§ 4.13 p.m.
§ Debate resumed.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, in the time—I hope the not too long time—in which I shall trouble your Lordships this afternoon I do not propose to refer to the European situation to which the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, devoted a portion of his speech; nor to the Asiatic people, except to say of Asia, on one topic which the noble Lord himself mentioned, that I agree most strongly with the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, and, I think, with the noble Lord himself, that the time has come to admit Communist China to the United Nations. In earlier years, as some few of your Lordships will know, I took a different view and said so frankly—I think even more frankly than some of my own leaders; but that was because I did not want to see a wedge driven, on a really important issue, between ourselves and the United States. I thought that that would be most unfortunate and I do not believe the event has proved that view wrong.
If I may say so, with very great deference, if the Government of the day had not been in such a hurry, and if they had not acted alone, I believe that we might have brought the United States along very much earlier than they have come. But that is ancient history; and whatever may be said about it, there is no doubt at all, I think, that the Communist Government alone can claim to represent China. Moreover, the United States themselves seem to be coming over to that view. In these circumstances, I am sure that the sooner they are brought in the better for all concerned.
Nor do I wish to take up your Lordships' time with the question of Summit Conferences which at present, in any case, seem rather an academic topic. I should, however, like to say one word in support of what was said by the noble Earl Lord Attlee. I believe that what he said on this subject was extremely wise. I 520 believe that there are, in international negotiations, very great dangers in bringing in one's "big guns" too soon. What do we have a Diplomatic Corps for?—largely in order to conduct international negotiation. If they succeed, well and good. The position is advanced gradually to the point where the "big guns" can usefully come in; and if they fail, it does not very much matter. Nobody hears much about it. But if the "big guns"—Heads of State, Prime Ministers and so on—fail to get an agreement, not only is the cause of peace and international understanding not advanced, but it has a serious setback. For that reason I believe that the "big guns" should not come in until a wide measure of agreement has already been reached. Summit Conferences, in fact, if I may suggest it with great deference, should be not only Summit but Climax Conferences.
Now I would come to the main purpose of my speech which is to support everything that was said yesterday about the advent to power of President Kennedy, with special reference (and I think no great reference was made to this yesterday) to his State of the Union Message to Congress on January 30. There is a phrase that one finds almost too often now in the newspapers, and sometimes now, I am sorry to say, even on one's own lips, about the end of an old era and the beginning of a new era. As a matter of fact, history seems to show that it is extremely difficult at the time to say when old eras end and new ones begin. Such moments may become clear to historians many years later, but not to the ordinary man at the time they occur.
I shrewdly suspect that even to the historians of the future the retirement of President Eisenhower and the coming into power of President Kennedy will not be regarded as marking the beginning of a new era of history. It will probably appear merely as one episode in the bitter struggle which is to-day taking place between the Easfern and Western blocs of nations, between Communism and the Free World. But it is a very important episode, and it is no criticism of President Eisenhower, who has the respect and affection of us all, to say that. I am sure that no one here would dispute the view that, by and large, President Eisenhower, although 521 we have not always agreed with him on every issue, did a very good job in circumstances of great difficulty, but—as I believe the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said yesterday has happened to all of us. great or small— age is creeping up, and the peak of his fame is behind him.
President Kennedy, on the other hand, is young. He has the peak of his fame ahead, and it is natural that a man in that period of his life should be able to live in the future to a greater degree than would be possible for his predecessor. He has already evidently made a very good start. He has covered a wide field in selecting his Government and he seems to have chosen well. Moreover, it is clear that he is not entering on his duties in any lighthearted spirit. He seems well aware of the formidable nature of the problems which are facing him indeed, his State of the Union Message to Congress, to which I referred earlier., has an almost Fultonesque ring in its grim realism.
He recognises, as I am afraid our own Government have not always done— at any rate, they have not always fold the people—how grave and how growing are the dangers which to-day beset He makes no bones about the scope and the nature of the threat that is now overhanging the Free World. Referring to Russia and China, he says:We must never be lulled into believing that either Power has yielded its ambitions for world domination.In another passage he goes on to stress, in the bleakest and plainest of words, that he has been staggered by the harsh enormity of the trials through which his country, and presumably also the world, will have to pass in the next four years. He feels it his duty to tell Congress thatthe tide of events has been running out; and time is not on our side…News will he worse before it is better…While hoping for the best, we should prepare for the worst".How nobly those words compare with some other assessments of the situation which we have from time to time heard!
And how does President Kennedy propose to meet this situation? Not by cutting down his armed forces below the marlin of safety. He says:We must strengthen our military tools. Both the military and diplomatic possibilities require a Free World force so powerful as to make any aggression clearly futile.522 He tells how he hopes to achieve this. He says, first.I have directed prompt action to increase airlift capacity."—that is, I suppose, so as to make the armed forces of his country more mobile to meet threats, wherever they occur—and secondly:I have directed prompt action to step up our Polaris programme.It is to be:a fleet that will never attack first, but possess sufficient powers of retaliation to discourage any aggressor from launching an attack.How good that is!And, best of all, my Lords, in my view, he faces frankly the fact thatno Atlantic Power can meet, on its own, the mutual problems now facing us in defence, foreign and a host of other areas".That I take to mean a call for closer integration. with the Western Powers, not only in defence but in every other sphere. All of us, I am sure, will welcome this message as, I believe, the most enlightened and most encouraging declaration of policy that has come out of the United States for many a long year.
In the last speech which I made to your Lordships I made bold to stress what I believe to be of vital importance: the need for some far more effective machinery than at present exists to weld together the nations of the Western Alliance into one single closely-knit machine in defence of liberty. I had in mind some inter-allied body with a staff of political and strategic experts in permanent session whose task would be to examine all possible threats to the Western position in whatever part of the world, and to get ready agreed plans which could be approved by the Governments concerned; so that when a new surprise was sprung on us, in Asia, in Africa in South America, wherever it might be, we should be prepared for immediate concerted action to counter it. From President Kennedy's message looks as if he would be in full harmony with joint action of that kind. It is for that reason, above all, if I may say so, that I think we must all welcome warmly the news of the Prime Minister's and Foreign Secretary's early visit to the President. I should like this afternoon to wish them all possible success.
523 The kind of step, my Lords, that I have envisaged presupposes, of course, a common creed to counter the insidious doctrines of Communism; and it presupposes also, so far as possible, a high degree of agreement on all the main issues of the day. When one thinks of what those issues are—the United Nations, the Congo, South East Asia, colonialism—it may seem that to say that is to advocate counsels of perfection. But, my Lords, unless the Western Allies can combine, as our enemies have combined; unless we can speak with a common voice; unless we are inspired with a common emotion, as we were in the time of war, the plain fact is, I believe, that nothing can save us. The most obscure part of the President's message, I think—perhaps inevitably—is that in which he referred to the United Nations. He said:We must increase our support of the United Nations as an instrument to end the cold war instead of an arena to fight it.I am sure that we shall all be in agreement with that sentiment, but he did not quite say how we were to attain that most desirable result. I wish he had, for I am afraid that there are many of us who are being gradually driven to the conclusion that the United Nations, so admirable in itself, tends at its present stage of development to be exacerbating rather than beneficial to a settlement of international disputes.
I should like, very diffidently, to suggest a reason for that; and it is also an answer to the plea of the noble Earl. Lord Attlee, yesterday, when he said that he wished our Government would give a lead in making the United Nations an effective instrument for world order." I think that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said something very much the same this afternoon. The reason, I believe, is this. The United Nations is, in effect, an early experiment in world government. That is in itself entirely good. But world government connotes a community welded into a single entity and animated broadly by a single purpose; and, unfortunately, that, up to now, is not true of the world we know. It is not a single homogeneous community. On the contrary, it is a community of nations sharply divided, as perhaps never before, into two opposing groups which are en- 524 gaged in a bitter cold war against each other.
This cold war is being carried on even up to the very highest level, even into the council chamber of the United Nations itself. Even there, rightly or wrongly, the leaders of the opposing factions have it as one of their main concerns to prevent any significant success for the other faction, while an executive of the embryo world government, without any real power, in the shape of Mr. Hammarskjoeld, vainly tries to keep an even balance between the two. That is the position, at any rate as I see it. In consequence, the main result of the activities of the United Nations tends, unhappily, to be not to end strife but to prevent victory for either contending party and so to perpetuate uncertainty and disorder. I think that the Congo is a very good example of that. We even get the unedifying spectacle, mentioned by my noble friend Lord Winterton yesterday, of United Nations soldiers standing idly by while Congolese adherents of one party or the other commit outrages to men, women and, I believe, children.
What makes the position even queerer in the Congo is that, broadly speaking, only one faction is paying the costs of the world attempts to solve the difficulty— the cost, if I may use such a phrase, of this militant neutralism. The West are paying their share; even Belgium is paying her share, though she cannot always be very satisfied with the results to which her contribution leads. The Eastern bloc, on the other hand, according to the last figures I have seen, were most active in getting their fighting corner in the United Nations, while not contributing a penny to the efforts of the executive to put into effect the measures on which the United Nations had decided. That would be a farcical situation if it was not so tragic. And what is to be done about it, my Lords, I do not know. The United Nations cannot continue pouring out money over a long period of years just to prevent the victory of either party. Indeed, even if the United Nations were so willing, it looks as if the forces at its disposal for the preservation of law and order are soon going to disintegrate; and it is very difficult to see where they are going to find other forces to take their place.
The noble Earl, Lord Home, said yesterday that there was no question of the 525 United Nations imposing a settlement by force of arms, and I think most of us were very glad to hear that. But it would be equally unfortunate if, by its intervention, the United Nations prevented or delayed a settlement. Faced with a rather similar situation in the days before the last war (which I remember so well because use I was in the Foreign Office at the time) over the Spanish Civil War, the League of Nations, as your Lordships may remember, adopted rather a different policy. They embarked on no direct intervention, but made their good offices available to those who wished to use them. If it is not cynical to say so, I am not certain, in the light of the experience of both Spain and Congo, that that was not the better plan—and it may be what, in the end, will happen in the Congo, too.
The Foreign Secretary, in that (if I may say so) impressively imaginative and constructive speech which he made yesterday, said he looked forward to a possible federal solution, as I understood it, to the present troubles in the Congo. That may well be so, and it probably would be the best solution. But, my Lords, that result will not necessarily be brought nearer by undue interference by the United Nations.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I am extremely interested in this argument, which I think is being splendidly put; but when non-intervention was operating, that also did not get the kind of results that I know the noble Marquess wants, because it did not stop the intervention of the Fascists on the other side. If we were merely doing that in the case of the Congo, I am sure the noble Marquess would agree with what the Foreign Secretary said yesterday; that the position would be worse.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I would entirely agree with the noble Viscount, but I would remind him that we did get a solution in the end. This present policy of the United Nations may lead to an interminable delay in any solution. That is my argument. In foreign affairs, you never get a very good solution: you have to be content with the best solution you can get. I was suggesting only that the League of Nations' method of treating the situation 526 then might turn out, in time, to be the better.
§ LORD CITRINE
Might I ask the noble Marquess (because he will recall that, with regard to the non-intervention policy and the Spanish Civil War, I met him several times from the Trade Union Congress point of view) whether it is not the fact that the result of nonintervention, substantially, was to have a conflict between the Germans, on the one side, and the Russians, on the other, using the incident of the civil war? And is it not the fact that the result of the whole thing has been that we have had 25 years of dictatorship in that country?
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
There would probably have been 25 years of dictatorship if the Communists had won. I think it would have been the same either way.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I do not know. They did not seem to me to be very good. However, I was just patting forward a proposition which I thought might be worth the consideration of the House. My Lords, in the meantime, I am sure we shall all agree that it is right for the United Nations to carry on what may be called its Good Samaritan work—the relief of famine, the relief of disease and so on. On that, everyone, I hope and think, on all sides, is agreed.
My Lords, I said just now that the future course of events in the Congo, and a final solution of its difficulties, is bound to be uncertain, and that he would be a very rash man who prophesied how they would turn out. But certain conclusions we can, I think, already draw. Of the first I have already spoken—and I thought the noble Lord., Lord Silkin, though he would not agree with me in everything, was in a measure of agreement with me about this. That is, how very imperfect an instrument the United Nations is, with all its other merits, for dealing with problems of this particular kind. I feel that we should do well to remember that, if we try to make the United Nations do too much, if we overweight it too greatly, we may very likely break it altogether, and that is a thing which we should all regret.
527 There is a second conclusion which I think we may also draw, and which I believe to be equally important. It is this: surely it must be obvious now to any objective observer that over a great part of Central Africa to-day the indigenous population is still far too immature to administer a complex, modern State. I do not, of course, want to over-generalise on a subject of this kind. For instance, we all hope and think that Nigeria is going to be a shining exception to the general proposition I have put forward: but I believe that this is certainly the lesson we can draw from the Congo.
We are told (I think it was said yesterday by one noble Lord) that the situation there is largely due to the fact that the Belgians never trained the African population to administer their own country. Well. my Lords, if that is accurate, the Belgians were certainly very wrong indeed. But that does not account, at any rate to my mind, for so rapid and complete a collapse of law and order, or for the orgy of murder and rape by the Force Publique—the very body which the Belgians had brought into existence to maintain law and order. It does not account for the immediate reversion of a large part of that vast country to tribal warfare, to witchcraft, and to all those primeval practices which we had all hoped contact with the Europeans would have relegated to the limbo of the past.
There are, of course, as we all know, areas in the Congo where more civilised conditions still continue. There is Katanga, and there are those parts where the writ of the United Nations chiefly runs. But those are the areas where the Europeans are still virtually in control. Elsewhere, the country seems to be slipping back at terrifying speed into its primitive past. That is a hard fact; and, if I may trespass for a moment into an area which the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, has described as "unscheduled", it is a hard fact to which I hope Her Majesty's Government in this country will not shut their eyes when they are considering a policy for the areas for which we are still responsible.
I wish I felt more confident that the Government had really learnt the lesson 528 which the Congo has to teach us. Have they modified their views?—those views which they declared with such confidence in the Report a year ago from Lancaster House on the future of Kenya. There must have been many of your Lordships who, even then, were considerably astonished to be told in that Report that the immediate aim of Her Majesty's Government for the people of Kenya, at their present stage of development, was "Parliamentary democracy on a Westminster model". But, at any rate, that was a year ago, and much has happened since then—the whole story of the Congo, showing how thin is the veneer of civilisation in that part of the world.
What is the attitude of the Government now in the light of these new, horrible and revealing events? Have they modified their views as a result of them? Do they propose to proceed with more caution, now that they have seen what has happened, and what is happening still, in the territories of Kenya's neighbour? Or do they propose to go even faster in Kenya, in Nyasaland and in Northern Rhodesia, under the impulse of African nationalism? Do they, in other words, intend to shorten sail to meet the hurricane, or do they mean to continue to run before the "wind of change", even if it lands us on the rocks?
My Lords, the decision which they reach will have most important international as well as national significance, and that is why I mention it to-day. I do not know—I suppose none of us knows—what the Government's latest view is. Both the Prime Minister and the Colonial Secretary have remained discreetly silent, and I have no doubt that the Government's spokesman will remain discreetly silent this afternoon. We may be told that any differences between us in these matters are not questions of principle; that they are only questions of timing. That may be so: but, my Lords, timing may be the essence of the whole matter. The Belgian grant of independence to the Congo was presumably a question of timing. The Belgians mistimed it; and look what has happened. Do not let us fall into the same error in this country.
Those of us who hold the views which I have expressed to-day, believe me, are not reactionaries. We do not want to 529 go back. We believe, as we have always believed, in evolutionary progress leading to a true partnership between black and white. But we could not support, wind of change or no wind of change, a surrender to extremist nationalism in Africa, which we believe does not represent the great mass of the African people any more than it represents those of European race who have made their home there.
