§ 2.43 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN rose to draw the attention of Her Majesty's Government to the need for more and better co-ordinated economic and technical and for underdeveloped countries; and to move for Papers. The noble Earl said: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion that stands in my name, and in doing so I would remind your Lordships that it was originally in the name of my noble friend Lord Listowel. He has, however, had to go abroad to a conference and to his great regret he is not able to be here. We considered that, on the whole, it was better not to postpone the Motion, because postponement sometimes causes inconvenience to your Lordships; and so I find myself here as a substitute for my noble friend.
§ This subject was debated in your Lordships' House not much more than a year ago, and looking through Hansard of December 10, 1959, one is reminded of the great loss we have suffered by the death of the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, who, you will remember, on that occasion moved the Motion, with all his great knowledge of the Colombo Plan and other questions. It was also interesting to see in that debate that there was some expression of uneasiness at the lack of co-ordination in the assistance given by various countries in the world to the underdeveloped areas. To-day's debate has its origin in a recent statement by the Secretary of State for the Colonies in another place. Your Lordships will remember that on December 19 in another place there was a debate on a Report by the Select Committee on Estimates dealing with the Colonial Office. In the course of winding up the Secretary of State announced a new Government initiative in that they were starting to examine the possibility of a separate Ministry to co-ordinate all the aid from this country. I think everybody will welcome this initiative, but at the same time we have misgivings about the effectiveness of the proposal so far as it goes. However, I shall come on to that point later.
§ My Lords, there is a tendency to treat this matter as one for experts. It is curious how this subject, which 1018 was almost unheard of 20 years ago, and in fact became generally accepted, I think, only after the second war, has come into the category of those subjects on which there is such complexity, so much detail and policy to read, that the ordinary person feels that he really cannot cope and that it is only those who have made a special study of the subject who can competently talk about it. That temptation has to be resisted, because in recent years, in fact in recent months, the whole tempo of this conception of aid to the underdeveloped parts of the world has been quickening. There have been fresh developments and initiatives: old ideas have been replaced by newer ones, and the subject is certainly topical, and that is my excuse for entering on to this field.
§ Your Lordships may or may not be glad to know that I do not propose to use a lot of figures. It is all too easy, in reading about this subject, to be over-whelmed by the number of figures, all in different currencies and denominations and based on different premises. So I propose to talk in rather general terms. I believe that very few people would now dispute that the existence of at least one hundred nations and a billion and a quarter people (to use the American usage of billion: 1,250 million people) living at a deplorably low standard, and the fact that those sub-standard peoples are living in the same world as the highly developed highly industrialised prosperous nations, must make for instability. I think that is the first motive that comes to our minds, the first justification for large-scale help from the advanced countries to those who are less advanced.
§ There is another argument, a moral argument: that the consciences of those in the prosperous countries cannot be clear unless they are doing all that they can to relieve the misery in which all these millions of our fellow human beings are living. There is also a political motive: that the countries in that state of low standard of living, poverty and disease tend to be unstable in their politics. I think one can hold that view without subscribing to the rather narrow view dictated by the tactics and strategy of the cold war—namely, that in the struggle between the ideologies success is likely to go to that one which expresses its sympathy in deeds and not only in 1019 words. But I think that we can take as read the universal acceptance of the need for help to these countries.
§ I should like, in parenthesis, to say what does not constitute aid. Too often there is a misconception in regard to this. I fancy that among the people of this country and others there is a widespread misconception about what is meant by aid from developed to underdeveloped countries. First of all, it is not charity. No longer do we think of it as a charitable act to send sacks of food, blankets, medicines and the rest to some poor people in the tropics. That is not the conception; nor is it the motive. The motive is that, somehow, these countries must be enabled to raise their standard of living. Another thing that does not constitute aid is the sort of "fairy godmother" visitation—some agency that comes along and hands over large wads of money to these countries. That form of aid was, I think, tried in the early days and it was found to be a failure. Some noble Lords may have read a rather remarkable book called The Ugly American, which gave instances, fictional, it is true, but based on fact, of the evils that follow indiscriminate pumping of foreign money into an undeveloped country. Those methods lead nowhere except to large-scale abuse, de-moralisation and corruption.
§ Again, just as a footnote, may I say that in the Far East and South East Asia one of the greatest weaknesses of what we call "We in the West" and our position vis-à-vis Communist China is to see the corruption of some of the South East Asian countries that have been receiving this kind of aid, in contrast to the extraordinary atmosphere and climate of austerity, almost puritanism, that prevails in the Communist country. It is not a pretty contrast. The problem before us is to lift artificially the economies of these countries to a point where they can carry on on their own. In the striking phrase that Mr. Paul Hoffman uses in his pamphlet these economies have to be brought up to the stage where they are "self-propelling". Another writer has used the metaphor that these countries have to be brought to the "take-off" point. If one thinks about those phrases one realises how far removed this kind of aid is from mere charity or a political weapon. It means of 1020 course applying as much stimulus from outside as will enable these countries to accomplish in a matter of a few years—ten, fifteen or twenty years—the technical and industrial revolution that we in the West took 100 or more years to accomplish. It is an artificial boosting of these economies.
§ Another point that has emerged from recent experience in this matter is that really primitive economies such as those we are dealing with cannot take injections of foreign capital on a large scale; they are just not in a position to benefit from it. In many cases what is lacking is the most elementary administrative machinery which knows, for instance, the basic physical facts about the country, the climate, the resources, the economy and the social life. Those are the things that we now know, and recent schemes for aid recognise that that is the first stage. It is called the pre-investment stage. That is the purpose for which the United Nations Special Fund, of which Mr. Hoffman is, I think, Director General, was set up only a year or two ago. We know that already there have been applications for something like 250 projects under that Fund, but so far it has been possible to meet only 70. This new Fund has proved to be lamentably under-equipped with finance. That is one of the things that I hope will be recognised and remedied before long. They need not only the pre-investment capital and then the development capital, but, simultaneously and concurrently, technical skill such as cannot exist in those countries at present. Technical aid alone is an enormous subject and I hope some other noble Lords are going to deal with that this afternoon. I know that my noble friend Lady Summerskill is going to deal with the medical aspect—the question of how the medical resources of the advanced countries can be spread to the best advantage of the underdeveloped countries.
§ The other basic technical need is for teachers, for education. Since the Commonwealth Education Conference a year or so ago, I will not say that the problem seems to be well on the way to solution, but, at any rate, that satisfactory machinery is being set up; and I hope some noble Lords will deal with that subject. But it is the combination of capital and technical skill that is essential in all these schemes. I believe we 1021 can take some credit for the Colombo Plan. I know it has its detractors, but it seems to me that the pattern which was set up almost ten years ago is one that is well worth following. It has been justified by the passage of time. Under that system, advanced countries and backward countries get together, the backward countries producing plans for development and other countries taking part in the scheme (and there are now 22 of them), consulting together as to how best to meet the needs of the development plan for each country.
§ Although, by present-day standards, the scale on which the Colombo Plan works is really very small, the total which Britain has committed in ten years is now, I think,£70 million, with perhaps another£6 million in the provision of technical help. That is a very small figure by comparison with anything that the United States is doing, and the scale of the technical help is very small, too. The places in this country, Canada or Australia for the training of experts from the South-East Asian countries are numbered in dozens rather than hundreds. Nevertheless, there it is; it is the pattern that matters. A large number of countries are assisting in a scheme of self-help, each contributing according to its capacity, its needs and its aptitudes.
§ The pattern of colonial development and welfare is something we have been operating for quite a long time, and that, also, seems very satisfactory. All the dependent countries in the Commonwealth make their plans, themselves contribute what they can, borrow what they can and ask for the balance from Colonial Development and Welfare funds. And do not let us think that those funds are just handed out regardless of efforts made by the recipients. Those are just two instances of what we in this country have been doing. I believe there we can take some credit, for schemes introduced by other countries have recognised the need for a pattern of that kind.
§ I want to come now to the question of the multiplicity of agencies through which aid is being given. We know the Colonial Office operate the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts. We know the Commonwealth Relations Office operate or influence loans to 1022 independent countries of the Commonwealth, as well as technical assistance; and we know that the Foreign Office are responsible for the Colombo Plan, contributions to the United Nations Agencies and a new body, set up, I believe, only since December last called O.E.C.D.—the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. That seems to be another form of agency similar to the Colombo Plan for multilateral channelling of aid from Europe to overseas countries.
§ As to the United Nations Agencies, I should not like—nor do I think I have time—to give your Lordships a list of all of them. There are the World Bank, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and its associates; the International Monetary Fund and the International Development Association. There are the Economic Commissions for Europe, Asia and the Far East, Africa and Latin-America. There is the International Finance Corporation and there are innumerable technical assistance boards, committees and organisations, all playing a part, distributing certain aid Prom the developed countries to underdeveloped countries. And that is not counting the regular Specialised Agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, and many others which operate, some in some countries, some in others.
§ I fancy that some are very watertight, very restricted as to their terms of reference; and I suspect that there may be either overlapping or gaps, or both. I was told not long ago that the Middle East falls between the Economic Commissions and is not allotted, geographically, to any of the sources of United Nation's aid. It would be interesting to know whether that is true: whether the Middle East is not in the European area, nor in the African area, nor in Asia and the Far East.
To turn to the Secretary of State's scheme, there is no doubt that it sounds very promising and attractive. May I just remind your Lordships of what he said on December 19 [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 632, cols. 1020 and 10211:
The Government have come to the conclusion that we should look most closely at
the field of technical aid.…We have, therefore, initiated a study of the possibility of creating a joint Department under a Minister who would be responsible to myself, to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and this Department could bring together under a single direction many of the forms of technical and advisory assistance which this country can provide to overseas countries, whatever their status.
Your Lordships will notice that that applies to technical assistance only and not to capital aid at all. It seems to me wrong to separate technical assistance and capital investment. They are part of the process of this boosting of the economies overseas. They cannot be separated; or, at least, if they are separated there will be errors in applying the aid. So we think, first, that the scope of this proposed Ministry should not be restricted to technical assistance only. Secondly, I do not think that the status proposed for the Minister will be anything like what is needed if he is to play an effective part and carry out this new rôle effectively. What is proposed is, apparently, a junior Minister who would be the servant of all three of the Secretaries of State, who would have a department of his own, but could presumably carry out only policy handed to him from one or other, or all three, of the Secretaries of State. That does not seem to make sense. I cannot see that a Minister in that position would have any effective power at all.
§ Mr. Macleod said that many of the functional departments of his own Office, the Colonial Office, would become members of this new department. Even if all the functional departments, all the departments concerned with the allocation of aid from the Foreign Office, the C.R.O. and the Colonial Office, went to a new department, if their Minister had no independent status of his own I cannot see that they would do any better than they are doing now under their own Secretaries of State.
§ Those are the things that we think the Government should do. They should think again; or while they are examining this proposal they should think on lines different from those on which they seem to be thinking now. We feel that the Minister should be, if not in the Cabinet, at least of Cabinet rank. He should take his directive from the Cabinet, and he should then be the instrument for carry- 1024 ing out that policy through the department which will be gathered together under him. My Lords, somebody with powers of that kind, and a directive on those lines, would be able to make the best use of the resources we are already devoting to overseas aid. He would also be in a stronger position to negotiate with the international bodies, and to try to influence them to put an end to the undoubted chaos and lack of co-ordination that exist at present. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.16 p.m.
§ LORD GRANTCHESTER
My Lords, as the noble Earl said, the subject that we are discussing is vast and difficult, and has largely drifted into the hands of experts. Like him, I do not propose to weary your Lordships with the many figures and statistics which have been published, but it is worth remarking that the total aid given to these under-developed territories is estimated at something like 4,000 million dollars a year, more than half of which is found by the United States. I suppose that there is no subject upon which there has been more talk in recent years than that of aid for underdeveloped territories. It has been the subject of a United Nations inquiry, which suggested some years ago that the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development could dispense some 1,000 million dollars a year; it has been the subject of study by two Committees of the Council of Europe, and a report will probably be considered at a meeting at Strasbourg later this month. It has been discussed by the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation, by N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians, as well as studied by the overseas Ministries of all European Governments, and of the American Government.
It is good, I think, that the subject should be raised in your Lordships' House, for there has been a considerable amount of what I can only call rather loose and irresponsible talk, which could have serious repercussions, raising in the minds of masses of people expectations which may even retard steps that should be taken locally, and lead to charges of breaches of faith, charges that promises were made and not fulfilled. Much of the talking and planning has been done 1025 by the so-called experts to whom the noble Earl referred, people who have no responsibility for providing the funds for implementing their plans. Nor are they concerned or bothered by balance-of-payments troubles. They have what may be termed almost a vested interest in planning.
My Lords, "underdeveloped" is, of course, a comparative term. What we really mean by the underdeveloped territories, I think, is the poorer countries; those that are poor in income per capita, compared with Europe and the United States. I find that the use of the word "underdeveloped" sometimes gives offence where ancient civilisations are concerned; and it is misleading, also, I think, because it implies that too much reliance can be placed upon industrialisation as the remedy. We in this country have a long tradition of humanitarian feeling which sustained this country's efforts overseas. The extent of voluntary contributions collected over a century for schools and hospitals was extraordinary before it became the fashion in Governmental circles to talk about aid. In those days, there was apathy, and even hostility, to the introduction of European education: now it is being demanded with impatience in many of the same countries.
The work that was done by those who went out from this country over more than a century extended, as noble Lords well remember, over China, India, Africa and South America. Much devoted service was given without expectation of reward. Those who went to these countries suffered great hardships; they faced perils from sickness and disease. Communications were not as developed then as they are to-day. I remember discussing the Congo before the 1914 war with a nurse who had contracted in the Congo sleeping sickness and who was, I believe, the first person to be cured of that disease through the work of the School of Tropical Medicine in London. She returned to the Congo and died there, as did the doctors on the same station. These men and women, as we know, had a driving force because their imagination was fired by the work to which they were committed. They could be of service.
On the other side, in those days to be able to say you were a colonial visit- 1026 ing London was a declaration made with pride. My Lords, we have allowed colonialism to be made a term of abuse, and for the idealism of service, for the love of service, we have allowed jealousy and greed to substitute a degrading nightmare of hate. I think there is to-day a growing sense of this and a realisation that we are losing our way: that it is easier to engulf all in poverty than to raise all to riches, and that, anyway, material development is not an adequate or a sufficient aim in itself. I am sure that, first, we must get our sense of values right. I wish we could, as it were, call a halt to action, to being too busy, for a short time, if that were possible, a halt even to well-meaning action, while a sense of the appalling misery, the appalling human tragedy in which the world is becoming involved, sinks into our minds. In spite of all the scientific advance and the material gains, I do not think happiness is increasing. Slovenly and careless work and quarrels over trifling matters are signs of wrong thinking. My Lords, wrong thinking, even more than bad workmanship, brings unfortunate results in its train. I apologise for digressing into the metaphysical, but we are discussing a matter which touches the lives of millions of people, and these millions of people are affected by the thoughts and actions of others—and, among the millions, what each one thinks and does makes a difference. If we could get that over to our people, we should be making a contribution to the solution of the difficulties we face.
The material problem is how we can co-operate best to increase the wealth of all. We know how it has been done in Europe and America. With that experience, it should be a speedier process for those who follow. This Motion asks us to consider whether we can improve the machinery or increase the efforts we are making to assist the poorer countries. My Lords, I may be out of date, but I believe that the more personal the help, the greater its value: the more personally the need is felt, the greater will be the effort to meet that need. To be able to give more, we must be prepared to try to earn more or to go without something. I should like Her Majesty's Government to help to bring the need of others home to the people of this country through teaching 1027 in our schools, and possibly by some advertising on posters—much as the Government did in the 'thirties to encourage the buying of Commonwealth products.
There is a Commonwealth Finance Company which could use more money if that were subscribed by small investors; and, concurrently with an advertising campaign, a unit trust or an investment trust might set out to collect some of the saved pounds, which those whose imagination and interest had been fired could put to helpful use, more for the love of the cause than for expectation of reward from their investment. I should like to repeat what I have suggested before: that the Colonial Development Corporation should be allowed to accept subscriptions on an issue to the public, the Government money now at their disposal becoming a prior charge so that an equity can be created. By such means, we could put to the test in practical form expressions of our people's desire to assist those so much poorer than themselves. Such subscriptions would have a ring of sincerity and would be an expression of love which I feel Government money, raised by compulsion through taxation, lacks, particularly when it is administered through international agencies.
