers are high, it is an unpopular thing to speak of patience and moderation. I believe, my Lords, that when events have further unfolded, and when, perhaps, tempers have cooled, the line which the Government have taken, the line which they have counselled, will be seen to have been wise. In particular, I support the view which the Foreign Secretary has stated about the continuance of our financial contribution for the Congo operation. Let us not create a powerful precedent upon one isolated incident 571 only. Here again, patience is the best guide.
My Lords, that great humanist and devotee of the League of Nations, Gilbert Murray, towards the end of his life, expressed the fear that the growing influence of the multitude of new and backward States in the United Nations would produce something which he saw as the shadow of barbarism: an erosion of the law upon which civilisation is based. With events in the Congo and in Goa, would he not, if he were alive to-day, think that that shadow had grown darker? My Lords, the United Nations is approaching one of its crucial tests. Is there to be one law for Mr. Tshombe and another for Mr. Gizenga? Is there to be one law for Great Britain and France and Israel. and another for Mr. Nehru?
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ LORD CLITHEROE
My Lords, I am sure there is not any Member of the House here who has not greatly enjoyed the speech which we have just heard from the noble Lord, Lord Strang. Almost all the great political crimes of history have been justified by their perpetrators as means of the greatest good, and to-day we have been discussing two crimes: one, the aggression in Katanga, about which I wish to say something and about which I have already declared an interest in this House, and do so again: and the other, the aggression in Goa. The aggression in Goa, I think, is one of the most shocking pieces of international behaviour which has been seen during this century—and at the hands of a man whose pride is, or has been, that he is a man of peace.
Now if I may say a word about Katanga, it is because I think I am perhaps one of the not very many noble Lords who have recently been there. I should like to talk about some of these events which have been puzzling us and, if I can, to try to explain some of them. In the latter part of August, when I should much have preferred to be doing something else, I went to Angola. The reason I went there is because I am a director of a railway which is owned by British capital and which employs 17,000 people, and I wanted to see whether they were all right. That was my reason for going there. After I had travelled all 572 through Angola—about which some day, perhaps, I might be allowed to tell your Lordships—I then went to Katanga for a visit. I was in Katanga for several days. Now during the time I was there I had the opportunity of meeting a good many people.
First of all, I should like to mention, if I may, Mr. Dunnett, our Consul, because the words that Lord Strang used just now about people in far off posts in difficult circumstances made me think of him. Mr. Dunnett, our Consul there, and his gallant wife, have been under fire for the last ten days. Their house is next door to the palace of President Tshombe; and they have been in continuous danger and have been conducting themselves with great bravery for many months. But I should like to tell you about the atmosphere in Elisabethville. It was very unusual. Here was an entirely peaceful city—and I went right through the southern part of Katanga. I am not referring just to Elisabethville; I went through Jadotville and Kolwezi—all these places which have been strafed by the bombers of the United Nations in the last few days. The place was so entirely peaceful that my wife and I slept in a house there without the doors locked at night. To suggest that this was a place where there was disorder is absolutely untrue.
Now the United Nations' soldiers who were in Southern Katanga (for a reason which is very hard to explain, because there has never been any trouble there, but I think to gratify the political wishes of certain people) were naturally not popular. Occupying troops are not always very popular. Apart from Indians, there were one or two companies of Irishmen and one or two companies of Swedes. I talked to many of these, and found that their chief anxiety was that they should be home for Christmas. But no girl in Katanga, whether she was black or whether she was white, would dance with a United Nations' soldier in any circumstances. They turned their heads away, because they felt that the soldiers were an occupying army and that they were there without any reason or justification. There was every justification for the United Nations being in certain parts of the Congo where there was trouble, in certain parts of the Congo where they 573 had to keep one tribe from fighting another, but there were none of these problems there, and I suspect that the United Nations' troops were not at all comfortable in Elisabethville.
When I went to see Mr. Tshombe and Mr. Munungo, with both of whom I had very long talks (I may say that these are both men of considerable ability and great character), they told me that the United Nations were provoking them beyond endurance—remember that at this point not a shot had been fired—and I asked how. Mr. Tshombe's line was: "Not only are they seeking to remove the European officers of my gendarmerie whom I want to keep, because I have no other officers with which to control the troops; they are also removing and putting pressure on me to remove one by one the civil servants who are helping me to run my Administration". On the very day I went to call on Mr. Munungo, I found the place somewhat in disorder. Although I went there with the British Consul in a car with the Union Jack flying, and all that, we were not expected, as we should have been. The place was somewhat in disorder, because just previously the Chef de Cabinet had been removed; and this was happening in one department after another. The United Nations were trying to break down the Administration of Mr. Tshombe, and to break down the control of his gendarmerie. This is one of the most wicked things which the United Nations can ever have done.
Now, why has this happened? The United Nations went there on a crusade. Well, more evil things have happened in crusades before now. as people who have read their history may well remember. Evil things have happened here. The article in the Observer yesterday which the noble Lord, Lard Strang, quoted should be read by every Member of this House. It should give your Lordships a proper assessment of the position in Katanga. This article is written by Dr. O'Brien. I am not going to make charges against Dr. O'Brien: I am merely going to quote what he says, part of which has been quoted by Lord Strang. However, before I do that I want to draw your Lordships' attention to the resolutions of the United Nations. The time to which Dr. O'Brien was referring was September 11—note that date—before the last resolutions were passed. He 574 was acting on directives which were based on the previous resolutions passed in the Security Council dated February 21, which I have here. One of the passages in this resolution urgesthat measures be taken for the immediate withdrawal and evacuation from the Congo of all Belgian and other foreign military and para-military personnel, and the political advisers not under United Nations command, and mercenaries".Now, there was no authority given by this resolution—and any noble Lord can read it when I have finished my speech—to use force. No authority was given whatsoever. But what do we hear from Dr. O'Brien? On September 10 he tells us of this meeting with Mr. Khiari. A Tunisian official of the United Nations appeared. He said:I cannot here attempt a portrait of Mr. Khiari,and then he goes on to attempt one.His only purpose was to bring the United Nations operation in the Congo to a successful conclusion. Mr. Khiari gave us instructions in the drawing room of my residence in Elisabethville. Those present, as well as General Raja and myself, were Mr. Khiari, Mr. Fabry, Colonel Waern, a Swedish officer commanding South Katanga, Colonel Egge and my deputy, Michael Tombelaine. The instructions were as follows".As I say, this was at a time when there was no authority to use force. Remember, not a shot had been fired; there was no provocation.
These were the instructions which Dr. O'Brien received. Whether they were the instructions he asked for or not, I cannot say, but these were the instructions he received from Mr. Khiari according to his own words in the Observer yesterday:To take over the Post Office, the radio studio, and the transmitter, to raid the Ministry of Information; to arrest any European officials found there and seize their files".Of course, a great part of the officials of the Katangan Government are European—customs officers, education officers, and so on.To arrest Mr. Munungo, Minister of the Interior Jean Baptiste Kibwe, Vice President, and Kimba, so-called Foreign Minister. Tshombe was also to be arrested if absolutely necessary. Mr. Fabry produced the warrants, which bore the Seal".The Seal of what? The Seal of the Central Government. What was the Central Government doing there? They had no jurisdiction with regard to law and order in Katanga. Katanga was a province under the provincial Govern- 575 ment which had responsibility for law, order and justice. What right had the United Nations' officials to come down to Katanga with warrants sealed by the Central Government?
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, might I just interrupt the noble Lord? He has asked a rhetorical question, and that sometimes gives a member of the Opposition the chance to answer it. If he has Dr. O'Brien's article with him, he will see that in fact Dr. O'Brien, according to his own account, had warned Mr. Tshombe in writing that, if he did not immediately desist from various provocative activities, the United Nations might find it necessary to act under paragraph (a) (1) of the resolution of February 21. That is the paragraph which deals with the civil war situation, and with Mr. Tshombe's brutal treatment of the native minorities. Then, later, Dr. O'Brien goes on to explain that there was this murderous incitement from Mr. Tshombe's radio, and from some other people. They are the facts given in the article.
§ LORD CLITHEROE
My Lords, I have here the article which anyone can read. I was in Katanga at that time. I listened to the radio and heard one transmission after another coming from Moscow. There was no possibility of civil war breaking out at that time in Elisabethville—no possibility whatsoever. If they were proceeding under the paragraph relating to civil war, anybody who was there at that time could have told you that there was no justification for it. But they were not. I just tell that story to try to show your Lordships what the feelings were in this country, this country of peace and prosperity, with this occupying army there which had no reason whatever to be present.
Now, there are one or two matters to which I also want to refer. I want to refer to the question of the secession of Katanga. In my interview with Mr. Munungo (and I am reading from a note of it made that day) Mr. Mununao said this. I hope I am not boring the House?
§ LORD CLITHEROE
He recalled that there were British in Katanga before the Belgians, and that their record showed that Katanga was a unit at that time.
576 When the Belgians established themselves here, they killed Msiri—that was, his grandfather—and various members of his family, and broke up Katanga. At that time the successor took the view that further resistance would serve no purpose. But still Katanga was not made part of the Congo. Up till 1933 it remained a separate Protectorate under a separate Vice-Governor-General, like Ruanda Urundi. When incorporated in 1933 there was serious trouble, and many chieftains resigned. When the issue of Congolese independence was raised in the last few years there was a movement for declaring Katanga independent. He went on to say—and this has been the position of Mr. Tshombe all the time:It is said in one newspaper after another that Tshombe is seeking complete independence.That is not the case. What was said there was:At the present stage Katanga remained ready to have a customs union with the rest of the Congo, to have diplomatic representative abroad answerable to a Central or Coordinating Government; to have the armed forces also under a Central authority, subject to the retention of gendarmerie in the regions, and to make a financial contribution to the Central Authority.That has been the position of the Tshombe Government. It was the position when I was there in August, and it has been the position of the Tshombe Government ever since. When I came back from the Katanga, I tried very hard to impress upon people what the position was. I did all that I could. Of course, I made representations to the Foreign Office, which were received with their usual courtesy. I think that at that time they paid more attention to the reports they received from the United Nations—and who can blame them?—because they did not then know that the United Nations were misleading people. I wrote to The Times and said:U.N. is putting great pressure upon Katanga: it is gradually removing European technical advisers, without whom the administration is impossible at present: U.N. also has 11.000 troops in Katanga and is introducing more Indian troops now. This seems quite unjustified and provocative.I went on to say:It is the policy of U.N. and of the United Kingdom Government and the United States to promote a settlement between Leopoldville and Elisabethville, but there is no chance of an agreement if U.N. continues its present policy, which appears to be going even beyond 577 the somewhat doubtfully legal resolutions of U.N. in February.The breaking point is getting near and if there is further provocation, there will be no hope of avoiding bloodshed and guerrilla warfare. All the traditions and worthy objectives of U.N. seem to be ignored in its treatment of Katanga.I wrote that and sent it to The Times on August 26, before any fighting there. I have been trying ever since to impress upon people what is the cause of this trouble but I find it very difficult to get them to understand.
If I may, I would make one point about the position now. The September outbreak ended happily in a cease-fire, but the recent outbreak, which I hope will end shortly in a cease-fire, has not ended yet, and I am thankful to hear that a meeting has been arranged through the good offices of our Government and the Americans. The position since September is an interesting one. There was a very interesting letter in the Sunday Times, yesterday from Mr. Tom Stacey, who is a correspondent of great power of perception and ability. He said, in this long letter:Confined as I am to my sick-bed, my comment on the Katanga situation must be restricted. … there was very little willingness of the U.N. side to preserve the ceasefire once they had obtained their fourteen assault aircraft.It seemed to be privately assumed by all those with authority in the U.N. to whom I talked that U.N. forces would have a second shot at eliminating the Tshombe regime. There was, perhaps understandably, an air of frustration and vengefulness throughout the U.N.The difference between the civilian and military wings of the U.N. was that the military had come to regard the Katangese—as a people—as their enemies, while the U.N. civilians continued to maintain that it was the remnant 103 (by U.N. estimate) white soldiers in the Katanga army and the Tshombe Government whom they were fighting.To support my allegation, I would quote the following. About a week after the cease-fire, I was chatting with the then deputy chief U.N. representative in Katanga about the assault aircraft which the U.N. had just obtained from various nations. He remarked to me: 'If we had had these a fortnight ago, we could have finished Tshombe. But now we shall have no difficulty'.A few days earlier—two days after the cease-fire—an Indian major remarked to me in Elisabethville, 'Next time we shall destroy them (the Katangese) completely.' At his Press conference on Saturday after the cease-fire, General McKeown said: For the future, we have had a ready response for fighter aircraft'.578 I had conversations with many United Nations people when I was in Elisabethville. I had a long conversation with Mr. Tomberlaine, Dr. O'Brien's deputy —I am sorry to say that Dr. O'Brien was on leave at that time. The impression I got from my conversation with Mr. Tomberlaine was that he and all the political people in Katanga were determined to crush the Tshombe regime. I am very sorry for the soldiers out there, for the Irish and Swedish soldiers, the Indian and Gurkha troops, and for the difficulties that officers are in, too. They are in an almost impossible position. But there is no doubt that that was the intention of the political people of the United Nations on the spot. Dr. Hammarskjoeld evidently knew nothing about it: Dr. Linner did not know. But the people on the spot were determined to take this action, and they took it.
I am sorry that I have gone on so long, but there is one other point I want to make before I sit down. There has been a lot of talk about the "Katanga lobby" which, according to the Sunday Times, hasin barely more than a week established itself as part of the political vocabulary of abuse.This, I thought, was very good. According to this leader writer, the leader of the Katanga lobby is reckoned to be Lord Hinchingbrooke, for whom I have a high regard, but with whom I have not had the pleasure of talking for many months. I see him standing at the Bar.
§ LORD CLITHEROE
My Lords, the extremist Press and various gentlemen on the television have named some distinguished Members of both Houses as being in this lobby. If I may take it that this lobby wants to prevent and stop war in Katanga, I am in it. Most of your Lordships, I hope, are in it; and about 80 per cent. of the British people are in it. If it is something else, perhaps I shall be told.
One of the first people to be named is Sir Roy Welensky. Perhaps I may remind your Lordships why Sir Roy Welensky is interested in the Katanga. It has a 2,000-mile frontier with Rhodesia, and the Lunda Tribe, of which Mr. Tshombe's father-in-law is Chief, is in Northern Rhodesia. In addition, 579 30 per cent. of the power which works the Northern Rhodesian mines comes from the La Marinel power station in Katanga, near which a bomb was dropped by the United Nations the Sunday before last. That is why Sir Roy Welensky is interested; and he is entitled to be interested.
Several other noble Lords are being denigrated by people on television and by certain sections of the Press as being associated with companies in the Katanga. I explained earlier in my speech that I went to Katanga for a holiday, but I went there because the railway of which I am a director carries the copper away from the Katanga, and therefore I am very interested. I am interested that there should be peace in the Katanga. All these companies, like the Union Minière and Tanganyika Concessions, Limited, are interested in having peace. They cannot be wanting to have war—they want peace so that they can do their business. Particularly because the Union Minière is a foreign company, I should like to say that anybody who has visited their works, their hospitals, and seen their welfare service, as I have recently done, would agree that they put to shame half the industrial companies in Europe. Many of these people are friends of mine, and I have been hearing so many of my friends attacked that I want to say something for them when they are not in a position to speak for themselves.
Other noble Lords are said to be associated with the Katanga—the names of the noble Earl, Lord Selborne, and of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, have been used. The noble Marquess has an interest in Rhodesia. I should hope so. Its capital city is called after his grandfather. The noble Earl's father was Governor-General of South Africa. These families have an hereditary interest in Rhodesia and Africa. Some noble Lords have done a great deal of development there and some of them also in the Katanga. I know that they are proud of it. I have heard so many noble Lords opposite say that we must develop the under-developed countries. This is exactly what these great companies have been doing. For many years, with their own money—not the public's money—they have been developing these great 580 industries and bringing prosperity to these lands in Africa, and I think that the abuse which has been shouted at them from the housetops should perhaps be somewhat moderated.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
My Lords, although I cannot agree with the noble Lord on many of his conclusions, I should like to congratulate him on having revealed his interest. As he knows, in another place it is the common Parliamentary practice for a speaker to reveal his interest, and newcomers to this House have observed that speeches are often made by noble Lords who have interests and these interests are not disclosed until pressure is put upon them.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL AND MINISTER FOR SCIENCE (VISCOUNT HAILSHAM)
My Lords, I do not want to interrupt, but I must say that if anybody does notice anything it is his duty to bring it to the attention of the House. What is not tolerable is that afterwards, when they have not done so, they should make general allegations against Members of the House.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
Perhaps the noble Viscount will be a little patient and contain himself. He must not allow himself to leap up at the slightest provocation.
§ VISCONT HAILSHAM
I am sorry to intervene again, but the noble Lady must remember that noble Lords of all Parties in this House are proud of their sense of honour in the matter to which she was referring. I can do nothing without the consent of the House—I have no authority apart from the consent of the House—but one of my duties so long as I am Leader of the House is to repel charges made in general against Members of the House that they speak here without declaring their interests. I should be very sorry to think that it were true. It is my duty as Leader to see that it does not happen. What I said was that if the noble Lady knows of such a case, it is her duty to the House to reveal it at the time and not to make general charges of that kind.
BARONESS SUMMER SKILL
The last thing that I thought I was doing was 581 making general charges when congratulating the noble Lord for his courtesy; and, really, the noble Leader must not abuse his position by interrupting continually when somebody is making a speech.
§ BARONESS HORSBRUGH
My Lords, I should like to ask the noble Lady this question: whether she thinks it is seemly for one who has come (as I have) so lately to this House, and has the honour to be among the first Life Peeresses, to appear rude to those who have been here so long and know a great deal more about the rules and regulations of this House than probably either of us.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
This is a most curious development of my courteous congratulation of the noble Lord. Who knows but that those who have replied to me in this way—the noble Lady talks about rudeness—in a grossly discourteous manner during the last two or three minutes, have done so because I have mentioned business interests? In this debate, so far, business interests have not been mentioned. I certainly am prepared to raise this matter, because it is discussed throughout the world and on the radio. The noble Lord who has just sat down asked your Lordships in his last two or three words, "Why should people suspect the Union Minière? They are doing everything possible." Is he not aware that on the radio this morning —and the B.B.C. is reported throughout the world—it was said that U Thant has warned the Union Minière that if they do not stop firing on the United Nations from their installations he will have to bomb them from the air? And the noble Lord comes to this House and says: "Why are you blaming this innocent business enterprise? All they are trying to do is to help their country"!
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
No; I cannot give way. I have been interrupted three times already, and I really must claim the right to speak without further interruption.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
When the noble Lord turns to the House and 582 suggests that these business houses are absolutely innocent, and their only contribution to Katanga has been a business one which must improve the economic conditions of the people, I must ask him rhetorically, does he then say that the Secretary-General of the United Nations to-day has made a false statment, and is he suggesting that when the Secretary-General has told this colossal corporation (about which I shall say more later) to stop their active attack with mortars and guns on the United Nations, he is indulging in some kind of fantasy, or is it a fact? Does he suggest that the Advisory Committee which sat on Saturday (and the report of the Advisory Committee is in the newspapers to-day), which advised the Secretary-Generalthere is no doubt on this statement—and which consists of six countries of the Commonwealth—
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
—of seven members of the Commonwealth, also are falsifying the position when authorising a statement of this kind to go out to the world? Really, my Lords, for the noble Lord to repeat that, without recognising what the facts are, makes one wonder whether the statement which he has made is completely accurate in all its details. He obviously has failed to keep up-to-date; he has failed to know what the position is in the Katanga from the latest report from New York. I had no intention of dealing with this in the detail with which the noble Lord has dealt with it; I must confess that as I sat listening to the debate I was thinking more in terms of principle.
Many noble Lords in this House, and when they were in another place, have listened to many debates on Foreign Affairs, and I think they will agree with me that it always stimulates speculation on how the historians will record contemporary events. Undoubtedly, in a contracting world the events, the attitudes, the behaviour of the Government in each country will be assessed according to their performance on the world stage. In the past it was customary for historians to deal with this in a more parochial manner, in more detail. But I would say that the reason why they deal with these matters as they affect nations and not peoples in countries is because 583 the most notable event of this century is the establishment of a world authority to preserve peace and order. And that is precisely why this question of Katanga arouses world interest.
It may be that this question stimulates and provokes people to anger. If I may put in a psychological word here, who knows but that it may be because the super ego (and I appeal to the right reverend Prelate here perhaps to criticise me on this point) is struggling with the ordinary man? Here to-day there is a microcosm of that struggle which is taking place throughout the world. I would say that because of the importance of this subject. The United Nations as an organisation is the finest thing that has been established in this century, and it is a tragedy that successive Conservative Governments have sought to defy the United Nations and thereby undermine its prestige. Suez has been mentioned very often in this debate. Well, it was five years ago that the Conservative Government attacked Port Said and earned the condemnation of the world. The Prime Minister at that time was forced to resign.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I must ask the noble Lady whether she means that the Prime Minister of the day was forced to resign by public opinion or by illness.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
Perhaps the noble Marquess will show me the patience I showed when I listened to him. I did not interrupt him, although he provoked me many times. The Prime Minister was forced to resign, not as an act of expiation, but in order to save the Conservative Party at the next Election.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
That is an absolute untruth. I can produce evidence—and I will if the noble Lady wants it—that he was seriously ill at the time. Everybody knew he was seriously ill. I will not use the word I should like to use to the noble Lady.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
I observe the Leader of the House likes to interrupt on many occasions. Is it an 584 un-Parliamentary term to call someone untruthful?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
It is not my business to dictate what the House should tolerate or not. I did not notice that the House resented what the noble Marquess said.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
I thought the Leader of the House was here to interpret the rules of the House. It appears that he will interpret certain rules when they do not appeal to him, but not if they do appeal to him.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I am hereto interpret the wishes of the House and to do its bidding. There are occasions when it is necessary for the Leader of the House to gather what the feeling of the House is on matters of this kind, and I thought the sense of the House was against the noble Lady. I should be very sorry to think that I was moved in the discharge of my duties as Leader, whatever I may think of what is being said, by any other feeling than a desire to serve the House and to see that its customs are properly kept. Since the noble Lady has challenged me, I must ask her to remember that Standing Order No.29 of the House specifically lays it down that in answering speeches noble Lords, as a matter of custom, do not give offence but answer the matter rather than the person. I could not help feeling, as the noble Lady was speaking, that she was beginning to answer the person rather than the matter, and was beginning to forget that such speeches are against the order of the House.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
The noble Viscount tells me that it is in order in this House to charge another person with being untruthful. I am very surprised at that, because I understood, having been 23 years in another place, that if one Member charged another with being untruthful, immediately the Speaker intervened and asked for it to be withdrawn. I thought that that was elementary.
However, I come back to the question of the Prime Minister at the time of Suez. I am told that he resigned because of ill health. I will only say that I do not think that that is the opinion of the world. But I am prepared, as a doctor, to accept the assurance of the 585 noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. But he will agree with me that that act of wanton aggression in Suez came to an end in a very short time. The Prime Minister of that time was urged on by certain key figures who, in the matter of the Congo, have attempted to defy the United Nations. They are the same figures who were urging the Prime Minister on to his aggression at the time of Suez. But again they have failed. My Lords, that is the important thing to-day: they have failed, and there is a gloom and despondency among them. The Prime Minister to-day has not resigned, but has so far managed to extricate himself. The historians, I am sure, will recall his speech and his manner on Thursday in another place as a discreditable spectacle.
As I listened to the Foreign Secretary to-day he had another chance. He had heard the speech on Thursday and he had read it. At this critical time in world affairs, the Foreign Secretary comes here and gives us a philosophical analysis of the United Nations. The United Nations has been in being for many years. The constitution of it was known to the Foreign Secretary and to his predecessors. Is this the time, this urgent critical time, this time of emergency, for the Foreign Secretary to come and devote most of his time to a philosophical analysis?
I would say that the enemies of the United Nations have failed because another high principled, man, U Thant, has followed the trail blazed by Dag Hammarskjoeld. That is why they have failed. And it is significant that at a meeting of the Advisory Committee of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Saturday (I have already said this in answer to the noble Lord), after the debate on Thursday, the Committee were unanimous in supporting U Thant's point of view. How can that be disregarded? How can some of your Lordships, on the one hand, condemn the United Nations and the direction of the Secretary-General, when at the same time, last Saturday—not weeks or months ago—after the speech on Thursday, after having heard the speech of the Prime Minister of Great Britain, after having read him in New York, seven members of the Commonwealth refused to endorse the British attitude? 586 Should we be swayed by that? Is that not a tremendously important factor? Although we sit here and exchange argument—and I listened with interest to all the details that the last noble Lord who spoke gave me—surely these men who have been on the spot and who have brought back their reports to seven members of the Commonwealth on the Advisory Committee are the men who should know the position.
I would say that the Lord Privy Seal's explanation of events on Thursday served only to highlight the squalid manœuvres of a group of men solely activated by financial interests. It is a very curious thing that we have heard the Foreign Secretary to-day condemn the United Nations with faint praise. He had surely heard the statement on the radio to-day, the warning to the big corporation in Katanga that it must remove its armed installations. Yet the Foreign Secretary did not in one word or one phrase mention this matter—the latest statement from New York. Not once did he mention business interests. Not once did he suggest that there were men who were interested in financial aspects of the Katangan economy, and that they were motivated by those interests. Surely, all that we have read, and all that the Advisory Committee discussed on Saturday must have some basis. Surely, this is factual and it has not just been designed for the purpose of attacking a few men.
I want to refresh noble Lords memories. The real value of the Corporation which is attacking the United Nations—
§ LORD CLITHEROE
My Lords, would the noble Lady allow me to say one word, as she has made a specific charge? I always give way to her, and I know she will not mind giving way to me. I have just had this telegram from Elisabethville, timed 7.30 to-day:
"According to Federal Broadcast News who probably quote a communiqué the main centre of Katangan resistance is the installations of Union Minière. This allegation is absolutely untrue. The offices and works of the Union Minière are only occupied by the staff of this company who are gathered there. It is ridiculous to state that the offices and works are used as Katangan stronghold. Same broadcast announced that United Nations are ready to bomb the Union Minière installations if it remains center of resistance. It is noted that since three 587 o'clock yesterday afternoon the Head Office has been bombarded causing heavy damage."
§ LORD CLITHEROE
This is their repudiation from the man on the spot in Elisabethville of what has been said in the newspapers.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
I can only say in answer to that, would the Secretary-General of the United Nations tell the world what he has told them on the radio this morning if there were no truth in it at all? Perhaps the people who are charged feel that they must deny it, but I would remind the noble Lord that there are many people who, when charged with wicked acts, quickly deny them.
This is the fifth time I have been interrupted and I must claim the right to speak without interruption. I would remind the noble Lord and other noble Lords here who are not fully conversant with business interests in Katanga that the real value of Union Minière, the Anglo-Belgian mining corporation, is about £145 million. It provides the Tshombe Administration with about 80 per cent. of its revenue. Tanganyika Concessions, the Anglo-Rhodesian concern with headquarters in Salisbury, owns 90 per cent. of the shares in the railway along which most of the Union Minière output passes. The British South Africa Company dominates the Northern Rhodesian economy. The noble Marquess can hit at me as hard as he likes; I am quite prepared to take it so long as it is well-founded, and he will see that I never make a statement unless it is well founded. As he knows, I do not believe in pugilism but I do not mind a little verbal fisticuffs, and I understand that the noble Marquess was a member of the Board of the British South Africa Company until April.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, it is quite true, I have been a 588 member of the Board of the British South Africa Company, because I have been connected both with the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Colonial Office and I became immensely interested in Rhodesia and therefore I thought I would continue my interests. When the time came and I found I was the subject of the onslaught of unfounded slander, which the noble Lady has repeated to-day, I thought it better, if I was going to continue to try to take an interest, to see about removing my financial interests, apart from the fact that I have other work to do. That decided me to do so. If the noble Lady cares to form a conclusion that my attitude to Rhodesia was influenced by financial interests she has a right to do so, but I do not think she will find a single supporter in this House.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
My Lords, that is the sixth or seventh interruption. I think when people protest too much one becomes a little suspicious. Far from my arriving at conclusions or slandering the noble Marquess, what I am doing is stating a fact and I prefaced my remarks to him by saying that I am not expressing opinions; I am stating a fact.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, may I interrupt for a moment?—for two noble Peers cannot stand at the same time, and nobody has a right to speak in this House except by the permission of the House.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
What I meant to say is, I think that nobody will interrupt the noble Lady because she is doing us much more good than harm.
BARONESS SUMMER SKILL
My Lords, I thought the facts should be put before the House and if the noble Marquess thinks I am doing so much good I find it difficult to understand why all the noble Lords who have spoken before him have not given these facts. If they are of such use to the case they have been putting against the United Nations, why did they not ventilate these facts? Why, in some curious way, has there been a conspiracy of silence? However, if the noble Marquess tells me I am doing the right thing then I am very pleased I am 589 making this contribution; and already the noble Lord who spoke before him has said that there were many representatives in both Houses who had interests in Africa. But I only mention the noble Marquess because he has been, I think he will agree with me, the self-appointed spokesman of the Congo group during the last few weeks and he has apparently been a member of the group which has in the last few weeks been successfully intimidating the Government. This is based not only on my observations and perhaps noble Lords would like to hear this statement made by the noble Marquess's noble friend Lord Hinchingbrooke on television for the world to see and hear:When the Conservative Party is united and determined not to have something the Government are obliged to give way.This is so, when there is a suspicion that a strong group has been formed to bring pressure to bear on the Government and to intimidate them. Surely, here is the evidence, given on television to millions of people by the noble Marquess's noble friend Lord Hinchingbrooke.
Then I remember I was very shocked last week when the noble Marquess came to the House—and I suppose it was with this knowledge of unity which Lord Hinchingbrooke ventilated on the television—and asked how long the Government were prepared to wait for an answer from U Thant to their demand for a cease-fire. That, of course, was an absolutely remarkable statement. Did he realise that what he was really doing was pressing an ultimatum? Already U Thant had snubbed the Government by saying he did not want it. Did he think that this man would fail to uphold his principles because there was a threat that money would be withheld? Some men's principles are not for sale. And I would ask the noble Marquess to refresh his memory before he puts similar questions and ask him to read Article 100 of the Charter of the United Nations. It reads:Each Member of the United Nations undertakes to respect the exclusively international character and the responsibilities of the Secretary-General and the staff and not to seek to influence them in the discharge of their responsibilities.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I was merely asking for information: how long the Government were going to wait. I see no harm in that.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
The noble Marquess must realise that when he stands up in this House and talks upon this matter, which arouses such passions, the world reads what he says and it is therefore very important.
Now we come to the speech on Thursday. We had all hoped that the Prime Minister would come to the country and tell us exactly what was happening, and that he would explain in some detail why and how he arrived at his decision. Well, I can only say that the speech of the Prime Minister last Thursday represented a masterly piece of political tightrope walking when, the end of the exercise in sight, he quickly produced his so-called "hopeful first reply from U Thant" to Britain's cease-fire proposal. Since Thursday events have proved his interpretation of the letter was a ruse to extricate himself from a difficult position. There is no doubt about it. I think his friends on his own side of the House complained because after that speech he left the Chamber very quickly.
The Lord Privy Seal sought to protect his guilt and make the charge that the Labour Party were war-mongering. I would remind the House that the Lord Privy Seal was Chief Whip at the time of Suez. Was his conscience asleep then? Again I come back to the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who stood there this afternoon and described in detail to the House the conditions of the babies and women and bombed people in Katanga. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, was a member of the Government at Suez. Did he also weep the same crocodile tears over mutilated babies there? This afternoon he read out at second hand what he had read about at Katanga. I went into the hospitals at Port Said.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
Yes, I was so ashamed. I went into the hospitals and saw ward after ward of wounded—men, women and children. I think 1,000 were killed in that immoral adventure. Did the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, stand in that place and 591 describe the conditions of those mutilated people at Suez? Did not that touch his heart? Did he not realise that those people died in vain, and that that could have been absolutely prevented? Yet to-day he makes an emotional appeal in order to damn the United Nations. I find that the only hope of establishing world peace is to uphold and strengthen the United Nations. Yet the Government have deliberately injured it—injured it at Suez, injured it during the Katanga affair. They have offended our strongest Ally, the United States. They have besmirched the moral standing of Britain. But more than that: above all, they have given an object lesson to the hundreds of millions in the Communist and uncommitted countries of the uninhibited, ruthless methods employed by international capitalism. It seems to me that those who support the hanging and flogging of criminals to uphold the law in this country are against a world authority using force against an aggressor. I find that a curious contradiction.
Now it seems that the United Nations' objectives may be realised shortly and negotiations started, and, of course, noble Lords on every side of this House welcome those negotiations. However, it must not be forgotten that a cease-fire was also arranged in September. This was regarded as a sign of weakness on the part of the United Nations. I would remind your Lordships that the United Nations' officers were beaten up then, and Mr. Tshombe received more help from his powerful friends in the shape of mercenaries and equipment. And this is the principal crux of the situation: peace can never be established permanently in the Congo so long as there are rival factions strengthened by powerful supporters in and outside the country who are motivated by their own financial interests.
§ 7.4 p.m.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, so far as I know. I neither have nor ever have had any interest, however remote, in Katanga. On the other hand, at the University I did study philosophy, and and as philosophical analysis is the main charge, twice repeated, against my noble friend the Foreign Secretary by the noble Lady who has just resumed her seat, I have no doubt whatever that my educa- 592 cation in philosophy entitles me to be grouped with the Katanga Lobby.
This debate has produced some admirable speeches, and none, I think,more valuable than those of my noble friend, Lord Strang and my noble friend Lord Clithcroe. Lord Strang, who speaks with an unrivalled authority on the matters on which he spoke this afternoon in this House and is respected in every quarter, supported Her Majesty's Government. I think Her Majesty's Government, if they were driven to the painful choice of whether they preferred to be supported by Lord Strang or by the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, would probably come to the conclusion that there were some advantages in being supportedby Lord Strang. Lord Clitheroe gave us the benefit of knowledge derived from having been on the spot at a most material time. and he spoke at first hand of these events. When I came to this House I had not prepared a word of my speech, and so many admirable speeches have been made that I propose to confine myself almost entirely to putting certain legal considerations before the House, because I think I am almost the first lawyer who has spoken.
But before I come to certain questions of law affecting the United Nations, I should like to deal in passing with a subject in which I am very much interested but on which I shall say very little because it was dealt with, and dealt with so admirably, in the remarkable maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge. Many tributes have already been paid to that speech. I must say my memory went back to my boyhood, because it so happened that the noble Lord and I were at the same preparatory school, though I am so much older than he is that I had already left when he arrived there. But I did pay an early visit to my old school soon after I went to Rugby, and the very brilliant headmaster whom the noble Lord and I well remember told me that he had among his pupils the most brilliant pupil he had ever had, and that was the noble Lord.
As he mentioned Berlin, perhaps I might just say this in support of the considerations that he put forward. I cannot quite remember how Mr. Khrushchev 593 described Berlin; was it "like a bone in the throat?" I think that was his expression. And, of course, that is what it was, because there alone in the free world citizens of a Communist country were enabled to flee from Communist slavery, and they fled in great numbers. That made it a bone in the throat to Mr. Khrushchev. I support what the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, said. Nothing could, of course, be more absurd than to say we should not go to war over Berlin. Of course, if events there eventually led to war, which I hope profoundly they will not, it would not be about Berlin that we should be fighting but about the whole sum of things. Does anybody suppose that, if the West were forced to abandon its position in Berlin by blackmail, that would lead to any lasting relaxation of tension? I know the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, to whom we have so often listened with pleasure on this subject, does not take that view, but realises how important a stand there is. I support entirely the view so well supported by the expert knowledge of the noble and gallant Lord, that standing firm in Berlin is vital.
I may say that I visited that city in 1952 and in 1959; in 1952 as a Junior Minister in order to open the British Pavilion at the Berlin Industries Fair, and on that occasion during my stay I had the advantage of discussing matters with such distinguished Socialists as Dr. Reuter who, I know, will have been well known to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and others; and on the last occasion, in 1959, I had the honour of leading a Parliamentary delegation which at the invitation of the Federal Republic visited Germany and ended in Berlin.
Now I come to the principal topic on which I wish to speak—namely, some of the problems of the United Nations in this affair, as I see them. I find it quite impossible to adopt either of two views, perhaps not very commonly held but liable to be violently expressed. One view is roughly this: "My U.N.O., right or wrong." If the United Nations does anything at all, it is suggested, we must support it, whether what it does is, by ordinary standards, wholly immoral and disastrous or not. I cannot accept that view. Nor can I accept the view of cer- 594 tain well-known Sunday and daily papers, that the true motto in foreign policy is, "My country always wrong." I think that, too, is an intellectual and a moral error. Holding neither of those views, I believe we should be interested in what the United Nations does. I welcomed the much condemned philosophical analysis of my noble friend the Foreign Secretary whose speech today, as on many other occasions, was both relevant and distinguished.
There is one point upon which I am going to venture to advise Her Majesty's Government. I may appear to be a little critical of one or two actions they have taken in the past. Let me say at once that I think they were faced with a difficult problem—namely, should they exercise the veto in the Security Council, or should they refrain from exercising the veto but make an oral reservation? That is an extremely difficult problem, and nobody can pretend that there are not substantial arguments for each course. Nevertheless, I firmly agree with some noble Lords who have already spoken, that we must not hesitate, if necessary, to exercise the veto.
Here I want to remind noble Lords, since I think I am the first lawyer who has spoken, of some of the relevant provisions of the Charter. I believe that there are a great many people in this country who really believe that the word "veto" occurs in the Charter and that for some obscure reason it is slightly immoral to use it. Actually, the word "veto" does not occur in the Charter, but to exercise what is sometimes referred to as "the veto" is of course perfectly proper. Let me remind noble Lords of the provision. Under Article 27, paragraph 3, most decisions of the Security Council are made by an affirmative vote of seven members, including the concurring votes of the permanent members. If a permanent member does not concur there can be no decision of the Council. Whether on any particular occasion it is right for a permanent member not to concur depends, of course, on the merits of the matter before the Council when the vote is taken. But to say that it is always wrong for a permanent member not to concur is to say that it is always wrong to be in a minority. Is there any noble Lord in any quarter of this House who 595 really believes that it is always wrong to be in a minority?
I confess that, in spite of much that I thought was terrible in the origins of the United Nations—I have referred to it before and I only do it in passing—.I still support it when I can. I would remind noble Lords that we were not taken by surprise, after the United Nations was formed, by the conduct of Russia. Months earlier, by enticing certain underground leaders of Poland to Moscow, and then secretly imprisoning them, Russia had made absolutely clear how she proposed to use the Yalta Agreement, and how she proposed to use the United Nations. It is a falsehood to pretend that we were taken by surprise. This vitiated the origin of the United Nations in many ways. Nevertheless, I have been one who, for many of the reasons given by my noble friend the Foreign Secretary, to-day and on other occasions, has within limits supported the United Nations and regarded it as a valuable institution. But I have never thought that we, while being a member of it, could be wholly indifferent to the immorality or the wisdom of the things it was doing.
On this question of Katanga, the reason I strongly support Her Majesty's Government in seeking a cease-fire is that I believe that the United Nations has been engaged on an aggressive and immoral war against the Government and people of Katanga. The noble Earl, Lord Long ford, to whose speeches I always listen with interest and respect, seemed to think that if any of us approved of the original United Nations' force going to the Congo, we were almost bound to approve of this war against Katanga. It seems to me a complete non sequitur. I approved, as did many noble Lords, of the United Nations sending forces to Katanga. I think it promised various advantages, provided they did not indulge in the activities that they have indulged in, which I think are nothing less than an aggressive war against the Government and people of Katanga.
Take this issue of the bombs. The noble Earl, Lord Long ford, said: how could it have been right, on principle, first to decide to send the bombs and then to withhold them? I should have 596 thought there was no difficulty whatsoever in reconciling those two things. I will not say whether it was wise or unwise, but the original decision to send them was based on a limitation of use, very strictly defined. When events in Katanga showed that they were unlikely to be used in that restricted way, or there was no certainty that they would be, I do not see anything illogical in then delaying their sending until these matters were cleared up. I think that the noble Lady and others have referred scornfully, as though it were a great rebuke to this country, to the fact that Mr. U Thant withdrew the request for the bombs. I am puzzled by that. Does the Socialist Party regret that the request was withdrawn? Are they sorry that these bombs are not in Katanga? Are they sorry that nobody else has apparently been asked to supply them? I must say that I should like this whole matter, both the original request for the bombs and the subsequent events, to be cleared up. But it does not seem to me that it will be this country which will come out worst from that inquiry.
My Lords, I said something about the veto and how, on a proper occasion, it is quite right that we should use it. But, of course, we all know how frustrating it could be to the United Nations if the veto were constantly used by one Power or another so as to make it virtually impossible on many occasions for the Security Council to pass any valid resolutions at all. It was for that reason that in 1950 the General Assembly approved the procedure which was then known, and I think is still known, as the "uniting for peace" procedure which enables an emergency meeting of the Assembly to be held at short notice, and the Assembly can then make recommendations by a two-thirds majority. But, of course, the Assembly has no executive power, and even are solution of a two-thirds majority of the Assembly has very much less legal force than a resolution passed by the Security Council.
Therefore, I am not denying that in many cases there is a really difficult question about whether our country should decide to use the veto, or to make a reservation in a resolution which our Government cannot wholly approve and then allow the resolution to go through.
597 Whichever course they adopt will be liable to the grossest misrepresentation. That is quite certain. But I think there are occasions when it is much safer to vote on the merits of the resolution before the Security Council than to make a verbal reservation and allow it to pass.
May I give one recent example, the proposal that the Pekin Government should take the seat of China at the United Nations? Sometimes this proposal is inaccurately referred to as "China joining the United Nations". That is quite inaccurate, because China is in the United Nations by the express terms of the Charter, and is, indeed, one of the permanent members. The question is: which Government has the right to represent China? we have given de jure recognition to the Pekin Government and that was a decision of the late Labour Administration which personally I never contested. I regretted that the decision was made without a certain amount of consultation and agreement, which I think might have been possible; but the main decision to recognise the Pekin Government as the Government of China was one which, I think, accorded with the general practice and views of our international lawyers. But, of course, many countries took a diametrically different view, and there has always been, although people have not realised it, a substantial majority against the view that the Pekin Government was entitled to represent China in the United Nations.
Until this year a decision had always been avoided by postponing the matter, and people thought that that was an evasion; it was because it was known how deeply the United Nations was in fact divided. But at last this year, for the first time, it came to a vote in the Assembly, and, of course, taking the view which the Government took and which I support, we were bound to say that we thought that the Pekin Government should represent China in the United Nations. I think that we could have made it perfectly clear that for a simple resolution so providing we should have unhesitatingly voted. But that was not the resolution that came before the Assembly. The resolution that came before the Assembly, which was introduced by Russia, was full of crude insults referring to the "Chiang Kai-shek clique", and all that sort of thing. 598 We tried to get that altered but we did not succeed. In my submission to Her Majesty's Government, it would have been perfectly right, having attempted to get the offending words removed and having failed, to say that the resolution as now worded was one against which we should vote on the merits. That might have been misrepresented, and no doubt would have been misrepresented. Nevertheless, in my submission, it would have been perfectly justified and in the ultimate interests of international law.
First of all, in the event of the Pekin Government wishing to take that seat, which I very much doubt, it would have been absolutely clear that the wording deliberately chosen by Russia had, in fact, lost them votes, which I think would have been quite a valuable thing. One of the difficulties, if we are talking about the future of the United Nations and are considering the position of China, and one of the reasons why I think there is so much difficulty in getting our view to prevail, is that there is an erroneous view held—quite erroneous in law and in fact—that any recognition of the PekinGovernment as the Government of China would somehow involve the recognition of Pekin's claim to Formosa. It would do nothing of the sort, but many people think that it would. One of the things which will make them increasingly think that is the terms of that resolution for which we voted. Since that resolution has been passed it will be said: "Whatever your reservations the British have voted for a resolution referring to the Chiang Kai-shek Government in these insultingterms". There is the other difficulty, that Pekin has always made itquite clear that it is not interested in its own recognition unless Formosa is ousted altogether from the United Nations.
Of course, there is the final point which interests many other people, though I do not think it is any final argument against our view that if the Pekin Government is the de jure government it is entitled to take the Chinese seat, and that is that, if China were a new nation seeking to join the United Nations, we should be unanimously of opinion that it was wholly unqualified for that position, because it has rejected almost every term of the Charter, and has been repeatedly aggressive against the United Nations and its members.
599 My Lords, may I say a word about Goa? Here I will try to be moderate, but my patience with Mr. Nehru is almost exhausted. In the recent discussion on Goa in The Times and other papers, nobody seems to have thought even worthy of mention the fact that the threatened attack, which has now taken place, would be an outrage under international law and an express breach of the terms of the Charter. My Lords, I am delighted to know that the Portuguese Government is taking this to the Security Council. I beg Her Majesty's Government, on this occasion, not to try to be clever at all, but to vote honestly on the actual resolution before them. That resolution ought to condemn the Indian Government for an unprovoked aggression modelled, even in its verbiage, on the technique of Hitler—an unprovoked aggression for which there is nothing whatsoever to be said.
I am sorry if I have spoken longer than I had intended, and if, in my general support of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary—and I promise him that I support him, not only generally but with enthusiasm, in his difficult tasks throughout the world—I have concentrated on the one matter where I think, in the light of events, they may think there is something to be said for different action in the future—voting in the Security Council on the merits. Just before I sit down, on a totally different matter I should like to add the missing sentence to the quotation given by my noble friend Lord Clitheroe, which he would have given had the noble Lady been good enough to yield to enable him to complete the quotation. The final sentence in the cable received, which my noble friend Lord Clitheroe read, is this:The British Consul in Elisabethville, whose residence is only 250 metres from the Union Minièere offices, can certify the authenticity of our statement.
§ 7.32 p.m.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, I hope the House and the noble Lord will excuse me from following him in detail in the very interesting speech on the legalities of the United Nations' procedure. I think we should, all the same, not lose sight of the fact that to world opinion it looks, and will always look, as though if you vote for something you 600 are for it; if you vote against it, you are dead against it; and if you abstain it suggests that you do not really care either way. That is not to say that there are not many ins and outs which are better considered by Governments than by legislative chambers.
It is getting on towards dinner time, and I want to make an exceedingly short speech on two points only. First, the Katanga—and let me first of all declare that I have no financial interest in the United Nations. Because of the abstention by the Government on the last United Nations resolution, of November 24, and the story of the bombs, there is, of course an impression that this country is at loggerheads with the United Nations. I want to talk about this very briefly. It is natural enough that it should be so. I think that there is a conflict in this country at the moment between two views of what should be the relationship between Europe and Africa—the Euro-African set-up. The older view, which still hangs on to the tradition of tutelage, is the tradition that the natural wealth of Africa should be developed by Europeans in the joint interest of Africans and Europeans. This view has become very active in this country and Parliament within the last few weeks and has led to this cleavage with the United Nations. For myself, I am clear that it will be a good day when this view has died out of international politics, not only in our country but in many other of the former colonial Powers, and when it is generally accepted throughout the world, as it is now accepted in Africa, that the development of the natural resources of that Continent should be handled by Africans and Europeans together for the prime benefit of Africans. Naturally, the rest of the world gets the raw materials.
My Lords, I would mention one detailed thing before my general observations. The Foreign Secretary, in his opening speech, used the following words, I believe:If there are mercenaries and external finance in the Katanga, it is right they should be taken out.He then went on to make the point that the recent United Nations' operations had led, not to the taking out of the white mercenaries but to the bringing in of 1,000 or 2,000 armed Europeans who were living there and who might not 601 have taken up arms if the United Nations had not been active in that way. What seems to be left out of this assessment of the situation is the United Nations resolution of November 24, which authorised the United Nations forces to arrest mercenaries serving in Katanga without United Nations' approval. The Belgians, and all other Powers, have been repeatedly called on to withdraw their mercenaries, and the mercenaries have been called on to take themselves out. Tshombe has, on occasions, seemed to acquiesce in the taking out of the mercenaries, but they are still there. It is this succession of mounting demands by the United Nations to have the mercenaries taken out which has led to the present action, because there is no other way of getting them out. Yet the Foreign Secretary, on the one hand, says it is right that they should be taken out, and, on the other hand, deplores the violence of the United Nations' action which it has proved necessary to use to get them out.
Now I ask the House to stand back a moment from this whole Congo question, because I think this debate has slightly fallen into the pattern of noble Lords on one side getting up and saying that Tshombe and Welensky are good men and Urquhart and Smith and Linner are bad men, and the noble Lords on the other side of the House getting up and saying the reverse. It all started in the Congo because the colonial Power which ran that country for many years, Belgium, failed to educate enough people to leave a going concern when they left. So they left, and there was the inevitable explosion, and there was the inevitable danger of the Congo's becoming the hot seat of the cold war, or of the hot war. Something had to be done. United Nations' forces were put in by general consent of all Parties in this House and in this country, and of all nations in the world. From that point on, each step has become logically necessary until we get to the present impasse. One has hoped for a long time that it would not be necessary for the United Nations' forces to fight Tshombe, his forces and his mercenaries, but it has turned out to be necessary. There are deaths from the bombardments, there are mistaken bombardments; there are children killed on both sides, as always, in all wars— 602 and this is war. But I do not myself see the justification for the withdrawal by our Government of their support from that logical, necessary and tragic event at a certain stage in the last few weeks rather than earlier. I think that if we were in it at all, we should stay in it.
That brings me to my next point, which is about the relationship of this country and this Government to the United Nations and the feeling that we have towards it. I have been noticing some of the wording used in the public debates in this country and in this House this afternoon, and they teach one a lot. We call the United Nations "it"; we call it "them". I am now quoting phrases which have been used this afternoon in the debate. We may request "it" or "them" to do this or that. We may support "it" or "them", critically or uncritically. We may accept "its" verdicts. We may doubt whether "it" is acting within its capacities, or we may accuse "it" of undertaking adventures beyond its strength. We may deplore the difference between us and "it". But, my Lords, there is no "it". The United Nations is us; it is a collection of 104 States, of whom we are one. It has the capacity that those States grant to it—and in this we have a special position, because we are a highly industrialised and wealthy State. We should grant it much more than other States. It has the strength we give it. We do not request it to do this or that; we move in it that this or that should be done. We do not have to accept or reject its verdicts: we debate the rights or wrongs of the situation. Our view may prevail or it may not. The analogy is not that of a court of law or an irresponsible despot. It is as with this House. We are Members of it. It is, up to a point, legislative. It is, up to a point, executive. We come here and say what we want done, and if we cannot get our view accepted, then so much the worse for us. But we do not thereby become outside it, or oppressed by it.
I wonder what noble Lords here this afternoon would have thought and felt if they had been around in this country in the 1470s, when Henry Tudor was trying to make a unified state out of a collection of feudal territories in very much the same way that the United 603 Nations Secretariat and the more loyal among its membership, among whom I include the United States, are trying to make one world—which is now dictated by the efficiency of transport—out of a collection of independent nation States. I suspect that noble Lords on the other side would have felt that this man Henry Tudor was exceeding his strength, and would have said: "We must reject his verdict; he has undertaken an operation beyond his power; we never meant him to do this". Of course, the State of England was born in war, bloodshed, confusion, muddle and horror. A world government, if it ever is born, will be born by precisely the same means, and this is what we are watching now. But I know which side I am on in this struggle.
Now I want completely to change the subject, if I may, and ask the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, whether he will brief his noble friend to give us further information at the end of the debate about something which he said in Paris last week. According to The Times newspaper, he said that the British people are prepared to go up in atomic dust if necessary. Then he went on to say that they wanttheir Government to do something to prevent it—this was, of course, in the context of the Berlin crisis and negotiations. Now, what are we to make of this?
THE EARL OF HOME
What I said was this. I was talking of democracies, not particularly of the British people; that they might have to be blown up in a good cause. But I went on to say this: that they will not face the prospect of being blown into atomic dust unless they are certain that every possible avenue of settlement has been tried and searched, and searched again; and that means negotiation. That was really the context of the whole thing.
§ LORD KENNET
I thank the noble Earl. He has put me half out of my agony, but there is still the concept—and this I now make as a substantial point, not merely to request further clarification from the Foreign Secretary 604 —of being blown up into atomic dust in a good cause. I hope the Government from time to time ask themselves what would be a good cause; because if the British people, or any other, are blown up into atomic dust, there will be no one left to enjoy the results of the"good cause" having been achieved.
§ 7.43 p.m.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
My Lords, I rise to make a very short intervention. I have listened to all speeches with great pleasure and interest. I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, because we are all much indebted to him for putting down this Motion for us to debate, and I always listen with tremendous interest to his speech. It appeared to me to-day, while he was speaking, that, on the fundamental issues we are discussing, there was very little difference between Lord Henderson's view and that of my noble friend the Foreign Secretary. He, too, wants a cease-fire, as I am sure we all want. He wants to see the end of the use of force, if possible; and inheriting the quality, as he does, I have no doubt, from his father, whom I can remember listenening to in the House of Commons many years ago, he is also a very strong man of peace.
But I cannot imagine that Lord Henderson had the slightest idea, when he put down this subject for debate to-day, this day in December, that so many astonishing things would have happened between the time he put it on the Order Paper and the time we are actually debating this Motion. I suppose the most incredible is the news this morning which has been alluded to by a great many Members to-day the extraordinary news of India and Goa. To me, it was so incredible. The reason why I am intervening in this debate is simply because I am one of the few people, I think, in this House who have spent three years as adelegate to the United Nations. Therefore, I can really speak from experience, from interest, and from knowledge of what actually goes on there every year at the Assembly. I have heard Mr. Nehru, for whom I have great admiration, making tremendous speeches from the rostrum of the General Assembly, urging everybody to undertake never to use force. After all, in signing the Charter we all agreed 605 not to use force unless it was absolutęly essential, or impossible to do anything else. Many a time have I listened to Mr. Nehru on such occasions, and when I read the newspaper this morning I found it quite impossible to believe that this was the same man who was ordering this extraordinary action in Goa.
I think enough has been said about it, and I would only support Her Majesty's Government and the Foreign Secretary very strongly indeed in the action I am sure they will take when the matter comes before the Security Council. Perhaps even before it gets to the Security Council Mr. Nehru will have taken some action more in keeping with hisgeneral principles, his nature and his speeches, and may have stopped the whole thing; it seems so incredible to me that it could ever have begun.
Again I speak with some knowledge of what goes on at the United Nations when I say that it also seems to me that these very large forces which are now operating in the Congo are also rather out of keeping, in a sense, with the experience, the views and the desires of delegates of nations who attend the United Nations General Assembly. A great deal has been said about it this evening—I do not want to repeat what other people have said—but there seems to be something here which does not exactly fit into the picture of the working of a United Nations World Government, as we hope it will be. I was present in the United Nations General Assembly when the first United Nations force was mooted by Mr. Mike Pearson, the leader of the Canadian delegation in 1956. I remember very well the discussions which took place and when the force was agreed upon. The only people who voted against it, if I remember rightly (it is some time ago) were Russia and her satellites. They did not support it; otherwise, I think it had almost unanimous support from the rest of the United Nations.
Last year I had the opportunity, because I was engaged in another occupation in connection with World Refugee Year, of visiting the Jordan-Israel frontier where this force has been working and operating ever since 1956. That is a very remarkable force. The most remarkable thing about it is that it never fires a shot. If it fired a shot, my guess 606 is that the whole place would probably go up in flames, or anyway there would be grave disturbances. But because the United Nations is there by the will and the good will of everybody concerned, including the two nations of Israel and the Arab States, it works. It seems tome that if we are thinking in terms of trying to operate a United Nations' force —call it police force, or whatever term you will—it can work only if the people it is going to police and over which it will keep law and order are agreed that that is what they are prepared to observe. In fact, it is really a police force. It is a police force keeping law and order and the existing status quo. It is quite true that in that area, as we know, there is no permanent settlement; but I felt very strongly last year, and I think that anyone who knows the area (I do not know it well at all) would agree that, so long as war and shooting has not broken out, so long are we gaining time and the situation is becoming a little more stable.
I believe that the force that went into the Congo was originally sent in with the idea of keeping the peace between the Province of Katanga and other sections of the Congo, but somehow it has not worked out properly, and we now have a large and heavily armed force there. Their request for very large and dangerous bombs is a criterion of their armament. An international force cannot work if, in order to achieve its end, it has to be highly armed and itself engage in fighting. Therefore, I think that the most important thing is to stop the fighting wherever it is, whether it is between the United Nations forces and somebody else or whether it is tribes fighting each other. We shall achieve nothing while there is fighting but general misery and horror. But, as my noble friend Lord Kennet said, once war is embarked upon it is very difficult to discover which side is committing the worst injuries and crimes. I strongly support the Foreign Secretary in his great desire to bring about a cease-fire, because I believe that this large, highly armed United Nations' force taking part in war is a contradiction in terms, and I wish it had never started.
Why should we have been invited to give bombs as our contribution tothis war? I am very glad that we are not doing so. If only, instead of being 607 asked for bombs, we had been asked for people! It would have been much better to supply people of wisdom, knowledge and understanding, who could have taken part in a commission or arbitration to try to help to bring together the two sides. The names of one or two people spring to one's mind as authorities on African problems. After all, we stand in the United Nations in a position in which few other nations stand. We have created several independent African States which are now part of the United Nations. We have a "know how" which I firmly believe to be as great as that of any other country in the world in bringing on these nations so that they can undertake their own independent government and take part in the United Nations. If only we had been asked for people instead of bombs, I believe that we could make a great contribution which would certainly be of great value in the discussions which are going to take place in the near future, if the Foreign Secretary's policy is successful.
My noble friend Lord Strang, who made a remarkable speech this afternoon, has already drawn attention to the question of the international civil service of the United Nations. I would say from the experience of having been a delegate many times at the United Nations Assembly that there are many remarkable people who are part of the international civil service of the United Nations; also many less remarkable people are part of it. As my noble friend told us, it is chosen largely on a geographical basis and not on the basis of the best man for the job. The limitations of that are obvious. I do not happen to have met Dr. O'Brien and I do not know him, but I have met other civil servants of the United Nations who are now operating in the Congo. I am not making any personal comment about these people. I am perfectly certain that they are doing their very best. In point of fact, it would need a Hercules to go into the Congo and take care of the administrative job that has to be done.
Orders are given by New York to somebody in Albertville or Elisabethville. Who knows whether the messages get through straight? The men on the spot have to take enormous decisions.
608 It is a great responsibility, and although I am sure that they do their best, I can only tell your Lordships that I think that in the International Secretariat, or even in our own first-class Civil Service, we should have to hunt for a man to take the kind of responsibility which is asked of people out there. I do not think that the international civil service should have put upon its shoulders the primary responsibility that they are having to take there to-day, because I simply do not think that there are the men capable of doing it. They are dealing excellently when dealing with problems which are commensurate to their capacities, but these problems are not commensurate to the capacity of almost anybody of whom I can think. Here we have one of the weaknesses of the United Nations and of the power that we should like it to have.
It is not so much what happens at the Assembly that we should consider, because one can go on for weeks discussing things and getting nowhere. The test comes when the organisations of the United Nations get down to work. Many of them are excellent, but when it comes to something on the scale of the Congo operation, I do not believe it is humanly possible to find someone in the Secretariat, with the exception of Mr. Hammarskjoeld himself, capable of doing it. The tragedy of his loss is something we shall never get over. He was a magnificent person. I am sure that the others would all say that they are only second best. If we sent Dr. Bunche and Dr. Gardiner, they would be of enormous help, and that should make a difference. But I do not think it is possible to put so much responsibility on a Secretariat, in which they cannot in the nature of things have even as much help and as much training and so on, as the noble Lord, Lord Strang, said, as the civil servants in this country or in any other country of which we know.
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, would it be fair to interrupt the noble Lady to ask what she thinks we can do about it, unless it is to strengthen the Secretariat by all the means at our disposal?
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
I think that suggestion is right. It is a great pity that what I call this geographical distribution of posts is held to so strictly, because it is very hampering.
609 But it is difficult to alter, because once you are out there, there is always lobbying for someone. If it is the turn of an Arab, an African or somebody else, he is pushed on. It is a weakness of the organisation. There is nothing one can do about it, except to hope that in time it will work its way out.
My point in mentioning it now is that I do not see how this can work. Noble Lords have been saying that this Congo operation should be run by the United Nations. Quite frankly, it will not be run by the United Nations; or if it is, it will not be run successfully. I believe that if we want the United Nations to increase in authority and power that will only come about if it does not resort to force and does not have to do the kind of things that we deplore in nations. It must be a supra-national organisation, and not one which is, as it were, using the same sort of methods as we have seen and as have been used in the world for hundreds of years.
I am afraid I do not think the United Nations is going to work if the Security Council is going to put on it the kind of burdens it is being asked to bear to-day, and if the nations of the world are going to take it into their heads that every dispute that goes on must he one into which the United Nations should send a force. I am a really strong supporter of the United Nations. I have worked there, spoken there and done everything I can to make a contribution as a United Kingdom delegate. I want it to work, more than I can say. But if we put too great a burden on the United Nations, and ask it to do things it cannot do, then inevitably it will be crushed; and that would be tragic. Therefore, I think the more we can do to stop what is going on in the Congo at the present time, the better it will be for everybody concerned, and it is the only way the United Nations will survive.
§ 8.4 p.m.
§ LORD GRANTCHESTER
My Lords, I am glad to follow the noble Lady, and I would say how much I agree with what she has said about the United Nations and the way that they must behave if they are to inspire nations with respect. I, too, have been taught to believe that one has to be a very good Liberal to refrain from doing good by force.
610 This debate opened a very wide field, though most noble Lords have concentrated on one or two problems. I intend to be quite short, but so far Europe has been little mentioned. Our relations with the European Economic Community are under discussion at the present time. I should like to offer congratulations to the Lord Privy Seal for the masterly speech in which he presented our approach for membership of the Community. I am very glad that the United Kingdom Branch of the European Movement has printed this speech in a pamphlet which is now on sale for one penny. On Thursday last in the Assembly of the Western European Union we listened to an excellent analysis by M. Mansholt, who is Vice-Chairman of the European Commission, on the problems arising in the working out of a common agricultural policy whether for the Six or for the wider Europe we are seeking to build. I hope that the European Movement may render a double service to us by making this speech available for study in the same way as they have done with that of Mr. Heath.
On the development of political union, we have had tabled the French proposals submitted to the Fouchet Committee. It is too early to do more than mention these proposals, on which the Six countries of the Community are not yet agreed. I imagine that Her Majesty's Government are not alarmed by these proposals. Presumably, there would have to be unanimous agreement upon any changes made under that plan, if it were adopted, in the review envisaged after three years' operation. If not officially, I assume that Her Majesty's Government will have the opportunity at least unofficially of making comments as the discussions on these proposals for political union proceed. Some information on these two questions would, I am sure, be welcome to Members of your Lordships' House.
I feel also that a word should be said about N.A.T.O., in which our relations both with Europe and with the United States are involved. I am somewhat concerned about the practice of making N.A.T.O. Ministerial declarations the implications of which are not always very clear. This was the case, I feel, with the Ministerial declaration made in Paris in December, 1957, into which Dr. 611 Adenauer apparently reads more than appeared, I think, at the time. I do not wish to become involved in the technical matters which seem to be giving the High Command a good deal of trouble, such as the comparative level of conventional forces and the standardisation of weapons. Standardisation must be faced, and if it is to be achieved the assistance of Finance Ministers will be needed, in addition to the advice of technical experts, as the problem of balances of payment is involved, as well as national preferences.
What I really want to say once again is that, until we are able to set up common political control, the organisation of the defence of Europe will never be satisfactory. This is a European problem, and I believe European agreement must precede any extension to a European Atlantic agreement or an agreement in an Atlantic setting. In my view, this urgent, desirable end has been delayed rather than furthered by the frequent visits of the German Chancellor seeking to make bilateral agreements with American Presidents.
The one asset from the Congo muddle and tragedy, about which so much has been said to-day, has been the bringing of Europe nearer together, chiefly because almost every important European country has suffered from the inexperienced dabbling of the American State Department in territories which owe much to European assistance over a very long period. I think there is in Europe a good deal of suspicion about the motives of some American officials. Should the industrial installations in Katanga be damaged or brought to a standstill and come to be restarted with American aid and participation, an irreparable blow will have been struck, not only at the United Nations, but at the Atlantic community. I hope the meeting of our Prime Minister and the President will set a new pattern of Anglo-American relations, which is very necessary. If the Indian Government will not heed our advice and halt their attack on Goa, perhaps they would not refuse to heed joint representations made by us and the Government of the United States, with the possibility that if they did not do so the contributions 612 being made to India might not be continued.
I have not mentioned our relations with Russia. I have deliberately not done so, as I wish to emphasise that, in my opinion, they can be regulated only when a wide European Community has been firmly established with a common political policy. I hope that this very important matter will not be overlooked as other issues, however important, claim our attention.
§ 8.13 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, we have always had the saying, "My country, right or wrong" which has a great deal to recommend it. But the Opposition also appear to have the saying, "The United Nations, right or wrong". Of course, you can only achieve the peace of the world either, as in the days of Pax Britannica, by the leadership of one great Power or by an alliance of Powers, or by a really United Nations. I personally favour a really United Nations. To bear allegiance to some empty symbol of words, which some people think the United Nations has become, is completely morally wrong. We cannot keep the peace by words or phrases. I have always thought that the 20th century would go down in history for the blind following of slogans, irrespective of their practical application. During the last few years we have looked on at this pandemonium of the United Nations. We have seen world statesmen banging the table with their shoes. This has brought the whole realm of international diplomacy into disrepute. We have now been treated to this debacle in the Congo. Not only has the United Nations been proved incompetent in the Congo, but the evidence all goes to prove that it has been the aggressor. We all wish the United Nations to be a great force in the world for good, but I honestly believe it will have to be reorganised, and I ask Her Majesty's Government to use all their influence to try to have it reorganised.
The noble Lord, Lord Conesford, had some extremely interesting points to say about this. For instance, I cannot understand how a tiny little country of 2 million people can have the same vote as the United States. Surely the system of voting can be altered. It is also 613 wrong, I think, for a Secretary-General always to have to come from a small country. I should have thought that if you had a Secretary-General from a great country, which had hundreds of years' experience in administration of backward countries, it would be far preferable. We have shorn ourselves of so much of our power in the world that our greatest hope lies in being morally correct. If we really give a lead to the world in the moral things and refuse to be hypocritical, then I am sure our influence will be predominant in the end. When one looks at the United Nations' operations in the Congo, it is obvious why they have failed. I have never been in the Congo, but I have been extremely near it. I cannot understand why Her Majesty's Government did not fight the resolution of the United Nations which sought to drive out all the Belgians and white advisers. because anyone who has been in Africa knows that throughout all Africa, wheresoever you require organisation, you must have white advisers or technicians. The average person probably does not realise that in the Congo, before its so-called "freedom", the Europeans made up almost 40 per cent. of the population.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
Yes, almost 40 per cent. were Europeans, or so I am told. To drive the majority of these people out seems extraordinary. I should think that the average Congolese would far prefer to work for the white advisers he has been brought up with and come to trust, than to have a great many people brought in with the United Nations, half of whom probably cannot speak French or the language of the country, and the great majority of whom have not had any experience of administration in Africa. We blamed the Belgians for scurrying out of the Congo. It is true that they should have educated the Africans as we have done in Nigeria and Tanganyika. I think there is no doubt that the Americans wanted to curry favour with the Afro-Asians and put pressure on the Belgians, sub rosa, to clear out.
The great trouble with the United Nations is that there is this stigma of colonialism, so that British, French or anyone from any of the great Powers who have experience of administration 614 cannot be employed in the United Nations. But really colonialism ought to have a great place of honour, because it has brought peace and prosperity, cured famine and cured disease for millions of people. To a great extent because of the Press in this country and other countries, it does not get credit for it.
Several noble Lords opposite, I think chiefly the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, have been very derisive of what they call the Katangan Lobby. I understand that a majority of noble Lords opposite probably do not agree with the noble Lady. What the noble Lady has told us is that certain English companies have certain holdings in the Union Minière, but she has not produced any evidence to show that British politicians have been influenced by the fact that British companies have holdings in Union Minière. But we have not heard anything from the noble Lady of the Gizenga lobby. How about the Russians? The only mineral they are short of is copper. We have a surplus of copper in the world at the moment, but it is quite conceivable—I do not say it is correct or fact—that, for instance, the United Nations in the Congo are anxious to get the Union Minière mines under the control of a group sympathetic to Russia. The noble Lady cannot have it both ways. There arc always two sides to this question. I think some noble Lords said the United Nations had been very impartial in the Congo, but I can remember that once or twice the Congolese tried to invade Katanga. The United Nations, so far as I remember, did not step in between and try to stop the invasion. So the United Nations, in my opinion, have not been impartial.
I cannot help thinking that there is some injured pride among the officials taking part with the United Nations in the Congo. I honestly think they have been rather moved perhaps by spite and frustration. We do not want to go into the case of Dr. Connor O'Brien and all that; but it is asking a great deal of people to bring them out to Africa, no matter how brilliant they are, and expect them to administrate for these people. The fault is not entirely theirs if they become temporarily unhinged. I think the United Nations is asking rather a lot of them, and if only, as I said before, 615 they could employ people experienced in administration in Africa it would make a great difference.
The noble Lady also made a great point of the Advisory Council for the United Nations on the Congo turning down Her Majesty's Government's request for a cease-fire. The Advisory Council has, I think, eighteen members, of which fourteen are Afro-Asians. The noble Lady made great play of the fact that seven of them come from the Commonwealth. But India is one of the greatest members of the Commonwealth, and we have heard about Goa, so you cannot, because they are members of the Commonwealth, say that they always act without prejudice. So I think that argument falls down.
We have also heard a great deal about the mercenaries. But the European population in Katanga is, I understand, about 30,000, and you cannot blame the white men who have been in Katanga a long time—some of them all their lives—if they defend their homes and their country. If you are going to talk about mercenaries, the United Nations, of course, has mercenaries. If you are splitting hairs—
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, would the noble Viscount permit me to interrupt? I rose on this question the other day. There is a tremendous difference between the mercenary, the man who enlists for money, and the soldier who is sent by his Government as a contribution to the United Nations. He is not a volunteer in the strict sense of the word; he is a member of his force, his national force, and he is ordered to that spot. He is not a mercenary, he is a servant. There is a vast difference.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, he is not fighting for his country, and the white man in Katanga is fighting for his homeland. I cannot quite agree with the noble Lord there.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, the mercenaries we were worried about were mercenaries who were being recruited in Europe, in Brussels and in France, just before the resolution was passed calling on the mercenaries to be removed from Katanga.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, no mercenaries can make a country fight. They can fight by themselves, perhaps, but the number of mercenaries in Katanga, which is the size of France, is extremely small in ratio to the population. The noble Lord is not going to tell me that one thousand or even two thousand mercenaries can make a whole country fight if the country does not want to fight. That is completely impossible. The other thing, too, that I feel has been very difficult for Her Majesty's Government is that they have really been trying to please everybody; they have been too good natured. In these matters I ask Her Majesty's Government to take one line and to stick to it. Sir Patrick Dean in the debate in the United Nations on November 21 said:I must make it clear that the continued full support of the United Kingdom of the Congo operation must depend on the skill and wisdom and the conciliatory manner with which the United Nations carries out its mandate".In view of that statement, I personally think Her Majesty's Government would be quite justified in withdrawing their voluntary contribution until the United Nations defers more to the wishes of Her Majesty's Government. We do not, of course, want to withdraw our mandatory contribution.
One noble Lord said that Her Majesty's Government had not supported the United Nations. If we look at the record we see that Her Majesty's Government have fully supported the United Nations ever since its birth. There are 104 members. They are all in arrears with their contributions, except twelve. We have always paid our contributions up to date. From January up to October this year we have sent over 7½ million dollars. We are also paying £80,000 voluntarily a week. We have supplied all sorts of medical supplies, tents, et cetera. But we are told we have not supported them. What is more important: to support the principle of the United Nations, to act according to the Charter, or to support the United Nations when it does not act according to the Charter? I would think it extremely hypocritical to support the United Nations when it does not act according to the Charter.
617 It would be far more honourable for us not to support the United Nations if they did not act according to the Charter. I cannot understand the argument that we must support them, right or wrong; it means an absolute negation of everything moral. It is extremely late, but I should just like to agree with the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, and when this question of Goa comes up before the Security Council I hope Her Majesty's Government will side with Portugal, because there has been an absolute naked aggression and it is obvious where the right lies. India, after all, and plenty of the Afro-Asian countries, often do not support us, so there is no question that we have to support them blindly all the time. We have to support what is morally right.
§ 8.35 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF PORTSMOUTH
My Lords, at this very later hour in this very interesting debate I do not propose to keep your Lordships for very long; in fact half way through this debate I recast my notes completely, and indeed I am hoping to be able to dispense with them completely, not out of disrespect to your Lordships' House but out of respect for your Lordships' appetites. Between about 1,100 and 1,200 years ago there was a very rich merchant living in Baghdad who had a favourite slave. He decided one day to free the favourite slave and very generously gave him a present of 2,000 sequins. The slave was overcome and kissed the hem of the merchant's garment. The merchant said to his ex-slave, "Now, Hassan, what are you going to do with that money I have given you?" The ex-slave replied, "Of course, Master, I am going into the market to buy a slave". I think that is a text which still runs true to-day; only the jargon of the market place about buying another slave has changed. It is now "legal and moral rights" I it is "reactionaries" and "lobbies" I it is "mercenaries" and "slogans". But the fundamental fact remains, that nations and tribes, and even supra-nations, still go into the market to buy a slave when given liberty.
I think regarding the Congo that what has not been said or stressed enough is its geographical impossibility, if you are going to leave it to inexperienced 618 people of vastly varying tribes to control. This is something we ought to have seen very long ago. Look to-day at the difficulty—I am not referring to rights or wrongs—of either side being able to keep airfields clear, let alone roads or vast areas of jungle. I know quite a bit of the Eastern Congo Border, and in the palmier days of the 1950's in the Lake Kivu area milk which cost about 1s. or ls. 2d. a gallon in Kenya was being sold there at the same price as petrol—namely, between 8s. and 9s. a gallon. It was merely because the communications were so impossible that that price was exacted, and that was the only place where there were roads.
It is far easier to administer a country separated by wide patches of desert and dry land than one separated by jungle, as witness the lingering of Mau Mau in the forest for years whereas out in the open there was nothing. I think that in future, in shaping our idea of what is possible and what is not possible, we should very seriously think of the geography of a country and the types of people living in it before we give way and say, on the one hand, "You must have a central Government because it is a world dream", or, on the other, You must have complete Balkanisation of an entire country". We must find a compromise, and remember the lessons of history as well as those of geography and ecology.
I think it was the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who drew a picture of the plight of refugees and women and children. Ever since I first saw refugees pouring back along the roads in France in 1918 in the spring retreat I have been haunted time and again by this going on through world wars, through so-called peaces, risings and rebellions—the transplanting of population—and I know very well that there is nothing more miserable or heartrending than that. But over and above that I think there is something we must consider as more important still than the immediate plight of women and children pursued by bombs and disorder. It is the long-term livelihood and whether families are going to be able to live together after lands have been broken up, after businesses have been destroyed. It is that for which I think it is urgently and vitally neces 619 sary now to have a cease-fire, because if we forget emotions and all the false things into which they lead us—emotions leading into takeovers which crystallise into the use of force—and if we use reason but use it without a true and human understanding, we can never possibly have peace in Africa or anywhere else in the world.
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, reminded us of the season of the year—Christmas. The other Sunday I was at my youngster's school and, as I listened to the young voices singing the carols, the Christmas word came very close to me —"Peace on earth, good will to all men". How hollow, how poignant, are those words to-day when we consider the affairs of the world. My greatest concern is not so much the cold war; it is not so much the Berlin wall or the chaos in Katanga; it is that amongst the Western world, amongst the free nations, there have grown up during 1961 increasing divisions and increasing suspicions towards each other's integrity. I think 1961 may be the crucial year for this country and for the Western world. I believe that time is running short. I do not believe that there is a great time for us to build the foundations upon which peace can be guaranteed to our own children and the future.
As I listened to the debate this afternoon, I could not help feeling, as the criticisms were made of the United Nations in the Congo and voices were raised in its support, that perhaps in this debate we had forgotten the real issue. The issue that still faces the world is freedom or servitude—the freedom of the Western world, which many countries throughout the world also enjoy, and the servitude that lies behind what are known as the Iron Curtain and the Bamboo Curtain. I could not help feeling, as noble Lords were attacking the actions of the United Nations in Katanga, that as Ministers were sometimes defending their political decision last week they were damaging perhaps the only weapon that exists in the world to-day upon which universal peace can be created. When those noble Lords look back on what they said, I think they may well regret their words.
620 I wish to say a few words about the Far East. We are pleased to hear that some agreement has been made with regard to Vietnam. We are pleased to hear from the Foreign Secretary that from the conference now going on in Geneva a final agreement is possible and that peace is possible in these two vital areas. I think we should be wrong to believe that, just because an agreement has been made, that area is therefore safe. Whether they are Chinese or Russians, I believe that the Communists will honour their agreements in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia; but I believe that the pressure will be placed elsewhere. I believe we shall see it in Singapore or Siam.
We were pleased the other day to see that Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Prime Minister of Malaya, had come to this country and was able to come to some agreement with the British Government for the creation of the new State of Malaysia. I believe that this State will provide us with possibly the last opportunity by which we can use the economic and cultural resources of the West to withstand Communist infiltration and aggression. I do not believe that in Vietnam and Laos we can expect anything more than a neutral position. I wonder whether the Tunku appreciates what he is taking on his shoulders in the creation of Malaysia. Malaya is relatively secure. It has a happy people and has no great social problems. But in Singapore the issue is quite different. The Communists have infiltrated deeply. Therefore, if the Tunku and the Federation of Malaya are to make a success of Malaysia we must prove to the masses, particularly those in Singapore, that the Western way of life, Western resources, the resources of freedom. are stronger and more attractive that those of the Communists.
Therefore, I would ask the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, whether he will press upon his colleagues in the Government the fact that the issue of Malaysia requires a great act of statesmanship. It requires economic aid far beyond that which has so far been given. It requires the development of trade for that country, to raise the standards of living for its people, if it is to make what we call the Western free way of life acknowledged by the people as worth living.
621 There is one stumbling block, as I understand it, to the creation of Malaysia—namely, the question of the S.E.A.T.O. base in Singapore. I hope that that will not stand in the way of the creation of this State, if the Tunku finds himself not in a position to persuade his friends to accept what is a strong but a foreign base in what he would prefer to regard as a neutral State. I believe that the creation of the Malaysian State is far more important than the establishment and maintenance of a S.E.A.T.O. base.
I want to say something about manpower in the Far East. A great deal has been made of the argument that, in view of the serious shortage of manpower in the British forces in Europe, we should cut our overseas forces. My Lords, in the present circumstances I think this would be utterly wrong. I believe that, for internal security in support of the established Governments in the Far East, these forces play a more important part to-day than they have ever done before.
One cannot pass over the news this morning of the attack by India on Goa, and in view of what transpired earlier I suppose that I had better declare an interest in that I believe I have—shall I say, unfortunately?—some very valuable cargoes waiting. to be off-loaded in Goa. I could not support Portugal in its colonial policy. What has happened in Angola is utterly repugnant to me, as I am sure it is to many in this House. Portugal has proved obstinate over the years in its negotiations with India. From 1947, India had hoped that, with the granting of freedom to India and Pakistan by this country, the Portuguese would follow suit; but, due to their obstinacy, all forms of negotiation have failed. But the attack by India on Goa is utterly wrong, whatever may be the provocation. And Mr. Nehru has been, as we have heard, one of the voices of reason in the past who maintained that force was never justified in procuring a solution to a political problem.
To me it is a very great tragedy, and it is a tragedy that perhaps Mr. Nehru cannot yet assess. I have looked upon Mr. Nehru as a voice that Asia could have followed; but how will it follow, now that Mr. Nehru has been a party to what is nothing more than an unprovoked attack upon a colony of Portugal? 622 My Lords, I would make this plea to India. If it is too late for them to withdraw their forces, I hope they will use the minimum of force, and that they will respect property and persons. I believe it is only in this way that India can hope to redeem its good name that it may well have lost through this attack.
I would make a special plea now to Portugal, which has not so far been made in this House in this debate. Portugal has within its territories half a million Indians. Many of those Indians are like those whom we know in Kenya, to whom the territory has been their home, their father's home and maybe their grandfather's home. It is reported that Portugal is interning those Indians and is confiscating their property. I would say to Portugal: "In spite of your bitterness, remember the time of year, remember Christian charity and remember that these people are mere pawns in a very big game. Therefore, treat these people as individuals, with respect and kindness."
My Lords, I now turn to the Congo. I have listened through the weeks and the days to the debates that have gone on about the Congo. I do not propose to say anything on what may be the errors that have been made. I would commend to Her Majesty's Government the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Strang. I felt that he put his finger on what might be the weakness of the United Nations in the Congo. The United Nations were called upon, as the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, has said, to face a nearly impossible task. In many ways I believe that they have performed a formidable task with considerable success. Perhaps in the last few days one could make criticisms of their actions in Katanga, but I think we should be careful how we make our criticisms. I do not think we should criticise the servants of the United Nations, the soldiers, the administrators, who have been sent to Katanga to perform a task.
We talk about our own financial contribution to the United Nations' effort. We should all recognise that some countries have had to pay what is probably a bigger price than pure cash. I know that the Federation of Malaya has sent troops, and I know that the Tunku, the Prime Minister, had the greatest difficulty 623 in persuading his Parliament to send a military contribution. But then why did he send his troops? He said: "We belong to the United Nations. We are called upon to provide a force. Therefore, if we are part of the United Nations we must send that force." Therefore, to those noble Lords who believe that, because things have gone wrong, we should withdraw from the United Nations, I would say that the United Nations has played a very great part in the Congo; and that perhaps its actions in the last few days, with all the bloodshed which we all regret, may well have created the atmosphere in which Mr. Tshombe and Mr. Adoula are now prepared to meet.
We have heard reports of what has happened in Elisabethville. We heard last week from the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, a series of reports on the attacks that have been made and the damage done. I hope that it will not go out from this House that the United Nations have carried out a terror campaign in Katanga, because, as I listened to various speeches that were made, it certainly appeared that some noble Lords were saying that the United Nations were using Hitler techniques. I cannot believe that the officers of the United Nations, the soldiers from Sweden, from Malaya and from India, would be party to what is nothing more than a criminal attack upon civilian people and accommodation.
My Lords, I would support the plea that has been made: that Her Majesty's Government should try, through the United Nations, to obtain an impartial report on what has happened in Katanga. I believe it is essential, not only for the good name of the United Nations but for the future. Because we all hope for the best, but we should be wrong to believe that possibly in the future a similar force may not be called upon. Therefore, if there have been mistakes, if there have been errors of judgment, let us learn from them. But, my Lords, if there has been an error of judgment, if there have been mistakes, let us not lose sight of the basic fact of why the United Nations went to the Congo, and what it has achieved. I think that when the impartial report is printed, when the smoke of political 624 battle has gone, we, who are part of the United Nations, will be very proud of its activities.
§ THE EARL OF IDDESLEIGH
My Lords, I understand that the noble Lord, Lord Salter, whose name appears on the Paper for him to speak at this stage, will not be doing so. I would intervene very briefly to ask the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, in replying, to give us a little information about the Baluba tribe, which appears to be suffering very seriously and whose refugees are in a camp which seems to be the scene of great sufferings and in some peril. I would hope that Her Majesty's Government will use their influence with the United Nations and with the parties to the Congo dispute to ensure the resettlement of that tribe.
§ 9.2 p.m.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, I should like to begin by expressing, as has been done at various stages throughout the debate, our gratitude to my noble friend Lord Henderson for having put down this Motion and so enabled this very important debate to take place to-day. As usual, he made a balanced, comprehensive and unprovocative speech—indeed, in my view, a perfect opening speech for a debate of this kind. I should also like to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oak-ridge, on an admirable maiden speech, long delayed but, nevertheless, well worth waiting for. We all of us hope that we shall hear him again. He spoke on a subject on which he was well qualified to speak, which is a great example that some of us might follow. We look forward to hearing from him on many occasions in the future.
Before I perform the purpose for which I am speaking to-night, I should like to say a word about the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary. We realise the very arduous labours in which he has been engaged, and if I am going to be critical, as I shall be, I hope he will appreciate that this is not a personal criticism. We appreciate what he has been doing; and, realising that in two days' time he is going to Bermuda, we wish him every success in the responsible and important task which confronts him there. I personally am very glad to see him looking so fit and well 625 in spite of the very heavy labours in which he has been engaged.
This has been a long debate, and—I was going to say "fortunately", but, at any rate, it would have been longer still but for the fact that the forces of attrition have lost us one speaker. Nevertheless, I am the eighteenth speaker in this debate, and it would be rather surprising if I had anything fresh to say, anything which had not already been said. But the Government can have had little comfort out of this debate because, apart from the support that they had from the noble Lord, Lord Strang, and a little support from one or two other speakers, they have had very little support for their policy on the Congo, on which the debate has largely turned. They have been very strongly criticised by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, by Lord Colyton, by Lord Clitheroe and by a number of other speakers. I am only sorry that they are not here.
§ LORD SILKIN
I will come to that in a moment, because I rather thought that the noble Lord was criticising the Government. The noble Earl, Lord Home, made a speech on the functions of the United Nations to which I think none of us would take exception. As a statement of the purposes of the United Nations it was admirable, and we should all agree; but he then went on to deal with criticisms against the Government, and I should like to say a word about those. He referred to four criticisms: bad faith, gullibility, lack of foresight and weakness.
§ LORD SILKIN
He acquitted himself of all four charges, but I feel that we on this side, at any rate, cannot acquit him of at least two of them. Two of 626 the charges we have never made. I do not remember that we ever accused the Government of gullibility in this particular instance, nor of lack of foresight, and I do not propose to say anything about those. But I want to say a word about the other two.
First of all, bad judgment—or, as I would rather put it, bad faith. In the Question and Answer which we had during the week I suggested that it was generally believed throughout the world that the Government were speaking with two voices: that in their public utterances they supported fully the United Nations and its decisions, but in their actions they were doing what they could to frustrate a number of the decisions of the United Nations. The noble Earl applied himself to that point. He said that we could not accept the position that we had to support the United Nations, right or wrong.
I would accept that up to a point. But when we are parties to a decision, or when we have not objected to a decision, then I feel that we are bound to support that decision of the United Nations. I do not think that we can properly vote for a decision—indeed, I do not believe we can abstain—and then reserve the right to oppose the actions of the United Nations unless, of course, they are going outside that decision. But the noble Earl did not make the case, so far as I know, that the United Nations were in fact acting outside or in conflict with the decisions which had been made; and, in those circumstances, there is a duty on the part of every member of the United Nations to support the decisions of the United Nations. Indeed, it is laid down, I think in Article XXV, that they have to support the United Nations. It is not a question of saying: "We will support you only if we think the decisions are right". If the Government deliberately voted against a decision, then on the Security Council that decision would not have been made at all; it would have been equivalent to a veto. But I submit that if we either support a decision, or abstain from opposing it, then we are under an obligation not to frustrate it.
I want to say a word now about one of the four points on which the Government have been criticised, according to the noble Earl, and that is, their weak 627 ness. In spite of a great deal of discussion which has taken place, I still do not see the answer. I am referring first to the question of the bombs. I think we all know the facts. For some weeks prior to December 8, I think it was, there had been discussions with the United Nations following the request by them for 24, 1,000 lb. bombs. We had been reluctant to agree to supply them, and I make no complaint about that. We had these discussions and we laid down conditions. It is said—and the noble Earl who is going to reply can tell me if I am wrong—that we made the conditions so stiff that we were rather hoping the United Nations would not press the point. Whether that is so or not, I do not know; but we were entitled to make conditions to ensure that these bombs would be used in the way in which we thought they ought to be used, and we were entitled to ask for the necessary safeguards to ensure that the decisions and the promises of the United Nations would be carried out on the spot. I presume that by December 8 we were satisfied as to that; otherwise we should not have agreed. I hope I carry the noble Earl with me so far: that on that day we were satisfied.
Three weeks later we changed our minds. This was not a sudden decision, as I have indicated; it was arrived at as the result of long discussions and negotiations, and at the end of the day we had agreed. But what I do not appreciate is why we changed our minds. I understand what was said. I heard the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, explain that, after we had come to the decision, we had information that people on the spot were making certain statements which were in conflict with the agreement upon which these bombs were to be supplied. If that had been so and we had satisfied ourselves that it was the case, then I think we were entitled to make further representations to the United Nations and to say, "Well now, what is all this about?" But we did nothing of the kind. We made no attempt, as far as I know, to check up on these things—none at all. In fact, it has since turned out that those statements were not made at all, and that something else was said. In fact, we had the extraordinary story about things going wrong 628 on the tape, and of a person's statement being entirely reversed, and so on. But the fact is that those statements were not made, and they have been entirely repudiated.
Why did we not go back to the United Nations and ask either for corroboration of the original arrangement, or, at any rate, get further assurances that they were going to carry out what they had agreed to? Instead of that, we just made representations to them. I have not the facts here, but it is stated on high authority that we told the United Nations we would not supply the bombs, or we were not prepared to, because as a result we were in difficulties politically. Here there is a gap in my information which I should be glad to have the noble Earl fill. At any rate, we induced the United Nations to withdraw their request.
The suggestion is made that the true reason for that has nothing to do with the merits of the case at all. The Government had made up their minds on the merits on December 8. What is being suggested is that the truth is that they gave way and withdrew entirely on account of political pressure. If that is correct, I say that the case for charging the Government with weakness has been made out. A Government has to stand up to its rebels, even formidable ones like the noble Lord, Lord Clitheroe. If the Government think they are right, they should stand up to them. If they think the rebels are right, they should never have acted as they did in the first instance. But merely to give way to political pressure—and we know that political pressure was exercised on a very large scale—is, I think, utterly wrong, and is an indication of weakness.
The noble Earl said that there was no doubt at all about the loyalty of this country to the United Nations and to the Charter, and I would not challenge that. If the test is that we have paid our contributions, and have even paid our voluntary contributions, certainly. And I believe the noble Earl when he says that we really are desirous of having a strong United Nations, and that we are strong supporters of the Charter. But the impression I had was that nevertheless, under political pressure, we were prepared to go a long way toward sacrificing even the United Nations. That was the feeling I had, and, indeed, in 629 our actions we have gone some way towards giving colour to that suggestion. The noble Earl pointed out that our opinion in the United Nations is a limited one; we have one vote only out of 104. That is perfectly true. But we should be playing a leading part, and we are generally listened to with the utmost respect. I feel that the history of the last few weeks, at any rate, will cause us to be listened to with less respect than that to which we should otherwise be entitled.
I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Strang, is not here, because I should like to say that I agreed with a great deal of what he said. Nobody is more experienced or qualified in these matters to express views on the administration of the United Nations than he, and I hope that the suggestions he made will be very seriously considered andbrought forward by Her Majesty's Government for consideration by theUnited Nations. I had hoped that he would say something about questions of substance. I think the recent experience of the United Nations, certainly in Katanga, has been such as to make us consider very carefully whether the build-up of United Nations' forces is exactly what we should like, or is the most successful way of achieving what is wanted. I agree with my noble friend Lord Longford that what is needed is a permanent international force under the control of the United Nations, with members of the force owing allegiance only to theUnited Nations and not to their separate nationalities. In other words, what is wanted is to convert the force into a genuine international United Nations' force. I hope that the Government will see theirway to supporting, indeed to making, suggestions along these lines. This is nothing novel. The various members of the Government have already committed themselves to the principle and, therefore, it should not be difficult to carry the matter a stage further.
I want to turn for a moment to the critics of Her Majesty's Government. I hope that the noble Earl will not tell me that the Government must be right because they are being criticised on the one hand by members of the Right, and on the other hand by members of the Opposition, and they stand in between. It is possible for both criticisms to be 630 justified and the Government to be wrong all the time. But I am not suggesting that. I thought that the burden of the criticism by nobleLords opposite was that the United Nations had no right to be in Katanga at all. Indeed, I think that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, actually used that expression at one time. Whether he said that without proper consideration or whether he really meant it, I do not know, but that was the inference I drew from what he said.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, I do not think that we are in disagreement. If we take the view that the decisions of the United Nations do not count or that we are not obliged to take any notice of them if we do not agree with them, then I can understand that point of view; but if we accept the decisions of the United Nations, especially when we vote for them, then surely weare not in a position to complain because the United Nations forces are acting in accordance with those decisions and are there. I suggest that the criticism really is that they are there for the wrong purpose.
I thought that was admirably dealt with in another place by the Lord Privy Seal, when he gave four reasons for the United Nations' forces being in Katanga, all of which were in accordance with the decisions of either the Security Council or the General Assembly. Indeed, the Government wholly support that, because until December 11 they were even prepared to support the action of the United Nations' forces with twenty-four 1,000 lb. bombs. So they certainly cannot complain that the United Nations' forces are not properly there or are acting in a way contrary to the decisions of the United Nations.
But I can understand the noble Marquess and his friends in taking a different view. They do not agree with the whole action, but they have no right to complain of the action of the Government in supporting the decisions of the United Nations for which they themselves voted. I am not going to make any personal imputations against any noble Lord who supported this view. I 631 have never taken the view that, because a person had a financial interest in a matter and voted in a certain way, he was voting or speaking simply because of that personal interest. I do not accept that for one single moment and I hope that it will not go out from this House that that is the view we are taking. But the fact remains that the noble Lords who have taken the opposite view are out of court in objecting to decisions which this Government have made at the United Nations.
I should like to say a word about mercenaries. It has been said that this term has no meaning, or if it has a meaning, what is the objection to mercenaries? The term "mercenaries" has been used in the resolutions of the United Nations and, whatever they may be, the business of the United Nations is to get them out of Katanga—out of the Congo. But I think that most of us, if we were pressed hard, could find a definition of a "mercenary". We know the animal when we see him. I do not think that there can really be any doubt that they are people hired to take part in military activities in one form or another, not because they believe in the cause for which they are fighting, but because they are paid. It might be argued that there are many people like that. In a sense, it is a matter of degree. But there are certain people who stand out as mercenaries. I was under the impression that the noble Lord had no objection to mercenaries and thought that they were a good influence.
§ LORD CLITHEROE
My Lords, I think that the noble Lord slightly misunderstood me. What I was saying was that it was not possible to control Congolese troops without some experienced officers. The experienced Belgian officers who, under the treaty at the time of independence, were supposed to be left to control the Congolese soldiers were removed by the United Nations. That left a vacuum and in came various mercenaries to fill that vacuum, and if they had not been there, things would have been very much worse. I should have preferred to see the Belgian officers remaining in accordance with the agreement.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, I understand the noble Lord. He is making the best case he can for mercenaries. But the fact remains that on a great many occasions it was the decision of the United Nations that the mercenaries should go; that the Congolese should get rid of them. If the Congolese Government really wanted officers to control their forces, it would have been easy for them to make a request to the United Nations.
§ LORD CLITHEROE
My Lords, the noble Lord is absolutely wrong. There was nobody who could have been made available. Not a single man in Katanga would have accepted United Nations officers at any price.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, I am talking about the Congo. The United Nations resolutions refer to the Congo. not specifically to Katanga. I do not know why Katanga wanted a separate army of their own at all. All the resolutions refer to the Congo and if the Congolese wanted officers no doubt they could have asked for them. I do not propose to say any more about the Congo.
Not much has been said about Berlin to-day and there is little that I need add. We all hope it will be possible to have these discussions with the Soviet Union. The noble Earl, perhaps wisely, did not anticipate what will happen if we are confronted with a further refusal by the French to negotiate, and I would not press him on the subject to-day. I hope that when they emerge the discussions may be fruitful, and perhaps the French will have second thoughts on the matter. At any rate, I do not think it would be wise to speculate too much at the moment.
Goa has been referred to. To a large extent I associate myself with what my noble friend Lord Shepherd has said, and there is little more that I should want to say about it. I hope, however, that the Indians may be persuaded to withdraw altogether. It seems to be so inconsistent with all the protestations that Mr. Nehru and Mr. Krishna Men on have made at the United Nations that I can hardly believe what has taken place. I should like to know what they have to say on the subject. Mere provocation does not seem to me to be good enough.
633 We are all at times provoked, but we do not take the law into our own hands, especially when we are members of the United Nations. There is a remedy—it may be said it is not a very effective one—which they themselves have been very ready to refer to in the past: they have always represented that any difficulty should go to the United Nations. I find it inexplicable that in this case they have not done so themselves. I think it would be wise not to judge them completely in advance, but to wait and see what they have to say. After all, we can always judge them when we have heard what they have to say. I hope, however, that the Government will make the strongest possible representations, not only for a cease-fire but for the Indians to withdraw to their own frontiers and to release any prisoners they may have taken.
My Lords, we are coming to the end of 1961. I suppose it has been the worst year, from an international point of view, that we have had since the war. We have had one problem after another to face. And I am sorry to say that the position at the end of the year is certainly no better than it was at the beginning. The whole House will, I am sure, hope that the year 1962 will see better things; and when we come to debate foreign affairs in December, 1962 (if we do have a debate) I hope the noble Earl, if he is still in office, will be able to give us greater cheer as to the international position than we have had on this occasion. At any rate, I should like to assure him that in the immense tasks that confront him he has the best wishes of every Member of this House.
§ 9.33 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, I am sure your Lordships were all delighted to hear the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, which I think we all recognised as a remarkable speech, filled both with experience and with wisdom, and we hope that we shall often have the pleasure of hearing the noble Lord again. I was particularly delighted to hear him say, in speaking of Berlin, to which he devoted almost the whole of his speech, that the only concessions which merited discussion at the present time were concessions which should be made by the Soviet Government and not 634 by the West. That is, I think, indeed true. Negotiations ought not to consist of 50 per cent. of giving away what you have and accepting, in exchange, 10 per cent. of what the other man has stolen from you. That is not what we mean or ought to mean by negotiation.
The noble Lord was equally wise in saying that it would not be an advantage to discuss now what our terms will be; and I am, of course, grateful to him for saying that he would not expect any reply to the two or three suggestions which he put forward. Of course we believe that we must have negotiations; we believe it is the right thing to do. We have agreed this with most of our Allies, and we hope that we may soon be able to enter upon negotiations which may avert what is at the present time the gravest threat to world peace, subject to what we have always maintained: that we must keep the freedom and viability of West Berlin, the presence of Allied troops there, and our rights of access unimpaired and, one might perhaps hope, improved.
The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in, if I may so describe it, a statesmanlike and balanced presentation of his case which we are always accustomed to hear from him, covered the subjects of Berlin, the Congo and also disarmament. As disarmament was the only one of these which my noble friend the Foreign Secretary did not have time to touch on in his speech, I will first give what I hope will be a short statement on the disarmament position, and then I will try with equal brevity to make an appreciation—not always a favourable appreciation, I am afraid—of the criticisms and observations which your Lordships have put forward in the debate.
I think the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, is aware, as most of your Lordships are, that at the beginning of the present General Assembly the United States Government circulated a declaration on disarmament in the form of a detailed and comprehensive plan for controlled disarmament by stages; and before making this declaration the United States Government had consulted us and the other N.A.T.O. countries. We have announced our support for this declaration. As a result of bilateral United States-Soviet talks before that, the two Governments presented to the 635 United Nations an agreed statement of principles which should govern negotiations. The American representative in his communication pointed out that one important thing was not covered in these agreed principles, and that is to verify the levels of armaments retained and not merely the destruction of agreed quantities. It is no good agreeing on destroying armaments if you have no information whatever aboutthe armaments which are left. Both the American and Soviet representatives informed the United Nations that they had not reached agreement on a body in which to resume negotiations.
During the Session, on November 20, the Indian delegation put forward a Resolution urging both the Americans and the Russians to reach agreement on the composition of the negotiating body and asking them to report to the Assembly before the conclusion of its present Session. That was unanimously adopted on November 21 and, as a result of American-Russian talks, agreement has now been reached between the two Governments that negotiations on general and complete disarmament should be based on the principles previously agreed between those two Governments, and that the negotiating body should consist of the original ten powers —that is, five Western Powers and five from the Soviet bloc—together with another eight, which are India, Burma, the United Arab Republic, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mexico, Brazil and Sweden. This Committee is to submit a progress report, not later than June 1 next year. I do not know where or when negotiations are to be resumed, but the American Government are in favour of having them at Geneva at the beginning of April, and that would be perfectly acceptable to us.
May I remind your Lordships of what I think has been stated before, that the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Statement on Disarmament of March, 1961, still represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government. And, as I think the Prime Minister said not long ago, the latest United States' disarmament plan is on very much the same lines as this Commonwealth statement.
The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, also mentioned the question of nuclear 636 tests, on which I have not any more to add to the melancholy facts which I put before your Lordships on our last debate on this subject. The Russian destruction of the last Conference was a great blow, in our view, to the future of peace and disarmament, and it has inevitably destroyed, to a very large extent, confidence in what may happen in the future. The only thing with which I did not quite agree in Lord Henderson's very fair appreciation of the position was when he said that a resumption of tests by America might only lead to large outbursts of tests by Russia. Well, my Lords, however that may be, it could not result in a larger number of Russian tests than that which followed American abstention for the last eighteen months.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, what I said was that the Americans were making underground tests. I hoped they would not resume atmospheric tests, because I was quite sure that the Russians would again follow suit. I think I am right in saying that yesterday some declaration to that effect was made from Moscow.
§ THS EARL OF DUNDEE
But I am afraid that the Russians follow suit, even if the Americans do not have atmospheric tests. As President Kennedy very rightly said: "If you are fooled once, it is the Russians' fault; if you are fooled twice, that is your fault". I do not think we can give any guarantee against doing what both the United States and ourselves think is necessary to our safety in order to provide ourselves with a proper nuclear defence.
The only one of your Lordships who has referred to South-East Asia was the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and I do not think he would want me to spend a great deal of time in that part of the world. My noble friend the Foreign Secretary has already mentioned our hopes of an early agreement in Laos. I think your Lordships know that the position in South Vietnam is very serious indeed, where the Communists are trying to get control by aggression and terrorism. The noble Lord asked me to say something about the Federation of Malaysia, which has started with the greatest good will from us.
637 He asked me to say that we would not neglect its claim to economic aid. Of course, that goes without saying. But as he mentioned the Singapore base, I think I must make it quite clear that the agreed arrangements about the base have been carefully framed to give us the full substance of what we want with the Singapore base and facilities, and we expect that agreement to be fulfilled by Malaysia. On the one hand, it leaves them totally free from any embarrassing entanglement with S.E.A.T.O. and, on the other hand, leaves us free for facilities for everyone in the Commonwealth and international obligations in conjunction with peace in South-East Asia. I think it is important to make it clear that we are relying upon that.
Nearly all the rest of your Lordships have concentrated mainly on two areas of warfare: in Goa and the Congo. I appreciate and sympathise with what the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, has just said about the incredulity with which we all saw this morning that the apostles of non-violence had committed this act of aggression which, we are afraid, will lower their credit so much in the world, and perhaps set a bad example to other people. But I will not pursue that. I will only give your Lordships a few facts which you may wish to know at the moment.
At the request of Portugal, the Security Council is meeting, I think, now. It met at 3 p.m. New York time, which was 8 o'clock here, so they are meeting now to discuss the Indian invasion of Goa. On instructions from Her Majesty's Government, Sir Patrick Dean, our representative at the United Nations, supported the Portuguese request for an urgent meeting of the Security Council. Meanwhile, Commonwealth spokesmen, such as Mr. Menzies of Australia, have expressed concern at India's recourse to force. This concern .has also been voiced in New Zealand and in Pakistan. Finally, about the question which I think has exercised us more than any other over the last week or more—
§ LORD KENNET
My Lords, before we pass on, might I ask the noble Earl whether there has been any Indian demarche to the Security Council, or simply the Portuguese one?
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
Not that I know of. Portugal has requested a meeting, which is now going on, to discuss it, and I have given all the information about it which I had.
I think the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, presented very fully the dilemmas which must confront any Government placed in the position in which we find ourselves in trying to decide what is the right course to pursue in the Congo and in the United Nations at the present time. I agreed with a great deal of what the noble Marquess said about this. The main point, if I may say so, with which I did not agree was in his reference to myself. He said that I told your Lordships last week that, on the long view, the objects of Great Britain and the United Nations were broadly the same. What I said was that the objects of Great Britain and the United States were broadly the same, which is not quite the same as the United Nations.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
As for the United Nations, I think I told your Lordships that some Members had very different aims from what we have, particularly Soviet Russia, who has, as I have said, a vested interest in disorder in the Congo, and whose purpose all along has been to prevent peace from being established, in the hope that chaos and anarchy may help the ultimate aims of Communism in Africa. And, of course, Russia is supported in the United Nations by a considerable bloc of faithful adherents and occasionally by a much larger number of uncommitted people who are often extremely gullible. The noble Marquess criticised the Government on the ground that he thought we should, in the circumstances, have acted in the same way as the French: that is to say, by not giving any money to the Congo operation and abstaining from taking any part in the discussions altogether. Now, on the assumption that we want to give general support to the United Nations as an institution but that we do not altogether agree with or we do not have full confidence in the manner in which they will carry out their purposes in the Congo, there are several different courses which we might adopt. We might take that 639 which was suggested by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, which hasbeen pursued—
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I should like to say that I did not say we should not take any part in any discussions. I merely said I do not think we should continue our contribution, which is not quite the same thing.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, that is what the Russians do. They take a great part in the discussions but do not give any money. The French attitude, with great respect to our French friends, although we quite understand it, is different because they have got great experience of African administration and of world politics. They are one of the oldest and most experienced countries in the world and it would be a great help if they would join with us in putting to the Security Council and the Assembly certain points of view which are not always as well appreciated as they ought to be. I do not therefore feel we ought to follow the present example of France.
Then the next course is that we should use the veto. As my noble friend Lord Cones ford, with great logic —he is always a very reasonable and logical person—put it, it is far better, instead of voting for a certain course with reservations and then finding it goes wrong, to veto the thing to begin with; and I of ten sympathise with that, especially when I hear the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, telling us that we ought, not having vetoed the resolution on the Congo, to support the United Nations 100 per cent. absolutely in everything they do. And, my Lords, as my noble friend the Foreign Secretary explained to your Lordships earlier this afternoon, the reasons why we have not thought it right to use the veto at all is because we want to co-operate with the United Nations and we should rather, if we think they are going to do a thing which may not be done in the right way, make our own reservations and encourage them to learn how to do it. But, as we have been so bitterly criticised on the ground that we have, as it is alleged, tried to frustrate the United Nations in the courses for which we have either 640 voted, or at least not voted against, it is certainly a matter for consideration whether in future we should not decide to veto proposals which we have reason to think will be bungled or badly and inefficiently carried out. That is certainly a matter to be considered.
It is not a question of agreeing absolutely in this case; it is a question of suspecting for various reasons that the procedure might be carried out in a manner actually contrary to the intentions of the resolution. I should like to remind your Lordships of what I quoted to your Lordships last week—and this, I think, perhaps partly answers the criticism of the noble Lord. Lord Silkin, who I thought in his speech implied that, having not opposed the resolution of November 24, we ought to support it obediently and wholeheartedly in every respect. Let me remind your Lordships again, that after abstaining on the vote Sir Patrick Dean then proceeded to give the reasons why we had not voted for it, and he ended up by saying this:I must make it clear that the continued full support by the United Kingdom of the Congo operation must depend upon the skill and wisdom and conciliatory manner with which the United Nations carries out its mandate.That is quite a clear reservation, and I do not think it is fair that we should be blamed for having acted in accordance with this reservation, which we ourselves took so much trouble to make, when we feel that the mandate is not in fact being carried out in a conciliatory manner.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I think that the noble Earl has not quite got the point which was made, which was: at what point do we take the action which henow suggests the Government should support? Is it to wait until Katanga is, in effect, completely defeated, which is almost the positionnow? The Government is still waiting for the psychological moment; but the psychological moment may coincide with the defeat of Katanga.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, I would say that we have not yet reached the point at which we think it would be right to withdraw our financial support, and we have by no means given up hope of bringing about a peaceful solution of 641 this problem. Further, we think that we can do better work in bringing about a peaceful solution by continuing our support than by doing what the French have done, refusing to subscribe anything and withdrawing from the show altogether.
§ LORD CLITHEROE
My Lords, will the noble Earl allow me to say one thing? I failed entirely to make my point throughout the whole of this debate and I should be glad of one more chance. The Government supported the resolution in the United Nations to do something which was wicked, and this was to remove the civil servants from an Administration and also to remove experienced officers, which is the very reverse of what we do in all our own emergent territories. That was a wicked thing to do. Why did they not vote against it?
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
I said last week, in reply to a question, that I wished there were a better definition of the word "mercenary", to whomever it is applied. We mean, by "mercenaries", adventurer fighters who go to a country in order to enjoy fighting for money. We do not mean the ordinary civil servants or officers of the gendarmerie who are in regular employment. That is why wish sometimes that the word "mercenary" was more clearly defined and why we think that in September of this year the United Nations' representatives in Katanga apparently exceeded their instructions by removing a whole lot of people who ought not to have been removed.
What we want to get in the Congo is peace and progress, and it is not an altogether simple problem how to do that through the means of the United Nations as it is at present. We are supporting the United Nations for reasons which my noble friend the Foreign Secretary gaveat the beginning of the debate, because we believe that it is the only practical means of working out a system of world law and order. But it is no use pretending that the United Nations is a perfect institution at present. On the contrary, a very large number of representatives in the United Nations are exceedingly irrational and irresponsible and their votes and actions are often dictated by the most foolish, frivolous and selfish motives.
642 The noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, in his speech, told a story which I think came from the Arabian Nights, of a man in Baghdad who released a slave and gave him a present of 2,000 sequins; and he said: "You are free; you have got 2,000 sequins. What are you going to do with it?" And the man said "Of course, I am going to buy a slave." When my noble friend told this story I could not help thinking of an even older one about a certain servant who owed his master 200 talents, and when he told his master he could not pay the master forgave him the whole debt. The servant immediately went to a man who owed him 200 pence, beat him up and threw him into prison because he could not pay. I often think of this parable when I watch the behaviour of many of these newly liberated countries and the conduct of their representatives, not only in the United Nations but elsewhere. I am afraid we are having many examples of this unmerciful servant now in many parts of the world.
I should like to say how much I admired the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Strang, who has informed me he is not able to be here because he is not feeling very well. I think it was a most admirable speech in every way. It said what ought to be said rather more fully and frankly, I think, than perhaps a Government spokesman could have said it. I was particularly interested by his account, a very careful analysis based on full information and study, of what happened in the Congo last September, when, as he showed your Lordships, actions werecarried out which were, some of them, rather treacherous actions, all of them totally in excess of the instructions which had been given, totally irreconcilable with the United Nations Resolution; and, so far as one can see, not only Dr. Linner but also Dr. Bunche and probably even Mr. Hammarskjoeld had no idea what was being done. I am also very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Strang, for his remarks about the danger of people making incautious pronouncements on policy "off the cuff". I think that applies not only to civilians but also to soldiers. I think some soldiers in the employment of the United Nations have been treated a good deal more leniently than General MacArthur was treated by President 643 Truman when he threw himself into politics.
I am also most grateful for the speeches of my noble friend Lord Clitheroe and my noble friend Baroness Elliot of Harwood, both of whom gave speeches of quite exceptional value, one based on unusual knowledge of the actual conditions in Africa itself and the other on whathappens at the United Nations. The noble Earl, Lord Longford, who has also very kindly sent his apologies for not being able to be here, said that the British attitude on this Congo crisis in the last few days, particularly in regard to the bombs and particularly in regard to our cease-fire proposal, has not been endorsed by anybody at all on the United Nations Congo Advisory Committee, and he quoted seven members of the Commonwealth on that Committee who had not endorsed our proposal.
It is true, indeed, that we are in a minority; that we and the French, who unfortunately will not take a more active part, and the Belgians are about the only people who are not in accord with what is being done. I think it is not without significance that those countries happen to be the only countries in the world who have a wide and long experience of colonial administration, an experience which occasionally has included the bitter and tragic necessity of having to try to keep order in a territory where the entire local population are bitterly hostile; that is what the United Nations may very easily be letting itself in for in Katanga and that is what we want to try to save them from doing, for the sake of Katanga and for the sake of the United Nations itself.
All those nations which the noble Earl, Lord Longford, mentioned, in our view do not know what they are letting themselves in for, and to be quite blunt we think we know better than they do and we think the time has come when we ought not to be afraid to say so. We want to stop the United Nations from becoming involved in a long and bitter colonial war which may very easily lead not only to the discredit but perhaps ultimately to the failure and extinction of the United Nations itself, and we believe that the dangers should be better known than they are. That is why we have done our best to restrain events 644 which have been developing in Katanga and to press for a cease-fire. Although it was not accepted on Friday by the Advisory Committee, none of those people who refused our request has been able to do any positive good with it whereas we hope that now we have been able to do some good.
At about 2.15 local time this afternoon Mr. Tshombe left Elisabethville accompanied by one of his Ministers, Mr. Kibwe, and on his departure from the Katanga capital he ordered the Katanga forces to observe a cease-fire. The latest reports indicate that a general cease-fire is now being observed in Elisabethville, both by the Kataneese and by United Nations' forces. Mr. Tshombe has now arrived at Kitwe in Northern Rhodesia. To-morrow morning he will be travelling to Ndola where he will board an aeroplane to take him to Kitona in the Congo for his meeting with Mr. Adoula, the Leopoldville Prime Minister. Mr. Gullion, President Kennedy's special representative in the Congo, is this evening meeting Mr. Tshombe in Kitwe and to-morrow he will be accompanying him to Kitona. Before he left Leopoldville for Northern Rhodesia, Mr. Gullion received the assurances of Mr. Adoula that he would be present at the Kitona meeting which has been arranged for to-morrow.
We have had so many disappointments and disillusionments that I would not ever think of rejoicing too soon, but we must all pray that at this meeting tomorrow the representatives of the different sides may have enough common sense and enough good will to come to an agreement which may lead at last to peace and prosperity for the Congo.
§ 10.8 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, I rise to ask the permission of the House to withdraw the Motion, but before doing so I should like to offer my congratulations to the noble Earl, Lord Dundee. I think this is the first time that he has wound up a debate on foreign affairs, and I am quite sure that his chief will be very pleased with the way in which he has done it. I should also like to say that I am sure that all present in the House welcome the last few sentences of the noble Earl's speech. We are all very glad to know that there is 645 a cease-fire in Katanga. We are all very glad to know that the two leaders are to meet to-morrow, and we echo the prayer which the noble Earl made, that on this occasion may peace be the result.
I am very grateful to nineteen other speakers for taking part in this debate. I think it has been a very useful debate. The noble Earl the Foreign Secretary has been shot at from the right and from the left, but I must say that he does not appear before us in sackcloth and ashes and I have no intention at this late hour of directing another salvo at him. I want to add only one thing. There have been many tributes paid to my noble friend Lord Robertson of Oak-ridge. I, like Lord Strang and Lord Longford, was a colleague of his in the days when he had such great responsibilities in Germany. I think we all recognise that he speaks with unique experience and authority on German problems. I have been in this House over sixteen years, and I think I am right in my recollection that this is the first maiden speech I have listened to delivered without a single note. I think that is quite an outstanding Parliamentary achievement, and I hope, as I am sure all your Lordships hope, that we shall have many other opportunities of listening to my noble friend. My Lords, I ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.