HL Deb 08 November 1961 vol 235 cc367-430

Debate resumed.

3.45 p.m.


My Lords, this is not the kind of subject which any of us, even the Minister who I am so glad has received a new honour in recent times, or the former Foreign Minister, the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, or any other speaker, can discuss fully in the course of a speech, be it short or long; but certainly no one is better qualified by years of study and dedication to deal with these great issues than the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, and he has placed us in his debt by raising the subject and by his contribution to it. I do not want to enter into controversy with him on any point, and I certainly do not on his reference to moral rearmament, as we know the sincerity of the noble Lord's feelings on matters of this kind; indeed, we know the sincerity of the Moral Rearmament people, though I myself, like most other noble Lords, owe religious allegiance in different quarters.

I feel that this afternoon we should try to avoid internal controversy, but there was just one point where I may have misunderstood the noble Lord, and, if so, he must correct me. He said somewhere near the end of his speech that he regarded any attempt to maintain a certain degree of equality as retrogressive. What he may have meant by that I am not sure. I do not know whether he was talking about dictatorships only, but certainly we must make it plain that on this side of the House we take great pride in having been, I suppose, the main instrument of the much greater measure of equality that now exists in this country than existed hitherto; and I should like to say that we do not think that that process is completed yet.


My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for allowing me to intervene. All I meant really was this: that the attempt to impose and maintain equality seems to me to deprive a man who has a contribution to make to the life of his country and who would advance over the heads of those around him of that opportunity; and it deprives him of the opportunity of handing on the fruits of his own experience for the benefit of those who are left behind.


I do not propose to pursue that line of controversy this afternoon, except to repeat that the Labour Party believes that there ought to be much more equality in the country than there is at the present moment.

This is not, as I see it, just another debate on foreign affairs, valuable though those debates are. So far as our immediate foreign policy is concerned—I mean our policy for dealing with the crisis that hangs over us—I can only reaffirm the support we have offered a good many times from this Bench for the general lines which are being followed by Her Majesty's Government, although we may differ on particular points of procedure and of negotiation. On that plane of argument, the overriding duty of the Western nations is clearly to band themselves together against the military threat of Soviet Communism. We are all seeking—I believe the Government are seeking, as we are—to make the United Nations a far more effective instrument than hitherto. I must add that some of us, at any rate, believe that the Government could exert themselves much more urgently than they have shown any signs of doing, towards the construction of an international police force and towards a movement for the formation of world government; but those matters are more readily dealt with in a general debate on foreign affairs, and I refer to them only in case there should be some misunderstanding.

But I wonder what can be added in the terms of this special Motion to-day. An objection is often raised against the vision of world government. It is often said, and there is some force in this, that the Communists will sabotage any progress towards it, so that it is rather a waste of time discussing it. As the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, has just said, they might dominate it. I do not accept that as an insuperable difficulty, but I agree that the chance of obtaining world government and making it a democratic affair would be greatly increased if we, in the West, could discover a modicum of goodwill in Russia and China towards ourselves. I take leave to neglect the vast question of China, except to say in passing, as has been said so often before, that while the Chinese Government have behaved abominably in many directions in recent times, we ourselves are seriously at fault in so far as we are not securing their entry into the United Nations. That is said simply in passing.

I am primarily concerned with this central question which comes into our minds, which must come into the minds of all of us after listening to the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood. He dealt with it, but each of us, no doubt, has his own additional thoughts. The noble Lord said that the rival ideologies at the present time seem unable to find a meeting point; and that is indubitably true. I proceed to ask whether any meeting point is conceivable even in theory. I do not mean a meeting point of unhappy and antagonistic collaboration, but a meeting point of sympathy and good will. Or is this whole idea of a meeting point between ourselves and the Communists just an illusion? Certainly if it were just an illusion it would be, a very dangerous one.

I ask therefore what is there, if there is anything, intrinsically at the root of the Soviet philosophy which separates it from ourselves. I dismiss the idea that the main trouble, or the most fundamental trouble, is Russian nationalism or Russian imperialism. I do not dispute for a moment the presence of those factors in the Communist impulse and the threat they represent to the world. But in the first place I deny, as I think perhaps would most Members of the House—certainly all those on these Benches—that the Russians as a people are worse than anybody else. I deny that the Russians are worse than the Germans or the Chinese or the British, or the Irish for that matter, or anybody at all. So, I deny that the Russians are worse than anybody else as a people. And in the second place, if this Russian nationalism or Russian imperialism were all that world Communism amounted to, it is true it might with the help of the Red Army hold down Eastern Europe, but it could not have infected a vast country like China and it could hold out few if any attractions to the people of Africa and Asia generally.

It may be said that the ineluctable clash is between the Communist dictatorship and British and Western democracy, and certainly a great contrast is presented there. If it were not for this dictatorship, if we could imagine their turning into a democracy to-morrow, the threat of annihilating war might be diminished. But while dictatorship may be felt to be of the essence of Communism as we know it, in the sense that Communism depends on dictatorship for its continuance and for some of its material achievements, nevertheless those who are attracted to Communism are not attracted primarily by the dictatorship any more than they are by the fact of Russian nationalism or imperialism. I am talking primarily there of the people outside Russia. Those who are attracted to Communism regard the dictatorship as the price which may have to be paid, but it is certainly not the ideal for which they make these sacrifices.

For the ideal they look to Karl Marx, and whatever methods can be attributed to Marx (and I shall have something to say about his methods, agreeing very largely with what fell from the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood) it must be admitted that dictatorship was far from being the ultimate vision of Karl Marx. Marx and Engels looked forward to a state of affairs in which the State was going to wither away and to a State in which each would contribute according to his ability and receive according to his needs. So that the Marxist ideal or vision certainly could not be said to be that of dictatorship.

I submit, therefore, that if we are trying to find out how far our ultimate ideals can be squared with those of the Communists, neither their Russian nationalism nor their present dictatorship presents insuperable barriers, though of course those two things are a terrible threat to world peace at the moment. Is it, then—and here I broach a more delicate topic—their atheism as against our Christianity which creates an unbridgeable gulf. I am prepared to argue, and I suppose most Christians would, that a State which not only rejects belief in God but positively denounces religion, and not infrequently persecutes it, a State which is not only atheist but anti-God, is bound to bear evil fruits, and if it is huge and strong like Russia it is certain to constitute a terrible danger to the world apart from an affliction to its own people.

We, on the other hand, are a Christian country, at any rate in our official beliefs. The vast majority of people in this country would, if asked, describe themselves as Christians. I myself could apply only that test. If one is to find out whether somebody is a Christian, I think the only way to settle it is to ask the person whether or not he is one. At any rate, the vast majority of people in this country, if asked, would say they were Christians. As recently as 1944 an act of worship was made compulsory in all our schools, and recently the en- couragement of religious education has been quite marked. So that it seems to be generally accepted as a way of bringing up our children. The political Parties attend divine service before the Party conferences, and no public man in my lifetime has felt it judicious to proclaim atheism in public. So I think we may call ourselves Christians, at any rate in our official beliefs.

Nevertheless, in the intellectual as distinct from the public life of the country, if I may be allowed to draw such an invidious distinction, we cannot deny the existence of a high proportion of people who call themselves humanists, which in the negative sense means that they do not believe in a personal God or personal immortality. A brilliant humanist says: We ask no longer what is pleasing to God, but what is good for man. That antithesis is not, of course, accepted by Christians, but at any rate the humanists are concerned only with welfare in this life, and most of those humanists undoubtedly would describe themselves quite sincerely as democratic humanists and are therefore far removed from Communism.

The question naturally arises, if collaboration and friendship are possible in a country like ours between Christians and Humanists, why not then between Christian countries and Communist countries? At any rate, that is a thought, a point, on which we might pause for more than a moment. It brings us on to ask this question: What, if any, is the fundamental difference between the Humanist and Marxist philosophy? On this subject it is interesting to read the views, for example, of Professor Ginsburg, and other views of the same kind which can be studied in the same place: I am thinking of his contribution to Sir Julian Huxley's new symposium called The Humanist Frame. I quote Professor Ginsburg, who says: As far as theory is concerned it would not be difficult to show that Marxist views of the ends of life or of the principles of social justice do not differ markedly from those of humanist rationalism. Nominally both aim at a form of life in which the free development of each is the condition of the free development of all. The difference lies in the acceptance (by the Marxists) of a dual morality"— in other words a double morality— a really human morality, as Engels calls it, which can only be operative when class antagonisms have been overcome and an interim morality applicable to the period of the revolutionary struggle and of war à outrance. That ends the quotation from Professor Ginsburgh. But of course we have been living in the period, and it seems likely that we shall go on living in the period, of interim morality, which is very different from humanist morality. Personally I would put it rather differently, though it does not affect the argument. I would say that Marxism is a social code of great, if sinister, significance, but that it is a social code without any ethics at all. The noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, said that Marxism has no nonsense about ethics—that is his way of putting it. But I would say that you cannot find any ethics in Marx—which may be putting the same thing in another way. But the lack of a moral philosophy is the one great vacuum in an otherwise complete, if erroneous, system. That is my way of putting it.

But taking Professor Ginsburgh's account and taking his argument, it still follows that in the foreseeable future—the future that even the youngest of us is unlikely to enjoy—in this prolonged period, Marxism is a code without morals or scruples. That is what follows from his argument, and I think most of us would say that it was a code, whatever its ultimate purpose, which is intrinsically evil. We must agree, further, that what has made Marx the most influential thinker, I suppose, since St. Paul, though perhaps the most deleterious writer who ever lived, and has affected so many people's minds in the reading of Marx, is not his ultimate aim, which is not different from that of a great many other people and is expressed in very general terms, but is this revolutionary code, which includes a programme and a way of life dying a prolonged revolutionary period. Many gifted minds and intellectuals of various kinds, and many millions of oppressed people who have never read Marx but obtained it secondhand, certainly have responded to the extraordinary skill with which he combines an account of human history with a brilliantly worked out prophecy—the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, referred to this—which seems to convey the assurance that the proletarians will triumph, and which professes an irresistible demonstration to that effect.

Though it does not convince most of us, at any rate those who serve under the Marx banner are sustained by great hope. They are convinced of victory; but they are convinced, at the same time, that victory can be achieved only if all ordinary moral standards are abandoned—that is really the relevant point for our purpose—or are at any rate completely subordinated to the class war. During these many years of interim morals, as between that outlook, which is what we have to contend with, and ours in this country, there would appear to be no point of contact in principle. That makes things sound pretty hopeless; but perhaps putting it that way rather exaggerates the gloom of the actual prospect, though it may be thought to be grim enough.

There is so much good in all of us human beings—so much, if one may say so, of the Divine—that, however horrible our theoretical system, we do not readily behave towards one another like beasts in the jungle. There is a great element of hatred in Marxism, along with nobler elements, and if one asks why a system so filled with hatred has made so many converts among perfectly decent human beings one can say that there has been plenty of injustice to hate. Nothing, of course, entitles us to hate our fellow men, whether as individuals or as classes or as nations, and therefore Marxism is full of evil by any standards we can understand here. But if one asked how one can make sure that in the end a system so repugnant to human nature is voluntarily rejected by mankind everywhere, it seems to me that there can be only one answer, and the answer is by getting rid of the injustices which gave it its chance originally.

My Lords, have those injustices ceased to exist to-day? I do not want to pursue the argument that I embarked upon with the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, but certainly we on this side, while agreeing that those injustices have been much reduced in our own country, certainly cannot say that they have been abolished. I am anxious to move with the House towards an agreed conclusion. But when we look around the world as a whole and see the enormous differences—the staggering and shocking differences—between the standards of life of the richer and of the poorer countries, differences which are increasing rather than diminishing at the present time, can we deny that the world as a whole presents much the same kind of injustice and neglect which the Western countries presented when Karl Marx was working out his theory in the nineteenth century?

To sum up, Communism has much in common with Fascism and Nazism. There is the dictatorship, the utter disregard for every interest but its own and a complete callousness towards human suffering in proceeding to its goal. But unlike Nazism, which was a purely parochial mania, Communism is, on paper at least, a universal creed with at any rate some degree of universal appeal. I decline to dignify it by the name of religion. But let us describe it as a corrupted ideology which, in the end, can be defeated only by men and women who give effect to a truly religious ideology, a pure ideology, and do so not only in words but in deeds.

On the plane of diplomacy and strategy it is our bounden duty in this House to resist Communism, if necessary by force, and to try to build up a system of what many of us call world government. But I do not believe that we shall ever remove the Marxist hatreds which have established themselves so firmly in the hearts of so many millions of human beings until we invade the world, as never before, with an offensive of love and a passion for justice in action.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl, to whom we have all listened with the greatest pleasure, because he, I think, represents the universal view in the House, rather a delicate question? We have heard what he has said about the ideology, if that be the correct term, of Marxism and of Russia. Does he not agree that the unfortunate attitude which seems to have been adopted in recent months—what I can only call competitive abuse—between certain Western leaders and Mr. Khrushchev does more harm than good, and that it is better to proceed on the lines that the noble Earl has laid down?


I find that one of the most difficult questions I have ever had put to me, because it is certainly difficult for me, with proper modesty, to disagree with the last part of the question, which is suggesting that what I am laying down is better than what others have laid down. I agree with that part of it. But about competitive abuse I do not know. I really do not know whom the noble Earl has in mind. If he can produce examples and can put them later, perhaps I should be able to say. But I agree that, from whichever source it comes, we have heard Communism denounced in this House. I do not use the word "abuse" with reference to that. I agree with all of the noble Earl's question that I understand, and it may well be that if I had understood it all I should agree with it all. Certainly, until we have shown ourselves in practice ready for the sacrifice involved in remedying this great injustice in the world, we must be cautious in proclaiming that, as Christians, we are so infinitely superior to the Communists and that all the blame for the tragic situation of the world must rest on Communist shoulders—though, Heaven knows! a considerable weight must rest there.

The Communists—or, at any rate, the better Communists—live roughly in accordance with their standards, deplorable though those standards are. They possess certain temporary advantages that accrue in controversy to the Party of threats and violence. I am convinced, however, that the uncommitted nations will finally make the choice in our favour, and that the Communists themselves will ultimately be won over, when we fully honour our own Christian standards, not only in our great policy decisions but in our daily lives. I believe that that will happen when we do honour those standards—then, but not till then.

4.11 p.m.


My Lords, in venturing to address your Lordships' House for the first time—and, as many of your Lordships will probably wish when you have heard me, for the last time—I should like to begin, if I may, with an apology which really takes the form of a confession. The reason why, at very short notice, I have brought myself to offer a few remarks (which I hope I shall be able to make clear) on the Motion set down by the noble Lord opposite probably needs a little explanation.

One of the most alarming things about addressing your Lordships' House, particularly for somebody who is a newcomer, not only to this House but to public speaking and politics, is the fact, which I have had corroborated by many people to whom I have talked, that there is, practically speaking, hardly any subject which one could raise here—from the incidence of rainfall in Tibet in the 17th century, to the proposal of a noble Viscount opposite yesterday that there should be, I think I am right in saying, a selective bank rate for "wine, women and song"—I am afraid I have misquoted him; it was a selective bank rate which should be high on wine, women and song: I cannot remember what it was low on, but presumably milk, malt and hopscotch; I do not know—on which one would not find a Member of your Lordships' House, probably sitting opposite one, who is, if not the greatest living authority on that subject, certainly the greatest living authority on it in the English-speaking language.

I was very grateful, as I have often been in the past, to the noble Earl, Lord Longford, whose speech I listened to with so much interest that I almost forget my own, on hearing that he agreed with me that this is a subject on which somebody who knew a great deal about everything could probably go on for a year and not really touch it. It was out of a certain cowardice that I felt that this was the only Motion likely to be raised in foreseeable times in which somebody with as wide, deep and specialised an ignorance as myself could splash about without making himself more than an average target and—and this is perhaps more discreditable—without involving any more research than is involved in looking up the word "ideology" in the dictionary in your Lordships' excellent Library. I did that because I will confess that five-syllable words are things I have always rather distrusted; I am temperamentally allergic to them. I do not mean that I find them too difficult to pronounce. The trouble is that they are too easy to pronounce. Longer words one very often has to divide up into sections to understand. The shorter words one is more familiar with.

I believe I am not alone in saying that I have talked very glibly about ideologies all my life without really having a clear idea of what they are. I will not embarrass your Lordships by giving the result of my researches, which were very short, but I find I am not quite so wrong as I expected. There are apparently two meanings of "ideology", both of which will be familiar to your Lordships. The first one is specifically: the system of Condillac, which derived all ideas from sensations". That, I decided, was not likely to be the one here, because we are talking about rival ideologies, and unless Condillac were Siamese twins, that would presumably be out. The second meaning given, invented by Napoleon Bonaparte, is: Ideal on abstract speculation; especially visionary theorising. That was rather what I suspected, and, if so, I agree, even more heartily than I should have done if I had not known that meaning, with everything on the religious side that the noble Earl, Lord Longford, said.

I may be showing my ignorance, but I feel that "ideal or abstract speculation; especially visionary theorising" is a very dangerous thing. We are told that "where there is no vision, the people perish." That is perfectly true, but everything that is up in the air without having its feet on the ground is, I think I am right in saying, extremely dangerous to irreligious people, and more dangerous, certainly to members of the Church to which the noble Earl, Lord Longford, belongs and (I stand ready to be corrected) to my own Church; the general trend of Christian thought always having been that the spiritual sins which are divorced from the flesh are more serious than the more fleshly ones, that Pharisees are more dangerous than the publicans, and so on.

That is not entirely irrelevant, because I do not believe that anyone in your Lordships' House, or, indeed, any sane man in the country, will dissent for a moment from the Motion which the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, has put before us: that the division of the world into rival ideologies is one which we should, and do, view with concern. It concerns us in a double sense. It concerns us in that it affects us; and it is one as to which, if we are not worried and disturbed about it, we ought to be. But for me to attempt to pursue that train of thought any further would be quite intolerable to your Lordships, because a great deal has been said already on it, and I feel that, like many other trains (British Railways, for instance), if it stops there, it does not get one much further.

What I should like to do (briefly, because it is now twenty-past four, and I must not keep your Lordships too long; but I think it is worth running through shortly, simply by referring to the headings) is to mention the ways in which I personally believe that a Motion of this enormous scope could be dealt with usefully over a large number of debates on different subjects. That, I think, is the only way—and again I take courage from the fact that the noble Earl, Lord Longford, said that this is the only way it can be dealt with. The first thing, it seems to me, when one is considering anything which one dislikes or fears, is to got a fairly clear idea of how it began, and how, if at all, it can be stopped. So far as Communism and, indeed, Hitlerism, and other things which we (rightly, I think) talk about as ideologies—that is to say, philosophies; and I think that the noble Earl was perfectly right in not calling them religions, because they are up in the air—are concerned, there is a rather terrifying verse in the New Testament which describes Satan as The Prince of the Air, who is the Lord of this world". Certainly he is the Lord of ideology, I think. It seems to me that the way these ideologies started is worth looking into.

My Lords, at the risk of being extremely tedious, I should like to say that it seems to me there are two reasons for this: what one might call the seed and the soil, to use a metaphor; that is to say, something which they grow out of, and something which they grow in. I should like to suggest, in view of what has been said about moral disarmament and various other things, that what they grow out of is rather crudely described in the Bible as "the heart of Man". I believe I am right in saying that it is the author of Ecclesiasticus who said of the heart of man that it is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. That, I think is not incompatible with what the noble Earl, Lord Longford, said: that it also has an element of good in it. I should say that Christianity means that there is something very wrong with us, and an infinite capacity for good as well. I should say that while politicians as politicians, or statesmen as statesmen, have every right to propagate their own views, either as Christians, as humanists, as Buddhists, or as worshippers of the Sacred Crocodile, Oogli, I believe that it is not really a political issue. It seems to me that the soil in which growths which we think are harmful grow easily, and the soil in which they can be made to wither away, is; so that we may grow what may be healthy, and that it may grow better.

If I may take advantage of something mentioned by the noble Lord who introduced the Resolution, I would recall that he said: "I think we ought to go back more to the beginning of this story". I think he is quite right. I hope I am not being dogmatic in making these statements, as if they were true without my supporting them. There are a great many reasons why heresies, evils, whatever you like to call them, grow; but I think that most people would agree that one of them is economic discontent. There was a time when it was fashionable to say that all delinquency and all evil in the social system came from economic foolishness. If one goes to the example of the Welfare State, one finds, even if one does not take the trouble to look back to Regency times and the wealthy Roman Empire, that when the Founder of Christianity said that it is hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, He was not talking such nonsense as some humanists think. But there is no doubt that poverty and economic strife is just one of the grounds for fostering discontent.

The other point that I should like to raise is this—and having raised it I shall not pursue it because that would need a knowledge of the economic thickets, through which it has often been pursued. enormously greater than I have. I shall treat it, if I may say so, with all the delicacy of an explorer skirting a virgin forest. It is the fact that there is more than one cause of poverty. We have had a great many debates lately, and naturally, about our present economic difficulties, which have been succinctly described as "due to too much money chasing too few goods". Although it is unnecessary to remind your Lordships that the soil in which the ideologies both of Communism and of Nazism arose contained economic discontent, they were not due to that cause, but were due (as noble Lords present who are old enough to cast their minds back will remember) to precisely the opposite cause: too little money chasing what was called too many goods. In fact, we were told that tile bane of the system was falling prices due to general over-production. We were poor because we were producing too much. Naturally, we were even poorer because it was so easy to get the work done that we could not employ everyone to do it. Therefore, starvation in the midst of plenty was the only alternative. The Party to which the noble Earl belongs, not quite content with that, said, "No; it was due to lack of block planning"—like a traffic road. The great Party opposite, I think, had various views, but were never really united as to what was the cause of over-production.

Another point I want to raise is this, and after doing so I shall almost certainly sit down. Although there are a number of other things I should have liked to say, I am certainly not going to keep your Lordships any longer. Supposing—and this may seem fantastic to some people—that the unilateral disarmers, whom I personally regard as a great menace (I am probably entirely wrong), are wrong to the extent that the world is not in fact going to be blown into electrons in our lifetime, or in measurable time; that even, for one reason or another, a general amnesty on armaments should gradually be brought about, with the result that we do not have to pay an enormous number of people to produce what are technically consumer goods. I think that everyone in this House and elsewhere would pray that they may never be consumed, because if they are consumed, not only we but probably the world, and possibly the solar system, would be consumed with them. But if they are not consumed, we are in fact giving people money for doing nothing.

There were certain economic cranks who said, "Surely, instead of burning things, instead of burning coffee and wheat in order to keep the price up, and turning away employees on the dole, which we have to take out of taxation, and cutting things down so that people cannot buy even the little that is being produced, would it not be better to produce more money, to distribute more money, to catch up with the supply of goods?" That, of course, was regarded in those days as a flaming heresy, to which I think the noble Lord, Lord Brand, who is not here, will testify. The whole view of the City during the governorship of Mr. Montagu Norman was that money was a sacred thing, everything had to be subordinated to it.

There was what seemed to me at the time to be a rather elaborate system of idolatry, by which not only corn and wine and oil, but the lives of men, women and young children, were sacrificed to the nominal idol of gold, which was never seen—in fact, nobody knew whether it was there or not—on the understanding that if we went off the gold standard, which the National Government were especially elected to prevent, it would be the end of the world. Well, luckily, when the National Government came in, we went off the gold standard; and almost immediately after that happened we began belatedly—very belatedly—to arm against the possible menace of a German dictator, which meant paying out more money, and the economic system began to get better. I think it is worth remembering the general standard of living in the war and after the war. I will not give figures, but nobody will say that it has not improved. From the way in which children are dressed, and the television sets, it is higher.

We are all ready to assume that if money should cease to be spent in this loathsome way, and war were out of the question, our money would be spent in a way which I think noble Lords on both sides of the House would agree would be much healthier. Of course, that is not what happened in those days. What I should like to put into the minds of noble Lords who will have to deal with this matter later is the question whether we are quite sure that we have learned from the mistakes of those days and know the solution. Then it was called "Over-production and under-consumption". Then we were satisfied with the way in which money comes into existence, which was in those days denied by the joint stock banks, except for an unfortunate article by Mr. McKenna in the Encyclopædia Britannica which admitted it. In other words, it was a method of putting more money into circulation when conditions were good and there was too much already, and of removing money from circulation when there was not enough.

It is no use discussing whether it is worth doing something at all or whether it is better to do nothing. If that were so, we should not be here; because there would be better ways of employing our time. A noble Viscount opposite said last night that unless something immediate and effective could be done about unofficial strikes it was no good taking any measures at all. I feel that he was unduly pessimistic. Now I entirely sympathise with what may be said, "For heaven's sake let us think of that when it happens. Do not let us start worrying now about whether we shall be able to distribute enough money."

If I were allowed to speak again, that is a point of view I should like to oppose with peculiar ferocity. The noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, made a speech the other day, with every word of which I disagreed, but it was characteristically courageous. From his own military experience, which nobody denies, I believe that the noble and gallant Viscount would agree that a time to win a battle is before and not during it. That is a point I would like to leave for consideration.

I should like to make one more point, only in order to get a point on which I can sit down without too much confusion. It is a question of what weapons to use meantime against those ideologies which I think I am right in saying we all believe should be combated. I should like to make a suggestion. The worst weapons to use are their own. I should like to quote from memory an Edwardian Liberal, who did not practise in Parliament but was interested in politics and who had an unusually forceful way of putting things. I hope that it is not irreverent to give two examples from an essay of his. If a little street urchin puts out his tongue at the noble and learned Viscount who sits on the Woolsack, it does not follow that the best and most effective retaliation is for the noble and learned Viscount to put out his tongue at the little guttersnipe. In fact, such respect as the little boy should have, and I hope might some day have, for the noble and learned Viscount, or for his office, comes entirely, at that stage, from the fact that here is a man who refuses the temptation to put out his tongue, which to the little boy is surprising.

The second and more extreme example is this. If cannibals refuse to confine their diet of missionaries to three a week, ought the missionaries therefore to refuse to confine their diet of cannibals below that number? If you are fighting cannibals, of course the weapons are knives and forks. That may be the equivalent of what we use to-day. The thing is not to use the same kind of weapon but a better one.

I firmly believe, for the reason that I am not only addressing your Lordships for the first time in this House, but for the first time from these Benches, which are new to me, and would be new to me if not for the first time in this House, that exactly the opposite policy is more effective with the ideologies of the Soviet and Nazi kind, and that there are certain instruments that even now we should use. One is being used now. I do not know if it is in order for me to refer to it, but I will take the risk and do so. The fact is that the Foreign Secretary is exactly the kind of weapon to be used against an enemy Government such as the Russian one. And if that is thought to be Party disloyalty, I would say that what I conceive to be Liberal policy might very well be another—without going so far as to say, because it might sound a little startling, that a wholesale policy of theft would be an effective weapon. My noble friend Lord Rea said in the debate on the gracious Speech that he was delighted and not too bitter when the clothes of the Liberal Party were stolen. The noble Earl, Lord Dundee, said that if we left them lying about, we must expect them to be stolen. I think that a certain exchange of the best clothes would be an excellent thing. Of course, Party labels should be attached; but for Party labels to be worshipped is wrong.

If, before sitting down, I might mention the case of the Liberal Party, I would point out that there are two ways of writing the word "liberal"—one with a capital "L", the other with a small "1". I do not believe that any noble Lord, on either side of the House, however strongly he may feel against the Liberal Party with a large "L", is opposed to liberal policy with a small "1". We all dislike, as motorists, when at one moment we have to keep our eyes on the road and at the next moment glance at the sign posts, having a highminded but not widely experienced 'back-seat driver—there is one here at any rate—who points out how much better he could do things himself. That is always irritating, and I entirely sympathise with the Government in that respect. But if we spell liberal with a small "1", I think a great many noble Lords on both sides of the House would agree. In conclusion, I should like to quote from a Jewish writer, writing well over 2,000 years ago, who, after giving his view that the time would come—and we only have his word for it; it was in the remote future—when (translated into more modern words) spivs, charlatans and jumpers-on-to-bandwagons would no longer deceive the public so easily, concluded by saying—and I had better get the words right: But the liberal man shall do liberal things; and by liberal things he shall stand".

4.41 p.m.


My Lords, it falls to me to congratulate the noble Viscount who has just spoken on his maiden speech. I think at the opening he was unduly overawed by the thought that this House contains nothing but learned men who know all about their subjects. But there are quite a number of us who are very general practitioners with only a modicum amount of experience, of knowledge and of skill. So that need not embarrass the noble Viscount when he speaks to us again. He took us around some unexpected corners in a way which English roads are apt to do, and that made his speech all the more interesting.

I am reluctant to address your Lordships at all on this subject for three reasons. First of all, one feels that the Resolution is very widely conceived and would allow one to range almost at random over an immense field. Secondly, in spite of the difficulty I feel about that, the noble Earl, Lord Long- ford, speaking from the opposite Bench. has said extremely ably almost everything that can be said on this subject in the limits of a comparatively short debate. I am grateful to him for the way in which he analysed the subject and the conclusion to which he came; and, as I say, there is not a great deal to add to it. Nevertheless, we are grateful to the noble Lord who introduced this Motion, because it deals with a matter of immense concern to us all. I wish to make only one or two disjointed comments, without trying to rival, very badly, the noble Earl, Lord Longford.

Ideologies always do divide, and have done so all through history. One feels that the particular problem with which we are faced to-day is this culmination of the fact, which the noble Lord who has just spoken referred to when he talked about seed and soil, that here we are dealing with an ideology which has been tremendously intensified by the political and economic conditions of the times. Who can, as it were, distinguish between the fundamental Communist policy and the deep-seated, and I think quite rational, fear of the Russions of a re-armed and re-united Germany in Europe? I think it is difficult for us in this country, with our gift for tolerance, based as it is upon long experience, to understand and appreciate the passionate ideologies of some European peoples. Some people, and possibly some noble Lords in this House, may think that our inherited gift for tolerance is a weakness. It can become a weakness, but I am sure it never will if it continues to be bred by intelligent sympathy and political wisdom. The particular difficulty for us who enjoy a free democracy, as our fathers did before us, is to understand the mentality of a people who are willing to tolerate the rigidities and austerities of a totalitarian State, such as the Russian State is to-day, but compare it in their minds, as they must, with the previous tyranny in that same country.

Nearly fifty years ago a distinguished Cambridge scholar writing about the Roman Empire said that the Christian cause was victorious over rival creeds because, in the long run, and in the short run, it out-thought them, out-lived them and, if need be, at times out-died them. I think when we are considering rival ideologies in the world to-day—because there are more than two—these words are extraordinarily relevant. I will take them in the reverse order and begin with "out-died". I think it is historically true to say that, more than any word spoken, it was the Christian martyrs in the early centuries who convinced the Roman society of the truth of the faith that gave them their courage. When a man may suffer or die for a mistaken creed, if he is a man of intelligence, we are bound to take seriously that creed for which he dies, even in our appraisement and criticism of it. We do not in modern times know this experience in our own country. I remember in 1946, when I first went to Germany after the war, being tremendously humbled when I found myself sitting beside men who had spent many years in a Nazi prison face to face with the possibility of death on account of their loyalty to their faith.

Wherever we get this depth of devotion we have something of which the world has to take notice. So to-day I greatly admire many Christian priests, ministers, and pastors who are seeking to do their job in spite of—not the possibility of death, but continuous persecution and frustration of another kind, and stick to it rather than escape to the Western part of their country. I am also equally impressed by some of the younger men who are trying, under great difficulties of thought, to see how they can, as it were, live their lives and be loyal to their faith in a society which has politically an entirely different basis altogether. I am sure, therefore, that we in the West have to recognise this. We are not going to win out against these ideologies merely by beating them in terms of economic prosperity and the like, but we have to acquire a courage and conviction which mere neutralism will never give us.

That leads me to the second heading of out-thinking. This, I believe, is tremendously important, because time and time again within the Christian Church and the general community in this country and, indeed, in Western Europe, we find people willing to dismiss the whole of Marxist Communism as though it were a fantastic absurdity which no rational man could tolerate for two minutes, and they are ignorant of the his- torical basis and the whole historical situation. If we are going to out-think Communism, I am quite convinced there must be some more accurate historical analysis; far more re-thinking of our own position if we are to out-think them. I am quite certain that Christian and non-Christian democrats have to make a thorough appraisement of both the thought and the consequent practice of Communism in Eastern Europe if we are to succeed in turning men, whether they be simple or subtle, from its persuasive appeal in the newer countries—accurate knowledge and not just a caricature; a shrewd appraisement both of context and of historical conditions in Europe.

Speaking as a representative of the Christian Church, I recognise that Marxist Communism is aggressively anti-religion. It says, "Your God is dead; he has never been alive." But, even allowing for those rather extravagant statements, one has to recognise a point which the noble Earl, Lord Longford, made, that a great many people who think they are rejecting the whole Christian faith, or the Jewish faith for that matter, are revolting against a false conception. I, like the noble Earl opposite, have many friends who, with modesty and humility, call themselves agnostics, and yet are men. I think, who are not far from the Kingdom of God and are reacting to a whole series of false conceptions. I should not be surprised if Communism in Eastern Europe fastens on that kind of thing and gets a good deal of support from people of that temperament. Therefore, it is more important that we should do some first-class thinking and analysing, following the line which the noble Earl suggested a few minutes ago.

There is one other point in this connection which I should like to make. The Chinese are considered to have a peculiar aptitude for what is called brain-washing, and it is a very disagreeable and irrational thing in which to indulge. But one of the anxieties we have in this country is the degree to which to-day, through various very powerful influences that work in our midst of a commercial kind, very often it is possible to create something rather like a mass mind on a whole variety of subjects. The very fact that we have powerful instruments of propaganda—the television, the Press and that sort of thing—is making it more, rather than less, difficult to get people to apply their common sense and such intelligence as God has given them to analyse and estimate truly current events. Though we may not indulge in anything so crude as brain-washing, yet it is possible, I think, to eliminate the thinking capacity of a great many people by certain powerful methods of propaganda against which we have to be very much on our guard; because democracy, if it is to be an effectual political force in the world, must have a rational appeal and be the policy of men and women who are able to think intelligently on these subjects.

That leads me to my last point on out-living. We recognise, with great sorrow, that many European countries are alienated from the Christian Church because it seemed to them to be identified with social injustice and unjustifiable privileges. The battles of the nineteenth century are for the most part over, but the hangover remains and it will last a long time, certainly in the industrial areas in this country. But Western society, I believe, must win the ideological battle, not only by rethinking running right through the whole of our democracy but, as has been said, by the quality of our life and our moral vitality. It is not a case of saying, "This chap or that chap" but a case of the influence in the world, the witness in the world, of a society which may seem, to the rising countries, the worthwhile way of life. It is that kind of way we want to build up in our land. We must have our forces, but I am sure that in the long run it is no use fighting Communism with defensive tactics. We have to put in its place, in the eyes of the young people of Africa and Asia, the quality of life in the individual or in the community which makes them see that this is what they ought to aim at.

4.58 p.m.


My Lords, may I add my congratulations on the maiden speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Barrington? May I also say that I have listened with interest to the speech of the right reverend Prelate who, I understand, has just announced his resignation from early next year. I feel sure that your Lordships will miss his contributions to your Lordships' House.

I propose to confine myself to some remarks on the question of Communism in Africa. The question is frequently asked: what is the nature and extent of Communist interest and activities in Africa? It is not an easy question to answer, as the matter is somewhat involved. Up to a few years ago, Soviet policy seems to have been one of watching and studying, and intruding only actively when an opportunity arose to exploit a situation. As more and more African countries have achieved independence, situations capable of exploitation have more frequently arisen. This has led to some Russian re-thinking and a more objective assessment as to how they can influence affairs in Africa.

At the same time, the Chinese have been turning their attention to Africa, and they have decided on a different approach. Nor must we ignore the fact that the Yugoslav Communists are also taking a very active interest in Africa. Let us first try to make an appraisal of their strategic aims and tactical methods. The Russians seem to be taking a longterm view. They wish to create a situation which will lead Africa ultimately to take its place in a Communist world. By working on the Africans' desire to be really independent of their former colonial masters, they hope to develop an atmosphere for an eventual Communist take-over. The African desire for emancipation and the apparent dedication to the ideal of African Socialism provide a fertile soil on which Russia can work. Previously, Russian theory has argued that all African nationalist leaders were bourgeois and would have to be swept away by a revolution of the proletariat after independence had been gained. But now, more realistically perhaps, they have accepted that other methods than violent revolution should be their policy. By defending the political and economic independence of African States, by challenging what they like to call imperialism in the form of military blocs and foreign bases, and starting agrarian reforms—by such means they hope to woo African leaders and seduce them into Communism.

China takes a different view. It believes Communism in Africa can be fostered only by direct, violent revolution. Mao has said that co-existence is only temporary before war destroys capitalism. This is in contrast to Khrushchev's statement that co-existence is a continuing policy and the only alternative to war. The Chinese policy is to supply experience in organising international trade unions and the know-how for anti-colonial revolutions on the Vietnam pattern. Extremist African leaders are being invited to China where they are indoctrinated. It is significant that at the Afro-Asian Economic Cooperation Conference held in Cairo in May, 1960, China, while consenting to become a member, showed her true hand by bitterly opposing such co-operation. The Chinese rather naïvely claim that they are better placed than the Russians to understand the feelings of the Africans because after the Boxer rising they experienced and suffered a period of Western colonialism.

The Russian ideas on Africa are set out in a book by Dr. Potekin called Africa Looks Ahead. Potekin is the head of the new Institute of African Studies in Moscow. He claims in his book that colonialism has kept Africans backward and that foreign monopolies have prevented Africans from accumulating capital. As a result, he asserts, there is no sizable native bourgeoisie nor, except in Nigeria and Uganda, any native capitalistic elements. He claims that the transition to Socialism will, as a result, be easier. In arguments which characteristically ignore inconvenient facts and which are peculiarly inconsistent, he maintains that Lenin's theories are applicable to Africa. "Africa", he writes, "cannot be some sort of exception." He goes on to say that the proletariat, with a little of the right sort of encouragement and Communism, will succeed.

Thus, my Lords, while the theory remains the same, its application is to be based on a much more accurate observation of African character and aspirations than before. At the Soviet Party Congress in 1956 the Russians defined their plans for Africa and a five-year programme was drawn up which envisaged a peaceful route through subversion. Selective economic and technical aid is being given; industrialisation is being encouraged; an African Institute has been set up and Africans are being used in studies of their own Continent. Emphasis is being laid on the fact that Russia is not a colonial power and has no race prejudice, and this latter point is being brought home by Communists from the Asian Soviet Republics. Propaganda is now being intensified with a wider distribution of works about Africa, in English, French and Portuguese and in the main African languages. Western works on Africa are being translated into Russian with suitable editing and footnotes. As much use as possible is being made of radio; for instance, Moscow has increased her Swahili programmes to fourteen hours a week. Africans are being given encouragement to attend youth festivals, which provide a specially good atmosphere for indoctrination. Without going into further details it is clear that Russia means to intensify her efforts not only to win over new African governments but also to gain a substantial following for Communism, particularly among African youth.

My Lords, we must now consider what the African reaction to Communism and Communist-dominated countries is likely to be. It is perhaps natural that, on emerging from the influence of the political and cultural outlook of the metropolitan colonial Powers, the new African States should want to look around to see how other countries conduct their affairs. They are in such urgent need of economic aid that they are likely to accept it from any source, from wherever it is offered. Russian aid moreover tends to be given on more favourable terms than that offered by the West. As yet there is little evidence that any but a small minority, including it is true some of the political leaders, are aware of the motives behind Russia's intensified interest in Africa.

The African's craving for education is such that those who have been unable to get places in Western universities have accepted scholarships in Communist countries. The reaction of foreign students in Russia has more often than not been unfavourable. The crowded living conditions, strange food and the climate have all meant a standard of comfort lower than they had expected. African students do not like being regimented and resent that they are segregated in the People's Friendship University from the main student body. They dislike interference with their private lives and being subjected to irksome surveillance, to censorship and to travel restrictions. On the purely academic side they are sometimes prevented from having access to material needed for their work. There is no doubt that an African student's life in England is easier and his study is likely to be more profitable.

However, it cannot be over-emphasised that Africa is in a hurry. The Western argument that if you proceed with caution, step by step, yours will eventually be a fully developed, self-sufficient democratic country has no appeal at all. This gradual approach is regarded as a device to hold Africa back. The African intelligentsia point to the success that Russia has had in developing her own country from the backward slough of the Czarist régime to the great modern State that is now reaching even to the moon. African political leaders and intellectuals dream of Africa's becoming a third power in the world within their own lifetime, perhaps even in little more than a decade. Russia has done it, so here is an example for them to follow. Nor is this a peculiar achievement which it would be rash to try to emulate, for now it seems that China is doing it too; so why not Africa?

With their imagination fired by these examples the politicians within Africa are looking eagerly at what is being done in Guinea under Communist guidance. It is believed that there are a large number of Chinese agricultural advisers there who are trying to bring about economic revolution in the life of the people of the rural areas. It is doubtful just how much this will appeal to the people concerned, for African peasants are just as imbued with traditional conservatism as peasants are elsewhere in the world. Technicians from behind the Iron Curtain have not been a great success everywhere in Africa for they have found themselves in a strange environment with its peculiar difficulties, whether they be building bridges, erecting factories, or whatever their work may be. In most cases they have no lingua franca with which to communicate with the local population. In all these respects the former colonial Powers have a start over the Communist Powers, but the latter intend to catch up and may well do so if we are not very careful.

My Lords, experience brings with it a certain blindness. The Soviet leaders are looking at Africa and its peoples from their own African historical and cultural background and not as partners in the history and culture of a European mother country. This is the way that Africa wants to be looked at, and if we are blind to this we cannot hope to enjoy the confidence of Africa. African leaders are fond of referring to the "African personality". By this they mean something which is truly African and not borrowed from their former masters, or from anywhere else outside Africa for that matter. They want it to be an expression of the African genius which will find its final form in Pan-Africanism. There are so many ethnic, linguistic and environmental differences within the continent that Pan-Africanism would seem an ideal hard to achieve. But if the ideal is unlikely to become a reality, there is no doubt about the reality of African devotion to it.

In view of the great Communist interest in Africa and African interest in Communism, what must we do? Africa's first concern is to remain uncommitted to East or West. We must ensure that she does. Indeed, the former colonial powers have a special interest in seeing that newly independent countries do not lapse into dependence upon other States. We can reasonably conclude that the great majority of Africans are not enamoured with Communist ideology; but they are susceptible to Communist methods and may find themselves unwittingly entrapped by them. We must, at the same time as explaining the aims of Soviet and Chinese policy, convince African political leaders that we, too, genuinely want Africa to remain uncommitted, and that we sympathise with their aim to make Africa a third power in the world as soon as possible.

Finally, my Lords, let me say that in our relations with Africans, both in England and in their own countries. we have an advantage over the Communists. We have a significant measure of good will. We should be able to persuade Africa that the West has more to offer than Russia or China. We must be prompt in our aid and we must not allow Russia to undercut us. We must do more than we are doing to assuage the African hunger for education. I believe that out of some 470,000 overseas students at present in this country some 15,000 are Africans. Should we not endeavour to increase this to a much greater figure—say, 25,000? We must resist and counter the insidious propaganda of the newly-established Communist news agencies. Russia's new observation of Africa, as Potekin's book shows, is very accurate, but her deductions tend to be inaccurate and confused by political theory. Provided we use our experience to good advantage without allowing our present attitude to Africa to be determined by our old relationship, we can foil the influence of Communism in Africa. Our attitude towards Africa will determine the success or otherwise of Communism in Africa. We must demonstrate for all Africa to see, not just that the old colonialism is past but that we believe in the future of the new independent Africa. But, my Lords, there is certainly no time to be lost.

5.15 p.m.


My Lords, I rise to support the Motion that this House notes with concern the division of great areas of the world by rival ideologies. I think it can be said that right throughout the history of the world ideologies have supplied much of the driving force behind human causes. I feel that people must believe in something, something that is bigger and better than they feel themselves to be, and I believe that that is the basis of all the religions in the world.

Last night there was celebrated in many parts of the world another kind of ideology, one that has come on the scene since 1917 and one that has had up to now profound effects upon a great part of the world. I allude, of course, to the 44th Anniversary of the October Revolution in Soviet Russia. I have always been interested in Russia, and I remember being thrilled as a young man when Tsarism was overthrown. We had rather lurid conceptions of Tsarism and what it was doing, and I confess that I did not know as much at that time about how that event had come about, how that overthrow had taken place, as I have learned in later years.

I have had the pleasure of visiting Soviet Russia six times. My first visit was in 1925, the second in 1935, the next in 1941, when the Germans were only some 20 miles from Moscow where I was, again in 1943, 1946 and 1956. The latter visit was in connection with the delegation which the Electricity Authority sent to Russia; all the others were in my capacity as the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress. I was for many years a member of the Anglo-Russian Parliamentary Committee, and through the instrumentality of that Committee I met several of the Ambassadors—in fact, all of them during the period I was a member—and many of the economists and others who came to London to represent the Soviet Union. I regret to say that in later years most of those men that I knew by name were denounced as traitors, some of them were shot, and others were imprisoned for long terms. I hope I cannot be described by anybody as a captious critic of the Soviet régime; my interest is much too profound for that, and I believe that the régime is bound to have such effects upon the world as a whole that nobody would criticise merely for the sake of criticising.

Last night's celebration was for the October Revolution—not the revolution, be it noted, which overthrew Tsarism. Somehow or other, it has crept into the public mind that it was the Bolshevik party which overthrew the Tsar and his régime. It was nothing of the kind, if indeed it could be described as a revolution at all. I think the proper description would be the collapse of a régime rather than a revolution. But that happened in March, 1917, and what the Bolsheviks did under Lenin and Trotsky was to overthrow the then provisional Government headed by Kerenski, and they established, step by step, the present régime in Soviet Russia.

I think they had a great deal to celebrate last evening in those different countries. It cannot be denied that Russia has made phenomenal advances and development in the industrial, economic and generally material sphere. Russia was transformed from a predominantly agricultural country into one of the two largest industrial Powers in the world, and now is confidently challenging the United States of America in that situation. I think we can say that they have made progress in practically every sphere, whether it be from ballet to bombs or atomic energy to athletics; all but one sphere, and that sphere is respect for human life and human liberty. Many people hailed successes in the economic field, but they were very much dismayed by the lack of progress towards political and industrial democracy.

Russia claims to be a Socialist State, and when I first visited Russia in 1925 I was told very regretfully by some of the most prominent people, both in politics and in the trade union movement, that Russia had attained only State capitalism; they hoped the day would come when they would be a fully Communist State. But, frankly, my own observations do not show me any of those advances in the direction of a social democracy which would entitle Soviet Russia to describe itself as a Socialist State. Russia does not claim to be a Communist State. It regards Socialism as a transition stage towards Communism which will be more fully developed when the doctrine "Each according to his needs" will be prosecuted much more than it can be to-day.

But I challenge the view that Socialism is prevailing in Soviet Russia, and I think the world would be misguided to judge Socialism and Socialists by what happens there. Russia is a dictatorship—probably the most inflexible dictatorship that history has known; far more rigid than Tsarism ever was, so far as my reading carries me. Many people call it a police State. I think we ought to remember that Russia never had anything approaching a real political democracy. The Provisional Government of March, 1917, had no time to establish democratic processes before its short life of six months had expired and it was overthrown by the Bolsheviks.

Everybody hoped that in the beginning the Communist Party of Russia would make a real effort to show how it was possible for, as it were, an economic resurgence to take place in that country side by side with political liberty. In fact, it became fairly apparent that what had happened was that one dictatorship had been replaced by another. I well remember a comment which was made by a member of the Trades Union Congress delegation who went to Russia in 1925. She came back saying that all that she could really see had happened in Soviet Russia was that the people had changed their bosses.

I think most of us have been horrified and bewildered by the excesses which took place, not only at the time of the Revolution itself but in subsequent years. I have called this dictatorship an inflexible one. Everybody knows—and the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, pointed out—that it was founded on the broad principles laid down by Karl Marx. I am not, and I never have been, a Marxist. I understand something about the doctrine, but I have found many unfathomable statements made in Das Kapital and other works of Marx. It is fashionable nowadays to deride Karl Marx, but let us remember that Marx, for better or worse, is influencing a larger section of the peoples of the world than all the other economists put together.

Marx was something of a philosopher and, while I cannot agree with some aspects of his philosophies, none the less his influence in Soviet Russia and the satellite States is immense. Marx thought that there would have to be a transition stage from, as he assumed, the collapse or overthrow of capitalism, which he called the dictatorship of the proletariat. I think that is a contradiction in terms. I do not see how a nation can dictate to itself; and as the vast majority of people are proletarians I think that was quite a wrong type of definition. But this conception of Marx, that there should be a dictatorship of the proletariat, was for a period of transition. When in Russia I tried to find out how long that transition was likely to last. I was told quite frankly, "As long as the danger of an attack from the capitalist States lasts; so we must continue the dictatorship."

When I think that that conception of dictatorship is built up almost entirely on a few lines of Karl Marx's works, expanded in great measure by the Soviet theoreticians and others, I wonder whether if Marx were living to-day, he would feel happy about the kind of dictatorship that has been established, and its length of life. Of course, it is quite clear that while that state of mind continues Russia must spend large sums of money on armaments. This was said to me both in Russia and in this country as an apology (and I think a justifiable apology, if one accepts the need for large armaments), for the low standard of life of the people. I have heard Russian civilisation described as a shabby civilisation—one that would always be a few jumps behind the rest of the civilised world. To some extent, my own observations confirm this; but I would deny that no progress whatever has been made in the realm of improving the standard of life of the people.

As everyone knows, Lenin was the leader and the inspiration of the Communist Party. He was a strong, determined and ruthless man, far-sighted and, in some senses, clear-sighted, but he was not always right in what he said and what he wrote. I well remember Sir Ben Turner, who was a Member of the Labour Party delegation that went to Soviet Russia in 1921, telling me that Lenin had told him personally that there would be revolution in England in 1922. He said it with the utmost confidence and just pooh-poohed any observation to the contrary that Turner expressed to him. He said they had 12,000 shop stewards in Great Britain, and that the Trade Union Movement, whether it liked it or not, would be driven into a revolutionary force by the power of the workers. Well, he was not right.

It may be that he was not right in many of the other things that he wrote and did. He was the author of Democratic Centralism, which has been referred to earlier and which is a deadly doctrine to anybody who in any sense espouses democracy. It meant the centralisation of power in the hands of a few men and the subordination of the individual to the commands and dictates of those men

It is said sometimes that the Communist Party are the rulers of Russia. That is only partially true. It is a group of those people in the Communist Party who rule and who have ruled for a long time past in Soviet Russia. The so-called Politburo and the Presidium are the centres of power in this respect, and even outside Russia the measure of subordination of the individual Com- munist to the dictates of his Party passes all understanding. It is difficult to understand how men of intelligence, integrity, and of some idealism who are to be found in the Communist Party, surprising as that may seem, can allow themselves to be ordered about, compelled to change their views almost overnight. The classic example of that, of course, was the beginning of the 1939–45 war, when several of the prominent Communists here, including the Secretary of the Party, Harry Pollitt, first described the war as being entirely justified, and then a few days later, at the dictates of Moscow, had to stand themselves on their heads.

I think the most cynical and the most dangerous doctrine adhered to right through the Revolution, that the end justifies the means, has prostituted all the normal concepts of morality in which the ordinary individual believes. Lenin himself said that it was perfectly justifiable to lie if the purpose of one's lie was the furtherance of an end which was justified in itself. No doubt some people believe that, but it does lead to some terrible consequences if it is pursued. The dictatorship is not personal. It never has been personal: although I am not quite sure whether Lenin, were he alive to-day, would be in any way opposed to that, because in his Collected Works, the 1923 edition, he says: Soviet socialist democracy is in no way in inconsistence with the rule and dictatorship of one person. Whether he was preparing the way for himself at that time, I really do not know. At all events, that was the view he then expressed. Stalin acted upon this, and during the war—in fact, before the war, and perhaps right from the period of 1930-he secured such power over his immediate colleagues that he made them, in substance, completely subservient to his will. That was the reason, without doubt, that many of them adhered to the Party doctrine and were afraid to give any expression of opinion which appeared to differ in the least from the doctrines laid down by Marx and Lenin.

Marx died 77 years ago. Das Kapital was never finished by him. It was finished by Friedrich Engels, who himself was a manufacturer with a business in this country, and who, I suppose, in modern Communist terminology, would have been called a bourgeois capitalist. But he saw the importance of parliamentary institutions as a means of achieving, without revolution, the change that he desired to see from capitalism to Socialism. Lenin died 37 years ago. How could any of these men possibly foresee the events that were to take place in the interim period? I cannot understand how any man of free mind, of any intellectual capacity, can slavishly follow doctrines laid down so long ago on such different data from those now available. There was one good thing that Lenin did say, or is credited with saying, and that was: Don't trust that Stalin. He is too ruthless. I have not seen that statement obtruded very much, but when I was in the position of Secretary of the T.U.C. it was very well known in our own circles. How right he was! Stalin, in his subsequent actions, showed that very clearly.

Stalin died in 1953, and after his death the so-called "personality cult" was denounced. The triumvirate was appointed—Khrushchev, Malenkov and Beria. I do not know whether I dare call it a troika, in view of the suggestions made by Soviet Russia for the General Secretaryship of the United Nations; but what happened was that it was not very long before one of the troika was shot—Beria. He was executed by his colleagues. It is rather an interesting reflection that every one of the heads of the secret police—Beria was in that position—met with a violent death, either by execution or by some other means. Malenkov was banished to Siberia. If we had read of this in Czarist days we should have thought it an awful thing to happen, but Siberia is a big place, and I am not sure that Malenkov's position would be as bad as that which the name of Siberia suggests. So, of that triumvirate only Khrushchev remains in power. He is clearly a very strong personality, and I think he is a man of great courage. He denounced Stalin in 1956-and remember that Stalin was looked upon as a god. In those days I think it required tremendous will power and confidence to launch the sort of attack on Stalin with which the Western world became acquainted very shortly after that event, but which the Russian people, even to-day, so far as I know, have never seen in full measure.

To-day everything is ascribed to Khrushchev. If an atom bomb is set off, Khrushchev is the man who did it. If it is "busting up" a Summit conference, Khrushchev is the man who did it. He always acts, apparently, on his own decisions, without any kind of restraint from his colleagues. I do not believe that for one minute. It is completely out of character with the Communist régime and the way in which the Communist régime is being carried on.

In 1938 I addressed the Australian Club in Melbourne. I was there visiting the country. It was a private function, and I was asked to speak on Russia. When I had finished I was asked the question, "What do you think of Khrushchev?" I said, on the spur of the moment." Well, he is a hard man to size up, but I believe he will be a factor for peace." Now I know that when your Lordships reflect on what I have just said, and when others read what I have said, I am bound to be described as a very gullible person. But I do not think I am. I think that his ungovernable outbursts and his belligerence and pugnacity are for home consumption more than for overseas consumption.

How do we know what struggles are going on inside the Communist Party and its Central Committee? We know of the struggles in the past. Within recent weeks Khrushchev has again attested to the struggle that took place between 'himself and Malenkov in the early days and with Molotov, Voroshilov and the others. But anybody who can say that Khrushchev is the agent who is responsible for all that is evil in Soviet Russia and its relations with other countries does not understand the mechanism by which the Communist policy is evolved and executed. I should say that Khrushchev is an extremely good poker player, as many of the Russians must be. I never came across people who were more ready to go to the brink—right to the brink—on any matter that they thought very strongly about, even to the brink of war. But I am not one of those who believe for one minute that they will cross that brink. They have far too muh to lose from any kind of adventure such as that.

We must remember about Khrushchev that there have been no political executions in Soviet Russia since Beria died in 1953. I think that is a turn for the better and an immense change, having regard to what might have happened had Stalin been in power and not Khrushchev. Does anybody believe for one minute that Molotov, Voroshilov and Malenkov would still be alive? I doubt that very much. Khrushchev has done what Stalin did not do, with the exception of a few occasions during the war. He has travelled to other countries and he has tried to understand what is happening in those countries. Most of his colleagues have never been abroad and they assess other nations on the basis of their own narrow experience in Soviet Russia and their reading.

Boastful? Of course Khrushchev is boastful. Who would not be with all that Russia can show in the materialistic sphere? He sees what I saw when last in Soviet Russia: a rising standard of life. And while I still think the description "a shabby civilisation" is by no means overdone even in the present circumstances, my six visits have convinced me that the standard of life in Russia is rising, and would rise far more rapidly were Russia able to shed her tremendous burden of armaments and get rid of her ventures in space. I saw marked improvement there in 1956 and I do not think it does anybody any good to point out that the people of Soviet Russia are not as well dressed, or as well housed, as is common in the Western world. I know that to be true—I investigated it on the spot as late as 1956-but I am quite certain that progress is being made.

Are the people any freer? Is there any movement in the direction of giving them greater liberty? I think there are some signs. Although it is still difficult, it is much easier than it was for tourists to visit Russia; and inevitably comparisons are to be drawn, and conversations can take place, although, I think, authority is very suspicious even of the humblest tourist who goes without any ulterior intent of any kind. I read in last Sunday's Observer the heading, "Speakers' Corner in Red Square". The article went on to say: Every day at sundown Red Square becomes a debating place, where free speech is practiced within sight of Stalin's fresh grave, and within hearing of smiling, tolerant policemen. To my mind, that is a tremendous change, and I only wonder how long it will last. I am quite sure that when anyone ventures, in that kind of environment, to say anything critical of the political régime of the Soviet Government, then there will be a considerable damping down of the opportunities of free speech at "Speakers' Corner".

One must remember that in Soviet Russia the dictatorship is spread over several people. In fact, I ought to go wider than that. I have mentioned the Politburo and the Presidium, although I think the Politburo is still the major body. It cannot, in the nature of things, as with any other dictatorship, allow any other organisation in the country, whether religious or whatever it is, to challenge the decisions of that dictatorship. That is such a plain, simple fact that I wonder how anyone can really doubt it. How can people be free when they are denied the right to form political parties, to form free trade unions, to have any kind of liberty of speech or writing, and when they have practically no freedom to travel? It is true that the Russian workers for many years have been free to call and criticise the boss; that is a unique kind of freedom which, perhaps, could be developed with some advantage in this country.

I wonder what is going to happen next. I think it is anybody's guess. People have always been free to support the Communist Party, and I suppose they will always be "free" in that sense. What is being practised in Russia, and was practised by Hitler in Germany, who, I believe, copied this method from Russia, is the combined method of propaganda and repression. The control of the radio, the press, the platform, and every agency of public expression, is all in the hands of the Communist Party. There are no rivals. They can say what they like. Even at football matches I have heard coming across the loudspeaker statements extolling the virtues of the Communist Party. I asked for them to be translated to me. When I was in the Red Square in 1956, at the May Day Parade, every few minutes there were similar messages being broadcast over loudspeakers to awaiting crowds.

One thing impressed me very much on that occasion, and that was the lack of response from the crowd. I was really surprised. There was Khrushchev, standing on the mausoleum with all his colleagues, when Zhukov, the other most popular man in Russia, made the statement about how the glorious Red Army, the glorious Red Air Force, and the glorious Red Navy, could repel any aggressor. No, my Lords, I am wrong about Zhukov; I think Zhukov was a year or two before that; but it was whoever was the Generalissimo at the time. While these messages were coming over the loudspeakers, I watched the faces of the crowd, and, so far as I could judge from the people around me, the messages had no effect whatever; and I heard no cheers or anything of that kind.

Yet we should be foolish to assume that there is any diminution in the loyalty of the Russian people to the Communist Government. I do not think there is disloyalty. There is a slavish following by everybody of Communist orders. In that May Day procession I saw only one banner being carried on which was a portrait of Stalin. Had it been the previous year, one would have seen Stalin's portrait on every banner, but I suppose the instructions had not got through to this particular contingent. The Government in Russia is firmly rooted, make no mistake about that, as it has been all the way through, and external pressure, in my judgment, will merely consolidate it. Reform must come from within, and I think it will come from within, although it is far too slow to satisfy people like myself who hope for so much.

As to external relations, the doctrine of peaceful co-existence has been interpreted by Khrushchev as meaning freedom to let capitalists jump about like fish in a frying pan. I do not know that the capitalists are particularly glad of that. The Chinese do not believe in this doctrine of peaceful co-existence, and, so far as I can judge, Lenin did not either. He said in his collected works, of which I have already spoken: As long as capitalise and Socialism remain, we cannot live in peace. In the end, one or the other will triumph. A funeral requiem will be sung either over the Soviet Republic or over world capitalism. We do not hear very much of that quotation in Soviet Russia to-day, and let us hope that there has been a movement towards peaceful co-existence. The Russians are very confident that their economic system will prevail throughout the world. I sincerely hope that some of it will be copied by other nations, because there is value in it; but certainly not the dictatorship. They are still preaching class war, no collaboration with the bosses, and so on. They carried that doctrine to Geneva, as I said previously in the debate on cooperation in industry.

To-day there are 81 Communist Parties with 36 million members, and with a tiny little replica in Great Britain. There is a pitiful membership in this country which, at the beginning of 1961, numbered some 27,000. They are very active in the Trade Union Movement, as I have said on other occasions, but I do not want to develop that. The Communist shop stewards are fearless and aggressive. They are not to be intimidated by employers, and they become popular with the workmen as a consequence. They exploit the workers' grievances, some of them legitimate, some of them not legitimate. Inspiration is very largely drawn from the Daily Worker, which keeps them in news.

So far as I can judge, the circulation of that paper is no greater to-day than it was when I was Secretary of the T.U.C. in 1946. Some 50,000 or 60,000 copies are sold, which is a small circulation. It has no advertisement revenue worth the name, but I must say, from my reading of it, that it is a greatly improved paper compared with what it was formerly. It is registered nowadays as a co-operative society, so that we can know a little more about it, but we do not get very far in knowing where the money comes from. There was a deficiency in the balance sheet for 1960 of £92,000. That was an accumulated deficiency built up over a series of years. When we look to see where that money came from, we learn it came from the "People's Press Fighting Fund". So again we find obscurity as to where the money comes from. The Daily Herald was at one time called the "miracle of Fleet Street", but I think that expression ought to be applied in a financial sense to the Daily Worker. Month after month, year after year, when I was Secretary of the T.U.C., there was always an appeal being made for money. They would say: "We want £2,000 to continue publication". From some unknown source of donation that money was always forthcoming, and the publication of the paper was always continued.

To sum up, I see little prospect of a Communist triumph in this country, but I think that, throughout the world generally, people are influenced, certainly in the first instance, by materialistic considerations, by their conditions of employment and by the wages they receive. And the best answer to Communism to most of the people of the world is a rising standard of life in all countries. Where we, as an advanced Western nation, can give any help in that direction, it is our duty to do so.

5.50 p.m.


My Lords, the subject of this debate provides the background for most of the problems in foreign affairs which we have to face to-day, and I believe that it gives your Lordships an opportunity of looking at the way in which the greater issues of foreign affairs have a direct impact upon us in this country and upon our domestic affairs. It is from that aspect of the subject that I should like to say a few words this evening, though I must say that I so profoundly agree with what my noble friend Lord Birdwood has already said that I think I can do little more than underline some of his points. I agreed with him when he warned your Lordships against taking this debate as in any sense alarmism or as setting on foot any sort of witch-hunt. I believe that that would be most unfortunate. None the less, Soviet international Communism presents a fundamental challenge to everything for which we stand. I was not surprised to hear the words which the noble Lord, Lord Citrine, attributed to Lenin. I believe that those plans were true then and that they have not changed in one single instance to-day.

In this country, there is a complete ignorance, a complete blindness and complacence in dealing with any of these subjects. I believe that it is of the greatest value that it should be debated in public, so that the people of this country can form an idea of the sort of problem against which we are now struggling. One of the most appalling things about this struggle was highlighted by the noble Lord, Lord Citrine, when he said that to the international Communist the end justifies any means. Within that context, one of the most successful of their tactics is to muddle and lull the populations of the free world. They are immensely clever in this, and one of the ways they do it is by using the technique of jargon.

At the moment, the key phrase which is lulling and muddling so many people is "peaceful co-existence ". Already this afternoon there have been several quotations about the meaning of this phrase. My noble friend Lord Dundee gave another instance the other day. I am afraid that I should like to add one more. It is a very recent one, which fell from Mr. Khrushchev himself at the Communist Party Congress a fortnight ago. What he said was: Peaceful co-existence must continue up to the complete victory of socialism throughout the world. By Socialism, he means Communism. Mr. Khrushchev added: The triumph of Communism is inevitable. The words "throughout the world" includes Great Britain. We may think that there is a choice between the Albanian and Chinese policy of an inevitable nuclear war and the Soviet Russian policy of peaceful co-existence, but I do not believe that the latter is any more pleasant a choice, or gives any more grounds for complacency among us than does the former. The meaning of words is a subject into which one could go in great detail. The situation has now arisen, which was foreseen by Orwell in his book, that to the opposite sides words have exactly opposite meanings. For instance, what Communism calls freedom is slavery to us. Therefore, when we listen to what they say, it is essential that in no circumstances should we forget that what they say does not mean the same to us.

I am sick and tired of hearing the taunts that come from the other side of the Iron Curtain about colonialism and imperialism. I believe that the record of this country is second to none in the field of our Colonies. Then I look at what has happened within the framework of the Soviet Empire. There is the row of colonies in Eastern Europe—Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and the rest—whose economies are now being tuned to the Russian economy, so that they are complementary to it. In the end it will be doubtful if these countries will ever individually be viable again. And the other day there came news that their armed forces are in some way to be incorporated into the Russian Red Army. If they are not colonies, I do not know what they are.

Inside the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics itself there are complete annexations: the three Baltic States, the Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijan Republics and the five Soviet Socialist Republics in Central Asia, in what used to be Turkestan. In none of those countries does nationalism exist any more. It has been the policy of generations of Communists to stamp out any form of nationalism in those regions, or Soviet Socialist Republics, as they are so surprisingly called. There have been deportations of vast proportions of the population. There is no freedom for national forms of art and literature. Everything has been done to destroy even language itself and to inculcate into the people Russian phrases and Russian words. This is not even colonialism; it is annexation. In the other great half of the Communist bloc, what China did in Tibet was not annexation, I believe, but annihilation.

Then we have to stand and listen to these taunts of colonialism and imperialism. They are made to sound dirty words. Yet we listen to them and apparently either do not notice or do not mind. It is bare-faced, downright impudence, and I am sure that it is high time that somebody said so. Is it that we do not care or do we think that we are losing ground? I do not want to go into the impact of the subject upon our colonial affairs in Africa and Asia and all the other important parts of the world where the Western point of view must prevail, and where all these lies go uncontradicted day after day, and where we apparently do nothing except show an example. We say no words and do nothing to counteract these things.

There can be no doubt that the danger is in this country as well. It is perhaps not so apparent a danger as that during the last war. It is probably a more long-term and cunning danger. Yet it is a fully-fledged campaign against our way of life and against our form of civilisation. I think that there must have been something of the same feeling among the ancient Romans when they saw Christianity spread across what they then knew as the world. Somewhat the same historical set of conditions occurred in the Middle Ages in the Crusades, when, after all, the greatest sacrifices were made by people from all over Europe when danger came nowhere near them at all.

I do not think that we need to make sacrifices today, but what I implore is some sort of awareness that this is a danger and an emergency. I cannot see how people can sit and watch examples such as the recent action in the High Court in the Electrical Trades Union's case. I do not know what may happen on appeal, of course; but even if only some of the evidence that came out in that case is true, surely it is a matter of the gravest concern. Again, as my noble friend has said, can there be much doubt that trouble in the docks and trouble in the car industry has something in it to do with the workings and machinations of international Communism? I should be surprised if it had not. For, after all, where better can the economy of this country be struck than in the docks, through which all our exports pass; and what larger exports have we than our motor cars and motor vehicles? Those are two ways in which any clever machinator would attack us, and I cannot believe it is pure chance that those are the areas of our industry where trouble is attending.

The Electrical Trades Union itself, of course, can paralyse the country, if it so chooses. I was glad, therefore, to hear the noble Lord, Lord Citrine, say that there is concern in the trade unions about this, because I cannot believe that this country can sit back and watch in silence and do nothing for much longer while these things come to light. I do not know exactly what I am asking for, except that the other day my noble friend Lord Dundee made a very profound speech which brought out a large number of these points. I am sure that my noble friend was right to make that speech, and I hope he will make another such speech this evening. I hope, too, that others will make similar speeches, both from the Front and the Back Benches here, and from the other side of the House, because, quite apart from some sort of vague faith that we shall win in the end, I believe that we must have action now.

Above all, I would beseech that this problem should be put, as it were, into the frame and given the perspective that it is certainly due when we consider such problems as our entry into the European Economic Community. It has always been the policy of a dictator to divide and conquer, and surely a united Europe is something which would give us immense strength. It is against the background of the spread and the aims of international Communism that I should like to see that sort of problem looked at, and not purely on a domestic or even perhaps on a Commonwealth level. If we are aware of the danger which I am sure we are in, I believe that awareness will give us strength as a nation; and it is, above all, strength and purpose that we must have if we are to negotiate with the Communists. Of course we must negotiate with them; but strength and purpose are the only two things that I believe they understand. Surely an informed, an awakened and an aroused country will give the emissaries of Her Majesty's Government just that feeling of security and strength which we so much need.

6.5 p.m.


My Lords, the House is indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, for having initiated this debate to-day. I think it has been a useful debate. For myself, I have spent my life in the main in going for, attacking and exposing Conservatism, Liberalism and capitalism, and I have enjoyed the freedom which has been permitted to me in so doing. It is one of the real tests of democracy whether you can get up on a soap box in Hyde Park and tell Her Majesty's Government exactly what you think of them; that they ought to finish, go out and be replaced by somebody else. If you cannot tell the Government that, then your freedom has gone. And it is the case that in Communist countries they are not allowed to say those things about the Government which we here in Britain can say in any park or on any street corner.

In the words of the late Aneurin Bevan, with whom I did not always agree, and, goodness knows!, he did not always agree with me, The Communist Party is not a Party; it is a conspiracy. That is true. It essentially works underground. Its own structure is that there is some degree of what may be called Communist democracy within the Party; that is to say, there are some forms of election within the Party under a sort of Soviet system whereby the lower branches of the Party have some hand in electing the higher branches and the higher branches the higher still, and so on, so that there are elections of a sort. I am inclined to think, however, that, bad as the elections of the E.T.U. apparently were, through ballot rigging and so on, there is not even a pretence at democratic election in Communist elections. When the Central Committee or the Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain go to one of their Annual Congresses, as they are called, they take a list of recommendations as to who shall be elected—that is to say, they are a continuing body corporate—and, in the main, almost universally those people are elected.

It is true that within that Central Committee and the Political Bureau, and so on, there can be argument, according to the amount of power possessed by the leading personality in the Party. I should imagine that in the British Communist Party there can be argument, and it may be so in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as well. The arguments are secret; the controversies are secret. But once a decision has been reached, nobody can go outside to try to convert the rank and file of the Party to another point of view, as is the case with our free British political Parties—and, heaven knows!, it is a common practice of the Labour Party for people even on the National Executive to go outside to try to convert people to take a different view from the National Executive's. It is a free country, so far, and they have the right to do so. But they do not do that in the Communist Party.

The danger of this is that, although there may be a nominal form of election, which, however, is not real, power is then conferred on the Political Bureau or the Central Committee or the Secretariat which can impose itself on the minds and the outlook of the rank and file and the policy of the Party. This is how Soviet democracy works; it is how the democracy, so-called, of the British Communist Party works. But it is not democracy. It is not the dictatorship of the proletariat, as my noble friend Lord Citrine has well said—in fact, the proletariat knows little about what is happening—but is the dictatorship of the Secretariat; and if the First Secretary is powerful, it can degenerate into his personal dictatorship. I would therefore recommend that anybody who wants to be Prime Minister of Russia under Communism should make it a condition that he must be the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, because otherwise he will be in trouble before he is many years older. That, I think, was probably the difficulty which faced Mr. Malenkov and certain others.

The great thing to do is not to get neurotic about this question. On the other hand, one must have convictions and indignations against tyranny, and not be afraid to speak out. In the British Labour Party, in the Trade Union Movement, and in local Labour parties for quite a number of years we had to face determined attempts—on the whole unsuccessful, but not wholly unsuccessful for a short time—by the Communist Party to capture the show. I went through all this when I was Secretary of the London Labour Party and when I was a member of the National Executive of the Labour Party. If one is to enter into battle with the Communists, one must not be ignorant of Communist ideas. One must not. be afraid to read Communist literature—and, as a matter of fact, like my noble friend Lord Citrine, I have saturated myself in Communist literature. I was determined to become as expert about Communism as the Communists themselves, and if possible to know more about Communism than the Communists knew, because it is only by intelligent discussion and argument against the ideas that one can be effective in these matters.

And we were effective. If Communism is weak in the United Kingdom, the major credit belongs to the Labour Party and the trade union leaders. We have fought it energetically, strongly and with understanding. We have done something else. Communism can grow on the economic desperation and poverty of the people, so we in the Labour Party and Trade Union Movement made another contribution in the political sphere by improving the social conditions, housing, social insurance, and so on, of the people and securing for them a 'better standard of life. If we had not fought Communist activities intelligently, if we had not understood them, and if we had not made these struggles for better social conditions, Communism might have been, not necessarily predominant, but a substantial political force in our country at this time. As it is, they have not one single Member of Parliament; they have not one member on the London County Council, and they have very few members on local authorities as a whole. I do not want to be too boastful, but I say that the major credit belongs to the British Labour Party and the Trade Union Movement.

I admit, on the other hand, that there is too much Communist influence in some of the trade unions—though, as in the case of the Electrical Trades Union, if it goes too far it gets pulled up. But it would not be fair to say that the whole of the friction with the shop stewards is Communist. Some of it is, and undoubtedly the Communist countries are anxious to weaken our country economically as much as militarily, because the two things are interlocked. They are doing everything they can in that direction. It is the duty of the rank and file trade unionists to go to their branch meetings and vote in elections, so that a representative decision is reached. I would go further and say that it would be a good thing for some of the unions to follow the example of the Steel Workers' Union which, in the case of one unofficial strike, expelled or suspended a limited number of the leaders of that strike. There is much to be said for it, because if unions think that there are conspirators against the union as well as against the employers, then they have a right to stop it.

It is not only within the Labour movement and otherwise that the Communists work. A pamphlet has been issued written by a Communist. It is perfectly true that it has a preface by me, but the book is by a Communist. In typically long-winded language it is called, How Parliament Can Play a Revolutionary Part in the Transition to Socialism and the Role of the Popular Masses. There is one thing about technical Communist literature: it is nearly as boring as Hitler's Mein Kampf. They lack the popular style; but not always. This is the inside story, written by a Communist and participant, of the overthrow of democracy in Czechoslovakia. Mr. Benes, the President of Czechoslovakia, whom I knew, meant well. He was living near the Soviet Union, and he sincerely believed in co-operation between democratic countries and the Soviet Union. He was determined to get on and be good friends with the Soviet Union, and was absolutely sincere about it. Jan Masaryk, poor chap, had the same view, and he came to that tragic end.

What did Benes do? He formed a Popular Front with Social Democrats, Liberals, and Communists, which, of course, was exactly what the doctor ordered, so to speak. The Communists worked with some patience, but with a good deal of speed, to undermine Parliamentary democracy in Czechoslovakia. Benes, under Russian pressure in Moscow when he went to see them there on a friendly visit, made one fatal mistake bigger than the other mistakes. One mistake was letting them in at all, but the fatal mistake was giving the Communists the Ministry of the Interior. If anybody is tempted to form a Popular Front in this country, which I hope they will not, I would beg of them not to give the Communist element the Home Office, the Scottish Office or the Commissionership of the Metropolitan Police, because that is asking for trouble. But Benes did it, I am sure meaning well. The result was that the show went wrong.

Czechoslovakia was one of the most successful Parliamentary democracies in central Europe. Between the wars their poor country suffered from Nazi dictatorship, then it got its freedom for a little, and then suffered from Communist dictatorship. It seems to be a very unfortunate country. But Benes and company should never have formed that Popular Front. They should have stuck to democratic elections, and sought to get a majority for Parliamentary government.

Now when these people get in, another thing they do is to try to discredit Parliamentary government and make it impossible to work. I am not going to judge Mr. Khrushchev this way or the other, because I find him very difficult to judge; it depends upon which day of the week it is, or which week in the year it is, because he can be a man of peace one week and a man of warlike threats the next. It may be that in some respects, as my noble friend, Lord Citrine has indicated, we owe him some benefit of the doubt. I do not express a view one way or the other, because it is exceedingly difficult to tell. But it was not without significance that he kicked his shoes on the tables of the United Nations and made a shocking and undignified row, which one would not think a Prime Minister of a great nation would ever do. His colleagues acted in the same way. So once in a Parliament they conduct it in such a way that they bring discredit upon the Parliamentary institution, in the hope that people outside will say, "What is the good of Parliament? It is no good at all."

This pamphlet speaks about the rôle of the popular masses. The popular masses, whoever they may be, were mobilised to make demonstrations against the Government or particular Ministers; to demand the elimination from the coalition of this Party or the other Party, with a view to the elimination of democratic Parliamentary elections and the installing of the other elements. This can happen in other events, such as strikes. That action is taken with a view to making impossible the work of democratic institutions, and even, at times, in a few cases, democratic trade unions. Of course there is the element of the insidious boring of a nation from within.

I read a book which is very different from this one. It is readable; it is a novel—a romance. It is, I think, exaggerated and on some points unreliable nevertheless it has a message for us. It is called When the Kissing Had to Stop. The edition I read was published in New York and written by a Mr. Fitzgibbon. I The story here is that in the United Kingdom unilateralism made great progress, to such an extent that it influenced and shaped the result of a Parliamentary general election, and a unilateralist Government was returned. Working within were some Communist elements, some muddle-headed elements, some wishful-thinking elements, and some intellectuals, who sometimes are funny people. There they were, and there was some crookedness also in the Government. There were ambitious people. People were pushed out and people pushed in.

The result was that the Government decided to destroy all its atom bombs anti get rid of the American bases. The Russians had promised to get their bases out of the occupied countries, and they started with Poland. The theory of the book was that that was the best place to start because it would least injure Russian military power. They invited journalists to go and see it and they went, it was so. It was not so in countries generally, but it was so in Poland and it was so in Britain. Then an inspectorate came over, followed by military people, police agents and so on; and the story is that the country became subordinated by essentially Communist influences and we became a Russian satellite country, much to the regret and sorrow of America. As I say, there are exaggerations in it. but theoretically it is a possible idea and it has to be taken into account as a possibility.

One of the sad things about the recent Communist Party Congress in Russia was that Mr. Molotov was denounced—I do not propose to defend him; I always regarded him as a miserable sort of fellow and too negative—so was Koganovich, who had a better reputation, and so were others alleged to have been anti-party men. It is another illustration of Communist democracy. The tragic thing is that these poor fellows were not permitted to go to the Congress and defend themselves and put their side of the case; they were condemned in their absence, and that really is pretty rough. I have been condemned in the Labour Party now and again for one thing and another—not too badly; I cannot grumble at the treatment I have received—but, at any rate, I have had the right to answer back. My noble friend Lord Citrine has had his troubles in the Trade Union Movement, but he has had the right to answer back; and, my goodness!, he did so with effect. But these poor fellows have no right to answer back. I say "poor fellows" in inverted commas, because they have not been so poor as all that in their time. However, they cannot answer back. We do not know whether or not Molotov has a case, because he has not been allowed to state it. Therefore we have to be on our guard against people being individually worked upon! or politically seduced, even for material reward. Everybody must be on his guard, because dangers can happen—dangers to our country and our influence in the world.

It is true, as my noble friend Lord Citrine has said, that one cannot say that no benefits of any kind have arisen from Communist rule in the Soviet Union, and possibly in China, although China seems to be having a stickier run at the moment; but Russia had a sticky time earlier on. It is likely that Russian economic production has improved in recent years, and certainly it ought to have done, in view of the economic power of the Government. I think the standard of life of the Russian people is better than it was under Tsardom, and it needed to be. It is probably still noticeably below the standard of life of the Western working and middle-classes, and some class division has been created in the Soviet Union as a result of the bureaucracy. That may be conceded.

Up to that point it is a good thing; but what I cannot stomach is the loss of individual freedom, of liberty and political freedom. Material advantages do not really outweigh that loss. Therefore I earnestly hope that some day the Russian people and the other people in the Soviet colonies of Eastern Europe, to which the noble Lord opposite referred, will realise this. He is quite right: Russia is the most imperialist Power on earth at this moment, the greatest colonial Power. In relation to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Twining, who is very experienced in colonial matters. I would point out that it was our own British Government, ever since the Labour Government and continued by the Conservative Government, rightly or wrongly, who took us as an imperial Power out of the Colonies and conscientiously sought to train the colonial people for self-government. I myself gave lectures in East Africa, as the noble Lord, Lord Twining knows, because he was with me. I was asked to go there by the authorities for the purpose of seeking to educate African legislators in the arts of Parliamentary democracy; and the Government themselves have done the same.

We did not make the mistake that the Belgians made of being too late and too quick. We have sought to bring the folks along; we have taken risks; we have gone very quickly when it might have been better to go a little more slowly; but if we had, we should have had the Africans impatiently waiting; and, on balance, I think we have gone the way we should. India has gained enormously in education from the British Administration when it was there and the freedom that we freely granted. But what is sad is that when the freedom which these folks sought has been granted, they are in danger of losing it to a new and worse kind of tyranny than ever the British imposed. That is a terrible state of affairs, and I should hope that the former colonial people will not fall for it, because it would be a sad thing.

Now the great thing is knowledge and education, and I agree with the noble Lord on the Back Bench opposite that the Government are not doing enough in the way of factual education on these matters and on our own record, which is not a mean record. We ought to do more among all the peoples of the world and try to get inside the dictatorship countries themselves. None of us wish to be enemies with the people of the Soviet Union. Unlike my noble friend Lord Citrine, I went there only once, but I thought they were a nice people. The reputation of the Russian people is that they are not an aggressive people and that they usually have to be convinced that it is a defensive war before they will put their backs into it. The trouble now is that we do not know who is doing the educating. But there it is. They are a nice people and they are suffering from enormous military and propaganda expenditure. Let us hope that the day may not be distant when nation can "speak unto nation", as the B.B.C. says, when our people can freely talk to the Russian people and they can freely talk to us, and there can be free contact between the democracies and the Communist countries of the world. For it is not good that men should be politically slaves. It is desirable that all men in all countries shall be free—and free to participate in the government of their country.


My Lords, may I first offer my congratulations to the noble Viscount, Lord Barrington, on his most interesting and delightful maiden speech, which we all enjoyed hearing very much. The noble Viscount suggested that this debate might breed other debates on a great multiplicity of subjects arising out of it, among which he evidently included the banking policy of Mr. Montagu Norman and the gold standard. But however that may be, we all hope that the noble Viscount will speak to us again on a great variety of subjects with that agreeable latitude which we always admire in the Party to which he belongs.

My Lords, the ground which your Lordships have covered in this debate is very much the same as the ground which I tried to cover in my remarks to your Lordships on Wednesday of last week. I do not want to repeat anything I said then, and your Lordships will therefore probably not mind if I try to be very brief. I think I thoroughly agreed with everything which was said just now by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth. His only criticism of the Government, so far as I remember, is the criticism which I have always rather sympathised with, that we are not doing enough in the way of information to tell the world of our achievements; I have always felt that myself. But I think that we are now doing a good deal better than we have done in the past, and I hope perhaps at another time to have the opportunity of showing the noble Lord some evidence of the growth of our information services.

My noble friend Lord Birdwood, who introduced the Resolution, gave a very careful analysis, with which I think all of your Lordships have agreed, of the nature and motives of world Communism, and I entirely agree with him that it is our duty to understand the strategy and the tactics of world Communism, which I think your Lordships, as this debate has shown, understand very fully.

I do not agree that the world is divided into rival ideological blocs: I think that is a Communist fallacy, an oversimplification of the real position. There is a Communist ideology which is imposed on hundreds of millions of people by a small ruling class who are indoctrinated with the theories of Marx, and I think what really separates the world ideologically is not the existence of any positive ideologies in the free world but the distinctive Communist definition of justice and morality which is quite different from the understanding of those words which is held by ordinary human beings in every part of the world. In the language of Communism, justice and morality are simply what serves the interests of Communist dictatorship. There is no conception of the transcendent justice or transcendent morality which most ordinary men and women recognise.

In the Communist view, the idea held by most ordinary people that there is such a thing as a transcendent morality is nothing more than an emotional noise. I understand that this view is now held by a number of dons at Oxford, with whom the noble Earl, Lord Longford, is probably more familiar than I am. They do not matter very much because they do not have nuclear weapons and they do not control the destinies of hundreds of millions of people.


My Lords, since I have been mentioned, perhaps I may say that I should have thought they were dying out: that they were the men of yesterday.


My Lords, I am delighted to hear the noble Earl's opinion on that, but of course it is a pretty safe opinion because these pseudo-philosophies never last very long; they always die out sooner or later.


They come back again.


My Lords, they come back again in different forms. In all societies throughout history there has been a great deal of injustice and cruelty and oppression and a great many atrocities, and the worst examples of in- justice and cruelty of one man to his fellow creatures are highlighted very often by historians in order that they may be held up to execration among people who learn history, like Cromwell's massacre at Drogheda in the seventeenth century, or the massacre of St. Bartholomew Eve in Paris in the sixteenth century, the cruelties of ancient Rome and so on; they are all looked on as abominations that ought to be execrated, and they are recorded for that purpose. But now, in the twentieth century, behind the Iron Curtain, these things are not specially recorded; they are regarded as normal and good. That is the real point: that cruelty, atrocity and injustice, as we see them, are regarded in the Communist ideology as good and virtuous if they serve the ends of Communist dictatorship, I think that is the real thing which separates intellectual and ideological Communism from the rest of the world.

In the rest of the world, in the free world, we do not seek a uniform ideology at all; we have a great variety of social systems, of customs and of religions, and it is the Communist ideology which offends against the ideas of humanity in general. There is no countervailing ideology to put against it on the other side. All the talk in the last few weeks at the Twenty-second Congress in Moscow about there being two blocs in the world, the Communist bloc and the capitalist bloc, is a sheer fallacy; it does not exist. I do not think you could get greater differences in the social ideas and religions of the free world than exist, let us say, between India and Western Europe; although, as the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, very rightly said, India owes a great deal to us. She does; we have educated her in free government. The general social background and history of India is very different from that of Western Europe and America, but the ideas of the ordinary people on these fundamental things, whatever their religion may be, are very much the same.

I wonder whether I might give your Lordships as an example an article by a well-known Indian journalist, A. D. Gorwala, which I read not long ago in the magazine Encounter, which I think puts so well the differences which your Lordships have been discussing in this debate. I would quote only a few sentences. He is writing about conditions in India, and he says: We do not have a legal system which makes the will of the rulers the law. We do not ban open discussion of public affairs. Our newspapers are not organs of the government repeating whatever the Press bureau tells them. We do not let the executive will decide court cases. We do not try people by mass meetings, nor compel confessions by refined torture. We do not execute large numbers of men by making them kneel and then shooting them through the head from behind to the accompaniment of the revelry of merrily-dancing crowds. We have not murdered (the Communist Chinese term is 'deprived of existence') about 12 million citizens in six years. We do not compel our people to obtain permission before buying railway tickets. We do not force them to join street committees so that their movements can be kept under watch. We do not 'brainwash' our people nor make them agree to think as we like. We do not insist on their confessing whatever the Government feels they ought to confess. We do not make our peasants yield their lands by force to so-called 'co-operatives', which take away most of their produce. We do not terrorise our people into compulsorily volunteering for any task the Government desires to have done. We do not have concentration camps. We do not regard as absurd the enjoyment of individual freedom by the citizen…. We do not look upon tolerance as an unconscionable hindrance but rather as the greatest good. We do not take refuge in the `double-speak' which means dictatorship when it says democracy, the Communist Party when it says the people, and tyranny when it says justice. My Lords, I thought this was such a good commentary on everything your Lordships have been discussing this afternoon that it would bear quotation at some slight length.

Of course, the first duty of the Government—I am not going to say much about this because I said it a week ago—is to keep our society and our country and our Allies free, not from Communist ideas, but from their practical consequences: the threat of nuclear war, which arises from the ruthless aggression and the cruel tyranny of Communist power, or the subversion which has been mentioned by so many of your Lordships—as Lord Twining, who spoke about Africa, and the noble Lord, Lord Citrine, and others have said—in any part of the world where they can stir up trouble. In the Congo, or Vietnam—any part of the world which is not subject to their domination where there seems to be an opportunity for creating trouble—it is their invariable practice to send in propaganda, arms, sometimes perhaps volunteers, not so much to further any particular cause but simply to create trouble in order that the non-Communist world may be in a state of disturbance. Then there is the industrial penetration of the trade unions, again not with the purpose of getting anybody to vote Communist, but of disrupting our industry and preventing free countries from being economically prosperous.

As to the first, of course the point of overriding importance is that we need to try to prevent nuclear war. There is no use pretending that we have not had a terrible set-back owing to the action of Russia in breaking off the conference at Geneva which offered some hope of getting the first step—a small step but a first step—towards disarmament, which we hoped would be an agreement to suspend nuclear tests for a long period. Of course that is only a step. We cannot remove the terrible danger of nuclear war unless we have disarmament. I remember at the beginning of 1959, more than two years ago, debating in this House a Motion about nuclear disarmament in which the noble Earl, Lord Russell, spoke. He said, very truly, that the real obstacle to an effective disarmament agreement was the Russian phobia about inspection. That was very true then, and it is very true now.

In spite of the disappointments we have suffered, we must persevere. We must try to get disarmament, because that is the only way. If we never get disarmament then, sooner or later, by accident or otherwise, nuclear war might break out. We must aim at disarmament and, in order to get it, we must somehow or other overcome this Russian phobia against inspection. The noble Earl, Lord Longford, thinks we should also provide for an international police force and some kind of world government in order to make disarmament effective. I think that very likely he may be right. I am not going to pursue that point. But the first thing—we do not want to give the Russians too much to swallow at once—is for us to try to get an agreement on inspection. That must be our first objective. Meanwhile, as I say, I am afraid we have had a terrible set-back in the Russian breach of the undertaking to suspend tests. Their abandonment of the conference for the suspension of tests has been a terrible shock to every peace-loving man and woman in every part of the world.

As for penetration by military and other methods in any country which offers the opportunity, we must persevere in trying to counter that wherever we can. I entirely agree with all that your Lordships have said, including the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, just now, about the greater susceptibility of some countries which have lately emerged from despotism, through colonialism to liberty. Often they are naturally, both for economic and for other reasons, a little more susceptible than others to Communist penetration. As the noble Lord said, we must try to counter this with understanding.

As for industrial penetration, this was the main point on which I am not quite sure I was in agreement with my noble friend Lord Birdwood, although he put what he said in the form of a question rather than a proposal, when he suggested that there might be a need for a Government inquiry into Communist penetration of the trade unions. I doubt if an inquiry would do much good. I think that we know all the facts which we need to know about it. We all know that in some unions the representation of Communists is out of all proportion to their numbers. As Lord Morrison of Lambeth said, this is entirely due to the apathy of the voters; sometimes not more than 10 per cent. of them vote.

I think that the main defence against this kind of subversion must be the common sense of our people. We do not proscribe Communism. We do not make the holding of Communist opinions or membership of the Communist Party illegal. And as for the trade unions, out of the large number of trade unions in this country there is only a handful in which Communist representation is strong at the top. I think that the problem is best dealt with by the unions themselves, and that Government action can do more harm than good by reducing the incentive on their part to responsible self-government.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Earl for one moment? I had not meant this proposed inquiry to be confined to only the trade union movement. I had meant it to cover every possible form of Communist activity in the country. For example, perhaps even penetration into the educational field.


My Lords, I certainly agree that we cannot know too much about Communist activity. I was merely trying to say on this particular point that I do not think an inquiry about the trade unions would do much good. I think that, on the whole, the duly elected officials of the trade unions, with the support of the majority of their members, exercise their power responsibly. This exercise of power was illustrated in the action taken by the Trades Union Congress in the recent Electrical Trades Union case, although I know that some people thought they took a long time to do it.

I think that most of your Lordships who have spoken in this debate this afternoon, although, of course, we are all interested in immediate Government responsibility, have been a little more interested in the long-term question rather than in the immediate problems: that is, the long-term question of how we and our children are going to live with the people of Russia and China. We all want not only to be on friendly terms with the Russian people and with the Chinese people, and with all peoples, but to help them, and we want them to help us both materially and in culture—in fact, in every way. As the noble Lord, Lord Citrine, very rightly pointed out, and as I also pointed out to your Lordships last week, I think, when the Russian Government talk about peaceful co-existence they do not mean what we mean by peaceful coexistence at all. They mean trying to subdue the whole world without the necessity of dropping hydrogen bombs on the free part of it. That is what they mean by peaceful co-existence.

Peaceful co-existence is a thing which is held up solely and entirely by the Communist Powers. It is not we who build the walls around East Germany, who try to keep unwilling people in, who will not allow contact between our own people and the outside world, and who will not tell our own people the truth. The Russian people have not yet been told that their Government have broken the pledge about suspending nuclear tests and have exploded 31 nuclear bombs in the atmosphere within the last two months. They do not know that; it is known only to the Communist ruling class. We are not putting any obstacle in the way of peaceful co-existence. What we want, my Lords, is what is sometimes now called, in order to distinguish it from peaceful co-existence, "co-existence plus"—that is, a coexistence which will enable the peoples in Russia and those in Western Europe to know each other and to help each other, to trade with each other, to exchange views and to travel freely, to mix with each other and to be friends with each other. That is what we call "coexistence plus".

I have made one quotation already to your Lordships, and I should just like to mention an article which appeared yesterday in the Guardian by an honourable Member of the Labour Party in another place, Mr. Mayhew, who I am very glad to see defends and supports this conception of "co-existence plus". I will just quote one short sentence. He says: In reply to the Communist challenge, therefore, the non-Communist world should take its stand on the conception of 'Coexistence Plus': plus ideological co-existence, and an end to proselytising and to bitter and dangerous rivalry; plus practical East-West co-operation; plus genuinely free East-West contacts. Millions of non-Communists in N.A.T.O. and uncommitted countries could find common ground here, and would probably support with great moral conviction a worldwide peace-and-friendship campaign based on these principles. Those who clung to the old. sterile Marxist conception of co-existence would find themselves isolated, and probably disunited as well". I should like to say that the Government welcome this article, which corresponds with their own views.

I know that the immediate prospect is very discouraging. We must overcome the apparently monolithic obstinacy of the Communist ruling class. But there is one thing which I believe we have on our side. Twentieth-century progress in production, in commerce, in communication and in science is making the world more and more interdependent, and it is going to become more and more difficult for any ruling class to shut off its own people intellectually from the rest of the world. I think that we on our side have that advantage; therefore do not let us despair. In spite of the apparently insuperable difficulties, let us keep on trying to change this Russian idea of peaceful co-existence into an idea of co-existence plus, which will be founded on genuine tolerance and on mutual help.

6.56 p.m.


My Lords, may I first thank all those noble Lords who, at great trouble to themselves in some cases, have contributed to this debate? I had no idea, when I initiated this debate, that we were to have a maiden speech. I think it was the Greeks who told us that "Variety is the breath of life", and, if I may say so, the noble Viscount, Lord Barrington, certainly gave us a real puff of life this afternoon.

I am extremely grateful to the noble Earl who has replied for the Government for a very searching answer indeed to this debate. There is one thing, I think, which we have put into perspective in all our minds, and that is the meaning of peaceful co-existence. It is sometimes held that these rather theoretical debates—in which the House of Lords alone, I think, specialises—do not serve a purpose. It is said that, in contrast, we ought to stick to discussing facts and the day-to-day ad hoc situation in the world. I hope and believe that the debate this afternoon has given the lie to that kind of approach to the theoretical debate. Incidentally, it seems to me that a good many practical points have been introduced as well.

There are two points that I wanted to bring out in this debate. The first was the need to counter apathy, and the second was the need to introduce into all our policies the concept, always, of the freedom of men and their ideas to move across frontiers. I was very pleased to know that at least two or three of your Lordships fully supported me in my approach, both to the apathy in this country and to the freedom of movement. The noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, referred to a document. If I may say so within the context of apathy, it has seemed to me rather curious that that document, translated into English, has, so far as I know, sold less than one thousand copies in this country, whereas it is selling in tens of thousands on the Continent and in America. Here, after all, is the blueprint of a plan to undermine and bring down all that is precious to us and what it stands for. Copies of that document should, in my view, be in the hands of every single Member of Parliament. That is just an example of the apathy that exists.

I could not quite agree with a view that was expressed during this debate: that we had to meet abuse from the other side by a kind of dignified silence on this side. Much has gone wrong, as I see it, through our case lapsing by default, and it is refreshing, these days, to find that we are answering the Communists with force—and fairly quickly, too. I think that is all I wish to say in comment on this afternoon's debate. I feel that, at last, this subject has had a full airing, and I hope and believe that some of the views that have been expressed will find their way out into the country. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

House adjourned at seven o'clock.