HL Deb 31 January 1962 vol 236 cc1037-119

2.56 p.m.

LORD CRATHORNE rose to call attention to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the need for firm support of it by the United Kingdom Government and Parliament; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have the honour to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. I hope that your Lordships will agree that it is right that this House should from time to time have a debate upon the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The last time we had such a debate was, curiously enough, just a year ago, on January 25, 1961. During that debate the main theme which occupied your Lordships was the military aspect of N.A.T.O. On this occasion I propose, in the main, to discuss with your Lordships Article 2 of the North Atlantic Treaty, although before doing so I think we should turn our minds to the military side.

I feel that it would be wise to begin by reminding ourselves that N.A.T.O. is a military Alliance (it was started as such and remains as such) for collective self-defence, working within specific regional limits. I found in the many meetings I attended on the Continent at the time that this fact is sometimes lost sight of amid the new dimensions, economic, social and ideological, to which our struggle against Communism has now been extended. It would seem to me that these very dimensions reflect and confirm the validity of the original N.A.T.O. concept, because it is essentially the success of the Alliance in blocking the passage of Communist arms in Europe that has driven our opponents to seek new, non-military channels for their advance. We should also note at this time that the justification for this Alliance is that it is compatible with the principles of the United Nations Charter (Article 52 is, I think, the exact Article), and to-day this justification is just as strong as it was when it was first created.

The objectives of the Alliance fall, as your Lordships know only too well, under two heads: military, on the one hand, and political, on the other. Speaking for just a few moments on the military side, I think it is worth reminding ourselves that at this moment the countries belonging to N.A.T.O. have more men under arms than those belonging to the Warsaw Pact. On our side, I think it is fair to say that the overall total is just over 6 million men. On the other side, the total appears to be in the region of 5,30(1,000, which includes factory guards and the other Para-military forces. But, having made this very broad statement, I would add that we must recognise at the same time that not all the Western forces to which I have referred are assigned to N.A.T.O. commands. The reason is this. The principal N.A.T.O. Powers have very heavy commitments in other parts of the world, and this explains the local disadvantage under which we suffer in N.A.T.O.'s European theatre, where the Warsaw Pact countries can concentrate almost the whole of their forces. By contrast, the United States, Which is the largest N.A.T.O. Power, is separated by thousands of miles of ocean from the European theatre.

But, having made that comparison, I would say to your Lordships that we should not exaggerate the importance of this local Western disadvantage; for the N.A.T.O. Powers, as I have indicated to your Lordships, have huge additional resources. And I was particularly struck not long ago when General Nordstad told us that when it was decided to strengthen N.A.T.O.'s conventional forces in Europe, in response to Soviet pressure over Berlin, it was possible to increase those forces, and to strengthen them, by not less than 25 per cent. in six weeks. I think your Lordships will agree that this is indeed a formidable achievement.

Having said that, I should now like to turn to other aspects of the Alliance, because it would appear that the political aspect is crucial to the military aspect, since, however good the military plans may be, they will be and can be of little avail unless the N.A.T.O. countries are agreed on broad issues of policy in the political field. I emphasise the word "broad" because while, in an Alliance of this size and nature, there are bound to be differences between the various N.A.T.O. countries, it is essential, if the Alliance is to achieve the Ultimate results we hope for, that there should be broad agreement on policy in the political field.

In the past, various efforts have been made to implement Article 2, and perhaps one of the most successful was the founding of the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference, which last November held its Seventh Annual Conference in Paris. This body started from a very small beginning, a few people from each side of the Atlantic getting together, and has now developed into a body which, I think your Lordships will agree, has provided a potent, if unofficial, forum for the expression of Parliamentary opinion throughout the Atlantic area. A recent innovation, a direct outcome of the debates in this Conference, which, as your Lordships know, take place from year to year, was the setting up of the Atlantic Institute—a sort of Chatham House on an Atlantic scale—with Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge as its first Director-General. Two Members of your Lordships' House, the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, and the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot, are on the governing body of the Institute, and I hope that they will address your Lordships before the close of the debate.

Following on that, the most recent effort has been the holding of the Atlantice Convention of N.A.T.O. Nations in Paris from January 8 to January 20 of this year. I had the honour of leading the British Commission at this Convention, and I had much help from two Members of your Lordships' House, the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and the noble Earl, Lord Dundonald, both of whom, I hope, will also intervene in our debate. This Convention (perhaps your Lordships may not all be aware how it started) was suggested as long ago as 1957 in the Third N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference; and, having been suggested then, it was confirmed in 1959 when we were the host country to the Atlantic Congress which was held, in the summer of that year, in London.

In 1962, as I was saying, we all gathered in Paris. The 100 delegates who attended the Convention were appointed by their national Legislatures and consisted of representative groups of citizens from the N.A.T.O. countries. They were selected in different ways by the different countries. Some countries sent a proportion of Parliamentarians and a proportion of non-Parliamentarians. Others relied on citizens drawn from a wide field but did not include Parliamentarians. The United Kingdom Commission consisted partly of Parliamentarians and partly of non-Parliamentarians.

The Convention itself was most ably presided over by Mr. Christian Herter, who, your Lordships will recollect, was at one time United States Secretary of State, and I should say that the tone of our discussions during that fortnight in Paris was set by Mr. Herter in his opening address when he quoted from the Eisenhower-Macmillan communiqué of 1957. It is quite short—and here I quote: The concept of national self-sufficiency is now out of date. The countries of the Free World are inter-dependent and only in genuine partnership by combining their resources and sharing tasks in many fields can progress and safety be found. This theme continued throughout the discussions and led to the final outcome in the Declaration of Paris, from which I should like to quote the opening sentence; We, the Citizen Delegates to the Atlantic Convention of N.A.T.O. Nations … are convinced that our survival as free men, and the possibility of progress for all men, demand the creation of a true Atlantic Community within the next decade, and therefore submit this declaration of our convictions. My Lords, in looking back on those ten days in Paris I think that what impressed all of us there more than anything else was the enormous advance that has been made in recent years among the Nations, not only those in Europe but also our friends in North America, of getting closer and closer together in every way possible. There are many difficulties when one gets down to details in any problem which confronts those Nations, but I can assure your Lordships that the spirit underlying our discussion was far in advance of anything that one would have believed possible even five years ago.

I had meant in my speech to-day to ask the Government whether they would think it right and proper to publish the result of our discussion as a White Paper, but I was completely convinced by the Answer given by my noble friend, the Foreign Secretary yesterday in this House, when he informed us that the Official Report would be in the Printed Paper Office of your Lordships' House but that it would be improper for an unofficial document to be published as a White Paper. I see the force of that argument, and I accept it. I fear that if I were to attempt to go into all the details of the declaration I should detain your Lordships far longer than would be acceptable. But I should like to refer to two recommendations in some detail, because they affect what we have been trying to do in the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference during recent years.

The first recommendation to which I would refer is, to put it in a summarised form, the development of the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference into a consultative assembly which would review the work of all Atlantic institutions and make recommendations to them. The second is—and I read them together because they work together—that the N.A.T.O. Governments promptly establish a Special Governmental Commission to draw up plans within two years for the creation of a true Atlantic Community suitably organised to meet the political, military and economic challenges of this era.

Those two recommendations are interdependent. As first Vice-President of the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference, I appreciate only too well the difficult adjustments entailed in the first recommendation. I am satisfied of one thing, and I hope your Lordships will agree with this; that eventually—I am not thinking about tomorrow or the next day, or perhaps not even next year—there should be only one Parliamentary assembly to deal with the defence in the Atlantic community, and it is essential that our North American colleagues, both the United States and Canada, should be partners in this assembly. I feel very strongly that, in the present age in which we live, it is really a waste of time to discuss defence questions ranging, right throughout the Atlantic area without having our colleagues and Allies from North America sitting round the table with the Europeans. I think it is because this is realised now that this unofficial body, the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference, has been able to fulfil a useful purpose in the past, because it has been the only one of the many bodies which consider these matters that has had the benefit of the North Americans and the Europeans sitting round the same table and discussing the problems at the same time.

One of the reasons why the Convention recommend the second point to which I attach particular attention—that is, the immediate establishment of a Special Governmental Commission—is to study this problem, and we hope that in this field (I am talking about the Parliamentarians' Conference) they will be able to determine the nature and function of some form of political assembly for the Community. They will be able further to give advice whether the assembly should be in fact a development of the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference or whether it should be some other kind of assembly; whether it would have responsibility and, if so, what responsibility, and whether for practical reasons it could better consist of some form of assembly composed of specially qualified persons appointed by their Parliaments. All these matters must be considered.

This is a problem which is ripe for consideration by N.A.T.O. Governments now to avoid overlapping and duplication of future efforts. We in the Convention particularly threw it back to Governments because they are the people who have the decision to take in the final issue, and we think it must be right for them to set up the Commission. They have to think out ways and means so that in the future we do not get all the overlapping which is emerging on the horizon only too quickly at the present time, when the pace, the momentum, of this Alliance is moving so quickly. If we get overlapping it will do much harm to the Atlantic Alliance. For this reason the British Commission who were in Paris unanimously requested Her Majesty's Government to take a lead, in consultation with other N.A.T.O. Governments, in setting up the Special Governmental Commission to which I have referred.

Following on that, at the last meeting —and now I am talking about the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference and not the Convention—in November in Paris, the Standing Committee were requested to set up a sub-committee to report to the next session on the conditions which would enable this Conference to become a consultative body of N.A.T.O. So there is another move from another direction to make the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians official. But in view of the recommendations taken by the Convention in the last week in Paris, the Bureau of the Conference decided to recommend to their Standing Committee that they took no action during 1962. Therefore the position is to remain as it is during 1962, but no doubt that subject will be raised again in the light of events at their next Conference in November of this year.

I now turn for one moment to the economic side, because here we run into further problems. The first Ministerial Council of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development took place in Paris last November under the chairmanship of the Canadian Minister of Finance, Mr. Fleming. This body, again, is to some extent the outcome of discussions which took place at the Atlantic Congress in 1959, because it was at the Congress in 1959 that the first suggestions were mooted from our friends from the other side of the Atlantic that they would like to cooperate more fully with Europe in the economic field. The O.E.C.D. has now just started. This Organisation supersedes the European organisation, the O.E.E.C., and includes among its members not only our North American colleagues but also countries who are not members of N.A.T.O. This economic body is, I understand, also thinking in terms of an assembly, and being of a non-military nature there have been discussions whether they could link up in some way with the Council of Europe. But, my Lords, as the Council of Europe is based on a European treaty, it would seem most unlikely that our North American Allies, either the United States or Canada, would contemplate joining an assembly of this sort. So with this body as well, I think your Lordships will agree, there is another problem which is ripe for consideration. None of these matters has gone too far yet, but if they are not considered by the right people, by Governmental committees, I fear that may occur. That is another reason for setting up the Governmental Commission to which I have referred, to avoid overlapping in the future.

Perhaps on this point I may express an absolutely personal view. This was not discussed in Paris, and I did not discuss it with my colleagues on the Commission. It would appear to me that if and I start with a big "if"—O.E.C.D. does set up a Parliamentary assembly of its own, it will have to be, if it is to be successful, an entirely independent body from any N.A.T.O. body, certainly during the initial stages. If it does set up such a body, again I think it is vital, if it is to fulfil the purpose for which it was born and for which it is starting life now, that it should include among its members the North American countries as well as the European countries. I have given those two rather detailed points from the discussions which emerged at Paris during the early part of this month because to me they are rather fundamental. Finally, so that your Lordships should know exactly the views of your Commission who were there and in negotiation with the other countries, I should like to quote from a letter which I sent to the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor in forwarding to him the Declaration of Paris on behalf of the British delegation. I used these words: The Declaration and Resolutions, while necessarily representing n some degree a compromise between a wide range of opinions expressed by some 100 members representing the N.A.T.O. nations, nevertheless include the major points which we believed to be important. We should like to express our strong conviction that if action on the lines proposed is agreed and put into effect by the Governments of all N.A.T.O. countries, that would represent a very great advance in the direction which we believe would have the support of their peoples, namely, the creation of a real, practical working Atlantic Community. We believe that nothing could be more important in the interest, not only of our military security, but of the material and social advancement which is of such importance to the Atlantic peoples, as well as to the peoples of the developing and emergent countries who look to them for co-operation in raising their standard of living. We hope and trust that Her Majesty's Government will give a lead in that direction on the lines recommended by the Convention". My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.

3.22 p.m.


My Lords, Parliament for a number of years now has been much indebted to my noble friend Lord Crathorne for the interest that he has taken in the North Atlantic Alliance and the time and work which he has spent in interesting the people of our country in its ideals and its purposes; and he has had the foresight to see that the North Atlantic Community will be one of the developments of the future and to take early steps to make sure that it proceeds on the right lines. After reviewing with other Parliamentarians and distinguished persons—one of whom, I was so glad to see, was Mr. Herter, who, with great courage, has taken on this work for the Atlantic Community—the present circumstances of N.A.T.O., we have had the advantage this afternoon of a most lucid and stimulating account of the conclusions of the Convention which met in Paris and, at the end of their discussions, issued what Lord Crathorne has described as the Declaration of Paris.

He began by reminding us (and we shall not forget it) that N.A.T.O. started as a military alliance, and it is still primarily a military alliance—in fact, it is the sheet anchor of the defence of Western Europe, and its main purpose is to secure the physical security of Western Europe. He expressed the belief—I have often testified to this, and I think this is now accepted by the peoples of the countries who are members of the N.A.T.O. Alliance—that if it had not been for N.A.T.O. Europe would have been overrun by the Communists long ago. The N.A.T.O. Alliance has fulfilled, and is fulfilling, an essential part in the physical security of Europe.

The problems involved, of course, in an organisation of fifteen nations in military preparedness and in coordinating military action are formidable. Again I agree with my noble friend that through the years significant progress has been made. He gave some broad illustrations of N.A.T.O.'s increasing strength, and I have lately had the opportunity of watching the Alliance put to the test in regard to an outpost of N.A.T.O. responsibility in West Berlin. Over these months there has been a remarkable degree of common thinking, and indeed of common action, on the policy which was adopted by the N.A.T.O. Council: first, of trying to arrive at a negotiated settlement, and secondly, of building up strength which would forestall and deter the use of force.

Not everything, of course, is perfect when we look at the military side of N.A.T.O., and not everything is settled. As my noble friend says, each country has its own problems and looks at these matters of common concern from its own angle. Then there are the great questions involved in nuclear weapons —questions which have no precedent and about which, therefore, no one can be absolutely certain of the right answer. It may be—I am not going to touch on this to-day, as my noble friend did not do so—that in the course of this debate, although I think it would be more appropriate in a Defence debate, we shall consider in more detail the military structure of N.A.T.O. and the pattern which General Norstad is recommending to us. As your Lordships know, the N.A.T.O. Council is undertaking a review of strategy.

Of course there are certain considerations which are always in our minds about the United Kingdom contribution to the N.A.T.O. Alliance, and in particular our contribution with troops on the Continent. I was glad that my noble friend reminded us—it is particularly true of this country—that there are countries which have commitments outside the Continent which are extremely valuable to the free world. The United Kingdom has commitments all over the world, in areas in which the Communist threats and pressures are just as great as they are in Europe; and it would not be in the interests of the Free World, and certainly not in the interests of the N.A.T.O. Alliance, that we should have to give up these commitments.

So far as our own country is concerned, we have to import nearly half of our foodstuffs and raw materials, and we have to pay for them by exports. There is in this country a most acute shortage of manpower everywhere, and if we cannot man our industries then we cannot export; our balance of payments falls and we become of less service to our Allies than we should otherwise be. Again, there is the problem of the payment across the exchanges involved for us in keeping troops in large numbers in Germany. I remind your Lordships of these facts in passing only because I think they are too often forgotten. We are striving to overcome them. If the present state of tension were to become worse we could embody the Territorial Army and call up large numbers of reservists, and I think it is worth remembering that we could do that, if the occasion arose, at great speed.

I have no doubt that, at some future time in some future debate, we shall return to the question of the deployment of nuclear weapons by N.A.T.O. and the control of nuclear weapons. It is not, I think, very surprising that the N.A.T.O. review of strategic requirements and strategy is taking time, when we think of the sort of order of questions which have to be answered. For instance, what are the chances of enforcing a pause once hostilities have begun when forces are facing each other with numbers of tactical weapons, some of them more powerful even than the weapon which was dropped on Hiroshima? Even if it were agreed that it would be a good thing that N.A.T.O. must have some nuclear striking force, how then do you preserve the credibility of the deterrent?

We need not be ashamed if such questions take some detailed study and some time to answer; but the fact that these questions have not been already answered, does not mean that N.A.T.O. is not an effective shield. General Norstad testified not long ago that, if, the challenge came, the N.A.T.O. Alliance would give a very good account of itself. The delegates to the Conven- tion, I think, agreed with that finding, and my experience goes to confirm those judgments.

However my Lords, on this occasion I should like to give my attention, as did my noble friend, to the aspirations of the North Atlantic Alliance as expressed in Article 2 of the Treaty and as they have been amplified by the delegates to the Convention in the Declaration of Paris. The motive behind the Declaration (and this has been repeated by my noble friend to-day) is that if there is to be a successful Atlantic Community, then it should be knit together in fields other than the purely military field. In particular, the delegates to the Convention felt that there should be new institutions in the political and economic fields. As my noble friend has said, their purpose in presenting these proposals and the long-term aim which they had in mind—and perhaps not so long-term—was to achieve the broadest agreement in the political field, because, without that, they felt that the Alliance was incomplete.

Three developments, in particular, were mentioned by the Convention, and have been mentioned again by my noble friend to-day. The first is that there should be set up a permanent High Council at the highest political level; the second is that the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference which has been held in recent years should be converted into a consultative assembly; and, thirdly, that there should be an Atlantic Economic Community open to the nations of the Free World. I have had this document for only a week, as my noble friend will understand, and there-for I have scarcely been able to master all the details. I have read enough, however, to know that this is an imaginative and far-reaching document, and certainly consistent with the themes of interdependence and with the aims which my noble friend has in view and which I share. The persons who have made the recommendation are too experienced to advocate new machinery merely for new machinery's sake—at least I hope so. But I am not quite sure, and that is what I want to examine for a moment. The proposals must be considered both in substance and in time, and I should like to indicate to your Lordships, very shortly, some of the factors which I feel that I and the Government will have to weigh.

Perhaps I may begin with the proposal made by my noble friend Lord Crathorne, that there should be an Economic Community and that, as the delegates hope, N.A.T.O. would be the basis of it. We are, at the moment, as your Lordships know, negotiating to see whether the United Kingdom can go into the European Common Market. The implications raised by the decision to see whether we can seek entry are enormous, both for us and for our European neighbours. It will be the greatest experiment in the century, and, my Lords, when you are dealing with something as big as that there is something to be said for taking first things first.

Then there is, as my noble friend said, the O.E.C.D. It has a wider membership than the Common Market, a wider membership than N.A.T.O., because it includes, of course, the neutrals in Europe, and also includes Japan, as well as North America. Its prospectus is very wide: to co-ordinate economic policy; to promote economic growth; to discuss scientific, trade and agricultural problems. That is very comprehensive, and when one is thinking in terms of the economic co-operation of Europe and North America, the question inevitably arises whether, if such an economic structure is to be built and if there is to be an assembly connected with it, it should not he based on O.E.C.D. rather than on the N.A.T.O, Alliance. That is a question to which we must give very serious consideration, particularly when thinking in terms of time; because not only are we considering whether we can enter into the Common Market, but the President of the United States has lately made proposals which, if successful, would mean co-operation in tariff matters between the Common Market and the United States of America. So it is apparent to your Lordships, I think, that there is a complex here which needs a great deal of consideration and sorting out before we can be confident of getting the right answer.

I should like to turn for a moment from the economic to the political requirements of the association. They say that they would like to set up a High Council at the highest political level to consider and plan, and, in agreed cases, to decide policies on matters of concern to the community as a whole. I think this is an accurate description of the machinery which exists now. The Council of N.A.T.O. is a council of Governments, and Governments can be represented on the Council at any level they choose. Prime Ministers are eligible to sit, but, of course, pressure of work makes it physically impossible for them to collect together very often. They therefore take only an occasional part, and delegate their work to Foreign Ministers, and the Foreign Ministers, again because there is a certain pressure of work on them, find that they can meet to review policy only twice a year, but they appoint distinguished permanent representatives who sit in continuous session under their direction. I am not saying that this machinery cannot be improved on; and, if it can, then certainly we ought to look at it. But it must be remembered that the pressure on Prime Ministers, and to a lesser extent on Foreign Ministers, is pretty severe. I think the practical day-to-day working in these modern days means that in N.A.T.O. we must rely on permanent representatives, with the Foreign Ministers attending only as often as they can. Of course the more often the better, but it would not work out at. I think, more than two or three times a year. But we will look at that to see if there is any improvement we can recommend.

My Lords, a little more than a year ago it was agreed by common consent in the N.A.T.O. Council that it would be an advantage to give more consideration to political matters. Therefore, the discussions were deliberately widened so that the Council could consider matters which were of concern to the different individual member countries by reason of their contacts all over the world. I have attended a number of these discussions, and I think the experiments have been a success. I feel that the problems which face the different countries in various parts of the world are now better understood by the N.A.T.O. Council as a whole, but there have been certain restraints that the Council have felt bound to recommend and observe. First of all, as my noble friend said at the beginning, the Alliance is primarily military, and primarily military in the eyes of the world. The African countries, for instance, could very seriously misunderstand the purpose of N.A.T.O. if they were given any excuse for thinking that N.A.T.O. would interfere with African problems. So wisdom, discretion and prudence limit discussions in N.A.T.O. on those problems.

Again, while there is great advantage in knowing each other's mind, it was the feeling of every country in the N.A.T.O. Council that, although we ought to understand each other's angle on world affairs, nevertheless we should not act together—for instance in the United Nations—as a bloc. So although within these limits political discussions are very valuable, nevertheless any new political machinery that was created would have to be watched with very great care from this point of view. I have no doubt that the Parliamentarians were aware of these new activities, and I hope they approved of them. If political discussion would give a more constructive direction to the affairs of N.A.T.O., and if the turning of the Parliamentarians' meetings into a consultative assembly would do that, then certainly that is a matter which should be given most close and sympathetic attention.

There is another point about timing, my Lords. As my noble friend said, there are proposals for a number of institutions to be set up in Europe, and there are some already existing. If institutions are to be created, they must be complementary to each other and not rivals to each other; otherwise, we shall get into real trouble and the creation of new institutions will do more harm than good.

There is one other proposal that I would mention. There was a suggestion that there might be majority voting in the N.A.T.O. Council. My Lords, I hope that that suggestion will not be pursued. Matters concerning defence must remain in the hands of the Governments and I think that weighted voting in an alliance, where there are so many countries of different sizes and influences, could only lead to disappointment and to resentment. So I myself do not think that that is a suggestion which should be considered any further.

My Lords, I think I have said enough, in comment on what my noble friend has said, to show that the principles which the Declaration of Paris expounds are exemplary, and that the objectives at which they aim are certainly acceptable. We all want to see an Atlantic community and political understanding between the countries of the Alliance. It is the particular methods for arriving at these objectives which need a lot of study before they or variants of them can be implemented. They must be studied, as I have said, in their substance and in regard to timing.

Concerning the setting up of a Commission to look at these matters—and this would be a Commission of all the Governments of N.A.T.O.—I will consider this suggestion with my colleagues, because it is our intention, as it is the intention of my noble friend, that the status of N.A.T.O. should be enhanced, and that a true North Atlantic community should be brought to fruition.

3.44 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to join the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, in thanking the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, for giving us another opportunity of discussing N.A.T.O. I should also like to thank him—and in this respect I am in a rather different position from the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary—for leading with the utmost skill and a great deal of experience, and for the second time in succession, the Parliamentary delegation sent by the United Kingdom Parliament. In saying that I am sure that I speak for all of my colleagues on this side of the House.

If I may go straight to the Conference, as the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, has said, we were concerned with the future of the N.A.T.O. Alliance in its broadest aspects, economic and political, as well as military and strategic. We were also concerned—and I do not think the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, mentioned this—with the Berlin situation. I should like to make two brief comments on this subject, as he did not mention it and as it is still very much with us at the present time.

The German Federal Government invited all the delegates at the Conference to go into Berlin. I myself, took advantage of this invitation, and so, I am glad to say, did the noble Lord, Lord Teynham. I should like to say how grateful I am for that opportunity of gaining some first-hand experience of the situation in West Berlin and, of course, of the state of affairs created by the wall. The noble Earl, Lord Home, has been there even more recently. The impression I received was that the inhumanity of the wall has added greatly to the bitterness between West Berlin and East Germany. This visit certainly confirmed—and I am sure that this applies to all the delegates who went into Berlin—the support we had previously expressed at the Conference for our view that the Western Allies which support N.A.T.O. should stand absolutely firm against any encroachment on the freedom of West Berlin. My second comment is that, I think this policy of the United Kingdom, which is of course shared by the other N.A.T.O. Governments, carries added weight in Europe and in the United States because all Parties in this country support it.

Western policy in relation to Berlin has been successful so far, but of course we have to see how matters proceed. In relation to the many other issues that divide the East and the West, success will depend on two things: the military strength of N.A.T.O., and the unity of the Atlantic Community. Those are the two subjects with which I should like to deal. It is an axiom of diplomacy—if one dares to speak about diplomacy in your Lordships' House, with so many distinguished diplomats like Lord Gladwyn listening—that foreign policy is made or marred by the economic, political and military strength behind it. Our weakness before the war obliged us to appease our opponents in Europe, and we do not want that to be repeated again. But we shall fail to achieve the present objects of policy, unless we do much more than we have been doing in recent years to increase the military power of N.A.T.O., and the economic and political strength of the N.A.T.O. countries, as well as the other countries in the free world.

I think that all the delegates to our Conference were convinced that the main task of the N.A.T.O. Governments at this moment, in relation to the military strength of N.A.T.O., consisted of adding power to the forces which are operating in a conventional rôle. As the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, reminded us, a review of N.A.T.O. strategy is being conducted at this moment by the N.A.T.O. Council, so perhaps this is a particularly opportune moment for the expression of Parliamentary opinion. I think this was certainly the dominant view at the Conference. At our previous conference the main problem had been the nuclear capacity of N.A.T.O., not its conventional strength, and this shift of emphasis from the nuclear to the conventional can, I think, be explained and justified by the common desire, which all countries share, to avoid a nuclear war. It is more generally recognised now—unfortunately rather late in the day—that with the certainty of escalation the risk of nuclear war is really just as serious if you start with a small one as if you start with a big one. We shall therefore add enormously to the risk of such a war if we continue to rely, as we have done in the past, even on the tactical use of the nuclear weapons with which our forces are equipped.

I think there is one country which still would like, and would like as soon as possible, more powerful nuclear arms for N.A.T.O.—and that country is the German Federal Republic. I do not profess to know the reason for this, but it may be that the German Government thinks that in this way it will in the long run come to be the possessor of its own nuclear weapons. If this is the intention, I want to speak quite frankly for myself about this, though I think my opinion is shared by many others: I hope that Her Majesty's Government will do their utmost to dissuade the German Government from this policy. We do not want more countries in Europe—or, indeed, in any other part of the world—to go in for these terrible instruments of destruction. We do not want them to spread. Quite apart from this consideration, the control of nuclear weapons by Western Germany would exclude the possibility of even a limited settlement with Russia. I think that those of your Lordships who are familiar with the Russian point of view will realise how terrified they are at the thought of the control of nuclear weapons by German forces.

President Kennedy has made it clear that his first priority is to equip N.A.T.O. for fighting on conventional lines. I am glad that this is rather a different line of thought from that of his predecessor, and I very much hope that Her Majesty's Government will support President Kennedy to the utmost of their ability. Because what we want at this time for the Allied forces operating in Europe is that they shall be sufficient in numbers and adequately equipped to fight a holding battle in Eastern or South-eastern Europe or wherever the precise place may be where aggressive action occurs. This will give us time for thought and will avoid the risk of nuclear annihilation. To carry out this role the N.A.T.O. forces—and this is a request which has been made again and again by General Norstad—require more men and more up-to-date equipment.

The Secretary of the Army of the United States told the delegates to this Conference, at one of our meetings, how much America had done during last year, 1961, to increase its contribution to the N.A.T.O. ground forces; and I must say that in listening to what he said I felt ashamed because of the size of the American reinforcements as compared with what the other N.A.T.O. countries, including ourselves, have done in the past year. I am afraid there is no doubt that the only really substantial contribution in men and equipment that has been made to the ground forces of N.A.T.O. in Europe in the past year has come from the United States.

I take the view—I should not have expected 'the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne to express this view, whether he holds it or not, but it is certainly the view I myself take—that Her Majesty's Government have not succeeded in making a British contribution of the kind that is necessary for us to discharge to the full our responsibilities in N.A.T.O. Far from reinforcing B.A.O.R., we have already reduced its size from the four divisions which were originally promised, and the divisions we now have in Germany are not yet fully equipped. While the United States have been sending more troops to Europe, we have been threatening to reduce the number of British troops because, of course, we have this great difficulty in paying for them. This also has a bad effect on our other partners in N.A.T.O. The British example still counts for a great deal.

I have no doubt that the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, when he replies, will deal with this difficulty. If I may say so here, I think it is extremely satisfactory from the point of view of those taking part in this debate that the Government have asked the Foreign Secretary to deal with the diplomatic issues that are raised and the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, a Service Minister, to deal with the military issues in reply; and I am pretty certain that the noble Lord, when he comes to reply, will point out the difficulties that we are having in raising enough foreign exchange to provide more men and more equipment. Indeed, that was referred to by the noble Earl, Lord Home, in his remarks.

My Lords, these are genuine difficulties, but I do not believe they are insuperable difficulties. I think the Government are very much to blame for the long delays and their rather unimaginative efforts to meet them. While, of course, we cannot tell the Government what to do—indeed, no one can—we can at any rate suggest some pretty obvious directions in which to look. I venture to offer one suggestion. America has an abundance of nuclear weapons, both tactical and strategic. We could surely save quite an amount of money by abandoning the production of and research into the most powerful types of nuclear explosives. There could certainly be a large saving on research. Our V-bomber force will be out of date in ten years' time, and the expense of providing an alternative, although it obviously cannot be estimated at the moment, is bound to be colossal.

My Lords, it is said in answer to this line of thought that if we did this we should become more dependent upon America, and that we might even give some degree of offence to our American Allies. But, my Lords, from the military point of view we cannot in any event do without the American strategic air force, or without American intermediate and long-range ballistic missiles, so we are dependent on the United States whether or not we have these exceptionally powerful nuclear weapons. I think the answer to the other point is this. I have myself talked to responsible Americans, as have so many of your Lordships, and the impression I have got from my conversations with them is that they would be delighted if we were to give up luxury nuclear weapons and spend the money instead on improving the strength of our conventional forces. That is the sort of argument I have heard from extremely influential and extremely well-informed Americans.

I admit, of course, that our shortage of foreign exchange is a very real difficulty. This difficulty has been recognised by our Allies, who have asked Germany to help us by buying more arms here, and this has been arranged with the German Government. But, my Lords, this surely is just a temporary palliative and is not by any means a permanent solution. The same thing will happen again we shall get into the same difficulty when our next balance-of-payments crisis arises. What we need, surely, is a different method of payment. The cost of maintaining land, sea and air forces under N.A.T.O. command might be shared by all the N.A.T.O. countries, instead of each country's paying for its own forces. This, of course, is the method of payment for the N.A.T.O. infrastructure—pipelines, and so on. I hope that this is something that the N.A.T.O. Council and Her Majesty's Government will seriously consider, because what is absolutely essential is that the cost of maintaining forces should relate to financial capacity.

If the B.A.O.R. is to be adequate in numbers and equipment it will need more trained men as well as more money, and this is what General Norstad would like. I do not imagine that any noble Lord with military experience would regard reserves in this country as a substitute for troops already occupying positions from which they can move swiftly into action. I am sorry if I am being led so much into the sphere of defence, but the noble Lord is replying, and I hope that I shall expose sufficient surface to enable him to bring his experience to bear on my arguments. But, talking generally—though this has a particular bearing to N.A.T.O., because our defence policy in one direction affects our defence policy in another—it seems to me that, in defence, we have failed to keep pace with the political changes that have taken place in the Commonwealth since the war, With the transformation of Colonies and dependencies into new countries, our responsibility for Commonwealth defence has contracted enormously, and is likely to go on contracting.

What worries me at the moment is this. I do not for a moment think we should give up any of our commitments overseas; but I do think that we should look in this direction for more men and more money, and that by making economies and by getting more men from our existing forces overseas, we could strengthen our Army in Europe. I suggest that the size and distribution of our forces outside Europe are very much the same as they were when we had to defend a world-wide Commonwealth and Empire; that is to say, that defence policy has not kept pace with political change. The Government's defence policy is Victorian, even if its armoury is Elizabethan. It is high time to base our defence policy on Atlantic, rather than imperial, concepts. The defence correspondent of The Times, as your Lordships will have noted, in this morning's edition of that paper forecasts that there will be considerable change in the Government's defence policy, which will appear in the forthcoming White Paper. If the change is a change of the kind suggested by the defence correspondent of The Times, it will certainly be a change in the right direction, and the direction about which I have been speaking.

In opening my remarks, I said that our security, indeed the security of the West, depends on two factors: the military strength of N.A.T.O., and the unity of the Atlantic Community. These are surely the twin pillars of Western security. It is no good strengthening one if the other remains shaky. I should like to say, in closing, one or two things about the Atlantic Community. We have a very long way to go before we can give flesh and blood to the idea of an Atlantic Community. The noble Earl referred to the Atlantic Convention, and to the recommendations made by this Convention at its Conference. I did not attend the Convention myself, but I have read its resolutions with great interest, and they are certainly made in an extremely constructive spirit.

However, I am impressed by some of the criticisms made by the noble Earl opposite namely, about the danger of duplicating existing machinery. I should also like to emphasise the fact that all these high-sounding bodies which are suggested a High Council and a Special Governmental Commission—are, after all, only advisory bodies. They have no executive authority, and I think it is open to question whether Governments have not enough advisers already. So I think that all this additional machinery has to be looked at very carefully to make certain that there is not duplication and that there is not the waste of money and manpower which duplication would involve. I would much rather have the short cut of the Governments in N.A.T.O. taking more effective action, because they have the executive authority, and they alone can do it. I agree entirely with the aims which these bodies would be set up to carry out, but I should like to get those aims carried out much more quickly, and that could be done only by the Governments concerned.

In the meantime a lot of ideas are going around. Senator Fulbright, whom we all respect, has been talking about a Confederation of the Western World. This is, of course, a fine ideal; but if the Commonwealth has shied off confederation, how much harder would it be for the countries of the Atlantic Alliance! Surely we ought to start by working together much more closely on economic, social and cultural matters, and see whether that creates a demand among the people of the N.A.T.O. countries for closer political association.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, to which reference has already been made, is a step forward in the direction we want to go, which would be, in the long run, a pooling of the economic resources of the Western world. It will mean a united effort to stimulate production in the Atlantic area and underpin the economies of the underdeveloped countries. I agree entirely with what the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, said about the proposed Parliamentary leg of O.E.C.D. I think that if there is to be such a Parliamentary leg, it ought to be something quite different from the Parliamentary leg of N.A.T.O. It would destroy the confidence of the neutral, uncommitted countries if O.E.C.D. were linked with a military alliance. The noble Earl, Lord Home, referred to this matter, which is under consideration by the Government, and I should like to express that view also for consideration.

My Lords, what we have to be careful to do is not to allow advance in one direction—and O.E.C.D. represents a substantial advance in one direction—to be offset by retreat in another. The growing economic co-operation on both sides of the Atlantic represented by O.E.C.D. would receive a severe setback if the external tariffs of the European Community were to start a tariff war with the United States. President Kennedy has been asking Congress for power to lower American tariffs. I am sure we were all delighted to see that he had made this request. If the President succeeds, he will be free to reduce or abolish tariffs over a wide range of American imports. I hope that the Government here will respond and, if we go into the Common Market, will invite the Six to respond by reducing the European tariffs to meet the reductions which the American Administration wishes to make. If we succeed in achieving a scaling down of tariffs on both sides of the Atlantic, we shall be on the way toward an Atlantic free trade area, with the greatest concentration of population and industrial power in the world. My Lords, let us not forget, as what we are really thinking about is the future and security of the free world, that this must depend on the expansion of its trade as well as on the increase of its rate of production, so that it can compete—and only on this condition with any chance of success—in the word-wide economic contest that will ultimately decide whether the peoples of the free world prefer the Democratic or the Communist way of life.

4.8 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful, and so are we all on these Benches, to the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, for the care he has taken in presenting to your Lordships what is, I think, a very good précis of what happened at the Distinguished Citizens' Convention in Paris. The noble Lord has told us that he was the leader of the British Commission, and he also leads the British delegation to the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference, which takes place every year in Paris. What he did not say, and what he could not say, is that he is a most excellent leader, and all of us who are in the team have the greatest admiration for the way in which he leads us. I am sure that those in the team who are here to-day—the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, the noble Lord, Lord Teynham, and the noble Earl, Lord Dundonald, and others—will agree with me when I say that. He never forces his own opinion, and always lets other people have a word in edgeways. As one of those who likes a word in edgeways occasionally, I must say I appreciate that.

To-day we have had not only a very good résumé of the Convention's proposals from the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, but a reply—naturally, not a fully considered reply, because the Government have only just had the Report their hands, but a reply—from the Foreign Secretary. I do not believe that the Government should be expected to go to-day much further than the noble Earl has gone. He has obviously read the Report and the recommendations, and he has promised us that the Government will consider them. I think it would be undesirable to press him any more at this stage. In fact, in one or two respects, he has gone a good deal further than I expected him to go and I am glad that he did.

I cannot leave the Conference without saying that there was a remarkable degree of unanimity, and if there was any criticism it was riot criticism in the sense of that made by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, but the criticism that we were not going far enough. The Canadians, some of the Italians and even some representatives of the United States took that point of view. To some extent, the majority were criticised for dragging their feet in this respect. It is rather interesting to come to your Lordships' House to-day and hear noble Lords describe us as "wild idealists". That is quite a change from the atmosphere in Paris, I assure your Lordships. There were those who wanted complete Atlantic federation in a very short time.

The main purpose of N.A.T.O. is a military purpose, as the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, and the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, said, and I cannot agree with the Foreign Secretary that we ought not to mention this to-day. Naturally, certain elements are better discussed in defence debates, but there are some things which I think must be discussed to-day because they are basically political. I have been going to N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conferences for a good many years, and on every occasion the Commander-in-Chief has objected strongly to not being given sufficient political direction. He knows what to do on the military side; it is the political side that falls down.

At Paris, I had the opportunity of hearing General Norstad speaking to the Conference on what he wanted to achieve and on the weaknesses of N.A.T.O. I had heard him many times before and I have heard practically all his predecessors, and I must say that this was one of the most brilliant expositions I have ever heard in my life. When I left that room I felt, for the first time, that I really understood what N.A.T.O. is trying to do in detail. I cannot repeat what he said, because there is not time. The main point was that the broad aim of N.A.T.O. is to impose a pause on any attack for long enough to identify it as a major offensive and give time for reflection on both sides before the nuclear exchange begins. I think that this pause is vital, and in order to achieve it, it is necessary to have sufficient conventional forces. This is a political decision.

General Norstad asks for all the forces he can get, because N.A.T.O. has not enough. Why not? This is a political decision in this country—not only by the Government, because it has not been seriously challenged by other Parties. It means, in effect, that B.A.O.R. must have sufficient conventional forces, must be geared more to conventional war than to nuclear war. Only recently, General Sir Hugh Stockwell, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe —that is to say, General Norstad's second in command—said: The Rhine Army must alter its dependence on nuclear weapons and come into line with General Norstad's policy of using conventional troops first and nuclear weapons last in the event of a war in Europe. Yet the recent exercise "Spearpoint", the largest Rhine Army manœuvre for seven years, was conducted throughout in the tactical context of a nuclear battle. The Times pointed out: From the beginning, the defending forces, even when nuclear weapons were not being used, were deployed and handled in a way which made sense only if the defence was based on the immediate use of tactical nuclear weapons. In other words, we are not enabling the Supreme Commander to carry out his policy, which I think we should all agree is the right policy, in the way he wishes. And it is for a political reason.

The second point comes on the question of standardisation. I myself heard General Gruenther, who was at one time Supreme Commander, make the famous witticism that the only thing that was standardised in N.A.T.O. was the air in the tyres of vehicles. I regret to say that that is still to a large extent true to-day. The reason is that the arms manufacturers in all N.A.T.O. countries expect, and get, contracts from their Governments for the supply of weapons and other material for their troops. There is no other reason for it. The Governments, the Parliaments and the politicians allow them to do so. Here, again, the Supreme Commander is not allowed to carry out his very reasonable wish to standardise the weapons and equipment of N.A.T.O.

The third is the necessity for closer political and military co-ordination of planning, which comes in all the time. The fourth question, which perhaps is not the most important but always raises the most discussion, is the control of the large number of nuclear weapons which N.A.T.O. possesses. To what extent can there be control at all by fifteen countries? At the Parliamentarians' Conference, Mr. Stikker, the Secretary-General, said: Without prejudicing the rights of producing countries, the political decision on the use of nuclear weapons could be taken—after an appreciation of the necessity for it by supreme allied commanders—by a majority of weighted votes. I want to stress the "weighted votes" in view of what the Foreign Secretary said. I suggest this only as a personal idea which could he discussed among others. Can anybody imagine a more vague statement than the one I have just read out, which is full of qualifications, provisos, "weighted votes", and so forth? I cannot imagine anything more vague. And why is it so? Because the Secretary-General is a civil servant. He cannot go farther than his political masters, who are in the long run ourselves, the Parliamentarians, will allow him to go.

The practical situation is that the persons who decide whether the nuclear deterrent should be used are the President of the United States in the political field and the N.A.T.O. Supreme Commander, General Norstad, in the military field, and until a practical alternative is worked out, to my mind, this is the only course that is available to us and we must face it. The Prime Minister, having the same sort of thing in mind, has talked about one finger on the trigger and fifteen thumbs on the safety catch. Whether or not we shall ever be able to work out a decision in this field I do not know. But there is one grain of comfort that I can give to your Lordships, and it is this: so far as the military decision goes—that is, when to press the button to set off a nuclear weapon—that is a matter which is solely in the hands of the Supreme Commander, General Norstad himself. So that all this fuss about whether or not Germans should be armed with nuclear weapons in the field does not make the slightest difference: they would not be able to let them off without the authority and orders of General Norstad.

One thing that worries me in this field (it applies not only to N.A.T.O. but to all other international bodies, apart from the United Nations) is that there is no proper Parliamentary supervision. Policies are prepared and executed; vast sums are expended, and Parliaments have virtually no control at all. We saw that the other day in a little Bill which came up, and which received no notice in the Press and very little in Parliament, called the Civil Aviation (Eurocontrol) Bill. That Bill (it is now an Act) deals with the control of the upper air for military and civil aircraft over Western Europe. It is a most important enactment, although, as I have said, it did not receive much attention.

The fact was quite apparent, when we discussed that Bill, that it was quite impossible to amend it—although I did put down some Amendments—because it had already been agreed in Brussels. Consequently, no control whatsoever was going to be available to Parliament: everything would be done outside this country; we should probably not know what happened, and certainly we should not have any real control over its effects. I do not object to this. It is the shape of things to come, and we cannot help it.


Hear, hear!


The noble Viscount is now going back to Balaclava days, but this is the shape of things to come, and it is what we are coming into, not only in military but also in economic and political matters. This is the new world. The noble Viscount does not like it, but we are coming into this now world and we have to adjust ourselves to it and set up sufficient Parliamentary organisations so that at least Parliamentarians will know what is happening in these organisations and will have some control—not control in the English sense, but controle in the French sense—over what happens.

At the Citizens' Convention it was suggested that the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference should develop into an Atlantic Assembly. The Foreign Secretary has given some reasons against this—and I must say that one or two of them are quite cogent. There is the very real question, which we in the British delegation considered fully, of the effect on other countries, say in Africa, of anything which is done by N.A.T.O. That is why the O.E.C.D., if it comes into operation, may be better able to do some things than the N.A.T.O. Assembly could. And there are one or two other matters to which the neutrals might object (I do not know whether the Foreign Secretary actually mentioned neutrals) because some of them do not care much for N.A.T.O. It is a little hard, considering that the neutrals and many of the African States have survived only because of N.A.T.O.; but that is the fact, however unrealistic and ungenerous it may be. If this is decided on eventually, then I suggest that it is all the more necessary to have a stronger Parliamentarians' Conference. I am the chairman of the Political Committee of the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference, and I know that we in the Committee and in the Conference feed that this would be a good thing to do and an important development of the Conference.

There are several other speakers to come and I do not want to take up more of your Lordships' time. I am sure that we all agree with the objective of the Citizens' Convention—namely, the creation of a true Atlantic Community. The Foreign Secretary agreed with that. His only real qualification, as I understood it, was whether it could be achieved within ten years; and I think that that will be the view of a great many of us, because we may wonder whether the ten years' limit might be a little short. However, if the Government are able to agree to set up the special Governmental Commission which was recommended in the Atlantic Convention, I think that all these points will then be considered. The Convention, in fact, does not ask the various Governments to make firm agreements on things at the moment. What it does ask them to do, and what I would ask the Foreign Secretary to do—I think it is quite reasonable—is to consider whether they can support the setting up of this special Governmental Commission, which would, as it were, look into many of these questions and put some body on the skeleton of the Report itself.

Once again, my Lords, I may say how grateful I am to the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, for his most stimulating speech, and also to the Foreign Secretary for having given such careful consideration to the Report and recommendations and for the ray of hope here and there which he gave us in the course of his speech.

4.27 p.m.


My Lords, I also had the honour of being a delegate at the N.A.T.O. Conference in Paris last November. In the past I have attended a number of these conferences in their early days and I was astonished at the progress that has been made with the Conference organisation since those days, and especially the N.A.T.O. Command generally. In the first place, I should like to mention some naval and marine matters which concerned this Conference. Comparatively little information was available at the Conference on naval and marine matters, and I suggested that the N.A.T.O. Commander-in- Chief of the North Atlantic Forces from Norfolk, Virginia, should attend the coming Conference this year; and I understand that has been agreed. I should like to ask the Government whether they are satisfied that our naval contribution to N.A.T.O. is sufficient for the stated requirements of the Supreme Allied Command in Europe. At these Conferences we hear a great deal about N.A.T.O. requirements, and in the words of General Norstad, we are entitled to learn from him how strong is the shield and also to hear from his responsible officers of the Alliance something of its progress and its various problems. If we are not satisfied with the progess reports and the equipment available, then I conceive it our duty as Parliamentarians and delegates to probe our respective Governments on these matters; and that is perhaps one of the objects of this debate to-day.

The Supreme Allied Commander has said that his force has recently gained strength; and this is quite true. It has gained strength in conventional weapons, and I believe, too, that the nuclear capability has improved. In fact, the effectiveness of the deployed force has been increased by 25 per cent. But General Norstad went on to use these words, which I think are of great importance: It clearly does not yet provide the strength needed to meet the requirements of the times. This is a very serious statement, and I should like to ask the Government what steps we are taking, together with other members of the Alliance, to improve the position. General Norstad drew our attention to the importance of providing an interval for decision before we are faced with the use of nuclear weapons; and this has already been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, to-day. The pause, General Norstad said, might mean minutes, hours or days—and I would add that it might well be months—while conventional weapons may still be in use.

The lifelines of Europe are across the Atlantic, and it is of the utmost importance that N.A.T.O. should be capable of defending them by sea and air power which would be vitally necessary in the early days of a war begun with conventional weapons, apart from the aftermath of a possible nuclear attack. I hope Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that N.A.T.O. is capable of carrying out this objective. General Norstad also said that it was his aim to provide a balanced force of conventional and atomic weapons, and it was suggested in some quarters that Britain had got her military priorities in this direction all wrong. Perhaps the noble Lord who is to reply for Her Majesty's Government would like to enlarge upon this point to-day. I understand that the Supreme Allied Command is anxious to maintain a balanced force composed of adequate conventional and nuclear elements, which will make it quite clear to the Soviet Government that any form of attack which they might choose to employ will be met effectively.

Many of your Lordships are no doubt aware of the recent establishment of a mobile force in N.A.T.O. This mobile force is not an increase in the overall strength of the Command in Europe but is drawn, I believe, from existing units on a multi-national basis. This mobile force will be capable of greatly reinforcing any threatened point within the N.A.T.O. area, and would seem to me to be a very great improvement in N.A.T.O. organisation and planning. At the present time the components of this force are drawn from the forces of, I think, only six nations deployed in the central region. It is hoped that all the N.A.T.O. nations will contribute to this force in the future, and I hope Her Majesty's Government will use every endeavour to persuade those remaining nations to put forward their contribution to the mobile force.

Your Lordships will recall that it was a threat to Berlin in 1948 which provided one of the major factors which caused the formation of the fifteen-nation N.A.T.O. Organisation. Now, of course. we have a similar threat. Berlin, I would say, is the symbol of a much larger issue: the Communist threat to peace and freedom of the people of Europe. I was very lucky and had an opportunity of visiting both West and East Berlin recently. In fact I am going to be there again next week. One's first impression of West Berlin is of a thriving city, and of a people proud of their post-war reconstruction, which I must say is very impressive indeed against the deplorable conditions which exist in East Berlin. I should like to suggest that it would be a great mistake to reduce or modify our strength in Europe should the Soviet relax pressure over Berlin because of our present firmness. It is a danger that the nations in N.A.T.O. must guard against, because I am quite sure that if the Berlin crisis declines a new danger will almost certainly break out elsewhere in Europe.

I think I should draw your Lordships' attention to two decisions at the Conference. It was decided that the difficult, but none the less important, question of the control of nuclear arms and also civil defence should be raised at a special spring meeting of the Military Committee of the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians. I wonder whether Her Majesty's Government have any information as to such a proposed meeting and whether it will take place. I should perhaps mention that the Supreme Allied Command, when referring to the deployment of the new mobile force, said that: adding atomic support units to the land force elements would not be automatic but would require in each instance a special decision by a proper authority. There is no doubt that this difficult problem of control of atomic weapons will and must be faced in the near future.

There is, of course, yet another important question which was shelved at the N.A.T.O. Conference this year, and that is the offer of the United States to supply N.A.T.O. with Polaris submarines. This matter will have to he considered very seriously by the allied members of N.A.T.O. It will certainly arise at the proposed spring meeting of the Military Committee which I have mentioned, or, if it is not held in the spring, it will certainly come up in the autumn of next year. No doubt all these difficult questions are in the mind of Her Majesty's Government, but I would suggest that they cannot be shelved indefinitely.

In conclusion, I would say that it is of vital importance that we do not also neglect the flank of N.A.T.O. Command, and I suggest that a global plan, if it is not already in existence—and I rather doubt whether it is—should be worked out with N.A.T.O. to cover this weakness in the defence organisation. There is no doubt that the Berlin crisis has had a tremendous vitalising effect on N.A.T.O. as a whole, and it has become yet a stronger shield in the defence of the Free World and should have our utmost support.

4.36 p.m.


My Lords, we all appreciate the clear exposition which the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, has given of the Paris Declaration for the creation of a true Atlantic Community. We have also been reminded that N.A.T.O. is primarily a military Alliance concerned with the security of Western Europe; and that is, of course, true. But it goes further in its aims and objects. Its aims have always been to establish a stable order, in which no man and no nation need fear for their existence, their liberty or their future, But I submit that that defence means more than the defence of any particular country faced with attack. There is also the duty to defend the minds of the peoples of uncommitted nations obtaining independence, struggling their way towards the light of a true way of living. Those minds have to be defended against subversive doctrines and the efforts towards enslavement. For those and other reasons I welcome the declaration for the creation of a true Atlantic Community, for the demonstration of what N.A.T.O. means, in its objects and in its forces, can be communicated to uncommitted nations only by the way the nations of the Alliance do our business and the way we live our lives.

It has been suggested by a number of noble Lords this afternoon that unity, even among the nations of the Alliance, is a difficult thing to preserve, not because of disunity with regard to disputes or antagonisms, but with regard to questions exercising the minds of particular nations in the Alliance. For instance, we have heard already from one noble Lord of the desire of the Federal Republic of Germany to obtain and control her own supply of nuclear weapons. That is understandable but the idea of any nation being allowed, or encouraged, to have, or not prevented from having, its own supply of nuclear weapons and control of them, would clearly be a danger to the peace of the world.

There is a further question at issue, on which a number of noble Lords have touched this afternoon, and that is the question of the use, or non-use, of the great nuclear weapons. It is the possession of these nuclear weapons that is disturbing the minds and hearts of people in every country in the world, and I submit not least the leaders of those nations which possess these nuclear weapons in great force. It is disturbing to feel that the use, or the refraining from use, of these weapons in an emergency rests in the responsibility, so we have been told this afternoon, of one man, the President of the United States; and it can be disturbing to a country which fears that it is about to be the object of armed aggression to be uncertain as to what effective support it is going to receive and whether that support will be in time.

For these reasons, my Lords, it seems to me that somewhere in this desire for the creation of a true Atlantic Community is the desire for a form of Government of N.A.T.O., (if that is the word for it) which can be set up to work out the relationships of tactical and strategic weapons and when and how the nuclear weapon should, as a last resort, be used. I am a great believer in N.A.T.O. We are thankful that under its shield the nations of the Alliance have come so much closer to being a community and that the future is much less dark than it was because of the ever-growing effective shield of the N.A.T.O. Forces. For these reasons, I am glad to support the Motion which stands in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne.

4.44 p.m.


My Lords, I think, unless the right reverend Prelate also was not one of them, that I am the first speaker in this debate who is not a "Distinguished Citizen in Paris." I think perhaps the Foreign Secretary automatically, ex-officio, qualifies as a Distinguished Citizen." I once attended a Distinguished Citizens' gathering of N.A.T.O. but then my noble friend Lord Listowel returned and I have not had another opportunity. It seems to me that these gatherings obviously in some way meet the purposes that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, was talking about, of achieving some form of Parliamentary knowledge and control over the activities of international bodies. And we certainly have had this advantage: that there have been a number of noble Lords—most of them have actually disappeared again so they cannot correct me on my interpretation of them—who have some knowledge of what is going on in N.A.T.O.; and we have had the advantage of a speech from the Foreign Secretary.

I might say that my very brief intervention today was intended primarily because I think it is important that we should all lend support to the Motion, lend support to N.A.T.O. and urge Governmental and Parliamentary support for it. I think it would have been too much to expect the Foreign Secretary to give much support for the proposals that came from the Convention. He told us that they were imaginative and far-reaching, and he told us that N.A.T.O. would give a good account of itself—at least, I think he told us that. He said he was not in favour of weighted voting. That is interesting, because I think that is what he was in favour of in the United Nations. But I do not want to spoil the harmony of this debate by emphasising that point. He said that from a military point of view we are steadily improving, and for this reason I think there is perhaps a lot to be said for leaving the military questions to the Service debates. I think he said that the Territorial Army could be rapidly embodied and could give added strength and support to our Forces in Germany. It is not so long ago that we were discussing this matter and coming to the conclusion that they would not be able to do that, and for that reason we were going to have some troops—I think they were called "Ever-readys"—who would be able to move rather quickly.


My Lords, as this is important, I think it should be put right. I said that in the event of an emergency we could embody the Territorial Army and call up the reserves, and the reserves could get to Germany very quickly.


That, I am told, is precisely what we should not be able to do in the event of a real emergency. I do not want to pursue this matter too hard now, because it does go into technical Service questions. It is the difficulty of rapid reinforcement and embodiment if we are confronted with a really urgent emergency that makes our position and our own contribution in N.A.T.O. from a defence point of view not as good as we should like to see it. It has been the subject of criticism and it is not my purpose to criticise it heavily today. I am sorry if I have been unfair to the Foreign Secretary, but this is a point of importance. However, we shall be going into it in Service debates.

My Lords, what we have not yet heard, I think, from the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, or from the other noble Lords Who have been speaking—as I say, as the Distinguished Citizens' Convention representatives is sufficient detail of the changing circumstances that have led to the proposals for new machinery. It is very difficult for us to follow. This is no reflection on noble Lords who have spoken on this subject, but we are talking about creating new institutions, new machinery, and the Foreign Secretary, very wisely, said that he hoped we were not going to create new machinery just for its own sake. He was at pains to say he would never accuse such a distinguished gathering of such an error, while clearly, in fact, indicating, or at least raising the possibility, that they might do so.

I should like to look briefly at the circumstances which I think are new. I had rather hoped that the Foreign Secretary would have gone at greater length into this matter. It seems to me that the main Change, perhaps the most important change, in the situation is the achieving of nuclear parity between East and West. Whether there is complete parity or not I do not know, but N.A.T.O. was originally set up under conditions in which there was overwhelming nuclear supremacy on the part of the West. This has changed and has led to a good deal of confusion everywhere. It has led to confusion in our own national defence policy. I am not blaming the Government for it, because at the time I was wholeheartedly in support of the defence policy in which we should now like to see changes.

That seems to be the main point, and the second one is the immensely greater strength, politically speaking, of the nations who now make up N.A.T.O. It is no longer, I will not say a front organisation, but an organisation of the British and Americans and the French, with Germany and Italy coming in without military forces. Now they are powerful members of N.A.T.O., and although the smaller countries have always made an important contribution the rather greater British position in N.A.T.O. that was sustained is, I believe, getting less. I think we must accept it, and we accept it against the very curious factor that the American contribution still remains, despite the greatly strengthened prosperity of Europe, out of all proportion to what we and Europe are doing.

It is a surprising factor—the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, pointed this out—that the Americans have acted much more quickly and much more powerfully. There may be reasons for it, but they are able to produce not only the technical resources and the greater part of the nuclear deterrent but also men, as well as the equipment. Yet I think the United States, who frequently come under criticism from us, have shown really surprising restraint in their dealings; and I am wondering how far we ourselves can make a bigger contribution, not merely in military terms but in building up stronger N.A.T.O. institutions which will not be irrelevant and will not make the situation more confused than it is already. We are confronted by a most confusing situation with all these national institutions.

There is one particular point I should like to make, and this is, I think, something in which the Government could do more towards strengthening N.A.T.O. I believe that in certain matters, whether it be Berlin or other matters of international consultation, we should try to operate more through N.A.T.O. than perhaps we do. This is a matter which obviously I know practically nothing about as compared with the Foreign Secretary; but suppose a crisis like Berlin blows up, immediately large numbers of bodies all start thinking about it at different levels. Telegrams go out from the Foreign Office not merely to our Ambassadors but presumably to our representatives on all these bodies, the standing committees, the N.A.T.O. councils, and so on. I am wondering whether we should strengthen our representation on the N.A.T.O. Council, if the Governments as a whole were prepared to do so, if we were prepared to put on it (and this is no reflection whatsoever on the distinguished diplomats and others who represent us there) somebody more comparable to the Foreign Secretary's alter ego, Mr. Heath—someone who in fact more directly represents the Government. I think it is in our basic philosophy in regard to these N.A.T.O. institutions that we need clarification, rather than necessarily in the admirable institutions that the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, has provided.

A major problem in these next years, a problem that confronts us not merely in international affairs but in management, in Government, and in other things, is obviously going to be to try to harmonise the ever-increasing multiplicity of institutions and also to try to make such provision as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said for some degree of democratic control. If we fail to harmonise them, then we shall get only a lot of frustrated people and possibly frustrated countries who will say, "To hell with all this! At this point we will follow our national line".

Nobody, I am sure, is more aware of this than the Foreign Secretary himself, but I should like to suggest that this is a matter on which the Atlantic Institute, which is perhaps already doing research of this kind, has a role to play. This is an opportunity for not only political scientists but also psychologists, the sort of people who work in industry and industrial relations, to see how these institutions can be harmonised. I should like to see at this stage more groundwork and investigation of this kind done rather than the passing of resolutions. It is not just out of jealousy because I was not a Distinguished Citizen myself this year that I make these remarks, but listening to the debate, and having had the advantage or disadvantage of not being present at the Convention, I feel we have to be careful.

We are agreed in our support for N.A.T.O. and the importance of the work it is doing. Furthermore, we can all be extremely proud that it has been so successful. From time to time we hear people telling almost horror tales about how terrible, things are at N.A.T.O. Obviously, things go wrong from time to time, but, none the less, I think the organisation is something of which we can be well satisfied. We should maintain good public relations of the kind this debate provides to explain the purposes of N.A.T.O., and we should, within reason, although I am cautious about this, pursue a policy with regard to the Atlantic Community of hoping it will not come too heavily into conflict with the European Economic Community.

Having said all that, I hope we shall not be led into too much political institution-mongering and will remember that N.A.T.O. was primarily a military alliance, and that the important factor is that the Supreme Commander should have clear instructions. It is in this field that now and again we have expressed anxiety; it is in regard to his position in the matter of nuclear weapons or tactical nuclear weapons that the position has not always been clear. It is the danger that he may have too much freedom; it is equally the danger that he may not have the opportunity and the real scope to do what, as Supreme Commander, he must do. We have been very fortunate these last few years in the Supreme Commander in N.A.T.O., and I hope that we shall see the Government continuing to give support, as I am sure they will do, and that they will also perhaps encourage some further investigation and research into the matters that the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, proposed.

4.57 p.m.


My Lords, I was very happy that in opening the debate the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, referred to the Atlantic Institute and the fact that the noble Baroness, Lady Elliot of Harwood, and I are members of the governing body of the Institute. I myself was elected to the Political Committee when I retired from Paris one and a half years ago, and in that capacity I have been over there quite often in the last year and have made suggestions as to how the Institute might proceed. We were handicapped by the fact that it had little or no money at that time and by the even greater disadvantage that it had not a Director General. But now, happily, it has a certain amount of money, quite enough to carry on with, thanks to the generosity of certain institutions in America and thanks to contributions from Europe. The contributions from Europe as a whole are about the same as the contributions from America. Finally, we have elected Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge as Director General.

He is a man of great energy and brilliance and has the advantage, amongst other things, rare among statesmen of Anglo-Saxon countries, including this one, of being able to rise to his feet at a moment's notice and make a wonderful speech in perfect French on any subject. He is collecting a small but high-powered staff, and is having, he tells me, considerable success. They have an adequate building, and he is starting up the sort of studies which have been approved by the Policy Committee and on which a good deal of spadework has already been done. I think that in the studies and investigations the kind of questions proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, will come up; and that is just the sort of thing the Institute could do. In addition to being another kind of centralising element for "Chatham Houses" all over the Western world, I think it may really fulfil quite an important function in what is called our Atlantic Community. I am sure it will also brood over the tremendous problems posed by the organisation of the Atlantic Community which have come out in the Declaration of Paris and from the Distinguished Citizens, who were responsible for it.

I should like to confine my brief remarks this afternoon to that particular document, the Declaration of Paris. Of course we here are all in favour of the Atlantic Community, in the sense of encouraging greater unity between the states of North America and Europe generally, but I must say that I see a little danger in pushing the idea of a definite organic union of the North Atlantic nations at this particular moment of time because that is a different thing. In particular, I think that there are certain obscurities, and indeed difficulties, arising out of the Declaration of Paris which will certainly have to be cleared up by the Governments when they investigate this problem, as no doubt they will. The difficulties in any examination of them (I hope to make a short examination) will be seen to be really formidable—far more formidable than any of the difficulties confronting us in coming into Europe, great though of course those are.

The first thing, which I think has not been mentioned this afternoon, is the question of who is going to be in the show—the question of membership. The Declaration, which I have here, refers to the "Atlantic peoples". Then it refers to the "Atlantic Community". It never actually says who the "Atlantic peoples" will be. Of course we know, in a broad and general way, who they might be. The most sensible definition seems to me to be the countries represented in O.E.C.D.; that is to say, North America and all the Western European States. That is probably what we mean, and that is probably what it will come down to. But that is not said.

If we take "Atlantic", or even "North Atlantic", literally, what is to exclude Mexico or Cuba, or even Ghana? They might indicate that they wish to come in because they are North Atlantic countries. If you state "Atlantic", what is to prevent all the States of South America from coming in and all of the African States south of the Equator? If you get to that stage, why should you have some South American States and not others, and why not all the African States? If we reach that point we have the whole Free World. Then we shall have a council of the Free World. if one is thinking in terms of membership this is a real difficulty.

Recommendation 7 has been referred to. That recommendation says that it welcomes the development, progress and prospective expansion of the European economic institutions". and says that all this should be the basis of an Atlantic Economic Community, open to other nations of the free world. Apparently there Should be a political organism of some kind. And then you have an economic side, and on that economic side you admit almost all the nations of the Free World. We are going right outside the Atlantic sphere if we do that. How can you, organise it? You can have some kind of association of other nations of the Free World with the Atlantic Community, bat this actually speaks of membership of other nations. It is then not strictly an Atlantic Community. In other words, if you are going to have other nations in, that affects the machinery.

So we come on to the machinery. We all know that it includes a High Council of Prime Ministers. I entirely agree that there is nothing really original in that: there is a High Council of Prime Ministers in N.A.T.O. now. In a sense they nave to delegate their authority, but there they are. Then, there is to be a Consultative Assembly, partially elected and partially designated, which I believe would also have power, the revolutionary power, to co-opt some of its members itself. It would therefore be self-perpetuating. I do not know whom it will co-opt—I suppose other distinguished citizens. But that is an important point.

Both in the Council and in the Assembly there will be a system of weighted voting. If that is to be taken literally, of course, that means that this organism will be federal; it will be an entity, a State. The weight will apply not only to economic matters but also to political and defence matters, which is of grave importance.


My Lords, on this point may I ask the noble Lord whether he heard my quotation from Mr. Stikker, who proposed weighted voting, even on a question of the use of nuclear weapons?


That makes it all the more formidable as a conception.


It would apply now, under the present organisation.


The noble Lord means that if Mr. Stikker had his way we should have a united Community now? I dare say; but I do not myself think that is likely. It is conceivable, of course; it depends on what kind of weighted voting there is, and how it is organised. In any case, I suggest that this is a real difficulty.

We have, of course, accepted the principle in Europe. If we go into the European Community we shall accept weighted voting. For the time being it is to be only for economics, although, of course, there may be weighted voting for politics later. Taking it literally, one comes straight up against the obvious consideration: that, on any showing, whether the vote is based on gross national product or on population, or on almost any other consideration, the votes of the United States will equal, if not predominate over, the votes of all the European nations put together. That is something which will have to be taken into consideration. It is not like the situation in Europe, where there are four or five big Powers all approximately equal, and a number of smaller Powers, the weight of whose votes can be more or less indicated in advance. In America, unless the European Community is formed first, it will be extremely difficult to get the new organisation going in any practical way.

Then there is this elementary consideration. If you can get agreement on such a far-reaching organisation you have to decide where the centre is to be. That is not a silly point. Everything depends on that. Is it going to be in Brussels? Is it to be in Washington? Could it be in Bermuda? The whole conception is affected in considering where the centre is to be. I do not think we have yet reached the stage where we can consider putting the centre anywhere. It may come in five or ten years' time—I do not say that it will not. This is the kind of consideration to which thought must be given.

As a general conception (and I am not sure that the citizens faced this question), is it going to be based on N.A.T.O. or not? I rather think that the Foreign Secretary said it was to be so based. But, if so, what happens to O.E.C.D.? Possibly the solution for O.E.C.D. would be for it to have an Assembly of its own, because clearly, if it is based on N.A.T.O., the neutrals in O.E.C.D. would not come in, for obvious reasons. But then you have yet another Assembly. I do not know how many there are already, but you will have here yet another one composed of practically the same people, minus the Swedes and other neutrals. Again, that is a consideration which does not seem to have been faced. Again, if it is based on N.A.T.O. it may diminish the powers of O.E.C.D., which, to my mind, on the whole, is most effective in the long run as a basis for building up an Atlantic Community.

As a general observation, and in conclusion, my Lords, it seems obvious to me, and I should hope to some other people, that the great thing to do now is to go ahead as fast as we can with our negotiations with the Six. If these do not succeed—and after all they may not succeed—can it really be thought that we shall make any quick progress with an Atlantic Community? Clearly, failure would put back the idea of an Atlantic Community. If we cannot associate ourselves with Western Europe, how are we going to form ourselves into a great Western World? The thing does not arise. If, on the other hand, the negotiations are successful, there will be some firm basis for constructing the Community together with O.E.C.D.— some marriage of the industrial conglomerations on both sides of the Atlantic.

But, before such success is achieved, it is almost impossible to think about this matter in a concrete way. I believe that there is a danger that the people who are opposed on general grounds to our going into Europe—and in this country they are comparatively numerous—may seize on this idea of an Atlantic Community in order to deflect popular emotion away from the idea of joining Europe. They would say that in modern world conditions it is absurd to form such a small unit as a European one; that what is needed is a more grandiose conception, a more magnificent attitude; at least an Atlantic Community, but preferably a Union of the Free World in face of the danger of Bolshevism? My Lords, I feel that such an attitude would be putting the clock back, and that is a real risk which we should at least consider. To put it in a nutshell, if the hounds go charging off after this Atlantic hare they may well find that it is an electric one, and, even if they do get back on to the line again, thanks to the unfailing energy and efforts of the Foreign Secretary, it is quite possible that the original hare might be lost. And that, my Lords, would be a tragedy.

5.14 p.m.


My Lords, it was a matter of some relief to me to listen to the speech of the noble Lord who has just resumed his seat, since other speakers in the debate so far have not touched on the question of the membership of N.A.T.O., and I feel that the noble Lord, although he has made no specific recommendations, was thinking along the lines of possibly enlarged membership of this Organisation, or at least of an Organisation of wider scope in due course. I was therefore very relieved to hear what he had to say.

My own small qualifications for speaking in this debate are that I have attended three times in the last five years the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference sitting in Paris—a very interesting experience. I started under the benign and kindly guidance of the late Colonel Walter Elliot, and it is a great pleasure to all of us to see that Lady Elliot of Harwood will be addressing us later. Then, later on, the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, took over, and he again led us with firmness, kindness and great sagacity in those meetings, for which I was always grateful.

My Lords, the Foreign Secretary has already said, as has the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, that N.A.T.O. is primarily a military Alliance. Therefore, if I may confine my few remarks to the purely strategic aspects of this Organisation I would feel happier since it is on that side that I am a little better qualified to speak than on other aspects of N.A.T.O. Before going on I should like to say—and perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, will be sympathetic to this point of view—that in the Military Committee in Paris I would have thought there is rather a dearth among the members of the British delegation of people who really have very much military knowledge (in which, of course, I include naval and air) except for the Chairman, Brigadier Sir Otho Prior-Palmer, of another place, who is most hardworking and competent. But, apart from him, I have noticed a paucity of experience where the Military Committee is concerned.

When one compares our membership with that of other countries, for instance, France, one finds that the French Committee has no less a person than General Bethouart, late Military Governor in Vienna; the Germans have Admiral Heye, lately the Commander of the Black Sea fleet; the Dutch have General Couzy, a young and brilliant officer, and so on. The House of Lords includes in its ranks a number of highly qualified and experienced senior officers in all three services, and they are not all so old. Admittedly a few of the Admirals of the Fleet may be a little old, and we have one or two Field Marshals who are no longer young, but some are by no means old. The noble Lord, Lord Harding of Pethertòn, is one, and there are others whom one feels would add very great lustre to our deputation in Paris at the Parliamentarians' Conference. I am sure they would be welcome, and I am sure that their very great experience would be very useful indeed to our deliberations there.

Between conferences I have kept in touch with senior officers—and I mean senior officers, no longer being very young myself—of the different Services, and they seem to me more or less unanimous on the advisability of extending the area of N.A.T.O. activities and, if necessary, the membership.

Perhaps I may make one or two very short quotations to support this view. A year or two ago one of the members of the French delegation, Monsieur Pisani, of the Assemblé Nationale, a young and extremely brilliant young man, said N.A.T.O. must adapt itself to new conditions of world strategy, tackle new problems, and cover areas forbidden to it at the present time". Dr. Jeager of Germany said: It is necessary to assess whether N.A.T.O. is able in its present form to cope with tasks which differ largely from those with which we were confronted ten years ago". The leader of the Turkish delegation, Colonel Alpkartal, said: There is need for strengthening N.A.T.O. solidarity in other sectors than those originally foreseen in the N.A.T.O. Treaty". Admiral Heye of Germany said: Only increased co-operation within N.A.T.O. and an expansion of this co-operation beyond the present area of common defence will guarantee maintenance of freedom". And, finally, Senator Lyndon Johnston, when opening the Conference in Paris last year, said: We, the people of the North Atlantic Community, can, and we must, together enlarge the community of joint purposes to include new neighbourhoods of the world. This work requires new and great courage among our Parliaments. It requires the courage to be concerned with new constituencies of the world without regard to the barriers of tradition, without regard to the bitterness of old memories, and without regard to differences of faith or faces. This is not the work of one nation or of a few nations. This is the work of all nations working together to maintain freedom in the world. It is work that must be done". I make those quotations merely to show that this has been over the years the theme: we could not merely sit back on this matter as it is at present constituted and say "Oh, it's good enough and must be made to work as it is."

I discussed this matter with one of the members of our delegation, a former Cabinet Minister in the Labour Government. He said to me: "That is all very well for people like yourself in the House of Lords. You have no constituents to worry about. It takes me all my time to sell this idea of N.A.T.O. to my constituents, in any case." He went on to say: "If you are going to start talking about new members and expansion of its influence, I shall have very great difficulty. I have enough trouble as it is." I asked him how his constituents had reacted at the time of the inclusion of Turkey and Greece in 1952, and of Western Germany in 1955. Being an honest man he admitted that his constituents failed to observe their inclusion at all. That being so, I think that we can reasonably look forward to electing perhaps one or two more countries, provided, of course, that they will be helpful.

As the Charter stands at the moment, as your Lordships are aware, Article 10 states categorically that all decisions shall be unanimous. But I wonder whether that is not a very dangerous system. For many years, if a man wanted to become a member of a London club, he came up for election, and one ill-disposed person could drop one little black ball into the "No" hole, and the would-be member was out. After a long time it was decided that this system was too dangerous altogether, as an ill-disposed person could quite easily keep out a man who was, in fact, a perfectly desirable candidate. I believe that to-day no club has that system any longer. I believe that there must always be a certain proportion of those voting in order to exclude, and I believe that that principle is not only sound but democratic. Unfortunately, that does not obtain in the Charter of N.A.T.O. As things stand at the moment, it would be possible for a project sponsored by, shall we say, the Big Six—which in this case means the United States, ourselves, Canada, France, Western Germany and Italy—to be baulked by, say, Iceland or Luxembourg. Under the present constitution that could be done, and one rather wonders whether that would be a very desirable state of affairs.

I would remind your Lordships how the present voting strength of delegations at the Parliamentarians' Conference is composed. The U.S.A. has 36 votes; the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy have 18 each; Canada has 12; Turkey has 10; Belgium, Greece and the Netherlands have 7 each; Denmark, Norway and Portugal 5 each, and Iceland and Luxembourg 3 each. I think that that shows a much more sensible approach altogether, because there the voting strength is in some relation to the contribution of the members. Therefore, my Lords, I am going to ask Her Majesty's Government not to hide behind Article 10 of the Charter, and to consider the advisability of instructing their ambassador to N.A.T.O. to initiate inquiries among his colleagues to ascertain what would be the reactions of their respective Governments to the extension of invitations to the Republic of Ireland and Spain. I should like to go into a little more detail on this matter before I end—and I am quite determined not to be led off into a discussion on ideologies, and all the rest of it. We have had that question here before, but it is not the object of this debate, so your Lordships will not want your time taken up thereby. I shall confine my few remaining remarks to the strategic advantages to be gained by following up such a proposition.

One has only to look at the map to see that the situation of Ireland, to the extreme west of the whole organisation, gives it a special position. The Organisation is called an Atlantic Organisation, yet we have Greece and Turkey in it—though admittedly the exact nomenclature of an organisation is not the whole story. Nevertheless, if Turkey and Greece are of strategic importance to the Organisation, I should have thought that, looking down the Atlantic seaboard it would be possible to find countries of similar importance.

Taking Ireland, in the South there is Cobh, formerly Queenstown (I say that for the benefit of your Lordships who are not aware of this change), which was given back to Ireland in 1938 in exchange for certain things, when Mr. Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister. Cobh has probably the finest inland anchorage in the world, certainly in Europe; and it is a fact that the Admiralty will tell you now that, had it been available for the use of our destroyers during the last war, the sinkings on the Atlantic convoy routes would have been incomparably less than they were. I do not think there is any need even to argue that matter, because I know that it is so. I have statistics and figures, but they are boring at this time of the evening, so I will only assure you that that was the view held by the Admiralty then, and it is certainly the view held now, as I am sure the First Lord will agree. Cobh can take ships of any tonnage, to say nothing of submarines. The old naval base of Hawlbowline, in Cobh harbour, still exists and is in excellent order. At the moment it is the property of an oil company, but there would be no difficulty in putting it back into its previous condition.

Then, of course, there is the great airfield at Shannon, the furthest West of any airfield or airport in Europe. Its potentiality for expansion is enormous, unlimited, and incomparably greater than anything which exists in Northern Ireland. The little civilian airport at Nutt's Corner is small and not good and Aldegrove is little better. But Shannon is capable of indefinite expansion. Moreover, it is a very long way from any agglomeration of population, whereas the others are very near Belfast, of course. Then there is the projected Shannon deep-sea port, which, if developed, will take tankers of 100,000 tons and more into the Shannon, which in times of war might be of enormous importance and value and, again, would be situated to the extreme West of the whole N.A.T.O. set-up.

Before leaving that particular point, I should like to make it clear that I have no idea of the reception such a proposal would receive from the Irish Government. I do not stand here as an envoy of Mr. Lemass by any manner or means. I have never discussed it with him. But one cannot help feeling that some of the objections which were raised at one time, regarding the border and so on, must surely dwindle away into insignificance if Ireland follows us, as it eventually must, into the Common Market, when that border will soon dwindle away and cease to be. If that is so, my Lords, then one cannot help feeling that some of the doubts which have been expressed on that score will also go.

Finally, my Lords, I come to Spain. I hesitate to mention the question of Spain again. I have done it before, and I know that noble Lords seated on my left have never liked it very much. But I am sure that this evening they will give me credit for quite sincerely putting forward what I am putting forward on the strategic side, and nothing else. I have no idea whether the Spanish Government would welcome the proposal to join N.A.T.O. I believe that they feel their defence requirements are adequately met as it is, with their treaties with Portugal and the United States of America. But I am not interested in whether their Government are quite happy about their defence; I am interested in whether we are satisfied. That is much more important to me, and I hope to all of us. One wonders whether there is not here a gap which might be filled successfully, to our great advantage.

The point of my remarks here is that some of your Lordships may not be aware that the existing Agreement or Defence Pact between the United States and Spain expires next year. This is a matter of very great importance, my Lords, very great importance indeed. It comes up next year for either renewal or, at any rate, review, and all the forces who do not want to see it renewed are starting to build up now. From every side they are trying to make an impression, building up trouble, to try and stop this defence agreement being renewed. In my view, it could be disastrous if these forces were successful.

My Lords, is not this next twelve months, therefore, the right moment, perhaps, to bury the hatchet and to try and bring Spain into the defence of the West? Many—perhaps I should say "several"; I do not want to exaggerate—very senior Service officers whom I know will welcome her inclusion, especially those in the Royal Navy, Your Lordships will have seen that in the last few weeks combined exercises have been carried out from Malta. There were photographs in the Press of ships of the Spanish Navy in Grand Harbour in Malta; and these are not the first exercises, I understand, which have been carried out. Similarly, under such circumstances as I have described, the Royal Air Force would be able to use the American bases in Spain, which at the moment they cannot use. Surely, if one were a very senior N.A.T.O. air force commander, with his responsibilities, one would be happier about that. Then, if for no other reason, my Lords, new blood always infuses enthusiasm into an organisation, which can otherwise become a little smug and too set.

The election of a new member can very often shake up a organisation, and point out certain defects and gaps which were not quite obvious before. I ask not to become involved in the ideologies of this particular thing; I would really rather not, and I am sure your Lordships do not want to, either. But if the noble Lord who is to answer for Her Majesty's Government cannot agree, anyway, not this evening, to the giving of such instructions to their Ambassador, would he at least call for a study, or perhaps an appreciation, from the Department of his right honourable friend the Minister of Defence on the lines which I have indicated.

5.33 p.m.


My Lords, although I was one of the citizens at the recent meetings of the Convention in Paris, I do not feel myself competent to answer all the questions posed by the noble Lord, Lard Gladwyn. I should like to start by speaking in wholehearted support of the Motion set down by the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, and by endorsing what the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has already said concerning Lord Crathorne's admirable leadership of the British team. Lord Ogmore has referred to our visit to S.H.A.P.E., and to an address given to us by General Norstad. If I could speak for a few moments about it, I would say that this visit was of particular interest to me, because almost ten years ago exactly I was one of the first British officers to arrive at S.H.A.P.E., when it was in the process of formation at the Astoria Hotel in Paris, and when General Eisenhower (as he then was) had just been appointed Supreme Commander. I was one of those concerned with the job of trying to design the International Integrated Staff from the original twelve member countries. The difficulties were considerable, and sometimes one wondered whether one was ever going to get everyone to agree on some relatively small matter; but the result that is now working at the international headquarters outside Paris, and which has in fact been working smoothly for several years, proves that, provided member countries can give and take and not grind their own personal or national axes, an organisation composed of many nations can be made to function harmoniously.

General Norstad addressed us all, as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has said, quite "off the record" for about an hour. and I think I can say that every delegate who was present at General Norstad's briefing was most impressed with him personally and was very heartened to see the way in which S.H.A.P.E. is running at the present time.

My Lords, S.H.A.P.E. is concerned, or should be concerned, only with Service and defence matters. We in Paris, as the citizens at these meetings, were concerned more with the furtherance of Article II, which has been tackled at rather a more leisurely speed than has the defence aspect since the formation of S.H.A.P.E. ten years ago. There are several things that impressed me as a delegate in Paris very much indeed. First, our American friends had done a very great deal of preparatory work, and were quite determined to make the meetings successful. All member countries were quite rightly very grateful to them for the hard work they had put in. Secondly, with virtually no exceptions, delegates wished to contribute their ideas without pressing a national or a sectional point of view. Lastly, everybody was trying to produce something workable and constructive at the end, if possible. In fact, everyone was trying to give of his or her best, and it was most heartening to be a member of the British delegation.

My noble friend Lord Crathorne has fully covered our political and economic recommendations, and as I was concerned mainly for some days with cultural matters, I should like to speak on these matters for a few moments a little later. My noble friend the Foreign Secretary has already mentioned the numerous international organisations which are in being, and I think we were all quite clear in our own minds that we did not wish to recommend a new organisation unless it was absolutely necessary. In fact, it was not until I got to Paris that I learned of the setting up of the Atlantic Institute in November of last year. I was therefore very glad to learn something about the activities of this Institute while in Paris, and also to learn more about it from the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, this afternoon.

In formulating our ideas, we on the sub-committee with which I was primarily concerned realised that cultural recommendations must go hand in hand with political and economic recommendations, and that any existing organisation which it might be recommended should be enlarged or any new organisation proposed for closer political and economic integration, should preferably include elements capable of handling moral and cultural matters. After considerable debate in Paris, we reached the conclusion that a major obstacle to the furtherance of a real Atlantic Community is that of language, and therefore in mentalities and the different ways in which peoples and countries think. We felt that this harrier is particularly prejudicial at the present time to that scientific co-operalion on which our Western potential depends.

Whatever organisation may evolve, or whatever organisation it may finally be decided to extend (such as the strengthening of the North Atlantic Council, which is now in being), in our view it should contain from member countries high-level representation of education, scientific affairs, universities and scientific research organisations. It should have the object of organising what we in Paris called (possibly using rather grand words) an Atlantic Plan for Youth, with the aim of furthering the study of languages and the exchange of students, teachers and youth leaders.

We also proposed a programme of scientific co-operation among scientists and scientific institutions of the whole Community—and when I use the word "Community", I mean the Community of N.A.T.O. It was brought out in our discussions that many categories of students in a given member country at the present time cannot be exchanged for study in another country without prejudicing their degree in their own country. We hope in due time to see this anomaly abolished, so that a student may be able to take his degree in another country and then return to his own country to practise. We also hope to see exchanges of that sort extended to cover teachers and research workers. In many member countries at the present time it is not possible for exchanges of this sort to take place, because the individual would either lose his job or his pension. We felt that exchanges of this sort would broaden the individual's horizon and knowledge. We also hope to see exchanges between universities facilitated.

Now, my Lords, dealing lastly with our recommendations on the aspect of scientific co-operation, I would mention that a very interesting matter was brought out by Dr. Brandt, who is the West German Secretary of State for Labour and Public Works. He advised us that at the present time many thousands of people are employed in Russia on the job of translating all Western scientific documents of any consequence. There is no two-way traffic in this at all, and there is at the present time no centralised system in the West for translating our scientific documents, into the other major Western languages. Dr. Brandt told me that he was going to advocate to Government that the Federal Republic of Germany should devote funds to doing translations of this sort now; but he agreed with me that it would be far preferable if a centralised system could ultimately be evolved within N.A.T.O.; and that was one of our recommendations.

My Lords, other speakers are to follow me, but I should like to conclude by drawing your Lordships' attention to recent American thinking. President Kennedy, in his Message to Congress on Thursday last, linked the future of American leadership with success in establishing liberal trade between the United States and the growing Common Market in Europe, and this has already been referred to by many of your Lordships this afternoon. Senator Fulbright, in a recent issue of Foreign Affairs, which I am quoting from Professor George Catlin's article in the Daily Telegraph last week, said: It may well be that unification of Europe will prove inadequate, and that the survival of free society will require nothing less than the confederation of the entire Western world. The Americans are now fully aware of the menace which confronts the Western world, and I am sure that Her Majesty's Government will continue to support and strengthen N.A.T.O., particularly now that the United Nations Organisation is in such difficulties.

5.44 p.m.


My Lords, it is now abundantly clear to me that I am quite inadequately equipped to talk as technically as other noble Lords have done, but the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, who knows my limitations, will not mistake any seemingly cynical or flippant remarks which I may make for a lack of seriousness or of admiration for the great work which he is doing for N.A.T.O. and for all of us. I am therefore forced to confine myself to very broad generalities, and rather heterodox ones, perhaps, on die origins of N.A.T.O. and its unhappy parent, U.N.O. The burden of my remarks will be cautionary rather than constructive.

When I came the other day to read the list of the 104 member States of U.N.O., I am ashamed to say that there were at least four I had never heard of; but I like to think that to be au fait with the latest jargon and details is less material than to try to look back and forth on the diverse ways of men themselves. For, after all, the ways of men are politics. However, I assure your Lordships that, whatever the direction of the wind of change, I do "know a hawk from a handsaw", and never confuse N.A.T.O. with Tito, or U.N.O. and U Thant with Union Miniere. My thoughts very often turn back to the problems of the years between the wars, so similar in so many ways to those which face us in other forms to-day. I made it my task a few years ago to read through, and make notes upon, all the debates in the other place between the years 1932 and 1937, and also many of the greater platform speeches all on foreign affairs and defence. I have also read a number of books on the subject by historians and politicians, and others, containing the normal compound of truths, half-truths and untruths. Taken together, my Lords, these two courses of reading have been most instructive.

We are asked to-day to show our support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; and this, of course, we should all do, for it is of the most vital importance imaginable. My first thought, however, is that treaties, like marriages, have so often been dishonoured in the past that one should nurse no extravagant hopes for them in the present. I am tempted to suggest that treaties should be divided into two classes to begin with: those that are meant to endure; and those which, on one side or both, are not. Non-aggression or neutrality pacts at once leap to the mind as examples of the latter. I have confidence in N A.T.O., because its spirit is genuine, its need is absolute, its purpose more or less definitive; and, what is more, it seems to work—so far. How long it, or the need for it, will last, or whether it will go the way of the Locarno Pact, an equally reputable Treaty, one dare not guess.

I can remember watching the signing in the Foreign Office of the Locarno Pact in 1925—at least, like George IV, who always imagined that he had led the Household Troops at Salamanca, I am pretty sure that I was there. And I remember the banquet at 10, Downing Street—I know I was at that—and the general feeling of jubilation which there was at the time at having secured the peace of Western Europe, as I think King George V says in Harold Nicol-son's book, perhaps for ever. In such Agreements it is very difficult to put your finger on the weak spots until it is too late. Then, after the catastrophe, they look so obvious. How important it is not to overpitch one's hopes and strenuously to avoid any false hypotheses, if, as I say, one can only detect them in time.

Looking back upon the treaties which have fallen apart during the lifetimes of most of us, we may well wonder whether it was wise to set such store upon their permanence. In moods of disillusionment one is prompted to ask whether so many treaties are necessary; whether they do not often generate more dangers than they avert; and why we make them if we break them. One reason may be that, like Statutes, there are too many of them: their lines get tangled. Discordant pledges are made and the signatories soon find themselves faced with the choice between national peril and national perjury. "Perjury" is an ugly word, but one meaning of it is the breaking of one's oath. Now even the Anglo-Portuguese Treaties, which we had always understood to be among the most beautiful known to the diplomatic world—even they do not bear looking at too closely. We seem to be over-pledged again. Be this as it may, one of the reasons why I feel there is more hope for the success of N.A.T.O. than I do, for instance, for a more ambitious type of peace preserver like the United Nations is just because it is more modest. The essence of both is the maintenance of international peace and security—enough to go on with, certainly—but what I like about N.A.T.O. is that there is not quite so great a dependence on so many people's good will.

Between the wars a fatally useless phrase used to drone through public speeches, to the effect that, given good will, there was no reason to doubt that all would turn out well. This is not the time for me to expound my theory of why the people imagine this vain thing, but long ago I read something by an acute American woman, who said that if everyone meant to do it, then most of the world's international disputes could be settled in a couple of hours on a park bench. In other words, it goes without saying and therefore it is not worth saying. No one can take exception to N.A.T.O.'s professed desire to maintain peace and security, but everything rests on the foundation and the method; and it is significant, I think, that the creation of N.A.T.O. was made necessary by the earlier failure of the superior body of the United Nations to live up to the hopes of its founders. And what were those hopes based on but the same major assumption of 1919 —our ghostly old friend, international good will?

We ought not to forget the circumstances nor fail to take sharp note of any avoidable lack of discernment when the Charter came into being. At the risk of political blasphemy, I will explain. We all ought now and then to look at the record, even if it means a few minutes lost from the stop press news. It is much more profitable in the long run, too. One of the paragraphs introducing the Articles in the Charter of 1945 speaks of the determination to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties"— mark those words, "the obligations arising from treaties"— and other sources of international law can be maintained. Inexperienced as the Americans may have been in the complexities of European democracy, it must be supposed that all the civilised world knew of the Russo-German Ten-year Non-aggression pact of 1939, which lasted something under two years; of the Russian invasion of Finland in the same year; of the Russian occupation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 1940, and—this is the pertinent one—of the Russo-Japanese Five-Year Neutrality Pact of 1941. If we were to let morality intrude—that ambiguous quality which so bitterly excites the English in their discussions of international affairs—then it appears to me unlucky, to put it no lower, that just about the time when the virtuous utterances of the Charter were being shaped as the standard of a distracted world, the two Western leaders were consulting with the Russian leader as to the most convenient moment for him to break his treaty with the Japanese and spring upon their back, even as Mussolini had done, by leave of Hitler, to the ruined French in 1940. In fact that usually unaccommodating Bolshevik had, two years before, at Tehran, as Sir Winston Churchill says in his book, given a "solemn undertaking" that Russia would enter the war against Japan the day Hitler was beaten—there is something almost hilarious in that word "solemn" in this connection. For a reason which I forget, but with our encouragement, and with one year more for their Neutrality Pact to run, the Russians only just got into our war by six days.

I think that those facts are broadly right. I suppose that to the victorious War Cabinets, who necessarily endorse all such arrangements in democratic States—it is wrong to blame only Prime Ministers—that deed was broadly right, also. But I know that if my firm ever got involved in a piece of business on such lines as those, I should scarcely expect a permanently happy outcome, in this world or in the next. As Old Kaspar told his grandchildren in the famous poem— But things like that, you know, must be In every famous victory. That was a dusty start for the Charter-makers.

There is another telling thing about the origins of N.A.T.O. and of the United Nations that I want to recall. It emerged from the Crimean Conference, where, unknown to anyone, the first signpost pointing cryptically to N.A.T.O. was set up, in that same amazing year of 1945. It was in February that the Prime Minister, as he records in the same book, told Parliament that he felt that the ward of Stalin and the Soviet leaders was their bond and that he knew of no Government that stood to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government. He added: Sombre indeed would be the fortunes of mankind if some awful schism arose between the Western democracies and the Russian Soviet Union. And, in the book, he said that those hopeful assumptions were soon to be falsified, but that, since we could not afford to quarrel with our Allies while the Germans were undefeated, they were the only assumptions possible at the time. And perhaps it was so. None the less, the price is still being paid, and one more lesson has to be relearned—which is, not to be surprised, when dealing with practised perjurers, if they break their oaths even to you. One would have thought that the lesson had been thoroughly learned from that piece of paper signed at Munich. But that is not the way of human nature.

So much for the principal partners in the United Nations Organisation, who fell out among themselves so quickly that a wiser partnership, of States with more nearly common aims, which was N.A.T.O., had to be formed among the Western nations, to protect themselves from the consequences of a Treaty founded upon a colossal, and possibly foreseeable, miscalculation. I say "foreseeable" because a handful of Members of Parliament, of whom one or two are Members of your Lordships' House to-day, objected to this act of faith in Stalin's word, and since the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary was one of those who kept their heads, I, for one, am glad that he occupies the post that he does. That debate of February 27 and 28, 1945, is fascinating to read, and the speech of the honourable Member for Lanark holds hardly one word that can be faulted after 17 years. The War Cabinet's attitude to Russia is now supposed to be exclusively the fault of the sick American President, but, having been dead these 16 years, he is not in a position to defend himself. For the purpose of my argument it does not matter whose fault it was. The main thing to keep remembering, when we next confront these serpentine negotiators, is not to let faith, hope and rhetoric run off with our wits.

It looks as though there were likely to be—perhaps there is already—a desire to correct some of the faults of U.N.O., and, if that materialises, then N.A.T.O. can hardly remain unaffected. I know that we are not called upon to make a choice between the two organisations in their present forms, but if I had to do so I must say that I should prefer the one that attempts a task within its powers to the one that has, as many think, been set a task impossible to perform. Meanwhile, the one that does not work very well has priority over the one that does. It is in Article 100-and-something of the Charter of the United Nations. I have read—and I believe it—that "where there is no faith" (or, as the Bible says, "no vision") "the people perish". And I have been told in argument that because a thing is impossible that is no reason for not trying it—a gallant saying, but rash. One reason for not trying the impossible or for not going on with it can be seen in the field of artillery where, if you choose a target beyond the range of your guns and there happen to be just this side of the target a few churches, schools and hospitals and crowds of friends, it may show guts, but it is neither kind nor wise to persist in pitching shells short in the vain hope that if you go on long enough you are bound to hit your target in the end. That is a crude analogy, but demonstrations of faith without power are sometimes likely to postpone rather than hasten the dawn of the brotherhood of man. That is why in this matter of security and peace I commend the lower and apparently less glorious road, the N.A.T.O. road. My Lords, there is no short cut over the hills to Utopia.

6.1 p.m.


My Lords, I am sure the House is grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Crathorne, for having introduced this debate this afternoon. It is a most opportune time in our Parliamentary calendar, for shortly we shall be entering the season of Defence and Service debates, and since N.A.T.O. is the keystone of our European defence, the sequence will mean that each will fall into order. Democracies, I think, are facing a serious and frightful dilemma. On one side we have to be flexible and conciliatory, seeking every possible avenue to obtain peace and disarmament—and this is something which I am sure the Government are doing every moment of the day—and yet, as the same time, with the threat that faces us, we have to remain absolutely steadfast and ever-watchful.

I think the dilemma that democracies will face in the future will be to maintain among their peoples the will to provide a military defence, involving increasing burdens upon them, and maybe sacrifices, and at the same time appear to have a conciliatory and hopeful attitude in negotiations. Therefore I think it is well that not only in this House should we debate and reaffirm our support for N.AT.O., but that we should have meetings, such as the one that has just been concluded in Paris, of various people who can discuss the problems and the dangers. I believe that in the next five or ten years the greatest challenge to democracies will be to maintain the will of the people to sustain this defence.

The year 1961 brought a flashpoint in European affairs. We had the Berlin crisis, and to many it appeared that we were on the very brink of war. I think, therefore, that when we are discussing N.A.T.O. this evening we should take into account What was the health and condition of N.A.T.O. at that time. N.A.T.O., if it is to be viable as a peace instrument, must be permanently virile and fighting fit; it must not be allowed to weaken its watchfulness or its preparedness because there has been a lessening of tension.

I believe that from 1957 onwards there has been a degree of weakness in N.A.T.O., which is well illustrated by the unpreparedness of the military forces when the Berlin crisis came to a head. I believe that the original conception of N.A.T.O. was to be a shield force, a conventional army which could create a pause on European boundaries if the Soviet were to move. I believe the original conception was that at least 52 divisions would be required. In the course of time this figure has been revised: it came down to 30; it was then reduced to 28, and I believe that in 1960 21 divisions was regarded as the necessary figure for the defence pause in Europe. From facts that I received last November in Paris it would seem that at that time there were, of those 21 divisions, barely 15 to 16 divisions; that the national contributions had been so run down that General Norstad had at his command the equivalent of only 16 divisions. If your Lordships consider for one moment the length of the boundaries that General Norstad, the Supreme Allied Commander, had to defend, you may well ask yourselves: how could he defend it with such a figure?

I think that that situation was due to a failure on the part of the member countries, with the possible exception of the United States. The United States today defend Europe. When the Berlin crisis came to a head it was agreed that there should be a rapid reinforcement. I believe that up to Christmas the Americans had put into Europe a reinforcement of approximately 50,000 men. This was nearly the equivalent of what we contribute permanently; but it was a reinforcement not only of manpower, but of equipment. General Norstad felt that by January I lie should have those 21 divisions up to 90 per cent. strength; and that, as the reinforcements were coming through in November, he stood a very good chance of achieving this.

The first question I must ask the noble Lord who is to reply is: is it not a fact that we agreed to maintain in Europe four divisions of troops, and that in 1957 we had 77,000 men under arms? Is it not a fact that to-day we have the equivalent of five brigade groups, of approximately 55,000 men? What I should like to know from the noble Lord is this. Have the United Kingdom honoured their agreement to raise their forces contributed to N.A.T.O. to the 90 per cent. required by General Norstad? I think this is absolutely essential.

One consequence that may flow from our inability to provide this manpower in Europe will be that we shall lose some of our military commands in Europe. At present we have a British Officer Commanding in Central Europe, General Cassels. I understand that there are strong arguments that, because this country has not made its contributions in manpower, the next officer is likely to be a German. I have no great objection to a German being a military commander. But let us face the fact that we may have considerable political trouble in this country if it is found that our British divisions in Europe are under the direct command of a German officer.


My Lords, I quite agree that the noble Lord's argument is a very important one. But does he advocate selective conscription?


May I come to that?—because that is really a case which we could argue more in a Defence debate. I believe that we could raise our manpower in Germany through the re-deployment of our Services in other parts of the world. I think this is gradually being done. But before the choice of a military commander is decided, I think we should at least raise our military commitment by 12,000 men.

I recognise that the major problem of Her Majesty's Government in providing the manpower, and also the equipment, is the question of cost—not so much on our internal budget, but on our overseas balances. It is true that Mr. Macmillan has now seen Dr. Adenauer, and that there is some agreement that the German Government will be buying from the United Kingdom equipment which will offset our expenditure in Germany. I believe this is to be for two years. But if we are to maintain our contribution to N.A.T.O. we cannot do it on a two-year basis. I believe that there should be more fundamental thinking and action by all the N.A.T.O. Alliance countries; that where there is a special burden, as there is in Britain at the moment, the burden should be borne by the Alliance.

In the case of N.A.T.O., an infrastructure, great strides have already been made. The cost of many of the installations that are now being built is borne and shared by the countries in N.A.T.O. I believe that far more must be done in this light. Unless the whole question of cost is tackled, we may find that in the course of years N.A.T.O. will disintegrate. I have already heard rumours that there are some to-day who, because it is costing us so much to maintain out forces in Germany, would bring them all back and, then, if there was trouble, put them back into Germany by air. I do not think this solution is feasible militarily, and I think it would be absolutely disastrous to European unity and confidence if this country were even to reduce its present military commitment and manpower in Germany. Therefore I hope that the Government will press on, with their colleagues in N.A.T.O., to find some way in which these burdens can be spread. But until that happens, we must still bear that burden; we must still honour our promises that we made to the N.A.T.O. countries, because our good faith depends upon it.

Now a word on the question of standardisation of equipment. For years the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference has discussed the problems that would arise if an action took place. To-day most of the equipment of the national forces comes from the nations which provide the forces. One unit is using one rifle, and another unit another rifle. There would be chaos if there were any action. One of the problems of standardisation is national prestige, but even that is now being broken down, because countries are getting ready to devise and produce standardised weapons and equipment. Much more could be done there. But the real stumbling block is again going to be this question of cost.

Transport Command could well have done with heavy-lift transport three or four years ago. We could not provide it; and we are still waiting for the "Britannic." But heavy-lift aircraft were available in the United States. It is questionable whether, if our need had been desperate, with our exchange difficulties being what they were, we could have gone to the United States and purchased those aircraft. All these countries are in the same position: they are trying to eke out their small means by supplying their own services with their own equipment, and this has resulted in no standardisation, or very little.

The last point I should like to raise is the posture, I might call it, or the deployment, of our forces in Germany. I feel that there are considerable gaps brought about by the deployment of the N.A.T.O. forces. The Dutch forces are in Holland, and the Belgian forces are still in Belgium. If any action occurred we should have great gaps in our line. I think that these countries must be required to bring their forces more into line, so that if we were faced with an action—and an action, if it came, would come very quickly—these forces would be in line and there would be no gaps in our front. This again may be a question of cost. Obviously, the Dutch prefer to keep their forces in Holland because it saves them their own exchange. But if these forces have these large gaps, it is a direct incitement to a Russian military advance.

My Lords, I believe that N.A.T.O. has achieved much. We recognise that there are certain weaknesses. I do not think that this is entirely a question of will; means is the greatest problem. But I am sure that if all the countries of N.A.T.O. have the will to maintain this military Alliance strong and virile, as they must, they will find the means. If the Soviet can find the means, if they can find the power to make an impact where they will, is it beyond the wit of democracies, free men, to meet their challenge?

6.13 p.m.


My Lords, I had not realised that the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, was not going to speak, and I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, because I should have spoken before him. I have been sitting here all the afternoon, and I did not realise that there was a change. I hope I shall not delay your Lordships long, but one or two things I have to say might make a contribution to the debate.

I have been a delegate, as have many Members of your Lordships' House, to the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference several times now. It becomes every year a more interesting experience and a more interesting conference. Listening to all the speeches, as I have, this afternoon, I have been immensely struck by the unanimity of nearly all the speakers in what we have been discussing now for some hours. I think the noble Earl, Lord Baldwin of Bewdley, did right to draw attention to the many disappointments which many of us remember in those years before the last war, and to the fact that we must not be too optimistic. On the other hand, it is no good unless we strive to make this new Alliance really work. I was glad to hear that in the view of the noble Earl N.A.T.O. was an Alliance that we should back whole-heartedly because it had more simple and concrete proposals and was easier to work in many ways than the United Nations.

One of the things that struck me very much, and I think it struck other members of the Conference last year, was that while in 1960 we discussed in military terms a great deal on nuclear armaments and those forces of the tactical and nuclear variety, this time we had our noses much more to the ground and we really discussed military matters on the ground; and the interesting discussion which we had when Mr. Elvis Stahr described to us the American contribution was, as the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has said, one of military help on the ground and not in any way on nuclear weapons. I was interested in that discussion because both the Labour and the Conservative delegates were agreed that we wanted to make a stronger contribution to N.A.T.O., and I feel that to-day, too, we have had this unanimity, which I am sure will be very encouraging to the Government.

But in all ways—and I listened again to General Norstad and to Mr. Stikker —it seemed that the real problem of the N.A.T.O. Alliance in defence against the Russians is that we have to collect fifteen "Yeses" for everything that is done, whereas the Russians have only one man and one voice which they listen to. Therefore, I believe it means that every year, in addition to getting closer together militarily, we must get together both economically and politically, because that would bring fifteen "Yeses" more closely together when it comes to military matters.

I was concerned not with the military committees but with the political and economic committees. One of the matters which we discussed (and the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, referred to it in his speech to-day) was the effects of the United Kingdom and of other countries trying to go into the Common Market; what effect that would have on N.A.T.O. and on the United States and on those countries which are part of N.A.T.O. and yet not in the Common Market. That is a matter of tremendous importance. The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, referred this afternoon to the statement President Kennedy has made with regard to tariffs and in appealing to Congress to lower the American tariff barrier. That is encouraging and hopeful, and it ought to work out more satisfactorily towards the Atlantic Community and its relationship with Europe. But the real thing is that it shows that the United States is very anxious to remain closely associated with Europe and is deeply concerned, of course, about the Common Market.

Another thing that we discussed at some length was this question of aid to underdeveloped countries and how to build up the independence of underdeveloped countries through aid, whether from United Nations, the O.E.C.D. or from the N.A.T.O. countries; and Mr. Stikker encouraged us because he said that, in spite of what the Soviet Union is doing, the N.A.T.O. nations are still giving ten times as much economic help to underdeveloped countries as is the Soviet bloc. That was certainly, to me, an encouraging fact.

We discussed, too, what the effects on world trade will be if the United Kingdom and other countries join the Six and what effect it will have on the United States, the Latin American countries, and the African countries. In that event, of course, it is not at all easy to give an answer, and therefore I was interested when one of the very first proposals made for a study by the Atlantic Institute was to be something of this nature: What will be the consequence to the United States and Canadian economies of the broadening of the Common Market to include most, if not all, of Western Europe? Should the U.S.A. and Canada seek to enter the Common Market? Should a free trade area comprising Western Europe, the United States and Canada be formed? What will be the position of Latin America and Japan if the United States, which is their chief trading country, were to join more closely into the European scheme? Those are the kind of problems of which a study made by the group such as Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge is getting together in the Atlantic Institute might provide useful information and be a forecast of what might happen in the economic world.

We also discussed the question of exports from underdeveloped countries, a very difficult point indeed, because Western nations who have a higher standard of living and higher wage rates are naturally rather afraid of importing from countries with much lower wage rates and a much lower standard of living. How can we help to increase and take more exports from these countries without injuring ourselves? A strong plea was made to us that we must try to help in this, because we cannot raise the living standards of these emerging countries unless we give them some assistance in the way of taking their goods and helping them to export.

I think it was the noble Earl, Lord Dundonald, who referred to a programme that the Atlantic Institute hopes to undertake, which is to speed up educational development in the emerging territories; something to match the technical assistance programmes planned by the United Nations and also by U.N.E.S.C.O., which has conducted a tremendous battle against illiteracy; to give further drive to get money, teachers and buildings and to try to train men and women to take not only technical courses but also courses in other kinds of education, so that they will be fitted for political and civic responsibilities in their new countries. I believe that the people of the Atlantic group have experience in this work and that the widespread use of the English language as a second language in so many territories of the world will make it easier for N.A.T.O. nations to support such an educational drive. I sometimes wonder whether we sufficiently appreciate the priceless asset the free world has in the English language. Neither the Russian nor the Chinese language covers so great a part of the world, and in most emerging nations and most countries English is the second language taught.

I have always been, and am still, deeply interested in this attempt to build up as strong an alliance in the world of thought and philosophy and political ideas as we have in military and defence spheres. The N.A.T.O. defence experts are, as we know, trying to get standardised equipment and trying to integrate the forces as much as possible, but the great defence against Communism, against dictatorship and against aggression in any form which attacks the free world, must also include a philosophy strong enought to attract emerging nations and strong enough to stand up to Communism. It is not at all easy to do; it has been said many times before; but the spread of university education—for instance, in Africa, where I saw it in Nigeria—the enormous help given by the United States and by the United Kingdom to university education there; the spread of the ideas that were mentioned by the noble Earl, Lord Dundonald, in the way of exchange teachers; all help to create what I might call the spirit of Atlantic unity, which is something which is growing greatly. We have a long way to go to find that unity and enthusiasm which will really inspire the rising generations in the N.A.T.O. countries and in the developing nations of the free world, but a start has been made.

Last year in Paris I presided at the Cultural Information Committee, and one of our recommendations was concerned with information services on which the Free World depends so much to put across, as it were, its ideas to other nations. We were requested then to urge the N.A.T.O. nations to do all in their power to take the initiative in the way of ideas, which is taken so often by the Communist countries. The Soviet world has produced incredible scientific achievements. We are always told of their successes but never of their failures. The net effect is to impress their skills upon the emerging nations of the world and to point the moral that Communism is the great new force and capitalism is dead.

This does not in the least impress the highly developed countries, but it impresses the emerging nations, and I hope that the N.A.T.O. nations will study ways and means of projecting the aims and policies of freedom and democratic government to make it more attractive to the uncommitted nations and new nations of the world. Our propaganda is effective, as witness the number of people who escape at the risk of their lives from the Iron Curtain countries; otherwise people would not pour out as they do. Nevertheless, one still has the feeling that the ordinary people, say in the Soviet Union or East Germany, have little opportunity of knowing what is happening outside their territories. Our Parliamentarians hope no opportunity will be lost by any modern method, television, broadcasting, newspapers or whatever it may be, to present to the Communist-dominated world the importance of our way of life, of our ideas of individual rights and opinions and the freedoms which the late President Roosevelt proposed so dramatically during the war. It is not easy to put all this into simple, effective language that ordinary people in new countries can understand. The aims of democracy as we understand it in the West are not easy to crystallise to the point at which they are understood by ordinary people. Yet if we do not find ways and means of countering Communist propaganda in that way, the appeal of the Free World may well be undermined.

I hope very much—and I know that I am reiterating what the Committee discussed—that the N.A.T.O. Governments will support very strongly the organisations and institutions and will provide the necessary means to make more effective the idea of an Atlantic Community. It is complementary to the European Community; the European Community is only part of the Atlantic Community. I believe that the peace of the world cannot be contained in Europe alone but must cover a far larger area of the world. It is for this reason that I strongly support the N.A.T.O. Alliance and the efforts of all politicians to strengthen and develop it still further.

6.35 p.m.


My Lords, this has been, as I think all your Lordships will have anticipated, a most interesting afternoon's debate, and it has had a most unusual ending. I think it is a long time since we have had so charming a "winding-up speech for the Opposition" from the Government side of the House. It is an idea we might enlarge on in more controversial debates.

It has become the custom to discuss the affairs of N.A.T.O. at about yearly intervals. Last year we had the debate on January 25, and on re-reading that debate yesterday I was interested to see how many constructive suggestions and ideas there were. This year has been no different. We have been lucky enough to hear some noble Lords who take an energetic part in N.A.T.O. affairs and who attended the Parliamentarians' Conference of last November, as well as the Convention of Distinguished Citizens of N.A.T.O. Nations, which earlier this year produced the Declaration of Paris, about which there has been so much discussion this afternoon. There have been my noble friend, Lady Elliot of Harwood, who has just spoken, my noble friends, Lord Teynham and Lord Dundonald, and the noble Lords, Lord Ogmore and Lord Listowel, all of whom have taken part in the last year in these discussions. We have had, too, a very thoughtful and interesting speech from the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Durham and also a very entertaining and provoking one from the noble Earl, Lord Baldwin of Bewdley.

We are, of course, in particular, grateful for the contribution made by my noble friend Lord Crathorne, who has unrivalled experience in this field and who, as your Lordships will have noticed, was congratulated so many times during the afternoon on his leadership of the British delegation. It has, however, been noticeable that, while last year the debate concerned itself mainly with N.A.T.O. in its defensive aspect, this year there has been much more concentration on the political development of the Alliance.

Indeed the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, made some interesting observations on defence, but I think he, of all the speakers, devoted himself most to that subject. My noble friend the Foreign Secretary, in the course of his speech, commented on and dealt with a number of the points subsequently raised, and naturally I can add nothing to what he said, except perhaps to say, as he himself said, that he and his colleagues who are most concerned with this matter will examine these proposals with sympathy, but realising the difficulties which he himself has put forward and also those which the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, put forward in his speech.

However interesting the political developments in the future may be, N.A.T.O. is still fundamentally a military Alliance and I think it would be quite wrong if somebody from the Government side did not say something, in winding up the debate, on matters of defence, in order perhaps to restore the balance a little. It is perhaps useful to remind ourselves from time to time of the reasons for the N.A.T.O. Alliance. It was born, as the noble Earl on the Cross Benches said, of the inability of the United Nations to guarantee the peace and security of the world. In the face of the threat from Russia, who had refused to follow the lead of the other Allies in disarmament after the war, the Western nations drew together for protection and so formed the N.A.T.O. Alliance, which was thus essentially military and essentially defensive in character. It may be, as has been suggested in some quarters, that the military purpose of N.A.T.O. will gradually recede in importance now that a balance of overwhelming nuclear power has been established between East and West, and that if "peaceful coexistence" is to be the order of the day the political and economic unity of the Atlantic Community should be more strongly developed. Indeed, we are already witnessing the start of this process with the formation of the Common Market and E.F.T.A., and now the proposals in the Declaration of Paris.

But this peaceful development depends upon a balance of military power, however regrettable that may be. I believe, as your Lordships do, that the military forces of N.A.T.O. are a vital part of this balance and that we neglect them at our risk. Of course the first aim of Her Majesty's Government must be to secure a general reduction of armaments throughout the world. But it must be multilateral disarmament, and we must ensure that both East and West go hand in hand. So long as general disarmament remains a dream, rather than a reality, we must avoid damaging the military fabric of N.A.T.O. But, equally, we must examine it from time to time to make sure that the pattern is right.

One of the largest problems facing the Alliance, and one which was touched on at considerable length in our debate last year, is the question of the strategy to be adopted by N.A.T.O. and the role of N.A.T.O. forces. It is necessary to decide whether the methods which have been successful in maintaining the peace and security of Western Europe in the last decade can still remain effective. In face of the conventional strength of Russian and satellite forces the balance of military power in Europe has been maintained for the last decade by the threat of the devastation which could be created by the nuclear weapons in the hands of the West. Now, or very shortly, whether we call it nuclear equipoise, or nuclear plenty or nuclear sufficiency, there will be enough nuclear weapons on either side of the Iron Curtain to make it certain that the outcome of all-out nuclear war would mean the obliteration of Europe.

In those conditions the purpose of Western defence policy must obviously be at all costs to prevent a war starting. Nuclear war could occur in many ways. One is through deliberate and massive aggression on the part of the Russians. I do not believe that it is very likely that the Soviet Union would risk destruction by an all-out attack on N.A.T.O., but we must obviously continue to make it abundantly clear that the consequences to themselves of such an attack would be so appalling and so sudden that the risk is not worth contemplating.

To pose this massive counter-threat to aggression is the purpose of the strategic deterrent forces of the West. I do not agree, if I may respectfully say so, with the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, when he derides the importance of the British contribution to that strategic deterrent.


But does the noble Lord not agree that the main element in the nuclear deterrent is the American strategic bomber force?


The American deterrent force is, of course, larger than ours, but ours has a substantial part to play and is not in any way to be derided. We can perhaps discuss these matters better during the Defence debate, but the noble Earl partly based his argument on the ground of expense. He will know that the nuclear deterrent part of our defence expense amounts to only 10 per cent. of the whole, so at the moment it is not a very large proportion, but it serves a very useful purpose indeed.

The strategic deterrent, however, is not enough in itself. Growing Russian ability to devastate the West might lead the Russian Government to miscalculate N.A.T.O.'s determination to resist limited aggression at the risk of total destruction. It is the function of the so-called shield forces in Europe to be ready to take in hand any such limited attack. The effectiveness of the shield forces depends on the knowledge that they are backed by the strategic deterrent, which will be used if necessary. For the West the choice of weapons and the way to use them must always remain open, so that we can reply with whatever means we judge appropriate at the time. The shield forces must therefore be organised to present a series of possible responses to Russian aggression of increasing severity up to the point of nuclear exchange, where the task is taken over by the strategic forces.

The purpose of the shield forces, in the first instance, is to impose a pause, to give time for the aggressor to withdraw before the final disaster of full-scale nuclear war comes about. Of course the use of any nuclear weapons in countering a limited attack in Europe must carry with it a risk of escalation, and for as long as possible an attack with conventional forces must be resisted with conventional means. That is clear: and it is for this reason that N.A.T.O. must be well equipped with conventional arms. But we still have to reckon with the preponderance of conventional strength which the Soviets are able to bring to bear in Europe. Surely it is quite unrealistic to suppose that any modern war in Europe could be confined to conventional weapons atone. Even if we could match the Russians in conventional strength, would they ever admit defeat by conventional means without advancing to the use of nuclear weapons? The conventional forces of the Alliance must therefore be backed with sufficient tactical nuclear weapons to redress the balance. This is why for some time past SACEUR's armoury has contained tactical land-based missiles, including Jupiter rockets; and aircraft, Valiants and Canberras, armed with tactical nuclear weapons, as well as the nuclear weapons carried by the ships of the United States Sixth Fleet.

It was against this background that we had to consider the question of supplying medium-range ballistic missiles to N.A.T.O.'s armoury, to take the place of those weapons which will become increasingly vulnerable in the years to come. The power of these weapons is, of course, enormous, and the distinction between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons has become an increasingly fine one. It creates extremely difficult problems of the use and control of these weapons, which your Lordships debated at some length last year. If an M.R.B.M. force has to respond instantly to an attack, it is a formidable task to suggest any method which can ensure its effective control by the fifteen nations of the Alliance. Discussion of it had to be postponed in the second half of last year because of the paramount need for the N.A.T.O. Council to focus its attention on the more pressing problem of Berlin. No solution has yet been found, and no decision has yet been taken on the possible commitment by the United States Government of Polaris submarines to N.A.T.O. with a view perhaps to the eventual creation of a N.A.T.O. sea-borne M.R.B.M. force.

Before I leave this question of nuclear weapons and their control, I should perhaps make it clear that the control that I have been speaking of is control as between one nation, or group of nations, and another in the political sphere. The arrangements for the military and operational control of nuclear weapons in N.A.T.O. is quite a separate matter. It rests, as it always has done—as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said it did—with the Supreme Allied Commanders, and no nuclear weapons can be used without a specific order by a Supreme Commander, who would first seek political authority. Moreover, the warheads for all N.A.T.O. nuclear weapons are in American custody.

Perhaps I might now turn to say something about our own contribution to the forces of N.A.T.O. which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, referred to in some detail. Here I take note of the recommendation of the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference: that nations should maintain in Europe the full strength of divisions required by SACEUR.

As your Lordships will know, the Government have during the months since last August taken a number of steps to strengthen oar forces in Europe. The strength of B.A.O.R. is being held at its present level, and, indeed, has been reinforced by the despatch of additional troops to the Continent. In Berlin the British commander was given special reinforcements of armoured vehicles. In B.A.O.R. itself, at the special request of the Commander-in-Chief, first priority has been given to building up antiaircraft strength, and the first surface-to-air guided missile regiment went over to Germany in the autumn, with the Army's two most modern light anti-aircraft regiments to follow. The Royal Air Force has increased its existing strength and has started to deploy Lightning squadrons into Germany. At the same time we are keeping in Germany the fighter squadrons which we had planned to withdraw.

There are, of course, those who say that this is not enough, and that we should consider sending substantial reinforcements now to bring up B.A.O.R. to a full war footing. I think that is what the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd was saying. But my Lords, this is quite out of the question. The peace-time establishment of B.A.O.R. is around 55,000 men, which is the force we should have under the amended Brussels Treaty, and to bring B.A.O.R. up to war strength would mean that the size of the force would have to have very considerable reinforcement. Detailed plans do exist to carry out this reinforcement, and to carry it out quickly, and the Government are quite satisfied that these are up to date and efficient and could be operated within the necessary time-scale.


Is General Norstad satisfied?


So far as I know. Detailed plans do exist to carry out this reinforcement, and the Commander is well aware of this. It is all very well, if I may say so, for the noble Lord to speak like this. We are talking about substantial figures, and he really must grapple with the problem of manpower in the Army and the problem of the balance of payments, to which I will come in a short time.


I fully recognise that.


But under the present constitutional arrangements a reinforcement of this sort—because we should have to use reservists—involving mobilisation, could be made only in an acute state of emergency. I do not think that the House would agree that such a Proclamation at this time would be appropriate.


But the Americans have done it. This is something which I noticed so much when I was in Paris. The Americans have made a tremendous effort to bring in new and big reinforcements, and they feel, as they have said on a number of occasions in Paris, that it is up to the European countries to make this special effort. Speaking personally, I think that we should do so. I should have thought it possible with redeployment of some of our forces overseas.


I am just coming to redeployment. But the noble Lord must realise that a Proclamation of this kind, which would have been necessary to do what he wishes, would have been in force for a very long time. It would have been in force now for something over six months. It would call for a large number of men, and this is a considerable decision to take. Not only that, but our geography is different from that of the United States, and we can reinforce from this country very much more quickly than they can, from 3,000 miles away across the Atlantic.

I will come in a moment to the point about reinforcement from other parts of the world, because it has been suggested by a number of your Lordships that we should withdraw forces from other garrisons in order to strengthen B.A.O.R. But our position in the United Kingdom is rather different from that of other countries in the West. Many of our forces in other parts of the world are there in fulfilment of our Treaty and other obligations, in particular C.E.N.T.O. and S.E.A.T.O., which call for the deployment of these forces to areas of the world where others of our N.A.T.O. Allies are not directly concerned. The stationing of our forces in these other parts of the world is, I think, of the greatest importance for the general defence of the West, and this is increasingly recognised by our other Allies.


I agree that there is a great deal of virtue in what the noble Lord is saying, but is it not a fact that we cannot get balanced forces in B.A.O.R., or anywhere else, without selective conscription?


At the present time, with the reorganisation of the Army progressing as it is, as your Lordships have discussed in the last year or so, the balance is not all that it should be. But when the reorganisation is over the Secretary of State for War is confident that the balance will be right for the 55,000 men we shall have in Germany.

Apart from these difficulties, however, there is a second special feature affecting the United Kingdom, in that our troops in Europe are stationed in a foreign country, whereas most of our Allies' troops are stationed at home. I think the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, anticipated what I was going to say about foreign exchange and what my noble friend the Foreign Secretary has said. This does impose a heavy additional burden on the United Kingdom balance of payments, which is already weak. Our balance of payments is fundamental to our strength as a nation.

As your Lordships will know, we put the position to our N.A.T.O. Allies under the appropriate provision of the Brussels Treaty, and we have obtained their recog- nition that there is a problem here to which a solution must be found. Since the N.A.T.O. Council took this in hand the question has been discussed between the Prime Minister and Dr. Adenauer, and subsequently during the visit by the Chief Secretary to Bonn. We are hopeful that the discussions which are continuing will bring a solution. In part, no doubt, this problem can be met from increased sales of British arms to the Federal Republic, but the sale of these is unlikely to be enough to meet the full amount of which we feel we must be relieved, and some further and more lasting arrangement must be found.

Another criticism which is sometimes made of our forces in Germany is that they are trained to fight a nuclear battle only. This is just not so. B.A.O.R. is trained, equipped, organised and deployed to meet SACEUR's defence plans, which call for both a nuclear and a conventional capability. B.A.O.R. could give a very good account of itself, and is fully able to carry out its role within the Northern Army Group.


General Stockwell's criticism that B.A.O.R. is not organised to meet a threat of war with conventional weapons is incorrect, is it?


I am afraid, that I have not read what General Stockwell said, and I did not take it down when the noble Lord spoke. What I was saying—and perhaps I may repeat it—is that B.A.O.R. is trained, equipped, organised and deployed to meet SACEUR'S defence plans; and, as General Stockwell is Deputy to SACEUR, I imagine that he would subscribe to that.


He does not.


I cannot take the matter any further than that. The whole object of B.A.O.R. is to carry out N.A.T.O.'s policy. Our troops there are organised and deployed in order to carry out SACEUR's policy, and I do not think I can take it any further than that this evening. If the noble Lord would send me General Stockwell's speech we could go into it with the necessary authorities.

My Lords, in considering a British contribution to the land forces of N.A.T.O., I think that we are sometimes inclined to forget the substantial forces we contribute to the Alliance at sea and in the air. Over 50 per cent. of all the R.A.F.'s front line aircraft is committed to N.A.T.O., and 85 per cent. of the active and operational reserve Fleets. When I was in the United States last autumn, I had an opportunity to see for myself how the naval side of the Alliance which does not get much publicity, is working. I visited SACLANT's headquarters at Norfolk, where I was greatly impressed by the way in which the task of the N.A.T.O. navies is being planned and co-ordinated. I believe that my noble friend Lord Teynham also went there. I hope that perhaps some others of your Lordships may find it possible to go over there and see this part of N.A.T.O., which, as I say, is greatly under-publicised.

I believe that the House will agree that the contribution we make to the N.A.T.O. Alliance is a substantial one and in no way falls short of what is appropriate for us. Our expenditure of some 7 per cent. of our gross national product on defence remains the third highest in the Alliance, after the United States and France, with her special problems in North Africa.

On the matériel side, too, I think that we can claim to do our bit in pursuit of the policies of the Alliance. Here again the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians drew attention to the need for interdependence in research and development, and for increasing standardisation of arms and equipment (this aspect was mentioned by Lord Ogmore and Lord Shepherd), and it was recommended that further efforts should be made by member nations in this sphere. I think that the United Kingdom has always been in the lead in offering its research and development programme to N.A.T.O., and we have recently put forward plans for accelerating progress towards interdependence by concentrating on a selected number of major weapon projects, such as the P.1127. The N.A.T.O. Council are now pressing on with these projects, some of which are already moving from the planning to the implementation stage. I think one would have to agree that the standardisation procedures have moved more slowly than we should have liked.

There has been some criticism of our adoption of foreign weapons, and even more of our willingness to provide facilities for member nations, notably the Americans and West Germans, in this country. But, as I said in the debate last year, it is no use preaching interdependence, which is essentially a two-way affair, unless we are prepared to put it into practice. I very much hope that we shall hear less of this kind of criticism in future.

Before I sit down I should like to reply to the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, who asked why the Republic of Ireland and Spain have not so far been invited to join N.A.T.O. We are, of course, on the friendliest terms with the Irish Republic and are anxious to establish friendly relations with Spain. But the fact is that both the Spanish and the Irish Governments have made it clear, quite recently, that they have no intention of applying to join N.A.T.O. That being so, I think the noble Lord will agree that there would be little point in consulting our Allies about the possibility of inviting them to join.

To sum up, although progress in solving some of the important problems facing the Alliance has not been so rapid as we should have liked—and I make no bones about this the Alliance itself has remained strong. We have certainly seen no signs of the dissolution which many people feared a year or so ago, and I believe that the steadfast part played by this country and the strong contribution which we have made on the military side have been extremely valuable in maintaining N.A.T.O. The Alliance has shown itself ready to meet the threat of Berlin and has demonstrated once again the unique contribution which it makes to peace.

I therefore welcome the call in the noble Lord's Motion for firm support of the Alliance by the United Kingdom Parliament, and I have no doubt that it will meet with a ready and effective response. As I said at the beginning, we have had a very interesting debate, and one which has served a useful purpose, and I am sure your Lordships will agree with me that we should be grateful for the various contributions that have been made. My noble friend will study them carefully.

7.0 p.m.


My Lords, I do not feel that at this hour I can be of any further assistance to your Lordships' House in this debate, other than to thank very much indeed the noble Lords who have taken part, for their co-operation in the debate and for the speeches they have made. On all subjects dealing with N.A.T.O., from all parts of the House, it has turned out to be a most comprehensive review of the position. Before we part, I am sure that all of your Lordships would like me to thank the two Ministers, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the First Lord of the Admiralty, for their contributions to the debate; and not only for that, but for the courtesy which they have shown during the whole afternoon by remaining in their places to hear the contributions from your Lordships. On behalf of everybody who spoke, I should like to thank them very much; and with that I ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.