That, my Lords, brings me to the last point I want to raise to-day, of which I have given the noble Earl, Lord Home, notice. It also relates to Africa, and though it is more limited than the points I have hitherto discussed, it has an even more direct international importance and therefore is, I think, entirely suitable to mention in a Foreign Affairs debate. I refer to what is known as the coastal strip on the coast of East Africa. The history of that strip will be familiar to most of your Lordships. It has never been an integral part of Kenya, though it is administered by the Kenya Government. It came under our control as a result of an agreement which was signed in 1895 between the Government of Queen Victoria and the Sultan of Zanzibar. Under that agreement, the strip remained part of the territories of the Sultan. He retained sovereignty over it, but it became a Protectorate of the British Crown to be administered by the British Government. That was the effect of the agreement which was signed in 1895, and that is the status of the coastal strip to-day. This was, indeed, recognised in the Report of the Lancaster House Conference last year, when Clause 24 stated that the Conference took note of the fact that the Protectorate was outside the scope of the Conference. But Clause 24 also said that they also took note of Her Majesty's Government's intention to continue, for the present, to discharge its responsibilities under the Treaty; and it is those three words, "for the present", which have begun, I understand, to cause anxiety.
My Lords, in view of those words the question does. I think, arise: What is to be the status of the coastal strip if and when Kenya obtains her independence? I hope there will never be any question in the minds of Her Majesty's Government of integrating it with the State of Kenya. That would be entirely contrary to the solemn agreement which was signed 530 by the then British Government in 1895; and it would also, I understand, be entirely contrary to the wish of the majority of the Arab population of the strip. And there are also far wider considerations which dictate that we should retain control of the coastal strip. It is at least doubtful, I am afraid, whether, in the new conditions which now prevail, it will be possible for us permanently to depend on our strategic base in Cyprus. If we had to abandon that, this Mombasa strip would probably represent the most important site left to us for a strategic base in that part of the world. It is well situated to protect our allies in the Persian Gulf and in Arabia, and our own position in Africa. With the long-distance troop-carrying 'planes which are now available, it would present no technical difficulty, So I understand, and would also be available to America and other allies in time of war if, unhappily, a hot war ever broke out again.
Some site for such a Western base, it seems to me, is likely to be a strategic "must" in the future; and we have in this coastal strip what I believe we have not everywhere, I am afraid—a friendly population who would very much like us to stay. Therefore, I hope that the House can be given a firm assurance today that the strip will be treated as a separate territory, and that there is no question of its being put under the control of Mr. Mboya, or anyone else, but that it will remain firmly under our own control, as before.
My Lords, I have done. I only hope I have not wearied the House too long. I may be told that these things that I have been saying in the latter part of my speech may be interesting, or not at all interesting, but that, at any rate, they are entirely irrelevant to a Foreign Affairs debate. I do not agree. Anything which has a bearing on the cold war is relevant to a Foreign Affairs debate, and certainly the future of Africa has a very direct bearing on the cold war. We are to-day in a situation of grave anxiety in the conflict between East and West. The cold war, as President Kennedy has stated frankly, is not going in our favour. Do not let us at this crucial moment do anything that runs the risk of tipping the balance still further against us.
§ 4.48 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, in one way I am relieved of responsibility 531 for making detailed answers to the many and excellent speeches which have so far been made in this debate, since my noble friend Lord Lansdowne answered in some detail last night, and by leave of the House my noble friend the Foreign Secretary proposes to conclude our discussions this evening. I must, however, say—and I think I shall carry the House with me—what a pleasure it has been to-day to hear my noble friend Lord Salisbury speaking, as he always does, with such vigour and authority on great affairs. On the specific point which he put to my noble friend, the only thing which I think I can say (I do not know whether my noble friend will later wish to add to it) is that the strip to which he referred is covered by the Agreement of 1895, and we shall continue to discharge our obligations under that Agreement. There could be no change in any direction without negotiating with the other party to the Agreement. I think that is all I could say at the present time. We shall continue to discharge the obligations which have been put upon us, and we cannot effect a change without negotiation.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, if there is any intention of altering the position, can we take it that Parliament will be informed before any step is taken?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
So I should suppose, my Lords.
I was going to say, this being the case, that I thought that perhaps the best course which I could take was to try to gather up some of the underlying themes, rather than the individual points, which have emerged from the course of our discussion so far. Speaker after speaker has seemed to feel that we are moving, if not into "a new era", to quote the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, at least, to quote my noble friend, into "a new episode" in international affairs, one which I think the House has felt might call for a new mood or for some reassessment of purpose among the Government and the people. I need not rehearse the reasons, which have been given for this, although I think that one might say that there have been three broad reasons.
The first—.I would put it first because it came first in time—is the new statement of tactics and aims by the 81 Communist Parties which emerged after their 532 30 days' discussion in Moscow. That is something which, at least in my opinion, deserves close study and anxious thought by those who wish to understand the nature of Communist intentions towards the West. The second is the inauguration of America's new Administration. I do not want to speculate, as with greater freedom did the noble Lord, about the extent of any differences between this Administration and its predecessor. I would only wish to say that I join with the feelings of all who expressed their fervent good wishes and hopes that Mr. Kennedy's term of office might be propitious for us all. The third factor has been the continuing crises in Asia and Africa, particularly in the Congo, and the coming encounters between statesmen which these crises will involve.
In the very first words which he uttered, the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, referred to the need for leadership. I accept the expression of feeling that a new general look in our affairs is necessary here, and I accept the call for leadership which the noble Lord's opening words implied; 'but as the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, reminded us in perhaps a different but still a relevant connection, the function of leadership in this country is not discharged by one man. We have no Executive elected with a separate Department of State and a distinct mandate from the people over and above Parliament. We are a team. I would go further and say that the function of leadership in this country can adequately be discharged only by Parliament as a whole. A divided and confused Parliament is a divided and confused Britain, however wise and percipient individual statesmen, in the Government or out of it, may be. But in a free society leadership at least consists, among other things, in the ability to discern and give expression to the causes with which many people can identify their own hopes and aspirations and which can thus become the subject of common effort and of common sacrifice. And if this be so the function of leadership in this country is to portray, in imaginative and in acceptable terms, the changed role which it is the destiny of this nation to play in the latter part of the 20th century. I thought that my noble friend, if he will permit me to say so, discharged that function in his speech yesterday.
533 The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, asks us: where does our writ and influence run now? It runs in the United Nations. It runs in N.A.T.O., in C.E.N.T.O. in S.E.A.T.O., and in O.E.C.D., which is the successor of O.E.E.C. it runs in the Commonwealth. And it runs in the almost unnumbered international bodies in which we have to play our part. In all these places and at all appropriate times it is our function to make the influence and 'mission of our country felt. I do not wholly accept the feeling which the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, seam, to hold, that it is our duty to speak our mind on every subject on all occasions and at the earliest possible moment, irrespective of whether what we say makes friends or enemies and irrespective of the effect of our sincerity and opinions upon the course of international events. I think that this is rather an isolationist and old-fashioned view on our influence in the contemporary world. But that we should present a clear image of the intention and destiny of this nation, of that I think there can be no possible doubt.
Perhaps there is a little too much nostalgia in the air to-day. I do not know that I have noticed it particularly in your Lordships' House. It is certainly not a matter of Party feeling. It exists in every walk of society and in every type of opinion. The other day I was woken up by the wireless announcing that a fairly Left Wing representative was moaning over our lost independence in connection with Polaris. The same morning I read that somebody so far to the Right as the energetic and enterprising sponsor of the New Daily was organising a campaign entitled, Back to Greatness "and moaning over our lost greatness. I think that both the extreme Left and the extreme Right need to be reminded that the path of independence and the path of greatness do not lead backwards.
It is the function of leadership to define a destiny for this people which is worthy but compatible with present affairs—and it was there that I thought that my noble friend had laid his finger on the kernel of the matter. For centuries our forefathers developed a system of security based on material foundations, which one by one have since fallen away and which, in our lifetime at least will never come back—the old two-Power standard of the Navy, the old gold coinage which would 534 take one anywhere from Calais to Vladivostock, our industrial supremacy in a large number of indispensable techniques of which we had a virtual monopoly, and, above all, the one-quarter of the earth's map, on Mercator's projection, coloured red, which was administered from Whitehall. It is not surprising that the loss of these material advantages should be the subject of nostalgia and even of melancholy. But we should be under no illusions: they have gone and they are never coming back.
Nor can we move backwards when the task of leadership consists in looking to the future. My noble friend ended what I thought was a distinguished speech with an eloquent proposal of a vision of partnership and interdependence as the true role of this country. I hope and pray that this vision of partnership and interdependence may be acceptable to this nation. For this policy is the way to greatness, and there is no other at the present time. There is nothing to be ashamed of in interdependence. It is not merely a policy: it is the reflection of a fact—in the military field, in technology, in geography and in economics. It is, of course, true that we can no longer remain safe without our Allies in the United States of America: but it is no less true that the United States of America cannot remain safe without us and without our European Allies. Our degree of dependence on one another may well be increasing, but it is increasing in both directions. It may he increasing in military terms. But in terms of the real struggle— the struggle which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, called the battle for the minds and the hearts of men—there our dependence on one another is really so great as to be almost absolute.
It is true, of course, that interdependence involves, among other things, a dependence on Europe; and it is true, as the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said, that in the strange world in which we now move we number among our indispensable Allies not merely our traditional friends but others with whom we have been, within living memory, on terms of the bitterest hostility. Is that a matter of regret or one of congratulation? There is one thing of which I can be absolutely certain. If I were one, which personally I am not (and 535 this, I think, has a close relevance to something the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, was saying) of those who are constantly on the alarm against anything which comes from Germany, who have a fear of the recrudescence of something which we have twice seen in our lifetimes, the situation which I should be most anxious to bring about and the one of which I should be least afraid would be one in which the forces of Germany, political, economic, social and military, were built into the fabric of Western Europe and a Western Europe in which we, too, were permitted to play a full and honourable and necessary part. And that, as I understand it is the role of this country in Europe to-day.
My Lords, if I were to fear a situation with regard to Germany, it would not be one in which the forces of Germany could neither dominate nor act alone. The situation I should fear would be one in which the forces of Western Germany were isolated, and free, like the nationalists of pre-war Germany, to plan alone and execute a diplomatic course in which first Russia and then France were alternately attracted and repelled, the one cunningly employed always as the counterpoise of the other; a situation in which Western Germany was ostentatiously ostracised and allowed to brood and plot in sullen menace and isolation, to bring out once more the old diety of Blood and Iron". That, it seems to me, would be a sure prescription for calamity. That is not the policy of interdependence that we are following.
Therefore, the destiny of this country. as I see it, is to pursue wholeheartedly the policy of interdependence and partnership, knitting together, so far as one can, the three great forces of the Western world—Europe, America and the Commonwealth —into a common purpose and an interconnected whole, seeking to prevent Europe from being inward looking—
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I have been deeply interested in all the arguments this afternoon, and I am in this one. Do I gather from the noble Viscount that what he is really pleading for is something right against what other people, such as the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, are sug- 536 gesting at the moment—namely, the evacuation of major forces from Germany? When he talks about leaving Germany with her own forces in isolation, is he endeavouring to answer the arguments of those who believe in disengagement?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I had not disengagement in my mind at all in that passage; and I am afraid I have been unable to keep track of everything that the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, has been saying. I would say that our function, therefore, is to save Europe from being inward-looking, to save America from being isolationist and to stop the Commonwealth, of which we are also the heart, from being parochial. I think that is the line upon which our future greatness lies. No smaller ideal will do. No smaller entity than the entire free world is large enough to secure the purposes of the great adventure on which we are all embarked, and upon whose success our future safety and even, as the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, reminded us, our very survival rests.
I felt strongly the truth of the reminder from my noble friend Lord Lansdowne yesterday that the free world includes nations such as Latin America and Japan, which do not form part of our military alliance. We all hope, of course, that the various indications of improved relations between America and the Soviet Union may be the beginning of a period of lowered armaments and reduced tension. I do not wish to add to or qualify the generous words which were spoken to that effect by my noble friend the Foreign Secretary yesterday. But I think it is as well that we should be under no illusions at all as to the conditions—which would then correspond to the Communist conception of co-existence—under which we should then be operating in the international field, if one is to believe their published statements. They would not be conditions in which it would be safe or prudent to relax. They would be conditions of increased effort economically, political and in some degree even military in every sphere of activity below the global and the nuclear. They would not necessarily be the conditions of tolerance which, like the noble Lord, Lord Rea, I should wish to see.
537 That is not what is in the statement of the 81 Communist Parties. What is in that document, if it is to be believed, is a declaration of implacable hostility, not the least real, as the noble Earl. Lord Attlee, said, because it is coupled with what is, we hope, a sincere disavowal of global war, It is as well, and so important, that we should realise the harsh and aggressive nature of this statement, and I hope the House will bear with me if I quote one or two of the most striking phrases in it. It says:Peaceful co-existence of states does not imply renunciation of the class struggle.…The co-existence of states with different social systems is a form of class struggle between socialism and capitalism. In conditions of peaceful co-existence favourable opportunities are provided for the development of the class struggle in the capitalist countries and the national liberation movement of the peoples of the colonial and dependent territories.In their turn the successes of the revolutionary class and national liberation struggle promote peaceful co-existence…The Communists will do their utmost for the people to weaken imperialism and limit its sphere of action by an active struggle for peace, democracy, and national liberation…Peaceful co-existence of countries with different social systems does not mean conciliation of the Socialist and burgeois ideologies. On the contrary, it implies intensification of the struggle of the working class, of all the Communist parties for the triumph of Socialist ideas.If that was not plain enough, in his speech of January 6, so widely reported, Mr. Khrushchev said this:Peaceful co-existence facilitates the activities of the Communist Party and other progressive organisations of the working class in the capitalist countries and makes it easier for the peoples to combat war blocs and foreign military bases. It is a form of intense economic, political and ideological struggle between the proletariat and the aggressive forces of imperialism in the world arena.After saying that Russia would continue to do everything to increase her military mightsince the imperialists are continuing the arms raceand reaffirming their sincere desire for disarmament, he went on:The slogan of struggle for peace by no means contradicts the slogan of struggle for Communism. These two slogans go hand in hand, for in the eyes of the masses Communism appears as a force capable of saving mankind from the horrors of nuclear war.He went on to say that wars were to be divided into three classes: The world wars which he thought were no more inevitable; the local, wars, by definition 538 started by the West, which he thought the Socialist bloc was strong enough to nip in the bud, and the wars of national liberation—for instance, one supposes, Algeria and the revolution in Cuba—which are not only admissible but inevitable, and which Communists support fully and without reservation.
It is vital, in my view, that the peoples of the West are not lulled by their own hopes into any misapprehension about what they are in for at the best of times. They are in for an intensification by the Communists of the so-called class struggle on every front. What that could mean is seen not only from the document, but in the contemporary practice in the United Nations in Latin-America—particularly in Cuba at the moment—in Africa, particularly the Congo; in the Middle East, in the Far East and in Europe. In this connection, I felt that both my noble friend Lord Winterton and my noble friend Lord Salisbury were a little hard upon the United Nations and the Congo. Whatever may be said—and I recognise the force of a great deal of what was said—the danger which existed last summer of blatant and active intervention in pursuance of the policy which I have been seeking to describe in its own language was something which was so serious as, I should have thought, to justify the collective action which Her Majesty's Government supported in the Congo through the United Nations.