The noble Earl who opened this debate has made—and I do not disagree with him—an appeal for more money to be channelled through the United Nations Organisation. Some agencies in the United Nations have done very good work, but there is often a vagueness in a very extended international organisation which does not always ensure efficiency, particularly in the supervision of technical assistance programmes. This is why I feel, unlike the noble Earl, that the suggestions which have been made for some co-ordinating Minister here would be particularly useful in the technical field.
The United Nations is, above all, a forum where differences can be discussed and ironed out. I think that we in the West should be prepared to match any aid given by the East, to be channelled through the agencies of the United Nations. I should like to see this offer and challenge made clearly. Of course, we do much more than the East does at the moment. I should like to encourage 1028 the East to channel more aid through the United Nations Organisation where it can be matched by subscriptions from the West. But I do not think that the United Nations is necessarily the proper organ through which all aid should be channelled. Much aid comes only from European and American sources without any other contributor.
I did not agree with all that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, said in his recent maiden speech, but I do agree with him that if we are to have an international organisation for handling and co-ordinating aid, to be of the greatest use it must be an organisation of those who are able and willing to give, and O.E.C.D., if it is ratified, seems to come nearest to the idea of a group of nations who are in a position to be givers. The constitution has been signed by the Governments, but it has to go to Congress in June and to the other National Parliaments for ratification. This organisation is, as your Lordships know, designed to include North America, both Canada and the United States. Serious compromises on the liberalisation of trade have been made in the new constitution, against the better judgment of Europeans, to accommodate the United States at the conference table of that organisation.
So far as Europe is concerned, I think it is a case of putting the clock back by accepting, for the time being anyhow, that we cannot alter some nationalistic trade practices prevalent in the United States. But if we are going to co-operate in this organisation, and channel aid through it, what we must make clear to our American friends is that we are not prepared to underwrite or subscribe blindly to American methods of giving aid, or to their method of allocation.
It is not the time for me to develop the point I am trying to make, but I refer those who are interested to a book entitled United States Aid and Indian Economic Development, which was published recently in Washington. It is written by a British economist with great experience in this field. The thesis of the book is that increased foreign aid for India, given the current direction of Indian economic policy,would be to retard the rise of general living standards in India more than to accelerate it, and to obstruct rather than promote the emergence of a society "—1029 as the author expresses it—resistant to totalitarian appeal".I have listened to Indian Liberals who take precisely the same view. To spend for prestige reasons on uneconomic projects is a great temptation to any administrator who is provided with credit, particularly in a developing country. Strategic reasons for giving aid must be distinguished from economic reasons, which is not always the case when the Americans allocate the amount of aid that they give; and if aid is given in kind, I think it must supplement or assist local production and not disturb progress toward increased productivity in the country to which the aid is sent.
The effect upon standards of living of a rapidly increasing population must, I believe, be explained in these countries simply, but without pressure for the adoption of any imported ideas for the limitation of growth.
Nor, my Lords, can the good will of peoples be bought with dollars or pounds, which they do not handle and from which they feel they derive often little or no benefit. On the other side, I think we are entitled to say that anti-European or anti-White propaganda is inconsistent with the expectation of aid, whether that aid be channelled through an international organisation or given direct. Some plain speaking and firmness on this condition is, perhaps, justified. The purpose of aid should be to build from the bottom upwards, and not to impose too elaborate plans from the top. It should aim at raising the standards of the poorest.
I have had perforce to speak on some matters in rather general terms, but I should like to commend the pattern and methods of the Colonial Welfare and Development Fund. I would commend the management techniques worked out by the Colonial Development Corporation. I should like a clearer distinction made, in the White Papers which are published by Her Majesty's Government, between grants and loans. So often one reads that grants and loans amount to so much. It is very important that people, particularly those who are often at the level of development of children, should not mistake a business arrangement foe a charitable gift. It leads to misunderstanding and perhaps to charges that they have been deceived.
1030 I believe that British firms could do more in forming links with developing industries abroad, bringing the know-how to them which is essential to success; but they must feel that they are welcome partners, and he assured of fair treatment and of security against expropriation as soon as the business develops. If we are going Ito have a co-ordinating organisation here, I think that that organisation should bring into review some of the work done by the Colonial Office and the responsibilities assumed, for instance, by the Board of Trade for trading information and contacts and the work of the trade attachés at our Embassies abroad.
I think that it might be useful also to have a look at the possibilities of more inter-Commonwealth investment. There are parts of the Commonwealth and colonial territories which are rich, particularly those that have the advantage of oil wells—I am thinking of Brunei in Borneo in the East, and Kuwait on the Persian Gulf, and others that are lucky. Investment in the area where these richer territories are situated would be a great advantage, but they fear the risks of investment in some of the territories around them. Perhaps something could be done to reassure them. I think that we could do more in meeting delegations coming to this country for advice and help. In all these ways, we must do what we can.
If I may summarise the points on which I think Her Majesty's Government could help, I would say, first, in focusing public attention upon the task and upon the undertaking, which was given voluntarily by the signatories to the Charter of the United Nations, to help development in the poorer countries—that could be mentioned more in our schools and, as I have suggested, possibly in a posters campaign. Secondly, in re-stirring pride in British achievements to date in this field and in firing the imagination of all people to co-operate in the task before us. Thirdly, in seeing that it is not all risk and very little profit, due to over-high taxation here, for those who venture their labour and savings abroad to help development in less fortunate countries. Fourthly, in seeking to establish and extend agreed and common standards of fair treatment and fair dealing in business, which I think 1031 might be the subject of bilateral or multilateral agreements; and in meeting and answering by all possible means misrepresentations which undermine confidence and pride in service given, whether in administrative or business development.
Fifthly, in putting over the European flair for organisation, order and development, explaining that it is this and hard work which has brought prosperity to Europeans—that it was not all done in a day but, having mapped the road, those who wish to follow may expect to progress more rapidly than we did in Europe; in explaining that the European way of life, with its strain and bustle, is not suited without adaptation to tropical climates—British experience in this matter is invaluable. Sixthly, in bringing home the fact that a narrow nationalism, which, for example, sometimes insists on the development of indigenous languages, can be a barrier to educational advance, just as the erection of barriers to trade can impede commercial progress; in explaining that in the world to-day "independence" is a very relative term—if it does not live in the mind, it is but a snare and a delusion. And lastly, in bringing to the notice of the public here, again through schools and posters, the products produced and available for export from the poorer countries and in refraining from raising barriers against these products or from subsidising alternative sources of supply. If we do not buy from developing countries, they cannot progress and build up their economies.
Lastly, may I say one word about the part that education can play? I think that we can take pride in the universities which we have established in the territories for which we are, or were, responsible, but there are developing territories which still look to this country and from which students want to come here to train so that they can take administrative posts. The Colonial Office help them, I know, as much as they can, but until they come here they do not easily attain a sufficiently good knowledge of English to take an A level certificate or the entrance examination to a university, which is often their ambition. Some of them were talking to me the other morning, and I find that the lack of co-ordination between the universities, the fact 1032 that you have to apply to them individually instead of through a central organisation, causes a good deal of confusion in their minds. They also mix up what the general certificate of education gives them, as distinct from the scholarship and entrance examinations at the colleges. It is all a little confusing to them.
Some of these students come from rich territories or from countries where the Governments are quite able and willing to support a number of them so that they can fill administrative posts in the future. They can provide all the funds necessary to help them. But they do need, I think, more individual advice. Could they not be encouraged to establish teaching centres in London so that a limited number of students could obtain satisfactory teaching prior to entrance to the university? And as there are not likely to be enough places in the universities for all these students, and because some of them will not attain the necessary standard to obtain entrance, which is quite understandable, it seems to me that an alternative course to the university course, with particular emphasis on administration, would be a useful thing to establish.
I should be the last person to advocate that everything should be done by government—I believe in the maximum individual enterprise and initiative as being essential—but Government has a place in supplying a framework; in painting an outline which individuals can fill in. With due modesty, I hope that some of the suggestions I have made may help Her Majesty's Government to put before the public here, and through our Embassies abroad, a clearer picture of the responsibility and mission of the people of this country in a developing world.
§ 3.52 p.m.
§ THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE)
My Lords, I am sure we are all grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, for having tabled this Motion. I regret that he has been unable to move it himself, but I hope that the Parliamentary duties which have taken him to Bermuda on an important conference will be some compensation 1033 to him. At the same time, if I may do so without presumption, I would congratulate the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, who has just opened this debate on Lord Listowel's behalf. It was thought that it might be to the convenience of the House if I were briefly to speak first, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, on the world aspect of this Motion, while my noble friend Lord Perth will reply to the points raised by your Lordships and, in particular, deal with aid in relation to the Colonies and Commonwealth
The Motion invites our attention to consider what the noble Earl has described as theneed for more and better co-ordinated economic and technical aid for underdeveloped countries.I would agree with him wholeheartedly that there is a need for more aid, both technical and economic, and that this need will persist long beyond the lifetime of the youngest Members of your Lordships' House. Two-thirds of the world's population is undernourished. Two-thirds of the world's population—and that means about 1,800 million men, women and children—subsist on a substandard diet. I used as a child to think that certain races of the world made rice the principal ingredient of their diet out of preference, just as I had vaguely understood that certain inhabitants of the British Isles at one time relied principally upon potatoes or porridge for their sustenance. I did not then fully appreciate that this diet was not of choice, but was imposed by harsh economic facts. Last November, in Japan, I was told that the diet of the Japanese is changing very rapidly; that the intake of calories is steadily increasing. I was interested to learn that in 50 years the average height of the Japanese people had increased by three inches. My Lords, there is no question about the need for aid.
The statisticians have as yet evolved no measure of happiness, nor any accurate presentational forms for the assessing of culture ratios or relative civilisation. We have, however, the figures of average annual incomes. These, of course, do not tell the whole story, but they give an indication of the position. In the United States of America the average annual income is£750; in the United Kingdom it is£360; and in the U.S.S.R. 1034 it is£200. The average annual income of the inhabitants of over 50 less developed countries is only£35. No one would for a moment attempt to sustain the argument that the inhabitants of the United Kingdom are necessarily ten times as happy or ten times as cultured, but it would be true to say that these figures indicate that for a very large percentage of our fellow men and women life is nothing more than a grim struggle just to keep themselves and their children alive.
Throughout the last decade, by tremendous efforts, the less developed countries achieved an annual increase in their national incomes of 3 per cent. In the same period, however, their annual population increase was at the rate of 2 per cent. I remember so well in this connection being ruefully reminded by the Indian Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs of the Red Queen's conversation with Alice: it does indeed take all the running they can do even to keep in the same place.
To accelerate the rate of growth in these countries and to close the widening gap between them and the so-called "developed" world is, I submit, with disarmament the most vital problem of our times. Of course, the main effort must come from the less developed countries themselves: no matter how much assistance they may receive from outside, their economic and social progress must in the main depend on their own ability to organise their own material and human resources. However, until they can provide for their continued economic growth from their own resources, they will also need help from outside.
In this age of the United Nations Charter we are, one hopes, more aware of man's obligation to mart. This is the humanitarian or moral approach to the problem. But it is also a fact that what we seek to do is also plain, practical good business; it is simply enlightened self-interest. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary reminded us two weeks ago that one of the three basic purposes of British Foreign Policy was to create conditions abroad which will enable the nation to earn its living. We must create conditions in which we can carry on and expand our trade. The prerequisites for this are the political 1035 stability of the countries in which we seek markets, their capacity to absorb and pay for the goods we have to sell, and their ability to produce the goods we want to buy. It is significant that the volume of our trade with the United States, the most prosperous country in the world, is greater than with any other single country. In the prosperity of others lies also our wealth.
Our interest, therefore, both humanitarian and economic, is to see an expanding world market through increased political stability, rising standards of living and increased foreign exports. Lack of education, and hunger and illness are prime obstacles to such progress. To combat all these obstacles there are three principal means: capital assistance, technical co-operation and aid through trade. For the moment, I will say nothing about the first. The second is concerned with people who, in less developed countries, provide and train others in the advanced skills which are essential for modern economic development. In technical co-operation, the United Kingdom, with its unequalled experience, learnt in the fulfilment of its duties as a colonial Power, has a particularly valuable contribution to make. As my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary put it in another place last December [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 632. col. 1021]:…we have one priceless asset, and that is the experience and know-how of our men and women…Aid through trade, which means assured markets for the products of the less developed countries, is, I submit, an essential element of effective aid. It is significant that a 5 per cent. drop in commodity prices would wipe out the effects of all the aid now given.
The greatest contribution to multilateral capital aid has, of course, been made by the World Bank whose lending has now reached a figure of 5,000 million dollars. The International Development Association will soon be playing its part by giving financing facilities to valuable, but not strictly "bankable", projects. In addition, much Western aid is given bilaterally as, for example, in the Colombo Plan and pretty well all Sino-Soviet aid. There is most certainly plenty of room for both bilateral and multilateral 1036 aid. Although the bulk of aid is exchanged between Governments, private investment is none the less very important. Most of it comes from Western Europe and North America; and, of course, none from the Sino-Soviet bloc.
In the last five years, private investors from these countries have been investing in the developing countries at the rate of 2,000 million dollars a year. Western aid, by way of loans and grants from Government funds, is now running at a figure of over 4,000 million dollars annually. This, combined with private investment and finance, gives a total of 7,000 million dollars a year of finance in all forms from the Free World to the less developed countries. Sino-Soviet bloc offers of aid now run at some 1,000 million dollars a year, all tied to purchases in the bloc. The actual drawings, I understand, are probably no more than about 300 million dollars a year, if as much as that. The actual annual aid from the United Kingdom alone is more than two and a half times as much as from the whole of the Sino-Soviet bloc.
I apologise for inflicting these figures upon your Lordships, but I have done so simply to get the picture in perspective. The Sino-Soviet bloc came into the field only in 1954, and we welcome their contribution. As the Prime Minister has said, there is ample room and an urgent need for disinterested help by all. The world demand for aid is far greater than the supply, and we in the United Kingdom can maintain our help only by keeping the pound strong and our economy sound. Our ability to aid the less developed countries of the world is, of course, directly related to our capacity to earn, just as, in the long run, our capacity to earn will be profoundly affected by the aid that we have been able to give.
Excessive or unreasonable demands at home are therefore not only crippling to our own economy, but will set up a chain of reactions which will make it impossible for us to play our part in raising the standard of life of millions who still look upon what to us are commonplace necessities as luxuries beyond their wildest dreams. If the effectiveness and volume of aid is to be increased, donor countries must encourage their experts, technicians, teachers and doctors to serve where they are so vitally needed in the less developed countries of the world. They must concentrate only on projects of real value to 1037 the recipients, and not of propaganda value to themselves. They must provide training facilities in their countries—my noble friend the Foreign Secretary reminded us in the Foreign Affairs debate that there are now some 50,000 students from overseas at present in the United Kingdom.
They must provide good markets for the exports of developing countries to enable them increasingly to finance their economic development from their own earnings of foreign exchange. The donor countries must themselves be prepared to increase their own national product, without immediately applying their earnings to more comfort and leisure for themselves. If the effectiveness and volume of aid is to be increased, the recipients must for their part recognise the vital necessity for adequate investment in education and health services. They must decide their priorities on sound, economic grounds and not on grounds of prestige. Often this must mean putting agriculture before industry and being sufficiently mature to appreciate that it is false to equate a high state of industrialisation with a high state of civilisation. They must get away from mono-culture and diversify their products and their exports. They must overcome the instincts of youthful nationalism and create conditions favourable to foreign Investment.
Jointly, donors and recipients must co-operate to ensure that aid is not wasted nor duplicated, that experience is shared and lessons jointly learned. In this, the United Nations and, in particular, its regional commissions, the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, the Economic Commission for Africa and the Economic Commission for Latin America, play an important part, as does also the Colombo Plan. In addition, the Development Assistance Group has existed to enable donor countries to compare and co-ordinate experience on particular problems encountered in financing development. This group, which will become the Development Assistance Committee of the new O.E.C.D., will continue this important function of co-ordination.
My Lords, much has been achieved, and the urgent human obligation and the political and economic wisdom of a massive world aid programme is steadily becoming better understood.
1038 But if the widening gap between the developed and the underdeveloped countries of the world is ever to be closed, this can be achieved, in my belief, only if all countries, donors and recipients alike, become far more outward-looking than at present and are genuinely prepared to accept the truth of interdependence.
§ 4.10 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER
My Lords, we are all grateful to the noble Earl for bringing this subject before us, and there will be no dispute among your Lordships as to the acuteness of this problem. I think it is fair to say that public opinion itself is at last becoming aware of the problems of want on a world-wide scale. The response to World Refugee Year, so much greater than could possibly have been expected beforehand, was an indication of this; and the agencies at work during that year will be wishing to carry forward the still retained impetus of good will and interest into some further efforts. I know that they are already endeavouring to link up what was done a year ago with, for instance, the new "Freedom from Hunger" campaign which the United Nations has launched. There is, in fact, an increasing body of good will in the public to be drawn upon; it only needs to be informed and harnessed. That is one reason, among others why we welcome this debate.
The public understands a simple term, freedom from want; it does not understand all the complexities that are involved in it. But I think we can assure the noble Earl who moved this Motion that, if the Government can he persuaded to co-ordinate and direct our efforts, he will find in all voluntary bodies, churches and others, who have a membership or a body of people to appeal to, a very real response and a very ready determination to make much larger demands and sacrifices than have ever been thought necessary up to date. At the same time, the public is puzzled by the variety of organisations and the responsible bodies that work in this field. We know that that is inevitable in the circumstances in which the work has proceeded. There must remain methods of assistance by bilaterait or regional groupings; presumably these represent real associations of people which are 1039 precious in themselves. I would, however, dissent from the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, who (if I understood him aright) wishes to introduce a new kind of dual system in the world in which United Nations aid is proffered to one half while the other half goes its own way. That would be, I believe, a quite disastrous kind of dichotomy. What the public needs is not only some information; it wants to understand that any effort it is called upon to make will not suffer from overlapping; that there will be no unnecessary handles attached to it, and that aid will be given under an increasingly concerted plan so that it is known to be going to the right place.
I would put forward only two questions in relation to this problem of co-ordination, for we are all agreed on the need for increase. Many references to the subject of technical assistance (and I have in mind a very interesting pamphlet put out under this name by the United Nations, which has had a great deal of publicity, as one of them) seem to me in danger of isolating the technical from the other aspect of human needs which they are trying to serve. Recently a United States spokesman on this subject was reported as saying:The stimulating impact of technical assistance is being felt in every part of the globe and is helping to build new economic and moral strength in all the nations of the world.I wonder whether such a statement does not gloss over a real danger. The impact of modern techniques will certainly stimulate economic strength. It may, indirectly, lead to moral strength. It may also lead, if unwisely applied, to moral unsettlement. Countries like our own, which have been through all the processes of industrialisation, know the upheavals it may cause, even in stable societies and even where we have lived for so many generations under its growing impact. But where people have been for centuries cradled in a more primitive culture the effect may be something quite different. It may come as a disorganising force, upsetting the natural ties and loyalties which give stability to people's lives and may impose in their place a kind of mass structure of society in which the individual and his home local community may be lost.
1040 It must be desperately difficult to relate some of the modern techniques with which we are familiar to the things which hitherto have given meaning and solidarity to the surroundings in which so many peoples have lived. I am not for a moment saying that we should go slower because of this. I am only stressing that it would be a tragedy if, in world-wide endeavour to raise the standards of underdeveloped countries, the increase in material facilities for living were accompanied by some impoverishment of people as persons or as members of families or local communities, and leave them rather rootless or with only the worst aspects of our modern life to enjoy. Even in the West, where the foundations of our own moral and social life go very deep, and where the process has been one of evolution rather than revolution, we are aware that there is to-day something of a crisis in personal living. And where the god of machines comes suddenly out of the air on some of these peoples, the impact will be vitally more disastrous
I would, therefore, ask, as my first question, whether we have enough experience, in the light of, say, ten years' work of which we can make use, of the right ways of adapting assistance to the needs of this or that particular people with a real sensitivity to the other effects which our assistance will have upon them. Do we not need, in other words, far greater co-ordination of our efforts so that we may either show people ways of helping, themselves to better standards of living, with the minimum damage to their own local community patterns of life, or, failing that, give them new and solid standards? No doubt the majority of those who are to be helped are country people, and likely to remain so, requiring that greater emphasis should be devoted to helping to improve their own rural conditions. This should be a stimulus to the smaller community undertakings which, while they are less spectacular, are helping them to help themselves in all patterns of their own local setting.
It is fair to say that church organisations, through their missionary societies—which in the past were themselves accused of upsetting the local inhabitants by their new ideas—are approaching their own particular assignments in a new way by approaching them in the wholeness of 1041 their surroundings. The American Churches have widespread rural missions with a large number of highly competent agricultural experts working over the world. I think the best-known undertaking is the Allahabad Agricultural Institute. Similar technical assistance programmes are carried out by our missionary societies from this country, in Asia and Africa especially, supporting village industries, starting training centres for adults and young people so that they can take their part in the developing industrial society in their own area. If I refer to these smaller ventures, it is because of their experience that people want to be helped in the wholeness of their lives, and that technical, social and personal assistance must come to them as a whole if they are to become a healthy part of a developing society.
My second question on co-ordination would be put like this—it has already been hinted at by one or two of your Lordships: Is it not rather dangerous to think of technical assistance—in the purely technical sense at least—as divorced from educational assistance? The underdeveloped countries are, for the most part, those which are achieving independence and self-government. Unless their Government, at all levels, becomes stable, honest and intelligent, then the economic resources of the country will never be fully developed. They need a continuing supply, coming up from their midst, of technicians, administrators, and leaders of all sorts. These can be produced only by education at higher level—higher forms of schools, technical colleges and universities. Is there, we would ask, at least an equivalent emphasis being put to-day, in this work of economic assistance, on the educational assistance required?
In many parts of developing Africa with which we are so closely associated there is in this respect a most disquieting picture, not least because here the desire of the people for education is far outrunning the supply. The Ashby Commission on Higher Education, which has reported to Nigeria on its needs, claimed that to meet the present need for what it calls "high-level manpower"—the kind of people who are going to man their industries and their Government centres—the first step would be to create 18,000 more places in their secondary schools. They can nurse them through the primary 1042 stage with what they have, but at present only 19 children out of every 1,000 proceed from primary school to secondary education, and it is there that the leadership has to be engendered. What they are aiming at in this Report is to increase the proportion to at least 70 out of 1,000, with a corresponding increase in training colleges, technical institutes and university places.
The situation is more acute in parts of East Africa, where the proportion of secondary places drops from about 17 to 10 per 1,000. Through our societies we have some reports which bear out these details. A group of six secondary grammar schools in Western Nigeria have nearly 5,000 candidates sitting for fewer than 300 places. In a teachers' training college in the same part of Africa the staff are reporting that they are correcting the entrance papers—I am thankful that it is they, and not us—of 1,700 candidates for 45 places. The demand is there. I could multiply the instances of this kind. I suppose the poignancy of this situation is that in a field which is so intimately bound up with economic development, there is already a demand which cannot possibly be met locally. The resources are there but they are untapped, and are waiting for us, or for some assistance, if they are to be brought into line.
Part of the need of this development will always be financial, since large building programmes will be involved. But even more it must be in human assistance. There is not a fraction of the required teachers, especially for the important higher sixth-form work in their schools, and no adequate means of training them in their own countries. The Report from which I quoted for Nigeria was asking for 200 new recruits annually from other countries for a period of five-years' service each. The Annual Report on Education in Uganda for 1959 stresses the same thing; that their schools must continue to rely for some long time, if they are going to have any development at all, on expatriate staff. I noted in a similar report on educaition in East Africa, based on a Conference last December in Princeton, that it was stated that unless the shortages of teachers could be overcome,there will be a barrier not only to the expansion of education, but also to the plans 1043 for the advancement of Africans in other spheres, and to the general development of the territories. In the short term provision of teachers from overseas is a key factor.This is a dilemma, of course, that is not unknown to us—the expansion of higher education depends upon teachers; and the teachers must come from higher forms of schools which have experience. Nevertheless, this kind of assistance, with the funds which it would also require, should be our concern as a matter of compassion—and the word "pride" has been used—to offer. I would submit that investment in people is likely to be more conducive to material advancement than investment in material resources.
It is encouraging to know that this problem of education and the supply of teachers is being faced by our Ministry of Education, especially through the recently formed National Council for the Supply of Teachers Overseas. There are many difficulties to be faced in providing a system whereby teachers can take up a short-service appointment overseas, especially in countries where the conditions will be so different—such difficulties, for instance, as the cost of transport; salary adjustment; reinstatement, on returning home, without any loss of seniority; and the right placing of individuals here and there. This is a most complicated question, and it is greatly to the credit of the Government that they have been working through this problem and advertising the need for volunteers overseas—this at a time when there is such a pressure upon fresh teachers for our own expanding educational programme here.
Yet this action deserves to be reinforced by public opinion. There are many, I believe, who would like to help. Those who can continue the aid in money would like to know how their money is, in fact, co-ordinated with other efforts. There are many others whose only contribution to assistance overseas would lie in their own personal skill or knowledge. We should hope that authorities in schools and universities will see the advantage of pressing home this particular opportunity at the moment upon members of staff or pupils. Teachers serving overseas for even a short time would be able to bring immensely valuable assistance at an acute moment when their places cannot 1044 be filled on the spot, and they would, in returning to their own posts, come home with an enhanced experience and be a greater asset to the profession here. It is to be hoped that technicians and scientists could be lured from industry to teaching for a few years; and they might continue in teaching where they are so much needed. This adds a further reason to what I would say is desirable in other ways: the calling-back into the teaching profession of married women, at least for a time, since they could help to release other people, more mobile, for work overseas.
I would only add—and I have been stressing this particular point perhaps beyond your Lordships' endurance—that this is a matter in which most voluntary bodies would wish to co-operate with the Government. The Churches, through their missionary societies, have been engaged for some time in education overseas as part of their general contribution to the well-being of their peoples; but they recognise that this is a moment when something much more is needed than replacement in their own schools. Consultations are going on between all the denominations in this country to produce some method or machinery by which we might make a concerted appeal for our members to help in this particular respect, and to enable volunteers to get over the difficulties which would stop their accepting an invitation.
The Government, therefore, can be assured that in the provision of human assistance in this particular field they would have all the support the Churches can give. I hope they will themselves give an unmistakable lead to other countries that share with us a standard of living which, as the noble Marquess has pointed out, is so far beyond the resources of most of the world, in meeting some of that need which we are discussing this afternoon.
§ 4.32 p.m.
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
My Lords, we are all very grateful to the right reverend Prelate who has just resumed his seat. I am particularly grateful to him because he has raised two points of especial interest to me. The first is the complete bewilderment of the public in this matter of agencies. I counted some eight major agencies, national and international, 1045 through which, at the moment, aid is being channelled; and what I have to say is my own effort at trying to plough one's way through this jungle and sort it out. Secondly, the right reverend Prelate has laid his hand on the core of the whole problem; that is, that progress must always be a matter of balancing the right standard of life; that is balancing the educational standard with the economic standard. When those standards get out of step the most extraordinary things start to happen. If a rising standard of living goes ahead of the standard of education—that is the kind of thing which happens in the get-rich-quick countries in the Middle East, through oil—there is merry chaos. When things work the other way—when the educational standard goes ahead of the rise in the standard of living—there is not so much chaos but social and political unrest, and a great deal of unhappiness and frustration.
I would agree with noble Lords who have spoken before me that to-day we are all well aware of this problem, but in an international sense we have recognised that it has only been before us within the last twenty or thirty years. I think I could claim that we in this country have been aware of it certainly since the days of Cecil Rhodes, if not earlier—starting from the time of Stamford Raffles. But the problem of organising international resources has had to wait for these last few years. All the same, I doubt whether to-day there is any need to go propagating a gospel. I say that, having noted a mild note of reproof in the terms of the noble Earl's Motion. Only last week we gave the Overseas Service Bill its Second Reading in this House for purposes which are inseparable from the objectives we are discussing to-day. That measure reminded us that the export of brains, know-how, skill and integrity are just as important as the export of capital.
should hope that with the inevitable running down of the Overseas Service, which hitherto has been based on a commitment to serve abroad over periods of many years, and therefore has attracted men who could be said to have a mission, something will be growing up to take its place. Here, again, I have in mind the speech of the right honourable gentleman the Colonial Secretary, on December 19 last, to which the noble 1046 Earl drew attention, and this proposal for a Joint Department under a separate Minister to be responsible to himself, to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and to the Foreign Secretary—again, "Three Wise Men". I should hope that this Department would be able to offer terms of service which would appeal to the type of great colonial servant we have had in the past. But, as I see it, that must be based on a long-term interest; otherwise we shall just engage men on a kind of in-and-out basis, and inevitably the adventurer will be attracted, rather than the man who has his heart in a career. I should be grateful if the noble Earl who is to reply for Her Majesty's Government could give us further details of this new scheme for a separate Department.
I suggest that in our bewilderment we ought to beware of a tendency to draw sweeping conclusions. I have in mind particularly the contrast which we make as between one type of aid and another; for example, there is a tendency in this country to compare the United Nations machinery with our own Commonwealth machinery and our experience in the operation of the various Colonial Development and Welfare Acts. I believe we have to regard the problem as one of a great complex of any number of sources and a great many types of situations, each demanding separate study and treatment, comforting ourselves in the belief that there is always the right peg to fit into the right hole if we can find it. One case would demand unilateral agreements as between one country and another; in another, private enterprise may suit the situation, whereas elsewhere Government aid may be the right way. The pattern in our minds must always be one of a great flexible network. By that I do not mean that there should be any kind of laissez faire unco-ordinated operation of aid all over the world. On the contrary, I believe that what is required is a far greater understanding of the functions of each agency by each agency and by the receiving countries, in particular. As I see it, each country will thus receive the type of aid most suited to its requirements.
With this in mind I want to draw your Lordships' attention to what I regard as two fairly distinct fields in which far clearer definition is needed: first, in the channels through which we inject 1047 aid; and, secondly, the nature of the aid injected, in relation to the needs of the receiving country. Where the channels are concerned, it is very important to draw a distinction, again, between aid channelled through United Nations Agencies and all other forms of aid. In the first case, the receiving country is at both ends of the pipeline. As a member of the United Nations it has a vote and therefore has a stake in the despatching end of the pipeline. It has its own stake in the assistance which it is receiving and therefore regards itself as a member of a vast co-operative, rather than as a recipient of charity. Also the aid is in no way attached to the interests of another country.
In contrast all other forms of aid, whether bilateral, as usually applies in this country, or multilateral, as applies in the case of the O.E.C.D., represent a form of business negotiation. The negotiation may be completely amicable on both sides and may be negotiated with high-minded intention on both sides, and, indeed, may be highly beneficial. But the relationship remains that of a willing seller and a willing buyer coming together at the point at which business is done. Once we have that clear distinction in our minds, once we have understood that, I think it can be recognised that there is a proper place for each type of aid in each different condition: bilateral aid as between two countries, multilateral aid as between groups and a country, and purely international projects which, for certain political reasons, may perhaps suit an area better. The importance of having this clear in our minds, I feel, is that it prevents us from thinking of the channels of aid as rival salesmen trying to sell, and competing in, the same goods. If we can get a distinction clear in our minds, it brings co-ordination into what is otherwise the "hit or miss" system which rather prevails to-day.
Exactly how we set about providing institutional machinery to ensure this clear division into defined categories and functions I would not be sure. It may be just a matter of depending on the common sense of the receiving country, on its having the know-how as to the type of aid which suits its conditions best. But, for myself, I suggest there may be value, if we can find it, in setting up 1048 some kind of independent expert consultant agency with no attachment whatsoever, international or national, someone or some group of people who could act as a kind of development auditor of a country, looking at its life and conditions on the big scale, in completely independent benevolence. I may be told that the United Nations Special Fund, to which we have just increased our contribution from one million dollars to five million dollars, does just this. But I doubt it, because it is still tied to one of the recognised agencies; that is to say, the United Nations.
This leads me to the other problem, and that is the type or nature of the and which we give. I think the days are gone when we can afford just to pump money into the productive side of a country's economy without regard to these other spheres of development to which your Lordships have referred—other spheres for which, in the West, Governments assume responsibility. In a normally developing country such as our own, the Government take their share of the fruits of production in order to be able to operate the public utilities: the health and the education, the water and the sanitation, and so on. If it is our concern to assist in the increasing production of a country, whether it be an industrial country or an agricultural country or a blend of both, we should surely match that increase always with a parallel stream of this other form of aid—when I say "we", I mean that someone should match it. Otherwise we should just be promoting a kind of lopsided development which will end in social and political disaster.
That this very important aspect of what I would call balanced development is not understood is, I think, illustrated if we look back at the International Development Association, to which reference has been made, and in which our participation was authorised by an Act of Parliament last year. We gave the Bill its Second Reading in this House on May 17. The International Development Association, as I understand it, provides that financially weak, developing countries can obtain finance on easy terms, terms which are not available to-day from the International Bank. Your Lordships acclaimed the Bill at the time. But, as 1049 I see it, there is one omission. The Association assumes that its resources would be used for identically the same type of project as is contemplated by the International Bank; and I should have thought that it would qualify, not to promote normal development, but to encourage just those other projects of social and educational development which, after all, in the long run, represent long-term economic return; the kind of projects which in our own country are covered by grants-in-aid—and one thinks particularly of the universities.
To make this discrimination I want just for a moment to return to the channels. I think we can come to the conclusion that on the productive side—that is to say, industry and raw material —we can leave development, certainly in our case, in the hands of private enterprise. Certainly we in the United Kingdom, through our own great trade houses, have built up bilateral associations which it would be very wrong indeed to destroy. But where the social and educational complement of this aid is concerned there may well be situations which would suit the United Nations best. Again, from this reservation, in a great many cases I would exclude areas in the Commonwealth which are already developing according to a pattern of our own making and initiative. I can see no profit whatsoever in promoting international intervention where we are already doing the whole job. It is rather the situation outside our Commonwealth experience which have in mind, where weak, independent, undeveloped States seem to be floundering in doubt. In such cases both international finance and international know-how could mean this balanced advance, just as a national Government finds the finance and provides the administration to run the machine in our own country.
There is one other consideration—and I am still thinking now of the nature and form of the aid—perhaps concerning more the private sector. These countries which have been left behind since history began and which are now struggling desperately to catch up in a time which is far too short must realise that they are only beating the air unless they can put purchasing power into the pockets at the lowest level, and that means usually into the hands of the 1050 peasant. It does not matter whether or not there is an industrial potential; the countries we are dealing with, for the greater part, still have an agricultural economy. Yet there is the temptation, always on the receiving side to ask for, and on the giving side to offer, the great ambitious scheme of development which, whatever else it may do, I submit does not sow the seeds of indigenous permanent wealth.
In brief, what I am trying to say is that a number of smaller development schemes may be just as valuable to the people as the giant manifestation of Western talent. The giant scheme requires Western capital and technique and know-how for its construction but, sooner or later, the captains and the kings depart and then one asks: What is left? Is the small man with his two or three acres any better off in terms of education or a permanent income? I do not say that these big schemes of the big contractors are of no value; they certainly are. They will provide cheaper electricity; they will perhaps provide the steel for the big bridge or the new railway, and to this extent progress is certainly realised. But my Lords, as I see it, the roots do not go very deep.
In contrast, suppose the big scheme is supplemented by a number of much smaller schemes. What, then, is the result? First, I think we have to note that the smaller scheme may, with a little encouragement, be within the power of the local resources with very little outside assistance—with technical advice and instruction, most certainly, from those good men to which we have been referring, but otherwise it remains on the whole, a local achievement. 'Therefore a demand for local labour is created. Perhaps local purchasing power emerges at the lowest level and there is incentive to the smaller trader to start up his factory or his shop; and perhaps that appalling drift from the villages into the towns is checked. Anyone who has seen Baghdad with the thousands of squatters all around will know what I mean. I might compress the case by saying that the big dam over the main river certainly serves a purpose, but its effect is lost if the little dams over the smaller streams are neglected.
Again, how does one persuade people of this wisdom? I am not sure. The 1051 United Nations Special Fund may be the answer to this problem. Mr. Paul Hoffman, in his article of October, 1959, called "Operation Break-through", named three tasks for this special fund: the survey of natural resources, the establishment of research laboratories and the establishment of training institutes. That all sounds like fairly basic foundation-building activity; but does it answer the kind of question that a young, developing country of virgin soil might ask? I put the question in this way: Who will come into our country and look round and survey, not only our natural resources but every aspect of our somewhat primitive life, and then tell us exactly what is required, in terms of balanced progress, embracing education, social conditions and, such as it is, our present ability to help ourselves? There is, in my view, no agency which could answer that all-embracing question.
One final reflection, my Lords, of a philosophical nature. To-day, mere happiness seems to be a commodity at rather a low premium. A few nights ago, on my television, I was watching the curious antics of the good people of the Tonga Islands in the Pacific. I suppose that, if an inquisitive, international expert were to go to the Tonga Islands, he would discover a lot, in terms of education and a low standard of life, that should be done for people who, so far as one can judge, spend the night and the day dancing and singing, eating and drinking. My Lords, when we set our hands to this particular plough which we have been discussing this afternoon, and, in the words of the late Lord Curzon,drive the blade a little forward in our time and feel that somewhere among millions we have left something that was not there before",let us also remember, quite seriously, that there are some areas of virgin soil where people are happy. Why not leave them alone in their isolated happiness?
§ 4.53 p.m.
§ BARONESS SUMMERSKILL
My Lords. I believe that the matter which we are discussing to-day is of paramount importance, because it is closely associated with international good will and the maintenance of peace; and, as we sit here discussing these problems, I feel that it is more than significant that, in another place, also, a serious discussion is taking 1052 place on the grave events in an undeveloped area, Northern Rhodesia. The matters that we have before us to-day are closely related to the problems of Africa which will concern both Houses of Parliament in the next few months.
I think it must be clear to us all that there is a growing awareness throughout the world among the peoples of every country, and even among the people of Tonga—those happy people who the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, believes are perfect in their happiness because, on the television, he could not see the incidence of disease, the infantile mortality rate, the maternity mortality rate and some of those things which perhaps their dancing and their singing disguised—that the Western countries are enjoying the fruits of life which these developing countries, these underdeveloped countries, are denied. I think the question which is facing us this afternoon is this: Should we, as a country which has led in the field of social welfare, set an illustrious example by voluntarily giving the maximum help of which we are capable; or—and I ask your Lordships to forgive this note of pessimism—should we wait for the holocaust?
To-day the largest uncommitted country in the world is India. It commands front page news as we are told of the fabulous excursions and displays which have been organised for the Queen's visit. What is the true picture? Well, the ragged bundles of humanity on the pavements of India's cities speak for themselves. Calcutta, with over 5 million inhabitants, can furnish only part of the population with safe water during certain parts of the day. At other times, and for many people all the time, drinking water is taken from an insanitary river. I would ask noble Lords to read an excellent publication: the magazine of the World Health Organisation. There they will read a graphic description of the conditions in one of India's largest cities—I am not mentioning the villages at this stage, but one of the largest cities. The results are a harvest of water-borne diseases: cholera, typhoid and intestinal infections. And, my Lords, the problem is steadily becoming worse. The expectation of life in India is one of the shortest in the world, and they are faced with appalling poverty. Now what we have to consider is this: if India fails to raise 1053 the standard of living with a democratic economy, this may well precipitate grave unrest. People with empty stomachs are not concerned with the niceties of democratic government. They have one need only, and that is to survive.
Perhaps there are some noble Lords here who, for political reasons, are not moved by the plight of India. I would direct their attention to the completely loyal Pakistan, that member of the Commonwealth which is also giving the Queen a magnificent reception. In the Guardian of yesterday there was a description of the conditions obtaining there, written by a journalist on the spot. He describes the reed shacks in the cities which serve as homes for refugees who, when it rains, he said, sleep in sodden blankets on slimy mud. He saw lepers hobbling on mutilated feet or lying with filthy bandages tied around their sores; and he learned that to-day, although they number 100,000 officially, there are probably many thousands more. He saw the overcrowded houses with no sanitation, and was told that in Pakistan—a jewel of the Commonwealth—150,000 people die each year from tuberculosis. My Lords, to these people political freedom comes very low on the list of priorities.
The Western countries enjoy, it is alleged, an affluent society; but an affluent society cannot survive in a vacuum. Until you have a World Welfare State there must inevitably be discontent and tension. Of course, in a highly-civilised society such as the Western countries enjoy, altruism alone should impel us to strive to improve the lot of millions of our fellow human beings. Unhappily, man is inherently selfish, and, consequently, it is necessary to emphasise that it is in his own self-interest to concern himself with the "have riots". Our Fighting Services, with a vast amount of money at their disposal, are concentrating on how to win a hypothetical hot war with weapons which may become obsolete in six months. Surely, our military strategists would be well advised to remember that a hot war may never come if there is a victor in the cold war. In the light of world events as we have had them described here this afternoon, surely it is time that we re-orientated our strategy and provided the underdeveloped countries with weapons against their immediate enemies—poverty, hunger and disease. I would 1054 say, my Lords, that these weapons would improve with time, not become obsolete. Therefore, to the cynic I would say that it pays to be moral in international affairs to-day. If the acquisitive instinct of the Belgians had not been so strong, and if they had devoted more of their wealth to the welfare of the Congolese, the appalling situation in the Congo would not have arisen. The Belgians' omissions in Africa have handed Communism a trump card.
My Lords, should we be satisfied with our record in social welfare in the Commonwealth? The ugly fact is that there is urgent work in the field of medicine which we have neglected. Throughout the Commonwealth there are the grossest inequalities. In some parts there is a struggle for medical work, and precious time is wasted on trivial complaints; in other parts there are large numbers of seriously ill patients with little hope of any medical service. Health facilities in some of the underdeveloped countries should be seen in the light of the regulations in Britain, which limit a doctor here to a maximum list of 3,500 patients—and even this figure is, rightly, regarded as too high.
May I remind your Lordships of what the position is in some of the underdeveloped countries? In Sierra Leone there is one doctor to 26,000 people; in Nigeria there is one doctor to 57,700 people. And we believe that we left Nigeria in a very happy state, well able to administer its own affairs! We have heard this afternoon about the education difficulties of Nigerians, and how they are desperately in need of teachers. Here, in the field of medicine, we left them with one doctor to 57,700 patients. In Kenya there is one doctor to 10,500 patients. In Uganda there is one doctor to 15,900 patients. In Northern Rhodesia there is one doctor to 8,140 patients. I had a little paper handed me yesterday entitled The Voice of St. Lucia. St. Lucia, I should perhaps explain, is a little island in the West Indies; and I take it that, because the West Indies are federated we all believe them well able to look after themselves. By a strange coincidence, the headline of this paper was:St. Lucia's doctor shortage grows.Then it announced that at the end of February the only surgeon in the island will be leaving, and also that three other 1055 medical officers will have terminated their contracts without requesting a renewal.
My Lords, here is the picture, and I believe that it is urgent for us to take action. I wish to be constructive, and I say that we should take to the underdeveloped countries certain medical services which will be widely appreciated and well within our means. I am fully aware of the fact that there are economic difficulties, and that to suggest a scheme which would be extravagant would inevitably mean that no action would be taken. No doubt much good was done when our well-meaning missionaries carried the Bible to distant lands; but to-day the rod of Aesculapius will now prove to be a more formidable weapon. Men and women throughout these countries know that to-day poverty, hunger, disease and ignorance can be remedied; and they will incline to the nation which offers them relief and help, irrespective of the political structure and the Constitution of that nation. May I just quote to your Lordships what Sir Douglas Robb, a New Zealander and eminent doctor who takes a great interest in these matters, said recently? He said:How proper it is for us. who for the moment—perhaps a fleeting moment—know a little more about these things, to wish to help; how dismal our failure if we sit at ease in our Zions and do nothing. In terms of practical politics, and even of self-interest, it may be better to lend a hand where it is wanted—while the brief opportunity is there.My Lords, I feel that here is an opportunity for the Minister of Health—who is due for a gesture of beneficence—to undertake a task of real nobility. We need an all-embracing medical plan for teaching and research over the whole Commonwealth. Indeed, if we in this country prepared this plan, it could be regarded as a prototype for other nations throughout the world. Some small attempts have been made, by a few individuals impelled by idealism, to meet the needs of the underdeveloped countries; and not for one moment would I underestimate the worth of these attempts. There are a few voluntary schemes, such as the Great Ormond Street Hospital's association with Uganda; Bristol's association with East Africa; and the proposed sponsorship by Birmingham University of a new medical 1056 school which is being planned in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. And there are others. But something much more comprehensive is needed which will inspire men and women to give their services abroad. In return, they should be justly rewarded: such service, showing, as it does, enterprise, power of adaptation and compassion, should make a man or woman more deserving, not less, of a subsequent appointment to a post in the United Kingdom. Professor Kenneth Hill, the Professor of Pathology at the Royal Free Hospital, who has written on this subject, said:The biggest contribution which employing authorities such as Regional Hospital Boards, Universities and General Practice can make is in applying a code of secondment and as treating a period of overseas service as an asset to promotion rather than the reverse.I feel that in this matter we should follow the example of the educational services. Your Lordships well recall that the Commonwealth Education Conference at Oxford arose from the Commonwealth Conference of Prime Ministers at Ottawa, and was supported financially by the Ministry of Education, the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Colonial Office. This should be taken as our pattern in the field of medicine. The Prime Minister could raise the matter of a medical service within the Commonwealth at the next Prime Ministers' Conference, and a Commonwealth Medical Conference could be organised. I am quite sure that the Prime Ministers of other Commonwealth countries, their medical advisers, and indeed all those near to them who are aware of the picture which I have briefly tried to paint to your Lordships, would generously identify themselves with any scheme of this kind.
Furthermore, I believe that it is of the utmost importance to establish supernumerary appointments in British universities, so as to enable staffs to go overseas. If the Treasury can be persuaded to release the money to the University Grants Committee for such a purpose, then key medical personnel can be sent from this country to train the teachers; and this, in my opinion, is the most economic way of making an impact and of utilising our resources. My Lords, time is running short, and the need is desperate. We should take these measures now. If we delay, it may be too late.
§ 5.10 p.m.
My Lords, the noble Earl's Motion calls our attention to the need for both technical and economic aid to underdeveloped countries. I should like to confine the few things that I have to say to the economic field. In fact, it is not easy entirely to dissociate the two forms of aid, because even technical aid makes considerable inroads into the overall resources of donor countries. I should like to associate myself, first of all, with everything that has been said about the desirability of increasing aid to countries which are behind in modern development, and I sympathise with the proposals which the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, (has put before your Lordships' House this afternoon for increasing the medical aid that we can give to countries less privileged than ourselves. On the other hand, if the noble Lady will allow me to say so, she was perhaps a little less than fair to this country' in her criticism that we left Ghana with less up-to-date and extensive medical services than we enjoy in this country.
Will the noble Lady excuse me—Nigeria. The burden which would be imposed on this country if we gave aid on that sort of standard in the wide area for which we have had responsibility in recent years would really be more than we could possibly contemplate. However, I think your Lordships would all agree that the need is great, and it is a question of how much more we can do and how best it can be applied.
There is need also for aid in all forms to be well co-ordinated, if it is to be applied to the maximum effect. To my mind, the (term "aid" should be interpreted as investment, because unless we apply the competitive tests of commercial investment in selecting projects, it is impossible to guard against the squandering of our precious resources. It is of great importance that every project and scheme should be carefully and independently scrutinised to see whether the development is viable in 'the territory concerned and in the circumstances in which it is contemplated. It is all too easy, if one looks round the world, to 1058 see an enormous number of highly desirable capital projects, but it is much more difficult to select those which are economically sound and which deserve some reasonable degree of priority.
Surely the international agencies which have been set up for this purpose have been highly successful. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, more commonly referred to as the World Bank, 'has built up a first-class team of specialists who have acquired considerable experience in "vetting" schemes, in giving financial and technical aid and, more important still, in actually financing projects and dealing with the administrative problems involved. The noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, told your Lordships earlier this afternoon of the enormous sums which have already been provided by the World Bank in aid to underdeveloped countries. Here I am afraid that I part company with the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, because I believe 'that we really could not do better than give the World Bank our full support in every possible way, using them both as the co-ordinator for aid programmes and as the agency through which the practical problems can be handled.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, while fully aware of the great services of the World Bank, may I ask the noble Lord whether it is not a fact that the difficulty of the World Bank is that it has nobody to do 'the job? They have not got a management team. That is really the weakness that exists at the moment.
It may be a reasonable criticism that the World Bank have not got the management team actually to manage projects when they come into operation, but, on the other hand, they have an extensive and experienced team of people who do the pre-investment investigations into projects.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, they have not got any management to take over on the ground, which is what is required in many countries, like Nyasaland, to get things actually started. That is the problem that the World Bank is up against.
My Lords, of course the noble Lord has much greater 1059 experience of these matters than I have, but I can assure him, from my limited contact with the World Bank, that before the Board pass a loan or back a development they are extremely careful to satisfy themselves that the management is available, whether it is provided by them or by the country in which they are investing or whether it can be brought in from other member countries who contribute to the funds. And I would still stick to my point, that probably the most practised and best equipped agency which exists for dealing with all stages of investment, from investigation to the actual financing of a project, is the World Bank.
I believe that the main part of our limited cash and manpower—because it is strictly limited—would certainly be most effectively employed by giving further support to the World Bank. A further advantage in carrying out these aid programmes to underdeveloped countries through the World Bank is that it is a completely international body and, up to a point, it removes the reluctance of some recipients who feel that there may be some political or economic strings tied to aid which is provided on a bilateral basis. However, the amount of finance for aid is strictly limited.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, this is a very interesting point which the noble Lord has raised. Is he not regarding this aid too much as a banking proposition? All the tests that he has applied seem to me the kind of test that a normal joint stock bank in this country would apply if you went for an overdraft. That is very sensible—but this is not quite the same thing.
My Lords, when I first got up, I said that I wanted to confine myself entirely to the economic aspect of this problem, although I accept the noble Lord's criticism. Many other noble Lords this afternoon have dealt with the social and political aspects of aid in the broader sense. So far as the economic side of the problem is concerned, I think that there are some definite limitations and that the view which banks and investment institutions take of projects put before them needs to be applied in many of these cases. In fact, I believe that the success of the World Bank has largely been due to the fact that they have applied well- 1060 tried commercial and banking techniques in the broader field of giving aid to countries that require it.
§ LORD AMWELL
My Lords, would that argument apply where there is Government credit and national credit behind it?
§ LORD AMWELL
My Lords, it is difficult to put it in a few words. What I mean is that the standards by which an ordinary joint stock bank deal with overdrafts is one thing. The fact that this Bank has national credit and national plans of campaign for the purposes of the bank behind it would make a difference to the consideration given to loans.
Yes, certainly. I am afraid I have been slightly drawn off my ground. I am not trying to maintain that the rules which would be applied by all joint stock banks in this country are the sort of rules generally that are applied, or should be applied, by an agency such as the World Bank, making international loans. They are not at the moment, and I think that is being too much restrictive. My general proposition is that there is a limited amount of resources available, either from this country or from the world as a whole, that can be channelled into this direction. You have to select those projects which prove themselves viable in the long run, and economically sound.
The noble Lord has Chosen the rate of interest; but I would say projects which can repay the capital over a reasonable period, paying a rate of interest which is competitive generally for international loans. I am afraid I have stepped into a severe controversy on this point.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COLONIAL AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF PERTH)
My Lords, perhaps I can help the noble Lord, Lo rd Melchett. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, takes the figure of 7 per cent. out of the air, but I think noble Lords will recall that the World Bank is well aware of this problem, and it is for that reason that there 1061 has recently been set up the institution known as I.D.A., which will, as part of the World Bank's operations, make loans in a different form and on less onerous terms.
My noble friend Lord Perth is correct. It is the International Development Association.
Perhaps we cam group these things together as extensions of the World Bank, which they both are. It is not always appreciated that the amount of aid which the more highly capitalised and developed countries can provide is in direct proportion to the surpluses which they earn themselves. It is equally true in the modern world that unless they can continue to invest at a high rate in their own economies they will be unable to continue to produce surpluses which are available for investment overseas. This is even so in the United States, which is, relative to the rest of the world, very highly developed and enjoys vast natural resources. But in a country such as our own, where we have strictly limited natural resources and a need to make up lost ground in investment in many of our industries—in our transport system, in education and in other urgent capital projects—it is even more important that we should maintain a high rate of investment in our own economy, because if we do not earn a reasonable surplus each year and 'maintain ourselves in a competitive position with the rest of the world, we, shall not be able to offer aid to anyone.
Perhaps I may turn now to the short-term factor—still risking further censure from the noble Lord, Lord Amwell—sticking to the economic aspects of the problem only. It has been suggested—it was suggested during the debate on foreign affairs a fortnight ago—that we should do more to help overseas by extending short-term credits and giving greater credit for our exports. I do not think everything in the export credit field 1062 is perfect; far from it. I think there is a lot that could be done both to improve and to extend our existing facilities. However, most of the countries that wish to borrow from us, by their very nature, form capital slowly, and they can repay their loans only from capital formation and the savings from their own economy. For us merely to extend a greater amount of short-term credit to get the recipients into short-term liquidity problems, and get ourselves in a position where we are exporting more semi-permanent and permanent capital than we can really afford, would have consequences on our currency which have been stressed by the Government, and by others, to a point where they hardly bear repetition.
The noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, in winding up the Foreign Affairs debate, made this very point far more eloquently and effectively than I fear I have been able to do this afternoon. The noble Earl also left your Lordships on that occasion with a thought which in some ways has even more significance. He pointed out that what really matters in these underdeveloped countries is that they should have stable raw material prices. Since most of them are fundamentally producers of raw materials, stable prices for those products, as the noble Earl said, are worth more to them than any amount of aid: indeed, the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, echoed this point when he spoke earlier this afternoon.
A number of commodity stabilisation schemes have been tried out, and it occurs to me that this is a field in which this country might take the initiative in bringing other countries together to examine the possibility of introducing further commodity stabilisation schemes. We have been very succcessful in this country in setting up marketing boards to deal with agricultural commodities. International commodities, of course, present far greater difficulties, but the benefits to the world as a whole of greater stability in commodity prices might well be as great as the stability in currency exchange rates which we have enjoyed since the last war. When the noble Earl comes to reply, I hope he may be able to indicate whether the Government have in mind taking some 1063 action in this direction. If I might suggest it, an extension of the World Bank's activities could possibly be the means of tackling this problem, particularly as we have seen the immense success that the International Monetary Fund has had in stabilising currency exchange rates since the war. I believe that by continuing and extending our support to the World Bank and similar agencies. and by encouraging greater development of their powers and activities, we should be carrying out just that policy of interdependence which the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, so convincingly put forward during the debate on the international situation in your Lordships' House some two weeks ago.
While recognising that the needs of the world are ever increasing, and that they are likely to continue to increase, we should not under-estimate the contribution that this country has already made. I do not want to repeat what the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, has already told your Lordships about the amount of Government and private capital which has been provided by this country in recent years. However, I believe that our effective contribution could be increased further without straining our balance of payments position. First, I should like to suggest to your Lordships that if we can increase the inflow of capital into this country it would enable us to increase the outflow without our being any worse off. There are a number of substantial investors—particularly in the United States, but also in other parts of the world, such as Switzerland—who have immense funds which they would be prepared to invest in this country on a larger scale were it not for the fact that we withhold 38¾per cent. tax from interest and dividends. I do not want to take up too much of your Lordships' time with detail, but it is a fact that most of the funds which I have mentioned are very large charitable foundations and pension funds, and they are unable to offset in their own countries the tax which they suffer here under the normal double taxation agreements, because for the most part they are non-taxpaying funds.
The result is that other countries, notably Holland and Australia, where 100 per cent. of dividends and interest 1064 are received, are attracting this form of investment capital, and we are not. A recent examination of the 71 largest open-ended investment trusts in the United States showed that, out of total assets of about 15 billion dollars (that gives some indication of the size of the sums involved) they had altogether only 500,000 dollars invested in Shell Transport and Trading, Limited, in this country, but 100 million dollars in Royal Dutch Shell. Likewise, the holdings in Unilever N.V. were 13 million dollars, and there was no holding at all in Unilever, Limited.
I could give similar examples, but the point I should like to make is that these funds are substantial, and if they had the same tax treatment here as is afforded in some other countries, there is the possibility that it would attract an inflow of capital which would enable us to increase both the amount of investment and the credit which we could extend to underdeveloped areas. I realise that this suggestion involves taxation problems, and I must apologise to the noble Earl who is to reply for not having given him notice that I was going to raise this point. Naturally I do not expect him to give me an answer this afternoon, but I feel that it is a point worthy of close consideration, and I hope the Government will bear it in mind.
Lastly, I would say that in my view there is only one way in which we can increase the amount of aid which we can afford to give from this country. That is by encouraging others to co-operate with us in investment projects in those territories, in the Colonies and in the Commonwealth, where we have special responsibilities. If we really believe in the need for interdependence in the world—as was so eloquently put to your Lordships by the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, in the International Affairs debate—then we could well increase the amount of co-operation and collaboration that we have in investment and commercial enterprises. I should like to see more British firms prepared—as, in, deed, the best and most progressive do—to invite the collaboration of German, Swiss, Italian, Dutch and Japanese capital in projects in underdeveloped areas in which we have special interests. We must overcome the very real "hangover" from the war, which still exists with some people and makes them reluctant 1065 to enter into joint enterprises with former enemies, and the equally strong "hangover" which one finds in some quarters of the concept of "Empire" which makes people believe that it is necessary that the development of certain areas should be retained exclusively for British interests. To my mind, both these attitudes are out of date. If we are going to believe in international co-operation and inter-dependence, they considerably restrict the part we could play in aiding the development of these countries.
§ 5.34 p.m.
My Lords, I rise to make very briefly only two points which seem to me germane to this afternoon's discussion. In saying so, I should like to paint a rather rosier picture of British administration of colonial territories than that painted by my noble friend Lady Summerskill, although not in any way wishing to minimise the really horrifying conditions which she has described. On the other hand, I think we may claim considerable credit in this field, indeed, I think I should not be wrong if I said that, in setting up the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund, and the Colonial Development Corporation, we set a model which has been followed by other countries, in particular the United States of America. And we were the first nation to take effective steps in this sphere.
In my view we might have done more. To some extent we handicapped our own brain child, and I shall continue to regret —as has been said repeatedly in this House—that Her Majesty's Government found it desirable or necessary to cut off all assistance from these two Funds on the attainment of independence by any territory, except in so far as the completion of a scheme already in hand was concerned. This I deplore, and I shall continue to do so. But I suppose we can hardly hope that the Government will reform their ways at this stage.
That brings me to the third profoundly important British sphere of activity in this field—I refer to the Colombo Plan. As your Lordships will remember, the Colombo Plan started out as a purely Commonwealth enterprise and organisation. Since then it has become international. I think I am right in saying that ten foreign countries have now become members of the Colombo Plan, 1066 and a great deal has been done. At the same time, one must not lose sight of the fact that, despite all that has been done, the per capita production of the countries affected by the Colombo Plan is less than it was before the war. This is, of course, the measure of the increase of population, calculated, I believe, to be a matter of 10 million a year. I think this arises more from a fall in the death rate than from a rise in the birth rate, but the fact remains that the population is still increasing in those territories at a rate which we have been unable to overtake, much less surpass, in the economic field.
The development of the Colombo Plan is a very good illustration of the point that I rose to make—that is to say, that from being national, or bipartisan, if you like, it has become international. It is my belief that we in this country can most usefully bring aid to underdeveloped territories through international agencies, rather than by schemes of our own. Our own schemes are in any case limited by the rule to which I have already referred, or because territories become independent. More and more are becoming independent, and I think the population of the territories eligible for help under the two Funds I mentioned earlier has been halved in the last two or three years. I believe that we can most usefully make our contribution through the Special Agencies. I am not going to enter into an exchange of initials. I have a list of organisations here whose initials must use every letter of the alphabet, some of them many times over. I think this stresses a rather unfortunate aspect of those Agencies—that is, their tendency to overlap. I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, who seemed, if I understood him aright, to welcome this multiplicity of sources of assistance. He seemed to think that every problem had an organisational answer of its own. Perhaps I misunderstood him.
§ LORD BIRDWOOD
My Lords, what I meant to imply was that, provided there is sufficient demand at the receiving end, provided the receiving end is aware of the sources from which it can receive aid, and of all the separate functions of each source, then difficulties do not arise because there is a choice.
Then I have not wholly misunderstood the noble Lord. I would suggest to him, and the House, that it would be much easier for the country wanting to make a claim if there were some kind of central body. It is in this connection that I deplore the demise—for such I take it has occurred of—"SUNFED", which was a plan under which it was proposed that 3,000 million dollars a year should be distributed in the form of grants-in-aid. This seems to me the more regrettable since, as the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, pointed out, these countries, in accepting loans, also accept the liability to service those loans in the future. There can be no doubt, I think, that one of the most difficult economic problems in the underdeveloped territories is just this problem: how they are to meet the recurrent expenditure and the interest rates on their loans when they have had the loans and have invested their money in various desirable, and indeed essential, developments in their countries. Her Majesty's Government have always been unenthusiastic, not to put it more strongly, so far as their attitude towards "SUNFED" is concerned. They are, however, I am glad to say, better disposed, or at any rate more generously disposed, towards the Special Fund which seems to have taken some part of "SUNFED'S" place, and I hope that they may continue and increase their support of the Special Fund.
My Lords, I said that I rose to make two points. The first one has, in a way, arisen from the development of the Colombo Plan. The other also, I think, is demonstrated by the success of the Colombo Plan, because it is the essential feature of the Colombo Plan that it is a two-way traffic. The countries in the area are not all either receiving territories or giving territories; the whole action and reaction is mutual. As a result, there is a very important psychological reaction, a feeling that people are really doing something for themselves. Here I have to agree with the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, if I understood him aright. The essential thing with any assistance that is given is not that it is in itself good but that the people in the territory and the Governments of the underdeveloped territories actually co-operate and desire that particular form of development.
1068 I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, who asked what will happen When the captains and the kings have departed. I think he hit that nail very soundly on the head. Unless these things are founded in the effort of the people of the territories themselves, when the captains and the kings have departed the organisation will fall apart. This is, I think, absolutely basic experience, which has been met from the highest to the lowest level. It has been met in respect of the Governments of those territories and in work in the territories themselves. It has been found that if you wish to bring help and development to a backward rural district you must have the understanding co-operation of the people themselves in that district; and this will, I hope, be kept strictly in mind and will be the guilding principle on which we shall bring help. We are all at one in our desire to help the dependent territories. I think that noble Lords on both sides of the House feel that more could and should be done; and I hope that it will be.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, in rising to say a few words on this Motion I find myself in the very unusual position of agreeing with almost every word that the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, has uttered in his speech just now. It will to some extent save my dealing with the Colombo Plan, about which I had meant to say a little more. I should like, before starting, to congratulate the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, on his speech in moving this Motion. I agree with the sketch which he made, and the only point of disagreement I would have with him is his emphasis on our own domestic contribution through domestic agencies. I should be the last to deny the magnificent work which has been done by the Colonial Development Corporation and equally also the Development and Welfare Funds, but they are relatively small things compared with what I think this debate was intended to deal with in a major way, which was the great worldwide effort of the United Nations to cope with what is a world-wide problem.
I think, in passing, that the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, was a little unfair in the picture she drew of Nigeria. Perhaps it would have been fairer if she had mentioned what we started from in 1069 Nigeria, and what the position was like there 50 or 60 years ago. Perhaps a fairer comparison of the situation of that country to-day would be to take a parallel case with not the England of to-day but the England of say 200 years ago and see how that compared. But I do not wish to say more about it than that. I agree with her that there is very much to be done in the medical field. Also I hope to say something on the lines of thought of the right reverend Prelate, the Lord Bishop of Chichester. Everyone who has spoken to-day has given his own angle of experience to the debate. I look at this as an administrator, and I can assure the right reverend Prelate that the points that he mentioned about the effect on the life of the people have not, and could not have, escaped attention when you look at the quality of many of the men involved in this United Nations work. The importance of education has most emphatically not been overlooked.
My Lords the apparent simplicity of this Motion covers questions of the greatest complexity, and it is a mistake, I suggest, to be deceived by the apparent ease with which, granted the will, monetary aid could be given. That is only the beginning of aid. The need for more and better co-ordinated aid, I take it, would not be questioned by anybody. But in order to streamline such aid one must first of all appreciate the reasons why the richer countries should give urgent priority to this work and the catastrophic consequences which failure to take such action might, and almost certainly would, have.
But I would take one look, first of all, before dealing with the United Nations organisations, at the Colombo Plan. It was started as a purely Commonwealth affair in 1950; it was subsequently joined by the United States of America and Japan, and then it finally assumed an international aspect. It deals, as your Lordships know, with the countries of South and South-East Asia. Prominent members are well known; they are the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United States, India and countries of Indo-China, and Burma. It has no permanent secretariat; it works through a Consultative Committee, and it surveys needs, assesses resources and provides the framework 1070 within which international co-operative effort can be promoted.
It has had in many ways a phenomenal success. It deals with financial aid for particular needs, equipment and technical assistance; it lends experts and it runs courses on the spot to teach technical skills, tropical agriculture, economic development, crop protection techniques, labour administration, trade unionism, general taxation, finance engineering, economics, coalmining, medicine, and civil uses of nuclear power. I mention all these things to indicate that, as it has from the beginning, the Colombo Plan has dealt with the problem as I suggest it should be dealt with: that is, generally speaking, by dealing with the reforming of the whole way of life of the people of the country concerned.
The Colombo Plan has become the symbol of the economic aspirations of hundreds of millions of people—more than one quarter of the world's population. The countries concerned are in varying stages of economic development and differing cultural heritage and traditions. Its goal has, I think, been splendidly described asto enable the free nations of the area to achieve a momentum of economic progress which will make it possible for them to go forward in self-reliant growth.In that one sentence there is comprised, I think, an ideal statement of the principle on which international aid should be based.
The most difficult decisions are those of assessing priorities, and the most pressing problem, as the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, said, is that of the increase of population. In many countries the age groups seeking employment are outstripping the increase in employment opportunities. Birth rates are high. For instance, in Singapore the birth rate is one of the highest in the world; it is 3 per cent, per annum. Probably hygiene and the application of the results of medical research have heavily reduced the death rate; but in dealing, for instance, with India, the report that the Colombo Plan made was that they had to admit that the net result of their efforts had been to preserve alive several million more people on the margin of subsistence. We aim rather higher than that, and the experience they have gained is being concentrated on that objective.
1071 Let me emphasise again that the aid given by the donor countries is designed to supplement, but not to supplant, the basic initiative of the recipient country. The lessons learned by the Colombo Plan are that arithmetical increases in facilities will not achieve objectives if the population itself does not have a sense of progress and does not have the incentives or the will to make the additional efforts required. In a word, this means that ancient traditions and age-old techniques have to go. The changing patterns of production and consumption create problems which are both political and social; and still economic progress has to take place within a framework of democratic institutions—in other words, to achieve higher standards of living in an atmosphere of peace and freedom. It is easy to achieve stupendous results in development if you are not particular about the methods you use—I shall have a little to say about that later. That is the difference between our technique and that of the Soviet Union.
The United Nations set itself a fourfold task. Under the following four headings these undeveloped countries all, at one time or another, are likely to come. The first was, security organisation; the peaceful settlement of international disputes. The second was, friendly relations, and respect for equal rights and self-determination. The third was, international co-operation in solving problems of an economic, social, cultural and humanitarian character, and the promotion of fundamental human rights. The fourth was to be a centre for harmonising actions of nations in attainment of common ends. Since 1918, and mostly since 1945, 900 million people have found national independence.
The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, acting under authority of the General Assembly and in accordance with their Charter, has surrounded itself with functional commissions dealing with all manner of subjects. As the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, pointed out, it has created regional economic commissions for Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Far East, and Africa. These, in turn, have set up numerous subordinate committees, expert groups and working 1072 parties. The question arises: Do we need expansion, or consolidation? Is there a sufficiently co-ordinated and coherent approach, or have policies become too fragmented, and is there waste of resources and manpower due to overlapping?
The United Nations authorities themselves tried to answer these questions, and they published recently a five-year perspective, 1960 to 1964, reporting on the scope, trend and cost of United Nations programmes in the economic, social and human rights field. The conclusions they arrived at were that closer contact is needed between financial institutions and all the agencies concerned with development; that the basic division of functions and responsibilities between the United Nations and their agencies in economic and social fields is good, and that co-ordination within the United Nations system is by consent. Consultations take place between the United Nations Secretariat and the Secretariats of their related agencies. Duplication, they say, is not great, except in fields like education and training which cover so many—in fact, nearly all—of the activities, and therefore they must be concerned with them. In the end, all problems seem to come back to education.
It may be that some sort of clearinghouse arrangement would be desirable in fields where the various organisations have a common interest. But the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination should be pre-occupied with policies and programmes rather than with administrative issues. I know that various organisations develop their Budgets separately, hence there may be a risk of lack of balance and possible impeding of co-operative action owing to lack of resources of one or more of the agencies. But these agencies and councils have now grown beyond the detailed attention of the Co-ordinating Committee; and the United Nations themselves propose that they should be freed from that, and arrangements are being made accordingly.
The striking feature in the world today is that in spite of the vast and which is being channelled through United Nations Agencies to underdeveloped countries, the economic inequalities between developed and underdeveloped countries are growing greater. They are 1073 flagrant realities in the world to-day, and the pressures being built up by the sense of grievance of so-called underdeveloped countries, and the tendency to blame richer countries for their poverty—a tendency explained, and not only explained but exploited, by their political leaders—constitute a growing menace to world peace. Professor Blackett has pointed out that in less than 200 years the Western World has made a transformation in the material life of the world much greater than that which had taken place during the previous 4,000 or 5,000 years. He asked, also, "Was this due to climate, religion, natural aptitudes, or social system?" And he concluded that it was probably due to the social system.
The poorest countries of the world, comprising roughly two-thirds of its population, have to manage with about one-sixth of the world's income; and United Nations experts have estimated that in order to enable underdeveloped countries to attain a pace of economic development which would increase their per capita income by about 2 per cent. per year, an annual influx, as I believe the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, mentioned, of 7,000 to 8.000 million dollars is needed. In fact, the annual increase in per capita income of industrially advanced countries is nearly 3 per cent. so that the gap economically between these and the poorer countries would naturally go on increasing.
There is another point which I suggest we have to remember: the absorptive capacity of underdeveloped countries is limited within a given period of time. However great may be the desire to inject aid into it, the country must be in a position to digest that aid; and, as I have said, probably social and economic institutions have to be reformed. Foreign aid is not just a magic wand by which countries receiving can benefit in a brief period of time. One of the world authorities has written, if I may quote him briefly, as follows:Before an economy can be properly developed it is necessary to undertake a great deal of investment in basic construction and in social overhead (such as irrigation, power projects, roads, education etc.) which often are not profitable in the short run and from an individual point of view, but are of the greatest long-term benefit to society as a whole. These constitute the infra-structure on which the industrial super-structure is built.1074 Economically, the underdeveloped countries are short of capital, skill and managerial ability: there is no question about that. They have to have capital provided for them, and capital covers so many things: it represents, for instance, machines in a material form and human beings in the human medium. It is all part of the capital which is required for development. It has been estimated by the United Nations authorities that 1 per cent. of the income of the richer countries is regarded as a minimum annual contribution which should be made by those countries towards the welfare of the peoples of underdeveloped countries. I will not go into the figures, as that would take too long at this hour; but it means that something like 5,000 or 6,000 million dollars have to flow annually to underdeveloped countries from public sources.
The present flow of capital aid is inadequate, and the gap between living standards in underdeveloped and advanced countries still is widening. A certain amount has been said earlier this evening about the International Bank. It has been suggested, I think, that that is run rather as a bank and does not have quite a human outlook on these things. But Mr. Eugene Black, head of that Bank, reminded us in a recent publication that economic development is not an end in itself: the goal is more hope and opportunity for more people. He pointed out that the methods by which economic growth is achieved are just as important as the growth itself; and this is the kernel of difference between the Soviet method and that of the Free World. The increase in wellbeing has to be political and spiritual, as well as economic, and the difficulty arises in how to secure advantages in terms of development without arousing too much hostility in the process. Those of us who have had experience abroad know the hostility which is liable to be aroused when one tries to help people if it means altering their ways and customs and, in fact, changing their way of life.
Yet so long as it is realised that poverty has not been Divinely ordained, this is the first world-wide attempt to deal with it. The position is that the peace of tradition has been disturbed and the security of old ways has been under- 1075 mined. And the tragedy is that the impact of modern science and technology has made traditional ways obsolete without providing a tolerable alternative. Hence, of course, is the ground for the legend of Western exploitation which has been spread by the Communists. It has been said, not without some reason, that nationalism is one part patriotism and two parts obsession that their poverty and discontent stem from having been held so long in tutelage. Another of Mr. Black's sayings is that the values of freedom and democracy cannot be sold like soap. Only by constant and constructive contact can they be taught. Planning also, he points out, is sometimes suspect, but planning illuminates choices rather than imposes solutions. And in the same way economic aid does not just subsidise people; it influences events.
My Lords, the Communist system itself has come along and it has swept away the social debris of centuries. The Communists have borrowed the economic and the industrial technology of the West but they repudiate Western political freedom and the dignity of the individual. They have been very successful, at a price; and that price, my Lords, is the price of human freedom, which we ourselves are not prepared to pay. As I look at it, we aim really at a welfare world in this system of aid to underdeveloped countries. After all, the Welfare State here is a created harmony. It is not the result of laissez faire but is the result of policy interference by organised society. And we aim, presumably, at the same sort of thing throughout the world, eventually, the creation of this welfare world by active interference of organised society.
My Lords, at the present moment there is nothing on a world scale corresponding to the state of mind within a nation; and that is the concept of unity. But we seem to see the beginning of it in this system of international aid, and with these contributions of the more advanced nations there is perhaps the beginning of international taxation. One of the difficulties, again, is that as the inhabitants of some of these countries become conscious of grievances, nationalistic feelings can easily develop to an intensity which is beyond any rational justification; and to foment these feelings is often the most effective 1076 means of acquiring and keeping political power.
The basic political dilemma is the need of real democracy in the country to break down the existing impediments to economic development. At the same time, democracy makes it more difficult to hold down the level of consumption to the degree necessary for savings for rapid development. Hence there arise the dynamic dictatorships such as the Soviet system, because that appears, to many minds, to be the only way in which you can dictate that kind of saving for the sake of development. A lot of new thinking, no doubt, has to be done to pick out what is good from the old customs and traditions of countries and to have the courage to throw away the rest and advance on the lines of the new world.
In conclusion, my Lords, I should like to offer one thought, and that is that the West owes to the East the gift of empirical technology. It was in the East that the great religions arose, and I suggest that the future may hold an equal debt of mankind to the East. I am thinking of what I believe is a rather distorted picture at the moment. Africa holds the world stage; the troubles in Africa are imminent and urgent, and I think they are apt to deflect our attention from the fact that, in all probability, the East, the Far East, is still more important for Vile future of mankind than any other part of the world. And I see in the network of United Nations organisations for aid to underdeveloped countries the beginnings, the tentative and uncertain beginnings, perhaps, of a World Government.
§ 6.17 p.m.
§ LORD CRAIGMYLE
My Lords, he who rises at this late stage in the debate has little to do but hark back over what has been said by previous speakers—unless perhaps he has been foolish enough to write out his speech in, full, in which case he will have the additional task of tearing it up. I have not done that. The point I wish to hark back to was a point to which my noble friend Lord Milverton just said everything returns; the point of education. I should like to come to it, if I may, by a slightly roundabout way. I have been struck as speaker after speaker has made reference to the fact that the problem of the underdeveloped countries is basically a moral 1077 problem. The noble Lord, Lord Grant-attester, devoted the whole of the first part of his speech to this theme.
What he was trying to tell us, I think, was something like this: that we have a duty towards underdeveloped countries in terms of justice, because justice demands that the goods of the world should be available for all God's people; we have a duty to the underdeveloped countries in terms of charity, because we who enjoy life in an affluent society cannot in charity shut up our bowels of compassion from the people who live at or below a starvation level; and we have a duty to the underdeveloped countries in terms Of prudence (and my noble friend Lord Milverton developed this point also), because the appalling disparity between our standard of living and the standard sin the underdeveloped countries provokes just those thoughts which lead to hatred and to war.
As I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, I found myself wondering whether he realised how closely his line of thought was following, as the phraseology I have just used was following, the teachings of a very great teacher on international social questions, the late Pope Pius XII. And then when the noble Lord. Lord Grantchester, sat down, up got the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne; and he again emphasised that this was fundamentally not a political question but a moral question. The noble Marquess went on to remind us that although it might be basically a moral question, yet the line of action which would be dictated by economic self-interest was just that line of action which would satisfy our moral obligation; and that is perfectly true.
But there is, I suggest, a difference in the way in which we should go about it if we were thinking of it purely as self-interest and if we were thinking of it as having moral undertones. There is a danger of the atmosphere of "big brother" creeping into international aid. That atmosphere can best be got rid of by the personal touch, by human contact. That is why it seems to me that education—and, of course, medicine—have a particular value to offer in a solution of this problem, because they offer to individuals the prospect, the opportunity and the duty of personal service to their fellow men in countries over- 1078 seas; and that personal service, I am sure, can do far more than all the large-scale, international organisations could possibly do, in their impersonal way, towards a better working relationship between humans in different parts of the world.
Then again, education underlies the capacity to absorb other forms of technical aid. That was a point that was touched on by one or two noble Lords, though not, I think, sufficiently emphasised, for technical aid is bound to involve technology of a high level of complexity. And without people in the receiving countries being able to understand, to cope with and to operate that complex technology, the prospect of being able to pull out the experts who have installed new systems without their collapsing (the danger of which has been mentioned this afternoon) would be bleak indeed. But if the people in the receiving countries had been educated up to the level where they could cope with this technological complexity, then the whole installation of modern techniques would be greatly eased.
My Lords, the need for enormous educational aid is vast and very widespread. The right reverend Prelate, the Lord Bishop of Chichester, quoted specific facts that were mentioned by the Ashby Commission in their Report on Investment in Education in Nigeria, and he mentioned the figure of 280 expatriate teachers who would be required each year—not a total of 280, my Lords, but 280 new teachers from overseas each year for five years—in order to supplement the output of Nigerian universities and the number of Nigerians returning from training overseas—and that is in order to achieve the very modest target of increasing from 19 to 70 per 1,000 the number of secondary school entrants as compared with primary school entrants.
We have also been reminded this afternoon that the people in the new Commonwealth countries, the former colonial territories, look to Britain. We over here, surveying our own educational difficulties, are all too conscious of the shortage of teachers, particularly in scientific subjects. But should we not consider, that their need is greater than ours? If we were to make comparisons of teachers and pupils, as the noble Baroness opposite 1079 was earlier making comparisons of doctors and patients, should we not find that we were in duty bound to spare quite a number of our teachers to help in just such countries as Nigeria? Moreover, service abroad is invaluable to teachers. They return to this country with experience that they could gain in no other way. The work that has been done by the Ministry of Education in organising methods whereby teachers can serve overseas for a few years and then return without suffering any loss of seniority, and so forth, must go ahead, and will, I am sure, prove to be invaluable.
The work of recruitment of teachers certainly requires some co-ordination. It is, getting some, and it will, I hope, in the very near future, get more. There are, roughly speaking, three different types of schools: Government schools, mission schools and independent schools—of which the last have mission and Government influence, and probably an independent board of governors. The Government schools look to Government sources for their recruitment; the mission schools look to their own missionary societies, or their own missionary Orders, for their recruitment, and the other schools are increasingly looking to the Overseas Appointments Bureau which was set up in 1952 by the Institute of Christian Education. That Bureau has already done invaluable work and, although it was set up primarily to assist in the recruitment of teachers for independent schools, it is, in fact, more and more being asked by missionary societies and missionary Orders to help them in recruiting for purely missionary schools. The Bureau does a lot of work for Church of England schools, and I believe, also, for Methodist missionary schools; and in Uganda it helps the Roman Catholic missions to recruit for schools. The right reverend Prelate said that there was sound inter-denominational co-operation on this matter, which is certainly true, and I understand that at the moment certain steps are in progress which may lead to even more and sounder cooperation. It is upon such lines, my Lords, that those responsible for the recruitment of teachers are contributing towards more and better co-ordinated achievement in their work, which is so vital to the effectiveness of other forms of financial and technical aid.
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ LORD LATHAM
My Lords, I am sure the House will agree that my noble friend Lord Lucan has rendered a signal service this afternoon in stepping into the shoes of my noble friend Lord Listowel and initiating what has been a most useful and, I hope, fruitful discussion of this very important problem. The problem is, of course, much wider than we have been discussing. It is a part of a much more ample problem, another part of which, by sonic ill omen (if I may put it that way), is being discussed in another place this afternoon. The problem we are discussing is a problem, really, of humanity in both senses; for the problem affects all humanity, and involves moral problems for all humanity, notwithstanding what has just been said by the noble Lord, Lord Craigmyle.
The noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, said that some two-thirds of the population of the world live out their lives in hunger and disease. I had put the proportion at roughly a half. It may well be that Lord Lansdowne's figures are more accurate than mine, but that is a terrifying circumstance. Of course, much of the disease springs from the lack of food and lack of sustenance, and much of it is preventable. My noble friend Lady Summerskill painted a terrifying picture of disease rampant among hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. But it was a picture which I am sure was not exaggerated; and it was a picture the dark tones of which will get worse, not better, unless we speed up the aid, either internationally or nationally, which peoples need.
Abraham Lincoln said that a nation could not survive half slave and half free. The world is one and its people are one. Science and communications have created this unity. I submit, my Lords, that the world cannot survive half hungry and half well-fed. The aid to the hungry, to the underdeveloped, is not an act of charity: my noble friend Lord Lucan made that perfectly clear in his opening speech. It is the case that, the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, suggested that there should be some charitable activity, but it was charity, as I gathered, with an equity attached to it, which is a new kind of charity and which really ought to be referred to the Jenkins Committee on Company Law for consideration.
1081 We on this side do not take the view that it is a political question primarily. It is the case—and, after all, all civilisation is proof of this—that there is a moral duty upon those more fortunately circumstanced to aid those who are not; otherwise, from what motives and by what inspiration does civilisation itself arise and develop? It is because we have banded together into a society, in order either to subdue or to work with nature. The progress of civilisation has been an increasing concern for the interests and the welfare of individuals and of one another. We take the view, and I think it is indisputable, that it is a moral duty lying upon those better off to aid and help those who are worse off. In short, we are suggesting that nations should do what individuals do. That is explained, of course, by the progress that we make in modern society.
Mr. Kennedy, who is now the President of the United States, in a statement reported in The Timesof February 16, made it perfectly clear that there was an obligation. He said:In our common enterprises we must establish principles clearly understood by our Governments and our peoples on which burden sharing can be based.He went further and said that it was a duty owed by the strong to the weak, and an undertaking unmatched in scope, in difficulty, and in nobility of purpose. The alliance—that is, the alliance of N.A.T.O.—must work together in a new intimacy in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, in order to come firmly to grips with the fundamental problem of aid. My Lords, I am sure we all admit that the United States of America is entitled to speak on this subject. Apart from the tremendous aid which she has given through the United Nations and otherwise, she promoted and gave Marshall Aid, which brought succour to the peoples of Europe and may well have saved Europe from chaos and disaster.
But whilst it is a duty for us to aid the unfortunate, there are also, of course, political aspects. Whatever one does, in society one cannot rule out political considerations, because politics is, after all, the management of human affairs. Therefore, it is not to denigrate aid to admit that it will have certain political 1082 consequences, repercussions or advantages. May they be advantages rather than otherwise!One of them is the preservation of freedom as we know it in the West. For some time there have been quite justified criticisms, I think, that the field of activity of N.A.T.O. was too restricted—that it was restricted mainly to military considerations and defence. It is encouraging to us all, in connection with this matter and other matters, 10 know that N.A.T.O. is likely to widen its activities in a way which will be of help and which, as I understand it, will embrace, through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, aid to the underdeveloped countries of the world—not necessarily in Europe, but wherever needed, in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
It is encouraging to note that the United States of America and Canada have now come into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. They were not in the earlier Organisation, which this Organisation has now replaced. It is to be hoped that West Germany will play an appropriate part in making a contribution which is related to its capacity and (let us say it) its prosperity at the present time. According to The Times of February 20, the principle of aid has been accepted, but no amount has yet been indicated; and The Times says that there has been not much else achieved than a discussion of the principle. Negotiations, I gather, are to continue, and I think we can all hope that there will be some positive and worthy results. After all, West Germany should be able to appreciate the value of aid and all that it can accomplish, and I very much hope that West Germany will play its full part in this connection.
Whatever may be done through N.A.T.O., the O.E.C.D., the United Nations and the World Bank, or otherwise internationally, the United Kingdom must give its fair share of aid to the peoples of the Commonwealth as need may show. For the Commonwealth, my Lords, cannot survive half hungry and half well-fed. Here also we have a duty. The noble Earl, Lord Lucan, posed the question, as I do: Are we doing our duty in full measure? That is really part of the subject of this Motion. Frankly, I cannot feel that we are or that what we 1083 are doing is done in the best way to serve the ends which are in mind.
I gather that the aid is of two kinds—public aid and private aid. A few weeks ago, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that for the year 1960–61 the public aid would be in the region of£160 million, through the Commonwealth Development and Welfare Fund. I understand that assistance is given in this way. Of the sum which is necessary for any particular project, one part is paid by the recipient country, one part is to be raised by them in the money market or otherwise by loan and one part is to be provided by the United Kingdom by way of grants and loans or, as they are termed, allocations. I should be pleased if the noble Earl who is to reply for the Government would give some indication of whether these parts are equal or different, and, if they are different, what is the measure of the parts. I understand that the allocations, save in exceptional circumstances, are made to cover a period of five years. It is the case, of course, that these are allocations of the cost of the projects approved. It does not mean that in the year in which the allocation is approved the full sum, or indeed any of it, is remitted to the recipient country. That is done as the work proceeds.
Then there is the private aid by way of investment by the United Kingdom and Commonwealth which, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has amounted to roughly£109 million in recent years. This includes any public issues which have been floated on the market by the recipient country. The bulk of this has gone to Australia, Canada, South Africa, Central Africa, New Zealand and India, of whose grave and serious need we are all aware. But -India has received much less—there may be good reasons for it—than the other members of the Commonwealth whose names I have cited.
It seems that a small portion of the public aid was below the line in the Budget for the year ended March, 1960—no more than about£69 million. That means that the rest was provided from taxation. But the total is well below the 1 per cent, of our gross national income. If the national product were increased by an expansionist policy at home, as it 1084 well could be, then the amount of aid would be much larger, but unhappily, by reason of the Government's economic policy, production is not increasing. The return which has been issued to-day, for instance, shows that there was a slip downwards after having been on the plateau for some time. The Financial Times says to-day that the only comfort to be drawn from the return is that it is out of date. But if productivity were increased, then national production would increase and there would be more available for aid to those countries who need it. I am sure your Lordships will agree that we must see to it that the aid which we give does not bear too heavily on our general balance of payments. In 1959, so far as I can ascertain, there was a deficit of£118 million as regards the Colonies. Of course, we cannot overlook that aid is largely an unrequited export, and this applies also to loans raised on the London market, except as to the interest which is periodically paid. Thus, if we are to increase our aid, and I submit that we ought to do what we can to increase it, we must either increase our productivity and our gross national product or, by taxation, either direct or indirect, we must divert productive resources from less necessary and less desirable purposes. It may seem a little unpleasant, but it is not so unpleasant as the permanent hunger and disease which is being suffered by those who are crying out for help.
The alternative may be inflation. These increases of taxation in order to provide funds for aiding the underdeveloped countries would really be a collective sacrifice, our contribution, which I think the people of this country would be very willing to make. Moreover, we must remember the circumstances referred to by the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne—that in connection with aid for several years past we have benefited substantially from the fall in the price of primary commodities purchased from the underdeveloped countries, with the result that, in terms of trade, we have saved round about£100 million.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I said that a fall of 5 per cent. in the price of primary commodities would eliminate the value of all the aid which has so far been given. I did not say that we had benefited.
§ LORD LATHAM
No, my Lords, I did not intend to say or to imply that the noble Marquess did. I was going to comment on that later. What I am saying is not "if" there were a 5 per cent. reduction, but that the reduction which has taken place in the price of commodities has meant a benefit to this country—I am not grumbling about that personally—in terms of trade, of something like£100 million or£120 million, which means that the supplying countries in the Commonwealth have received that amount less than they would otherwise have received, and that loss of income from their exports must be set off against the aid given to them, because the net benefit is the aid less what they have lost from the fall in world prices of their commodities.
That is not the whole of the story. While their commodities have fallen in price throughout the world, the cost of the industrial purchases which they have to make, either to carry out the projects which have been financed by us or for their own ordinary purposes, has gone up. So, when judging of the adequacy of what we are doing, we must bear in mind this double loss to be set against the aid which the underdeveloped countries have received.
There is a good deal more that could be said on this subject. I agree with my noble friends Lord Lucan and Lord Faringdon, and with other noble Lords, who have referred to the fantastic multiplicity of organisations which exist both for dealing with international aid and for dealing with our own national aid. I totalled up that there are eight Agencies dealing with international aid in connection with the United Nations (that may well be an under-statement) and there are seven dealing with non-United Nations aid. They ought all, so far as we are concerned, to be collected under one control. Only by that means can the aid be properly planned.
As some noble Lords have pointed out—and it is true—unplanned aid may be not only wasteful but damaging to the morale of the people who are permitted to waste it, especially when they are uninstructed and mostly uneducated. If only for the sake of planning, we should bring into existence a central organisation. If that has to be a Minister, it should be a Minister who will 1086 have power, and not a Minister who will have to wait, as it were, on the doormat of the respective Departments. I understand that at the present time the Foreign Office deal with aid under the Colombo Plan and the United Nations, the Commonwealth Relations Office deal with the Commonwealth and the Colonial Office deal with the Colonies. I think it is quite impossible to defend a situation of that kind. But if there is to be a Minister he ought not to be a façade: he ought to have power, and he ought to be brought in not only to deal with technical aid but to deal with the whole question of aid, including the policy and purpose of the aid which is to be given.
There is, I think, an overwhelming case for the appointment of a Commonwealth Advisory and Technical Service. That was the view, after weighing the pros and cons, of the Select Committee on the Estimates of the Colonial Office. By that means we could get a pool of resources of knowledge, experience and "know-how". We could have a pool of doctors, engineers and other people who are in short supply. Great economies can be effected if you know how to go about a particular job; but immense waste, especially in the Colonies and other territories, can occur if you do not. Moreover, research ought to be reorganised and planned, and put under one control and one management. Then, of course, there is the need (this, I agree, is a difficult problem) for skilled workmen. Whether we could have apprenticeship facilities in this country in the same way as we have university facilities for prospective engineers and skilled workmen, I do not know; but in my submission it is a matter that is worthy of consideration.
I am sometimes a little disturbed that so many of the students who come over to this country (I am not objecting to that in any way) seem to be attracted to the law. Out of 12,000 male students here at the end of 1959 no fewer than 2,237 were training to be lawyers. It is the case, of course, that judges, advocates and administrators will be needed; and sometimes lawyers can be good administrators. But the proportion seems to be a little heavy, especially when one realises that many of the students who become lawyers in this country go back and become difficult politicians in their own country. We have, of course, had 1087 experience of that in our country, and I suppose that we cannot very well complain. But it seems to me that there should be included in the provision for technical and technological services skilled workmen. Because, after all, most of these projects, if they are to be worked, will have to be worked by workmen. Even under automation there will be, at one point or another, one workman, or one or two workmen.
in conclusion, may I say that much could be said about the Colonial Development Corporation and the limitations and restrictions under which it operates, which have been made known by a former Chairman and also in the Report of the Corporation; but perhaps I can leave consideration of that to another occasion. I hope that the noble Earl can tell us What progress has been made by the Minister in respect of the appointment of a Minister of Aid and what are likely to be this functions; and what action has been taken upon the other important recommendations of the Select Committee on Estimates.
§ 6.58 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
My Lords, I, too, should like to thank the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, for introducing this Motion, and to thank all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate this afternoon. It has ranged very wide. It is right that it should, because this is a wide and important subject. It is also a complicated subject, which has many facets. As many noble Lords have pointed out, the result is that you have inevitably a multiplicity of bodies, voluntary or Governmental. I do not think the setting up of an overall planning agency is a practicable measure. At the same time, I understand the anxiety that has been expressed about the possibility of a new department being set up by Her Majesty's Government to deal with technical and economic aid. That is a matter which as various noble Lords have mentioned, was referred to by my right honourable friend in another place on December 19. As noble Lords will recall, his broad suggestion was that there might be a department responsible, on behalf of the Colonial Office, the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Foreign Office. for technical and advisory aid.
1088 One of the questions which has been asked is whether economic aid is also to be included. The whole question is still under study, but I would say that, whether it is included now or not, the great thing is to make a start. Perhaps if one tries to cast the net too wide at this time one might, by the very fact of casting it so wide, make for less progress than would otherwise happen. But it is under study. I am afraid that I cannot give your Lordships any further detail on it, but it is something the importance of which we are well aware. I would say this about it. Even if we do set up such a department, it does not mean that we shall have an overseas service belonging to the department which will be a pool on which one and all can draw. Again and again we have examined this question. The difficulty is that you cannot guarantee jobs in services overseas if you try to work it from a central pool here. We have in the Colonial Office three or four pools to deal with one or two specialised technical subjects. But the numbers we have in those pools are necessarily extremely restricted. There may be only three or four men in each one of these pools, because we cannot guarantee a regular service and a regular job for more. All the time the territories are endeavouring to recruit or enlist their own local recruits, and train their own local people.
§ LORD LATHAM
Would the noble Earl excuse my interrupting? Supposing one of these technical officers was unemployed and the Commonwealth Relations Office wanted such a person, what would happen?
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
No doubt he would be made available to them. But the point I am trying to make is that we cannot have any large central pool of workers or officials for aid in general. Much as one would like such a pool in theory, it just does not work.
The noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, touched on what I call the overall aspect of this aid. I think it was the noble Lord. Lord Faringdon, who said that he felt that, as time went on. this international aid was becoming more important and less should be given to the Commonwealth. I would say that there is still an immense amount of work to be done in the Commonwealth, and I think 1089 one must not concentrate solely on the international bodies, but must keep in mind also what we do here direct for the territories with which we are so closely connected. While the noble Marquess touched on the overall aspect, I am trying to talk more of aid to the Commonwealth, and also trying to deal with some of the points raised by various noble Lords and by the noble Baroness. I am not going to enter into the question of whether what aid we give is given under a moral obligation or out of self-interest. I accept, as the noble Lord, Lord Latham, so eloquently expressed, that there is a humanitarian side to this. But the important thing, as I see it, is not the reason for the aid, but to see that we are giving the aid and whether it is enough.
I wonder how I can best bring home to your Lordships the magnitude of our present effort. It occurred to me that a comparison with what the U.S.S.R. has done in this respect is most revealing. It can be said that, in terms of money, in terms of men and education and in terms of trade, we of the United Kingdom even to-day are doing far more than the U.S.S.R. I say this not to decry the Russian effort, but to emphasise the extent of ours. Ours has gone on for decades. In terms of money we, as a Government or privately, are estimated to invest some£250 million a year in developing territories overseas. I would say, in passing, that that is not 1 per cent. of our gross national income, but about 1¼per cent. I am not following the noble Lord, Lord Latham, into the economic argument of whether we could expand production. I am quite content to rest on our present record. But I am right in bracketing what is going overseas both from the Government and privately, because, of course, in Russia there is none but Government help. While promised aid from Russia may amount to slightly more than the figure of what we are doing, their expenditure, in practice, is probably less than half of ours.
Some people say, "But what you give is so expensive." That just is not true. I believe that what we give is on far better terms than what is given from Russia. I refer not only to the question of whether there is some tied purpose in the loan, but to the actual terms of the loan. It is so often forgotten that what we do is in large measure 1090 by grant—that is, by Colonial Development and Welfare grant. We give alongside that assistance by Exchequer loans. If you take the two together, what do you find? You find that the overall help that we may give to a country is probably bearing an interest charge considerably less than 3 per cent. and that, when it comes to capital repayment, one half of the capital never has to be repaid at all. I think it is important that the world should recognise that. So often I find people say, "But how expensive your Exchequer loan or your Commonwealth assistance loan may be!" The fact that we give such a large amount in grant is completely forgotten.
§ LORD LATHAM
Could the noble Earl amplify what he has said and tell us whether the£250 million is money which is actually transmitted, or whether it is mere allocation?
§ THE EARL, OF PERTH
I am talking about actual money which is spent. Incidentally, while I am on that point, [he noble Lord, Lord Latham, asked what form the C.D. and. We grant took, and whether it was not true that part had to come from here, part from there and part from somewhere else. So far as we are concerned, we try to ensure that the local Government make some small contribution, say about 10 per cent. of the whole. The reason for that is that it shows they really want it. There is no question of large parts having to come from outside. It is not done that way at all.
May I now come to the question of what our effort is in terms of education? We have here some 50.000 students from overseas: and one out of every ten in a university or a technical college is from overseas. I believe that the overseas students in Russia are some 10,000. I believe that the figures I have given for our own country are probably greater than those in any other country in the world, including the United States of America. This is despite the fact that we are often, as we know, short of places for our own people. Not only are we having the students here but, as I shall endeavour to show later, we are making tremendous efforts in sending teachers overseas. I will not mention what we are doing in the way of technical aid in sending not only teachers but others overseas, 1091 except to say that the figures of expatriates in the overseas services are something over 20,000.
Then, in terms of trade, I recall how again and again the dependent countries have said, "We want trade, not aid". The U.S.S.R., it is calculated, takes perhaps 5 per cent. of the products of developing countries. All the rest goes outside, and most of it to the Western World. What we take is two or three times that which is taken by Russia. When I have shown what a tremendous effort is being made by the United Kingdom, how much more is this true of what the Western World is doing, and particularly the United States of America, to whom, as the noble Lord, Lord Latham, said, we are all beholden; and it is true also of France, who in absolute terms probably gives a greater part of her income than any other nation to her associated territories overseas.
Here I would say that I am very glad, that there is coming into the horizon, if I may so put it, a new territory to help bear the burden of this overseas aid—namely, Germany—and I am sure that the people of Germany will more and more realise what a tremendous obligation they have. They started late. I hope now that they will make a great burst and soon catch up and pass us.
So much for what we are doing in the way of aid in general terms. Let me now turn for a moment to more particular assistance. I have, for example, the assistance we give to the Colonies, and if what we give to the Colonies is colonialism, if it is imperialism, then I am proud of it. For what is it that we do? We endeavour to have the people of the Colonies run their own show and stand on their own feet; and I am, with the noble Lord, Lord Granchester, proud of our record there. I am also with the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, on that point. What do we do? We have the Colonial Development and Welfare Grants. Those are gifts. From 1945 until 1965 they will total over£300 million. The rate of approvals is always going. up; in 1958, it was£16 million, in 1960,£40 million. We have the Exchequer loans, a total of£100 million. We have the money coming, annually under the Colonial Service Vote, this year 1092 about£20 million, next year,£33 million. The reason for the increase is the inclusion of the Overseas Services Bill, which all your Lordships welcomed and which is going to have such a significant and important effect in helping us to send people to those territories. Then there is the Colonial Development Corporation, and on that subject I remember well the noble Lord, Lord Granchester, raised a question about whether we could not get private investors to put some money into it. That is up to the Colonial Development Corporation itself, because the provision of law allows it to borrow£20 million from outside.
I have talked in terms of money to the Colonies. Let me turn for a moment to what is, in a sense, even more important: terms of men and women. Here I agree very much with the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood; we have no cause to reproach ourselves. We have, as I have already mentioned, over 22,000 expatriates sering overseas. We are recruiting even to-day at the rate of somewhere between 800 and 1,000. Not only that, but we are doing a great deal of training; we are training local officers either here or on the spot, both those who work in administrative services and otherwise. The figure this year is 2,100 in training.
When we talk of the supply of men and women we naturally turn to education. That is of tremendous importance, perhaps the greatest importance of all, as the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chichester and the noble Lord, Lord Craigmyle, pointed out—such a vast field that it really almost warrants a special debate. Clearly, that can be for another time, but now I want to go into a little detail of what we are doing or what we propose to do. Before I do that, I want to join in the tribute to those who, over the years, have done so much in a purely voluntary capacity. I refer to the great work of the missionaries of all denominations, the voluntary work of teachers, professors and officials who, by their advice or action, have in many ways helped forward education and with it the way of life overseas, and the ties between schools and universities here and those which are overseas. It would be invidious to pick out one or two.
Let me rather turn to the work that is being done in the field of higher education, where the Inter-University Council 1093 for Higher Education Overseas plays such a valuable part. This was set up some 15 years ago by the universities of the United Kingdom as the central body concerned with the development of university education in dependent territories. Its main purpose is to make available to the new and developing universities the experienced assistance of this country. Its secretariat helps the overseas universities to plan ahead and to keep in touch with developments here and, to an increasing extent recently, in the United States. It has helped to bring into being such institutions as the University College in Ghana and the University College at Ibadan. It is in close touch with the University College of the West Indies. It has helped greatly with the development of Makerere and it is now at work on a comprehensive scheme for universities in East Africa.
I could go on with this list, but the point is that what we have done in setting up universities throughout the Commonwealth, is one of our greatest achievements. It is done not only by men or advice; some£17 million from Colonial Development and Welfare funds have been used for this purpose—that is, research and higher education. And, of course, there are many others who have similarly helped us, those who have come from technical colleges, teacher training colleges and the Inns of Court. The total of students, as I have already said, is some 50,000, of whom 30,000 are from the Commonwealth. Let us not forget that not only do we help to bring them here by making grants, but the very fact that they work in our schools and universities involves, in itself, a great contribution, because, as you know, the Government is making a large subsidy to keep schools and universities going. I do not know the figure, but it must be a hidden help of some millions of pounds.
But we are not satisfied to rest on that. Following the Commonwealth Conference on Education, at Oxford in 1959, there has already been an intensification of our effort on the secondary level and on the facilities for the training of teachers. We offered 500 additional scholarships, and as the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chichester said, we set up the National Council for the Supply of Teachers Overseas to help 1094 in recruitment for overseas service and resettlement on return. I, too, want to pay my tribute to the Ministry of Education and all the local education authorities in this country for the way they have wholeheartedly backed the schemes to second and send out teachers to the territories with which we have a special link. I know how hard they are working to achieve what various noble Lords have said is so very important—namely, a general recognition that service overseas when they come back will be considered as an asset and not as a liability as they go forward in their careers. As I say, the Ministry of Education and local authorities are tending to that end. It is of the greatest possible importance, and I hope it will spread to other services.
I would also at this point say what generous help America has recently been giving in respect of education. She, with us, has recently arranged for some 150 teachers to go out to East Africa to help with secondary education there. All I will say is that I hope that more will be forthcoming, for anything we and the Commonwealth and they can do in the teaching of English and other subjects will always prove of value. Inevitably with these teachers goes much of what is good in our Western beliefs and way of life, and in our sense of fair play and justice to all.
I have talked quite a lot on education. This is not because I am unaware of many of the other important services. I want for a moment just to touch on the medical service, a subject which the noble Lady, Baroness Summerskill, developed with skill, but, I think at the same time, with a little unawareness of how much is in fact being done. I have taken the trouble to get some figures.
We have over here at this moment some 2,000 students who are studying medicine, and 250 who are studying dentistry. Then there are in the Colonies 1,300 medical students, and in Nigeria 220. I am not saying that one is satisfied with that; I am saying that it is a considerable effort. I would further say that it is already perfectly possible for doctors or medical teachers who want to go out to be financed from this country (if they are going into public service) under the Overseas Service Bill, which we hope to pass in a short time, or—in the 1095 case of medical teachers—under the technical assistance agreements. None the less, this is a tremendously important subject, and I will certainly draw the attention of my right honourable friend the Minister of Health to the thought that, whereas education was the subject at the Finance Ministers' Conference at Montreal we, as a Commonwealth, might now think even more about health. But, as I say, even to-day the effort is a great one.
There is no time to go into much more detail on what we are doing in the Colonies, but I must just mention an aspect of special help and advice. I have in mind the 350 distinguished men and women who serve voluntarily on various advisory committees and councils primarily at present for work in the colonial territories. They cover almost anything that one can think of—animal health, co-operative movement, fisheries, the legal field, roads, social welfare or the police. Those are just a few which I have picked out.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
Not in the ones that I have listed, but I can say that the field is absolutely comprehensive of everything that goes into life. I have not touched on something else which is of tremendous importance—namely, what is being done by private enterprise in the field of training. It does a great deal in this respect, not only on the spot but also over here. I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Latham, who mentioned the question of apprentices. Not only is there a certain amount of training in engineering and other fields, but private enterprise does a great deal, either on the spot or here, to help in bringing these people up to skill.
I have inevitably strayed a little into the wider field of the Commonwealth. That is right, because one cannot draw a sharp line between colonial territories and the Commonwealth territories. For the Commonwealth territories the need continues, and therefore we have Commonwealth assistance loans. I think it is proper that independent members of the Commonwealth should look more and more to the World Bank for assistance. On that, I should like to echo 1096 what the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, said as to the great service they have done for us, and how immensely valuable their work is. It is valuable from many angles. It is valuable because, again as I think the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, said, it teaches these territories good behaviour. It is not enough that they should just say, "You have got to give us all the things that we want to help us in our development." They must also recognise the ethics of business (I am not saying the Commonwealth territories do not) so that they can enjoy help from the private sector of life which is such an important part of our own.
I should just like to say what we have been doing in India. Since 1958 we have made available some£80 million—that is for the first and second of the Five-Year Plans. There has also been a drawing down of their sterling balances. We have also said that we will help in the third Five-Year Plan. I think it is a great thing that we have beside us both America and Germany. One of the things one is perhaps a little apt to forget is the outcome of these Five-Year Plans. Is there any end to it? I believe—and this is the point that the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, was making—that soon we may find India at the "self-propelling" or "take-off" stage. Even today, her industrial progress is most remarkable. She can make her own lorries; she makes her own machine tools, and puts up her own factories from her own steelworks. I think that the fact that there is a new plan leads one to forget what tremendous progress has already been made.
Then there is the great Indus development plan which is sponsored for India and Pakistan by the World Bank. There we have an excellent example, as I see it, of co-ordination and co-operation between Western Powers. Not only America and the Commonwealth, but Germany, Japan and others are going to play their part in assisting in India and Pakistan.
I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, who stressed the importance of commodity stabilisation. All I would say on that aspect to-night is that Her Majesty's Government's position is very simple. We have said that we welcome such commodity stabilisation plans 1097 where both consumers and producers are involved. But they must be on a wide front. It is no good just trying to do something which is artificial. But wherever opportunity has arisen we have not been laggard in playing our part.
The Motion has been for better coordination both at home and overseas. I have tried to show what we have done in the way of co-ordination overseas, and what are our further plans. There is a natural co-ordination in work overseas in, for instance, the meeting of the Commonwealth Finance Ministers and the frequent meetings of Commonwealth officials. Recently, as various noble Lords have pointed out, we have had the announcement of the Development Assistance Group under O.E.C.D. There you get the donors of Europe, of North America and Japan, all discussing together how best they can put their aid to the advantage of the underdeveloped territories.
Then, as the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, said, there is the Colombo Plan. There is, too, quite a range of ordinary international bodies, under the United Nations or otherwise. Probably the co-ordination is not perfect. There is bound to be overlapping, but great attempts are being made. Can we do more? I have tried to show how much we have done already, both in the way of men and money; but we must be careful. If we overstrain our resources in giving aid—and I think we are in grave danger of doing just that—then we help nobody. If we get into a position where our trade suffers and we cannot go on, then none of the underdeveloped territories will bless us. I might summarise this by saying that one cannot lend a deficit.
My Lords, this debate has shown the great anxiety that there is all around to be of service—that was a point made very eloquently by my noble friend Lord Craigmyle. This is not a selfish motive but rather a higher motive, a sense of mission, of wanting to serve. If proof is needed, look, as the right reverend Prelate pointed out, at the result of the World Refugee Appeal; at the Red Cross and St. John Service; the Women's Voluntary Service, the British Council and all the Foundations and their work. Those individual efforts, I believe, are right. It would be a mistake to try to 1098 co-ordinate them, for each fills a particular need for a particular service, very often in particular territories; and while one wants to avoid undue proliferation, I believe that individualism in some degree is both right and necessary.
If we cannot do much more money-wise—and I feel probably that that is the case—lest we overstrain ourselves, let us rather concentrate on providing more of our technical knowledge and experience. Let us, above all, encourage and make easy all types of service overseas for our men and women, and the coming of students to this country. That is just what Her Majesty's Government endeavour to do. When history is written, let it be said that in losing an Empire we found a Commonwealth and more, which we served with our wealth, and our knowledge, our tradition and our men.
§ 7.32 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, it is not for me to make another speech. If it had not been for the last point made by the noble Earl I should have sat down straight away; but the point he made, and those of one or two other noble Lords, are worth touching upon. The noble Earl mentioned, and referred to Lord Grantchester's mention of, voluntary charitable bodies. I regarded them as outside the scope of this subject, because their aim—and very fine it is—is to relieve suffering and distress. But that is not a substitute for planned, concerted economic aid designed to push the economy on to a different level. That was why I made no mention of it.
The noble Earl fell into what I and my friends consider the common error—a practice which I thought was out of date and had now been abandoned—of totting up the total of private investment and Government investment and calling that the total of aid to underdeveloped countries. I do not want to go into figures that have been published, but I believe they are generally accepted; and if the noble Earl would look at those he would see that the£109 million of private aid does not go to the countries which most need it. It does not go towards projects that are going to be most beneficial. It goes where there are profits. So I feel that that is a fallacy into which we fall if we take that figure as effective.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
My Lords, if the noble Earl will allow me to interrupt him, may I say that we may both have our opinions on whether or not it is a fallacy.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, we can study where the money goes.
I am glad that my noble friend Lady Summerskill and several noble Lords brought up the subjects of education and health. Education is well on its way, having become set on its course since the Commonwealth Conference. Health still remains to be dealt with by comparable methods. There are certainly numbers of Commonwealth students, doctors and post-graduates over here, and numerous United Kingdom doctors overseas; but the scope and need is far greater, and something needs to be done on the lines of what my noble friend quoted from Sir Douglas Robb at the annual meeting of the British Medical Association in New Zealand.
Lastly, the noble Earl spoke of the impossibility of having a pool of staff in connection with the new Ministry.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
What seems to us the most important feature of this is that it will be a pool of ideas and of organisation, as a start, anyway. Noble Lords have mentioned balanced develop 1100 ment, and I am glad that it is now generally accepted that a large scheme, ill-conceived, is of much less use than perhaps a very small though better scheme. One remembers the story one heard some ten years ago of the first United Nations agricultural mission to some Middle Eastern country who, instead of proposing some grandiose hydro-electric or water supply scheme, taught the natives of that country to use a different kind of hoe, or a spade instead of a how, which made immense difference to the agriculture of that country.
The right reverend Prelate was worried about the effect of a sudden rise in the economic level—in fact, about the onset of an industrial revolution on people not yet ready for it. I believe he has every reason to be uneasy, but I do not think there is any remedy. The trouble is that starving men are not interested in politics; but once they reach a higher standard of living and secure an improvement in health and physique, their minds turn to politics and ideologies. That is one of the problems that is still to face us and our children. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.
§ House adjourned at twenty-one minutes before eight o'clock.