HL Deb 01 August 1962 vol 243 cc292-338

4.36 p.m.

Debate resumed.


My Lords, having regard to the vastness of this subject and the smallness of the time at our disposal, I do not intend to deal with its economic aspects; I propose to confine myself to its political aspects. In other words, I am prepared to make the assumption that the Government will not lead the country into the Common Market unless they can make a good economic bargain, a bargain that will be good for our industries and agriculture and will give due weight to our obligations towards the other members and parts of the British Commonwealth. However, I cannot refrain from saying that it sounded rather quaint to me when I heard the noble Viscount who leads the Opposition accusing noble Lords on the opposite Benches of neglecting the welfare and interests of what we used to call, in the days of the Free Trade debates, our Dominions and Commonwealth.

There is one aspect of the decision which confronts the country to-day and which makes it unusually difficult. The noble Earl, Lord Home, has referred to it, and I venture to stress it. Most political decisions involve a choice between making a change, on the one hand, and remaining as we are, on the other—for instance, the decisions whether or not to nationalise the coalmines or the railways. But the choice in this case is not between making a change and remaining as we were in the status quo. If we do not join the European Economic Community, in my opinion we shall not remain where we are but we shall have to submit to a major change, a change in a different direction and a change for the worse.

It is now obvious to all of us that the European Community is not going to consist only of six States, but that the number of countries inside the Community or closely linked with it by agreements will be very many more than six and will probably comprise nearly the whole of free Europe. It seems to me inevitable that if we stand by and watch our nearest neighbours welding themselves into this truly formidable economic unit, with every prospect and intention of developing it into some kind of political union as well, we are running a very great risk. Even together with Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the Commonwealth we should find ourselves, in my judgment, dangerously isolated and in an economic ally weak bargaining position. Not only do we run the risk of a decline in our economic position, but I regard it as more than probable that we should run a similar political risk.

It is being argued in certain quarters that if we enter the Community and make an advance towards the political unity of Europe we shall sacrifice much of our influence. I believe that argument is based on a fallacy; it is based on the assumption that if we remain outside we shall remain as influential as we are to-day. My judgment is that if we turn our backs on this powerful European movement we shall soon find they can get along without us and that our political influence will decline, as well as our economic position; and the best hope of maintaining our influence lies in entering the European Economic Community and exerting it from the inside.

I must give your Lordships an example of what we have already done in that respect. Your Lordships will remember that in the years 1948, 1949 and 1950 the Prime Minister and a number of your Lordships, including the noble and learned Earl, Lord Kilmuir, my noble friend Lord Layton and others, took part in a movement for the founding of the Council of Europe, and one of the most important achievements of that Council of Europe which was started at that time was the negotiation of the European Convention of Human Rights. The noble and learned Earl, Lord Kilmuir, was rapporteur of the Committee which prepared that Convention; and that Convention contains a remarkable code of human rights which is now in force in fifteen European States and is being administered by a European Commission and a European Court at Strasbourg. If anyone were to examine that code of human rights he would see in nearly every article of it the spirit of the English Common Law.

The expression "human rights" is new to us in this country because our human rights have grown up imperceptibly throughout the centuries as the result of the application of our law; so much so that it has been quite unnecessary for us to legislate in order to give effect to that Convention. But there is no question that on that occasion we were able to exert a very great influence by persuading our Continental colleagues to adopt numerous safeguards for human rights which have been part of our heritage for many centuries. And the influence of this Convention does not stop at Europe. It is arousing (he greatest interest and attention in Africa. A very large part of it has been adopted and incorporated into the Constitution of Nigeria and many other African States are showing the greatest interest.

I regard the present proposal for the expansion of the European Community and for the development within it of some measure of political unity as merely a culmination of many partial steps since the last World War, such as Western European Union, the Council of Europe, O.E.C.D. and, above all, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Each of these steps has reflected the same need for closer co-operation for economic, political or military reasons; and it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between these reasons. Our participation in these activities is due partly to a feeling that we were needed and wanted in this steadily developing European partnership.

A number of noble Lords and Ladies, Members of this House, have participated in the work of the Council of Europe and of the other European organisations. I believe that, avoiding all false modesty, they would agree with me that British participation in these activities is warmly welcomed and that it is recognised that we as a country have a definite contribution to make. Possibly by reason of our Northern blood we can take things more coolly than some of our Continental friends and are able to play down situations Which might otherwise become explosive. Possibly, also, our centuries-old tradition of self-government in the parish, county and Parliament has taught us some of the unwritten practices and restraints which living amicably together implies. My experience of cooperation in Continental activities is that our opposite numbers watch our public affairs much more closely than we do theirs and that they envy us our stability, our toughness and our practical outlook.

To-morrow the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, will tell us about the legal obligations that would be involved by entering the Common Market and acceding to the Treaty of Rome, so I shall touch only very lightly upon them. By the Treaty of Rome the parties agreed, I quote: to establish among themselves a European Economic Community"; that is to say, they have created a new international organisation limited in its functions to the economic and social purposes specified in the Treaty. Article 240 of the Treaty provides that this Treaty shall be concluded for an unlimited period I am not prepared to say that there are no circumstances in which a party to the Treaty could resign from the Community except by a general consent, but it is clearly the intention of the Treaty to create a permanent commitment and it would be unrealistic to discuss this matter on any other assumption.

No State would be prepared to make the economic and legal changes that flow from admission to the Community except in the belief that it was entering into a permanent economic partnership. The provisions of the Treaty of Rome do not go beyond the economic and social purposes mentioned in it. But in its Preamble the parties state that they are determined to establish the foundations of an ever closer union among the European peoples". That is a recognition by the parties that some measure of political union is desirable, and I think one may add that it is an almost inevitable result of the success of the Economic Community. But nothing is said in the Treaty as to the form or degree of an eventual political union; there is nothing about federalism or confederation, for the parties have wisely decided to be guided by the experience to be gained by their economic co-operation.

There are four reasons why I want to see an advance towards some kind of political unity in Europe. The first is that, either in spite of, or by reason of, the fact that the number of States has doubled in the last ten years, the world is tending to crystallise out into large groups or blocs of neighbouring States. More and more we find groups of States acting in concert, instead of in isolation, for purposes of trade, industry and defence, or for the sake of some other common interests. We have NATO, SEATO, CENTO; we have the Soviet bloc, the United States of America, the West European bloc, probably two African blocs, a bloc calling themselves neutralists and a not very uniform Latin-American bloc. I have grave doubt whether the United Kingdom, even in association with certain members of the Commonwealth, forms a strong enough unit to resist this process. Our ties with our ancient Dominions are, in sentiment and tradition, very close; but can we afford to remain outside the powerful unit represented by the European Economic Community and the other free States in Europe that are likely to be associated with it? My fear is that if we turn our back on this Community of our nearest neighbours we may find ourselves out on a limb and in an isolated position. And, of course, it is only while we are strong and prosperous that we can give service to our fellow members of the Commonwealth.

My second reason is the maintenance of peace in Europe and for Europe. The relations between France and Germany, in face of a common danger, seem recently to have improved. But three times in the past 100 years Europe has been rent by outbreaks of their old quarrel, and until some measure of political unity in Western Europe can be achieved that smouldering fire remains a continual danger, both for Continental Europe and for ourselves. My belief is that we can greatly reduce, and probably banish, this danger if we make a contribution to the unity of Europe. Our closer association with both of them could do much to confirm and make permanent the present happier state of their relations, and perhaps keep Germany with her face towards the West.

My third reason is the strengthening of NATO. Though military in origin, it has encouraged the development of many political, economic and cultural links. It is the nucleus of a true Atlantic Community and it may become the bridge between Europe and the North American Continent. I commend to your Lordships, as strong evidence of the development of such a Community, the Declaration signed in January of this year by the delegates to a meeting called, "The Atlantic Conference of NATO Nations". This so-called Declaration of Paris is not a Governmental announcement. It gives further evidence of this widespread desire for an advance in the unity of the free countries represented in NATO. If we allow ourselves to be squeezed out of the European Economic Community, or fail to secure the terms for entry, I think that we shall have lost an opportunity of a further strengthening of the NATO Alliance. I would also remind your Lordships of the Eisenhower-Macmillan declaration of 1957, which was quoted by the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, in our debate on NATO in January of this year—namely: The concept of national self-sufficiency is now out of date. The countries of the Free World are interdependent and only in genuine partnership by combining their resources and sharing tasks in many fields can progress and safety be found. My fourth reason is that when mankind can be persuaded to realise the necessity of creating some kind of international authority for the control of the use of armed force it will be easier to bring that about by negotiation between representatives of four or more large blocs of States than it would be among representatives of more than 100 States. We are already within sight of a situation in which any Government that can scrape together the sum of money required can go into the market and buy nuclear weapons capable, even accidentally, of causing widespread disaster. So the sooner we can place some control on this proliferation of nuclear weapons, the better. As the noble Viscount the Leader of the House said to your Lordships on our debate on disarmament in June [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 241 (No. 94), col. 998]: The logic of modern weapons—-perhaps even the logic of the continued absence of success of our disarmament negotiations—points inevitably towards some form of international police force and to some form of world authority. I believe that a powerful European Community would make both of those objectives easier to attain.

Lastly, my Lords, I come to the sovereignty bogy. The word "sovereignty" was originally used to describe the unlimited internal power of an absolute French monarch, and was later, unhappily, transferred to external affairs and invoked to bolster up the claim for the unlimited independence of the State. No State can be completely independent because its independence is circumscribed by the correlative independence of other States and by the law. Sovereignty has become a term possessing an emotional content and raises the blood pressure of those who are fond of using it. It means simply independence; and that is a much better word.

It is being urged by some of the opponents of our acceptance of the Treaty of Rome that such a step would impair our sovereignty or fetter our independence. It is in the exercise of its sovereignty or independence that a State concludes treaties. Every time a State makes a treaty agreeing to do this or that, or not to do this or that, it limits to that extent its sovereignty or independence, just as an individual who enters into a contract of service or partnership or sale limits thereby his freedom to do what he likes. No State can live in isolation to-day and it cannot co-operate with other Stales, either in defence or in economic matters, without to that extent limiting its freedom of action.

Let me remind your Lordships of what Sir Winston Churchill has said upon sovereignty in relation to the European movement. There is no man alive who is more jealous of, and more vigilant for, the sovereignty of this country than he, and no man has done more to preserve it. Your Lordships must allow me this quotation. Speaking at the Congress of Europe, held at The Hague in 1948 in the early days of this European movement, he said: It is impossible to separate economics and defence from general political structure. Mutual aid in the economic field and joint military defence must inevitably be accompanied step by step with a parallel policy of political union. It is said with truth that this involves some sacrifice or merger of national sovereignty. But it is also possible to regard it as the gradual assumption by all the nations concerned of that larger sovereignty which can alone protect their diverse and distinctive customs and traditions, all of which under totalitarian systems, whether Nazi, Fascist or Communist, would be blotted out for ever. Such is the opinion of Sir Winston Churchill.

My Lords. I sincerely hope that the Government will not be deterred by newspaper clamour on this point, and that once they consider that a satisfactory economic bargain has been made they will launch a strong campaign for the purpose of convincing the country that, in the long run, the economic, and eventually political, advantages of joining the European Economic Community are so great that it would be an act of folly to reject them.

5.3 p.m.


My Lords, the noble and learned Lord who has just resumed his seat formerly sat upon the Cross Benches, and understandably, in view of the eminent legal and judicial positions he held in various international authorities. He is now free from those responsibilities and has decided to sit on the Liberal Benches. So this may be regarded as his maiden speech in this House from the Liberal Benches. T should like to congratulate him on the confidence, the ability and the relevance of the speech which he has made, with the general run of which I find myself in agreement. I am to be followed by my old friend Lord Mills. I should like to say to him that all of us feel some degree of sorrow that he has departed from Her Majesty's Government, and T should like to express our appreciation for the courtesy with which he always treated us who sit on these Benches, as well as others, and for the great patience and painstaking way in which he replied to arguments on legislation or questions which arose from the House. I trust that he will have a happy and not wholly unoccupied future in life. Anyway, it will be nice to have him following me.

May I say at the beginning that I am afraid I shall, as my noble Leader in this House knows, differ somewhat from the views he has expressed? But he will know that if I differ from him it will be with sincere regret. I have the highest respect and regard for Lord Alexander of Hillsborough. He made an able and, I know, conscientious speech from the points of view which he sincerely and deeply holds about this matter, and if I differ from him he will know that it will not be out of any pleasure but because I think it my conscientious duty so to do. In fact we are all, I presume, in both Houses of Parliament, bound to be in somewhat of a mess about this question, for there are on this matter many differences of opinion in the Conservative Party, and perhaps a few more differences of opinion in the Labour Party. That is a pity, because unity in both Parties on big issues is desirable from the point of view of the management of Parliament. But on this question it cannot be helped, perhaps in the nature of the question, because it is a big matter, involving the future of our country, of Europe and of the British Commonwealth of nations, all of which are very important indeed.

At this moment the Lord Privy Seal is negotiating. There was talk the other day about deadlock; that may be partially true. I hope it is not true. I want to see the negotiations succeed. But I must say that, as it has worked out, it is a pity, in a sense, that this debate takes place at this particular time. It is not a good situation that, when the Lord Privy Seal is negotiating, apparently on a sticky wicket, under some difficulty, Parliament should be debating the matter. But if all of us, in both Houses, can exercise a reasonable restraint, perhaps it will not do much harm. Then I think it is a pity that this and the other House of Parliament are debating this issue on the same day, because one or other House is not going to get reported adequately, and I think probably it will be us. That is unfortunate. But these are manifestations of not too successful Parliamentary management.

I do not know how much time the Leader of the other House spends in that capacity, and how much time he spends on our pay roll as Chairman of the Conservative Party organisation. I thought at the begining that he would make a good Leader of another place, but I am beginning to think he is not a successful Leader, and that this is one sign of not very good Parliamentary management. But I think my noble Leader was right yesterday, this matter having got so far, to resist the understandable request or suggestion of the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, that perhaps it was unfortunate that we were having a debate at this time, and could not something be done about it. I do not in any way criticise Lord Swinton for having put the point; but neither do I in any way criticise my noble Leader for having resisted it, because it had got so far and he has been so involved in the discussions leading up to the debate, that I am afraid it was too late to do anything else. Nevertheless, the Government must shoulder responsibility for having got themselves and Parliament into a somewhat difficult situation.

The two Parties are in some difficulty. There are differences of opinion in the Conservative Party—quite a number against "he Common Market so far. I dare say they will see the light "he Government holds out to them before "he decisive Division takes place in Parliament. And there are a lot of my people—I do not know who has the majority at the moment—who are divided about this issue. I think this could have been avoided if the leadership of "he Labour Party had faced the issue on a reasonable basis earlier and had said, "We are for negotiations, but reserve our right to agree or to disagree with the results of the negotiations when completed ". That, I think, would have been wise and I think it would have been carried.

But, when thinking of all the inhibitions with which we have tied ourselves up, in italics, let it be remembered that the Government have done exactly the same; and those, including my noble friend, who criticise the Government on "he ground "hat they may not be living up to the cast-iron promises they made about British agriculture, the Commonwealth and EFTA, may prove to have a genuine grievance against the Government on that point. It just shows that in politics it is desirable to control the end of things. We cannot do so in inter-national negotiations. I wish we could, because it would be better for the world if the British could control the end of international negotiations; but we cannot. That is what makes the Foreign Office different from any other State Department: you are partly at the mercy of the other side and you cannot control events, as you can in domestic State Departments. In those circumstances it is most foolish for a Government to tie itself up in italics so that it has no room for manævre in the international field; or else, when it has bent its "alias back into Romans, it has no room for manœuvre in the Parliamentary field. That is the fault of the Government in this matter. I say these words only in the hope that they may be helpful to Ministers of all Parties in the future—but I doubt it.

My Lords, the negotiations are going on, and I should like to make a very sincere appeal to the Governments, the nationals and the political Parties of the Six European countries to understand the real problems and difficulties with Which the British are faced in these negotiations. Our European friends can approach these negotiations either in the spirit of "The British want special flavours; they are unreasonable; they want it all ways "; or in the spirit of, "Will, we understand British difficulties, real difficulties, real problems, problems of their own agriculture "—the history of which they either know, or can easily find out—"as well as their real problems about the Commonwealth and the EFTA countries."

I want this thing to succeed, so long as the conditions are reasonable. I believe that in principle it is right, but I would urge upon the European countries, upon their Governments and their political Parties to make a real effort Which I am sure they have done, at any rate in part, to understand our particular British problems and to so try to shape "he negotiations that it will be relatively easy for the British to go into the Market—Which I would wish the British to do. I make that appeal very sincerely, and out of a feeling of deep regard and respect for the nationals and the countries of the Six, towards all of whom I feel a friendship, as I am sure we all wish to do. So I hops they will try to help Her Majesty's Government to reach an agreement with them in the common interests of Western Europe, and, in the end, in the interests of the world, and, I should hope, of the Commonwealth as well.

My Lords, I admit that I approach this subject in the spirit of a Socialist, but I am not suggesting to your Lordships opposite that you are bound to do the same—in fact, I do not want to do any harm. I believe in the brotherhood of man, the Parliament of the world, sooner or later, when we can get a decent Parliament of the world, which we cannot yet get. I believe in international co-operation, and I believe in a reasonable limitation of national sovereignty which can be helpful to the common good. Therefore, as a Socialist, it does not seem to me that I can easily be opposed in principle to this idea of the Common Market. But I do not want to prejudice noble Lords opposite, and they must find their own reasons of principle for reaching this same conclusion—which I have no doubt they will, and if they want any help I shall be glad to give it to them. I believe ultimately in World Government, but I do not believe it is practicable at this stage, because there is the difficulty of the Communist and non-Communist world, and we cannot run risks of Communists getting on top: our liberty is too precious. But, in principle, at the end of the day, it is right—though when it will come I do not know.

Being in favour of a World Government, I do not see how I can oppose the Common Market and European cooperation, which is a big step on the way. If I am going to be sticky about national sovereignty to an excessive degree in Europe, however am I going to get on when we come to questions of national sovereignty in the light of possible World Government? Therefore, it seems to me that it would be quite inconsistent if one were to adopt that attitude.

The other point of criticism of the Government which I would make—and I do not want to "lay it on too thick" in this debate—is that the Government seem to have an extraordinary inability to explain themselves. This is not an easy subject to understand. I am an experienced politician and I have had something to do with economic administration in Government, but it took me quite a time to understand the merits of the Common Market controversy. In the end, I came down in principle in favour of it. But if that be the case with me, as it has been with many another experienced politician with whom I have talked, how much more difficult is it for the man and woman in the street to understand the complexities of this problem. If that be so, and I think it is, it is an elementary duty on the part of Ministers, patiently, with courtesy and friendliness, to explain what it is all about and what it all means—and in simple terms, as my noble friend reminds me. But can anybody say that the Government have adequately fulfilled this task? Therefore, if they are in some trouble about it, it is largely their own fault.

Certain newspapers, rightly exercising their freedom, have opposed our entry hot and strong; so have the politicians who have been against it. Is it to be wondered at that the people of our country even now do not follow the matter entirely, although excellent impartial articles on it have appeared, either in the Daily Telegraph, on the one hand, or in our excellent Daily Herald, on the other. One of my noble friends is not so sure about "impartial". I thought they were impartial.

There is one question I should like to ask, and I would particularly direct this to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. Sometimes when treaties are agreed to by a country, and possibly signed subject to Parliamentary challenge or ratification, that is the end of it. I hope that the Lord Chancellor will be able to advise us, or the Leader of the House now, if he likes, that this will be the subject of legislation. This is too complex and difficult a matter merely to be dealt with on the basis of a Treaty and the "Yes" or "No" of a Parliamentary institution.


My Lords, if it would help the noble Lord, he is certainly right about that. It is unthinkable that this thing could be effected without legislation in some form or another.


My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Viscount the Leader of the House. I thought that that would probably be his answer, and I am glad that that was so, because this is too big, complicated and serious a matter to be dealt with merely by the "Ayes" and the "Noes", or the "Contents" and the "Not-Contents", on the ratification of a treaty.

My Lords, I first came to a conclusion in principle about this before the question was put, on my first visit to the United States of America in 1936. I have been there eight times since, so that makes nine in all, but others have been more frequently. I thought to myself: Here are 49 States, theoretically supreme States, subject to the powers of the Federal Government in Washington. Suppose these were really full-fledged independent States. Suppose they all had protective tariffs against one another. Suppose, still worse, they had armies (they could not very well all have had navies, but they could have had air forces) against each other. Then I said to myself: "Would the United States be as prosperous as it is, if there were tariff barriers between each of those 49 States? "That seems to me to be the most simple illustration that we can have, showing that in principle the Common Market in Europe—if we get over the difficulties, and we must reserve judgment about all the difficulties—is right.

Last night I saw on the B.B.C. a very fine C.B.S. film on Europe called The Barriers Come Down. It was a first-class piece of work, except that when the makers of the film came to find a British politician to express the British point of view, they chose my Right-Wing friend Dick Crossman—'and I say, "right-wing" deliberately. He put his point of view, but they really ought to get somebody else, with a more progressive point of view than Dick Crossman, to put the other point of view. However, they did not mean any harm: this was just a little bit of American misjudgment that does happen. If a British citizen has gone to the fore in attacking the United States (I am not sure that Dick Crossman has, but I suspect he has; it will be a wonder if he has not), then he will get preferential treatment in the United States over any steady friend of the United States. This is one of the charming characteristics of the United States of America, of which country and of whose people I am very fond.

But, subject to that reservation, which does not matter, they took a big commercial lorry, one of the Minister of Transport's too-big commercial lorries. They started it from the city of Manchester with some important goods which were going to Milan, in Italy.




I am much obliged to my noble friend for his help. A journey of the same length would have taken two days in the United States. The lorry starts at Manchester, it gets to the Port of London where our Customs people have to look at the papers and keep a record. It gets through and in due course it gets on to a ship and goes to——


Milan, Italy.


No. It got to Belgium, where the Customs people set about it, and there were papers and delay. It got through to Luxembourg, because (I think it was said) there is a Customs Union between Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. There was some delay. One stop meant that they had to stay all night, because the Customs "boys" had gone off, after their eight-hour shift, and were not on until the next morning. The lorry crew then went to France, and the French Customs had a good time, as noble Lords will remember they can have from time to time. So they were held up there. They then had to go to Germany and were held up there. There was a reason for its being a roundabout journey: the lorry men were trying to dodge somebody. I think it went to Austria, and then finished up in Italy, with delays all along the route. As a result this journey, which in the United States, without tariffs, would have taken about two days, took somewhere near ten days. My Lords, that means a shocking addition to the cost of transportation of the goods from Manchester, and a shocking addition by all these Customs duties that have been imposed on the way, and so on. Therefore, if we are to be competitors in the European Market it is not in our interest that we should be held up in this way by that method of doing business. I think that television film was very impressive, indeed.

I think, also, that the common Market has something to do with peace. I am sure that the Communist countries think it has something to do with peace. It is interesting how the Communist countries oppose the Common Market, though they have something of the same sort behind the Iron Curtain. What is their motive? They are afraid that Western Europe may become economically stronger. They were taught by Stalin that military strength depends upon economic strength, and that is why the Communist Powers are opposing our entry into the Common Market, though they have something like a Common Market themselves. But I think this Common Market of 200 or 250 million people—bigger than the population of the United States or the Soviet Union—means a greater possibility of economic expansion on the part of those European countries and ourselves, if we can go into it. I think that is to the good—both economically and from the point of view of potential military strength. Indeed, I should like to see it extended to the NATO area, to include North America.

Now we come to the Commonwealth problem, the solution of which is not clear at the moment. I recall that my noble Leader has talked about the value of the Commonwealth in our struggle in 1940 and the succeeding years. He and I were members of the War Government, and we know what it meant. I do not want the Commonwealth to be upset, and I want us to do all we can to enable friendly economic relations with the Commonwealth to continue. But having said that with great sincerity, especially in relation to New Zealand which is in a dangerous position under all this, I would go on to say that we are entitled to our own Dominion status, and that the Commonwealth countries themselves erect tariffs against us. We understand their reasons, and we do not complain about it.

India, a country which I visited last year, and where the people were most kind to my wife and myself, has recently been discussing with the Soviet Union the supply of Mig, military aircraft from the Soviet Union to India, which, from the point of view of international defence and foreign policy, is a little embarrassing, quite apart from British economic interests, But Mr. Nehru said: "This is our business, and do not let anybody else interfere ". I am not complaining that Mr. Nehru should say that. He has a right to say it. Nevertheless, if the British, in going into the Common Market, are in part actuated by the furtherance of British interests and the promotion of British prosperity (which I do not think can be a bad thing for the Commonwealth in itself), then I do not think the Commonwealth countries ought to be rough with us. We shall, of course, do our best to protect Commonwealth interests. We all want to maintain the Commonwealth. We all believe in it, and I hope, at any rate, that it can be done. Nevertheless, the situation of the Commonwealth under an agreement is bound to be a consideration.

In addition to the Russians, there are the Communist Party of Great Britain and some other people fairly near to them in political philosophy—those who have not been notorious for their British patriotism or for their love of the British; who have not frequently said that the British are right and the foreigners are wrong, but usually that the foreigners are right and the British are wrong. Some of these "jokers" have suddenly become extraordinary Commonwealth patriots, and I do not recognise them in their new guise. I do not understand it. Really, there is an element of terrible humbug about this. If there is anybody who does not care tuppence about the British Commonwealth and who hates it, it is any Communist Party throughout the world, or in any part of the Commonwealth. So their sudden Commonwealth patriotism is not impressive. Others, however, including my noble friend the Leader of the Opposition, are absolutely genuine about the Commonwealth—as, indeed, is the great bulk of the political Party to which we have the honour to belong. I do not know that entering the Common Market necessarily involves an abandonment of the Commonwealth, and I think we must do all we can to see that it does not. But, if it does, then Parliament must face that issue and come to a decision in the light of it and taking full account of it. We must do our best for all of them, I quite agree.

My Lords, naturally, it would be right for the Opposition—and, indeed, for the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party—to reserve their decision until the end. I think that when the negotiations are concluded, or are substantially concluded, the Government would be wise to publish a comprehensive White Paper summarising the discussions, setting out the conclusions and, I would hope, honestly facing the pros and cons of the conclusions which have been reached. That is important. And let them, for goodness sake!, frame it in popular language; or, if they cannot do that (which I am beginning to suspect), then let them hand the White Paper over to the Central Office of Information and tell them to turn it into faithful, popular language, which I am sure that admirable institution could do.

The European Socialists themselves should play a part an all this: indeed, they are in favour of the Common Market. It is the most curious thing: it is the British Labour Party which is divided about it. But it is a bit "sticky". These men and women in Europe, the Socialists, suffered invasion and they suffered under the Gestapo. For all our bombs—which were bad enough—they had a rougher time than we did. Nevertheless, these European Socialists favour, in principle, the Common Market, and they cannot understand the British—but there is nothing new about that. They favoured NATO at first—at any rate, they started by supporting the European Defence Committee, although the French, who were leaders in that, did some backsliding about it before we ultimately got the thing fixed up. But it is not for us, as an enlightened and progressive country, to be more "sticky" about it than the Europeans, who suffered a very great deal.

There are, of course, some inhibitions about it. Some people (I do not know why, though if I were a German Socialist I might feel the same) cannot stand Dr. Adenauer. I do not care for him as a politician: he is a Conservative. He calls himself something else, but that does not prevent him from being a Conservative—and he is. But, on the whole, he has been a good European. He is not a bad friend of our country, and he was not an ally of the Nazi Party. I do not understand this prejudice, some of which I think is rather mean and childish: for instance, to mention the name of Adenauer with a sneer and say that you cannot have anything to do with it. Now de Gaulle, I find it more difficult to be fond of. It is not that I am very fond of Adenauer, but I respect him. But de Gaulle is like a Scots Covenanter. He is not typically French. Indeed, I understand that his great-grandmother or grandmother was a Scots Covenanter herself. He is an able man, but he is awkward with the British, difficult with the British, and I think that is a pity. However, he rescued France from Parliamentary chaos—by dictatorial methods, admittedly, which I do not like; but I must say that the French Parliamentarians had been asking for it for some time. I should hope that de Gaulle, who was here in the war (perhaps that is the trouble; I do not know) would become more friendly to the British point of view m all these matters, and as helpful as he can. But these are not reasons for disagreeing with the Common Market. They are too personal, and go above these matters.

My Lords, I must refer to the political side of the Common Market, and here again I make an appeal to the Europeans to try to understand British hesitancy on the question of a political, Federal Europe on the lines of the United States of America. The trouble between us is that the Continentals, as I found in the Council of Europe, will accept the principle of a big idea and will say, "We accept it ". Then, months or years afterwards, when it comes to the particular application of that idea, they wild say "No" on particular points; and they sincerely do not realise that they are going back on the acceptance of the idea. It is no good being rude to them; they just do not realise it. The British, on the other hand, say, "We do not reject the ultimate big idea, but we prefer to go to it by experiment—this problem, (hat problem, the other problem. It may lead to the big idea, but it may not; we do not know. We think we should be a little dishonest if we swallowed the whole thing before we could see daylight through experiment in these things ".

So on the political side, there is that gulf. From the point of view of the United States of America, it was quite right; but we in Europe are separate nations; we have separate political mentalities; we have different opinions, and in a number of ways we have different political philosophies. The best course, if the Europeans will agree, would be to try it out step by step, through the cooperation of Governments rather than a Federal State with a Federal Parliament. It will be quicker for them, in the long run, and easier for us. I hope very much that it may be possible for our European friends to see that point.

My Lords, our prosperity largely depends upon the right decision in this matter. What is happening now? A number of British manufacturing or productive concerns of one sort or another are setting up factories in the Common Market area of Europe because of the common external tariff designed to be possibly injurious to anybody who either will not or cannot enter the Common Market. That will continue if we are not in the Market. There will be an increasing export of British productive energy, British factories and British economy to the Continent of Europe, in order that they can make money there because they are not making enough here—or, at any rate, because they cannot make it here consistently with exporting into the Common Market area. These are very serious things for our people.

There are, I agree, some disadvantages, or possible disadvantages. This Common Market area, with a population of between 200 and 250 million, will be a big market to go for and to get, so far as possible, even if it is not possible to get the whole of it. But it will be a highly competitive market, my Lords, and there will be some disadvantages to British industry in meeting that Continental competition on completely equal terms. I am sorry about that; but, on the whole, I am inclined to think that a little competition may shake the British capitalists up in directions in which it is desirable they should be shaken up—and all of us, all sections of society, will have to shake ourselves up if we are to survive in that international competition. So, although it will be a nuisance, it is not entirely an unmixed blessing. We must do our best and get the best terms that we can for our agriculture, EFTA and the Commonwealth; and I reserve judgment, as all my noble friends do, till the end of the day, when we know in fair detail what the proposition really is. But that does not prevent my feeling that, if it be practicable, in principle it is right that the British should go into the Common Market.

5.41 p.m.


My Lords, I am indeed grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, for the graceful and generous way in which he brought myself to the notice of your Lordships, and I should like to add that I have had the privilege of listening to a speech which should help our negotiators in Brussels in the way they would like to be helped. I am not sure that it is entirely wise for one who has just left Her Majesty's Government to speak so soon on matters of high importance, particularly when legitimate and honest opinion is so divided on the question of these negotiations in Brussels. Nevertheless, I decided to say a few words on the subject, because after very careful consideration extending over a long period of time I can do no other than to wish that our negotiators in Brussels will be entirely successful and that in the end the Government will be able to come to Parliament with a plan which provides as well all the safeguards for the Commonwealth, the connection with which we all prize so highly.

I must confess than when I first heard of the Common Market proposals—and that was long before the Treaty of Rome was finalised—I was full of doubts and apprehensions. I myself have traded and manufactured for a great many years on the Continent of Europe. I asked myself, was this not what Napoleon had tried to do? Surely it could not now be achieved without our co-operation, without our participation. Why should we try to take any part in it? We could recover our former position and our strength. But I had forgotten that the state of the world had fundamentally altered since the war. As Winston Churchill once put it, We live in a period happily unique in human history when the whole world is divided intellectually and to a great extent geographically between the creeds of Communist discipline and individual freedom. Faced with this situation, the six nations in Europe now comprised in the European Economic Community saw the need for closer political and economic cooperation, and so there came into being the Treaty of Rome. It was this great change which had overtaken the world, this great division in the world Which had appeared, which compelled me to look at what was happening in Europe in quite a different light. Our main preoccupations are now clearly seen. Perhaps I could enumerate them: how to ensure our security; how to increase our prosperity; and how to maintain our influence in world affairs. I suggest that our relationship with Europe must be a great factor in the answer to these questions.

First of all, security. We can no longer defend ourselves alone; nor could any other country. Interdependence is essential to our survival, and I am sure that the Atlantic Alliance must remain the cornerstone of our foreign policy. As the political integration of the European Community develops they will surely develop also their point of view on defence matters. If we join, our influence will be very important on this development. We must ensure that a united Europe strengthens the West as a whole. If we join the European Community we will be much more equal partners with the United States, and I believe the United States would welcome this development. I think it will strengthen the stability of the Free World.

Then there is the question of increasing our prosperity. Our prosperity surely depends on trade, and trade is expanding much more rapidly in the highly industrialised countries of the world. The removal of barriers, which the Common Market is out to secure, should stimulate trade and will have, in my view, an important psychological effect on industry. The availability of a vast home market of some 240 million people is a challenge and an opportunity, and it is a challenge which I feel that our industrialists will gladly accept. But to Britain what is also important is their trading connection with the rest of the world. We must have trading connections with the food-growing countries and with the countries which produce our natural raw materials. The Community with Britain as a partner will be much more dependent on foreign trade than it is to-day, and together we can solve the problem of providing markets for the goods of the developing countries and thus help them too along the road to prosperity. If we can solve the problem of Commonwealth trade and thus make it possible to join the Community, we should have accomplished a major step towards solving the problem of dealing with third parties.

Then I mentioned the question of our influence in international affairs. This depends upon our experience, which is great; upon our democratic institutions, which are sound; and on our close trading relations with other countries, which have been developed for so many years. None of these sources of our strength can be lost or weakened by our joining the Common Market. I believe that we would have a great influence on our Continental partners. The opponents of our entry into the Common Market cannot have it both ways. They say that we would be devoid of influence, that we would be dominated by the Continent. How can they expect us to retain any influence in the world at all, if the Community becomes a major force without us?

I do not underrate the difficulties. Of course, there are difficulties. It is not easy to solve the complicated economic issues raised by our application to join the Community. But at the same time we should not allow ourselves to overestimate them. We have much in common with the Six in our attitude to world affairs and I think that the Commonwealth issue must also be faced in its politic aspect. My noble friend the Foreign Secretary, in his speech to us this afternoon, referred to the fact that the Commonwealth was an outward-looking and not an inward-looking organisation and that they, too, needed to develop their trade with the world and were going about that particular task with efficiency. But Britain's entry into the Common Market cannot loosen the basic ties which bind the Commonwealth, always assuming—and we are pledged to this—that we do not let the Commonwealth down.

Then, there is the question of sovereignty, which worries some people. As my noble friend the Foreign Secretary said, the loss of sovereignty must be judged by whether there is a compensating gain, and I thought that my noble friend Lord Morrison of Lambeth dealt with that subject very adequately. Surely the Rome Treaty is an opportunity to combine with other like-minded countries in seeking common solutions to common problems. Interdependence does not apply to defence alone. It also applies to foreign affairs and to economics as well. It is tempting to be obsessed with the technical difficulties. We should keep in mind the picture of a co-operative and harmonious Western Europe, working with the Commonwealth and with the other members of a Free World. And I can do nothing better than to hope that our negotiators will have the success they deserve. Then, when they come to Parliament, we should be well satisfied.

5.54 p.m.


My Lords, those of us (and I may say that they included quite a number of noble Lords on both sides, or perhaps I might say on all sides, of this House) who proposed in May, 1961, that the Government would be well advised to accept the institutions and the political implications of the Treaty of Rome—in other words, to apply for membership and thereafter to negotiate their way in by obtaining some satisfaction as regards home agriculture, the interests of our EFTA partners and Commonwealth trade—I repeat, those of us who took that initiative never suggested that we should sign the Treaty of Rome unless we secured such satisfaction. Nor do we propose that now. We did not say, either, that the path of negotiations would be at all easy; still less that success would be assured. We do not think so now. But what we did believe was that to make every effort to join the Six on anything like reasonable terms was by far the best way, not only of overcoming our own periodic economic ills and crises, but also of ensuring the maintenance in being of the Commonwealth and, indeed, of ensuring the peace of the world. And this we still firmly believe.

If, for some reason—improbable but still possible—the present negotiations were to break down, then it would shortly be evident to all that our present economic foreign—political and, indeed, defence policies will have to be reviewed in the light of some inescapable, though not entirely palatable, decisions, such as (and I make no bones about this) whether we could continue to meet the cost across the exchanges of the maintenance of our troops in Germany. No doubt we should get along somehow. Certainly there would not be any immediate disaster as some people say. The danger, frankly, would be a slow decline. Only a really galvanic effort, involving the scrapping of a great number of age-old customs and traditions, and no doubt the temporary acceptance of a lower standard of living, could put us firmly on our feet. And it is highly doubtful, I think, whether such an effort, in a democracy like ours, would be practical politics, anyway in time of peace. I need scarcely add that in the regrettable event of a failure of the negotiations very grave dangers would then confront the Six as well.

Speaking in your Lordships' House on February 9, 1961, I said (I hope that your Lordships will not mind if I repeat this) that there were, broadly, speaking, three possible ways in which this nation might develop in freedom. The first was to go on more or less as we were developing our Commonwealth system in accord with EFTA, in special relationship with America, financing by ourselves alone our Commonwealth system, our Welfare State and our independent deterrent, as well as a considerable number of under-developed countries, always trying at the same time, to fix up, if we could, some kind of free-trade area relationship with Europe. In Other words, it was the famous doctrine on the three overlapping circles—the classic doctrine, if you like to put it in that way. Secondly, we could get ever closer to the United States and work in the direction of some form of Atlantic Union, and perhaps end up with some kind of merger of the United Kingdom and the United States. Thirdly, we could join some eventual European or Western European Association on an equal footing with France, Germany and Italy, and with full respect for the interests of the smaller European nations. Short of, fourthly, being taken over by the Soviet Union, I could see no alternative future for these Islands.

That is the gist of what I said then, and I added that, rightly or wrongly, we were in a historic period in which larger industrialised States could pay their way only if they were based on, or associated with, some vast internal market—a point very well emphasised, if I may respectfully say so, by the Foreign Secretary again this afternoon. Later in my speech, I argued, basing myself on arguments which I shall not repeat, that the first solution—that of the three circles—was not possible in present conditions; that the third solution, joining Europe, was the best; and that the second solution, that is to say, Atlantic union, was, unfortunately, the most likely. It may well have been that I was too pessimistic in saying that, but that is what I said.

If we may judge from the apparently growing and ever more vociferous opposition to the present pursuit by Her Majesty's Government of the third policy—that is to say, joining Europe—which has been stirred up by those escapists who live in the past and refuse to face the facts of the modern world, quite a number of the people of this country are now being misled. The noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, says he does not believe that, but I think it is true. They are being misled into thinking that; the first policy of the three circles is possible, when in fact it is not. It might be possible, of course, if a Commonwealth machine could be created which would transform the Commonwealth from a fraternal association into a World Power; but that is really a grotesque delusion. Nothing can alter the fact that the Commonwealth is a collection of totally independent States who are bound together by a strong sentiment, on the one hand, and, on the other, by a system of exchanges based on preferences, which, as we all know, owing to the increasing industrialisation of the ex-Dominions, are in process of being demobilised, whether we go into European Economic Community or whether we do not. That is, I am afraid, a fact.


My Lords, I hope my noble friend will forgive me for interrupting. But because this is very important I should like to ask him a question. Surely he does not think that the achievement of a measure of Western European Union rules out the ultimate possibility of a wider measure of Atlantic Union—because that seems to be the impression.


Of course I was not suggesting anything of the kind. I imagine that, if given the chance, this Western European Union will be much, the best way of laying the foundation of a wider Union which, though it could not exactly embrace America for a very long time, could act in close association with her—in fact, the only foundation for the famous Atlantic Community which we all desire to bring about.

On the question of whether the Commonwealth is a Unity or not, an allusion to which has already been made by the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, the fact is that the Indians, for instance, propose to equip their air force from the Soviet Union; that Canada has absolutely no hesitation in putting restrictions on the import of our motor cars as soon as she thinks things are not going too well for her, and so on. Nobody blames the Commonwealth countries in the least for doing these things. We really must recognise things for what they are and not entertain any illusions on this matter.

The real hope, as I see it, for the future development of the Commonwealth—and, here I agree entirely with What has bean said: that it is essential to preserve it as a buffer against Communism and as an niter-racial body based essentially on freedom—is to associate it in a general way not solely with the United Kingdom, but also with the immense economic and cultural factor of some Western European Association of which our country would be a leading and quite possibly the leading member. And that, of course, is the main object of the critical negotiations which are now going on in Brussels. So far as I can judge, much good progress has already been made in Brussels on home agriculture. As has been said to-day, the Six have already made certain concessions to our point of view, and they may well make more.

On raw material exports to the European Economic Community from Commonwealth countries—and, of course, 90 per cent. of these raw materials come into the Community free—some additional zero tariffs have been fixed, and we may hope with some confidence that others will be fixed during the negotiations. On exports from low-wage countries, such as India, Pakistan and Hong Kong, the Six have, as it seems, been very reasonable; and that is a very good thing. It is an extremely important matter. Nobody thinks that the problem of the association of the Commonwealth countries which produce tropical goods will really result in any very grave difficulty. We have made our own contribution as regards the gradual abolition of preferences on imports of industrial goods from the Commonwealth. The Ceylonese, we are told, have acquired tea and sympathy, which goes for India, too. There is no real reason to suppose that the articles of association for those EFTA countries Who for political reasons cannot join the Community cannot be worked out, though it must be admitted that there is a difficulty which has not yet been faced. But before the main decision of principle can be taken by Her Majesty's Government there is one last outstanding hurdle, which is to secure assurances for the continued importation into this country, and hence into the Community, if we join, of substantial quantities of temperate zone foodstuffs, whether from the Commonwealth, from the United States, or from South America.

We do not know exactly—at least I do not—what the formula is to which the Lord Privy Seal has presumably been trying to get his colleagues of the Six to subscribe, and therefore we are all largely in the dark. I rather agree with the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, that it would perhaps have been better if we could have had this debate when Mr. Heath was in a position to make a real report. But if the rather full reports in the newspapers are any guide—and quite often they are—it is, after all, possible to take stock of the present position to some extent. One of the first things one notices is that even in the sphere of temperate zones foodstuffs the real difficulties have been narrowed down to very few. Hard Wheat from Canada, for instance, we are told, will probably come in to the enlarged Community, even if there is some small tariff against it, because it represents something which cannot be produced in Europe. Mutton and lamb from New Zealand will equally be largely irreplaceable; and for these products, too, certain alternative markets will exist in ten years' time, notably in Japan.

What is really at risk presumably, so far as the Commonwealth is concerned, is New Zealand and Australian dairy products and Australian soft wheat, and I suppose, to some extent, beef as well. And what goes in respect of Australia, obviously goes in practice for the United States and Argentina, too. It is on our opinion whether the policy of the Community will be such as to facilitate the imports of these commodities from those countries in, broadly speaking, similar quantities to those exported now, and on the prospects for world agreements governing the disposal of the surpluses which those commodities represent, that our final judgment must rest. Our doubts, apparently, are chiefly Whether the Six will not insist on the maintenance of a price level for these products in Europe that will result in the Community being largely self-contained and hence, obviously, in grave distress to the outside countries producing these commodities, and notably the ones I have already mentioned.

May I just say, at this point, that I feel sure that there will be no question of actually nailing colours to the mast of one side or the other during the next few days. I was very glad to hear the Foreign Secretary say that such words as "crisis", and even "deadlock", were quite inappropriate at the present moment. A period of reflection would clearly do no harm, and there are, after all, other procedures which have not as yet been tried, such as meetings at an even higher level. All the more so since it is, I think, possible that the negotiators on both sides may have arrived at a temporary impasse through concentrating too much on questions of principle. The last thing that anyone, least of all myself, would wish to do would be to prejudice the position of our splendid team, who are obviously sticking out for something which they believe to be immensely important, as indeed it is. But perhaps in this connection I might make some observations of a more practical nature.

Whatever declaration of intention the Six may be induced to make—and I quite agree that they must make a really valid declaration of intention, notably as regards the level of internal agricultural prices—they cannot absolutely guarantee What is going to happen to temperate zone foodstuffs imparted into Europe eight years from now, after the Community has been finally established at the end of the temporary period. It is just not possible for anybody to give hard and fast guarantees on that subject. Also we have to reflect, surely, that important as this is, it is not only a question of the Six declaring that they will both in principle and practice be liberal, as the saying goes, as regards imports from outside the Community and hence as regards world trade generally; it is the enlarged Community when it is formed, with our participation, and, presumably, that of the Norwegians, the Danes, the Irish and Icelanders, which will have to decide whether the policy is liberal rather than illiberal. Internal agricultural prices, after all, wild be part and parcel of the common agricultural policy to which we are committed in principle if we should ever sign the Treaty of Rome.

But this common agricultural policy, so far as we are concerned, will in practice simply have to take into consideration the major and essential needs of such countries as Australia and New Zealand. We could not, we would not, willingly agree to this common agricultural policy unless it did. And this is the point. It is extremely unlikely that we should actually be forced into agreeing to a common agricultural policy against our will—that is to say, of course, if the revised voting formula in the Community is going to be broadly analogous to the present voting formula, whereby a country such as Germany, for instance, can prevent any policy, other than that actually connected with the establishment of the Common Tariffs, being adopted if it is opposed and has the support of only one other smaller country.


My Lords, perhaps I may interrupt the noble Lord. He has obviously studied this. It is all mixed up together. But let us take British agriculture. If I understood correctly the Answer of Mr. Soames on July 25 in the other House, in reply to a Question by Mr. Turton, it was this: there is to be a review of prices. We shall be allowed to have a review of prices in our country. There is no compulsion on any other constituent country to have a review, but there is to be a review of the community as a whole for certain, and then what? He says, of course, "You will be able to speak through your Government," but when it comes to making a decision of the Commission on the Community review of prices, then the British farmer has to go over and meet this foreign community to decide his fate in this country, how he stands. I think that is an abortion.


Why should he not? I do not think it is such a terrible thing to go to Brussels and to meet a body of community officials on which no doubt there will be somebody who will be an old friend from the Ministry of Agriculture. He will know him very well and he will discuss these things with him as frankly as in his own country. I cannot see that it is terrible.


And then the decision of the Commission counts against the British farmer in this country


So it should.


The point is that the Commission arrive at a decision by majority, but they are supposed to be impartial people, and I think they are, and they regard it from the Community point of view; but when they have made a recommendation it goes to the Ministers and they have to decide by a constitutional majority, and the majority at the moment has to be very large.

I am going to develop this point a little further, if I may, because I think it is important. I said that it is extremely unlikely in practice that we should be actually forced into agreeing to a common agricultural policy against our will. I say it is unlikely in practice if the formula is what it is now. In other words, it seems to me that the voting formula is likely to be just as important as the declaration of intention. As I understand it, the negotiators have not as yet got around to discussing the voting formula at all.

With great respect, therefore, I wonder—I only wonder—whether on both sides we are not perhaps tending to exaggerate the horror of the present situation. If we come into the Community it will, in practice—and I repeat in practice—be found that all the major objectives of the Treaty of Rome (which include, as your Lordships know, not only a common agricultural policy, but also a common transport policy, a common social policy and even, no doubt, eventually will include a common fiscal policy) will no doubt have to be arrived at by agreement between the four major partners in this great enterprise. As the new common tariff, the tariff wall, however, is slowly constructed, and as all impediments to trade within the area are abolished—and this, under the Treaty of Rome, cannot be held up except for a brief period—so, as I say, the common interests of the major participants in the Community will become clearer and clearer, and what are essentially compromises will inevitably be arrived at and achieved.

The truth is, I think, that even the most passionate advocates of Commonwealth unity, who maintain, as I understand it (perhaps I am wrong, but this is as I understand it), that all the interests of every Commonwealth country should always have precedence over any of the interests of the United Kingdom, ought to welcome, not oppose but welcome, our presence in a Community, whose policy can be influenced to a great extent in a manner helpful towards them if we are in, whereas we certainly could not exercise such influence if we stayed out. Nobody can possibly say what the exact position will be in 1970 as regards the whole world production and distribution of temperate zone foodstuffs. But if I had to bet on anything I should bet on our ability to see to it, for instance, that New Zealand and Australian producers of dairy products and soft wheat are not, by one means or another, put out of business. Of course we must get a declaration from the Six which will at least give proof of good intentions in this regard; we must get a firm declaration. But, equally, we should not underestimate our own ability to see to it by our own action within the Community itself that our own blood brothers are not put at any serious disadvantage.


My Lords, may I just ask the noble Lord this? I am sure he will be interested. He says we have got to see to it. If a Labour Government come in and we want to make long-term contracts with New Zealand for that purpose, would it be subject to control by the Market?


I should think that is open to doubt—whether we can make long-term contracts; I would not deny that. But what we can probably do toy our own action in the Community is see that the level of prices is not such that it would exclude dairy products and soft wheat from Australia and New Zealand.


My Lords, we have already lessened our relations in general with the Commonwealth by cancelling the long-term contracts the Labour Government used to have, and we have been drifting ever since. If we go back and we want to be able to go into long-term contracts, is this going to stop it?


I do not know; I do not see why the Market itself should not conduct long-term contracts. I am not ail that expert, but I do not see why it should not.

Before I sit down, I would make two other points briefly. The first is that if, for any reason, we cannot get agreement with the Six in broad principle during the next few months, we are quite unlikely ever to get it at all. We shall pass next year, as we all know, into a pre-electoral period in which the issue will become completely confused by other considerations, and when and if an Election is held and another Government installed, whatever its political complexion may be, it will find it very difficult, as a result of the pledges it will have given during the electoral campaign, to accept conditions rejected by Her Majesty's present Government.

The second consideration is allied to this one. It is that there is a gentleman in the wings eagerly awaiting the confusion, the recrimination and the inevitable cracks in the whole Atlantic Alliance which will follow a permanent breakdown in the present Brussels talks. Has name is Nikita Sergeyevitch Khrushchev. He is lying very low now and for very good reasons. For the precipitation of an international crisis would be the one thing likely to rally the West and produce almost instant agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Economic Community. Once he is persuaded that the negotiations have really broken down, however, it is as certain as anything can be that he will renew really heavy pressure on West Berlin, no doubt with some hope of success, because the whole West will obviously be divided. It may be that he also would favour the unification of Europe "from the Atlantic to the Urals", Which disquieted the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition, and rightly so, though I think it all depends on what lines this particular area is unified. But one thing is certain: Mr. Khrushchev will not be able himself to unify Europe from the Urals to County Donegal, which he might otherwise hope to do if, as I say, the West is really divided.

So, as it seems to me—this is my final word—we really must, all Seven of us, in the interests of the entire Western World, think not only in terms of the exact formula governing importations of agricultural goods from the temperate zone eight or nine years from now, when the whole face of the world will be totally different—important though that is—but revert to the first principle, which is that we and the Six, by a process of give and take, have jointly got to agree on the construction of a wider and more coherent Western European Union. And the sooner the better.

6.23 p.m.


My Lords, my first thought at this stage of our negotiations with the European Economic Community is of our debt to those who are presenting the British case. The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, has referred to "our splendid team", and at this moment I would wish, particularly speaking from this Bench, to express the thanks many of us in this country feel to the Lord Privy Seal, and those with him, who are giving such intelligent, dedicated and concentrated service to our country. I have been informed, by one who speaks on these matters with considerable knowledge, that the European Economic Community with respect to its permanent civil service is almost unmatched for sheer idealism rooted in reality. Whatever the immediate outcome of the negotiations may be, I am hopeful that our representatives, together with the representatives of the European Economic civil service, will continue to work together to the advantage of the West.

I would endorse something the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, said when he referred to the inability of the Government to explain themselves in simple terms. I suppose this is an inability that most Governments experience. Yesterday in another place reference was made to a White Paper that was shortly to be published on the subject of the European Economic Community: but I would hope for something rather more popular, something comparable to Britain and the European Community, making good the gaps in this particular document and easily available to the many people who want to see the picture set out in relatively simple terms.

I am glad that the noble and learned Lord Who sits on the Woolsack is tomorrow to make a statement on certain legal aspects consequent upon our entry into the Common Market, and that he is referring to the issue of sovereignty. I apologise that I shall not be able to be present here to-morrow to listen to his speech, but I shall read carefully what he has said. I believe that many of us would welcome a full Government statement on these points: if we join the Common Market, shall we have a written Constitution for the first time? Is there anything in that question in people's minds? Secondly, as many others have already mentioned, to what extent in the Government's view, will the sovereignty of Parliament be curtailed? Here I appreciate What the noble Earl, Lord Home, the Foreign Secretary, said on this subject, and I would again thank him for a most helpful exposition.

Whatever agreement may be made with respect to the Commonwealth, there must be some loss of trade; and reflecting on this, and keeping in mind the immense debt we owe to the Commonwealth for their support in two world wars, I want to ask critics of the Common Market to look ahead and face the issue that noble Lords have already mentioned, that more sharing of trade between European countries is already making for more unity in Europe, and greater unity increases our hopes of peace. If, by joining the Common Market we appreciably reduce the chance of a third world war, is not this a great contribution that we can make, not only to the Commonwealth but to all mankind? Common Market or no, within the next fifteen or so years we are bound to see a different grouping of countries. In this fluid situation must not the primary question be: where can our influence best be excited to increase the common wealth, the common well-being of mankind?

We have long realised that some surrender of sovereignty is the price of peace. The Treaty of Rome clearly visualises the transfer of certain aspects of national sovereignty to a European structure; but the practice of the Six equally clearly shows that the steps in this direction must be worked out so as to preserve the best in each State and spread it to the others. For example, family allowances are high in France, whereas West Germany has the best provision for old age of any country in the would. Every single institution, including the Churches, must be affected by the Common Market. Relatively few people in the Church of England know much about church life on the Continent. In this respect the insularity of our national Church is going to present an emotional difficulty, and we must do more now to prepare to take our part in the cultural life of Europe.

It has been said that the Channel could be bridged without the British Church noticing it. At one time all Europe was treated by the Archbishops as part of the Diocese of London. Now we find more and more nationals coming into London. The vicar of a Central London parish states that the population of his parish is so transitory that those who compile the register of voters reckon upon a total turnover of people in five years. We are seeing in London increasing immigration from Commonwealth and other countries because of the passion for education among all races and nations. We face here an ever more highly educated multi-racial society. This tree has leaves that we recognise fairly easily—for example, loneliness and detachment and a root that is harder to discern. Is it true to say that dissatisfaction with the world as it is, and with human resources as they have shown themselves, can be related to the poverty of spirit that Our Lord commended? Do more educated men now recognise that man cannot live by bread alone? Whether we join the Common Market or not, we must increasingly reckon with Europe.

In 1940 William Temple often spoke about our hopes of a new world, and I heard him say that we must work to reconstitute Europe as a co-operative Commonwealth, and to do this we must become part of a co-operative Commonwealth. Has not the European Economic Community already shown signs that it has this vision? Consider, for example, its aid to under-developed countries as set out in Part IV of the Treaty of Rome. I understand that the leaders of the Six clearly recognise that the European Economic Community must, for its own economic, social and political health, become known as a power which helps others. The receiving countries are also more ready to accept help from Europe than from the United Kingdom alone, especially help in building up their social and political institutions and developing technologies in industry, commerce and agriculture. The fundamental principle upon which this help is being given is that the areas concerned must be assisted to help themselves. My Lords, dependency upon Europe is for technical, cultural, political and capital aid in such forms that the needy areas become independent of Europe, create their own institutions and deal with the rest of the world as equals.

Not very much has been said so far about the views of young people, but they face a future which many of them believe holds little [promise for them at the present. They want more emphasis upon quality, and they long for encouragement to be outward-looking. The Common Market, one would think, should satisfy some of these outward-looking instincts. I am grateful for the thought in a letter in Tuesday's Times that the twentieth century adventure lies in Europe, in refashioning its vitality. Many industrialists are articulate in their support of the Common Market; young people, inarticulate, may need the stimulus of the Common Market more than we know.

My Lords, may I end on a rather different note? In the nineteenth century our Empire rapidly expanded, Christian churches enlarged their commitments and sent missionaries into many lands. We shall never fully understand Why, in one century, the wind of the Spirit kindles into flame the fire, in some particular words of Scripture, so that men become alive to their responsibilities and go into the world and make disciples among all the nations. In the fallowing century it is other words that possess the hearts of Christians, and there is a simultaneous and spontaneous response to Our Lord's prayer for unity—that His people may be one—and the (Ecumenical Movement wins strong support throughout the world. My Lords, I see our entry to the Common Market as related to men's hunger for unity; I see it as a means of developing a unity of purpose Chat could strengthen and stimulate our country and our Commonwealth.

6.32 p.m.


My Lords, the Labour movement has long believed in international co-operation and association with other countries. In the trade union movement we have striven for many, many years for what we cal international trade union unity, and I spent a good many years of my life trying to spread that unity over as wide a field as possible. Indeed, I was the President of the first World Federation of Trade Unions, after some eighteen years as Chairman of the International Federation. We believe strongly in the United Nations, and Would seek to endow that Organisation with a good deal more power than up to this stage it has been able to display. Many of us believe in would government, and I think it can be said, with a great measure of truth, that the driving force behind that conception very largely originated in the ranks of Labour.

As with all aspirations of such a broad character, it is not always easy to take the second step and to see just how the ideals that you have in mind will be attained. I do not think anyone would urge, as a practical possibility, that world government, for example, would come suddenly; that the nations of the world, on some given day or month or something of the kind, would become converted and so want to sacrifice their national sovereignty that they would be ready to take that immense stride. It seems to me logical to expect the approach to the ideals that I have mentioned to come about by smaller groupings, always with the proviso that those groupings are not allowed to develop into what I would call militarily aggressive blocs or even economic blocs.

The British Commonwealth itself is, however loosely constituted, broadly an attempt to bring about a closer association of many different nations, as it is now developing, some of which of course have had common origins, but none the less are very widespread. I would be the last to say any word which would impair the strength of development of the British Commonwealth. I think most of us can see that its character is changing; that the acquisition of independence by so many different countries has perhaps brought on problems and considerations which were not present in the earlier Commonwealth. But I think most of us would agree that anything which helps to bring countries into a closer, regular association is more likely to remove misunderstanding between them, and indeed that is one of the strengths which we attach to the United Nations.

We use the phrase so commonly, "The Common Market". I would infinitely prefer to use the official title and think in terms of the European Economic Community, because, to my mind, the word "community" connotes something rather broader than purely market considerations; and I believe it is a portent for what the present Community may eventually become. When the Rome Treaty was first drafted how many people really believed it would work as efficiently as it has done? I think most people—even informed people—would have said that there were so many differences of tradition and habits and one thing and another within the Six countries that the whole thing would be a valuable experiment, but not something one could believe would assume a permanent character. At all events, I myself, not without international experience, was, to say the least, dubious as to the extent to which this miracle has been performed, because so I regard it.

Yet the Labour movement, with its broad outlook, which I earlier spoke of, with this desire to get into close association with the different nations, is now assailed by doubts and hesitations, in regard, of course, to this particular project. I was looking at the agenda of the Labour Party for their forthcoming Conference. There are 58 resolutions down on that agenda. Of those 58, only 3 are in favour of the—


Hear, hear!


The noble Viscount may say "Hear, hear!" I would take the other view, and rather deprecate such a decisive view being taken by so many Labour Parties before they have had the full facts of the circumstances in front of them.


Who has kept them away?


Who stopped us from getting the facts?


My colleague the noble Lord says, "Who stopped us from getting the facts?". But I think we must all look at this question as realists. I have been engaged in my lifetime with negotiations that it would have been fatal to have reported at each stage. It would have completely frustrated the results that we were all trying to attain. I do not think it should be lightly assumed that there has been no sort of information imparted to bodies, who may have serious decisions to make in this matter. In fact, I know to the contrary.

As I was saying, at the Trades Union Congress out of ten resolutions, only one is for entry to the Common Market. Now why is this? I think, first of all, there is genuine concern on certain aspects of this problem. The noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, this afternoon has voiced quite a number of them. I wish he had seen just a little more of the merits in the project of our entry than he seemed to observe. But, unquestionably, the thought that is running through the minds of so many people is: "What is going to happen if we go into this Community?" There is fear of the unknown and, I may add, mistrust of our present Government. I am genuinely sorry to add that, because I think in matters of this kind it is a great misfortune, that issues can be prejudiced by actions which may be entirely unrelated to the grave subject under consideration. Why do I talk about hositility to the Government, mistrust of the Government?—because of its recent action in the sphere of labour relations. I have several times in this House tried to warn the Government of where an attempt to compel the trade union movement in any respect would carry them. No notice has been taken. The result is that we have now had two developments, which cannot fail to affect the thinking of trade unionists in this country. We all know their reaction to the wages pause. We have yet to see their reaction as a movement to the Incomes Commission. It is being interpreted as an attempt to castigate the trade union movement in those cases where, after proper negotiation with employers, it has secured advances in wages which seem to the Commission—and no one knows who they will be, how wise they will be, and with what quality they will be endowed, to know what is right and what is wrong in this circumstance!—to be excessive.

I was not present in the House the other day, but I understand that it was suggested that if there were some infringements of that general conception of what was fair and proper in the national interest, the parties concerned would be subjected to the "open air cure". That seemed to me a little bit like Oxford Union debating. That has no reality at all in the present circumstances. Who, with any experience of the trade union movement, believes that it will be intimidated by any suggestion of that character? Instead of approaching on the line of persuasion, and trying to get the good will of the trade unions, something has been imposed upon them; and we all know that when imposition takes place we resist it. I do not know where the advice to the Government came from. I know there are very competent people in the Ministry, of Labour and elsewhere, who could have foreseen the consequences of this. But it may be that the Government have come to the conclusion, that it is better to impose their will upon the (industries of this country in regard to this matter of wages. They may feel that they would progress more rapidly that way, than by the normal means of agreement. I repeat that I deeply regret this development, because I believe it will prejudice the consideration of this vital issue; I sincerely hope that it will not, but that is what I fear. If any words of mine could influence the trade union movement, I would urge them to consider this subject of the European Economic Community as objectively as possible.

The real root fear, of course, is of loss Of control over our own affairs. It seems to me that you cannot have any organisation of any kind that is going to do anything without the members of that organisation sacrificing, to some extent at least, their complete liberty of action. It seems to be so axiomatic that I almost apologise for stating it. It is surely a matter of the degree to which sacrifice is entailed in the way of what might be described as self-government or autonomy.

These very same considerations must be applied to the members of the Six. They, too, may have felt that they were going to be dominated by some of their larger and more powerful members in the Community, and I can imagine that just the same kind of considerations as are uppermost in the minds of our people and our trade unions here would apply to the members of the Six at the time the Treaty was being negotiated. Yet the Governments of those countries, so far as I know with the full support of the trade unions, accepted the Treaty believing it was in the best interests of their people. It is surely a very common experience, when bodies are brought together with some idea of amalgamating or associating them closely and vesting more power in the organisation that results, that there are fears of the same kind. When business mergers take place, does anybody believe that some, at least, of the companies merging, their directorate or their shareholders, have not exactly this same kind of fear of loss of control?

In the sphere of local government, is that not equally true? When ideas of that kind are put forward to amalgamate various bodies—and I am certainly not talking about the L.C.C. scheme now, but in more remote terms from London—one invariably finds one unit or group of people saying, "We do not want to have this. We want to manage our own affairs." I know, from the point of view of amalgamations in the trade union movement, that amalgamations have been held up for years because of that same intangible fear of Joss of power, loss of authority, in the amalgamating organisation. I am glad to say that, while it is still an obstacle, it is gradually giving way to more reasoned understanding of the advantages of combination.




I repeat that it is ultimately a matter of degree. What do we lose? What do we gain? Does it enlarge our opportunities—and I think this is important—from the point of view of the Labour movement? Does it enlarge our opportunities for a healthier economic life and a more prosperous community? These are matters of fact which have to be judged on the merits, and we have not yet seen in full what those merits really are. I do not believe for one minute that the political unification of Europe is immediately practicable. I doubt whether that issue will be raised in a generation, much less a decade, because the difficulties are so very considerable. I cannot see any nation completely abandoning its sovereignty within that period.

From the trade union point of view two main issues are raised in this question. The first is the maintenance of full employment, and the second is the improvement of labour conditions. The Trades Union Congress has asked that there should be a declaration in the Rome Treaty which would make it clear that it is the object of the member States in the Community to establish full employment.


In the Treaty.


It may be, of course, that any attempt to revise the Treaty would be mat with counter-proposals for revision from other people. That has to be remembered. I know that most people, having formed an agreement, are extremely anxious about revising it at the request of any parity. It is a danger, and I freely admit it; but, at the very least, there should be some declaration on full employment, and it should be so specific that there can be no doubt of the intentions of all the parties concerned.


In a protocol.


My noble friend suggests a protocol. I do not know what mechanism might be used, but I am sure that the end is desirable.

I ask myself, would the British Government be ready to accept some such proposal? I cannot see that any other objective in the Treaty is more desirable than this one. It may be said by some that this is academic because full employment exists now. They may say that the Six are committed to accelerating and improving the standard of life and that that is the object of the Treaty; but that is no assurance that they will get rid of unemployment in any practical sense. I would call attention to that Mecca of private enterprise, the United States. They have a higher standard of prosperity in the purely material sense than most other countries, yet they have 5 million unemployed as an almost regular occurrence. In the years of the depression from 1929 to 1931 the number rose to 12 million.

So British workers, recalling what happened between 1929 and 1931, when we had 3 million out of employment, recalling that in certain parts of our own country now, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland in particular, and, I believe, on the North-East Coast, there are still serious pockets—as they are described in technical language—of unemployment are not sure that unemployment has been banished for ever. I have said before, and I repeat it now, that this is the sort of fear Which clouds industrial relations. It lies at the heart of restrictive practices and the curse of demarcation. So I say, if it is a desirable object, let us state lit as desirable, quite clearly, either in the Treaty or, if that is not practicable, in a protocol, or by some such device.

I do not profess to be an economist and I could be stood on my head by the technical experts in economics, but I happen to understand something about them because of the 22 years I was Secretary to the T.U.C. I cannot see, looking the problem in the face, that any single nation, however well disposed, can guarantee a permanent state of full employment, and I feel convinced that the prospects of ensuring full employment would be much greater if we joined with the members of the European Economic Community than if we remained outside.

Then I come to mobility of labour. This is dealt with in Articles 48 to 51 of the Treaty. I have heard it said by responsible people in the trade union movement that they are afraid of a flood of foreign labour coming into this country if we join the Economic Community. Is it a real danger? First of all, there are safeguards in the Treaty itself. It emphasises that the first attempt to fill vacancies must be through indigenous labour. That, to my mind, is a very important consideration. Secondly there is the experience of the working out of the various Articles of the Treaty I have mentioned. I will not go into them, but it seems to me most important to ask ourselves what has happened to the Six. Has there been a flood of labour from one country to another during this period since 1957? They are all equally exposed to it, and yet the latest information shows that there is a shortage of labour in practically every one of those countries. Holland, Germany and France are all seeking workers, although they have tried over the years to induce workers in their hundreds of thousands to go to those countries. They are still asking for more and more.

It may be said that the attraction of British labour conditions would in themselves be a big inducement to foreign workers to come here. Such things as wages, conditions of labour, and social insurance are regarded by most people in this country as being immensely superior to what obtains on the Continent of Europe and in particular in the countries of the Six. I want to say, quite emphatically, that although that was the case some years ago a great levelling up has taken place in the last few years. To-day those who are very well qualified to make an estimate on this matter would say that the conditions of this country and those of the countries in the Common Market are about equal in that respect. So I would say that the fears are exaggerated.

On general principles, British workers should support the Common Market. They have long been linked up with the free trade unions which comprise the labour force of the Six countries. It seems to me that British trade unionists should have more confidence in the integrity and strength of those people, and be ready to combine their own influence to theirs, so that altogether they can be, inside the European Economic Community, a really powerful force for good.

I would also, if I may, presume to make a request, perhaps an appeal, to the trade unionists of France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg, with whose predecessors I worked so intimately for so many years, to try to understand the approach of the British people and the British trade unions. On the Continent, it seemed to me, they attached an enormous amount of importance to the logicality of people's actions, almost more than to what came out from the machinery. I have had more time wasted in making sure a formula fitted the ideas of particular people than I have spent on what actually arose from the formula. I have had that kind of experience. I would ask them to remember that the British people are an empirical people, that they judge things on their merits, whenever their real interests are affected, as I believe they are in this particular case. So I would hope that our Continental friends would understand more closely the conditions we have here.

Finally, I would say to my colleagues in Great Britain that I hope they will not do anything in the weeks to come which would impair fair and objective consideration of these vital issues. I hope they will try hard to join their strength with that of their international colleagues in the European Economic Community, and I hope that, in supporting entry into this market, they will, not hesitantly but firmly, take this long step along this road to true international cooperation, without which the peace of the world can never be indestructibly established.