Wherever trouble is experienced by the Western peoples, the Communists will be there. They will assume that the Western peoples and Western Governments are in the wrong, whatever dispute they are engaged in, and that any non-Communist Government is in the wrong where it is facing internal controversy. They will supply, on every occasion, organisation, arguments, money, arms, technical assistance and even, in certain cases, military assistance, to embarrass, ruin and destroy any state of affairs thought to be favourable to order and prosperity in or of a Western State; and certainly in Asia and Africa this is not seen as entirely confined to non-military methods.
This links up exactly with what I was seeking to say about the role and destiny of our people in promoting inter-dependence between all the nations of the West. There is no nation, no single group of nations, which can possibly, by 539 itself, face the strain to which we shall be subjected by this active policy of subversion on a world-wide scale. That is why I agreed wholeheartedly with the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, in what he said last night, and in his praise of institutions like 0.E.C.D. The United States are not powerful enough to sustain this role alone. Europe and its recovered unity and sense of confidence would, by itself, be swept away. The outliers of our system—individual and trusted nations of the Commonwealth—could stand no hope of individual survival alone. Nor, may I add, could those other members of our nation who have found their homes in other parts of the world, in Africa and elsewhere, have the smallest hope of surviving the holocaust if anything happened to the unity necessary for the preservation of our ideals and standards of life all over the world. This island is either, as always, the centre of moral resistance to the twin evils of anarchy and tyranny, or it is nothing. But the grand unity which we have to bring to bear must be nothing less strong than united moral fervour and political and economic strength of the Western World as a whole.
Once the realisation of this purpose is borne in mind, it seems to me that the various portions of our external policy can be seen to fall into place, whether they be in the United Nations, in America, Europe, Asia, in the Commonwealth or in Africa. But it must not be forgotten that there are certain built-in advantages of the Communist position which we shall be wise not to discount. They are able to select whatever position is favourable to them, whether it be in Asia, in the Midle East, in Africa or in South America. They are not bound by any policy of consistency. If it suits them, they can be nationalist in one country and internationalist in another; Socialist in one country and supporting an anti-Socialist Government in another. They can preach pacifism at Aldermaston, and a war of liberation in the Congo. Moreover, by a careful deployment of their limited resources they can spread the relatively limited aid which they give to impoverished countries thick in a few places and thus make it seem spectacular; while we, by the very nature of our position and the extent of our responsibilities, may have 540 to give more widely of our greater resources and, therefore, spread our aid much more thinly and consequently need to give much more in order to provide a noticeable result.
There is one thing, however, which this policy of subversion cannot bring to any part of the world, and that is the thing which the world wants most—peace and reconciliation between the peoples. The policy of the Declaration is a philosophy of hatred, an ethic of antagonism, a policy and a morality of class struggle. Wherever they go, as a matter of set purpose they set man against man, class against class and people against people. They do not believe in peace; they do not believe in love, and, so far as one can tell, they have no use for reconciliation. It is for this reason that I do not believe that, however many advances they make, they will ultimately storm the last citadel in the battle for the hearts and minds of men. For it is we, and not they, who in the long run will and must win this battle. This is in the nature of things, because it is we, and not they, who have that to offer which is not a struggle, which is not a war, class national, or international, and which is not a dictatorship, whether of the proletariat or anybody else. This in the welter of partial loyalties, of race, colour or creed, is the dimly felt, hardly articulated but, nevertheless, still universal and steadily growing respect and feeling for humanity as such, which the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, referred to in his speech yesterday under the familiar title, the "Brotherhood of man".
My Lords, I believe with all my heart that therein lies the key and the purpose of our destiny in the international field at the present time. They tell us that the human race has been on this planet for 500,000 years. During the greater part of that time men have lived like beasts, in contact only with their immediate neighbours, with whom they were seldom on good terms. Only in the last minute of the last hour have we known the whole spectrum of human civilisation. Small wonder that, if only in those last few minutes have we been compelled to come into contact with one another, there should be from time to time bloody episodes and unedifying incidents. But, my Lords, that this encounter, surely the most dramatic in human history, should end in triumph 541 and not disaster is the continuing responsibility of the present generation. And in this encounter I am sure that the wise and generous people of this country have a future pant to play which will be worthy of their past.
§ 5.20 p.m.
THE EARL OF DUNDONALD
My Lords, I have not had the privilege of sitting in your Lordships' Chamber for very long, and I ask for your indulgence to my maiden speech. I am following some very able and experienced speakers. Quite rightly, my Lords, yesterday and to-day much has been said about the Congo and Kenya. But, as many of your Lordships are aware, very often since the last war when world attention was focused in a given area the Communists unexpectedly made a move somewhere else. Perhaps I may give a few examples. When we in Britain were disturbed about the state of affairs in Greece, after the elections in 1946, the scene was changed, and fighting broke out between the French and the Vietminh forces which were attacking Hanoi. Another example: when we were concerned with the emergency in Malaya and the civil war in Burma the Russians moved the scene swiftly to Berlin. And, more recently, when we have been concerned with many problems in the Middle East the scene was suddenly moved to Cuba. It is for these reasons that to-day I want to talk about South America, a continent which is not often discussed or mentioned in this Chamber.
Before continuing with my speech, I am sure that your Lordships would wish me to record our humble and grateful appreciation of their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and Princess Alexandra for undertaking their extensive foreign tour of South America last year. Their trip was a most wonderful success, and they were received everywhere with tremendous warmth and affection.
My wife and I also returned to this country from a long trip in South America at the latter part of last year, and I think I should at this juncture declare two interests. I am Chairman of the Anglo-Chilean Society, and the other interest is that, unlike the noble and gallant Viscount who after spending a few days in Peking wrote articles on 542 China and, I believe, a book, I am not going to profess such expert knowledge as to do the latter. As your Lordships know, South America is a very large continent, and nothing could be more wrong than to assume that one can deal with a continent as one entity. A very distinguished and popular Ambassador at the Court of St. James at the moment remarked quite recently that if we in Britain imagined that the rumba was the national dance of South America they would be quite entitled to think that bull-fighting was the national sport of Europe. The differences between countries in Europe and those in South America are equally strong.
In Europe during the last fifty years we have borne the brunt of two world wars, and one effect has been that we have advanced socially and democratically. The impact of neither of those wars has been felt in the South American continent, and the result is that many of those countries are now ill-prepared to meet the Communist efforts which have been directed there since their success in Cuba and Central America. The southern countries of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay have for many years provided stable Governments—with the exception of the Peron Administration and the immediate aftermath—and the future here looks secure. The northern countries of the South American continent, on the other hand, are all in a pretty bad way economically, and the Communist efforts are now being directed with particular reference to Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
I do not think it necessary for me to mention to your Lordships more than the words "oil" and copper "to draw your attention to the importance of those countries. Should they fall under Communist domination, the position would be very serious indeed, both to the Western World and to the southern countries which, as I have said, are more stable. The techniques being employed here are the usual ones that we have come to know, such as getting hold of semi-literates and getting them to work on the wrongs of the Administration and the state of poverty of the many; the indoctrination of some university professors; infiltration into the trade unions and the armed forces, all with the object of producing a state of 543 anarchy in which the local disciples of the Communist religion will step in and take over. We are all aware that, by European standards, some of these Governments leave much to be desired, but their stable future is vital to us, particularly as so many of our traditional markets, such as China and the Middle East, are either now not open to us or open only on a specialised or barter basis.
What can we in Britain do? I am convinced that our assistance must be cultural and economic, to improve the standards of living and so counteract those Communist preachings in a practical manner. I should like to put before your Lordships and the Government some proposals which I feel are practical. The noble Lord, Lord Rea yesterday mentioned the question of our overseas news agencies. I do not know how many of your Lordships are aware that Reuter's news service was withdrawn from South America just over two years ago. It was re-established in one country — Argentina, in fact in Buenos Aires, in May, 1960. The effect is that all news about Britain received by South American countries with the one exception of Argentina, is received through the American news agencies; and, vice versa, our news about South America is received in the same manner. The results are unsatisfactory. The news is very often inaccurate, or even not reported at all. Every Ambassador of ours with whom I have discussed this subject in South America agreed that the Government should in some manner help to re-establish Reuter's news service in South America.
As an example of inaccurate news, when the earthquakes occurred in Chile last year the initial broadcasts made by the B.B.C. on short wave and beamed to Latin-America were most inaccurate and distorted. The result was that people living in the area were upset that the B.B.C., which they had come to know as being an accurate news medium, was, in fact, not accurate.
Now I come to the matter of education which has been referred to. Although, unfortunately, maligned by one of our daily papers, the British Council are doing a magnificent job in South America with very limited resources, and the proposal I should like to make here is that the Government should give con- 544 sideration to increasing the scholarships which the British Council are empowered to grant from South America. I would suggest that to some extent the emphasis of these grants should be changed towards the vulnerable countries of Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. As an example, the scholarships which the British Council are offering to South America now total 42, of which four are allotted to Colombia, four to Peru, one to Venezuela and none to Ecuador. So I recommend that the emphasis should be switched to these northern countries and that, if possible, more scholarships should be granted.
Before moving to my last point concerning economic assistance, I should like to say what wonderful work our Ambassadors and Embassies are doing in South America. In many cases, the Embassies are under-staffed. Perhaps I may recall the reference made yesterday by the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, to the commercial attaché He is a most important man. During their first visit to a country British businessmen often have to rely on that person, and that person only, to be their agent and to help them market their products. I am sure that the Government are doing everything they can to find the right people to fill those posts.
I would mention only briefly the matter of loans. I would ask that any loans made—though I am not, on the whole, in favour of loans—should he made to these countries through the correct medium. I should add that I am not asking for loans, but I should like to thank the Government for one "tied" loan which was granted to Chile last year, as a special case, to help rehabilitate that country after the earthquake disasters. Where we can help is by improving our machinery for business with those countries. The matter was alluded to yesterday by the Foreign Secretary, when he said that one of our aims of foreign policy was to create in a country a situation conducive or helpful to trade from this country.
I was glad to hear that the Dollar Export Council, which has done magnificent work in North America, is now extending its influence to South America. But I must say, from my own experience and observation, that the Government export credits organisation is not 545 working in South America. It is sadly lacking in flexibility. There is tremendous goodwill between those countries and Britain. In the past we supplied nearly all their heavy equipment. When we travelled on the railway train from Mendoza to Chile we travelled in a carriage made in Britain in 1895. It had perhaps new bogies and new axle boxes, but the same wicker work chairs, which were still most comfortable. But I was sorry to note that the rolling stock in both those countries since that date has come from our Continental competitors.
To refer to one point of detail, I feel that the Export Credits Guarantee Department is a most important organisation. If it is agreed between this Government organisation, commonly known as E.C.G.D., and its German counterpart, Hermes, that for a given contract the period of credit will be five years, that is fine. But the customer may want seven, eight or nine years' credit; and in South America the customer gets his credit. On the Continent there is nothing to prevent a private bank from underwriting the difference. In this country, however, E.C.G.D. will say to the manufacturer, "It is five years or nothing", and he therefore has the alternatives either of underwriting the risk himself or of dropping out. And I am afraid that in many cases people are dropping out.
A further matter in this connection is that E.C.G.D. are prepared only to guarantee a percentage of the risk; and the small manufacturer, in particular, cannot himself, when he is entering a new market, afford to take the risk on the balance. Also, a small manufacturer who is currently trading quite happily, for example, in Peru may wish to try to do some business in Colombia, or in another country or countries in South America. In this type of case the attitude of E.C.G.D. is, "We either insure all your business or none of it", which means that the manufacturer, who knows his market well in Peru, is tied to putting a premium on his products in that market which he knows in order that he can get a credit risk in others. I therefore ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can give consideration, with particular reference to South America, to making the operations of the Export Credits Guarantee Department more flexible, especially where the small manufacturer is concerned.
§ 5.39 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF SWINTON
My Lords, it is my pleasant duty to congratulate the noble Earl on a model maiden speech. He has spoken to us of countries where the names of Cochrane and Dundonald are still household words, and where, I have no doubt, in at least one navy there is still a "Cochrane" or "Dundonald" among its ships. He has spoken to us with that mixture of modesty and assured knowledge of the subjects with which he is well familiar which is most agreeable to the House. I hope that we shall hear him often again. I should like especially to congratulate the Scottish Peers on having elected him as one of their representatives here.
I am going to follow his good example and confine myself, in this wide-ranging debate, to one single topic about which I can speak with a certain amount of first-hand knowledge—that is, the Congo. During the latter years of the war it was my duty to visit the Congo constantly—not only to be frequently in Leopoldville, but to know the Katanga Province pretty well, to know Stanleyville and to fly over most of the country in journeys hither and thither, and to work in the closest touch with both the civil and the military administration. That, it is true, was fifteen years ago, but I do not think that the fundamentals in the Congo have changed much in that time. There may be winds of change, but the physical characteristics of a country do not alter at all and the national characteristics of many of the inhabitants take a good deal longer to alter than many people think.
I should like to say at once how cordially and enthusiastically I support what was said by my noble friend the Foreign Secretary yesterday, both on the general principles which should actuate our conduct and the conduct of the United Nations, and on how those principles should be applied in practice. I should have thought it was quite unarguable that the United Nations had a duty—why, they have not even a right —to impose a solution in the Congo. To do so, I submit, would be contrary to the Constitution of the United Nations, who are precluded by that Constitution from interfering with the internal affairs of a member State. So 547 to interfere would, as I see it, be to impose a new form of colonialism; and that, it seems to me, would create a precedent of the greatest danger. It would certainly fail if the United Nations tried to apply it; and, not only that, it might break the whole of the United Nations Organisation.
To attempt to do that is quite impracticable to anyone who knows the Congo, a vast area —the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, spoke of it yesterday—more than twice the size of Nigeria, largely devoid of communication except by air and by the 1,000 miles of the Congo River that are navigable, inhabited by many tribes speaking different languages and different dialects hardly recognisable even between inhabitants of the same tribe—tribes with different loyalties and where there are old mutual jealousies and hostilities, peoples who, for the most part, when one gets outside the towns, are very primitive, people who have had little or no political training or administrative experience.
It is fashionable to-day to say that everywhere there should be "One man, one vote". I myself have never been able to see what was the magic of that formula. There were wise words written by Lord Balfour after presiding over the Committee of the Imperial Conference which led to the Statute of Westminster, in which he said it was very easy but very dangerous to copy Constitutions unless we could also copy the characteristics of the people; and to feel that "One man, one vote" is the one hope of salvation in the Congo, in a country where, until this new Constitution was promulgated when the Belgians left, nobody, black or white, had ever had a vote at all, is most curious. To imagine that a centralised Parliament and Administration and a unitary State could be effective there seems to me to be hopelessly remote from the truth. I thought my noble friend the Foreign Secretary was profoundly wise yesterday when more than once he spoke of a federal solution. I am sure that that is the only possible road, the only possible hope of ultimate unity.
Meanwhile, what should be done? I would say that any Government in the Congo which can maintain law and order, which can keep the peace in its own area and restore and maintain the economic life of its people, should be welcomed and 548 encouraged. The United Nations have done some good things. I think they stopped the cold war from developing into a hot war, with Red troops being sent in. I very often agree wholeheartedly with my noble friend Lord Salisbury, but I am not sure that I think action on the Spanish lines is an ideal solution. I should have thought one of the things we wanted to avoid in the Congo was a situation in which we had two sides, each of them sending arms and ammunition and so-called "volunteers" to the contesting parties.
What I cannot understand, however, is the hostility of some of the United Nations officials to the Katanga Government that exists to-day. It commits foolishnesses—quite a lot of Governments do foolish things—'but at any rate, outside the enclave of Leopoldville, which is merely a town, it seems to me about the only area in the Congo where there is a certain amount of order and security and where business goes on. I understand the mines there lost only about five days' work. That is not just important to some mining company; it is of vital importance to the natives who live by mining. I know that. I know all those Katanga mines very well. There never was any colour bar there. The African had not got a vote, but any African could, and I have no doubt still can, attain to any job for which he was capable; and he was very carefully trained for it.
Nor do I understand the opposition there is to Provincial Governments and Administrations (if that is what I should call them) in the Congo employing Belgians. I have never agreed with the system which the Belgians practised in the Congo, although it was in many ways very humane, and so far as health and other services went, certainly in Katanga, Elisabethville, Leopoldville and other places, they probably had health and nutrition, housing and other services second to none in the world. But there was no attempt, as we try in our pride in the British Empire, to train up these races to take their part in administration and to learn responsibility. Having said that, I would say that Belgian officials, doctors, teachers and traders are the only people who know the country and the only people who can talk the 101 languages which are talked in different parts of the country. And I should have 549 thought it was not blameworthy, but praiseworthy, that, after what many of them suffered, a number of Belgians stayed on in the country arid a number more are now willing to go back and to work with and be employed by these Congo Administrations.
I never, I hope, speak in this House merely to criticise; but have ventured to put (onward what I hope are constructive solutions or, at any rate, ways in which we may advance with most hope of finding a solution. My Lords, the art of politics is what is possible; and that applies just as much in the Congo as it does anywhere else in the world. After the speech of my noble friend the Foreign Secretary yesterday I have no doubt at all that Her Majesty's Government are facing reality and facing facts. I only hope and pray that the whole United Nations Organisation will do the same.
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
My Lords, I intervene in this debate only because much has been said about the United Nations; and as I have gained some personal knowledge there and as in this debate many noble Lords have made a contribution from their personal experience, I thought I should like to say just a few words in what I think has been an extremely interesting discussion. Before I do so, I should like to add my congratulations, if I may, on the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Dundonald, who has made a contribution on South America. He brings to our Chamber yet another expert on that part of the world. My noble friend Lord Swinton is such an expert on so many subjects that one naturally expects him to make a great contribution in many ways, but I think that what he has just said and the way he has described experiences in the Congo is so vivid that that is a real contribution to the whole picture of what we are trying to discuss to-day.
The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, I thought struck just the right note in opening this debate when he drew our attention to the opportunity which I think the world is going to have—at least we hope it is—with the new Kennedy Administration for a new look at the world. New eyes are being focused on it from the United States. It is the first time for a long while that this has happened, and lit is the only time that it 550 will happen in the Kennedy Administration. I think it is extremely important for us and, indeed, for the whole world. Therefore, I believe that this debate comes at a very timely moment. My noble friend the Foreign Secretary yesterday in his speech showed, I think, quite clearly that the Government are absolutely prepared to look afresh at all the problems that are confronting us, in concert with the new Kennedy Administration. But, as Lord Home said, quite rightly, whatever new look there is, it must be one that will not at any point undermine our strength, the strength of the West, the strength that we have built up in the last years. So we are set for a new scene with new actors and we hope very much that this will lead us a long way in a new direction.
The noble Earl, Lord Attlee, said that the United Nations was not composed only of peace-loving and law-abiding, States; and that is indeed true. It is composed of all nations, all races, of people of all religions and all languages—although your Lordships would be surprised how many people can speak the English language in that Assembly. In that Assembly one is brushing shoulders with all these different people, arguing with them, agreeing with them sometimes, disagreeing with them. But they are all there, whether from this side of the Iron Curtain or the other, and there is no question of apartheid, of not discussing things with people. If the United Nations forum were not there, I cannot see how one would have the opportunity of talking with all these different and sometimes highly controversial characters in what is, in fact, a friendly, or fairly friendly, atmosphere. It is friendly to the extent that nobody has a gun; nobody shoots; and in fact the fiercest weapon is the tongue. That, I think, is very much better than any other kind of weapon.
So, instead of feeling gloomy, as I sometimes think we are about international affairs. I believe one must remember that ever since the United Nations was established no major war has broken out. In the pages of history major wars are recorded; in fact all wars are recorded. Nobody records wars that have not broken out. But I often feel that in those great halls in New York a banner or two might be hung up commemorating a war that, because of the 551 United Nations, did not break out. That is, I think, a point we should remember when we are thinking about the difficulties of the present international situation.
The advent of an international force is a new fact. It has been talked about and discussed; resolutions were passed by many an organisation before the war on having some kind of international force or some kind of international police force. But it never came into being until 1957 when the U.N.I.C.E.F. force arose out of the Suez crisis. That has been, I think, a very successful contribution along a completely new line for international affairs. During the World Refugee Year I visited the Middle East and went to see places like the Ghaza strip and the frontier areas in the Middle East between the Israelis and the Arab States. There is no doubt at all that the international force, composed as it is of Scandinavian and other nationalities with their own uniforms but all wearing the blue beret, has provided a stabilising force in that area. I do not know, but I believe that had it not existed we might have seen another war break out in the course of the last five years or so. Every month that that stability remains and a war does not break out is a month gained—every month, every year. So one has hopes that, certainly in that area, the result of the action taken in this international field by the international force may indeed finally lead to some kind of easing of tension and of an agreement on the very difficult problem which we all know about.
But the difficulty about the United Nations force in the Congo is one which my noble friend Lord Hastings mentioned yesterday—namely, that whereas the U.N.E.F. force went into an area where the problem was a defined one, where the frontiers were agreed, and where their purpose was to keep the peace on a given plan, in the Congo the force went to keep out the Communist forces, and there was no settled Government which they could, as it were, support. Much has been said about the Congo. I do not propose to say more than that. But the force has done something, as my noble friend Lord Home said yesterday in that it has kept out any real interference from outside countries; it has helped with the relief of famine; and, at the moment, at any 552 rate, the fighting, such as it is, is sporadic and further fighting may yet be avoided. It has done a job: and not such an easy job as the United Nations forces have done in the Middle East.
In spite of the difficulties of the international situation, and in spite of its shortcomings, I still think that the United Nations is the only real hope and chance of international co-operation on a big scale. In addition to the political cooperation which we try to work out there it has, of course, the humanitarian side, which really works very well—organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Court and those which have been set up as a result of the refugee appeal and the settlement of refugees. Economic co-operation, as we know, has also gained ground in many ways.
So I do not take such a gloomy view of the efforts which the United Nations has made and is making as certain noble Lords did yesterday when they were talking about this particular organisation. Rome was not built in a day, and you cannot, in fifteen years only, make a great international organisation which is going to prevent war, particularly in a period when nationalism is running riot. Nationalism is the real curse of the modern world, and the problems of nationalism will be solved, in my opinion only if we find an international organisation to control the situation; because, in a nuclear age, if we do not co-operate as (I think it was) Lord Home said yesterday, the consequences are too terrible to think about. So, in my opinion, the United Nations is the only organisation that really exists for this job; and. with all its shortcomings, it is one that we must try to support.
Lord Hastings made a very good point when he raised the question of the cooperation of the Commonwealth countries in the United Nations. When I was there, it was the custom to have a weekly meeting of all the Commonwealth countries, both the old Commonwealth and the new Commonwealth as they were called, and we discussed together the votes that were going to be taken, the subjects being discussed, and so on. Those weekly meetings were of great interest and of great importance, but it was obvious that we did not agree on many subjects. Often it was disappointing 553 when, in the lobbies, we hoped to get support for a particular Resolution from the Commonwealth countries and we were not able to.
So, with the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, I would beg the Foreign Secretary and his colleagues, when they meet the Commonwealth Prime Ministers in March, to put this in the forefront of the programme. If only they would all agree on some general lines of policy, then, in the lobbies of the United Nations, the Free World would be tremendously strengthened by the fact that these great countries were all voting together on subjects of vital importance to the freedom-loving world. Of course, we shall disagree about small things—that goes without saying—but it is on the broad principles that we should get the help of the Commonwealth countries it we possibly can. I hope that this will be a subject which will be brought up at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference.
I say that because I think someone said (I do not know whether it was one of the noble Lords opposite) that our writ did not run, that we had not got influence, in the world overseas. I disagree with that. We have a "know-how" about government and about the formation of democracies which no other country has and which money cannot buy. We have passed on our governmental "know-how" for better or for worse. Sometimes it has not been as successful as we should like, but we have passed it on to countries in Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and sometimes to the North American continent. Therefore, we have made a great contribution to the world in what I have called the "know-how" about government. It is something for which we are greatly respected at the United Nations, and I think it is a matter about which we can be, and should continue to be, proud.
The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, made one remark on the subject of voting of which I took a note—about abstaining from voting at the United Nations. When I was there, there were three ways in which you could vote: you could vote "Yes", you could vote "No" or you could abstain—and that was a registered vote. To abstain meant a variety of 554 things. Sometimes it meant that you agreed up to a point, sometimes that you did not agree, and sometimes that you agreed but could not go the whole way. I remember on many occasions having to abstain, not because the United Kingdom was not in favour of a particular vote but because in many of our dependent territories there were certain aspects of their government for which they were entirely responsible. I was told, as a delegate, that I could not vote (let us say) on some aspect of human rights because I could not vote for the dependent territories without the dependent territories knowing that I was going to vote for them. In fact, consultations had to be made before one was allowed to vote. Your Lordships may think that that is being rather over-fussy, but it in fact was so: that we did not take action on behalf of the dependent territories without first of all consulting them. That happened quite a few times. Of course, on other occasions we abstained because it was our actual policy, the policy of the United Kingdom.
As I say, I think that, if we could get the Commonwealth countries to work together, it would enormously strengthen the Free World in the lobbies of the United Nations —and I believe we can. I believe that, with patience and understanding, we can get their co-operation and their help. Lord Hailsham said to-day that he had no nostalgia for the past, and with that I agree. I, too, have no nostalgia for the past. It seems to me that the world we live in is an extremely exciting one. While it has many dangers, it also has many opportunities. It is an age in which science and discovery is opening up new fields, undreamed of, certainly, in my early lifetime and in those of many noble Lords. I think it is an exciting world and an interesting world; and I believe the challenge which has been put out to us by the international situation is not a challenge of which we need be afraid at any point, because we can make just as great a contribution to the future as we have in the past. With the opportunities which will arise from the new look in the United States, and from the changes that have come about in the world, if we can stick together and can get the Commonwealth countries to work with us, I believe we can make a great contribution, and one of which we can be exceedingly proud.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, in a recent speech in this House a noble Lord opened his remarks with the words, "What are we coming to?". I should like to begin by asking: Where are we going to? It seems to me that this House, which contains so many great experts in all spheres of our national life, is very well adapted for a discussion on ends. Indeed, yesterday the Foreign Secretary, in what I personally thought was a great and, indeed, moving speech, outlined the basic philosophy which might, he thought, enable this ex-imperial nation to live together in a new age with the Commonwealth, Europe, the United States and our Allies. To-day, we have had from the noble Viscount the Leader of the House another stirring and eloquent speech setting out the principles which, as be saw it, should unite the Free World in its struggle against Communism, and the role of our own country in promoting them. I need hardly say that I subscribe entirely to what was said in both those speeches; but to-night my Lords, greatly daring, I should like, with your Lordships' permission, to explore in rather greater detail what is likely to be the actual future of our country, depending, of course, on what policies we apply.
So far as I can see, there are, broadly speaking three possible ways in which this nation might develop in freedom. First, we could continue more or less as we are, with our Commonwealth system held together, to some extent, by Commonwealth Preferences and by the sterling area; with our new economic relationship with a few of the smaller European countries; with our independent deterrent; and (as we always like to think) with our special relationship with America. So far as Europe is concerned, we could also have some association which preserved both our trade and our complete freedom of action—preferably some form of Free Trade Area. This is, of course, the theory of the three interlinked circles, originally postulated (unless I am wrong) by no less a person than Sir Winston Churchill.
Secondly, we could get ever closer to the United States, and eventually, perhaps, end up with some kind of merger on the lines erroneously attributed by certain American journalists a 556 little while ago to the Prime Minister. I believe that this process is usually referred to as "Atlantic Union". Thirdly, we could, with the blessing of America, join some eventual European or Western European Confederation or Association, on an equal footing with France, Germany and Italy, and with full respect for the interests of the smaller European nations. Short, fourthly, of being taken over by the Soviet Union, as suggested in that remarkable, if horrifying, book, When the Kissing had to Stop, I do not see any other conceivable future for these islands. Rightly or wrongly, we are in an historical period in which industrialised States can pay their way only if they are based on, or associated with, some vast internal market.
But thoughts about a merger of all Western countries which are sometimes expressed, and the creation in a positive and institutional sense of some kind of Atlantic Community, though completely in order as an objective—and we could get there sooner than we think —do not, I suggest, represent a policy but only an aspiration, which is a different thing. There is just no chance of Western Europe as a whole joining up with America in the next few years. Indeed, as I see it, only if Europe first unites will there ever be any prospect of the eventual formation of an Atlantic Community. As for thoughts about how the entire Free World may have to unite, well, they are even further away from any kind of reality.
My Lords, so far I have not said anything particularly controversial—at least, I hope not —and there might even be general agreement up to here. Unfortunately, as I think a good many of us instinctively feel, the events of the last few years have made the first, or what I might call the "stay-put", solution very difficult, if not impossible. If we follow a policy based on the assumption that it is, in fact, possible, I feel that we shall at some stage—and perhaps sooner rather than later—have something of a shock. I wish this were not so. I wish that the United Kingdom, with her group of friends and Allies, her great traditions and inherited skills, her still considerable industry and her independent deterrent, could, as it were, 557 form a third, or even a fourth, force in the world to-day. Perhaps she still could theoretically, if the Common Market collapsed. But if that great construction were to fail—and there is little evidence at the moment that it will —the confusion on the Continent would be such that the Soviet Union might well extend its influence to the Channel. Failing that, we must expect the European giant, now mewing his mighty locks across the Channel, to become a great politico-economic force in the world. In ten years' time he may well have formed himself into the "imposing European Confederation" predicted by General de Gaulle.
Not far off, the United States in population—much greater, of course, if we and certain other European States ever come in—the European Economic Community will be well placed even to overtake the United States in the production of goods and services. At the very least we must assume that that is likely. But it is enough for this eventuality to be generally considered likely for it to have a "snowball" effect. Capital will tend to be invested in the Community rather than elsewhere; success will breed success; the standard of living and the gross national product of the Six may well exceed even the predictions of the experts.
But, my Lords, if so, what then? How can our comparatively small-based industry modernise itself successfully and compete with the other three giants in the markets of the world? For by then the Soviet Union will also be exporting much more than at present, to our detriment. How can we, then, with a shrinking share of world markets, a dwindling system of Commonwealth Preferences, a rather stagnant production, an expensive Welfare State, an even more expensive armoury, and perhaps a rather easy-going population, both maintain our standard of living and accumulate the capital without which it is clearly impossible for us to secure our position as leader of the Commonwealth and a Lady Bountiful for the emergent nations in Africa and elsewhere: How can we do it?
My Lords, it is no good hiding our head in the sand. It is not a question of being defeatist. The answer must be obvious—we cannot. Something will have to go. Some major objective will 558 have to be abandoned. So I approach what I regard as the line of least resistance, and therefore no doubt the most probable solution— namely, the second. The reason why it is the most probable is that, if really nothing can be done to fuse the Six and the Seven, there will probably be no dramatic turn for the worse in our fortunes. We shall still be able for some time to profit by such advantages as E.F.T.A. can offer, even though, our partners' tariffs being for the most part low already, we are not very likely to increase our sales in these markets as much as some people think.
We shall, of course, continue to work the Commonwealth Preference system, though no doubt to a rather rapidly diminishing degree. But what seems inevitable is a slow decline. and an inability to meet all our obligations at home and abroad. If this happens, any efforts that we may still make to get on to the European band-wagon will meet with increasing difficulty. For the Europeans will think, wrongly of course, that they may get even more favourable terms than now; whereas we shall become increasingly touchy and more and more ready to accept some project for Atlantic Union, provided that we preserve the outward signs of our independence and our great traditions. No doubt we should continue to debate the future of the world in this ancient House. No doubt Parliament would be opened with its customary splendour. But it must be clear that such a solution, whereby a much smaller nation joined up with a much greater nation, would mean that the real centre of power would be across the Atlantic.
It is indeed arguable that such an outcome would be in the interests of the Western world as a whole. But it is not possible to maintain that it would be congenial to the great majority of our own countrymen, irrespective of Party. If we are really frightened of losing some degree of sovereignty, this is, of course, the solution which should most preoccupy us. It is not in the least a question of being anti-American—God forbid!It is very much the reverse. But I myself just do not think that such a Union would be happy. The trouble is that we may well be committed by events to this solution without realising where the road which we have selected leads.
559 But, my Lords, it is not inevitable that we should take this course. The third, or European solution, is still there, provided that we have the will to seize it. I am not an economic or commercial expert, but I have made a fairly profound study of existing statistics, and I think I know a good deal about the real economic difficulties regarding our possible association with the European Economic Community on any basis other than that of a Free Trade area. But I have never been, and I am still not, persuaded that it is impossible for us to accept a common tariff on economic grounds. Indeed, I believe that this would probably be the best solution economically, subject always to our being able, as I am persuaded we should be able, to negotiate protocols, arranging by some means or other for the continued tax-free import of foodstuffs into this country, for very low duties, if any, on Commonwealth raw materials, for some managed market in agricultural products and for the protection of the interests of such members of E.F.T.A. as do not wish, on political grounds, to join the Community.
But, in my view, this is not the main point. The point is whether we have abandoned all ideas of a Free Trade area solution—and I must say that I thought, from the Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech of July 25 last in another place, that we had—and whether, therefore, we are prepared to accept the political implications of a common tariff. Now, what exactly are the political implications of a common tariff? It is no good blinking the fact that in the past a Zollverein has invariably led to some kind of political union, association, federation, confederation or what you will. For instance, if we accepted the principle of a common tariff, and if negotiations to that effect were successful, there is no doubt that we should not be able eventually to change that tariff, except by common consent. And if we could not do this, it would mean that some body other than ourselves, of which, however, we should form an important part, would have to take the necessary decisions. In other words, in ten years' time, or sooner, we should form only a part of some greater whole —an active part, it is to be hoped, and, above ell (and this is the advantage of 560 the third solution), an equal partner among equals, not just a small part of a large mass; but nevertheless, as I have said, only a part of a whole.
This is a grave decision for any nation to take, though clearly no graver than the alternative plan for union with America. It would certainly be more difficult for us, with our Commonwealth connections, to take it than for any other European nation. Whether we could ever take it is for the Government, not for me, to say. But my essential point is that, unless we do take it, there is just no prospect of arriving at some agreement between the Six and the Seven. It is not just a question of the French, as is sometimes alleged. It is a general impression among thinking Europeans that we still want to have it both ways: in other words, to form part of Europe and to be totally independent. Is this so or is it not so? That is the query that hangs over Europe, I assure your Lordships, at the present time.
My Lords, I have occupied your attention too long already, but I should like to deal with two specific questions before I sit down. Those who do not want us to go for the third, or European, solution of our difficulties are accustomed to produce two major arguments. It is said, in the first place that if we plump for Europe, we shall be abandoning the Commonwealth and our whole world position based on the fact that the Queen is Head of that unique and, indeed, indispensable community. I suggest that the contrary is true. It is only by going into Europe wholeheartedly that we shall have a good chance of associating the Commonwealth with a great new, liberal, forward-looking entity, capable of producing the capital—that is the point—required to keep the emergent nations within the framework of the democratic West. If we do not succeed in achieving this, all the probabilities are that the countries of the Commonwealth will make their own arrangements with the new Europe and with America and that our own position as leader of it will gradually be whittled away.
The other argument put forward by those who think that we should pursue the line of splendid isolation is invariably that, "The French don't want us in or at any rate not for many years." And it is generally assumed that by "the French" they mean General de Gaulle. 561 It is not for me to set myself up as an interpreter of the thoughts of that great man. As your Lordships know, he tends to keep them very much to himself; and if he has explained them to any foreigner, it was doubtless to the Prime Minister last week-end at Rambouillet. But I suspect that he just does not believe that the United Kingdom will have what he would probably regard as a change of hear before the facts of life have been unmistakably demonstrated to her by the obvious trend of events over a long period of time.
But if, by any chance, it became clear that L'Angleterre regretted the is understandings of the past few years: that she was ready now to accept both a common tariff and the political implications of the Treaty of Rome and was prepared to negotiate on that basis, then I believe that he would not prevent negotiations from being set on foot. And how, indeed could he? He is far too great a statesman to imagine that anything but ill could result for Europe, and indeed for France, if Britain eventually went sour and became either a weak associate of America or a satellite of the Soviet Union. He must realise that there is no hope for success in Africa if Europe is permanently divided. Nobody knows better than he the need for maintaining a solid front against the various manæuvres of international Communism.
In any case, even if the Six, for one reason or another, refused to negotiate —and I can hardly imagine that they would do so—we should know that we were not, in fact, welcome to them on any conceivably acceptable terms and could contemplate other solutions. I repeat that the declaration which I advocate is something which should be made, irrespective of the actual tactical situation. When, and if, negotiations are Started, then, of course, there will have to be bargaining. It would be silly to say in advance what particular things we might be prepared to give away. So it would be for the Six. But I am pretty sure that, once started, negotiations would not fail.
My Lords, this really is not the time for us to retire into our shell, nursing wounded feelings and muttering, "The French don't want us—we'll show them!" What is wanted is a new imaginative effort on our part, the ex- 562 pression of a conscious wish to abandon a road paved with good intentions and lost opportunities, the announced purpose to start again. Nobody abroad denies the fact—at least, I have never met anyone in France who denies it—that Great Britain is in a special position and cannot simply take her pen, just like that, and sign the Treaty of Rome, even if she wanted to. The association of our country with it, and indeed of such members of E.F.T.A. as may want 'to come along too (I think some of them would), is obviously something which will have to be negotiated, if it is ever to come about.
What I would suggest, in conclusion, and with great respect, both to those in power here and to all our many friends in France, is that in this matter of European integration time is working not for us but against us. There may well be some misguided people across the Channel who may say, "Oh, England will have to come in on our terms in the long run, so the longer we wait, the better terms we shall get" There are certainly many here who say, as they have been saying since 1955, "Why take such hideous decisions now? We are doing very well for the time being. Who knows: the whole Common Market may well crack up". Both these lines of reasoning may be disastrous. Even if the general prospects of world economy were very good, they would be dangerous, since with every day that passes the breach in Europe, owing to the diversion of capital, the reorganisation of industry, and so on, gets not more easy, but more difficult, to heal. Moreover, the economic prospects of the world are not good. Already short-time working hours are being imposed in the Midlands and in Wales. Already, in Belgium, the loss of the Congo is producing a first-class crisis. Other noble Lords may well be able to think of other disquieting symptoms.
The moral of all this is, I think, obvious. The only way in which the necessary capital for development can be accumulated, the exports of the emergent countries expanded. international trade and standards of living, particularly in the under-developed countries, stimulated, is by the establishment in Western Europe of a great new and dynamic economic association. The only way in 563 which this can be established is to get negotiations started up soon. The only way to get negotiations started up soon is if the United Kingdom effectively changes the line which she has previously adopted and agrees to negotiate on the basis of the acceptance of a common tariff and of the political obligations of the Treaty of Rome. Of course everybody, including ourselves, will have to make concessions during the negotiations. But the essential thing, I repeat, is to get them started. Let us, my Lords, be clear about the first thing that should be done, and do it quickly.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, as I listened to the speech of the noble Lord who has just resumed his seat and to his clear, cold and realistic analysis of the choices which are open to us, to an argument which was certainly compulsive and which seemed to me to be altogether conclusive, my mind went back fifteen to twenty years to days when he and I worked together in our respective spheres, he as head of the Reconstruction Department of the Foreign Office and I as Minister of State, to build, as we thought, the foundations of a world that was going to be more hopeful than the one we knew. Well, the years have passed and down the stream of time have gone many hopes of my own, and, I daresay—though I do not want to implicate the noble Lord—hopes of his, too.
§ LORD COLERAINE
At that time, I thought, and I daresay he thought, that in the Charter of the United Nations there had been devised an instrument for international co-operation and for forming a world society which was free of the defects of the Covenant of the League, which had added merits of realism and was wider in its scope than the League of Nations. Looking back. I think we were wrong. The United Nations Charter has all the defects of the Covenant of the League, and it has other inadequacies that the League did not have. In particular, I think it is probably fair to say that the League of Nations had a command on the hearts of men which the United Nations has never had. At best, so far as the United Nations is concerned, I think we have 564 all come to regard it as a broken reed which is still better than nothing to lean upon in the world of peril in which we live to-day.
I wish that I could share the balanced optimism which was expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, who, I must admit, has far greater experience of the working of the United Nations than I have; but I do not share it. For my part, I have been driven most reluctantly to the conclusion, not only that the United Nations is a failure as a political organisation (I accept what the noble Lady said about the other activities of the United Nations), but that it is an irredeemable failure and no power on earth or in high heaven can make it effective.
That is a conviction that has been growing upon me over the past few years, and it is much reinforced by the events which have taken place in the Congo. I fully appreciate what the Foreign Secretary said about what the United Nations had done in the Congo. I fully appreciate what my noble friend Lord Hastings said yesterday, when he pointed out that the United Nations had, in fact, prevented a Spanish civil war situation from developing in Africa, and that it had prevented the utter breakdown of Congolese society. All that is true. But I wonder how long that will last. It seems to me that the Congo tragedy has put a cruel searchlight upon the United Nations and exposed clearly what is its fundamental and incurable weakness. That weakness was pointed out by my noble friend Lord Winterton yesterday and again by my noble friend Lord Salisbury to-day. It consists in the fact that, politically speaking, there is no United Nations; there is only a dis-United Nations. There are two factions, fairly equally balanced, one of which is desperately anxious to preserve law and order and the other coldly deter-mind to exploit anarchy. I do not believe that such an organisation can conceivably contribute to peace.
I know that it is fashionable in some quarters to blame the Secretary-General, but that is both unreasonable and unfair. Mr. Hammarskjoeld is acting under instructions which it is quite literally impossible to carry out. No man can serve two masters: and that is what is not only expected but demanded of the 565 Secretary-General of the United Nations. He has to hold an impartial balance between the forces of order and the forces of anarchy. That just cannot be done. If you attempt to be neutral between order and anarchy, you cannot succeed: in fact, you favour and support anarchy.
I was greatly impressed, if he will allow me to say so, by what my noble friend Lord Birdwood said yesterday; by the deep thought that he had given to this problem and by his closely reasoned argument. But I could not accept his conclusion: that the solution would be to give to the United Nations an extensive and a genuine mandate over the Congo. I cannot see how that could conceivably work. Such a mandate would be a double-barrelled, double-edged, double-speaking document. On the one hand the mandate would be to re-establish order. On the other hand it would be to exploit every possibility of disorder and anarchy. In fact, it would be exactly like the directive which the United Nations gave to the commanding officer which the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, quoted with some derision last night. It seems to me that the same argument must apply to the proposal of the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, that Her Majesty's Government should now go straight for a world authority. The noble Lord said that perhaps that would he criticised as being idealistic, unrealistic, and so on. I do not think so. I think if it were possible it would be the most realistic solution. But, in existing conditions, I cannot see how a world authority such as he suggests would have any more strength and how it would avoid the weaknesses of the United Nations at the present time.
I do not expect that all your Lordships would endorse my arguments, but I can hardly imagine that there is any one of your Lordships who does not feel bitterly disappointed with the United Nations—with the result that we all tend to feel we must hang on to it; we must try to make it work, because there is nothing else, and if that goes then, poor and inadequate as it is, everything else will have gone. I believe that to be a policy of despair and, indeed, a policy of defeat. I think it is wrong, primarily for this reason. So long as we pretend—because I think it can only be a pretence —that the United Nations can be the basis 566 of Western policy, for just so long shall we continue to avoid facing up to the harsh realities of the problem with which my noble friend Lord Gladwyn faced us in his speech a few minutes ago—realities with which my noble friend Lord Salisbury, too, dealt with this afternoon, and which he has dealt with on other occasions.
It seems to me to be impossible to doubt that, over the past few years, the Communists have been immensely successful, and the Western Powers, even allowing for the wars that did not take place and the crises that did not arise, have been considerably discomfited, if not defeated. The tide of Communist penetration has been seeping wider and wider over the world, from Europe to the Middle East, from the Middle East to Africa, from Africa to Latin America, all over the Pacific Coast of Asia; and the standards of Western civilisation have as continuously been eroded. I believe that that is due pre-eminently to one cause. Whatever differences there may be between Russia and China—and I think it would be as unwise to count upon that to-day as it was to count upon the differences between Hitler and his generals, which were real, too, 20 years ago—there is, in spite of those differences and overriding them, a Communist policy which is integral, consistent, intelligible and successful.
Now there is no such thing as a Western policy, unless we assume that a disinterested preference for the comfort and security of peace to the hazard and danger of war constitutes a policy. There is only a fragmentation of separate, often conflicting, and sometimes, as we have known in recent years, colliding policies. That is the chink in the Western armour. That is the gap in our defences, and it is a gap which must be repaired and, as my noble friend Lord Gladwyn indicated, repaired very quickly if we are to survive. I would say that this is something we all recognise but still treat as a side issue—an important side issue but an awkward one—that perhaps we hope we can continue to dodge.
The core of our problem to-day, the core of the problem of our national security and well-being, and the core of the problem of the organisation of an international society, is not what we can 567 do at the United Nations. It is what can we do about the Six and the Seven. It is what can we do about Europe. Those are the things about which we must make up our minds. And time is not on our side; it is against us. The longer I live and the more I ponder on these matters, the more convinced I am that the real problems in politics are moral problems, and I do not think I am alone in thinking that. I gathered from his maiden speech ten days or so ago of my noble friend Lord Gladwyn, when he spoke about coming back to England and finding a lack of purpose and a lack of direction, that that was what he meant. I take it that that, too, is what President Kennedy meant.
My noble friend Lord Salisbury referred to President Kennedy's message on the State of the Union which he delivered to the United States Congress last week. There is one brief passage in it which I should like to read and which impressed me very much. It is where President Kennedy said:It is one of the ironies of our time that the techniques of a harsh and repressive system should be able to instil discipline and ardour in its servants—while the blessings of liberty have too often stood for privilege. materialism and a life of ease.What the President means, I think, is that, though their ends are evil, Communist Governments and Communist peoples are animated by a profund moral conviction in the sense that Western Governments and Western peoples are not. It seems to me that Western policies are trimmed far too much, not to advancing the interests of the West, not even to advancing the interests of the world as a whole; they are trimmed to catching the votes at the United Nations of what are called the uncommitted Governments —that is to say, Governments whose leaders, men of great ability, great capacity, great integrity, are still without the political experience that we have, and still, from the story of their lives, violently nationalistic. You get the curious paradox of trying to prop up a failing international organisation on the good will of those who are really living in the age of 19th century nationalism.
I think, for my own part, that that is a debasement of the currency of tradition and experience. The noble Lord, Lord Rea, yesterday said that he de- 568 tected a trace of self-righteousness in the Western people which he was sorry to see. If we are self-righteous, I certainly would agree with the noble Lord. But there is one thing I do not think he will detect in the Western peoples; that is a note of self-confidence; and that, I think, is what is missing—self-confidence and an ability to live as the Communists live, peoples and Governments alike, for ends beyond their own immediate interests.
My Lords, I have had an advantage, if I may say so modestly, which not all of your Lordships have had—though some of you, including the Foreign Secretary, have had it—and that is that I was brought up in Scotland. When I was a child in Scotland I was instructed in the Shorter Catechism. I remember the first question: "What is the chief end of man?" The answer: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever." Of course, I realise that that is old-fashioned stuff and we have moved a long way from it—though I wish I could be sure in which direction we have moved. But certainly no modern child would be instructed to give that answer. If the modern child was asked, "What is the chief end of man?" I have no doubt that he would reply, coached by his parents and with their full approval, "The chief end of man is to double his standard of living in twenty-five years." My Lords, I think more and more of us are beginning to wonder whether that is really the right answer.
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ BARONESS HORSBRUGH
My Lords, I also was brought up in Scotland and thereby share with the last noble Lord the advantages, although I must confess that I do not think I learned that Catechism or ever before heard the reply the noble Lord has given. I hope, however, had I been asked, I should not have made the other reply.
My Lords, we have just listened to two very remarkable speeches. They have dealt with the United Nations and with affairs in Europe. Now we have also heard the words "harsh reality", and I am at the present moment conscious of a harsh reality. There are only two subjects or organisations about which I can speak with any personal knowledge in foreign affairs. One is the United Nations. I went with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and the noble 569 Earl, Lord Attlee, to San Francisco, when we set up this organisation. And although I do not want to be drawn at this moment into replies, which I should find it difficult to make, to the speech to which we have just listened, I would just say one thing. I have always felt that, though you set up machinery, though you have your rules, your regulations. people do not become different merely because they join the association. We hope that, having been in the association, they may in due course begin to live together and have another outlook. But that has not yet occurred among the new entrants to the United Nations.
The other subject—and it is one on which the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, spoke to us—is the present position in Europe: what we should do in the future; whether the Government are beginning now to get in touch so as to show that we really do want to accede to the Treaty of Rome or join the Common Market. He said that negotiations would be needed; that there would be bargaining, and that there was a great deal to be done. My Lords, I have come to the conclusion that, as those two speeches have been made, I will not make the speech the copious notes of which I have with me. I think it is far more important at this time that the rest of the debate should go on and that we should hear the reply, the winding-up speech, of my noble friend the Foreign Secretary.
I will however console myself with this thought. When I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, I realised that he was dealing with many of the points on which I had intended to ask for information from the Government. I am not for a moment going to say that I should have had the knowledge or the experience to make the speech or give my opinions as Lord Gladwyn has done. But I felt, while he was making that speech, that it would draw from my noble friend who is to wind up the debate some information about the discussions that are taking place. I know that informal discussions are taking place; we all hear of them, and it may be as well that at this moment no progress report should be made. But if my noble friend can assure me that explorations are being made as to the possibilities, and that, by discussion, we are showing people our difficulties and finding out some of the difficulties they 570 are facing, then I think we can continue with a certain amount of hope.
There are only two questions, of which I have already given notice to my noble friend, that I should like to put, and I will put them far more shortly than I should have done had things been otherwise. They concern some Parliamentary connection between the Council of Europe and this new organisation, O.E.C.D. May I quite shortly say that with the old organisation, O.E.E.C., the Council of Europe had come to a quite good arrangement for having Parliamentary criticism and discussion on the work of that Council. A report was given each year to the Council. It was presented by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, who remained during our debate and answered questions and wound up the discussion.
There we had the link, under an agreement made in 1953. We have suggested now, with the O.E.C.D., a further scheme. We have suggested that there might be an ad hoc meeting between the Parliamentarians of the 20 nations who will be members of this new organisation; that we should have, at least once a year, an ad hoc meeting, under the auspices of, but outside, the official time of the Council of Europe, to discuss the report of this new organisation. The group of four, who had preliminary discussions at the Convention, approved of this scheme. We went in a delegation to put it before them, and in their Report, A Remodelled Economic Organisation, they say this:We see great advantage in this proposal and hope it will be pursued by the Council of Europe.We have pursued it. We have gone to the Committee of the 21. I am now told that it is being further considered in what is called, I think, the Interim Commission. I am told that most of the delegations (which I presume means that at any rate one or two are not) are in favour of it. I am told that there is no legal difficulty about having an agreement made between the signing of the Convention that has taken place and ratification. That, I think, comes in Article 2 of the Convention.
The two questions I want to ask my noble friend are these. First, will Her Majesty's Government press in these 571 Committees so that we have this Parliamentary action that we have suggested? Perhaps they might also be able to persuade one or two who are not yet in favour. Secondly, are we in the meantime to carry on the arrangement that we have had with O.E.E.C., with a report presented to the Council of Europe and a discussion taking place? I hope that I have not detained your Lordships too long on these rather trifling points, as they may appear after the speeches that we have heard; but I promised those with whom I work in the Council of Europe that I would try to find out exactly what is happening in this matter. Perhaps it has been rather a coming-down to the foothills, or even lower, to the valleys; but in what I have had to say this evening to your Lordships I felt I had to ask these questions. I can only say that the rest of the speech, which would not have reached the standard of those of the two noble Lords who spoke before me, was better than anything I have said.
§ 7.3 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, two subjects seem to me to have dominated the whole of our debate during these two days—the Congo and the Far East. I propose to make just two or three points on those two subjects. In regard to the Congo, many noble Lords have expressed the feeling of disappointment that we must all have, after the extraordinary hopefulness of last August and September, when the United Nations, confronted with the crisis in the Congo, immediately organised, at extraordinarily short notice, this international force from every quarter of the globe. That force —I believe to the number of approximately 20,000 at its maximum—stationed itself all over the Congo, where it was carrying out its limited function as, in present circumstances, a United Nations force always must have a limited function.
Do not let us be misled by what was said, I think, by the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne—namely, that the United Nations was set up as an embryo World Government. Surely if ever that was the aim, it was abandoned the moment it was admitted that there should be a Veto by any member of the Security Council. World government is still a long way ahead. All the United Nations can do 572 is as much as its individual members are willing to do. Again, let us not be misled by the catch-phrases that one remembers in regard to the League of Nations before the last war—that the League of Nations had "let us down". "It" is the wrong word in talking about the United Nations. Just as the old League of Nations was no stronger than the sum of its component members, so the United Nations can act only with the will of its members.
We have seen this sad descent in the Congo, from the high hopes of last year to the uncertainties and recriminations of to-day. Still more sadly have I seen what has happened in the Congo. Many years ago, in the twenties, I had a first-hand glance at the Congo. My most vivid recollection is that on coming into the Congo from the British territories it seemed to me that the Belgians were more progressive and enlightened than some of the neighbouring British territories. There were more opportunities open to Africans; they had more social services; they were beginning faithfully to model their administrative services on the British Colonial Service. They provided education and health facilities, industry and the rest. What has happened since then? I am afraid there is no denying that in all those years the Belgians stood still in their ideas while the rest of the world moved on. Then, when they saw events overtaking them, I think it is not unfair to say, they panicked and carried out their handing over and their evacuation with great speed.
Some things have been said this evening which are in conflict with all the evidence in the Press that hitherto has come from the Congo. The Press of all shades and all degrees has been largely unanimous in attributing the chaos that ensued in the Congo to the rapid withdrawal of the Belgian administrators, doctors and so on. I do not know whether the Government have any different evidence from that available to the Press and to the Press correspondents. Some of the stories about the Belgian evacuation were really ugly—they gave the impression that there was something like spite in the withdrawal of facilities. There were even stories of the destruction of records and facilities which made it much more difficult for the Congolese to take over. So I do not think that the 573 Belgians can be absolved from a large part of the responsibility for what has happened. Nevertheless, my Lords, we have to face conditions as they are.
I would make one comment on what the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, said just now. He enumerated what was necessary for a Government in the Congo. He said that any Government would be welcomed if it ensured law and order and got the country economically on its feet again. But surely the first essential of a Government in the Congo is that it must be acceptable to the peoples of the Congo and to their neighbours; and it will be for Her Majesty's Government to use their influence in the United Nations to ensure that some Government is set up in that country.
We all welcomed the categorical statement of the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary yesterday, that Her Majesty's Government feel that Communist China should be seated in the United Nations, and I think it is remarkable that on this matter there has been, I believe, complete unanimity among speakers in these two days of debate. Most remarkable of all was the conversion of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, to the view that the People's Republic must take China's seat in the United Nations. I hope that the unanimity in this House —and I feel sure that there is virtual unanimity in the country, as well—will not be lost on the new United States Administration, and that, even if they do not feel able themselves to vote in the United Nations for the admission of China, they will at least not oppose her admission
I should like to give just one word of warning to Her Majesty's Government and I think to all of us. We must beware of assuming too readily that the People's Republic of China is a suppliant for the favours of the United Nations and is sitting on the doorstep waiting to be admitted. It is quite possible, I think that it will not be nearly so simple as that. China is a proud nation. The people are flushed with ten years of achievement since the revolution. As we all know, there have been certain setbacks, disastrous harvests and so on: but in general, I think, their achievements have been very great. They represent about one-quarter of the human race they occupy a large part of the globe. I think it would be not 574 unnatural, not unexpected, if they made certain political conditions for their entry. So, short of the admission of China to the Security Council, what else is there we can do? I suggest that there is a field which is often talked about; that is, the Specialised Agencies of the United Nations.
Your Lordships may remember that two or three years ago the late Lord Stansgate brought up in this House the question of China's absence from the World Health Organisation. The subject was the Asian influenza epidemic, and he produced evidence that owing to the absence of China from the W.H.O. we in the West were handicapped in tracing and identifying the Asian influenza which had originated in China. All that field of the Specialised Agencies of the United Nations seems to me to be one where, regardless of China's seat in the Security Council, the People's Government should be invited to take part in the work of the United Nations. There is the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation, U.N.E.S.C.O. and others, too. It is surprising, I think, that China is not yet a member of any of those organisations. There are precedents. g believe, for, example, that both Germany and Spain have taken part in the work of the Specialised Agencies before being admitted to the United Nations; and. I hope the stories that it was the direct influence of the United States, thrown against the admission of China to the Security Council, that kept her out of all those organisations are not true. I offer that suggestion to Her Majesty's Government as a field where they might do something of immediate use.
Lastly, there is the question of Laos and I should first like to welcome the words of the noble Earl, Lord Home, yesterday, though I regret to say that they were not reported, so far as I know, in the Press this morning—certainly not in The Times, the Guardian or the Daily Telegraph. That was the phrase in which the noble Earl said [OFFICIAL REPORT. Vol. 228 (No. 36), col. 437]:I can certainly speak for ourselves, the United States and the S.E.A.T.O. Alliance when I declare that we seek there"—that is, in Laos,no forward base for the Alliance as an offensive base against the Communist world.575 That is a most categorical assurance it is surely just what is wanted, and just what should receive the widest publicity, because it is precisely the absence of any such declaration as that that has caused the suspicion which has been, in turn, the cause of the instability in that country. Although the noble Earl said there was no point in raking up the past (or words to that effect) I think that what has happened in Laos since the 1954 Geneva Agreement is a classic case of wrong tactics by the West in dealing with a South-East Asian country.
Your Lordships will remember that the Geneva Agreement was a highly successful diplomatic achievement, and it was successful, I suggest, because it faced facts in regard to Laos. It recognised that Laos was a country whose people were divided in their allegiance, beliefs and ideologies. Two provinces were definitely Communist, part of the armed forces were Communist (the Pathet Lao), and a number of members of the ruling families, relations of the Prime Minister and the King, were also Communists. That fact was recognised in the Agreement, which led, three years later, to what was called the Vientiane Agreement under which the two Communist Provinces were integrated. Certain Communist statesmen were admitted to the Cabinet. The Pathet Lao troops were integrated with the loyal Army and the policy of the country was to be neutral; and elections were to be held shortly. That was in 1957.
In May, 1958, elections took place which showed widespread gains for the Communists, for the Party; and this provoked, within three months, a Right Wing Army coup which displaced the neutralist Government and replaced it by a Right Wing Government. That Government repudiated the Geneva Agreement, refused to have the International Control Commission, and virtually tore up the Vientiane Agreement of the year before. In fact, it started an oppression to try to suppress all the Communist elements in the country, which had been guaranteed existence and freedom by the Agreements. Naturally, fighting ensued, and continued until August last year, when another Left Wing Army coup replaced the Right Wing Government by Prince Souvanna Phouma, who was in favour of the 576 neutral policy. That Government announced that it would be entirely neutral, would accept help impartially from the Communists and from the West, and intended to live at peace with its neighbours. Within a few months of that, Right Wing rebellion broke out, assisted certainly from across the Thai border, Thailand; and there is no doubt that some American help was forthcoming, too. That Right Wing rebellion succeeded in turning out Souvanna Phouma's Government, seized the capital, set up its Parliament, got the King's agreement and is now proceeding to try to reconquer the rest of the country. And fighting is still going on.
My Lords, that sort of see-saw of power is due, in my view, to the distrust by the Left Wing elements in South-East Asia of the intentions of the United States. Those suspicions were not allayed by the financial aid, the dollar aid, which poured into the country. Aid was given in the six years from the making of the Geneva Agreements up to last year. One figure quoted in a Canadian newspaper puts the amount at 225 million dollars. In a country with only a million or two inhabitants that is a very high figure. Moreover, of that figure, only 28 million dollars was spent on products for improving living conditions and public health. All the rest went to equipment and to maintain the army and police. In those conditions, the result, naturally, was inflation, hardship for the inhabitants and resentment. The cost of living doubled within four years. Surely there can be no clearer proof than that of the futility of military aid alone, unaccompanied by any serious effort at national development, if we want to win friends in Asia or elsewhere.
The facts I have given your Lordships are, I think, pretty well established, and I would invite the noble Earl to put those facts alongside some of his statements about the Communist Government. When, he asks, "Is Mr. Khrushchev going to cease using the people of Laos, Cuba and the Congo as pawns in the cold war?", I would ask: "Are we quite sure that there is no beam in our own eye?".
§ 7.25 p.m.
§ LORD GRANTCHESTER
My Lords, after two days of most interesting speeches there is, as the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, mentioned, little more that need be said. With the noble Lord, Lord 577 Coleraine, I mourn the idealism associated with the League of Nations which was not passed on to the United Nations Organisation. I should like to approach the problem posed by the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, from a rather different angle in the few minutes that I will try not to exceed.
It is sometimes said and thought that, with good will, any problem can be solved. But good will in itself is not sufficient. It is but the good companion of policy. It is not a policy, and it is not a substitute for a policy. No one could accuse Her Majesty's Government of failing to show good will. Every Minister has been more or less permanently on tour offering good will. We have talked of good will and a Free Trade Area, good will and a European rocket, good will and a multiracial society, good will and aid for undeveloped territories, and good will and a United Nations mission of pacification when you are in trouble. Yet, with some notable exceptions, we see less and less self-discipline around us, less initiative and less influence than we should be exercising in the world. Opportunities which a few months ago, as Lord Gladwyn said, stood out for us to seize may be allowed to slip out of our reach.
I should like, my Lords, to express my sincere admiration for the firmness and determination shown by the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary yesterday: determination that lies, misrepresentations and misconceptions must be answered from whatever quarter they come. It is unfortunate that much of the denigration of our achievements overseas came first from misunderstanding Americans, and we still hear too many thoughtless comments from Americans. So I hope that the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary will speak with the same firmness that he showed yesterday when he goes to the United States in the spring, on a mission upon which we all wish him well. Certainly, he does not lack the necessary courage, nor the ability to speak for us. I hope that what he says will be extensively reported in that country. The co-operation which he offered in the Alliance must depend on a true understanding and appreciation of each other's motives and qualities. It also implies suitable machinery for political consultation. Perhaps when O.E.C.D., the new Treaty, goes before Congress 578 this aspect of co-operation, of the political co-operation needed, will be discussed in Congress.
Perhaps, too, we can be a little more frank with ourselves and ask what brought the world almost crashing about us. Was it not quarrelling in Europe? What has diminished the prestige of the white man in the world? Differences, surely, between white men in Europe. Was not Europe the inspirer of hope, and was not Europe the cultivator of intellect? And yet, instead of using its talents to give more, Europeans misused them almost to destroy themselves. Then, as we have been reminded, almost miraculously came a second chance to Europe, and above all, to this country—a chance to play a special role; for sterling had emerged again as a reliable international currency. We were in a position to welcome and invite European cooperation in what should be a common venture backed by common resources. As the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary said, we can see the vision and the possibilities, but if they are not taken they may pass.
My Lords, I suggest that the taking of some clear decisions is urgently necessary. The first is to make it abundantly clear that we feel it necessary to reassert European influence in the councils of the world. It is riot believed, as at least one noble Lord has said, on the mainland of Europe that we really mean this. As I said, European influence and prestige were almost destroyed by inter-European quarrels. If that influence and prestige are to be restored, these quarrels must stop. If we cannot get rid of this curse, we shall have to confess that the future for Europe is hopeless. In making it clear that we wish to re-assert European influence, we make no reflection on any of the great civilisations of the East; but Europe's gift to the world has been organisation, order and the ability to develop and to assist development—and not solely in the material field. As a Frenchman said last week, "The awakening countries need hope more than Cadillacs
The second decision which I suggest has to be taken is to clear the air, both in the Commonwealth and with our neighbours in Europe. We must, I believe, give a general assurance that, under fair conditions, we will safeguard 579 the present level of imports to this country from the Commonwealth. So far as the Commonwealth is concerned, we can do no less. So far as Europe is concerned, we must show that we are free to take our place alongside other European States without seeking any special advantage or privilege which might undermine the idea of a European Common Market, which is designed for expansion rather than for the diversion of trade, as it must be to comply with the rules of G.A.T.T.
The third decision which I think is necessary is to make it clear that we do not ask the signatory Powers of the Treaty of Rome to halt or delay their unification or fusion programme: that we are willing to treat the Six as one. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have recently been in Paris. The Six are very touchy on this question of their political future, and many feel that our accession to the Six would frustrate their plan for political union. We should like to hear a little from the noble Earl, if he can say something on how the discussions went in Paris—at least, in general terms. For instance, was there discussion of the resolution, to which I know the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, intended to refer, passed at the recent Sessions of the Council of Europe and W.E.U.? Was the point which I am making about non-interference with the political development of the Six made clear?
The fourth decision is to make it clear that when we speak of Europe we mean, at any rate in the longer term, the whole of Europe as an objective. Could the noble Earl tell us, for instance, how the negotiations between Finland and the Seven are going? To secure European influence, we need Eastern Europe as well as Western Europe. Nor must we forget that since the days of Peter the Great, Russia has had a European wing, if I may so call it, and that it will have an influence, for good or for ill, upon Europe's prestige and future. In spite of all the discouraging signs and the threats, to which reference has been made, of the present leaders of Russia we must be true to our vision of a greater Europe. While maintaining our guard, that is part of our strength. In trying to restore the prestige of Europe I think 580 we might take a look at the Powers who came together at the Congress of Vienna. No such valiant attempt has ever been made since. In spite of all its faults, the architects of this Congress achieved something that made Europe an influence in the world for a hundred years. Is a European Congress on the same scale a possibility of which we dare never speak? In my view, my Lords, such an opportunity was lost by lack of vision in the thirties. Could it never recur?
There is a fifth decision which I hope it will never be necessary to take, and which I do not think it will be necessary to take if we take the other four decisions to which I have referred. Whether or not we brought upon ourselves by indecision a situation in which we are excluded from the Treaty of Rome is a matter for the record when it comes to be written, but we are sincere in saying that we wish to go forward in step with the Rome Treaty Powers to build a greater Europe. I believe, however, that we have to make it clear that, as Europeans, we are not satisfied with the present set-up. The Six, whether as six or one, are a minority of the peoples of Europe, and have not all wisdom or any record in government under a federal system as provided by 'the Rome Treaty. If all the steps we can reasonably take to secure their co-operation in building a wider Europe fail, we should, I think, give notice that we will pursue this task in co-operation with all who will work with us.
We all admire the noble Earl's ability to speak with firmness and the vision he is seeking to put before our people, but to make the vision effective it is necessary for Her Majesty's Government to take some clear-cut decisions. Her Majesty's Government give the impression, I hope mistakenly, that Ministers have got bogged down in statistics. So, instead of decisions, on some of these matters, particularly matters affecting Europe, the noble Earl had to content himself with speaking in very general terms, such as of a desire for closer association with Europe." With respect, I suggest that we cannot do this in practice without taking major decisions of policy, as the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, reminded us. It is for the necessary decisions to be taken, so far as Europe is concerned, that I would press to-day.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I rise at the end of the debate and in circumstances which are certainly not encouraging to the making of a long speech. In those circumstances, I think I shall have to deny myself some of the things I would have had to say otherwise. I should like to thank, on behalf of my Party who put this Motion on the Paper, all those who have taken part in the discussion. I think we have had a very interesting debate. We have had, at times, perhaps a higher moral tone than we sometimes achieve in some of our other debates, and I am grateful for that. I am greatly indebted to the Foreign Secretary for the clear statement of where he at the present time stands on a number of those perplexing problems which face us in the world to-day.
We have had a good many references to the new President of the United States, but there was one short phrase of his towards the beginning of his speech on the State of the Nation which I think applies to us all. He said:I speak to-day in an hour of national peril and of national opportunity. Before my term is ended"—and, after all, that is only four years—we shall have to test anew whether a nation organised arid governed such as ours can endure. The outcome is by no means certain.Now, my Lords, that is really the position which faces us in this country as much as it faces the United States, except, perhaps, for one or two minor differences with them in their rather hard-and-fast Constitution. But I do not depart at all from the view I had—and the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, will remember it—when on June 15, 1955, 5½ years ago, I asked the House to consider with me that we were going into the most dangerous period in the whole of our national history—and this seems to me to be becoming a much more widespread view now than it was at that time.
We have been through a state at home of letting everybody in the nation feel that we have "never had it so good". I have been very much impressed by some of the appeals to moral standards and the proper outlook upon these matters at the present time, and I cannot help having in my mind a passage of 582 Scripture which I like very much indeed and which is well worth reading by a statesman from the point of view of what history tells us with regard to human nature in such circumstances. It is in the 22nd Chapter of Isaiah, and it gives the Prophet's account of what one can also read about in Chronicles, of the time when the Assyrians assembled outside the City of Jerusalem. If I might use my own interpretation of the language of the 22nd Chapter, what the Prophet said after tackling them on their wickedness, was:What did they do? They called a council of the city and they took a census of the houses in the city, obviously to decide how many they could depopulate and then knock down, because they had neglected theft defences and had to repair their defence walls. Then, because the city was surrounded by Assyrians who were sitting on the outside of the water springs, they had to use their reserve water to repair the lower ditch of defence. Then said Isaiah, 'Instead of that calling you to boldness and repentance, what do I find? Every night there is a feasting and dancing, a slaying of cattle and sheep. Eat, drink and be merry, because to-morrow we die.'My Lords, that is a hit of Biblical history that expresses something of the feeling that is in many people's minds when we come to deal with this exceedingly dangerous period in world history in which our own nation and our Commonwealth is equally concerned. It is in that spirit that, very largely, we have to approach it.
I am much obliged for the information the Foreign Secretary gave us from time to time on different matters. I should like to ask him a question about Laos. I was very encouraged just about Christmastime when he made the statement which he did—that he was in touch with Mr. Nehru and that he was also writing to Mr. Gromyko. But I am not quite clear now how the position stands. I think most of us in your Lordships' House agreed with the policy then expressed by the Foreign Secretary: that if we could revert to the position where, under the 1954 Agreement, we could send back the International Commission, we might prevent the deterioration that was then taking place in affairs there. I do not propose to dwell longer on that, but perhaps, in addition to what the Foreign Secretary said yesterday, he could also give us an idea of where the hold-up is in getting that Commission back at the present time. Is it in 583 Moscow? I do not think so. Is it in India? I do not think so. Is it in Washington? Please let us know, if possible.
May I turn for a moment or two to the Congo position? I am not going to add anything to what has been said in general in debate on that matter, because I think almost every point that could possibly be made has been made, either by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, or the noble Earl, Lord Swinton—and I must apologise to the noble Earl; I had to be away in conference while he was speaking—and also by my noble friends Lord Henderson and Lord Silkin. But I am concerned as to what is happening now. I was greatly reassured yesterday when I heard that the Foreign Secretary said that they had made it plain to the Belgians that, whatever had happened at the beginning when it was necessary to do certain things, they were strongly of the opinion, and told them so, that it would be inadvisable to send back troops. I liked the assurance we were given yesterday.
What I want to know now is, what is happening with regard to the efforts of Mr. Tshombe, on behalf of Katanga, in going to various countries, not in order to get that kind of contribution toward law and order which is made through the United Nations but literally to enlist mercenaries—in South Africa and other countries. What is being done about that? Are we making representations in any way to the United Nations on that particular aspect of the matter? I hope very much, too, that we can get to know soon whether any attempt is being made to get other troops to take the place of those troops which have been withdrawn from the United Nations forces, and to maintain what, I quite agree with the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, is a position without which no real progress can be made in the Congo; and that is, to get a restoration of law and order.
I come now to another aspect of the debate which interested me very much indeed. From time to time, starting with my noble friend Lord Henderson and especially in the speech of the Foreign Secretary, we were reminded of the vast importance that economic conditions have achieved in foreign affairs to-day, 584 and how important it is for us to get a proper economic outlook and to be able to "create conditions abroad" (I am quoting from memory the words of the Foreign Secretary) "to enable us to earn our living." And, of course, that is quite fundamental. We have had various comments upon it. I should like to say that during the noble Earl's speech I waited a little anxiously to hear whether we could get an assurance from the Government that the effort to be made in this country is to be made by the whole nation and not merely by the working class or even the technical class, and that the whole resources of the nation are to be organised to make possible conditions abroad which will help us here.
I come to the point, raised earlier in the debate, of what was called "getting closer to Europe". I listened with interest to the learned comment of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, who spoke with all his ambassadorial experience and knowledge. I wonder whether anybody in the Government or among noble Lords taking part in this debate knows exactly where we are going and where we shall find ourselves, whichever decision we may make. The noble Lord seemed to be confident that unless we got into the European Common Market as rapidly as possible we should go from bad to worse, but I hope very much that we shall be careful that, when we go into negotiations we are clear in our minds on what we want to achieve. Every section of the nation has a certain right to the protection of its livelihood.
We have heard the old economic arguments about Free Trade that I used to listen to 50 years ago, when I was secretary of a League of Young Liberals. I have learned quite a lot since then. I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, was having sufficient regard, for example, to the tremendous factor which farming in this country has become in the balance of payments and in our general economy, and how far the system could be changed so that the primary producer does not become the first to suffer. We have to be very careful, because everything is affected by the international market.
I am going to read the noble Lord's speech more carefully to-morrow because I cannot remember it all. I am anxious 585 to know exactly where we want to go before we go into negotiations for a common market. Nor am I persuaded yet that the other parts of the Commonwealth are all agreed on our going in more deeply. My question to the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary must be just this: why are we not getting any information about what is the obstacle to the development of negotiations on the common market? The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, inferred that we cannot put it all on General de Gaulle. This weekend the German Press seemed to be suggesting that the visit of the Prime Minister to General de Gaulle had been a failure so far as this matter was concerned; that the next thing would be conversations with Dr. Adenauer and that he would be approached to see how much progress he could make with General de Gaulle. I know that these are big questions and that it is difficult to interfere with Government negotiations, but if this is as urgent as the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, indicated—and he has been so recently our Ambassador in Paris—I think we might he told a little oftener how things are going, so that we might debate, criticise, suggest and help constructively when we could regarding what would be best in the interests of the nation as a whole.
The only other thing that I need say to-night (I said that I would not be long) is that we shall await—at least, I shall await; I do not speak for my Party in this matter, because I have certain strong views on defence— the appearance of the White Paper on Defence. When the noble Viscount the Leader of the House was speaking on the danger of leaving Germany in a position in which she could be ostracised, I began to think of the various views that are held in this country about disengagement and the steps our Government have taken in reducing our forces in Germany. They have been reduced from 77,000 to 55,000 and I understand that they are going to be reduced still further. I do not know whether the Foreign Secretary can go so far tonight as to say that there is going to be no question of a reduction of our contribution to the N.A.T.O defence of Europe, or whether, at any rate, we are not going to reduce unduly out actual strength there. I think it is important to know.
586 We face a very dangerous situation in the world, but I do not think it behoves us to be downhearted. It is when we have the most difficult situations that usually, as the great essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said, the heart of Britain beats strongest—if only we can make a call to the people. How far are we calling on our people to-day? How much are we trying to get back to right living? Every time our nation has been in crisis before there has been a general return to religious and moral ideas, and I do not know any time in the last 50 years when that has been more necessary than it is at the present time.
The old covenant between Jehovah and Israel was qualified in Deuteronomy, Chapter 30 (I heard this quoted on television by the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery, the other night). It was unconditional to Abraham and Isaac, but on the eve of the people's going into the Promised Land the Covenant became conditional. There are two verses which Moses was told to say to the people on the revised, conditional covenant:…this day…I have set before you life and death"—that is, good and evil—blessing and cursing: therefore choose…".The whole promise of the covenant made with the people of Israel was dependent on the fulfilment ultimately of the conditions. I think we have a stage here where we ought to be thinking seriously about what is our moral approach to the international question. It does not all come on the basis of laying down of arms; it does not all come on the basis of achieving an ideal a long way ahead —of achieving what I want to see achieved, a world authority, with its own forces equipped to support justice. It depends in the end upon whether we choose good or evil.
§ 8.1 p.m.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I very much welcome the appeal which the noble Viscount has just made to all of us to help to tell the people the truth about the existing international situation, and the stress which he has laid upon the absolute importance of the moral fibre of the people at times when we are faced with grave danger. In a humble 587 way I have tried in the last few months to do exactly that, because, while I am in complete sympathy, as I said yesterday, with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and his idea that there might be a breakthrough in the deadlock between the Eastern and the Western worlds, nevertheless, even if that were so, we should not be in for an easy life in the international sphere, because the long-term objectives of the Communists will not change for many a long day.
Many, like myself, have sat through two days of this debate, and I have certainly found it a stimulating experience. I think that debates of this kind from time to time have two purposes: first of all, they give to Her Majesty's Government the opportunity to explain policies on current affairs; and secondly, they give Ministers the opportunity to gather ideas from those—and this is particularly true of your Lordships' House —who have had practical experience in that field, in the Commonwealth and, indeed, all over the world. Neither Whitehall nor Westminster has a monopoly of wisdom, and it is a good thing that there should be these contacts, because from contact and friction (I hope not too much of the latter) momentum results. As many noble Lords have said, in these days we have to take some big decisions if we are to hold our own and move forward in a difficult world.
As I have listened to the debate it has seemed to me that it has really canalised itself in three main streams. The first is the need, to which the noble Viscount has just now referred, for growth in the national wealth so that the United Kingdom can rise to the level of world events in the 20th century, with a strong sub-current, qualified here and there (I shall return to this in a moment), that Europe is one of the places in which we can earn it. Secondly, there is political concern for the future of the relations of Europeans and Africans in the continent of Africa, with one very anxious eye on the chaos which has resulted from the Congo moving too fast, and the other on the frustration which exists in the system of apartheid, where there has been no move at all. Finally, there is the need, to which I referred just now, for a breakthrough, so that East and West can come closer together. While noble Lords were developing that theme, the 588 great anxiety arose of whether or not we could make any progress in the field of disarmament, and also the question to which the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, gave particular point, whether the United Nations can survive as an instrument for peace if it is consistently going to be made a platform for the cold war. With your Lordships' permission, and with an eye on the clock, I am going to allow myself some brief comments on those three interdependent themes.
I found myself in large agreement with the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, last night when he said that our influence, for instance, in the continent of Africa would depend largely on how far we should be able to give economic assistance to countries which were impatient to get on with their basic development, because on their basic development depends the building of their nations and their ability to take part on equal terms with other nations of the world. I found myself caught up, too, in the enthusiasm of my noble friend Lord Dundonald—who made such an admirable and informative maiden speech to us to-day and whetted our appetites for more from him on future occasions—when he appealed for greater activity so far as information services to South America were concerned and so far as our ability could be extended so that more South American students could come to our universities and colleges for training; and with his general plea that here was a rich area to which we should give more attention so far as commerce was concerned. Neither I nor the Government have any lack of will, I can assure your Lordships, to try to assist the under-developed countries to the limit of our resources, and, indeed, to try to expand our capacity at home to help train their students and their young people.
Perhaps I might tell your Lordships what we are doing in order to put this matter in perspective. The aid from the West to-day to the underdeveloped countries roughly speaking is measured like this: some £1,250 million of aid, and private investment worth some £900 million, giving a total of some £2,150 million a year, the United States paying the largest part of this and the United Kingdom and France bearing a great deal of the rest. When we look at our own country's contribution so far as the 589 provision for places for young people to be trained is concerned, I do not know whether the noble Earl, Lord Dundonald, knows it, but we have in this country at the present time nearly 50,000 young men and women training in our colleges and universities. When we look at Soviet aid—because this is where the comparison was made in this two days of debate—they are, of course, new in the field, but we find that the annual total which they have put out in aid is about £70 million, and, if you take the whole Communist bloc together, about £100 million. And yet with £100 million, they get more publicity, perhaps, and make a greater impact than the £2,100 million produced by the Western world.
It makes an impact for two reasons: first that what is new is news, and secondly, that Russia selects her investments in order that they shall make the maximum political impact. We channel our aid largely through the International Bank and the International Development Association, and, of course, the people who know realise that the aid comes from the West. But in appearance it is largely anonymous, whereas every item of Russian aid has a large Red political label attached to it.
Thanks to the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, we are to have before too long a debate on assistance to the underdeveloped countries. I welcome that very much, but I should just put this dilemma in which we always find ourselves to the noble Earl, Lord Dundonald, and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and others who have been interested in this question. Any country which wants to give aid overseas, as we do, can seriously strain its resources if it goes too far and too fast. You cannot very long—this has been said time and again until it is almost trite—go on investing a surplus that you have not earned. If you overstretch the surplus that you earn too far, then confidence is lost in the currency, and you find yourself in a worse position than that from which you started.
It is, I think, clear that, because there is so much to be done, we must make every possible effort to increase our real surplus and increase our earnings. But I think what has come out of this debate, beyond dispute, is that no one country 590 can adequately meet the needs, or hope to meet the needs, of the under-developed countries of the world—not even the strongest. So what we have to do is to mobilise the total wealth of the Western countries for this purpose. One noble Lord made the suggestion that O.E.C.D, would be the appropriate organisation through which to try this exercise, and I very much agree. One other thought which I would leave with your Lordships tonight, and which will no doubt feature prominently when we come to debate aid to under-developed countries, is this. What really matters to these countries is that they should have stable prices for the raw materials upon which their economies rely; and stable prices for the products which they produce is more valuable to them than any amount of aid.
I should like to turn for a moment from that topic to a related economic topic which has played a large part in this debate, and that is the question colloquially known as the Sixes and Sevens. The noble Viscount asked whether I could make a progress report. We have had discussions with the Germans and the Italians, and I think in both discussions we have made some progress. Up to now, we have not had detailed discussions with the French, but we now hope that that will be possible. The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, said that the time is coining when we shall have to take some major decisions. I do not dispute that but, of course, if I understood what he said aright, even his solution to this would mean discussions which must take a comparatively long time between a number of countries. If I understood him aright, he advocated that we should accept the common tariff, but with exceptions for temporate foodstuffs and with special arrangements for tropical foodstuffs. I do not know if I need go further, therefore, to show that even on Lord Gladwyn's showing, this is a very complicated subject with which we have to deal, and we are bound to take time, although I agree that time is not on our side.
For the moment, I want to avoid expressing this problem in terms which imply that this country must make a choice between the Commonwealth, Europe and the United States of America. We are linked to all three, and our ambition is to find a solution which, so far from being damaging to these three buttresses of stability in the Free World, 591 will add to the strength of all. That is a pretty ambitious programme. I do not think it is over-ambitious, and certainly the rewards, in terms of prosperity, stability, security and peace, are very large indeed if we succeed.
May I now come to Africa? A number of very natural concerns have arisen in almost every speech which has dealt with this large subject. The first is that the right and legitimate race to independence should not end in chaos and a return to primitive tribal warfare. That was the plea of my noble friend Lord Salisbury. The second is that ambitions for development in the new countries would not lead to one country after another finding itself strangled by the political strings attached to Communist aid. The third is that Africa should not become a field in which the cold war is waged. And the last is that in those places where European and African both claim to have their homes as of right, political solutions should be found. This should be the guiding rule which would establish a truly multiracial structure in society and in political institutions.
My noble friend Lord Salisbury said that this was a matter of timing. It is also a matter of confidence. I hope he will feel that the agreement which was reached this week in Southern Rhodesia gave some confidence in what has been a difficult problem in Central Africa. I hope that in the same way, although the problem is more difficult still, perhaps, a Northern Rhodesia solution will be found. I hope that 1 shall never be guilty of generalising about Africa. I thought one of the wisest things Lord Dundonald said was that you could not generalise about South America; nor should you generalise about Africa. The West, East and centre are different from each other.
That leads me to say only one more thing about Africa. The noble Lord. Lord Silkin, asked me whether I could say a little more about the Congo and define Her Majesty's Government's attitude. I do not know that I can add very much to what I said yesterday, except that the legal position of President Kasavubu as President is unchallenged and recognised by the United Nations. If President Kasavubu can bring together the provincial leaders and form a broad-based Government. 592 and if they can agree on an interpretation of the loi fondamentale and the constitution, and then present that to Parliament, that would seem to me to be an orderly way to proceed. That, I believe, is what President Kasavubu is trying his best to do.
I spoke only a short time ago of the role of the United Nations, as I understand it, in the Congo. I myself hope that, as a result of the Security Council debates, the United Nations will be able to assist the kind of procedure and programme to which I have just alluded, and that if there can be an agreement by the Congolese on how they wish to run their constitution, and if that can be presented and confirmed by a Parliament of the Congo, then I think, instead of being faced with the proposal that the United Nations should take over the Congo— for which the United Nations was never equipped, because it cannot become a substitute for a colonial Power—we shall be faced with a much more congenial and proper role for the United Nations; that is, to concentrate on helping the Congo with administration and to try to help it once more to become an economic and going concern.
Lastly, I am brought to the question of the break-through which might be attempted in 1961 in the deadlock between East and West. I very much agreed with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that the most practical road to wider disarmament would be to get an agreement about nuclear tests. For one thing, that involves a pilot scheme or a small scheme of inspection, and once that was seen in operation I think the necessary confidence might grow from that to extend it into a wider field.
My noble friend Lord Coleraine raised a much more fundamental question, as to whether we could really proceed with any hope of a break-through if the United Nations were allowed to continue in its present state. I thought he was a little pessimistic, I am bound to say. If I may say so, I do not think that the fault lies in the Charter, of which I believe the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh, were among the authors—at least they were present at the birth. I do not think that one could expect the birth of international co-operation to be achieved without real difficulties.
593 Looking back to the beginning of this century I think it would have been almost impossible for people then to conceive the degree of international cooperation which in fact has been achieved within the United Nations Organisations. I do not think anybody could have contemplated, for instance, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the International Labour Office and the World Health Organisation, which I think have all done extremely good work, from which mankind has benefited. Although there are great difficulties on the political side, I feel that we must try to make this institution work.
Although it is possible, as Lord Coleraine said, if Russia continues to try to freeze the United Nations into blocs, and if she were to succeed, that the whole organisation would become useless to -members who are seeking peace—indeed it might become worse than useless; it might be a positive danger— nevertheless, I think one must ask oneself what is the alternative. The alternative, at the moment, to the breakup of the United Nations would, I think, be two organisations, one of the West and one of the East. I would ask Lord Coleraine to consider this thought. If that happened, and certain nations went one way and certain nations another, would it ever be possible again for anyone, so to speak, 'to cross the floor? Therefore, I would conclude that, desperately difficult though it may be, we should try to bring the Russians back to working the Charter. If that is impossible, then I agree with Lord Coleraine that the time may come—and it may be more quickly than we think—when we shall have to think again- about the whole organisation of the United Nations. But we must. I believe, make a supreme effort to make it work.
The noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, went on to say that perhaps our weakness was that in contrast to the Communists, who knew exactly where they were going, we seemed to have no Western policy. I found that remark a bit too sweeping. But I agree here that where we have been united we have been very successful. The West has, in fact, been united on maintaining the nuclear deterrent and that has been the influence which has kept the peace. Therefore, while I feel that on this point the noble Lord was too sweeping, I would agree that we 594 should go on from one successful piece of co-operation to another if we possibly can; and where we ought to start is in the mobilisation of our economic resources so that we can meet the Communist threat.
It is no satisfaction, for instance, to our country or any other country in the sterling area if the pound is weak at the expense of the dollar, or vice versa; or if one country accumulates a large surplus of resources, thereby causing great embarrassment to the others. Therefore the question of interdependence in economic matters is, as I said yesterday, one of the greatest questions which the Prime Minister will have to discuss when he meets Mr. Kennedy in the United States of America, and, indeed, one of the large questions which must be considered by the leaders of the Western World. As I also said yesterday, I do not believe, looking forward to the future, that if we think in terms of meeting the Communist challenge on the one hand, and seizing the opportunities which the twentieth century offers on the other, anything less than the interdependence of the Free World will do.
I was asked two detailed questions, one by the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, and the other by the noble Baroness, Lady Horsbrugh. Being naturally gallant, I will say, "Yes" to both the questions asked by the noble Lady. She asked: Will Her Majesty's Government press for a speedy acceptance of a scheme whereby O.E.C.D. Parliamentarians will meet once a year under the auspices of, but outside, the Council of Europe Assembly? The answer is Yes. Then she asked: Until this has been done, will the present arrangements continue? And again the answer is, Yes.
The noble Viscount asked whether I could give in a little more detail the present state of play in regard to Laos. The position, my Lords, is this. I found wide agreement among the Governments that I consulted, as co-Chairmen of the Geneva Conference, that the right thing to do was to send back the International Commission, and Mr. Nehru agreed. So I have asked Mr. Gromyko whether he would agree to a plan whereby Mr. Nehru would be asked to send the Chairman of the Commission to Laos. If the Chairman said there was useful work 595 for the Commission to do, he would summon his Polish and Canadian colleagues, and their task would be to arrange a cease-fire and contribute, so far as they could, to the pacification of the country according to the Geneva Agreement. If they found that that was impossible, and that new instructions were needed, then they could come back and say so. I am hoping to receive a reply from Mr. Gromyko. I do not complain that there has been some delay because no doubt he had to consult other Governments. But I should hope that the reply will come very soon, because, as I said yesterday, it is a great responsibility to allow this war to go on a day longer than is necessary.
My Lords, we cannot settle the problems of the world in one debate in your Lordships' House, however distinguished those who contribute and however wide we carry our discussions. Nevertheless, I think we have done something in these two days to give the country a picture of the effort which is required if our country is to play its full part in the world, to seize the opportunities and Ito combat the challenge. I think we have shown ourselves willing, and indeed eager, to open up a new chapter of relations with the Soviet Union. I think, too, that we have revealed enough of the challenge of Communism to convince the people, if they read and hear what we say, that they should not be deluded into believing that things are better than they are, because they are bound to be dangerous and testing for many a year to come. I think we agreed, yesterday and to-day, that if we are to survive we cannot allow the case of the free nations to go by default. Therefore we must proclaim the virtues of our own way of life and let the world see clearly the principles of living for which we stand and that our practice is consistent with our principles.
Above all, my Lords, I believe it is true to say that this debate, although no doubt we want to think out the ways and means of doing this, has shown that the future in which we wish to play our full part, is one of co-operation—I repeat, co-operation—partnership and interdependence. And I repeat, as the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn said, that that is a conception of the three circles—with the 596 Commonwealth, with Europe and with the United States of America if during this year, as I hope, we can take some decisions to help that conception on its way, then perhaps we can hold our own in what the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, has rightly said is one of the most challenging periods of our history, and grasp the opportunities which science and the developments of the twentieth century have put in our way.
§ 8.32 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, after two days of debate covering about ten hours and twenty-two or twenty-three speakers, I do not propose to delay your Lordships for more than a moment or two in asking leave to withdraw my Motion. There are two or three points that I should like to make. The first is to express my gratification that Lord Dundonald made his maiden speech on this Motion. It is always a pleasure to hear a maiden speech, and I would agree with the comments made about it by the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary. I would express the hope, too, that we may hear Lord Dundonald again in the near future.
I think this has been an exceptionally good debate. The level of the speeches has 'been very high—indeed, there have been some outstanding contributions. As Lord Home will remember, there have been occasions when the question has been raised as to whether the timing of a Foreign Affairs debate has been good. I do not think there can be any doubt about the timing of this debate. The number of speakers, the wide range of of issues that have been discussed, the variety of suggestions and comments that have been made, show what interest there is. I had intended to say—the Foreign Secretary said it himself—that we have had the opportunity of hearing the Government's point of view, and the Government have had the opportunity of hearing all these suggestions from Members of the House. I think that perhaps special interest lay in the debate because it precedes by a short time the coming Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference and the visit of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary to Mr. Kennedy and his Secretary of State.
The only other point I should like to make is that I think these debates now 597 have a greater value because of the presence in this Chamber of the Foreign Secretary. As the House knows, I have taken part in almost every debate on Foreign Affairs during the period the noble Earl was Leader of the House. Unfortunately, I was ill at the time when he made his first speech as Foreign Secretary, and I feel that I must take this opportunity of saying that if the Foreign Secretaryship had to be in the House of Lords, Her Majesty's Government were most fortunate in being able to secure the services of the noble Earl for this high office of State. I think we have seen the value of it to-day. The noble Earl spoke yesterday and again today. He has had a hard task, but I think that the standard of this debate however high it may have been, will achieve a greater authority from the fact that it the Foreign Secretary has taken part in it. I am most grateful to him for what he has done to-day and yesterday.
To end on a lighter note, in referring to my speech yesterday the noble Earl accused me of star-gazing. My Lords, I do not deny it. I looked at America under Western stars and I thought I saw stronger gleams of light!I ask leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn