HL Deb 17 October 1961 vol 234 cc359-435

Debate resumed.

4.43 p.m.


My Lords, if I may say so with very great respect, I listened with enormous interest to the speech of the Foreign Secretary. He dealt with certain aspects of the East-West conflict, and I should like to put before your Lordships some simple facts about that conflict as seen by myself. I do this because for many years, from 1945 to 1958, I had a ringside seat at this game of international high politics, and since 1958 it has been my opportunity to visit the leaders of the other side and find out what they think about it all. I should like to confine what I say to Europe and to Asia, because those are the areas where the signals are set at danger—and chiefly in Europe. I do not think Africa presents any immediate problem, but it may do so later on.

Now the world has got itself into a frightful tangle, a sort of morass, and nobody has yet been able to lead us out of this morass to a more peaceful world. We on our side keep saying that we have done all we can and that it is now up to the Russians. They say exactly the same thing but, of course, the other way round; and we do not seem to gel anywhere. There is nothing to be gained by this policy of status quo. Indeed, I would put forward the suggestion that the policy of status quo is dangerous because it continues the deadlock; and that deadlock has gone on now for very nearly seventeen years. The basic trouble is the suspicion and mistrust which each side has towards the other, and until that suspicion and mistrust can be lessened and finally removed I do not see how any progress can be made with disarmament, nuclear or otherwise. You will never remove that suspicion and mistrust by the present negative policy and slanging match. I look in vain for the long-term strategy, the ultimate aim. It seems to me that we need a positive policy, and one which is based on the political facts of life throughout the world.

My experience leads me to believe that there is only one answer to this very tangled problem, and I should like to put before your Lordships certain points about what that answer might be. At least it is a plan—and, so far as I am aware, nobody has yet produced any other plan to solve this conflict. Now the hard core of the conflict is the relationship between Russia and N.A.T.O., and that can be boiled down to the German problem in general and to the Berlin problem in particular. We in the West insist on the absolute right of the people of West Berlin to choose how they shall live, and to ensure that right we demand solid guarantees on a number of matters. We are not prepared to compromise on those issues. Indeed, the political leaders of the West have made it clear that, if necessary, we shall go to war to uphold the integrity of West Berlin.

Now it must be obvious to anybody who understands war—and I can claim to have some small knowledge of it—that such action would result not only in the total destruction of the capitals and major cities of Europe but also in the death of millions of people. It would also mean the end of Western civilisation as we understand it. But there is another fact to be considered. If the West uses military force in an endeavour to keep open its communications with Berlin, it will become involved in a military clash with the Russians. That means all-out nuclear war; and the West would do well to consider whether that would in any way help the West Berliners. In point of fact, it would result in their losing for all time the freedom they now enjoy, and would bring them untold misery.

Of course, we have an obligation, a duty, to West Berlin, and we cannot disregard that obligation. But the simple fact is that Berlin is a city which is marooned in the centre of a hostile political system and is surrounded by the armed forces of the second most powerful nation in the world. I do not believe you can solve this Berlin problem in isolation. I do not believe that that city can have any secure or lasting future except in a reconstructed and reconciled Germany. But we must remember one thing: that Russia regards the unity of a re-armed Germany as a menace to her security. That is how she regards it; and so do many other nations, too, which I should not like to mention.

The present policy of one united Germany has become unattainable for the time being, and I do not believe it can be implemented in any future we can foresee. Since the East German rioting in June, 1953, that policy of one Germany has become bankrupt and sterile. Do not let us forget that that rising was a very testing time for Western policy—Western policy which, when tested, was found wanting. We looked the other way in June, 1953. My Lords, the only possible hope of a unified Germany eventually is to adopt to-day a policy of two Germanies. That policy would mean giving recognition to the East German State. And why not? There are only two ways of bringing about a change of ideology in a country, of bringing down its Government, if you want to. One is to encourage a revolution inside the country. That has been tried, and it failed. In Poland, in Hungary, in Cuba, and in East Germany in 1953, it has been tried and failed. The other way is to recognise the Government in question, and then to bring Western democratic influence to bear on that Government.

The trouble here is that for many years we in the West have treated the East German régime as a thoroughly indecent set-up. So long as we treat it like that, there is not much chance of persuading it to be otherwise. It is a purely negative policy. What we need is a positive policy, which begins with recognition and then moves on to bring influence to bear on the East German State on a long-term project—a long-term project of converting it to be independent and responsible, hoping that one day it may look westwards, as did Yugoslavia.

A major obstacle to that is the reluctance of the West to let the East Germans join in the arrangements over Berlin; but a secure future for that city is not going to be achieved without treading on some Western toes. Once the Western Powers can bring themselves to acknowledge the factual existence of the East German State, all sorts of possi- bilities arise. The present Western Frontier of Poland could be agreed. Negotiations could begin on the withdrawal of the armed forces of all nations back to their own national territories; and such a move is the best way by far to reduce the suspicion and the mistrust that exist to-day between Russia and the West. Indeed, I believe that until we can get the armed forces of the nations of East and West back into their own national territories, there can be no durable or lasting peace in this world; and I should like to refer to that a little more in a moment. The point for consideration is this: if the West recognises the East German State, will the Russians become more amenable? I reckon they will. At any rate, it is worth trying, and one cannot escape the simple truth that the East German State is a fact and that nothing we can do will change that fact.

When one approach to a problem has failed—that is, the one approach to a United Germany; no progress has been made for nearly seventeen years—it would seem to me not a bad idea to try another approach, namely, to the two Germanies. Of course, West Berlin must remain in the Western Alliance. But if the guarantees which agree that disposition are solid and firm, it seems to me to be unimportant through whom the details are operated. Clearly, the East German Government must be one of the guarantors. I agree very much indeed with the approach to this German problem of the Foreign Secretary; I agree absolutely with it. It has to be negotiated. There is no solution to be had by fighting. That way leads to misery for everybody.

Now may I say a word on Asia? What is the position of Asia in the East-West conflict? That can be boiled down to the attitude of China. The leaders of that nation are actively engaged in solving the problems of the People's Republic, which problems have resulted from the long-drawn-out Japanese war, the civil war, the internal oppression of the Manchurian rulers and war lords for some 2,000 years, and external aggression from foreign Powers. To solve those problems, to feed the population, and to establish the economy on a sound basis, is going to take fifty years at least, maybe longer, and during those fifty years China wants to be left alone. She wants peace.

It would be a great mistake for the West to base its policy on illusions about China. All is not good in China, but show me the country where it is. China wants friends who will treat her as an equal, and it is high time that the Governments of the Western Alliance ceased to ignore the biggest nation in the world and ceased to treat that nation as if it did not even exist. It seems to me quite ridiculous. That is not the way towards peace in Asia. It is wrong that the seat of China in the Assembly of the United Nations and in the Security Council should be occupied by the Government of Formosa. I hope that the Governments of the Western Alliance will agree that there is one China, the People's Republic of China, and that the Peking Government must be represented in the councils of the world.

Now, one final point which is overall and local. What do we see to-day in the world? To-day the wealth of the world is not being used to benefit mankind, to raise the standard of living of backward peoples, to provide food, medical care and housing where all these things are so desperately needed. Instead, the wealth of the world is being used to build up armed forces and powerful weapons which, if used, would destroy the world. And if the man from Mars were to visit this world, he would think we were all crazy! We talk about disarmament; at the same time we prepare for war.

Of course we want a reliable disarmament plan, but surely we need first a long-term strategy and ultimate aim. I suggest that that ultimate aim can only be to get the armed forces of all the nations of East and West back into their own territories eventually. My experience of meeting with the leaders of the other side teaches me that there cannot be any durable or lasting peace in this world so long as we keep armed forces in other people's countries, poised and ready for military operations. Once we can get them back into their own national territories, then we can begin to make real progress towards disarmament. Where should we all like to see the armed forces of Russia? Surely, back in Russia, back in their own national territory, inside the legal frontiers of Russia and outside of all other lands. Surely that is the place for them. As a soldier, there is nothing I should like to see better. And they would go back if we, on our side, would also withdraw.

My Lords, I can claim to have a very good knowledge of the Western Defence Organisation—in fact, I am not so certain that I do not know more about it than most other people. I started it. I began it in 1948, in the days of the Western Union, under the orders of a person for whom I have an enormous respect, Ernest Bevin. And I headed it in 1948, before N.A.T.O. was ever formed. I am prepared to state definitely, as a soldier, that such a withdrawal on our part can be safely carried out without in any way weakening the defensive posture of the Western Alliance, provided—and this is very important—that it is carried out sensibly and is properly organised. It is for the Western leaders to say whether this is politically possible. If they say that it is not, the man in the street should demand very clear reasons from those he has elected to govern his affairs. If the reason is given that such a withdrawal will bring about a loss of influence among the N.A.T.O. nations, then the man in the street must reach the conclusion that there is something seriously wrong with the Western Alliance.

Some people may ask, "How will you stop the two Germanies fighting each other when we have all come back home? How would you stop Western Germany, Federal Germany, with 53 million people (and if anybody wants to know what 53 million Germans are like when they go fighting, I can tell them) operating eastwards to conquer and absorb Eastern Germany, with 17 million people, to make one Germany?" The answer is that Russia and N.A.T.O. must agree that both will co-operate to prevent such a disaster. And if an agreement to that effect were written into a treaty by the two great Power groups, neither Germany could again disturb the peace of the world. There would be no difficulty with Russia. They would agree at once, and very willingly. I met the other day, away in the Far East, a German, who said to me, "Are you people mad? Don't you know us Germans? We don't change. We are just the same as ever—and you give us weapons! You must be mad." Well, I would not go with him quite so far as that, but that is what he said.

Some people will say that this plan of two Germanys and the armed forces going back home is too simple. But in the West our affairs have become very complicated, and there is no doubt that simplification is needed. I should have thought that the essence of political strategy is timing. Now is the time for the West to propose that the armed forces of all the nations should be withdrawn to their own national territories. This would be good timing. And such a proposal at once gives us the initiative. Russia could not refuse. The only armed forces to be in other people's countries should be those of the United Nations, and then only by invitation of the nation concerned.

Why not make the proposal, and then sit down and discuss how it could be done? It would take a long time—five years, maybe ten years; but that does not matter. It would not matter how long it took, once we had agreed that that is what we want, that that is our longterm aim, our long-term strategy. Once a beginning was made, then the suspicion and the mistrust between East and West would immediately begin to go down. Of course, the withdrawal would need a control and inspection system, organised by the United Nations. To conclude, I would plead that we need the long-term strategy agreed first, and must then link our current tactics to the strategy. We are doing it the wrong way round. We are agreeing about current tactics without having an agreed long-term strategy. I must apologise for keeping your Lordships so long.

5.5 p.m.


My Lords, we have all been waiting with interest to hear the speech of the Foreign Secretary and the speech of the noble and gallant Viscount who has just resumed his seat. I think that the whole House will agree that the speech of the Foreign Secretary does not leave us much about which to differ. His line is generally acceptable to the House, and I should imagine that it will be generally acceptable to the House of Commons. It was an able speech. He gave some indications of matters upon which negotiations may possibly take place, so that it was not unreasonable in that respect. I think that he was right in not making concessions in advance, and I think it would be wrong, when a Government are seeking to get to the point of negotiation, for the Opposition to tell them to give this, that or the other; because that must prejudice the whole process of negotiation. Therefore I think that the way in which the Foreign Secretary and my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition dealt with the subject was the right way.

The Foreign Secretary referred to the lengthy negotiations at the Palais Rose in Paris. I remember them well, because I was Foreign Secretary at the time and sent the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Mr. Ernest Davies, to negotiate, not on matters of substance, but merely what the agenda was to be. The Russians were clever in the art of talk, talk, talk, and obstruction, with the result that the negotiations went on for weeks and weeks. Nothing came out of them, and I am afraid that, so far as the Soviet representatives were concerned, nothing was meant to come out of them. This was so obviously the case that I was surprised when the diplomatic correspondent of that reputable and commendable newspaper the Manchester Guardian, as it then was, rather criticised the British and excused the Russians for their conduct. It just shows that it is a little difficult to get justice for one's own country from time to time.

We have listened with interest to the noble and gallant Viscount. I was not surprised at the line he took, even though it was not perhaps so clear-cut and outspoken as some of the interviews he has given on his return from the Soviet Union and as his recent article in the Sunday Times, in which he praised sweepingly the leader of Communist China—almost as much as the honourable Member for Deptford praised Khrushchev when he came back from Russia. The Labour Party is often accused of sheltering fellow-travellers in its ranks. I think that these allegations are very much exaggerated, though there are a few in the Labour Party who possibly deserve that accusation. But, having listened to the noble and gallant Viscount, I have come to the conclusion that the Conservative Party has at least one fellow-traveller in its ranks, sitting immediately behind the Foreign Secretary. He has moved from the right wing of the Conservative Party to the centre, a strategic position of strength. I think that the arguments he has put forward would be worthy of the reddest of our Red fellow-travellers, and even of some members of the Communist Party. I have no doubt that the Russians and Chinese have got him well docketed, and probably they are not deceived.

Nevertheless, what the noble and gallant Viscount has been saying rather misleads the world in general as to the opinion of responsible British people. I would quote only one piece from his Sunday Times article of last Sunday, in which he says that, in his speech in the People's Hall in Peking, he mentioned all the three points that he had discussed with the leader of the Chinese Communist Republic. He asserted there that he was in favour of two Germanies and two Berlins—no time limit was indicated—but one China, the People's Republic. I agree with him about the recognition of China and her admission to the United Nations. But it is curious that the noble Viscount should insist indefinitely upon two Germanies and two Berlins, and then straight off, not to prove his impartiality but his partiality, plump for one China, the People's Republic.

He then says: All armed forces everywhere to withdraw to their national territories. Does anybody think, in view of the undoubted fact that the Russians have no desire to withdraw their troops from Eastern Germany—and up to now they have resisted the idea—that they would be willing to withdraw their troops, or could be made willing in a fairly short time, from Czechoslovakia, Roumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and so on? There is no immediate sign of that. I wish they would. I think it would be a good thing. I do not think they have any right to be there. But let it be remembered that, if we are in Germany and have troops there, it is under N.A.T.O. auspices. In effect, it is part of a freely negotiated Western democratic Alliance. But the Soviet troops are in these Eastern European countries not by free negotiation but by imposition; and the freedom of the peoples of those countries is denied to them, with the force of Russian arms behind that denial in order to enforce tyranny upon them.

I assure the noble Viscount that I have no prejudice against him. He must know that, because we are quite good friends; we have met socially more than once, and I like him, except when he does this sort of thing, and then I do not. It really is too simple to imply that the Russians in a short time would clear out. Suppose that we went out of the association with various countries, including France and Germany, in the N.A.T.O. Alliance; and suppose that we removed troops from that part of Europe. The distance between the Eastern frontier of France and the Channel is a very small one, even if Belgium and Holland are thrown in—and we have twice had experience of that. I held the office of Minister of Home Security in the Churchill War Government, when we experienced all the different exciting forms of air attack, from ordinary aircraft to V.1s and V.2s, and I do not want a potential enemy to be too near the Channel. I would sooner him have to go a good journey before he gets there; and I would sooner have enough forces, our own and others, including Germany, whereby there can be resistance of a rapid advance across Europe, which might be exceedingly easy and very dangerous to us.

When the noble Viscount can persuade Mr. Khrushchev to say that he is anxious to take all his troops out of these Eastern European countries; that he wants these countries, including Eastern Germany, to have free democratic elections; that he has come to the conclusion that his policy has been imperialistic and colonialistic, and that he has reformed and given it up; and when he can say that the British and the others will make suitable arrangements about defence in Western Europe, it might be worth talking about. But, with great respect to the Field Marshal, he does not come back with credentials to negotiate on behalf of the Soviet Government or the Chinese Peoples' Republic. He is speaking for himself, and for nobody else; and I hope that these other people appreciate that when the noble Viscount speaks in these international discussions he speaks for himself and not for us

I say that with all good will, because I think the noble and gallant Viscount is in danger of injuring the cause of peace and our country by rather encouraging the other side, as he himself calls them, to assume that we are soft and that we have got the jitters. That is the last thing we ought to do in this situation. That does not mean that we want to be offensive, and it does not mean that we are gratuitously antagonistic. But so sure as we manifest a state of nerves and of jitters, or something like funk (I am not accusing the Field Marshal of having funk, but he might be thought by some other people to be in that category) that will not be a gesture for peace, but may tempt somebody to go to war, or to threaten to go to war, on the basis that they can then get what they like.

The Berlin situation is very bad. Communist Germany had no right to put up the wires and build the walls. The Agreement was perfectly clear: that the right of access to Berlin was to be maintained. This was a breach of that Agreement, and it ought not to have taken place. But they did it as an aggressive act, on their own; and if we had put a tank or a bulldozer through the wall, no doubt we, the Americans, and others would have been accused of starting a war. In a way, this action of East Berlin and East Germany was an aggressive action, one which had the purpose of imprisoning the people of East Germany and preventing their free contact with their fellow nationals in the West; and I think it was an unreasonable thing for them to do. But, my Lords, the situation, bad as it is (it is worse because of East German Communist policy and because of the resumption of the nuclear tests, itself a breach of agreement), is a little better, in the sense that at any rate there are no hostilities and no active military operations. There is some disposition to talk and, as the Foreign Secretary has told us this afternoon, Mr. Khrushchev, in his speech to the Communist Congress in Moscow, has modified his position about the date for the making of the treaty between the Soviet Union and the East German Communist State.

On the other hand, I must say that I think that on this matter General de Gaulle also is being very difficult. The proposal made to him (and it would appear that Dr. Adenauer is in it, too) was not that negotiations with the Russians should begin at this point, but that the Western Powers should have some talks among themselves to clear their minds and make preparations for the possibility of talks with the Russians at a later date. This was merely a proposal for an inter-Allied conference for the purpose of exchanging ideas and clearing their minds. I really think it is unfriendly on the part of General de Gaulle that he should have refused the invitations: it does not help relations between the Western Powers.

He seems to be cross with us; he seems to be cross with the Americans about something, but I know not what. I sometimes wonder whether he has a complex about him, whether he really resents the fact that France was liberated by the British and the Americans. It is possible—these psychological things do happen. Yet to do the British and the Americans justice, we took the utmost pains to see that he was in front of the liberation forces when they went into Paris. I would beg of the French Government, and of General de Gaulle, to be willing to talk, at any rate within the Western Alliance itself, in order that views may be exchanged and ideas given. But, of course, we must be careful not to drift into another Munich such as the one which helped to land us in the Second World War. Too much "Municheering" just now—and there is so much going about in newspapers of various political colours—could endanger the peace in years to come.

There is the novel idea which Mr. Khrushohev raised about the Troika and which I think we now all understand. According to the Foreign Secretary, that idea now appears to be modified, to the effect that there will be one Secretary-General but a fair number of Assistant Secretaries-General, each with a geographical area and each with some obligations to that geographical area. That, I think, is wrong and contrary to the principles of an International Civil Service. The original proposal was that there should be three Secretaries-General of equal status, each able to veto the other, following thereby the troublesome practice which has happened in the Security Council from time to time.

When I was broadcasting in New York, I had an idea which could be applicable to Moscow and the Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It is not every Russian who agrees with everything that Mr. Khrushchev says and does. I thought it would be a good thing if Mr. Khrushchev were to try out the Troika idea and apply it to the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, so that there should be three First Secretaries-General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

It is known that there are sometimes disagreements between Moscow and Peking, and certainly it is known that there are disagreements between Communist Russia and Communist Yugoslavia. Therefore I thought that if Mr. Khrushchev really wanted to convert us to this Troika idea—I was not making any promises—he could try it out on himself by having three Secretaries-General of the Soviet Communist Party: himself (I would not deny him that at all, because it would not be reasonable) a person nominated by the Chinese Communist Party, and a third nominated by the Yugoslav Communist Party, with the right of veto and equality of status. That would be a good way to try out this Troika idea to see how it worked. But, of course, nothing has happened, and I did not expect it was likely to happen.

One of the tragedies of the situation is that there is no free discussion between our people and the people of the Soviet Union, or free public discussion between Governments in the sense that that public discussion reaches the peoples of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Communist States. I do not know whether we have taken enough trouble to see whether the jamming of broadcasts cannot be broken down. Scientists have done some wonderful things in our age—in fact, they have done some too wonderful things—but cannot we ask the scientists to see whether this jamming can be broken into, in order to facilitate free discussion between the peoples and freedom of access to ideas between our country and the Communist countries? Indeed, there is already freedom of access in our country to ideas from the Communist countries, and if we could break through this jamming I should have thought it would be well worth trying. I would urge our Government and the American Government to get the scientists to see what can be done.

Finally, I would urge that we must not manifest signs of funk. We must have some element of strength about us and some stiff upper lips, without being aggressive. It is important with any country with whom you have arguments and with whom you want peace, as we want peace and understanding between ourselves and the Communist countries—we want it very badly indeed—that you should not, as a country, give manifestations of being in a state of neurosis, of funk, because that is inviting trouble.

I think it is a pity that, when nuclear disarmers have various adventures and sit on the Queen's highway, we should give it such prominence in all our newspapers, on both services of television, and in every other way. Certainly they have a right to be reported, but the way in which it is given such extraordinary prominence is enough to make some countries feel that the nuclear disarmers are more representative of the British frame of mind than in fact they are. That is not good, and I think the Press, if I may say so to them with respect, and both services of television, ought to be a little more restrained in these matters. We want to have understanding; we want to have peace. But we have to remember the possibility that if we give things away easily, if we appear to be in a state of retreat and funk, then we can have the same things practised upon us as were practised upon us in the Hitler days.

These debates show how unhappy the state of the world is, and it is a great tragedy. There is every possibility of peace, and every possibility of disarmament. I wish the Government had responded quickly when Mr. Khrushchev said that he himself wanted complete disarmament, and had said, "Right, let us talk about it." It is true that we have put forward plans, as the Foreign Secretary has said, but somehow we seem to get the worst of these arguments. I think we need to polish up our international public relations, as well as some of the other things.

Therefore, I welcome the debate. I hope that good will result, and I hope fervently that there will be a change of heart in the Soviet Union and in China, which itself has engaged in some activities against India and Tibet. I hope that things will change and that the Communists themselves will see that it is not fair to the peoples of the Communist countries, because they are suffering economically, just as our own people are, from all this costly expenditure upon armaments and the feeling of some degree of insecurity which follows. I hope that there may be a possibility of change in times to come.

5.29 p.m.


My Lords, in introducing my own contribution to this debate, I had hoped to be able to say that I spoke on behalf of all political loyalties in this House in offering our unqualified support to the Foreign Secretary for the very firm and clear position that he has adopted as governing the policy of this country in international affairs, particularly in regard to his speech at the United Nations and his speech this afternoon. I had thought that I was going to speak for all political loyalties and after the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, had spoken I still felt I could speak on behalf of all political loyalties. But I have to confess that, quite suddenly, my ideas of political loyalties in this House have been made rather topsy-turvey in that I find myself in almost complete agreement with the noble Lord who sits on the front Opposition Bench who has just concluded his speech, and almost in complete disagreement with the noble and gallant Field Marshal who sits with me on this side of the House.

Nevertheless I feel that in what the Foreign Secretary has said to us this afternoon he has sensed the mood of the House in general. If I may say so with respect, the speeches of a Foreign Secretary are usually directed to two audiences, first to the world outside and secondly to the people of this country, and when we find our thoughts put into words of clarity and sincerity, in terms that the simplest in the land can understand, it does us good. It reminds us that we are not just puppets but that we are still the architects of events. That, I believe, is good and refreshing to us all.

There is one point that an ordinary Member of this House can make which might be difficult for any Minister to make. The Foreign Secretary in a speech at Brighton the other day said that the nation must take a grip on itself. These were very severe words, but I believe them to be profoundly true. We are going to have other opportunities, I hope, to debate exactly what is taking place inside this country. When one notes the report of the Routes Brothers this morning, one finds it is indeed perhaps sinister, but at this stage I would only say—and I believe I speak for many, many thousands in the country —that one is bewildered by what one can only describe as an ugly spirit around. What sort of world is it we are living in when adult men, drawing salaries which, according to the standards to which I have always been accustomed, are more than adequate, in defiance of their leaders strike over a tea break, thereby endangering the whole production of a great factory? Thank God for the eighteen stalwart citizens of Derby who were able to take the trouble to come to London to march down Whitehall and demonstrate that at least they were happy in their jobs! I say that this spirit that is snatching irresponsibly at what it can get out of life with never a thought for the welfare of the country is an evil spirit, and it is our duty to go on saying this until perhaps some recognition of the truth is taken.

Since Berlin and Germany continue, as I see it, to be the barometer of international tension, such as I have to say is confined to Germany, and I would say immediately that during this rather curious period of "negotiating negotiations"—a period suddenly made a little more obscure by the French attitude—we, who have only the Press and our own common sense and limited intelligence to guide us, must not and do not expect anything more from the Government than a mere reminder of the principles which are always behind policy. It would be quite wrong for any of us to demand details of any intended move on the international chessboard; so that the ideas which one projects into this kind of debate are certainly not there for any kind of formal reply. They are there, as I see it, merely to add to the common pool, for the Foreign Office to note and, if and when they are needed, to be turned over in the mind of the Foreign Secretary, with his advisers, as possible avenues for developing thought and future consideration. That, and no mare than that, is certainly what a speaker such as myself ever has in mind. It is against that background that I should like to turn to the German problem.

Some of your Lordships may remember that on a previous occasion I put in a plea for Anglo-German understanding. I am not going to labour this this afternoon except to say, first, that I believe that no one has the right to go on repeating charges about Nazi revivalism unless and until he has gone to Germany and seen for himself, and I think, particularly, of contact with the new generation. What has been referred to as "the German miracle" in my mind has little to do with economics. It is nothing less than the birth of a new nation. And here I am in profound disagreement, apparently, with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore; but, given time, I believe I could convince him of the truth. Again I would ask your Lordships to remember that this is a card—the card of the alleged danger of potential German ambition—which the Communists will continue to play, year in, year out, with studied, deadly concentration, and they will play it with the knowledge that always in this country, somewhere or other, there is to be found fertile ground for the seeds of doubt, seeds which are planted only for the purpose of burrowing and undermining the whole edifice of Western unity.

Those who speak of the Soviet fear of Germany seem to me hardly to do justice to the defenders of Stalingrad. The German contribution, harnessed now to N.A.T.O., is some eight divisions, while sprinkled around Eastern Germany and Eastern Europe and nearby on Russian soil must be some 200 Soviet divisions. To talk of fear seems to me just to indicate an inability to think straight. If Western unity is to withstand the strain that is imposed upon it and is going to continue to be imposed upon it by those who understand only too well the manipulation of words, it is time our people were able to see through this smokescreen of words and get at the truth.

Now there is another reason for asking the public to face the fact of a new Germany. The wisdom of German reunification is often discussed; it is being discussed this afternoon. Many Members of Parliament are outspoken in their views, others prefer to whisper and hint at their doubts. They would, I suspect, like the situation just to drift, so that one day we would wake up to discover quite suddenly that the River Elbe had become a permanent frontier between the two States.

I happen to be one who believes that on long-term considerations of Communist policy and Communist ideology—a point of view which the noble and gallant Field-Marshal seemed completely to ignore—the dangers of failing to reunite Germany are far greater than any hypothetic revival of past ambitions through reunification. But, apart from what is a personal view, I would ask those who nurse these doubts a very simple question: are you really prepared to sell 17 million human beings into a system which they hate and which would enslave their children and them for ever? Because nothing less than that is involved; that is the real meaning behind the laissez faire, casual approach to the future of German reunification. For myself, if I ever felt that that was really the policy of the British Government, supported by the British public, I believe I should have to go and find another country in which to live.

My Lords, we are now concerned with this question in the form of pressure to afford some kind of recognition to Ulbricht and his accomplices; de jure recognition, as I see it, of that particular Government. If it could be made crystal clear that the purpose of a purely temporary recognition would be to set up a purely impersonal technical mechanism as a temporary measure, without any compromise whatsoever of the future position, then this, subject always, of course, to agreement with our Allies, might reluctantly be accepted. But could that possibly ever be sustained? The sad record of these past years is that by sheer weight and repetition of words the Communists have been able to lull large sections of public opinion, including many Members of Parliament, into acceptance of positions which could never possibly have been contemplated at Potsdam.

Passing over the years from Potsdam we come to the Paris Agreements of 1954, and I think it may serve a purpose if we remind ourselves of the record of 1954. Annex B of the particular resolution concerned with the future structure of N.A.T.O., signed on October 23, 1954, declares—and I quote Article 1: They"— that is the three Western allies— consider the Government of the Federal Republic as the only German Government freely and legitimately constituted and therefore entitled to speak for Germany as the representative of the German people in international affairs. That was just over seven years ago. Perhaps I may quote Article 3: A peace settlement for the whole of Germany, freely negotiated between Germany and her former enemies, which should lay the foundation of a lasting peace, remains an essential aim of their policy… And I ask your Lordships to note these words: The final determination of the boundaries of Germany must await such a settlement. That was just over seven years ago. Finally Article 4 reads: The achievement through peaceful means of a fully free and unified Germany remains a fundamental goal of their policy. My Lords, these are only three of many affirmations made at the time, seven years ago. The various documents are riddled with unambiguous declarations of the same intention. My own doubt is of this nature: have we or have we not over these last seven years been manœuvred into a dilution of a policy which was confirmed as late as 1954? And so, in regard to any recognition of Ulbricht and his régime, I would submit that on the evidence of the past a recognition which might well begin with a firm statement of a temporary procedure of expediency would within a few years, through the process of Communist technique which the West, alas! still does not understand, come to be accepted as permanent, with all the monstrous implications for 16 million people to which I have referred.

Now, if I may come closer to the Berlin problem, do not let us be confused by the constant repetition of dishonest phraseology, the "normalisation" of the German situation, the turning of West Berlin into a "free" city. Surely the best judges of what is normal and what is free are the people who are most affected by potential decisions, the Eastern Germans and the Western Berliners. The difficulties as I see it are of this nature. The difficulties might not be so great if, as the Foreign Secretary has suggested to us this afternoon, the Russians would sign their guarantees with us before they sign their Treaty with the Eastern Germans. Perhaps in those circumstances the dangers are not so prominent. But will that happen? What I would see happening is this. The Russians assure us that we need have no fear for the safety and security of the Western city; that communications will be assured, and that the whole position will be covered by adequate guarantees. At the same time they will have signed their treaty with the Eastern German authorities and we are told that any negotiations, any matters of interpretation would become the responsibility of the Pankau Administration. The Russians, in effect, then wash their hands of the whole matter.

Anyone who has studied the technique of this Eastern German tyranny and its imposition over the years 1946 and 1947, and its subsequent methods, will have no difficulty in appreciating the opportunities for mischief, for the evasion of guarantees, for the frame-up of charges of espionage to justify restrictions, pinpricks, and, when it suited them, active aggression with the Russians looking the other way. Slowly and surely the life of the free city would be strangled, and if that is to be accompanied, as the proposal is from the Russians, by a reduction of the Western garrisons to mere tokens and the introduction of a fourth Russian garrison—in effect a fifth column—then I submit that no guarantee would be worth the paper on which it was written.

What of another proposal, that the United Nations should be introduced into Berlin? I would ask one question first: who is to pay? The finances of the United Nations are, as we understand it, already well in the red, and I cannot see a move involving a great building programme and the accommodation of some 4,000 or 5,000 staff being undertaken under an expenditure of about £200 million. But there is a much more important point than that. Is this proposal, as Mr. Walter Lippmann has suggested, really to place the United Nations presence in the Western sector only? And if so, why? What exemption has the Administration of the Eastern sector earned that would impose United Nations supervision on the free people of Western Berlin only? If this proposition is ever seriously taken up (and I can see certain great advantages in it, more particularly if the United Nations were concerned with taking a referendum in Eastern Germany) I should hope—indeed, one would be dismayed if it were otherwise—that the United Nations presence would cover the whole city and would not be confined to that sector where the normal concepts of democracy still govern the lives of its citizens.

My Lords, the fact is that the more one thinks of it, the more I think of it, the more clearly is it realised that there are no substantial concessions that can be made in Berlin in isolation—and this is perhaps the one and only point where I find myself in some agreement with the noble and gallant Field Marshal. When Smith proposes to steal Jones's watch surely it is nonsense to talk about Jones offering concessions to prevent the theft of that which is his right. I have never found a solution of the Berlin problem in isolation; a modus vivendi, yes; but a practical solution, as I see it, has to be related to a wider settlement of Germany as a whole.

In this wider field I should like to present two main concepts. On previous occasions I related the future of Germany to a decision on the Oder-Neisse line, and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, referred to this point this afternoon. I believe that it would be quite wrong in any way to consider this difficult problem in a dictatorial spirit of lecturing to the Germans on what their duty is, as so many Members of Parliament are inclined to do. I think I have said enough already to indicate that the Germans are justified, on international declarations, in believing that these territories might one day return to them—at least the issue is to be open, pending the signing of the final treaty. There are some 7 million Germans now in those territories in Eastern Germany, and I find the Germans themselves extremely shy in discussing this matter. In those circumstances, what we could not expect is that any German political party will take the initiative in this matter of making an open surrender. Politics are the same the whole world over; the potential vote is far too powerful for any political party to ignore it.

So I am suggesting that the day may well come some time when the Western Allies will have to take the lead in this issue, and, in doing so, so much must depend upon the spirit in which it is approached. It is not to be a duty, but it is to be a sacrifice. We are searching for concessions, and here, to me, is the one possible concession of substance which might be made, but, I submit, on one condition, and that is that acceptance of the Oder-Neisse line should call for the reunification of Germany through a referendum, if necessary held under international supervision in the Eastern Zone.

Of course, with the reunification of Germany the whole problem of Berlin just melts away; but the Soviet bloc would obviously demand certain guarantees against an alleged revival of former German ambitions of expansion. I will not repeat the many forms of guarantees which have come forward in the past. If we were dealing with a normal adversary, those guarantees might be regarded as adequate; but we are not dealing with a normal adversary, and, therefore, one searches for an extension of past proposals which might offer real hope of some lasting peace.

The prospect of an all-German neutrality based on the Austrian pattern is usually dismissed as ridiculous. I am wondering whether it really is so entirely fantastic. I am wondering what would be the result of a free referendum held throughout Germany in the East and in the West on this issue of physical neutrality, remembering this always: that physical neutrality, bearing the Austrian pattern in mind, most certainly does not imply non-alignment in terms of ideology. And could this physical neutrality receive complete reality if it were to be matched by a similar neutrality imposed over an area east of the Oder-Neisse line involving some of the countries of Eastern Europe? Here you have what you might call massive disengagement. Whatever the label it would, I submit, restore confidence in physical peace, at least so far as Europe was concerned.

Not for one moment am I suggesting a break-up of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance. Just as we believe that a policy of disarmament must be controlled at every stage, with never one side being allowed to be a step ahead of the other, just as we believe that that is right, so disengagement, if this is ever given serious consideration, must be governed by exactly the same principle, an equal balance to be maintained at each stage. But if, as is possible, such far-reaching proposals were refused by the Soviets, I would submit that an international purpose is still served in putting up long-term plans, even if they are to be refused by those Who today so shrilly demand a final solution of the German problem.

My Lords, perhaps I have looked too far into the future, and meanwhile Berlin is the immediate issue. If it is true, as I have contended, that there are no major concessions about Berlin in isolation that we can make, then I think we have to regard Berlin as the pivot around which wider negotiation might be conducted, and the degree to which we were steadfast in Berlin would also be a measure of the vigilance with which we approached the wider problem of an all-German settlement linked, as I have suggested, with the fate of Eastern Europe as a whole.

In my submission, the Mayor of Western Berlin is quite right when he says that the fate of his city—and the Foreign Secretary stressed this point to us this afternoon—is not just a matter of the daily lives of 2½ million Germans. It is Berlin to-day; it might be anywhere in the world to-morrow. And, by the same token, let us be quite sure that those parrots who repeat their dreary barren slogan about, "Why die for Berlin?" could and would be the same people who to-morrow would inquire, "Why die for London?"

My Lords, I have here a pamphlet which last week was being distributed to the students of a London technical night school as they came away in the evening. Your Lordships should know that it was being distributed by young ladies wearing the badge of the Nuclear Disarmament Campaign. The pamphlet is entitled "No War Over Berlin", and on the hack of the fourth page is a form to be filled up for the purpose of joining the Communist Party of Great Britain.

In fact, it is published from 16, King Street, and it includes a call to action by John Gollan, the General Secretary of the Party—I would ask Canon Collins just to note—and, of course, it presents the whole picture of Berlin and Germany in a concentrated pack of lies. I have drawn attention to this one incident because these and many similar events cannot, alas! be just lightly dismissed to-day. Behind a certain amount of honest sincerity very sinister influences are at work.

And so I should like, finally, the Foreign Secretary to rest assured that we in this House will do what we can to assist in the great task of mobilising public opinion behind him in these months ahead. One has particularly in mind those assurances which were given to Mr. Gromyko, assurances that we shall defend the rights of Western Berliners as if they were our own, and that in fact their rights and ours are indivisible. If, then, those rights were to be attacked, the onus of aggression, with all its grave implications, would rest alone with the Communists and with those lesser men from Eastern Germany who are associated with them. That is not the same thing as the noble and gallant Field-Marshal said of going to war over Berlin. But if in those circumstances we failed to meet aggression, then I believe the lesson of history is that we, ourselves, sooner or later, whether it be through political, ideological or military means, would fall to the aggressor; and that, I think, is an adequate message to go out from this House this afternoon to the people of this country.

5.52 p.m.


My Lords, on the Berlin question the Foreign Secretary has re-stated the three points which are vital to us. But outside of those three essential points there will, as he has said, be much to talk about; and he quite expects, and I am sure rightly, that both Houses will probably want to talk about them. I propose to say a little about one of these matters—namely, the division of Germany and our relationship with the East German authorities.

It was certainly not in our minds before and during the Potsdam Conference that Germany should be divided into separate parts. It was only after the Zonal occupation had begun that the Russians brought down the Iron Curtain and sealed off their Zone, and as time has passed their objective has become increasingly clear. They wish to divide the people of Greater Germany into three parts. They have got Austria safely separated and neutralised with the agreement of all. They now want to perpetuate the division of Germany proper into two parts, and to get the independence of East Germany internationally recognised. On this point, the three Western Powers have obligations to the Federal Republic, and the noble Lord, Lord Birdwood, has rightly drawn attention to that fact. The three Western Powers have said that they consider the Government of the Federal Republic is alone entitled to speak far Germany in international affairs. They have also said that the achievement of a free and unified Germany by peaceful means remains a fundamental objective of their policy. My Lords, it was on those understandings, among others, that Western Germany's membership of the Western European Union and of N.A.T.O. rests, and they cannot honourably be unilaterally abandoned by us. Those agreements were entered into by the noble Earl, Lord Avon, in the autumn of 1954, and the agreements then reached were one of the great achievements of his great career.

This, my Lords, raises the difficult question of the recognition of the so-called German Democratic Republic of which the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary has spoken. The conception of de jure recognition is clear enough. It means, if I may use non-legal language, the acceptance of the recognised State as a full member of the international community and the establishment with it of full diplomatic relations. The conception of what the books on International Law call de facto recognition—and they do talk about it—is less clear cut, but at its maximum it can go very far. De facto recognition, unlike de jure recognition, is provisional and revocable. It is accorded, for example, where a new authority, although independent and wielding effective power, lacks stability or offers inadequate prospect of being either willing or able to fulfil its international obligations. But such recognition can carry with it the recognition of the legislation of the recognised State in the courts of the recognising State, and it can involve the exchange of official missions enjoying representative, if something less than diplomatic, status.

As your Lordships may have seen, the West German Foreign Minister has recently said that de facto recognition of East Germany would, in practice, mean de jure recognition; and if you go by the law books, my Lords, there is some substance in this argument. We may take an example from our own experience. In March, 1921, the British Government opened relations for the first time with the Russian Soviet Republic. They declined to accord de jure recognition, since the Russian Government were unwilling to fulfil their international obligations in a matter of compensation for confiscated foreign property. But they made a trade agreement with the Soviet Government, which was regarded as a preliminary agreement pending conclusion of a formal general treaty. And the two Governments exchanged official representatives in their capitals. Three years later in February, 1924, Mr. MacDonald's Government replaced this preliminary de facto recognition by formally accorded de jure recognition given as a prelude to the negotiation of a general settlement. Therefore, de facto recognition was in this case a stage towards de jure recognition; and that is what I think the German Foreign Minister means when he says they mean very much the same thing.

In the light of this, my Lords, it is clear, is it not, that we ought not to accord de jure recognition to the so-called German Democratic Republic. It was installed and is sustained by the Soviet Government. If its people were free to express themselves it would be swept out of existence. So little has it the support of its people that it has to fortify and guard its Western frontier to keep its people from fleeing to the liberty of the West. Nor do I think that we could accord de facto recognition of the kind that the law books talk about or of the kind we gave to Soviet Russia in 1921. In practice, if not in law, this did not differ very much from de jure recognition. The question, therefore, it seems to me, is this: what official relationships, short of this, ought we to establish with the East Germans, and for what purposes? We should, of course, have to take some account of the authority of the East German Government, but would it not be best, if we could, to stop talking about de facto recognition, which, so far as it goes—and it can go very far—extends to all the functions of the State? Should we not rather talk of the kind and scope of practical, informal official contacts which it would be expedient to establish if the Russians made their treaty with East Germany?

As to that, there are several possibilities, both as between the Allies and East Germany, and as between the West and East Germans; and I do not propose to particularise. It is here, I think, that the Bonn Government have some obligation to help towards an agreement, if agreement is possible. As an American authority has said, they cannot have it both ways. If they want to preserve the liberties of Berlin they must not stand in our way by undue rigidity in matters of practice. They might tacitly recognise that reunification is not in early prospect, and agree that in the meantime some measures for co-existence can be tolerated.

Here, my Lords, it is encouraging to find that there are West Germans who seem to recognise that some obligation in this respect lies upon the West German Government and people. A noteworthy speech in this sense was made on June 30 last by Dr. Gerstenmeier, President of the Bundestag in Bonn. He put the case, with great courage, for early negotiations, and even contemplated the possibility of a peace treaty, though this would, he said, have to be on the basis of self-determination for the whole of Germany, in accordance with Article I of the United Nations Charter. Commenting on Dr. Gerstenmeier's speech, a writer in a Hamburg paper, Die Zeit, observed that the Allies were becoming increasingly anxious that the Germans, instead of merely resting on Allied military guarantees, should come forward themselves with political ideas and suggestions. Those, my Lords, are healthy symptoms, and it is to be hoped that views of this kind will be heeded in Bonn and, indeed, in Paris.

My Lords, twice in the present century the peoples of Europe and their overseas descendants have torn each other to pieces in two great wars. We are now threatened by a third calamity, and this might mean the end of Europe and of much else besides—and when I say "Europe" I include the Russians. For the two great wars of the century Germany must be held primarily responsible. To-day, a heavy responsibility lies upon us all, upon the Western Powers and the Russians alike, to do our utmost to avoid a third catastrophe. But in view of past events a special responsibility in this respect does, I think, lie upon the Germans, whether Germans of the West or Germans of the East.

I have spoken long enough, but I should like, if I might, to join issue on one or two points with the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein. I am sorry that he is not in his place: I did tell him that I was going to do this. For some while I was his Political Adviser in Germany. I am glad to say that he always took my advice—though I hasten to add he did not ask my advice when he prepared the speech to which we have just listened. He is a master of simplification. He is an adept at stripping a problem down to its essentials. This technique, with a number of others, has served him well in his victorious battles. For this we are all grateful to him, and for this history will celebrate him. But if you simplify you must be sure that you get your answers right, and I wonder whether this time he has got his answers right. It is not so difficult to find an "Open Sesame", a course that you think will resolve all difficulties, if in framing it you do not pay sufficient regard to the past; if you take too little account of the complex and historically-charged environment in which statesmen have to operate; if you take their words too much at their face value; if you do not search sufficiently hard for what is at the back of their minds; if you forget that in foreign affairs the details are of the essence. The noble and gallant Viscount's two-point programme for Germany, I fear, risks being this kind of exercise, remote from the facts of international life.

My Lords, there are no final solutions in foreign affairs. Tension is part of the fabric of international relations. And this would be so even if we had a world government! Men are made that way. Once you solve a problem, or part of a problem, or think you have done so, another problem immediately arises. If you give up a position, you lose it, and things are never the same again. Therefore, be very careful before you come to agreements. Be slow and sure. As the Foreign Secretary has said, edge yourself forward: better no agreement than a bad one. If Lord Montgomery's two points for Europe were conceded, would the world be any safer, or peace any more secure than it is to-day? I am sure it would not.

One further point. His proposal about the two Germanies runs counter to the two undertakings which I have quoted, upon which Germany's membership of N.A.T.O. rests. Does he think that we should unilaterally repudiate these undertakings? Of course, it might be argued that it was a mistake ever to rearm Western Germany, and a mistake to admit her to N.A.T.O. It may be held that these undertakings ought never to have been given. But we have to take the world as we find it, or as we have made it. You do not build a peaceful world by smashing up the delicate balance upon which peace to-day is precariously poised.

6.13 p.m.


My Lords, in view of several of the speeches that have been made from both sides of the House to-day I feel bound to begin with a declaration of faith. To me, the one problem in foreign affairs which transcends in importance and urgency every other problem is that which was mentioned by the President of the United States on September 25 when he said that mankind must put an end to war, lest otherwise war puts an end to mankind. That putting an end to war means, of course, providing an alternative means of settling disputes. It means total disarmament. It makes wholly irrelevant discussion as to where troops should or should not be put.

I hope my noble friend who spoke before me from this place will forgive me, if and when he reads Hansard tomorrow, for saying that I do not agree at all with what he said about the necessity for keeping a special eye upon Germany. He gave as his reason that he could not understand the Germans very well. Can he understand Khrushchev any better? Can anyone in the wide world understand Khrushchev any better than he understands anyone else? I hope he will forgive me if I add that it would not matter in the least whether you liked the Germans or not if they could be totally disarmed with absolute certainty.

That brings me to the real question, the practical question, that I want to put; and I hope that the Government will feel able to give a definite answer. As I was coming here to speak and indicating to a lady friend of mine that I might find myself speaking, she said, "Why should you speak? The Government alone will know everything about foreign affairs. There is nothing you can say which they do not know already." Well, I rather suspect that there will be one thing on which they do not know everything, completely and with absolute certainty. Assuming that total disarmament were agreed upon by all the important Governments of the world, could it be ensured with absolute certainty? Could secret stockpiles of nuclear bombs, wherever they were, be discovered?

Surely that is a question for the natural scientists. It is the natural scientists who have brought us into this mess, by discovering nuclear weapons. They helped to make them. I hope they will set to work to discover how to make certain of finding them when they are not being exploded. They acted with the best intentions. I know that they have the best intentions. If the Government are not satisfied that, with our present powers, we could find any nuclear bomb not yet exploded, I hope that they might consider somehow bringing about the appointment of an international committee of scientists to tell all the Governments which had agreed on total disarmament how to make it absolute and certain. That is the first question.

There are only two or three other practical points which I want to mention here. After that problem question, I want to say just a little about each of three problem countries: China, Germany and France. Of course China ought to be in the United Nations. But as the United Nations is there to stop war, would it not be reasonable to say that as soon as China has made it clear that she is disarmed and proves it to us, and proves that she does not want war, then she shall come into the United Nations and make it stronger? With regard to Germany, she wants to unite. Equally, I would say that Germany may unite when she has proved that she has no weapons at all—I am still for total disarmament and when I say that I believe in it, I mean that I believe in it—and gives proof of total disarmament; and when, beyond that, the people of the various areas concerned prove their desire to be united by absolutely free votes. Then, France. Do your Lordships not think it would be reasonable to ask France to accept the views of her Allies, who saved her from defeat and destruction in World War II? Might she not take their advice as to the procedure that is most likely to prevent World War III?

Let me pass finally to what is, of course, the greatest problem country of all, Soviet Russia. The Soviet leaders talk almost continuously, on the one hand, of total disarmament and, on the other hand, of the terrific power of the weapons with which they are armed, and with which they mean to go on being armed, apparently. That is their first point: how powerfully the Soviet is armed. Then, the second thing they tell us is that Communism is a religion so precious to them and so hateful to others that it must be spread by force or bribery. They do not perhaps say that, but they act it. Thirdly, they tell us that the Soviet has made such marvellous progress that its leaders are thoroughly discontended and want much more progress than they have already. The Soviet leaders, and above all Khrushchev, are the supreme artistes in denying on Monday what they said on Sunday, and vice versa. That is their supreme quality.

I have mentioned three of their features. I think our answer from the West also ought to be threefold: first, that we are not afraid of force and will not be influenced by threats; second, that we are not afraid of Communism as a religion so long as spreading it is attempted by argument alone; and, third, that we are not afraid of Communism as a religion because we believe so firmly in our own views of mankind and of free society that we have no desire to spread our kind of society by force. We are prepared to disarm completely the moment that others do, and to join whole- heartedly at once in any serious attempt to solve the practical problems involved.

6.23 p.m.


My Lords, I want to talk about two things which are closely related and which are already dominating the debate—Berlin and disarmament. I wanted to start (but I seem to have lost it) with a quotation from The Times of yesterday about the immediate developments in the Berlin crisis. So far as I can remember, reporting that the fact that the intended Western meeting was not going to take place, it said that this meeting would have been a preliminary meeting to see whether any common ground could be discovered among the Western Powers which might enable a preliminary meeting to take place with the Soviet Union to see whether there was sufficient common ground to make it worthwhile to conduct negotiations on the German problem.

Now let us once again, as we already have once to-day in this debate, imagine a man from Mars, or Rip van Winkle, coming to earth or coming to life and reading the story in a newspaper. He would say: "Oh, dear!; they are getting off to a very bad start on this crisis", and he might reasonably imagine that the crisis had burst upon us last week, or perhaps the week before. I think he would be astonished to learn that the crisis burst upon us, not last week but six months ago, and that we were still at this point. I must agree with everything the Foreign Secretary has said about edging forward, and about the uselessness in the last resort of Members of this House and uninstructed members of the public in general urging this or that particular solution. The pieces are all there, and they can be juggled; and I, for one, have confidence that, if it ever comes to negotiation, the Foreign Secretary will juggle them well on behalf of the Western world. I only hope that it comes to negotiation very soon.

The Foreign Secretary said at one point that he started from the basic premise that Germany should have the right of self-determination. I think that if one looks at this in detail to see the possible ways in which Germany could ever exercise that right of self-determination, one finds there are only three. One would be by the great powers of East and West simply deciding to give them the right forthwith, and allowing pan-German elections, as the West used to urge some years ago. The results of that are all too obvious. The majority Party in the greater part of the country would, of course, carry the day. If Germany had self-determination in the full political sense, the whole of the re-united Germany would immediately be within N.A.T.O. and this would mean the stationing of Western troops and Western missiles 200 miles nearer to the border of the Soviet Union. We can therefore understand the reasons why the Soviet Union will not allow this first means of reaching German self-determination.

The second way it could be done would be by a Rapacki-type plan, or what we could now call, as a larger version, perhaps, a Montgomery-type plan, involving the withdrawal of troops and arms, either from Germany and Czechoslovakia and Poland, or, indeed, from the whole of Europe. It could work theoretically, but in the present state of West German opinion, as expressed by Dr. Adenauer, I do not see very much hope of its doing so. Dr. Adenauer has maintained for many years, and will no doubt go on maintaining so long as he is with us in this world, that to invite Germany to disarm in a world in which other Powers remain armed would be to make the Germans a second-rate people, and this he will on no account tolerate.

The third way in which Germany could reach self-determination and re-unification is, of course, in a generally disarmed world. This is the way that Dr. Adenauer has himself proposed more than once, and it is clear that among the principal obstacles to general disarmament he is not negligible. If he would accept it, it is likely that many other people from many other Powers would, too. A long-term solution of the German problem and the Berlin problem, it seems to me, can be reached only by means of general and complete disarmament. The two things are strictly linked; and it occurs to me to urge upon the Government the rather paradoxical view that, simply because we are in the thick of a very great crisis, it does not automatically mean that the time is inauspicious for a renewed attempt to reach a disarmament agreement.

The various methods of disarmament discussed do not depend on trust: they depend on inspection of a kind which gives one a satisfactory degree of certainty that there is no evasion. Now if an agreement does not depend upon trust, it is irrelevant how much trust or mistrust there is in the world at the time you start negotiating for it, or even when you sign it. Therefore, the fact that at the moment there is very little trust and very much tension in the world does not make this a less good time to begin on this than it was, for instance, six months ago—or, we may hope, it will be again in six months' time, when there is a higher general level of trust.

The Foreign Secretary spoke about the inspection block when we get down to negotiating and talking about disarmament with the Russians. I should like to tell the House a little about a conference from which I have just returned in the United States, one of a series of conferences called "Conferences on Science and World Affairs", formerly known as Pugwash Conferences (the name has now changed), which are attended by scientists from both sides of the world—Russian, American, British and French. They are attended by scientists who occupy very high official postions in those countries, and are close advisers of their Governments, as well as by certain students of politics who exercise advisory functions to the Governments in Washington and Moscow. This ties up with what the noble Lord, Lord Beveridge, has spoken about with regard to an International Committee of Scientists, which works on the problem of what degree of certainty that there was no cheating could be offered to Governments.

This last conference worked precisely on this problem. There are no men in the world better qualified to work on it than the men who were present, and they reached a pretty good understanding on the problem and outlined some pretty startling approaches to it. Everybody came to the conference as an individual, not representing his Government. Any common understanding which was reached was, therefore, not binding, and was in no sense negotiation. It was simply there to be made what use of the Governments may please, and the Governments are, of course, informed of the understandings which were reached. I need not trouble your Lordships with what they were; they were extremely technical—dodges, gimmicks, wheezes, hatched by natural scientists. I need say only this: they seemed to me to offer a very good hope of a disarmament procedure which would not rely at any point on trust but which would rely at every point on inspection; and they offered very good hope of overcoming the familiar Soviet objections to inspection before disarmament. That is to say, they offered a means of building up the inspection as the arms level came down in such a way that the strategic balance is not upset, and that nobody disarms more than he can bear before he reaches a bearable certainty that the other side has disarmed to the same extent.

I have one further thing to report from this Conference, going back for a moment to the Berlin question. One of the topics discussed by the conference was international co-operation in natural sciences. In many fields the natural scientists are blocked, because it is one world: you cannot see it properly unless you can launch satellites simultaneously from both sides of it. They are blocked because individual nations cannot afford any more money for building enormous research machines. Therefore, progress depends on a pooling of financial resources from both sides. The conference therefore proposed and published that there should be no fewer than 53 joint East-West research programmes and joint East-West research institutes.

And, most notable of all, they proposed that as many as possible of these institutions—a high energy Physics Research Institute, with enormous machines, a heavy element Chemistry Institute, many medical research institutes, and so on, to the number of 20 or 30—should be grouped together in one place and should be served by an enormous computer centre which could handle the data from all of them. They also said that the astute location of this centre could do something to ease present international tensions. Although they did not say so, this means Berlin. They did not think it was their business to come out in so many words and say: "This means Berlin". I report the pro- posal simply as one of the possible ideas which might go into the melting pot, along with the possibility of moving the United Nations itself, or parts of it, there, as a possible contribution to making Berlin itself less vulnerable to Communist pressure later on—internationalising it, so as to get something there that no one would wish to touch or infringe.

On the general problem of disarmament, which is my main theme tonight, it is clear that without it these crises will continue, and will continue to be as dangerous as the present one. With it, crises will continue but will be less dangerous. Nobody supposes that a disarmed world would be Paradise Regained; it would be far from it. But the struggles and squabbles which would exist in it would threaten everybody with general extinction not ten minutes from now (as at present), but a year or eighteen months from now. In short, you can do a lot more negotiating and temper-keeping in eighteen months than you can in ten minutes, which is the point of it. Let us therefore not be put off in the disarmament field.

There is very good hope, in my view, in the new American proposals on disarmament, which go further and are better-thought-out than any previous ones. Let us continue, even in the thick of the present crisis, bearing in mind that although, as the Foreign Secretary said, the freedom of 2½ million Berliners is threatened with extinction if we handle things wrongly, yet there is more than one way to extinction, and that the freedom of more than 2½ million people, the freedom of thousands of millions of people, is threatened with extinction, along with their lives.

I want to conclude by putting one more constructive idea. In the disarmament field, people are increasingly beginning to think about the problem of building up a United Nations force to keep the peace. The picture of a disarmed world is this. There will be internal security forces in many countries—and a great problem which remains untackled so far, to my knowledge, is how to settle just how large these could he allowed to be. A restive country with a tradition of political violence would want to keep large forces. A peaceful country like ours, or Norway, would require only very small forces. Will not the peaceful and smaller coun- tries therefore be at a disadvantage and threatened by the larger countries, which, although their internal security forces would theoretically be occupied—internally—might nevertheless come upon a time of internal peace and decide to use the moment to walk with their internal police forces over their weaker neighbours?

It is possible that a solution might lie along the following lines. Let each country in a disarmed world have whatever internal police forces it desires—no limit, no ceiling. But let them provide man for man contingents to the United Nations force. Thus, as the country required a higher level of internal police forces, so it would automatically contribute to the greater strength of the United Nations force, and as it decided it no longer required such a high level, so the United Nations force would automatically be reduced, because its presence would no longer be so urgently needed as it had been when the level of internal police forces was high. This is one of the many problems which ought to be considered when we go further into this field, as I hope we very soon shall.

6.38 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to begin, if I may, by congratulating the noble Lord who has just sat down on an extremely thoughtful speech, which I think will be of great value to everybody to consider on the great problem of disarmament. I do not know that everybody would necessarily agree with everything that he said, but it seemed to me that he said it very well, and he brought out the essential problems.

I had considerable hesitation in intervening in this debate myself. It does nobody any good, just trotting out a few platitudes about foreign affairs. And as regards my special subject, of course—the Common Market—all is well there, and I should like to congratulate the Government, if I may, most respectfully, on their immense success in putting forward the general idea, explaining their policy reasonably, and in getting it across increasingly in the country as a whole. I should also like to think that the debates we have here are useful in moulding opinion, because they are conducted, after all, by reasonably informed and responsible persons. If that is so, it is a good thing, perhaps, for experts and politicians to combine their thoughts on these matters; and so I came to the conclusion that I might perhaps say a few words on the question of Berlin, that great problem which continues to overshadow everything else, and where the clouds sometimes seem to lift and at other times to come down on top of us. I do not mean, I hasten to say, to indicate any definite detailed ways in which this problem should be solved. It does not help at all, as the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary has himself said, for so-called experts to stand behind him and signal to his adversaries the cards he might be expected to play.

It is evident to all that we cannot agree (and this is one thing we all agree on) to anything which would endanger the liberties and way of life of the inhabitants of West Berlin. How far, if at all, the present situation could be changed without endangering such liberties can be discovered, I suggest, only by negotiations; and negotiations have not yet started. We are still, as the noble Earl said, in the probing period. I do not think that that is a bad thing. Let us have the probing period go on as long as possible, provided that some slight advance in probing is made.

One thing I think is absolutely clear—that is, that the situation has already been changed by the building of this wall around West Berlin. Could it be that Mr. Khrushchev has already achieved much of what he wanted to achieve by this operation? I think that we must admit that he has certainly achieved something. The field in which possible settlement can be arrived at has now obviously been narrowed. We have implicitly acknowlelged that the wall does not impair the liberties of the West Berliners, for if it had done so we should presumably have risked war by going in and pulling it down. Mr. Khrushchev, for his part, has stopped the flow of refugees from the workers' paradise. We do not all think that this is a good thing, but it is certainly a fact.

The Russians know, however, perfectly well that any attempt actually to strangle West Berlin would involve the risk of war. Fortunately they are a very cautious people—terrible liars, I fear, as the noble Earl has just pointed out, but certainly cautious. Probably they realise that the East Germans may not be so cautious as they are, and hence their obvious and continued reluctance to sign the famous peace treaty. Some people say that the whole business of the peace treaty is bluff: that there is no need for the Russians to sign it; they threaten to sign it only to put the "squeeze" on us. I myself doubt this. I think that the wall may well have removed some of the pressure on the Russians to sign, but that in the long run they may have to do so if the situation in East Germany is not to get out of hand. Again, some people may say: "Why not let it get out of hand? If it does, so much the worse for the Russians. Why should we worry?" I am not at all sure about that either. It might possibly be much worse for all of us, if the situation got out of hand. I think that, on the whole, it would seem to be in our interests to concede something over and above the wall which would induce the Russians to underwrite a settlement of some kind, always provided we are able effectively to safeguard the liberties of West Berlin.

Whether that would be possible or not I have no idea. It is obvious that since we cannot trust a word the Soviet Government say, there must be very strong guarantees. But in my bones I feel that eventually some settlement will be arrived at; and if it is, then clearly it will involve, as I think the noble Earl, and certainly my noble friend Lord Strang hinted, some de facto recognition of the East German Government. I must say that, in practice—I will come to exactly what it means later—this has never seemed to me to represent any particular concession. After all, we cannot pretend that the East German Government is not there, when it clearly is there, and when, incidentally, it has considerable commercial relations with West Germany. But we can, and we certainly should, go on maintaining that it ought not to be there and that in principle the whole of Germany ought to be reunited by means of free elections.

I know that relying on his great experience and knowledge my noble friend Lord Strang suggested that de facto recognition might be a more dangerous conception than it appears to be on the face of it, and may lead us further than we want to he led. I would not dispute that. If, therefore, de facto is a difficult phrase, by all means let us think of a new term—"provisional recognition" or whatever it may be—and let us indicate clearly what we are proposing to do and how far we are going to get into relations with this Government, which we do not recognise anyhow de jure. The plain fact is that this element will anyhow enter into negotiations when they take place. The trouble is that as soon as you say something like that, even with the qualifications proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Strang, many people are going to say, "Ah, I see; what you are really contemplating is a sell-out". I think that this is just nonsense—and dangerous nonsense, too. Nobody is suggesting that we should willingly agree to people who are free becoming unfree. That seems to me to be the sole criterion. Everything else surely can be discussed.

But I do not myself see the advantage in discussing the plan put forward by the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein. This is, as I understood it, that we should propose complete disengagement before there is any political agreement of any kind. I have to confess that, along with my noble friend Lord Strang, I was one of the noble and gallant Viscount's political advisers for a short period, before he took up his great duties as Supreme Commander of the Brussels Treaty Orpanication, or the Western Union. If, during that period, the noble and gallant Field Marshal had proposed this plan to me, I should probably have said, "Field Marshal, with the greatest respect, it seems to me that this plan, if adopted, might well solve the European problem, but I am afraid in a sense opposite to what you desire, since, though your plan is based on the conception of two Germanies, in practice it would result not only in the unification of Germany, but in the unification of Germany on Communist lines".

As for the possibility in general of signing something which might ultimately be of economic benefit to East Germany, or indeed to any other Communist country—why not? It is not in our interests that these countries should be miserable and starving. On the contrary, the better off they are, the more likely they are to develop eventually on peaceful and non-aggressive lines. At the moment, the philosophy which inspires the Soviet Union, and the burden which it imposes on its wretched satellites, is, as it has been ever since the days of Lenin, to concentrate everything on heavy industry and armaments so as to "catch up with and overtake America", which is always said to be going to have a shot at eliminating the Soviet Union before this dreadful point is reached. It is for this reason that, in spite of a process of industrialisation which started nearly 100 years ago, and which has been pursued intensively for nearly 50 years, the unfortunate Russian people—apart, of course, from the ruling class—still have no Frigidaires, hardly any motor cars and only one kind of lampshade.

However, it must be admitted that this philosophy has made Russia strong and that it will probably not be abandoned for many years. Translated into political terms, it means that the West, and more especially America, must, by one means or another, be rendered powerless. The ideal, the hardly disguised ideal, is to aim at a kind of English Ulbricht. I am afraid I can think of quite a number of candidates (not in your Lordships' House, I hasten to say) for this important post. Or a sort of American Gomulka. That is what they would like to have. Until this concept has been abandoned, there is bound to be international tension and the risk of war.

I think that your Lordships are aware that my own feeling is that, while the risk of an English Ulbricht is not to be underestimated, the dangers of war, owing to the virtual impossibility of using nuclear weapons, is comparatively remote. I speak subject to correction by the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, but were it not for its effect on the atmosphere I should not really mind Mr. Khrushchev's 100 megaton bomb. For as a general rule the larger the weapons the more impossible they are to use. As I see it, it is the necessity of avoiding political defeat which matters much more than the bomb. From that I think flows the necessity of creating a United Europe as quickly as we can, and subsequently, if we can, an Atlantic Community.

But another way of coping with the situation—not an alternative, but an additional way—has always seemed to me, and still seems to me, to be a direct attack on the psychosis itself; and this, of course, goes for China, too. Putting States "into Coventry", not trading with them, treating them as pariahs, is only "counter-productive", as the Americans say. I know of the fear that the Chinese colonies outside China may become Communist, but I must say that I have never really understood the nonrecognition policy of China pursued by America. I do not mean that there would not be dangers in recognition, but that the dangers in recognition are less, in the long run, than the dangers of non-recognition.

It is for this general reason, this attack on the psychosis, that I thought it also a tragedy when the Soviet Union in 1948 (I think it was) turned down the Marshall Plan. It was for this reason, too, that I rejoiced at the faint glimmerings of what I might call a Frigidaire policy put forward by Malenkov, and that I mourned the reversal to a sort of hardware régime decreed, no doubt, by that not altogether engaging character Marshal Malinowsky. For it is obvious that the richer Communist countries become, in the sense of distribution and the enjoyment of the good things of life, the less they will be concerned with dreams of world conquest or the nightmare of capitalist domination. The poorer, the more desperate, the nation, the longer these traumatic reactions are likely to endure. That is why eventually it should be easier for the West, if it comes together, to come to terms with Russia rather than with China.

To return to Berlin, there is one suggestion which I have always thought at least worthy of further pursuit, and that is the possibility of placing some or all of the institutions of the United Nations in an internationalised Berlin—that is to say in the whole of it. The main reason against proposing this—apart from the fact that it probably would not be accepted by the other side—is, as I understand it, that it could involve the withdrawal of Allied troops from West Berlin and their replacement by some kind of international force similar, I suppose, to the Blue-helmeted soldiers that we have in the Gaza Strip. But if the United Nations itself were in a unified city that might be in itself a guarantee that city would remain free.

Even if this idea of a free United Nations city is too difficult and not acceptable, owing to the political severance of West Berlin from West Germany which it would entail, it might still be possible, while retaining the Allied garrisons, to have a sort of enclave in West Berlin formed, perhaps, out of the West and partly out of the Eastern Zones. In this enclave, as in New York, a United Nations building would be constructed. The delegates would live in the Eastern or Western part of Berlin and go anywhere—just as they live and go anywhere in New York; and their presence might tend to arrest any decline in prosperity which may I fear in any case come about as a result of the construction of the wall.

The chief point in having a United Nations institution of some kind somewhere in Berlin, would, as I see it, be at once to take the sting out of what would continue to be a free island in the Communist world and to form a sport midway between the two worlds where parleys could at least be possible, and (also an important point), where the uncommitted nations, as they are called, could have the impression that they were not being subjected to any particular pressure from one side or the other. In the Middle Ages parleys between England and France usually took place in the borderland of the Vexin, under a gigantic oak called the "Tree of Gisors". There is no reason why this excellent tradition should not be revived and brought up to date. As the years go by and no nuclear war occurs, so the civilisation of the East and the West will perhaps tend to approximate. Industrialisation, after all, was a Western invention, and it seems to work out on broadly similar lines over the years, political revolution or no political revolution. Indeed, there is considerable reason to suppose that political revolutions merely put back the process of industrialisation and do not advance it at all. A case in point is Russia.

To sum up, I think my general moral would be this. In the first place, let us, above all, come together in Western Europe, for if we do that we shall give the Communists the impression that it is impossible any longer to think in terms of a disruption of the Western World, and more especially in terms of a Communist Germany. Secondly, let us make up our minds to agree in principle to any Berlin solution, however unorthodox, provided always that this does not involve a loss of freedom on the part of the inhabitants of West Berlin. And finally, let us get away, if we can, from the fixed idea that what is good for the Communists is necessarily and in all circumstances bad for us. For that would clearly involve the bankruptcy of any form of diplomacy designed to avoid the dilemma of a showdown or a climb-down which, unless we are all absolute lunatics, it must be in the interests of all sides to avoid.

6.58 p.m.


My Lords, like the noble Lord who has just resumed his seat, I propose to direct most of my remarks to the problem of Berlin which has figured so largely in the debate today. I may say that I very much enjoyed the noble Lord's contribution and, perhaps a little unexpectedly, found myself in considerable sympathy with almost all that he said. I was rather sorry that he should sneer at the progress which is undoubtedly being made in the U.S.S.R. in the way of providing a better life for the people, which I can assure him has gone rather farther than he seems to realise.

These debates about Berlin, not only in your Lordships' House but throughout the country and indeed throughout the world, have been going on for a very long time. Indeed, they have been going on since it became evident that what one might call the war-time solution—the authors of which worked it out as a very temporary solution—could not stand up to the rigours of postwar politics. Those difficulties are within the recollections of us all. It was not, I suppose, until 1959, when Mr. Khrushchev made his practical proposal to establish a free city in Berlin, that any real effort was made to break down the impasse. He put that forward on his own account, rather as a project for discussion than as a hard and fast proposal to which the U.S.S.R. were committed, but it received no sort of recognition in the West. I remember speaking in the 1959 Foreign Affairs debate and saying that I thought it was a project which was well worth discussion, but, so far as my recollection goes, nobody else even referred to it.

Certainly in the West, between that time and the present year, no sort of effort whatever seems to me to have been made by diplomatists or statesmen to pay any attention to Mr. Khrushchev's proposals. I do not think it is quite fair to say that he is an impatient man, because he waited a good two years before he then said, "If you will not discuss my proposals I shall make a separate peace with the East German Government." Of course, it then began to have some sort of effect. Since that threat there has obviously been, not perhaps a softening up, but certainly a distinct change in the outlook. The Foreign Secretary himself, if I may say so, in his speech in the July debate encouraged some of us to think that the Government were ready to discuss. I remember in my own speech saying that I was encouraged by what he had said.

I must say that since then he has made one or two speeches which seemed to me rather more truculent than I had hoped from his July speech—one in particular at the United Nations, which seemed to me to be well to the right of President Kennedy. Even this afternoon, in the opening remarks of his speech he made the common form attacks which I was glad to hear the noble and gallant Field Marshal deplored, because I do not think they do any good. However, I forgive him, as far as my forgiveness is worth anything to him, because in the later passages of his speech I thought he became constructive and indicated that he and the British Government are prepared to discuss all matters which are relevant to a solution of the Berlin problem. This is what the Chinese in another connection call a "great leap" forward, and I should like to congratulate him. I do not wonder that Dr. Adenauer and General de Gaulle are not able to keep up with him in the breakneck speed of his approach to the problem.

The Foreign Secretary indicated in regard to two matters in particular that he was prepared to go quite a long way, at any rate in discussions; and it is my case, and has been in all the speeches I have made on this subject, that so far no real effort has ever been made to get down to discussions. He indicated that he was prepared to go some distance towards recognition of the East German Government—I do not mind whether we use the phrase "de facto recognition". The noble Lord, Lord Strang, who has had so much experience of these things, discussed that matter in a reasonable way; though I did not think his analogy of what happened in regard to the U.S.S.R. in 1921 was really a very close one to the situation in Berlin. But the essence of the matter is that you have in East Germany this Government, established with the full powers of a Government, exercising a complete jurisdiction over that piece of territory. It seems to me quite ridiculous that during all this time we have been refusing to have anything to do with it in the way of practical discussions or negotiations in regard to international affairs or trade, or whatever it may be. They have all had to be carried through in a sort of roundabout and backdoor way, which is quite ridiculous and prevents any sort of efficiency being achieved.

How far this needs to go may be rather a difficult matter of judgment. Provided the Foreign Secretary is prepared to meet round a table with these people and discuss these problems with them, I do not mind how he does it. In regard to this proposal for dealing with West Berlin, or West Berlin and East Berlin together, as a free city, or as an area under the United Nations jurisdiction or something of that kind, he indicated that he was prepared to discuss and consider all these different sorts of solutions. That is what we want, and it is gratifying to me personally to find how much progress in that direction seems to have been made recently.

We had Senator Mansfield, the Democratic Leader in the Senate, coming out earlier in the year with a similar sort of proposal. It did not at that time seem to find much favour in the United States, but since then the well-known columnist, Walter Lippmann, has taken it up and carried it further. I was glad to find that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, himself feels that this is a proposal which should be taken seriously and discussed, and which possibly after hammering out in the different ways might lead to a solution of the problem. This shows that a little realism is at last being introduced into the problem.

I was glad to find this afternoon that the noble and gallant Field Marshal, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, was prepared to introduce a good dollop of realism in his admirable speech. The noble and gallant Field Marshal has been out to look at places where the difficulties are arising, and it seems to me rather unfair for people who have not done that to attack him in the sort of way he was attacked by my old chief, the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth. The great difference to me between the war of 1939–45 and the earlier war, in which I was slightly engaged, is that in the second war the Generals went up to the front and found out what was going on for themselves. They did a great deal better on that sort of basis than the Generals of my war, if I may call it so, who remained a long way behind the front lines and worked out their tactical plans on the basis of what they were told by other people, who even then often had their information at secondhand, too. It seems to me that the noble and gallant Field Marshal has been doing a good job of work going around meeting the leaders of the Communist countries and hearing from them, from their own lips, what their proposals are. Even if occasionally he may have been misled by them, he is a man of great shrewdness, and I doubt whether he has been misled as much as some of us have been trying to make out.

My noble friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth called him a fellow traveller. What he said seemed to me to be just common sense, but that was probably because I have been trying to say much the same thing in earlier speeches. He no doubt said it much more plainly and forcibly, but if that is what is meant by "fellow travelling" I am content to travel with him. As a political observer, I am glad to see him travelling a little towards the Left; and still as a political observer I should be interested to see where his trajectory in his journey towards the Left as a political comet crosses that of my noble friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth in his journey towards the Right.


My Lords, would the noble Lord think that the extreme Left was represented by the Communist Party or is the Communist Party on the Right?


My Lords, I was not personally thinking that he was journeying into the Communist Party at all, but that he was just journeying into what I might call an ordinary Social Democrat Left Wing outlook on international affairs, which personally I think I represent rather better than my noble friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth at the moment. But that is rather an aside.

Of course, I did not agree with all that the noble and gallant Field Marshal said. For example, I did not agree with him when he said that it would be a good thing for West Berlin to remain, as it were, in the Western set-up. I much prefer the Walter Lippmann suggestion. I do not believe that if West Berlin remained in the sort of set-up which it now has, even if some of our troops were withdrawn, and even if some of the United Nations institutions were placed there, it would do much to reduce the tension. The difficulty is that West Berlin has been built up as a sally port for the West in the cold war. I do not think that is realised enough in this country, but it is very much realised in the East and in the U.S.S.R., and it has been continuously and aggressively used in that sort of way over the last fourteen or fifteen years. The noble and gallant Field Marshal mentioned one particular episode in 1953, the so-called rising which was undoubtedly, to some extent at any rate, stimulated from West Berlin. It has been, and still is, one of the continuous sources of complaint, not only in East Germany but in the U.S.S.R., how West Berlin is all the time being used for broadcasts and all sorts of other attacks on their way of life and their build-up: and as long as that goes on there is bound to be this sort of tension.

This building up of West Berlin in this way has been done without any regard to the true interests of the West Berlin people. As I said in my last speech, I have a great admiration for these people, and I think it is very unfair to them that they have been used, so to speak, as a tool of the West in the cold war and placed in very great jeopardy. There are no people in the world who are in greater jeopardy than the West Berliners, and I feel we ought to be doing our best to find some method of disengaging them from this terrible position.

I should like to finish my speech with a word or two on another problem which the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, mentioned. He is not very much afraid of nuclear war breaking out—and he may be right in respect of a deliberate nuclear war. But the real danger is that a nuclear war might break out by accident. Some of your Lordships may have read a quite remarkable article by an American journalist in the Sunday Times a week or two ago in which he describes how soldiers who are in charge of one of these nuclear weapons in the U.S.S.R., sitting at their lunch table one day where this enormous nuclear weapon could be seen from a window, suddenly saw the thing was getting ready to go off, on its own, so to speak, and they rushed to stop it just in the nick of time. I presume that is a true account of what happened.

According to this very well-informed American journalist that is only one of a number of similar incidents that have happened during the last few years; and, curiously enough, these episodes are kept from the British public. The American people are told about them, but they never appear in the British newspapers. It is well known in America that, again by accident, a year or two ago a Russian rocket was discharged, fortunately without its nuclear warhead, and fell in Alaska. That was published in all the American papers, and never denied from the White House or elsewhere, and I believe it actually to have happened. We ought to know about these things, just as much as the American people, and when the Foreign Secretary talks about the way the Russian people are kept in the dark that is not the only country where it happens. It may not be the deliberate policy of our Government but it happens.

And to a still greater extent the people in France are kept in the dark about what is going on. I read in the paper only this morning that a report of the independent investigation into alleged atrocities in Bizerta, when published in a French newspaper, led to the seizing of that newspaper by the French authorities. When that sort of thing happens in the U.S.S.R. the Government are scourged over it, but when it happens in France is just reported in English newspapers as an incident of news of an ordinary kind.

The trouble, of course, is that we decide that the people in the East are our enemies, and everything they do must be turned against them; and naturally we turn a blind eye on all the faults of our Allies. What we have to learn to do is to see all these things in a clear and more reasonable perspective, and it is only on that sort of basis, of understanding, sympathising with, and trying to make allowances for, the problems of our enemies as well as our friends that we shall eventually win through to secure a more peaceful world.

7.16 p.m.


My Lords, may I first apologise for intruding, an innocent among experts, into this debate? Speaking in the company of such persons as the noble Lord, Lord Strang, and the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, makes one very conscious of one's temeriity. But we are faced with a situation which concerns every one of us and there may be an advantage in having an outside view, however naïve.

We in this House, in this country and in the world lie under suspended sentence of death. At any time, by design or by accident, the sentence may be carried out. As the Foreign Secretary has said: We are faced with the stark choice of whether the civilised world is to live or die. And every day the danger is intensified; the head-on clash seems to loom nearer. It is not our fault; there is little we can do about it; it is something which has been forced upon us. What we have at the moment over Berlin is a crisis deliberately contrived and carefully built up by Soviet Russia. There is in it all the formality of an elaborate dance—of a minuet, if you like—in which each step is planned and poised with exquisite elegance. It is the same dance which the Nazis trod so neatly in the preparation of their coups 25 years ago. I have no idea my Lords—nobody has—how this immediate crisis over Berlin is going to end. For myself, I do not think it is going to lead to war, though of course it could do, and I believe that the firm line to which we are now committed is the safest line. But I am not so concerned over Berlin. If it leads to an explosion, that is that, and it is too late to start worrying now. What does concern us is the future.

The Prime Minister said at Brighton, Communist Russia is the greatest Imperialist Power in the world. Try as one may to believe the opposite, one is forced to the conclusion that what she wants is quite simply world domination by any and every means. When I say this, people tell me that I am over simplifying; that Communism is not the same as Fascism; that Khrushchev is not Hitler; and that the Russian people want peace. All very true, perhaps. But the evidence is there—dreary, sickening, overwhelming evidence. We have before our eyes the communisation and subjection of every country on which Russia has laid her hands. We have the systematic subversion of those peoples who still lie outside her sphere of control. We see, despairingly, the ruthless sabotaging of almost all international negotiations which might promise success. If these are not instruments for world domination I should like to know what their purpose is.

Now we are faced with military threats: the button is off the foil; the cold war is becoming hot. I think it was at Suez that the Russians first spoke about their rockets. Since then their protestations have become ever louder, and hardly a day passes without some nuclear threat. To-day Mr. Kruschev boasts that Russia has a 100-million-ton bomb, and with respect to the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, I do not find that such a terribly funny thing.


In all respect, I did not say it was funny.


The noble Lord thought it was not realistic. But it is there. What, then, is it reasonable to expect? Are we to think that all of a sudden the Soviet Union is going to sing a new and sweeter song? Are we to believe that their territorial aims, like Hitler's, are non-existent? Does not the appetite increase in the eating? I know there are people who say that the Russian's deepest fear is of the Chinese; that we have only to sit tight long enough for the two nations to be at each other's throats. A beguiling theory, but is it likely? There were some who had exactly the same hopes about the Germans and the Russians before the war, and who hoped that the Russians would pull the chestnuts out of the fire for us. What happened? Hitler, intent on destroying Russia, turned on the West. He did not want a war on two fronts, but he got one, because he failed to destroy us first. Are not the Russians likely to do exactly the same thing? Can they afford a full-scale war with China with a hostile West in their rear?

My Lords, weighing up all the evidence I take a gloomy view. The Foreign Secretary said in June: The next six months will be one of the most difficult and dangerous periods which this country has known since the war. I agree, but I would say six years, not just six months. I believe that we should prepare ourselves, calmly but resolutely, for anything and everything. How must we prepare ourselves? First of all, of course, in the matter of our defences. I am no military expert, but I hear enough from people who should know, good patriotic men with no axes to grind, to make me a little uneasy. It would be impertinent of me to refer to specific weaknesses of which I am only partly informed; moreover this is not a defence debate. But I would ask the Government whether they conscientiously believe that the country is able to fulfil all its commitments if the need arises. Political unpopularity may be distasteful; national insecurity can be disastrous.

Next, there is civil defence. I repeat, I am aware that this is a Foreign Affairs debate, but as we are always being told, and I think rightly, a strong foreign policy depends upon a strong and well-organised home front. How do we stand on civil defence to-day? We have just over one-third of the numbers we had in 1939. I know that some people shrug their shoulders and say that in these nuclear times civil defence is well-nigh useless; that four-fifths of the population will be rubbed out in the first twenty-four hours. But how about the other one-fifth? Are they not worth saving? Again, would one not save more people still if one could get them out of the way before the bomb fell? Have the Government plans for massive evacuation in times of emergency and, if so, may we be told where we have got to go and how we are to get there?

Then, too, there is the decentralisation of industry. Are there plans in existence for the instant dispersal of key personnel in the event of emergency? Do we have underground shadow factories? This is not meant to be critical—it may well be the Government have plans worked out for all these things. But if so, the country, and a fortiori a potential enemy, remains unaware of them. I think we should be told, and told now.


Perhaps the noble Earl will allow me to intervene. Where does the noble Earl suggest we should go?


I wish I could answer the noble Lord's question. I have not any idea. But I think it is reasonable to look to the Government to tell us where we might possibly find refuge.


I think perhaps the Isle of Arran.


I should be very happy to offer hospitality, except that it happens not to be my island.

I want, last of all, to come to our psychological or, if your Lordships will allow the word, spiritual, state of preparedness. I believe that in this regard the country is totally unprepared for war, even more so than in 1938. It is not surprising: the thought is so appalling that the human mind refuses to accept it. The idea is so awful that it just cannot happen. You may think this is a good thing; that thoughts and talk of war tend to breed war; that one should not take one's fences before one comes to them. But the result of it is that, if disaster should occur, it will strike upon an unconditioned people, and the moral reserves, more necessary than in any war ever fought before, will just not be there. What I humbly suggest we need is a serious warning to take us out of our mood of bomb-happy complacency.

Then, too, I do not think the British people are yet convinced that the Soviet régime is an evil régime and that its intentions are evil. We knew what the Nazis were like—there was no possible room for doubt. We do not yet know for certain what the Russians are like, and this is very important. I would say that perhaps our greatest strength in the last two world wars has been our certainty that we were right and the enemy were wrong. In Lord Haig's great words, "We believed in the justice of our cause." Think what it must have been like to be an Italian soldier in the last war, to fight, and perhaps be killed, for something one did not believe in. I am not suggesting there is anything that anybody can do about this. In the end, the facts will speak for themselves and the people will make up their own minds. But I mention it because I think it is important—indeed, perhaps the most important part of our preparedness.

I am afraid that I have struck a sombre note in speaking to your Lordships this evening, but I felt these things needed saying. I am no "ancestral voice prophesying war", indeed, like most people I do not think it will come. But to quote the noble Earl, Lord Home, once again: Over all humanity there broods the hooded cloud of the nuclear bomb and if that cloud should sweep down upon us, I fear that it might find us sleeping. I think there is much to be done, and perhaps not much time to do it in. At the moment we do not really know where we stand. We ask to be given a sense of direction. We ask to be told what preparations there are. We need to be shaken out of our petty personal absorptions. We ask to be told what we ought to do. Will not the Government give us a lead in this matter? If they do so, I am sure that they will find a warm and ready response.

7.30 p.m.


My Lords, the Motion before this House asks us to take note of the international situation, and I think anyone reading the papers cannot help but do this. I would agree with the noble Earl who has just spoken that it is a very alarming situation, very alarming indeed. I have read in the papers that at any given moment while we are speaking here American bombers with atomic bombs, with their warheads, are circling around ready to take off at a moment's notice and bomb Russia; and Russia is doing the same in regard to us. But the thing that strikes me is how calm people in this country are, how more or less unruffled and undisturbed by this imminent threat. I have often asked myself why this is, why are they so placid and gallant—shall we say?—so brave and undisturbed.

Of course, one thing is that they feel they cannot do anything about it, and it is up to the Government, and not to them. But I think also that behind their feeling is a certain confidence in what has been called in the Press the two K's—the President of the United States and Mr. Khrushchev. Contrary to appearances at times, they are both sensible men, and obviously no one but a lunatic would press his advantages to the extent of war. I think that is the feeling of the people. There is a confidence that fundamentally the two great, protagonists are sane men, that they will negotiate and will try to work for some way out of the difficulties.

In spite of the great disturbances reported in the Press and elsewhere about Berlin, I do not feel very pessimistic about it. It seems to me to be a problem that can be reasonably easily solved. It is not one of those terribly difficult insoluble problems. But if we are going to solve it, we must recognise the facts as they are. In the first place, we must recognise the fact that Germany is divided into two and will remain divided, and that nothing but an all-out war will ever bring it together again, at least in the possibly foreseeable future, and that such a war would probably wipe out the Germans so there would be nothing to bring together. That we have got to recognise as a fact.

The second thing I think we have to recognise is the impossibility of our situation in West Berlin. We have got ourselves into this vulnerable bridgehead which we cannot really defend. The only thing we can do is to threaten nuclear war. There is constantly a hazard with our lines of communication, which are uncertain and vulnerable; and, worse, it gives the Russians a chance at any moment they like of putting tremendous pressure on us and building up a crisis. I should have thought that the obvious solution, as many speakers have suggested this afternoon, is to withdraw from Berlin.

What are our real interests in that city? What is really at stake? As I think Lord Gladwyn and others have said, the real interest, and the only interest with which we are concerned, is the freedom and independence of the West Berliners. These people, whom we have more or less guaranteed and said we would look after, we obviously could not either morally or politically allow to become incorporated into the Eastern set-up. That is really our only real interest. We have no other reason to be in Berlin, which is the most hazardous and unpleasant place to be.

Of course, at this stage of the debate, all one can do is generally to endorse and support the ideas which have been put by other people, and I very happily and gladly support the idea, which I think Lord Gladwyn has just suggested, that Berlin should be a free city. It is the only answer. The Russians have accepted it, so they will agree to it, and once we have it as a free city guaranteed by the great Powers, guaranteed if you like by the United Nations and with the United Nations garrison in it, the whole source of friction between the West and the East melts away. Berlin no longer is important. It is no longer a centre of propaganda, espionage, difficulties and troubles. The whole problem is solved. That seems to me to be the obvious and only answer to the Berlin problem.

I would go further than that and also endorse Lord Gladwyn's suggestion that it should become the capital of the United Nations. The United Nations are obviously finding a very unhappy home in New York at the moment. The Eastern nations do not like it. There are certain colour difficulties and other problems, and it would seem to me that, if you placed the United Nations capital in Berlin, that would be an additional guarantee of its safety. At the same time, you would have an independent free city between the East and the West from which the United Nations could exercise their authority.

But, of course, there are two greater dangers than Berlin, which I do not really think is a very serious one. In the first place, there is the danger, which again has been mentioned, of accident—and that is a very real one—whether mechanical or due to human fallibility. At any moment, something may happen and rockets be launched one way or the other: a reply comes back and the whole thing goes up in smoke and flames, and civilisation as we know it is wiped out. I remember speaking to your Lordships some years ago and suggesting to Her Majesty's Government that it would be a very good gesture and a very good idea if they would propose to agree to give up the nuclear bomb in this country provided that the other nations would give it up, too, except for Russia and America. It is an old idea, but it is a very sound one because the greatest danger from accident that we all have to face is the spread of the bomb. That must be stopped.

I do not think there is any chance of America and Russia wanting to give it up. They are two big protagonists, hostile, suspicious and afraid of each other, but we might get some agreement among other nations, although it will be very much more difficult than when I proposed it, because France has already made the bomb, and the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, in his television programme, estimated that the Chinese would have it within three years. I do not know how accurate that is, but already the thing has spread, and if something is not done to stop it, in a few years' time most of the nations will possess it in different forms and the danger of accident or the danger of some hysterical, irresponsible dictator using it, will be increased a hundredfold.

Now I come to what I think is the greatest danger of all. I think this one is more complex and is much more far-reaching. Owing to this terrible opposition of the two sides of the world there is intense competition to try to get hold of, or to influence, or to control the neutral nations. Russia believes herself threatened, she believes, according to her ideas, that Communism will triumph if there is no world war, but at the same time she feels there is always a danger of capitalist nations attacking her. We, in the Western world, on the other hand, feel equally the danger of Russia suddenly striking a blow to get in first. As a result, we have this intense struggle for power and control over all the neutral nations which are not yet involved.

How can we stop this struggle, which is terribly dangerous? There is always the danger of foreign intervention by any country developing into another Korea where nations intervene and fight, and which ultimately might well lead to a world war. Of course, we could divide the world, as a Pope of olden times divided the world between Spain and Portugal, but the idea is really impracticable because of the development of the nations themselves. These are not just bundles of produce which can be divided. They are people who have their own ideas, who are developing their own sources of thought and government. We obviously cannot lay down a line and say, "You must be with the Communist bloc, while others must be with the Western world for ever". That is completely impracticable. But this, I think, is where the West makes its biggest mistake. When one of these nations that are not yet thoroughly committed begins to have trouble it is very tempting to intervene. They may want to be free of the colonial rule or want to have better conditions.

One can point all round the world to nations which are suffering from great unrest and great difficulties, and if they start revolutions or internal conflicts the Western world is very apt to say "Ah! Here is Communism, the hand of Russia behind it. We must oppose it and support the people who are in control ". If as a result, as so oftens happens, the revolution is successful, the Government are overthrown and the people win there rights, or whatever it may be, they become our enemies instead of our friends.

We have seen that happening in Mexico and all over the world, and the most obvious and recent example is Cuba, where the country was suffering under the terrible dictatorship of Batista. They tried to get rid of that, and to bring in reform, and the old pattern followed. The big industrialists who were interested in Havana started a huge campaign in the American Press. Oil was cut off from Cuba; Russia offered oil; American refineries refused to refine it; the U.S.A. refused to take sugar from Cuba, and the refineries were nationalised. There was trouble, and finally an invasion and shooting, and the net result of the whole thing is that we have pushed what might have been a reasonably progressive, innocent reform movement into the hands of the Soviet bloc.

If ever there was a bit of stupid, idiotic diplomacy or foreign policy, surely that was one; and that can happen again, and has happened again and again. I suggest to your Lordships that that was one of the greatest mistakes that could be made. Unless we can see where progress is coming and sometimes back up the progressive forces, we shall lose very greatly in this disastrous cold war. Of course, there is the other example of the Congo, which I will not go into; but if there were no wealth in Katanga there probably would be no problem there either.

What is the solution? I suggest 'the solution is on the lines that we must—and I was very glad to agree with the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary on his line here—support the United Nations as much as we possibly can. It is our only hope in these cases where we have countries in turmoil and in difficulties. We must prevent them from becoming the object of interference; we must prevent the Russians from going in on one side and the Americans on the other, with everyone joining in; and the only way to do this is to use the United Nations as a police force. They are our one mainstay, our one hope of stopping war. If we can somehow build up the United Nations we should do so and persuade the Americans to, and urge this as one of our big negotiating items in Berlin discussions and all the other summit meetings. We should try to get an impartial and strong United Nations.

A country supports the United Nations, but as soon as it thinks they are doing something against its interests then that support is lost. In this country there have been big Press campaigns against the United Nations at times. But that, I suggest, is our one and only hope, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government will do all they can in negotiations to build up and support the United Nations and try to convince the Russians and the Chinese to support them. The arch folly of all time was not recognising the Chinese, and they should be admitted immediately to the United Nations, too. I hope by these means we may find our salvation.

7.43 p.m.


By Lords, I am particularly glad to be following my noble friend on this occasion because he mentioned at one point in his speech something which had not been mentioned previously to-day but which seems to me to be a point which must be discussed and thought of with great seriousness whenever we turn our minds to foreign affairs. That is the question which he exemplified with Cuba and Mexico. It has interested me, in listening to this extremely interesting debate, to see how every now and again some noble Lords have just begun to look at the subject and then have moved away—not surprisingly, because, after all, there are many matters to be dealt with to-night that are of even greater urgency than this and which must be dealt with immediately.

In his speech the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, used these words: The world has got itself into a frightful mess and nobody can lead us out of the morass. But he did not ask why it had got into a mess or at what stage we started getting into a mess. Later on the noble Lord, Lord Strang, said: We have to take The world as we find it or as we make it. But, surely, my Lords, what we find to-day in the world is what we or others made it ten years ago, and what the world is going to be like ten years hence is what we make it to-day. Therefore, while it is obviously necessary for us to spend much time and much thought on Berlin, and on the Congo and the other pressing problems, it would be disastrous for those who come after us—and for ourselves, too, because ten years is not all that far ahead—if we were so occupied with to-day that we failed to give any thought, or sufficient thought, to the day after to-morrow.

The noble Earl the Foreign Secretary in his speech, which was so full of wise things, said something which impressed me very much. He said: Peace depends upon the balance of power. That is manifestly true. What are we doing now? Not maintaining the present balance of power, but ensuring that the balance of power in the future is such that a morass of the kind which Lord Montgomery of Alamein mentioned is not one into which we unwittingly walk. Then the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary went on at a later part of this speech to remind us of a fact which we know and which gives us great cause for unhappiness, the fact that the Afro-Asian group frequently protest against the imperialism of the Western democracies but let the imperialism of Russia go unnoticed and without any blame. I was very glad to hear him say something, which I wrote down. He said: I cannot allow the case of the democracies to go by default. If we are to make sure that the balance of power in the years to come is favourable and is of the kind which will maintain world peace, it is essential that the case of the Western democracies does not go by default and, as my noble friend Lord Huntingdon said, that the example of Cuba is not repeated in other countries.

How can we set about doing this? It seems to me, as an outsider from the Foreign Service—though I did at one time have some semi-official connection with it and learnt a lot from it—that the whole set-up of our Foreign Service today is 50 years out-of-date. Where it has changed it has changed for the worse. It has taken to itself some of the worst characteristics of Parkinson's law in big business, and it has gone away from the more personal approach and the smaller units that we had in the days before the First World War. In those days obviously it was right and wise for us to send our best diplomats, our best members of the Diplomatic Service, as Ambassadors to the most important capitals of the world, to Paris, Berlin, Rome, Moscow, and later to Washington, because in those days Her Majesty's Ambassador, or His Majesty's Ambassador, was a real plenipotentiary. He had to get on with the job. The despatches went backwards and forwards, but they went slowly, and although the telegraph came into use it was not an extremely effective method of communication.

But to-day that does not happen at all. If anything important happens in Washington the Foreign Secretary himself goes there. He can get to Washington, let alone Paris, just as quickly today as he can get to his own home in Scotland. Why, therefore, is it essential for us to put our senior diplomats—and I assume that our senior diplomats are our best diplomats—into places which are of such importance that the Minister or the Prime Minister has to go there and deal directly with the heads of Government himself, leaving our Ambassador there to be little more in fact than a public relations officer? I know that he has many other things to do; I do not want to derogate from his great responsibilities; but I hope that the noble Earl will agree with me that at least matters of the highest level and the greatest policy importance are the matters where the Ministers, either the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary, take a hand themselves and, because of the enormous change that has taken place in communications, they are able to do this frequently; whereas fifty or one hundred years ago—we are still operating on that model in the Foreign Office—it was impossible for that to have happened and the Ambassador had to get on with the job himself.

It seems to me that what we should be doing to-day is not to send our best brains from the Foreign Office to those places. We need a different type of man there—possibly more the type of man who comes into your Lordships' House rather than into another place. We need a different type of man in the places where the trouble is likely to be—it may be in Brazil, it may be in Venezuela, it may be in Cuba, it may be in Laos, or in Siam or in Nepal; it may be in the Congo or Ethiopia. We need our best brains not in the great, big, important Embassies, but in the places where the trouble is going to happen; and not only where the trouble is going to happen, but where the balance of power for the next ten years is decided.

I suggest to your Lordships that we should consider at this stage the method of organising our Foreign Service appointments, so that in those apparently unimportant countries we are represented to the best of the ability of the Foreign Service, with people who are high up in the estimation of the Foreign Service and of the Foreign Secretary. I would go further in this matter and say that for these men to do their job properly it is not necessary for them to have large staffs in the capital city. I know that there is a move to-day to cut down on Foreign Office staffs in embassies and legations. In my submission those are not the places where we should have the staffs. We want the people out in the country, so that they know what is going on in the backwoods, in the fields, in the industrial towns, if there are any, in those places: in other words, we should go back to the more old-fashioned type of consular representative who lives in the country, who knows the small tradesmen, the local "big-wigs", the farmers, the peasants, or whoever it may be, and who in that way can do two essential jobs: get the goodwill of the country and report back the feeling there. If we had had reported back to us properly the feeling in Cuba, I doubt whether the mistakes that were made there would have been made. That is on the one hand. On the other hand, he can put across to the people of the country what Great Britain stands for.

The noble Earl, Lord Arran, made a point about hating Communism. I hope he said "hating Communism" and not "hating Russia". I did not write down his words. I think that there is a great deal of importance in what he said; but what I think is more important is that the people in the uncommitted parts of the world, whether they hate Russia or not, whether they hate Communism or not, at least should know what Western democracy, and in particular what this country, stands for; that we have something which not only is to their material benefit but is their ultimate need in the long-term; that we attach no strings to it, and that we are there because we believe in this particular way of life as opposed to the Communist way of life.

I believe that unless we are going so to modify our foreign policy—or, rather, I would say the organisation at the Foreign Office—as to make this possible; unless we are going to be prepared to spend far more money on projects of this kind, on broadcasting, on information services, on exchange visits, and things of that kind, even in preference to spending £18 million on a new Cunarder for reasons of national prestige, our national prestige in the uncommitted parts of the world, which is what matters, will not count for anything, and in the next ten years the balance of power which is so essential for peace will have shifted in a way we do not wish it to go.

As your Lordships know, the Russians are very good chess players. Although I am not a chess player myself in any sense of the word, one of the objects of the game, as I understand it, is so to distract your opponent with an immediate threat that he does not see the longer-term threat which is really a far more dangerous one. I am not saying that the immediate threat is not a dangerous one—it is a very dangerous one. We have almost, but I hope not quite, got ourselves into the position of being checkmated immediately, and therefore have no time at all to prevent ourselves from being checkmated in the more distant future—I hope it is "almost", and not quite. The greatest danger as I see it, is that we should concentrate so much to-day on getting ourselves out of this near checkmate over Berlin and the other pressing matters that we should fail to pay the attention we ought to the more distant and more dangerous threat.

7.57 p.m.


My Lords, I had prepared a tremendous dissertation upon the subject of Berlin, which I had hoped would be of a world-shaking character. Fortunately for your Lordships the noble Earl, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, has taken all the wind out of my sails, because in the course of his speech he said practically everything that I had intended to say, and I agree with every single word that he said. Therefore I shall be very brief indeed at this late hour, which no doubt will give pleasure to everybody. There are, however, one or two telegraphic observations I should like to make.

First of all I think it is of interest that the Eastern European Communist empire is settling down to some extent. I was there for six weeks this summer; and the conclusion I reached, and which I told the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, is that while there can be no doubt—it has been said in this House to-day—that in every case in these so-called "satellite" countries of Eastern Europe Communism has been imposed upon them by force, I am convinced that Communism cannot now be taken from them by means of force. The Dulles policy of "liberation" is dead. What we have to depend on is evolution, which sometimes moves much faster than many of us think.

I am quite sure that sooner or later these countries will begin to develop along their own lines because they have a tremendous innate vitality of their own, if only we can get rid of the general international tension. That is what makes things so stringent and so difficult at the present time. The reason for it is simple. We must go back, because to some extent we have ourselves to blame. In 1945 international politics became, for a period, a game of international grab, at which the Russians proved themselves immeasurably superior to us. While we chattered about human rights and democracy at San Francisco the Russians grabbed everything they could lay hands on; they grabbed it well; they grabbed it quickly and they have held on to it. But it is no good harking back on that. You cannot re-grab it, any more than you can alter the zoning system of Germany which, as I have already said to your Lordships, can only have been devised by men who were temporarily insane, as well they might be, in the year 1943. We are saddled with the zoning system of Germany, which leaves Berlin, as one noble Lord said, a marooned outpost of the Western world in the midst of Communist territory; and we have to make the best of it. Furthermore, we have the division of Germany, and that is a fact. When people complain about it as bitterly as they do, I am inclined to remind them that in this century the Germans have waged and lost two world wars, the last one with a barbarity hitherto unknown in history, and that a price for that has got to be paid. You cannot get away with this without paying a price.

Where I think we have been a little to blame in recent years is that we have not proved ourselves very flexible. I have already quoted to your Lordships a remark by Professor Friedmann, of Columbia University, New York, about two years ago, which I thought at the time was very profound, and which has certainly been confirmed since. In a letter to the New York Times he wrote: Continuous refusal to acknowledge a political reality without attempting to alter it will embarrass the West. I think that is true. I think we have refused to acknowledge a good many realities: for example, the reality of the German situation; and the reality of the Chinese situation. As several noble Lords have said this afternoon, it is really ludicrous to seat the Government of Formosa in the Security Council of the United Nations and to maintain that it is the Government of China, because it manifestly is not.

My Lords, I think that this has led the West as a whole (and T am not blaming Her Majesty's Government particularly in this matter) into the kind of impasse with regard to Berlin in which we find ourselves to-day. We have, in fact, made no constructive proposals for any change of any kind for several years. We have tacitly accepted the fact of the division of Germany, which is really accepted from the Rhine to the Vistula in Europe to-day; but we have always refused to acknowledge the fact; and until quite recently have been talking rather vaguely and hazily about the reunification of Germany as a result of free, democratic elections. My Lords, if anybody has been to East Germany, as I have, they would soon stop talking about free, democratic elections. In point of fact, at the moment East and West Germany are not growing together: they are growing apart. In a few years' time they will share only the language. The young people in East Germany—those who are held there and do not escape—are being brought up under a totally different system. In fact, it is the most stringent Communist system of any that exists anywhere in the world, much more stringent than the system which exists in the U.S.S.R. at the present time. In a few years they will have grown so far apart that any reunification on the basis of free elections will he absolutely out of the question.

What might become possible one day is a confederation on the lines of the dual monarchy of Austria of years ago; but that, I want to insist, can come about only with the approval of the Government of the Soviet Union. There can be no reunification of Germany without the approval of the Soviet Union, because the Soviet Union possesses and holds East Germany, and is not going to give it up. So, if there is ever going to be any kind of German reunification, it will have to be with the agreement and approval of the Government of the Soviet Union; and we might just as well face that fact. It might come—I do not know. I think that perhaps ten or fifteen years hence the Germans may be confronted with the choice of whether they regard reunification as more important than allegiance to an Alliance with the West. I myself think they will probably choose the latter; but it is for them to choose. If they choose reunification, then they will certainly have to give un membershin of N.A.T.0.—and, I should imagine, membership of the Common Market.

Although we pay lip service, and have done for a very long time, to the conception of a reunified Germany based on free elections, the fact remains that N.A.T.O. itself is based upon the division of Germany, and so is the Common Market. If there is any kind of German reunification in the future, radical revision will have to take place both in N.A.T.O. and in the Common Market. August 13, in Berlin, really sealed the division. We took no action—rightly, I think. There was no very clear action we could take; but by taking no action we accepted the division of Europe by the Iron Curtain as it exists at present.

Now, my Lords, on the Berlin question I think there is nothing I should wish to add to what the Foreign Secretary said, because he is clearly completely apprised of the whole situation—and I think he is handling it, if I may say so, quite brilliantly; as well as it can possibly be handled—except, as I am sure he would agree, the enormous danger of a grave miscalculation on either side, either on our part or on the part of the Kremlin. There are certain things that could lead to the ultimate disaster if a serious miscalculation were made. I would say, on our side, that probably the blockade of access to the routes of Berlin, either by the Soviet Government or by Herr Ulbricht, if and when his Government is recognised, would lead to a situation when we should have to envisage the appalling possibility of nuclear war. On their side, I think that any attempt on our part to give nuclear weapons to the Federal Government of Western Germany, uncontrolled, would lead to an equally dangerous situation.

Apart from this, the only other thing I want to say on the subject of Berlin is that I think the conception of an international city, which was referred to by my noble friend Lord Gladwyn, is one that ought always to be borne in mind. I have found, in my life, that Mr. Walter Lippmann is a very shrewd commentator on international affairs. He has put this forward very tentativ0ely and very cautiously, but here is a conception—


May I interrupt the noble Lord for one second? The conception of Mr. Walter Lippmann, as I understand it. is to have an international city in the Western sector only, whereas the conception of the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, was one of a United Nations presence to cover the whole city.


My Lords, if the noble Lord would forgive me that is not so. I mentioned both possibilities. I thought the conception of Mr. Walter Lippmann worth putting forward, but that mine was unlikely to be accepted at the moment.


If I might intervene in this debate for one moment, I should like to say that I was putting forward this as a point to be borne in mind, as I am sure it will be, by Her Majesty's Government. It seems to me that there is a possible solution here; and if it could conceivably be brought about, even if it should take a long time, it would, on the whole, be the best solution. What I fear is that if the Communists play the game cleverly (and I am sure they will play it pretty cleverly), and just hold tight to the present situation, there is no great future for West Berlin, detached, as it will be, to an increasing extent, from the West and from the East. I fear a kind of exodus from West Berlin in the course of time, if they see no future for themselves, especially by the young people, similar to that which was taking place until recently from East Germany; and that we should then find ourselves confronted not so much with a seized city as with a dying city, which would be a pity, because it would mean that in the long run we had lost out. If we could turn it into an international city, it seems to me that it would be a marvellous opportunity.

Before I sit down, I want to say just one word about something which I think has not been mentioned in this debate at all, but which I think is of extreme importance; that is, South-East Asia. The noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, told us—and we were all delighted to hear it—that the situation in Laos showed signs of considerable improvement.

I am sure your Lordships will agree that, in the long run, South-East Asia is almost as important from our point of view as Berlin. I think that the issue here may well be decided not by political or military methods or means, but by economics. What the Communists can offer to the countries of South-East Asia is a good deal of economic stability and security. In other words, they can offer them long-term contracts for their raw materials, at stable prices. I have been working on this business for 35 years, without the slightest succe—the business of getting stability of commodity prices. I remember in the '20s working with the noble Viscount, Lord Bruce of Melbourne, and Mr. F. L. MacDougall, of Australia, in trying to get some international agreement to stabilise wheat prices; but we are still going on playing with this business, and there is still a great deal of speculation going on in the raw materials which are vital to these countries. For example, you get the price of tin, which is essential to Malaya, going up and down £;200, £;300, in a month or two, according to how the speculators see the game in Singapore. The same applies to rubber, and to a number of other commodities which affect Africa.

I saw some of the members of the Malayan delegation last week who came over to the International Tin Conference, and of the tin producing countries, which include not only Malaya but Thailand—which is vital to us—and Indonesia, and, on another Continent, Bolivia. They begged for some scheme which would stabilise the price of tin, at least to a point at which there would be a floor and a ceiling. I gather that they mentioned £;800 a ton as a floor, and a ceiling of £;1,000 a ton; and suggested that the stockpile in the United States should be used, in conjunction with the International Tin Council, to keep the price within those two levels. It would stop it dropping below £;800, at which it ceases to be remunerative, and also stop it soaring to heights which would be extremely undesirable.


My Lords, I must say that I am very much in favour of the noble Lord's line about tin, but he is putting it in such a way that I hope some time he will give us half an hour on the history of tin controls, as well as prices, and how they have managed to shut down mines when they want the price to go up, and the like. Give us the whole story, and we shall be very interested.


My Lords. I wish I knew the whole story; unfortunately, do not. If I had known the whole story, I might be a much richer man than I am to-day. All I am trying to say at the moment is that I think it is a good idea to get some kind of international agreement to keep commodity prices, upon which the whole livelihood of these nations depends, more or less stable, because that is what the Communists can offer and what we cannot offer. The fact remains that a fall or rise of £;100 a ton in the price of tin means a difference of only one-hundredth of a penny in the price of a tin in this country; and I think that we should do our best to stabilise prices.

What these Malayan boys told me (and I should like, if I may, to ask the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, to look into this) was that the main opposition to any stabilisation plan for the price of tin, or to any organisation to stabilise the price of rubber, which are the two commodities upon which the South-East Asian countries mainly depend, came from the Treasury and the Board of Trade. I was not altogether surprised, because if any good idea is put forward from any quarter of the globe you can absolutely guarantee that the Treasury and the Board of Trade will automatically oppose it. But I should like my noble friend to look into this question, if he would, because I think it is extremely important. The economies of these countries depend upon these commodities. If the Communists can offer them stable and steady prices for these commodities, and we can offer them nothing but wild speculation, in the end we may lose them on that ground and on that ground alone.

I feel very strongly about this matter. I think that South-East Asia is extremely important; and instead of trying to sabotage the economies of South-East Asia, as the Treasury and the Board of Trade are now gaily doing, I think we should shore them up and support them in every way we can. It is much more important to ensure a stable price for their basic commodities than to talk about giving them military aid, which we do not possess, and which is not the answer to this particular problem.

Finally, my Lords, to bring the debate back to basic earth, there is still a lot to be said for the development of East-West trade on a straight basis of commerce. Keep politics out of it. If we can do that, the tension may relax. It is not without significance that through all these difficult months through which we have passed the West Germans have done from two to three times the amount of trade with the countries east of the Iron Curtain, including East Germany, that we have. To put it in a single sentence, we have the goodwill—I discovered that on my visit to the other side of the Iron Curtain—but the West Germans have the trade. And now the Italians and the French are moving in in a very big way, with credit terms that we cannot even begin to think of; and we are losing the whole of the trade. It is a pity, because if we could develop East-West trade, I believe that it would do a tremendous amount to mitigate the political tension that prevails at present. I need hardly add that, once again, the Treasury and the Board of Trade are primarily to blame.

My Lords, I am sorry to have brought the debate back to such mundane depths but, curiously enough, I believe that it is through the development of perfectly ordinary contacts in business, in culture, in the exchange of all kinds of visits and relationships, cultural and otherwise, that we may be able to take some of the tension out of the international atmosphere; and that, in the long run, it is probably the best hope of avoiding nuclear extinction.

8.17 p.m.


My Lords, I am sure noble Lords who have remained to the end of this debate will be pleased that at last the last of a long list of speakers has been reached. I can promise to be reasonably short in what I have to say. I am sure we are all convinced that the crisis in Europe is a serious one, and it would be wrong to minimise it. If it is not to amount to a perilous climax, with the unpredictable consequences to which the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary referred, it is essential that miscalculations and false assumptions should be avoided. I personally do not believe that the Soviet leaders want or intend a head-on collision, any more than the West does; that I do think that what is called a policy of controlled brinkmanship is a had and dangerous instrument of diplomacy.

It is to be hoped, therefore, that the conversations which have taken place in New York, Washington and London will have done something to convince the Soviet leaders that the Western Allies have no intention of allowing themselves to be deprived of vital rights by any unilateral decision, and that they will not be bullied or bluffed into appeasement. In his last speech in this House before the Recess, and again in his speech this afternoon, the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary put the matter in a way with which I think we all agree when he said that changes must be made by consent. That is, I think, a basic principle that requires all-round recognition and acceptance. The talks which have taken place were important, but, as we have been told, they were not more than clarifying preliminaries. Before formal negotiations can be started with any promise of success, a reasonable basis for discussion must be agreed. It must contain (if I may borrow the words of the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary) the ingredients of a settlement. I think that that should be obvious to both sides. Both sides, when they enter negotiations, must desire them to succeed.

Diplomatic discussions with Soviet Russia should be pressed onward. There should be no unnecessary delay. It is satisfactory to all of us to know that President Kennedy has arranged for Mr. Thompson, the United States Ambassador in Moscow, to return to carry on discussions with the Soviet leaders, and also that the British Ambassador, after returning from a short visit to London, will stand by to help, if and when required. But it seems that Mr. Thompson's departure may be delayed for what can only be regarded as an unfortunate reason. Some of us were already disturbed by the French refusal to take part in the proposed meeting of officials in London to-morrow. I must say that my own feeling of disturbance was deepened when I read in The Times to-day the dispatches from its correspondents in Washington and Paris and the contribution from its diplomatic correspondent.

It is clear that there are differences in the Western camp. As the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary said, they may be differences on procedure and techniques, rather than differences on policy, but differences on procedure can be awkward and can cause delay. I do not want to exaggerate the matter, but it seems important to me that prompt action should be taken to get consultations going amongst the Western Allies themselves to achieve agreement both on procedure and policy. As the Foreign Secretary had stated, no one wants to waste time. We all want to see rapid progress made in getting an agreed basis settled, so that negotiations proper can take place in the early future, perhaps first by way of a Foreign Ministers' conference and then at a Summit gathering.

I do not doubt that by now the Soviet leaders are aware that at all stages the West will stand firmly by their vital interests. The noble Earl the Foreign Secretary reaffirmed these vital interests in his speech, and I would repeat them. They are, first, the continued right of the West Berliners to live in freedom; secondly, the continued presence of the Western Allied garrisons in West Berlin; and thirdly, continued uninterrupted access to West Berlin. These vital interests are not negotiable.

We have seen East Berlin annexed by East Germany. We have seen East Berlin sealed off by concrete walls and barbed wire, and we have seen the barbarous methods adopted by the East Germans to deal with refugees seeking to escape to the West. Does anyone believe that Herr Ulbricht would refrain from taking over West Berlin, if he thought he could get away with it? It would he a great prize for the East German Communists, a prize of immense political, economic and prestige value. If West Berlin were made a defenceless city, isolated from Federal Germany, not allowed to have its elected observers in the Bonn Parliament, compelled to have its own currency and with access subject to East German control and limitation, how long does anyone think that West Berlin would remain either viable or free?

It seems to me, therefore, that if there is to be a negotiated settlement on West Berlin, these three essentials must be incorporated in the agreement with Russia, and the agreement itself, as the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary has stated, registered with the United Nations. I noted that in his speech at the United Nations Assembly, Mr. Gromyko used these words: If the four Powers come to an agreement on the presence in Western Berlin of their token troops as guarantors of the free city status,… Do these words mean that the Western Allies are to be pressed to agree to the introduction of Soviet troops into West Berlin? It would be an astonishing thing if, after handing over their sector of Berlin to East German Communist control, the Russians should seek to get Soviet troops into West Berlin, which, by agreement, has been a Western responsibility for sixteen years. I do not think that the West Berliners would agree; nor do I think they should be expected to agree.

I agree with previous speakers who have said that there is a case for associating the United Nations with the freedom and security of West Berlin by introducing United Nations contingents, and perhaps observers. Such contingents, of course, would be independent of Western forces and under their own Command. They would not replace the Western garrisons, but would be additional to them. I feel also that there is much to be said in support of the suggestion that a United Nations European headquarters should be set up in West Berlin, with Agencies located in East Berlin as well as in West Berlin. It would be interesting to know whether such a suggestion would commend itself to Herr Ulbricht. But if he rejected it, it should he considered in relation to West Berlin alone.

When Mr. Gromyko was assuring the United Nations Assembly that the free city of West Berlin would have the right to establish ties with any country in any continent", he proceeded to qualify it by saying: In this, one thing alone is required, and that is unqualified respect for the sovereignty of the State through whose territory run the land, air and water communications linking West Berlin with the outside world, the sovereignty of the German Democratic Republic with which the appropriate agreements on the use of such communications must he concluded This demand points to what I think is the main objective of the Soviet diplomatic offensive. They are seeking to secure recognition of East Germany as a sovereign State. They want, again to use the words of the Foreign Secretary, to achieve the final division of Germany in West Berlin. But, as the Foreign Secretary has stated, a new Agreement must be a Four-Power agreement, with the four signatory Powers as guarantors. I agree that this needs to be signed before the so-called peace treaty between Soviet Russia and East Germany is finalised. But, given a satisfactory new Four-Power guarantee of right of access, the Western Powers should not find it difficult to agree to a Six-Power commission, including both parts of Germany, to supervise the operation of these rights.

This would involve something more than the Western Powers themselves proposed in 1959, when they suggested that, without prejudice to existing basic responsibilities, access procedures should be carried on by German personnel. There is, of course, an important difference. The new proposal would involve some measure of de facto recognition of the East German Administration. Personally, I do not regard that as too high a price to pay as part of an agreed settlement. I say that because I have stated more than once in your Lordships' House in recent years that I see no prospect of German reunification in the foreseeable future. To my mind, any other view is self-delusion. If the present crisis is to be solved by peaceful negotiation, neither side can hope to get all its demands conceded. Successful negotiation is always, or nearly always, a matter of each side giving as well as taking. So long as we preserve our vital interests I can see no reason why we should refuse to compromise where our vital interests are not involved. However much one may despise the East German régime and look upon some of its actions with the greatest revulsion, I feel, nevertheless, that the West would be both justified and wise to give limited recognition to East Germany in order to get an agreed settlement of the present crisis.

I recognise that the step I have indicated is not one that the Federal German Republic will find easy to approve. That is understandable. I have a good deal of sympathy with them in their predicament. It has been said that continued partition is the price the Germans have to pay for Hitler: it is, my Lords, a price that is being exacted by Russia.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord to ask if he would define what he means by "limited recognition"?—because, in fact, it is already given to the East German Government by the Federal German Government.


That I understand. But if the noble Lord heard the speech made by the Foreign Secretary, and that made by Lord Strang, the extent to which de facto recognition can be given seemed to me to be quite elastic, and I am not in a position to say at what point of the elastic the pin should be put.

We have to deal with conditions as they are when they cannot be arranged as we should like to have them. To ask West Germany to recognise that reunification is not immediately practicable, and may not be for some years to come, is not to ask them to forgo their hope and aim of reunification for all time. But it will certainly have to await European conditions that are more favourable than they are in the Europe of to-day. As the Foreign Secretary stated in his speech, the West Germans have a lot of contact with East Germany. That seems to me to imply some measure of recognition of the realities of the situation in Germany, that in fact it is divided. There may be opportunities for expanding these practical dealings with advantage to Western Germany. This, I feel sure, is a matter which has been receiving the attention of the Federal German leaders, and I hope with a cool and calculating mind. For, as I see it, it is imperative that Federal Germany should be persuaded to go along with the three Western Allies in their efforts to obtain an agreed settlement of the present crisis.

My Lords, I continue to believe that the problem of Germany and the problem of European security are inter-related. To put it another way, German reunification will not enter the realm of practical politics until Europe is well advanced towards a régime of security based upon controlled disarmament. That is why I believe it is right to extend the area of negotiations beyond Germany and West Berlin. Relevant issues should, in my opinion, include the acceptance of the Oder-Neisse frontier; a nuclear-free area in Central Europe, including both parts of Germany; a controlled limitation of the armed forces in the area; and a non-aggression agreement between N.A.T.O. and the Warsaw Pact Powers. I believe it is along such lines that the high tension in Europe can be reduced and more settled and more promising conditions developed. Then it may become practical politics to seek the unification of Germany through free elections, with a reunited Berlin as its capital.

My last word is to assure the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary of our united hopes that his efforts for a peaceful solution of the present crisis will be successful. I think he will have realised from this debate that he enjoys our good will and support in the grave tasks which lie ahead.


My Lords, I beg to move that this debate be now adjourned.

Moved, That the debate be now adjourned.—(The Marquess of Lansdowne.)

On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly.