§ 3.3 p.m.
§ LORD HENDERSON rose to call attention to the international situation; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. It is extraordinary that so soon after the dramatic events of October last, when the world came so close to the brink of war in Cuba, the attention of the House to-day should be turned, not to any dangerous difference between East and West but to an open and serious rift within the Western Alliance itself. Indeed, the shock effect of the Cuban crisis seemed to have eased in some degree East-West tensions. The expected early renewal of the Berlin crisis has not happened. Instead there appear to have opened up new possibilities for agreement on some of the issues which divide East and West. In particular, following the Soviet move forward on the principle of on-site verification, we seem to be now on the verge of a nuclear test ban agreement which, if achieved, will open the way for progress in general disarmament. I hope the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary may have something to tell us about the prospects in this vital field of endeavour.
But if we are concerned to-day largely with the disturbing differences that have developed in the Western camp, it does not mean that we are not acutely aware of the world significance of the sharpened conflict between Moscow and Peking. To-day the gloves are off; the pretence that this was some ideological conflict between Yugoslavia and Albania is ended. It is a stern policy-and-power conflict between Mr. Khrushchev and Mao Tse-tung. I am tempted to stray into the realm of conjecture on the effects on peaceful co-existence of this dramatic struggle within the Communist camp. I am going to permit myself only one comment. Though Mr. Khrushchev's concept of peaceful co-existence is very different from our own—on January 6, 1961, he said:
Peaceful co-existence is a form of intense economic, political and ideological struggle of the proletariat against the forces of imperialism in the international arena "—
his concept is far preferable to that of Mao Tse-tung, who regards war with the the so-called aggressive imperialists as inevitable. We hope the West will go on doing everything it can to reach practical, worthwhile agreements with the Soviet Union. Success in this field would prove that peaceful co-existence is possible and that the Chinese are wrong.
§ In this debate, I want to concentrate mainly on the challenging events of the past fortnight in Europe. The pattern of European and Atlantic partnership which has been slowly emerging since the Marshall Plan of 1947 has been thrown into complete disarray. It is not just that President de Gaulle has terminated the negotiations about Britain's entry into the European Economic Community and excluded Britain on any terms but his own; he has distressed and angered at least four, if not the other five, partners in the Community, and he has, I believe, started trains of thought and doubt in their minds regarding his future intentions. He has also inflicted injury upon the unity of the Western Allies.
§ My Lords, it is inevitable that much of the comment in Britain has concentrated on the economic implications for this country. Whatever may have been individual views about Britain's entry of the Common Market, there can be no doubt that we are faced with a challenge to our economic and competitive capabilities upon which the future well-being of our people depend, and that there is urgent need for new initiative and vigorous action. We must make greater efforts to promote increasing trade between this country and the Commonwealth, the EFTA countries, the United States and the markets in other parts of the world, including Latin America.
§ But we must also seek to improve our trade with Europe, despite the recent failure of the Government to achieve their aim. The passing of the Trade Expansion Act by the United States Congress gives new opportunities for broadening our trade and for reducing barriers, and I should expect general agreement with the proposal that has been made by the Labour Party to convene a new Commonwealth Conference to promote the trading interests of all. But these are all matters that will be taken into account, no doubt, in a later debate. In any case, let us face it: there would be disagree- 595 ment among us concerning the significance for Britain of our exclusion from the European Economic Community. Some have hailed it with jubilation or breathed a sigh of relief; others have felt that it was our destiny to be in closer partnership with our nearest neighbours.
§ Had these negotiations produced an agreement there would no doubt have been argument—perhaps a fierce argument—about whether or not to accept the terms of entry. All that is now in the realm of speculation. Parliament is not called upon to take that decision. But Parliament will have to discuss the collapse of the Common Market negotiations and its economic and other consequences for this country. Parliament has been waiting for a long time for a report giving a full picture of what was being done in the negotiations which the Government have now said were on the verge of completion when General de Gaulle hung up his "Keep out" sign. I want, therefore, to ask the Government if they will publish a White Paper on the negotiations, setting out what had been agreed and what remained still to be agreed. I am sure that Parliament will wish to know the lines along which agreed terms had been developed and the extent to which conditions relating to EFTA, the Commonwealth and British agriculture had been fulfilled. I think there would be general agreement that such a White Paper is essential to coming Parliamentary debates, and I hope that the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary will be able to promise that one will be made available at the earliest possible moment.
My Lords, in this Foreign Affairs debate it is rather the political implication of President de Gaulle's dramatic intervention that I want to examine. We may argue about whether or not Britain could or would have fitted herself into a Community in which there was a conscious merging into one single unit of the different economic systems within the E.E.C., with the ultimate aim of merging political systems. But whether or not Britain was to be in, there will be few who would disagree with the Labour Party in its statement, approved at the Brighton Conference in October last, that a European Community
is a great and imaginative concept,
the coming together of the six nations which have in the past so often been torn by war and economic rivalry is, in the context of Western Europe, a step of great significance.
The concept of a United States of Europe (this does not necessarily mean political integration) has suffered a serious setback by President de Gaulle's action. The other five nations are dismayed and resentful, and this is bound to impair the spirit of the European Economic Community itself. The Dutch Foreign Minister has attacked the "authoritarian character" of the French position, and protested that
The will of the French President is made to seem decisive, not only in France, but also in other countries,
and has declared that General de Gaulle's attitude would lead to
a political and economic split in Europe,
which would endanger the democratic principles of the Communities. Britain has been rebuffed, but for some of the Six the blow is a more personal one. Not only had they the vision of a closer unity between themselves, but they had welcomed the prospect of Britain and her Scandinavian friends joining. Our friends of the Six are shocked, too, at the way in which General de Gaulle made his announcement. He did it without consulting his partners; he did it, it would seem, without even consulting his Cabinet, and chose a Press Conference as the means of making one of the most important statements by any world leader since the war.
§ But, my Lords, more important than the method is the intent. General de Gaulle has not only been concerned to keep Britain out of E.E.C.: he appears to wish to be the leader of a "third force" in Europe which can be totally independent of the United States. His case against Britain is that she is not wholly a European Power, which seems strange in the light of history; and that she wanted also to retain a special relationship with the United States within the Atlantic Community, which again, I think, is strange in the light of history. General de Gaulle saw the Nassau Agreement as proof that in this respect Britain's intentions had not changed, and his conclusion was that a Britain inside Western Europe would be a Trojan Horse. His grand design for Europe required a Western Europe independent 597 of United States leadership, and that Western Europe would itself be united, with France playing the dominant râle; and it was for this reason that he set high priority on a Franco-German Alliance.
§ Let us say, quite clearly and without equivocation, that his plan is a gigantic error. He has not hesitated to risk weakening the unity and collective influence of the Western Alliance at a time when unity is essential to successful political and diplomatic effort. If need be—though I doubt the need—we must warn the peoples of Western Europe, including the people of France, of the peril and the consequences of the venture on which he seems now to have embarked. Has he learned nothing from modern history? The security of the West in the past fifteen years has been based on the Atlantic Alliance and the complete commitment of the United States. Had there been a Western Alliance, including the United States, in 1914 and 1939, we should probably have avoided both world wars. Can any of us say with confidence that the Western Powers would have come through to victory in these two wars, had the United Stales not joined in the conflict? To turn back the clock and risk forcing the United States into isolation or downright antagonism would be folly of the highest order.
§ I am not going to pretend that we on these Benches have agreed with all the policy decisions of President Kennedy and his predecessors. We have had our differences and we have honestly stated them. When there is British disagreement we should not hesitate to express our views firmly and clearly, as my noble friend Lord Attlee, when Prime Minister, did to prevent the use of atomic weapons in the Korean war. There will, no doubt, be differences in the future, and the nature of our relationship entitles us to speak out.
But, my Lords, let us face it: President Kennedy and the United States Government are the leaders of the Free World, and our safety and that of Western Europe would be dangerously insecure without the United States. On January 4 this year President Kennedy declared that
Neither the United States nor Europe could be certain of success and survival if either acted alone.
That seems to be an obvious truism. My
Lords, it is just this truism that the French President seems now to be challenging. In his view, Europe must stand alone, and France, and he himself, must be the leader. This would mean that Paris would be the centre of initiative and decision for Western Europe. President de Gaulle has gone too far. He has no title to speak in the name of Western Europe. I again quote the Dutch Foreign Minister, who has declared that the General's conception of Europe as an independent "third force" is not only an illusion but a mortal danger to the Free World.
§ My Lords, how should Britain react to the new situation created by General de Gaulle's challenge? First, there can be no question of our turning our backs on Western Europe out of pique. Rather must we strengthen our ties with it. Our friends there are equally, if not more, concerned about the fateful consequences of President de Gaulle's actions and ideas. I do not believe that any one of the Five—and there will also be many dissenting voices in France—will wish to follow him along the road he seems to have chosen for himself and France; nor will our other partners in Europe. I believe there would be consternation if there were any serious prospect of United States withdrawal from Europe in existing conditions. But we may be sure that the United States have no intention of deserting the Western Alliance. The Western Alliance is still a vital necessity for them, as it is for us and, indeed, for the whole Free World. Let us never forget this.
§ I believe that our European friends will look more than ever to Britain for leadership and guidance because our common interests are not less now than they were before the abrupt ending of negotiations about the Common Market. We must stand firm by NATO, the Western Alliance and the larger concept of the Atlantic Community. Any weakening of them in present circumstances would bring increased, and maybe grave, dangers because it would worsen the chances of reaching agreements with Russia.
§ Secondly, what is also required is that Britain should make her full contribution of political and defence support to the Western Alliance. I have doubts whether Her Majesty's Government would be able to declare that they are 599 satisfied, that their Allies are satisfied, and that the Supreme Commander is satisfied that Britain is pulling her full weight militarily in the Western Alliance. There will be a Defence debate in the near future, and I do not want to anticipate that discussion, but, in the light of the Nassau statement, I feel I must say there is growing concern at this country's continuing to struggle to keep its own independent deterrent by the adoption of the Polaris missile, and thereby diverting resources which could be much more effectively applied to the strengthening of our conventional capabilities.
The views of my Party have been clearly stated in the document Policy for Peace, in which they declare:
Britain should cease the attempt to remain an independent nuclear power, since this neither strengthens the Alliance nor is it now a sensible use of our limited resources.
The Times, as recently as January 23, supported this view when it wrote:
The British Polaris fleet will add nothing to the strategic power of the Western Alliance and little to Britain's influence within it. This will depend in the future, as it does now, on other factors, among which the economic strength and morale of the nation are foremost.
To insist that Britain must be free to use its nuclear deterrent independently where the Government may decide that supreme national interests are at stake, is not convincing. The Times has said that we have to shed some illusions, and
the first is that there is a likely set of circumstances in which a British Government would use. or threaten to use, nuclear weapons independently of its allies. Such an action would split the nation at a time when unity was never more essential.
That, my Lords, seems to me to be a sound and timely warning and one that should receive the most serious consideration by the Government. Moreover, if nuclear independence is valid for Britain and France, it is difficult to see why it should not also be claimed by other nations and thereby produce the proliferation of nuclear weapons which it is the desire of all us to see avoided. The hard facts of the national economy and the dangers to which I have referred justify a call for a reassessment of Government policy on this issue.
§ Thirdly, my Lords, we have an urgent task to restore the confidence of the Commonwealth in Britain's intentions. 600 This may not be easy. Great damage has been done to Commonwealth unity by actions of the Government in recent years, and they have sacrificed influence in the process. But a Government which really believed in the value and effectiveness of the Commonwealth could give the Commonwealth meaning once again. The Commonwealth is not a diminishing partnership, but an expanding one; and with our outstanding record of bringing independence to hundreds of millions of people in many nations, who are now free members of the Commonwealth, we have, I believe, an opportunity to influence decisions and help to develop cooperation in many spheres that will be for the benefit of all.
§ There is a fourth and vital field for British initiative and leadership through the United Nations. I have always believed that the Charter of the United Nations should be the basis of British foreign policy, and I have always believed that Britain can play a leading rôle in the counsels of the nations in UNO. Britain has exercised a powerful and persuasive influence throughout the life of the United Nations, but there have been occasions when Her Majesty's Government have taken decisions or adopted attitudes which we have deplored. But I am convinced that there is a great fund of credit and good will for this still great country of ours at the United Nations. We want to see British leadership and influence fully and continuously exercised, not only in Europe and in the Western Alliance but also at the United Nations.
§ My Lords, it is my view that time and time again the United Nations has proved its worth. Since 1960 it has been faced with its biggest and most exacting challenge—in the Congo. I hold that it has carried out its responsibilities in trying circumstances with great credit, and I want to pay my tribute, as the Secretary-General, U Thant, has done, to the patience, restraint, courage and military skill of the United Nations contingents—the bulk of them from Commonwealth countries. But I also want to pay tribute to the leadership of U Thant, and his predecessor Dag Hammarskjoeld. Sometimes when great men suddenly and tragically are taken from us, we wonder whether there are others with the strength of character and capability of leadership to 601 take over where they have left off. There are lessons to be learned from the success of U Thant's stewardship as Secretary-General of the United Nations, following the success of Dag Hammarskjoeld. I pay this tribute, because with many others I have deplored the stream of criticism and attacks that have been directed to the United Nations and its mission in the Congo. I myself remain convinced that, had President Tshombe not had from the start of the Katanga trouble the revenues paid by the Union Miniére, the secession campaign would have collapsed long ago, to the great benefit both of Katanga and of the Congo as a whole.
§ In due course it will be for the Security Council to review the Congo operation in the light of its own mandates to the Secretary-General. For myself I do not accept the charge that the Secretary-General or his staff have exceeded their authority. It is unfortunate, in my view, that the Secretary-General's statement dated December 31, with regard to the events in the Elisabethville area in the preceding days, did not get far greater public attention than in fact it received. I was glad to note, therefore, that the Secretary-General intends to submit to the Security Council a detailed report covering these events. I hope the Security Council will then take the opportunity to make unmistakably clear their unanimous confidence in the Secretary-General's discharge of his responsibilities in the Congo operation.
§ It is a matter for regret that President Tshombe did not do much sooner what he has now done—namely, declare the end of secession and accept the free movement of the United Nations forces throughout the Congo. It would have avoided the need for the United Nations operation which began on December 28, following the campaign of harassment and several days of intermittent firing by Katanga forces without any return fire from United Nations troops. The eight Southern Katangan Chiefs also might not have found it necessary to take the step they did of dissociating themselves from their President and giving a pledge of support to the Central Government, thus disclosing the waning of Mr. Tshombe's influence in his own Province. There is, I am sure, widespread satisfaction at the ending of the attempt at secession by Katanga, and because there is the opportunity now to implement 602 the Secretary-General's plan of reconciliation.
§ I agree wholeheartedly with the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary in hoping that U Thant's expressed desire to convert the military operation into an operation of economic and technical assistance to the Congo will be quickly achieved. We should then begin to see an independent and united federal Congo moving steadily forward to real reconciliation and recovery. If that can be done there will be good cause for congratulating the Secretary-General on the successful accomplishment of the United Nation's most difficult and thankless, but necessary, task. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.37 p.m.
My Lords, I am sure your Lordships will agree with me that it is to be hoped that a debate on the international situation at this juncture, when the outlook is admittedly confused, should help to clarify the scene, if possible, and prove to be a source of help to the Foreign Secretary rather than the reverse, when he tells us of the present hopes and fears of Her Majesty's Government. It also seems to me—and again I think your Lordships will agree—rather important that, at this difficult juncture in world affairs, we should not in this House and in this debate over-emphasise those items of difference which are mainly of internal political-Party interest; and that we should so far as possible give to the world a picture of that national solidarity which basically informs us all, no matter how divergently we may view the various courses which may be open to us.
My Lords, immediately there are probably two matters which are uppermost in our minds and have a great bearing on our thoughts and, possibly, on our conclusions. One, of course, is in the very recent past: the difficulties and disappointments brought about by the failure of the Brussels talks for our proposed entry into the Common Market. The other, which is in the future and may not seem immediately connected with foreign affairs (the Foreign Secretary may call me to task again for mentioning it) is the prospect of a General Election, which I think will influence us all in our formulation of hopes and fears.
This is not, I feel, the proper occasion to analyse the history of the Brussels Con- 603 ference: that can be done later and in great detail. But I think there is no doubt that public opinion in this country was, and still is, divided, although my own opinion is that support for our entry was overwhelmingly greater than the opposition. All I would say in connection with the Brussels talks, if I may, is that I have found it impossible not to feel great admiration for, and gratitude to, the Lord Privy Seal for his untiring tenacity and optimism and ability in circumstances which I think few other men could have handled so well. As for the coming General Election, Her Majesty's Government are no doubt aware that, after eleven years of Conservative Administration, the electorate will be alive, critical and analytical of any future programme to be laid before them. I will not prophesy further, though I am much tempted to.
But, my Lords, in retrospect we on this side of the House, and I think on these Liberal Benches in particular, cannot help rather feeling that the unsatisfactory international position in which this country finds itself—and I do not think I am exaggerating in putting it that way—could have been a little improved if the word "Conservative" had not been the code-word under which British foreign policy has been pursued for so long. It would be ungenerous not to record the international and even liberal motives underlying the Government's rather belated approach to the Common Market. But, apart from that, it appears that we as a nation are still finding it rather difficult to realise that our nineteenth-century position in the world is not just in abeyance: it has actually gone. If we are not to become a second or third-class Power —or worse—it is just no good waiting for Godot. We must radically adapt all our ideas to the new world.
When I say "the new world", I do not mean the New World across the Atlantic, where progress seems for some reason to be a national and a natural characteristic from the cradle to the grave: I refer also to the example of a prosperous Germany, defeated in the last war; a prosperous Italy, defeated in the last war; a prosperous France and Belgium, risen from desperation and penury after the last war. Are we really joining wholeheartedly enough with all these successful countries (I leave out at the moment the particular 604 question of France) in keen co-ordination and partnership, or are we still ploughing our own Victorian furrow in complacent admiration of its long and fruitful stretch behind us?
My Lords, the immediate difficulties are obvious all over the world. One has only to look into any continent to be able to pick on some particular difficulty. The Central African Federation, for example, is in a sorry state—a fact which I think cannot fail to have serious and even alarming repercussions in that troubled continent. But I would call to mind that although we on this side of the House were critical of the inauguration of the Central African Federation, we did, your Lordships may remember, give our assurance that if the Government put it on the Statute Book and implemented it, we would loyally try to support it and help to make it work. Therefore we share now with the Government their anxieties and their regrets about its unhappy fate.
At this stage of the debate—and we are all waiting, of course, for the speech of the Foreign Secretary—I am not going to traverse the whole globe, but will merely touch on several places—indeed, I shall cut my speech even shorter than I had intended. Nearer home, coming suddenly to much closer quarters, is, of course, the immediate and deeply serious problem, as the noble Lord has just mentioned, of the intentions and policies of France, whose sudden volte face from a very intimate identity of outlook, both in peace and in times of great peril, as we all well know, and now also from the views of her own closest economic allies, has, of course, caused both consternation and apprehension. I agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has said to-day about the attitude of French policy, but I suggest that we should perhaps exercise a little patience and restraint before we assess this surprising development, however much we deplore it, as a major tragedy in our relations with France as a whole.
We have been at war with most European countries in our time: difficulties have arisen, and in the end we found ourselves no longer at war. We who have not been overrun in war, and who cannot fully appreciate the psychological damage of national humiliation and desperation, must, I think, make some allowance for the sudden and resentful reactions involved in finding, at last, at 605 long last, in France, a new unity, a new heart and a new figurehead, much as we may deplore the present direction in which that figurehead is moving. I do not believe that it is in the character of the French nation to be swept away into any form of totalitarianism; and while the present outlook is dark and confusing and formidable, I have the hope, and I think I must say the expectation, that before long we shall be able to look back upon this episode of discord as a passing and regretted and wholly temporary interruption of the Entente Cordiale.
My Lords, I do not propose to speak longer, to stand between the House and the Foreign Secretary, but I would urge once more as I have urged previously, that in our foreign relations—and I hope this will not be taken as being said in any patronising sense—we should remember that the "elder brother" attitude of traditional British Conservatism, which worked so well, up to a point, in the last century, must be put aside if we are to succeed, as of course Russia and China are notably succeeding, in the influencing of the emerging and emergent nations. To our contemporary colleagues in the Western World, I suggest that we display by example, and not just by tradition, our proved and our outstanding national capacity of leadership, foresight, ability and good will.
§ 3.45 p.m.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF HOME)
My Lords, not by any means for the first time the House is indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for creating a situation in which we may review every aspect of foreign affairs; and, as the House expects, he has again today demonstrated the care which he takes to present all these issues of British foreign policy in an absolutely fair way. I am particularly indebted, too, to Lord Rea for intervening in this debate today, when he and his Party must have in the forefront of their minds the loss of their most distinguished leading personality, Lord Samuel. I heard the noble Lord's broadcast last night, and it expressed, I think, what everybody was feeling about the loss of that great and distinguished parliamentarian.
The noble Lord made some friendly remarks about the Government, but he said that in the field of foreign policy he felt that our comparatively poor position 606 on the international stage might be ascribed to the fact that the image of Britain had been presented by the Conservative Party for a number of years. I feel that, in the most friendly way, I must reject that absolutely. I would have thought that the lesson of all the international gatherings lately had been this: whatever the Liberal Party or the Opposition or anyone else may think about us at home, the foreigner holds Britain in high regard. That has been demonstrated at the Nassau meeting by our unity of approach with the United States of America; and by the fact that, although the Brussels negotiations broke down, five at least of the Six were strongly on the side of the British approach and wanted the British presence above all things in Europe. I think it is also true to say of the meeting of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers that, although a number of Commonwealth countries might have been adversely affected economically by British entry into the Common Market, nevertheless all the Commonwealth countries recognised the immensely important political part that Britain could play in the counsels of Europe. So, while I agree on almost every occasion with the noble Lord, Lord Rea, I cannot accept that. I would agree with him that there is no use in waiting for Godot. I cannot quite remember who Godot was, or, indeed, why everybody spent so much time waiting for him, but I suppose it is possible that he was a Liberal.
My Lords, it is very seldom that a short Christmas Recess is as packed with events of international importance as the few weeks which have passed since we last reviewed foreign affairs. First of all, there was the Nassau meeting, with its impact on our own defence structure, and with the beginning of a new and multilateral effort which was put forward as that meeting in order to try to see whether we could not give the NATO Alliance an aspect which was more agreeable and acceptable to its European members.
Then there has been the climax of the Brussels negotiations, ending of course in the blocking of the entry of Britain into the Common Market, exposing a difference of outlook in the Western Alliance: first of all, on the economic purposes of the European Community; secondly, on the political organisation 607 that might emerge following the Treaty of Rome. And then there were rumours, which have been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, that one of our Allies in the NATO Alliance might go so far as to question the whole basis on which the security of Europe has been built within the NATO Alliance. Lastly, and separately, Mr. Khrushchev caused a flutter in the nuclear dovecotes by suggesting, during our Recess, that he would accept the principle of international inspection in relation to a nuclear tests ban.
Each of these subjects would suffice for a speech in itself, and I want, if I may, to respond to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, to-day in this way: to lay before your Lordships in very simple words the theme which has inspired the main initiatives which have been taken by Her Majesty's Government both in relation to the agreement at Nassau and in relation to our attempt to apply for membership of the Common Market; a theme which runs through our application to join the Common Market, which runs through the initiative which we took at Nassau to offer, first of all, our bomber force to NATO and then, if it proved to be practical, to create a multilateral or multi-manned force within the Alliance.
The key to all our actions has been this. We have felt increasingly in recent years that everything is combining to move the nations of the world inexorably towards interdependence. Let us look at the power of Russia and the United States. Their power is colossal, but not even they can act independently if the world is to survive. Nuclear power is putting its restraints on national ambitions and even the giants are not in these days wholly independent. Interdependence is working even on them, and if it is true of Russia and the United States it is certainly true of us.
At the beginning of the century—I find myself in agreement with the noble Lord the Leader of the Liberal Party —we had direct responsibility for a great Empire and for its security; we mobilised great resources of power in our own country, and from that Empire, which we wielded alone. To-day our role is changed. We still have great power with which any aggressor would have to reckon. My Lords, I think it is foolish to belittle the power of Great 608 Britain; it is still most formidable. But, nevertheless, we now have fewer and fewer territories for whose security we are directly responsible and our task is increasingly to make our contribution to the different alliances and associations which are responsible for the defence of the Free World. And more and more I think we recognise that our security lies with them and theirs with us.
The next tier of power to which one comes is the power of the countries of Western Europe. No one country, I think, in the NATO Alliance could mobilise enough power to defend itself, or indeed to exercise a decisive influence, on its own; and the European countries have recognised that by combining in defence. But lately they have realized something more than this is needed. The great changes take place in peace time, and it has become clearer and clearer that in dealings with the United States or with the Soviet Union, or with Africa or Asia, they listen to the views of Europe in proportion as Europeans can speak with one voice and act together. Faced with this inevitable grouping of nations the United Kingdom has to decide upon the scope and terms of its participation in the alliances and associations which are being made. And the first equation which has to be solved by a country like our own is how much independence we require in modern circumstances, and how much sovereignty and control we can concede in order to achieve the purposes common to ourselves and others who have the same approach to life as we do.
I should like to say one word on this question of independence and interdependence in the context of national security because it is the most important of all. I take it that neither we nor any one of our European Allies would be happy with security arrangements which placed us, in effect, in complete control of the United States; but equally I take it that none of us would be happy if we were deprived of the United States' alliance. Therefore when we are considering these question we in this country have to consider the kind of question whether, in view of the overall cover by the United States, we want an independent deterrent in the United Kingdom at all. This was the question raised by the noble Lord. Again, while 609 accepting the absolute necessity of the United States presence in NATO what should be the balance of effort as between America and the European members?
I, like the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, do not want to anticipate the defence debate which we shall have in a short time, or the NATO discussion to be raised by my noble friend Lord Crathorne, but I do want to give one or two of the reasons which persuade me why we want to keep a nuclear arm under our own control. Perhaps the argument that sways me most is that no one can foresee the pattern of armaments for ten or twenty years ahead. I hope there will be disarmament and that we shall be able to achieve a degree of nuclear disarmament. I hope we shall be able to avoid the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But I cannot say we shall be successful; nobody knows. And if we were to discard our independent nuclear deterrent now, could we not be in a position in a few years' time where France, or France and even perhaps Germany, were the only nuclear Powers in Europe? I think it would be not only a bold but a very rash man who took Britain out of the nuclear business now. So, as a Government, we had to make this kind of balance between national security and collective security, between independence and interdependence.
We have decided it this way: that we should retain enough independence in control of our nuclear arm so that we should never be in a position where we might be blackmailed by an enemy if, by any chance, we were to find ourselves standing alone; but, at the same time, we should contribute to interdependence by assigning to the NATO Alliance a nuclear component, consisting, first of all of our bomber force, and later of our force of Polaris submarines. In that way we believe we can prove to Europe now, at this psychological moment, that the nuclear defence of the West is indivisible.
We cannot accept (and I am very glad the noble Lord spent quite some time in talking of this) that Europe by itself can meet the Communist challenge. If this thesis was ever seriously advanced, we should have to reject it. We do not believe that the defence of Europe can be organised without the presence of the United States—their presence on the 610 ground, in the management of the forces and in the execution of policy. Of course, it is perfectly proper to argue and discuss the balance of strength and effort within the framework of the NATO Alliance between the European members, on the one hand, and the Americans, on the other; and as Europe has gained in confidence and strength, Europe can take something off the shoulders of the United States in this respect. But a kind of balancing act of a third force, balancing itself between the Americans and the Russians, has no appeal whatever. I want to make this crystal clear, as I think the noble Lord did on behalf of his Party when he said that, if this thesis was put forward, we should reject it as a gigantic error—I think those were his words, and I fully agree with them. It is not a concept which is worthy of the Western Alliance to think of NATO without the United States, and it clearly is not in scale with the Free World's needs.
It was the same theme—that of the pursuit of the greatest degree of interdependence between friends—that inspired our application to join the Treaty of Rome: because we felt that no country, however, firm its foundations for the creation of wealth and for expansion, could afford to neglect the opportunity of a large market on its doorstep. If we had done that, I think we should have been fools. But that was only one reason for trying to join the Common Market.
My Lords, the real question mark which to-day hangs over the world society is, I think, whether the developed world can raise enough wealth, capital and aid to assist the stagnant and poorer societies to cross the first fences of expansion, without which they cannot take part at all in the great industrial race of the twentieth century. Unless we can enable them to get over the first hurdles or fences, then they will be unable to share in the economic advance. I think that this was already clear from the preliminary discussions we had with the Six countries of Europe: that if the European Economic Community was outward-looking and in sympathy with the needs of the underdeveloped countries, then Europe, and the United Kingdom in it, could have mobilised a programme of investment and a prospect of purchas- 611 ing power of the products of the underdeveloped countries which would have made a far deeper impact on their economic problems than if each of us had tried to act alone.
Interdependence has its sacrifices, and each partner in any association must measure the points beyond which sovereignty cannot be conceded. But it also has its prizes; and if the prizes are greater neighbourliness, greater security and more expansion and prosperity, those are rewards for which men have been groping from the beginning of time. Therefore I make no apology whatever for having tried as hard as we could to join an association of nations which could have achieved many of these things.
I confess, too, to a political motive for Britain's entry into the European Economic Community. I believe that it would have been good for us and good for Europe if Britain had been in on all the big political decisions made by the Community itself. The conclusion of the Franco-German Alliance is a case in point. The rapprochement between Germany and France is the strongest of British interests, and, indeed, I think every European country as well as those two would feel the same. But should one of the partners in that Alliance try to use it to dominate Europe or to destroy the multi-national structure of NATO, then that would be a most dangerous development.
I am not interested in a post-mortem on the Brussels negotiations; that is a phase which is now closed. But I think they have illustrated vividly how essential it is that in all these matters which concern the security of Europe we should all work together loyally within the NATO Alliance; and that applies not only to us but to all the other members of the Alliance. If we follow new courses—and an alliance must develop, of course, like any other institution in the world—then they must be courses which are agreed; and if they are agreed, then they will be all right. I was glad to see (I must say that I expected to see it, because I could not take any other view but that Germany was a most loyal Ally in NATO) the statement of Dr. Adenauer, reported to-day, re-emphasising that Germany's interest was the continuation of her partnership in the Atlantic Alliance, including, of course, the essential 612 presence of America. So when I am asked, following the breakdown of the Brussels negotiations: "Where do we go from here?" my first reply must be that we go to ensure the coherence and joint purpose of the NATO Alliance, and that that Alliance includes America. That is the duty of each Ally.
Of course, there are many other institutions. There is the W.E.U. and the O.E.C.D.; we have our close relations with the EFTA partners, and we meet them in a week's time; we have, of course, always our contacts with the Commonwealth, and before long, as the House knows, we shall be negotiating a new trade arrangement with Australia. But we all took the decision, ourselves together with the other Five in Brussels, that it would be a great mistake to lay out any new policies in the heat of the moment—a very emotional moment—and that we must give ourselves time to pause. We are now considering with our friends and Allies how best to make use of the opportunities ahead of us, with this in mind. We want to keep touch with our European friends so as to ensure that the European Economic Community, which we do not want to break—we have never wanted to do that—evolves in the future on economic, military and political lines which are in keeping with our views of an outward-looking Europe, which is the kind of Europe that the outside world also wants to see.
The Nassau Agreement demonstrated, I think, the sincere purpose of Britain and the United States towards Europe, and in these matters we see eye to eye. Our purpose was to start in the Alliance a process of thought and action which will result in the European members having greater confidence in it. In the first place, we took the initiative at Nassau in suggesting that we might each contribute to a multi-national force—that is, a force to which the countries with nuclear capacity could make contributions and in which the non-nuclear members would be enabled to play a much greater part in the management and control of nuclear weapons than they had been able to do in the past.
Then, again, we look forward to the possibility of creating a multi-manned force in order to demonstrate the European character of the Alliance. It is 613 a difficult conception, but I do not think it is one which is by any means impossible. Perhaps we can pursue these matters further when we come to Lord Crathorne's Motion in a week's time. Therefore on this section of what I have to say, perhaps I might sum up the question of the independence of Britain and our interdependence with our Allies in this way. Whether we are meeting the physical threat from the Communist nations; whether locking forward to the next stage, we are negotiating a modus vivendi with them and trying to find a way of co-existence, or whether we are looking to the other great task of the free nations of the world, which is to fertilise the under-developed world with capital for its expansion, this cannot really be done satisfactorily by one country or one group. It cannot be done by Europe alone, by Britain and the Commonwealth alone, or by America alone. It must be done by all three co-operating together. That is the theme, therefore, which has inspired all our actions, and I think it is a theme at any rate in which noble Lords opposite and the noble Lord, Lord Rea, would concur.
Following the Russian enterprise in Cuba and the Chinese attack upon India—both of which were recalled by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson—there have been signs of a modification in Soviet policy. The doctrinal breach between Russia and China, which is sometimes rather difficult for us to understand, has, as the noble Lord said, reached a point where it will be very difficult to heal. In fact, I think the words he used were, "the gloves are off"; and I think that is true. Certain statements by the Russians against the use of war as an instrument of policy have been so definite that they have really now taken on the character of Communist doctrine. I believe that what is even more important is this. The Communist Parties of the world, so far as we have been able to interpret their attitude over the last few months, have sided themselves most definitely with Mr. Khrushchev's interpretation and against the Chinese. There has been a less dangerous approach by Russia to the problem of Berlin, and Mr. Khrushchev's announcement that Russia would accept in principle on-site inspection for a nuclear test ban was encouraging. There are signs that Russia has been impressed with the need to stop 614 nuclear tests for two reasons: first of all, because of the very clear dangers of proliferation and other countries acquiring nuclear weapons, and, secondly, of course, to curb the expense of research and development which puts such an appalling burden upon even the strongest country. Unless it was pure propaganda —and that I find difficult to believe—there is a chance, therefore, to turn principle into practice and to find an agreement which can be acceptable both to Mr. Khrushchev and to the West.
I am bound to add that the Washington talks were discouraging. The Russian proposals gave a quite inadequate cover of Russian territory, and the old obsession about espionage came out, time and again. We return to Geneva resigned to tedious argument, but, nevertheless, resolved to be patient. I want it to be quite clear in your Lordships' House, however, what kind of agreement on nuclear tests we want to see. It is an agreement in which, on the one hand, the nuclear Powers bind themselves not to test; an agreement open to access by all, and, in particular, access by the Powers who might acquire nuclear weapons in the near future. We want an agreement also in a form which would enable the nations who have not yet started nuclear development to renounce any intention of doing so. I will report from time to time to the House how the Geneva discussions go on, and if I see a chance of giving a lead, of course I am ready to go out there myself at any time.
If the House will allow me just a few moments, I should like to say a word on a subject the noble Lord raised, and that is the question of the Congo, which has blown up into a crisis from time to time and has always been a matter of great anxiety to Her Majesty's Government. In the beginning, the United Nations' intervention in the Congo was designed to prevent the Russians from taking advantage of a chaotic situation left behind by the Belgians leaving the Congo very precipitately, without adequate preparations for the country's independence. Therefore, to avoid a conflict by the big Powers and the importation of the cold war into that part of Africa, the rôle of the United Nations was to prevent civil and tribal war and to help the Congolese to settle and shape their own economic and political future. We 615 supported the United Nations expedition. We paid for it. In fact, we paid far more than our share; and even when we thought serious mistakes were made—and your Lordships have only to read the book of Dr. Connor Cruse O'Brien to realise the terrible mistakes that were made—we leant over backwards to assist the United Nations, because we felt that it was in everybody's interest that this international experiment in reconciliation should succeed. No one can say that we did not support the United Nations, and no one can say that we have not a right to give our own interpretation of the resolutions which have been operated in our name.
With regard to the use of force, the Secretary-General, U Thant—and I associate myself with the tribute paid to him by the noble Lord; U Thant is a man of peace—stated quite correctly the three purposes for which the United Nations were entitled to use force: self-defence, the prevention of civil war, and the removal of foreign armies and mercenaries coming in from outside. We agreed. But during the passage of the resolution of November, 1961, we had certain misgivings because, side by side with the Secretary-General's own interpretation of the circumstances in which the United Nations could use force, we had to remember another instruction of the Security Council which equally had to be taken into account. I would remind the House of its terms. It read:United Nations Forces will not be a party to, or in any way intervene in, or be used to influence the outcome of, any internal conflict, constitutional or otherwise.My Lords, it was in our view essential that this instruction should be honoured, not only because a settlement in the Congo ought to be achieved by reconciliation—that we all wanted to see—but because once the United Nations allowed itself to be used in an independent country to coerce political minorities by force, it would forfeit all claim to impartiality and damage its image almost irrevocably as an instrument for keeping the peace. That may sound very high-minded, but we have to look forward in these matters, and the United Nations, if it is not impartial, will lose the confidence of all the countries in the world; and that we do not want to see. I cannot myself say that U Thant had an 616 enviable task. He had to steer his way between those resolutions: one saying he had to prevent civil war; the other saying he must not dictate a political settlement. But on the ground there was a very imperfect machine with which he had to work.
It is not very profitable to job backwards, but there are certain lessons that must be learned from this experience by ourselves and every member of the United Nations. First of all, directives issued by the Security Council must be unambiguous; second, action by the United Nations must never be partisan; and, above all, the chain of command of the United Nations must convey orders which are made with precision and carried out from the Secretary-General down to the lowest officer on the ground. Too few of those things happened in this case. I hope at a later date we shall have an opportunity of discussing these various aspects of United Nations actions in circumstances of this sort, because the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has a Motion down to debate an international police force. But if the United Nations is ever going to create an international police force, then the directorate of such a force must be clearly seen, by all the countries subscribing to it, to be objective and impartial; otherwise we shall never make any headway at all. It is these instructions that we have had very much in mind in handling the Congo situation.
I think that a post-mortem, as I said, is not very profitable. About Christmastime the fighting started. The United Nations decided that the U Thant plan of reconciliation could not be accomplished without sanctions; therefore there was a build-up of forces in case these were resisted. In the tension—and there is no doubt, I think, of this fact—the Katangese lost control and started shooting. The United Nations found resistance to their take-over very slight, and, first of all in Elisabethville and then in Jadotville—and this has been admitted—they went further than the orders which had been given by the Secretary-General. But in Kolwezi the situation was very different. There the Katangese meant to blow up the installations which supplied the wealth of Katanga and, indeed, the wealth of the Congo; and, in our opinion, and we thought this for many months, 617 they meant it, because rather than be humiliated they would destroy themselves and destroy their country.
In those circumstances what was an outsider like our country to do? We gave it the most anxious consideration, because the direct British interest in the Congo is marginal. We could have stood aside and when the destruction had taken place we should have had the satisfaction of saying to the United Nations: "Well, now you have a wrecked, starving, bankrupt colony, and we told you so". We took the decision that we had to do something and that the only thing we could do was to exert our influence on the side of moderation. Therefore our representative, on instructions, went to Mr. Tshombe and told him he must abandon sabotage. In the United Nations we went to the Secretary-General and begged him not to let the United Nations stand on its dignity and refuse to deal with the elected local authorities, but to deal with them; and, in fact, to get on to the practical work of reconciliation. And I say, without hesitation, that if the U Thant plan for reconciliation now has a chance of success, as I hope it has, then it was the operations during that fateful week of the British Consul and his Belgian colleagues that made this reconciliation possible.
So far as the Leopoldville Government is concerned, we have always recognised it as the Government of the Congo. We want the most friendly relations with it. We have hoped for and worked for a settlement by consent, because in the Continent of Africa it is only those settlements by consent which will stick and be permanent.
There is no use pretending that this matter has not raised high feeling, and that is why I ask indulgence to deal with it for the last time, I hope, to-day. Some would have liked us to cut off all support for the United Nations because, in their opinion in operations on the ground they have exceeded their mandate. Taking into account the wider considerations—the Communist intentions, the blow to the authority of the United Nations as a world organisation if they had had to withdraw—I have advised against such a course. I have had misgivings; but so long as there was evidence that the United Nations was genuinely trying to work for reconciliation, then I think the balance of this advice has been right. 618 The Belgian Government all through have felt the same way as ourselves, and their interest is much greater than ours. I trust, therefore, that from now on there will be no loss of patience by the United Nations, because the supreme international organisation for peace cannot ever afford to lose patience. I hope that attention will be given to the establishment of a genuinely federal Constitution, and I hope, above all, that I shall not have to come to the House and reverse the advice which I have given up to now and which I repeat to-day. I trust that the plan for reconciliation will succeed.
As we look around the world, we see a very restless scene. Many suggestions have been made by the Colombo countries in order to provide a basis for a peaceful settlement of the border war between India and China. I cannot say what the result will be. The Kashmir talks between India and Pakistan proceed. In that part of the world, too, the House is aware, as part of the process of de-colonisation, after the most elaborate consultation with all the territories concerned, in which my noble friend Lord Lansdowne took part, we have decided to establish a Greater Malaysia. We have only one motive in this, and that is to place the three colonial territories in a constitutional framework which will give them the opportunity of the greatest measure of political stability, collective security and economic expansion when they become independent. I hope that their neighbours, Indonesia, will accept that such a development is in the interests of the whole area, and will pursue the policy of a good neighbour towards a fellow Asian State.
The House will be pleased, I think, that following my talks in New York with Prince Faisal we were able to resume relations with Saudi Arabia. In the neighbouring territory of the Yemen there is civil war and external intervention, and to-day the Egyptians have 18,000 troops in the Yemen. The question of United Kingdom recognition arises. The House knows our standard practice—that when we recognise, we recognise a Government which is in effective control of its country. We are having discussions with the Governor of Aden and Mr. Gandy, our representative in the Yemen, and I will report the results to the House in due course.
619 My Lords, I have tried, therefore, to set some of the problems raised by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, in their wide setting in the theme that Britain should be at the centre of all movements which tend towards interdependence. We shall have our setbacks; we had one in the Brussels negotiations. But I think we should have the support of your Lordships in claiming that we should be a moving spirit and work tirelessly towards these ends, for it is the view of Her Majesty's Government that they combine British self-interest with our wider duty to the world.
The noble Lord, Lord Henderson asked me about a White Paper. I have, of course, taken note of what the noble Lord said. I will discuss it with my right honourable friend the Lord Privy Seal. I know that it is his view, and that of the Government, that if a White Paper is to be produced it must be comprehensive, and there is an enormous amount of material which would have to be included in it. Therefore, I can give no hope that it will be available before the relevant debate in another place, but I will discuss it with my right honourable friend. It might be produced—and I hope it will be possible—at a later date.
EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, I am not quite sure the Opposition are satisfied with that. All we require at the present time for the Parties and the public is a White Paper setting out in detail what were the agreements which the Government appear to have come to which meant they did not have very much more to do to get success in the other direction. What we want are particulars of what concessions were made in a different field which led the Government to believe they had come near to success over the whole area. That should not take a Department two days.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I do not think the noble Earl has realised the amount of work which would be required before we could produce a White Paper of this nature. We have to make sure that it is accurate and accepted as an accurate account of what took place. That cannot, I am afraid, be done by early next week. I am not saying that it cannot be done reasonably soon, to provide the noble Earl with all the information he wants. I will consult my right 620 honourable friend, but I do not think we can do this in a matter of days.
§ 4.33 p.m.
§ EARL ATTLEE
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Rea, seemed to suggest that it would be appropriate for us to-day to fall in behind the Government and throw a bouquet—or should it have been a wreath?—to the Lord Privy Seal, to be thoroughly good and quiet boys. I have no intention whatsoever of following that advice. We are faced with a situation of complete failure of Government policy. What we are looking for is not an elaborate post-mortem of the past, but we must have a glance; and if the corpse is the Government, it is not dead but it is certainly moribund. This is the grand inquest of the nation, and we now have to look into these things, but even before there is a death.
Let us look at what the situation is. We are faced by a Government who for eighteen months or more have been seeking to enter into the Common Market. I do not want to discuss the Common Market to-day in its economic aspects, but that was the definite political policy. It has now been rejected by one of the principal members of the European group in fairly unpleasant terms. I gather, from reading in The Times to-day an account of the interview given by M. Pompidou in France, that the trouble was that General de Gaulle was upset by the Nassau Agreement: he thought there ought to have been some correspondence between the armament plan and the political plan of a Government; and, finding that was not so, he decided to upset the apple cart. We are now left with a Government who have no real policy whatever.
I could not trace in the Foreign Secretary's admirable speech any particular theme, except a very vague theme, to which we shall all agree, that it was the task in the world to raise the standard of the less advanced nations. I am bound to say that I find it a curious way of doing it—to join in an organisation of the better-off nations and surround it by a tariff wall against the rest of the world. I could not see, in the negotiations which took place, in what we had done for the products of India and Africa and elsewhere, any inclination whatever among those who controlled the Common Market to subscribe to the theme put 621 forward by the Foreign Secretary. In these circumstances we must really begin to ask: Have the Government any policy for the future?
One of the great mistakes made by the advocates of the Common Market enterprise, and not least by members of the Government themselves, was a constant representation of this country as being in a miserable situation, reduced to the status of a second-rate or even third-rate Power; that we were obliged to go in, and that if we did not it would be an awful disaster and we should be unable to make good—the very worst possible way of approaching a negotiation. My Lords, I stand here to deny that. I do not believe that we have become a second-rate Power. I do not think that whether we are a first-class Power or a second-rate Power depends just on armaments or on wealth, or on population. We have never been the most populous Power in the world; it is doubtful whether we have been the most highly armed or, indeed, the wealthiest. We have never been as large (and there is a cult of bigness to-day) as some of the other Powers. Nevertheless, we have been a Power that exercised immense influence. We were not the biggest Power in the world in 1815; we were not the biggest Power in 1914. It is entirely a matter of taking many factors into account. I hold that we are still a first-class Power, but that does not necessarily mean that we are a first-class Power in the same sense as a great military Power like Russia, or an immensely wealthy Power like the United States of America.
But we have to recognise the situation we are faced with to-day. It is, of course, true that we are no longer, as we were before 1914, a secure island, with our fleet controlling the world, if we wished, or at least keeping the peace of the world. But we are not reduced to being a mere offshore island of the Continent of Europe. We are the centre of a worldwide Commonwealth, and our moral influence and political influence is still very great. I hold that this attempt of the last eighteen months was going away from our traditional position, a traditional position that did not depend just on the strength of the British Fleet, or our geographical position vis-à-vis Europe. It was a mistake ever to think—and we never have thought—that we should be- 622 come a great Continental Power. We were always a Power partly in Europe and partly outside Europe. I hold it as a great mistake of policy to try to go in and form part of a European bloc.
Our influence in Europe has always been that of a balancing factor. We stood against the domination of one political Power of all Europe, and in particular of any big Power having political control over the Low Countries. But beyond that balancing factor we have never sought, since the days of the Plantagenets, to be a great Continental Power. I hold that that was the error in trying to go into the Common Market, because we then became one of a group of States—not of all Europe, but of a group of States, and I intensely disliked the political provisions of the Treaty of Rome. Now we have a different position. So far as we are concerned, the Treaty of Rome will, I hope, never apply. I hope that we shall not be in the Common Market, and that we shall return to the position we have always held.
We were really the creators of NATO. But NATO was not just a European bloc trying to be a third force; NATO was an Atlantic alliance. And the object of NATO was not to get a third force or dominance. When we formed it the object of NATO was to support the United Nations. Because at that time the United Nations could not act for the prevention of aggression we formed NATO, and NATO stands to-day as a great factor in preserving the peace of Europe. But, as I say, we never intended that NATO should be exalted into a kind of third force lying between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. I think that is a grave error; and it is, I think, the error into which General de Gaulle has fallen. He is a good European General, provided that he is running Europe; and he looks in those romantic dreams again at France as the great leader of Europe and at de Gaulle as the great leader of France. I think that is an out-of-date and entirely illusory dream.
Our right position is one in which we act in concert with all in Europe who will act with us, with the United States of America and, above all, with our British Commonwealth. Our British Commonwealth is unique in that we embrace both Asiatics and Africans, the people of Australia and Canada and the rest, and we are far better placed than any other 623 organisation for helping to raise the standard of life of these various people. Today, that raising of the standard of life must be done in an alliance with the peoples. The day of colonialism is past; the day of helping is still with us, and we are placed in the position in which we can do it. We set the example in the Colombo Plan. Therefore, I want to see now our country taking the lead, certainly in the main thesis which the Foreign Secretary put before us; and I think we can best do that as a leading member of the British Commonwealth and in as close an alliance with other countries, the United States and foreign countries, as possible. Let us get away from this false view of the Continental bloc, the third force.
One of the major factors, as I gather, that upset General de Gaulle was the Nassau Agreement. Here again I do not intend to say "Oh, this is a splendid thing. Let us all support the Government." I think it is a great mistake. I have never yet seen—and I have not seen to-day—any situation in which an independent nuclear weapon of this country could be used—no single situation. Nor do I see any situation where it could be used to repel a threat. I think that is a backward-looking idea: that the nuclear weapon, unless we can abolish it altogether, will for some time keep the peace as it has done in the world, through mutual terror. Once you begin the multiplication, once you claim, as our Government claim, that we must have our nuclear weapon, it is natural that de Gaulle says the same; and Adenauer will say the same. And the result is this dangerous proliferation of weapons. I commend to noble Lords a letter written by a most distinguished Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir John Slessor—perhaps the best strategic brain we have—on the Nassau Agreement, on the independent nuclear weapon and its effect on the political scene, and his plea for more co-ordination on the political and defence sides.
That leads me to a question which has caused me a great deal of trouble—namely, the most peculiar set-up that we have under the present Government. We have five Ministers and Under-Secretaries in the Foreign Office—the Foreign Secretary, two Ministers of State and two Under-Secretaries. But despite all that, foreign affairs are conducted by the Prime Minister and Lord Privy Seal. 624 I think that is most regrettable. First of all, I think that they should try to avoid the error that some people fall into, of thinking that the British Prime Minister is in exactly the same position as the President of the United States of America—he is not. He is stronger in some things, weaker in others. The Prime Minister, with support in the House of Commons, may well be in a better position than the President of the United States who has not the confidence of Congress. But he is not the sole executive officer, as the President of the United States of America is. Still less is he a dictator like Mr. Khrushchev, or even a semi-dictator like General de Gaulle.
My Lords, I hold the old-fashioned view that foreign policy should be conducted by the Foreign Secretary and not by the Prime Minister. When I was Prime Minister there were two occasions when I had to go across to America on foreign affairs: one was in connection with the atomic weapon, and the other was over the question of intervention in the Korean war and the danger of its extension into the mainland of China. But, apart from those occasions, I was quite content to leave the conduct of foreign affairs in the most competent hands of the Foreign Secretary.
The second point is that the Prime Minister should not be involved in this everyday work. I do not believe it is suitable for a Prime Minister to have to go around, to go down to Italy to see Signor Fanfani and to go to France to see somebody else. In the old days they were more likely to have come here. I cannot see the point of it. The Prime Minister should be kept behind the front rank, and should allow the negotiations to be done by the Foreign Secretary. I believe that that is almost heretical today, because the present Government have a curious habit of creating some Minister with a strange name whom they send off to Africa to do the work normally done by the Colonial Secretary; then they send another one with a fancy name to the North-East Coast to do what should be done by the Minister of Labour and the President of the Board of Trade. I think the Foreign Secretary is lucky not to have had someone with a strange name put over him! But seriously, my Lords, we should consider getting back to having the Foreign Office, and the Foreign Secretary, doing the work in foreign affairs. 625 The previous precedent of where a Prime Minister took over was that of Mr. Neville Chamberlain, and it is not a good precedent.
I shall no doubt be told, "The trouble is that you have got the Foreign Secretary in the House of Lords." Well, I was told at one time that the great advantage of that would be that, not having to stand up and answer questions every day in this House, he would be available to go abroad, to do all this kind of work, to see foreigners, and so on. That might have been so in theory, but in practice the Prime Minister and the Lord Privy Seal have been doing it. What has been done by the other four Ministers I really do not know. I suggest that a little thought should be given to the organisation of government, and, personally, I should like to see things more in the hands of the Foreign Secretary than the Prime Minister. I think, on the whole, I should prefer him as Foreign Secretary. I suggest that sometimes we make our mistakes in these innovations and that there is something to be said for the old methods.
Meanwhile, there is an abundant case to-day for us to get away from defeatism. I am told of the wonderful work the Six have done in building up their economy, and all the rest of it. Well, they have done it only in the last eleven years. Of course, this country has been suffering under a Government who have failed at everything. Although we had our difficulties in 1951—and we had quite as bad a frost (I mean a weather frost, not a Government frost) as we have to-day—we did not consider ourselves down and out; we did not consider we were inferior to Russia or to the United States of America. Let us have a good conceit of ourselves. We do not pretend to dominate, but this country has its voice in the world, and greatly to the benefit of the world. My Lords, I hope we shall soon have a Government who know how to use it.
§ 4.53 p.m.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, there seem to be two broad conclusions, which are quite inescapable, to be drawn from the failure of the negotiations in Brussels, and I am only sorry that the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, does not share my view. The first conclusion I draw is simply that the decision of Her 626 Majesty's Government to seek membership of the European Economic Community, and to adhere, if possible, to the Treaty of Rome, has been completely vindicated by the events in Brussels of the past few weeks. For it must be clear now—I should think it must be clear even to those who most sincerely and passionately oppose our joining—that a European Community which exists of which we are not members and over which we can exert no direct influence, is something that is infinitely dangerous to our interests and a threat to our survival which can scarcely be measured.
The noble Earl has spoken most feelingly of our traditional position, but I would ask him to reflect upon this point. A Europe on the Gaullist pattern—and that is the kind of Europe there will be if we are not members of it—is a Europe dominated by one Power. It is the kind of Europe which, from the days of Queen Elizabeth to the days of King George VI, from Philip of Spain to Hitler, we have fought war upon war to prevent coming to pass. If we had stood idly by to let that happen, without making any attempt to prevent its happening, should we really have been supporting our ancient traditions? If we stand idly by now and let it happen, are we endorsing those ancient traditions? Of course we are not. If we were to do that, we should be turning our backs on our whole national tradition, on 400 years of British history.
But that is not all, my Lords. A Europe of which President de Gaulle has given us a preview, a Europe from which we are barred, a Europe with its back to the Atlantic, a Europe from which the influence and power of the United States has been banished, could only mean in the long run—and I do not think it would necessarily be so very long—a Europe dominated by Russia, or else a Europe torn apart by a third German war. It is really an illusion to suppose that a Europe on the Gaullist pattern would be controlled by de Gaulle. It would not. You cannot build a continent, a new world, on one man's illusion and one man's pride. A Gaullist Europe—that is, a Europe of which we are not members—would spell the twilight of Europe, and probably the twilight of Western man. That is the conclusion that I draw: that Her Majesty's Government 627 were absolutely right to seek entry into the Community.
My second conclusion follows from it: that it is still essential, for our own safety and the safety of Europe, for our own future and that of the Free World, that we join the European Community. Of course, we must consult our friends—our friends in the Commonwealth, in the Free Trade Association, in the United States, in the Community itself. But let us do nothing, make no arrangement, which closes the door or makes our future entry more difficult. For my own part, I am very glad indeed that Her Majesty's Government are rejecting the specious alternatives based upon unreal possibilities that are being pressed upon them from all quarters—including, as I would hold, the noble Earl. My Lords, you cannot counter illusion with illusion.
I have no doubt that we shall enter the Community, for it is a strange paradox of our situation that after the wreckage, the sabotage, of the Brussels negotiations we are in fact closer to Europe to-day than we were before the negotiations started. We are closer because we realise, as we did not realise before, that we are a part of Europe and that we need Europe; and we are closer because now our European friends realise that they need us. We are not alone, my Lords, in believing that we have a special contribution to make, a unique contribution based upon our political experience, based upon these worldwide contacts and affiliations to which the noble Earl referred, to the welfare and indeed to the safety of Europe. Five out of the Six believe it, the members of the European Free Trade Area believe it, the Americans believe it, and I think that that part of the Commonwealth which is of European stock believes it, too.
My Lords, it must surely be clear by now, as it was not clear a month ago, what this whole argument is about. It is not about pig-meat; it is not about temperate-zone products; it is not even about preferences. Indeed, it has very little to do with the detailed negotiations which the Lord Privy Seal conducted with so much skill, so much determination, so much patience, and so much courage over so long a time. Whatever else he may have done, President de Gaulle has raised the argument to a different level. It is not concerned now 628 with trade statistics. What the argument is concerned with now is the future of the Western Alliance, upon which the future of Western man depends.
It is said that President de Gaulle has weakened the Alliance. For myself I do not think so. The Alliance always was pretty weak, and all that President de Gaulle has done is to show us where the weakness lies. Because he himself is so patently living in another century, he has shown us, I think, that we, too, are living in another century, even if it is one not so remote in time as that in which he dwells in solitary grandeur. I mean, my Lords, that we are applying the techniques of the 18th and the 19th centuries to problems of the 20th century—yes, and the 21st. I mean that a system of alliances that was barely relevant 25 years ago, which was perhaps relevant on the 15th July, 1945, ceased altogether to be relevant at 6 o'clock in the morning of the 16th July, when the first atomic explosion took place. What happened then on that summer morning in the deserts of New Mexico was that a new world came into being—not just a progressive world, not just a changed world, but a world in which most of our old conceptions ceased to have any meaning at all. If we are to survive in this new world we must, it seems to me, form some kind of political organisation that takes account of it, as our present system of alliances does not.
It seems to me that there is very little good in having alliances which cover some parts of the world and not others. It is very little use having an Anglo-American alliance in Western Europe, and Anglo-American hostility in Africa or the Persian Gulf. It is no good thinking in the context of allies and satellites. Surely we have to realise that now we are all in the same boat, steaming rather slowly and rather erratically through the hurricane area. It is no use the officers on the bridge having consultations as to the exact relationship between the chief officer and the master. It is no use the officers going to their respective cabins to work out by themselves the port they mean to reach and how they mean to get there, the course they mean to lay. My Lords, if we are to survive this voyage, we need, we must have, a union of peoples and of policies more real than anything we have ever had before, more 629 real than anything we have ever contemplated before. There is not much time to lose, for no one can say how much sand is left in the glass. No one can say when the glass may be shattered in our hands and time itself for human purposes come to an end.
§ 5.8 p.m.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, you will well understand the feelings of Common Market campaigners at this particular moment in time. We have never doubted, nor do we doubt now, that our entry into the European Economic Community, on the sort of terms which seemed possible of attainment only a month or so ago in Brussels, would be in our supreme interest, in that of Western Europe, and in those of the entire Western world. Nor would I despair at all that this goal might one day be achieved. After all, in politics it is the unexpected that nearly always happens! It was thus entirely right, as I see it, that the Government should have gone all out to achieve this end. And all honour to them, I say, and especially to the Lord Privy Seal. No one can possibly say that it was his fault the negotiations failed.
Some time ago, my Lords, we had a debate in this House on whether, supposing we did not get into the E.E.C., it would be a disaster or merely a tragedy. Of course it is not a disaster in the sense of an event bringing catastrophic results, such as a sudden fall in exports, a sharp rise in unemployment, the collapse of the Stock Market, enforced devaluation of sterling, or what you will—though few, I think, would be optimistic enough to think (perhaps the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, is an exception) that the long-term outlook now in all these fields is particularly encouraging, unless, of course, we make a really gigantic effort.
But a tragedy, yes; that I would say. It is a tragedy, my Lords, for our exclusion from Europe by an act of political will on the part of one man—and I do not deny that he probably has the bulk of the Frenchmen behind him at the moment—could well mean, if things go wrong (and here I touch on the theme of the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine), the failure of the whole European idea, and hence an exposure of our small and ancient peninsula to the rival forces of the East and the West. Unless we are careful—and this, I think, is the answer to the 630 noble Earl, Lord Attlee—these will either tear the Continent asunder or, more probably, unite it under one Power, and probably one non-European Power, which will have us all (and not only all, but us particularly) at its mercy.
Now, whatever he may say in public, de Gaulle cannot really want a Europe without Great Britain. He may dream of a third force, perhaps centred on Paris, in which the French alone will have an atom bomb or two and consequently be able to dominate the Germans, the Italians, the Belgians, the Dutch and so on, and force them to accept what would inevitably be a third force—in other words a neutralist policy. But if he does, it can be only on the assumption that Europeans generally will have come to the conclusion that he is divinely inspired—and so far, my Lords, this delusion is not generally prevalent. Nor do I for a moment believe that President de Gaulle is himself under such a delusion: far from it. But his habit is what the French term, "jouer le tout pour le tout", and his experience has been that if he does this he normally gets away with it. We must clearly do our best to see that this does not happen, however. Because if we were forced—and this may be the object of the great game—to come into what is called an "inward-looking", autarkic and no doubt authoritarian Europe, that really would be the end of us as a great nation.
This does not mean, of course, that we should do well to play on the weaknesses of the Six and try to disrupt their economic unity. For even if we were successful in such an enterprise it would mean merely that the great Communist Parties in Italy and France itself would take over the State machine, and Western Europe would fall a victim to the Soviet Union.
It is quite possible, I fear, that our exclusion will mean that stresses and strains will manifest themselves among the Six, for that is something we cannot help. Nor should we in any way base our policy upon it. So what should we do? Of course, we must in the first instance now try to do all the things we should have had to do, willy-nilly, if we had come into the European Common Market. I will not recapitulate these. They have all been put forward in the Press, and the present debate is obviously not the occasion for making 631 a detailed allusion to them. No doubt our non-participation in the Market will also act as some sort of a spur. I would not deny that: I hope it does.
But what we clearly should not do, I think, is to cut off our nose to spite our face, by which I mean the imposition of any retaliatory duties on imports from France; refusal to continue with joint Anglo-French projects, such as the Concord aeroplane; violation of GATT, recommended by not a few, by the conclusion of discriminatory or barter deals; cutting down on our defence expenditure (unless this is clearly dictated by our economic plight); or reduction in expenditure on our overseas services. All these pitfalls we must hope will be avoided, and many constructive measures will no doubt also be taken. But is there anything else that we can do in order to see that, when the opportunity offers itself, we may again re-enter the European arena, not as a poor, defeated suppliant but as a great democratic nation, confident in our own ability to see to it that Western Europe develops, not as a sort of neutral empire, but as a liberty-loving force within the Western Alliance, dedicated among other things to helping the less fortunate races of the world? That was the hope we had before us only a month ago.
I suggest, my Lords, that there may be something that we could do. During the Brussels talks one thing was remarkable. This was the real devotion with which the representatives of Western Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg worked in order to help overcome difficulties and smooth the path for our entry into the Community. That devotion was evident even in the ranks of the Commission itself. And all this, mind you, my Lords!, in spite of the fact that these devoted men who were helping us knew quite well that if we did get into the Community we should not support, anyhow for a long time, the federal type of European unity in which many of them, of course, profoundly believe. They just wanted us to be a member, in the confident hope—and I think they were justified—that if we did come in everything would be much more democratically run, and that there would be less emphasis on silly national pride and hegemony and much more on practical co-operation.
632 It seems to me important that these men, and indeed all the Governments of the Five, should now have some official indication, if possible, of the sort of institutions which we should form if we ever did come into the European Economic Community. So could we not perhaps make it clear—perhaps in the Western European Union, the Six plus Britain—that we favour a Council of Ministers which would have real authority in the realm of both foreign affairs and defence? By this I mean a Council not of all the members (which, after all, might be as large as fourteen, after a time) but a more restricted affair, with, I would go so far as to suggest, permanent and non-permanent members. There is nothing anti-democratic about that: and the non-permanent members might be co-opted for a stated period. This would be the supreme European authority; and if it were decided that the new Europe should have any nuclear weapons—and, after all, if we came in in the fairly near future two members of this Community would have nuclear weapons—then the Council should decide whether or not they should ever be used for purely European purposes.
This would not preclude, I hasten to say, these two nuclear forces from being also at the disposal of NATO, in the sense that they would come under the Supreme Commander if general war broke out, and would be what is called targetted accordingly. That, of course, would be understood. But there would be alternative plans for their use in other contingencies. Thus there would be no attempt to set up a third force—none at all—as such; but there might be an assurance that neither the nuclear power of the United Kingdom nor that of France would ever be used for purely national purposes, but only either as part of NATO or at the behest of the new Political European Community. Nobody, therefore, could say that if you set up something of this kind the European Union would not be completely independent. It would have complete freedom of action, and possess the means whereby decisions could be arrived at, not only, of course, in the nuclear sphere, but in that of conventional armaments and foreign policy. The only obvious condition for any such arrangement—and I think here I shall carry the noble Earl, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, with me—would be unanimity between the four 633 large Powers. But how otherwise could we have anything in Europe which made sense democratically?
As against this, the Gaullist conception of Europe is apparently that one nuclear Power dictates policy to the other members of the Confederation. How long will the other proud nations of Europe, I ask, be prepared to put up with this? Might they not all really prefer some kind of plan of the nature I have indicated? Might not even France do so one day, and perhaps one day quite soon, if she realised that there was no question of suppressing her incipient nuclear force but merely of utilising it, along with ours, to the best advantage of Europe?
§ EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I am very interested in the argument; and I am sure the noble Lord wants me to agree as far as I can. I agree with the arguments of the four Powers; but the situation created by the breakdown reminds us of a previous occasion not unconnected with NATO. It was the French who upset our almost completely successful European Defence Community, and we have something only half the value in the W.E.U. to-day. So we have to take into account all those things.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, I try to take these facts into account. I do not see that I am not doing so. France did upset the E.D.C. She did; but it was her own idea, not our idea. But there is no particular reason why the French should not agree to some of the proposals I have been suggesting. Can this be, in other words, what General de Gaulle really wants? Is there possibly some gigantic misunderstanding? Have we all got it right? Could we not have some further deliberation and see whether it would yet be possible to get agreement on such a plan, despite General de Gaulle's apparent preference for France's being isolated? I suggest that it might be examined in detail by experts, to see whether some new approach could be made on those lines, and I ask the Government whether they would consider that point.
Apart from a streamlined Council, I think we ought to come out boldly for a Political Commission, by which I mean the appointment by the Council of men of repute and understanding who could 634 advise them on foreign affairs and defence and no doubt also provide the Secretariat for the Council meetings. It would be the duty of such persons to examine problems referred to them by the Ministers from a European, as opposed to a purely national, point of view, and try to reach conclusions for submission to the Ministers. Their functions would be purely advisory, and later on they might be given other powers; but they would enjoy a special status and their President might well sit in with the Ministers during their debates and represent a sort of European conscience of Europe. I have every reason to suppose that such a proposal, even if it were not popular with the French, would be popular in many circles who supported us in the European Economic Community.
Finally, we should put forward concrete and well-worked-out proposals for strengthening the present nominated European Parliament. Now, above all, one would have thought, is the time for us to make no secret of our continuing democratic beliefs. Now is the time for us to make it quite clear that, if we ever do come into it, Western Europe will not be slave, but free. Now is the time for us to demonstrate that freedom works, and that it is quite possible for Europe to unite on political lines consonant with its greatest traditions. If we do this and are still prepared to accept the healthy disciplines of the Treaty of Rome, then I think we can gradually create a situation in which European peoples would increasingly demand that Britain should join a community of the free. And when that moment comes it will once again be proudly said thatEngland saved herself by her exertions, and Europe by her example.
§ 5.24 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF CHICHESTER
My Lords, most of us speaking this afternoon have begun, as did the promoter of this debate, in the precise place where the general public begins at the present time; that is, with the breakdown of the recent negotiations with the Six. I suppose that the mixture of relief and disappointment, strongly tinged with irritation, which has been voiced in previous debates in your Lordships House, is strongly felt also by the general public outside. They have never pretended to understand the implications of going in or of staying out; and they 635 do not know now whether to call "sour grapes" or whether, by a trick of mind, to consider our inclusion highly desirable now that it has become, for the present, impossible. They have grasped that this has been a very crucial decision, whichever way it went. They have grasped that if we went in then there would be before us economic and political consequences which we could not take in our stride and which would require great and intensive reorganisation in the country; or, conversely, that if we stayed out (or, as in this case, were knocked out) then equally there was no question of going on with "business as usual" but that a strong reappraisal of our situation and economy would be required if we were to survive and maintain our position. That is what they have been led to believe, and what the country is now looking for is a real lead.
I recall, as many of your Lordships will recall, how, on the opening hours of the last war in another place, the noble Earl who is now the Leader of the Opposition here, interjected the remark, when the then-Prime Minister was making an announcement: "Speak for the nation." I believe that this is the kind of situation in which we want people to speak for the nation, and not for sectional interests, in respect of any particular endeavours that are required of us. It is easy to fall back on self-pity, or on internal and mutual recrimination. But I believe the country wants something more than that. From this Bench, I can speak foolishly and recognise that it is difficult for any political Party at the present moment not to remember the looming shadow of a General Election. Yet I think people at large are less interested in Party politics than are Her Majesty's Parliament. They are interested in politics as the ordering of the body politic, its life and welfare and the objectives on which it may be united. They are not interested in expedients. They feel that we have had too many expedients.
They feel that in the last few years there has been perhaps far too much stress on the prestige of the nation based upon nuclear power or even on certain aspects of material prosperity. They want to see restored to it—and, if they do not, we should see that they want it—some 636 of the values which meant so much in the past, in terms of greater justice and more disciplined freedom in our community and in our world. Whether that implies primarily economic measures, whether the blow of the Common Market is an economic blow, it is not for me to say or to discuss. I hope that, if there are to be economic demands made upon the country in face of economic crisis—accentuating the already-looming crisis in the North—we shall be able to feel that such demands are being spread fairly over all of us; that the burden is being shared.
This debate to-day has not been on the economic side, but on the international aspects and on the effects on our own political relations with Europe and with the greater world outside it. We have, as we all fully recognise, a peculiarly complex and deep involvement in almost every part of the world, and that exposes us continuously to criticism —sometimes for things we have not done, and sometimes for things we gave up doing a long time ago. All the same, our own position requires of us very clear and fair appraisal of ourselves in the light of our own great international commitments. The noble Lord who initiated this debate, Lord Henderson, referred to our own relationship with the United Nations. I hope that I may have your Lordships' patience for a few minutes if I speak about that, particularly in relationship to the Congo, where we have been accused of giving very ambiguous support to the United Nations.
My Lords, I believe this criticism to be largely unjust, and the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary has this afternoon enlarged on some vital points of action by our own representatives which I think give the lie to much that has been said. Yet there is a feeling that less than justice has been done to the United Nations' case. To be invited in, to be almost compelled in, to this situation in the Congo by the invitation of the Central Congolese Government, was, in a sense, to plunge yourself into a kind of witches' brew, seething with all kinds of ingredients—tribal jealousies, power politics, personal ambitions and, I suppose, outside interests. It would be impossible to plunge into that and for some of these things not to stick. We cannot blame the servants of the United Nations if, however reluctantly, they have in some 637 way become involved in these pressures inside.
It is a great tragedy that the Katanga aspect has very much shrouded the other tremendous work which the United Nations officials have done within the Congo as a whole for what we long to see—its pacification and its restoration. We perhaps do not recognise enough that the cold war, largely through its own share, did not spread to Central Africa. We perhaps do not recognise enough what its own officials, through its own Specialised Agencies, have been able to do in a country where there has been removed all semblance of authority and government, and where the chaos of poverty and suffering that went with it were almost indescribable. Some of the situations which these officials had to face really beggar description. That is not taken into account often enough.
I think, too, that time may well prove —indeed, it is perhaps already proving—that, whatever our own reservations about their actions in Katanga, the policy may well be proving right in the positive and sometimes painful steps they had to take. U Thant, at the close of the year declared that there was now within sight an early end of the critical divisions between the Central Government and the Province of Katanga, and we must now witness an early beginning to the reduction of U.N. military strength. The noble Earl the Foreign Secretary gave us hope that to some extent that was being fulfilled in the weeks that followed. But if there is any substance in the hope, we must do what we can to strengthen him at this particular moment.
The restoration of the Congo matters far more than any clashes of opinion about past policies in it. There is no doubt that the United Nations are penhaps oversensitive about this. They are a young body and, therefore, rather apt to take criticism as an attack upon themselves. They regard it perhaps as even propaganda or talk of a "smear" campaign when comments are made about specific policies. Yet they may rightly claim, I think, that when all the confusing reports have come in of the things that have been happening there, when first one side and then the other have seemed to appear as one angel of light in an arena of darkness, the U.N. have been the victim of much 638 propaganda and bias. The atrocities have been referred to to-day and in previous debates. I note still that, in the spate of books that have come out, so often atrocities committed by the Congolese troops in Katanga, Hindo, Congola, some of the bigger instances, have been laid at the door of the U.N., when it would have been impossible for the U.N. to have any responsibility for anything that happened. Conversely, some of the immense sufferings on the other side—with the Balubas, for instance—have not been laid at the doors of Tshombe or other officials. There is this kind of attitude at which the United Nations, I think rightly, might protest. It tends to become the scapegoat for a great deal of savagery and a great deal of mismanagement which cannot be laid at its doors.
I refer to this again rather hesitatingly, simply because it seems so important that at this moment, and in the light of what has been, I may say, a bad Press, we should do nothing to weaken the United Nations' hands. This is the important moment. The next step must lead to the pacification and, we hope, the unification of the country. U Thant has said that he looks forward to this reduction in military strength and to an increase in technical assistance. But, he may be over-optimistic. The solution that has been imposed upon Katanga, partly by force, is bound to be an insecure one. Will it survive if it is not maintained by force? It is impossible, as has been said, to sit on bayonets indefinitely. Will the U.N. be committed to indefinite police action, or will they be able, in the measureable future, to withdraw and leave the country to a Central Government with any real confidence that peace can be established again?
Questions of this kind, which are questions for the future and not recriminations over the past, must depend for their answer, in part, not on what has happened in Katanga, but on what is happening in the other provinces. Katanga will be reconciled to integration or to a fuller association only when it sees that it is worth while to do so. So long as the other provinces are poor and chaotic; so long as the Central Government is not a stable Government and giving confidence that it can develop the country peacefully, then there will be little inducement to Katanga to put 639 its heart into a closer association. It may swear with its lips, but its heart may remain unsworn in any public acceptance of agreement. U Thant's plans for reconciliation will not reconcile by paper agreement. It will be not the removal of the troops but the influx of technicians and all the peaceful assistance of so many forces that will offer any chance of reducing the chaos to public order and economic help. That is why it is tragic that in some way the United Nations has got a bad name through this whole operation.
The noble Earl the Foreign Secretary himself hinted at what I hope he and others will draw out in a future debate. We not only have our full share in the United Nations, in its policies (in a sense, we are responsible for those policies if they are the policies of a body to which we belong) but we are also responsible for seeing how we can draw out of this lessons for the future. And the Congo, apart from its own future restitution, has highlighted some searching points for the future of United Nations operations.
There is the question of the future function and the nature of any police force and what it should be expected to do. There is still more acutely the whole principle of intervention. The principle of non-intervention is blazed very deep in the Charter of the United Nations. It is said that nothing shall authorise them to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State. That principle has been repeated, in different words, but in the same substance, in resolutions of the General Assembly. It is probably inevitable in this case that the United Nations which went to the assistance of the Central Government of the Congo as the only legitimate Government, should become involved in Katanga in a way which we did not anticipate or desire. But it has raised—and its friends recognise this—serious issues which they must face as to what would happen on possible future occasions. It is very difficult logically to define "intervention". The Congo has proved this by its own differences from, say, Korea or Palestine, and if there are likely to be other difficult situations ahead—and some of them already rear their head before us—then this issue is one which cannot be burked, 640 and there is a great contribution which we could make in bringing the United Nations to face that.
Finally, there is one other question of which the United Nations, or certainly Mr. U Thant himself, must be very conscious. It has illuminated the special position of the Secretary-General, who has been forced to take action as the executive officer, often with very inadequate assistance, in order to implement general resolutions of the Assembly which have been couched in vague and sweeping terms. Often it is quite right to leave the initiative to the wisdom and diplomacy of a single individual. He can do better than a group or a Committee. A man free from any national ties like the Secretary-General has proved the value of this personal intervention, say, in Cuba, and we have all recognised that the United Nations has been exceptionally well served by its Secretary-General. But the process imposes upon him an immense strain, and it may well be argued that means must somehow be found of spreading the political responsibility for United Nations policy without taking away effectiveness from the paramount position which the Secretary-General himself must wield. The agony of the Congo, and I suppose as such it may well be described, may lead not only to a greater maturity for Central Africa, if the maturer nations of the world will stand by it but also it may mark a stage forward in the greater maturity of what might I suppose, be called the foster parent of the Congo, and that is the United Nations itself.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ LORD TAYLOR
My Lords, the right reverend Prelate praised the United Nations and followed my noble friend Lord Henderson in so doing. I was delighted with what he was saying. Then he backed down a little, wondered whether he was really doing right, and whether the burden on U Thant was not too great, and so on. I think he is absolutely wrong to go back to the Troika idea which he appeared to favour.
§ LORD TAYLOR
When you have a difficult job like the Congo, give it to one man to do and back him up. That is what we have usually done in our 641 administration of our Colonial territories in the past. My criticism of the Government now is that they have not backed up the United Nations when things were going wrong for them, because that is just the time when one should be backing them to the hilt. I think the Foreign Secretary has done himself and Britain less than justice. He pointed out that we are paying more than our fair share in this operation, and I think he should take credit for it instead of always being a little shilly-shallying and not quite behind the United Nations when things are very difficult indeed.
The right reverend Prelate says that we can learn from this about the next occasion. I think there is only one thing we can be sure about concerning the next occasion, and that is that it will be quite different from the Congo and pose absolutely different types of problems to solve. Therefore, we cannot learn a great deal by doing post-mortems on the Congo, but we can help enormously by strengthening the United Nations as an administrative and operative machine in the field—and I think the United Nations are coming out of the Congo pretty well.
The Foreign Secretary has one immense virtue, and that is his wonderful lucidity. He was beautifully lucid to-day, and one could follow the points where one agreed and, equally clearly, the points where one suddenly found oneself disagreeing fundamentally with what he was saying. He spoke of the inexorable movement towards interdependence, and I am sure we all agree about this inevitable movement. Then he said something like this: The foreigner still holds Britain in high regard. The world is not divided any more into two kinds of human beings, British and foreigners. That is out of date.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord, may I say that I was talking about "foreigners" in the sense of people overseas. I mentioned the Commonwealth in this context, and I was not thinking of "foreigners and British" in that way.
§ LORD TAYLOR
My only fear was that the foreigners might be listening to the noble Earl and might have felt as I felt, that our foreign policy still contains this element of an Anglocentric approach to affairs. Last July I was doing a job 642 for the Saskatchewan Government and I found myself supplied with a personal assistant by them. He was a young university student doing a holiday job for the Government. His name was Eddie Sojonky. He was a Russian-Ukrainian-Polish-Canadian, and an absolutely first-class fellow. He had grown up in the free air of Canada as good a lad as one could wish. Then I found as my colleague in the Saskatchewan Government, as their Government planner, Mr. Tommy Shoyama, a Japanese-Canadian. Then I was up in Northern Saskatchewan in Lac La Ronge, and I found a gentleman in charge of the Department of National Research, Mr. Lloyd Reznechenko, a Welsh-Russian-Canadian. Here in Northern Canada we have the nations who are really united, and I hope one day that the United Nations will unite in that kind of way. Here I began to learn the lesson that people are much more important than national boundaries, and this Anglocentric approach, which I think we still learn from our history books, and still suffer from, is really obsolete.
One of the nice things about young people to-day is to see how they are growing up with a conception of a world duty rather than simply a national duty. Many young people are asking how they can get jobs to serve the whole world, and not just to serve Britain or the Commonwealth. I think that is a fine thing. Last September and October I became for the first time a world citizen, and I got a passport printed in five languages by the United Nations—in Russian, Chinese, French, English and Spanish—because I became a temporary consultant to the World Health Organisation working for a travelling seminar. Our job was to teach doctors, engineers and chemists from the 21 developing countries—and we used that word to describe these countries, and not "underdeveloped". I noted, again, that the Foreign Secretary described these countries as "stagnant". I do not think they are stagnant, and I think he is wrong. I think they are full of life and vigour. They may be very poor, in fact most of them are, but they are full of enthusiasm, full of go and wanting to do things. They are certain to make mistakes, as we all do when we are young. But the one thing I would not describe them as is stagnant.
643 I was with these representatives of 21 countries and my job was to help to teach them industrial and occupational medicine. My boss from the World Health Organisation was an Egyptian doctor. I have never worked for an Egyptian doctor before, and he was an absolutely first-class fellow, a first-class doctor, administrator and man. I learned there a very useful and healthy lesson in not being Anglo-centric and not automatically regarding us as right in everything. My colleagues, these gentlemen from developing countries, came from places as far apart as Indonesia, Japan and Chile. There were Roman Catholics, Mohammedans, Buddhists, Hindus, Shintoists and Free Thinkers. It was very interesting that when we got to Soviet Russia the one thing they found which they had in common, which they strongly criticised, was the official teaching of Atheism. Whatever religion they belong to, this really shook them quite a lot.
For three weeks we worked in Soviet Russia, and we were working with the Russians, not against them. The Russians are active members of the World Health Organisation—and very good members too, let me say, though they sometimes find themselves in difficulties. As your Lordships no doubt know, the price mechanism as we know it does not operate in Soviet Russia and they do not price a great many articles. One of these developing countries had asked the Russians for some microscopes. The Russians said they could have these microscopes but they then had to ask the World Health Organisation the market price for them because they had never sold one. They give microscopes away to their universities and other institutions.
We were working with them, and we were there to see Soviet agriculture, industry and their health services, and to learn and to teach; and we tried to teach the Russians, as well as to learn from them. From the first day I had to criticise the Russians; and I criticised the Deputy Minister of Health for their archaic first-aid arrangements. They are still using methods of first aid which we gave up 30 years ago, particularly in respect of artificial respiration. They still use Sylvester's method, which was replaced here first by Schafer's method, 644 then by the Holger Nielsen, and now by mouth-to-mouth system. I spoke sternly to the Deputy Minister of Health on this subject. He obviously learned his lesson, because on the last day when we met and said goodbye he embraced me and then said, "Mouth-to-mouth artificial respiration."
We ourselves learnt a great deal, but I want to confine myself to these points on international relations—namely, how to deal with the Russians. I have no doubt that the Foreign Secretary knows far more than I do, but I should like to offer a few little suggestions. First, I must speak about the intense alternations of feelings one gets when one is with the Russians. At one moment one is full of intense admiration for their achievements, and the next full of intense irritation at their inefficiency, which is sometimes quite staggering. Secondly, they are more like the English—not the Scots or the Welsh—than any other group of foreign people I have ever met. So far as I can see, the Russian is more like parts of our own working-class in England. Moscow, Kiev or Leningrad could be Camden Town or Kentish Town at the end of the war, with the shops all empty—only the Russian shops are even more empty now than ours were at the end of the war. The people have the same kind of jokes, the same kind of clothes. Their factories look exactly the same: rather dilapidated and like our own Northern England factories. When we arrived at the factories we could see that the managers were not expecting us. Even though we think they organise these things better in Russia the managers obviously had not been told we were coming. He would say: "Oh, my God! another bloody party of foreigners"—if your Lordships will excuse my quotation. It is the same thing as happens here, Time and again one was so reminded of England.
The Russian civil servants whom we had attached to us were charming people, but extremely negative unless one got above a certain point, when the button clicked. Never take "niet", for an answer was one of the lessons we quickly learned. They always said that we could not have something, and we always continued to insist that we wanted it until they gave way. For example, in institutions and so on there are no duplicators, for fear of clandestine newspapers being 645 published; so it is impossible to get any documents duplicated. We had to take our own duplicating machinery. When we wanted anything it had to be printed, which led to all sorts of complications. There are a few respects in which they are not like us: the streets are cleaner; the Metro is much cleaner; children much more polite. They are the best-behaved children I have ever struck: they are charming children. The range of personality types and achievements is very like that in Britain. It is very wide, from the best to the very worst. Again, one finds really wonderful things and then simply awful things. Their sense of humour I found frightfully like ours. The whole conception of a Socialist Peer they found infallibly funny. They asked: could I not get them in here? Could not one or two of them become Life Peers too? They certainly found the House of Lords a very interesting institution.
On their buses, as your Lordships probably know, you merely feed a 5-kopec piece into a slot. Quite often Russians do not do this. There is no conductor but the driver has a mirror, and if he sees that a passenger has not put his 5-kopec piece in the slot he shouts out: "Hey! what about your fare?" The passenger shouts back, "This is a Socialist country, why should I pay?" Then they have an argument. The bus stops and the chap is thrown off. But he has had his ride free. Since the buses are to be free quite shortly in Moscow, perhaps it is not too unreasonable.
As regards Russian morality, I reached the conclusion that the Russians are an intensely moral society. They do not always behave morally, but fundamentally they are a moral society and very concerned with morals. It is very like the ordinary British Nonconformist morality, with the Party meeting substituted for the chapel. And when they attend the Party meeting lecture theatres, which are in every institution, the resemblance is even more striking. Just like the rest of us, they sometimes behave in an immoral manner, and they are reported in their equivalent of the News of the World and no doubt others "get a kick" out of it. As we know, they have a rigid code of behaviour—for example, 15-centimetres' separation when they are dancing. This is all very well, but recently about 100 Cuban comrades began to enter the country each week; and while we were there 646 we saw Cubans dancing. They do not think much of 15-centimetres' separation (it is cheek-to-cheek for them), and this has created an interesting problem for our Communist comrades, in finding what is the correct answer.
I criticised us for being Anglo-centric, if I may say so, and it is just the same with the Russians. They are extremely Russo-centric and are clearly far more concerned with their home affairs than they are with international affairs. They tend to judge international affairs very much from their effect on their own home affairs, and less and less I should have said from a theoretical point of view—and they have plenty to be concerned about. The state of their agriculture is simply dreadful. There is scarcely a family without its war dead, and the impact of that on the ordinary Russian people is very marked indeed. Invalid cars like ours are a common sight in the Russian streets, and the enormous preponderance of women in industry and in many occupations is due to the fact that they have lost 20 million people. And I am quite sure that when they say they hate war, they are absolutely genuine and honest about it. They have had enough of killing, whether it is by Nazis—whom they always call Fascists—or by Stalin; and I think this is a perfectly genuine and honest universal feeling. But equally, they are absolutely obstinately determined to run their country in their own way, and four years' military service and the poverty of consumer goods seem to them to be a small price to pay to protect themselves from the dangers which they still think they see in the West, though I would say that they think they see them rather less than they used to do.
Still more paranoid, as the noble Earl said, is their spy phobia which gets the better of them from time to time. This is apparently done as routine. All our luggage was gone over in our hotel as routine. What they get out of it goodness knows! In my bag were piles and piles of papers. I had not read them myself—I had not the time. How any agent could get through this stuff and make head or tail of it I do not know. Their telephone behaviour is somewhat odd. They have a very good telephone system. You can ring up London from a hotel in Moscow in about five minutes. I was asleep one night and the telephone rang. I picked it up and a voice said, "Good night, good 647 night, good night". I said, "This is Lord Taylor. What do you want?". The voice said, "Are you sleepy, darling?". I said, "Of course I'm sleepy. You've just woken me", at which she giggled and rang off. That was the lot. I thought this was a sort of blackmail "do", and I told all my colleagues at breakfast what had happened. They said, "Yes, we've all been rung up like this". Remember, these are gentlemen from 20-odd countries—and very "tough eggs" some of them. They said, "We have made assignations to meet this girl who rang up, but she has never turned up. What is going on?". We finally reached the conclusion that this hotel has no internal telephone exchange; they come straight through. The Russian ladies in Moscow, perfectly ordinary respectable ladies, are bored stiff. There is nothing to do in Moscow of an evening. Having got some numbers at the Ukrania, they simply ring up gentlemen and have a conversation. I cannot see that anything more than this was happening. It was most remarkable.
May I say a word about Russian Communism? I would suggest that one of the least profitable human emotions is unqualified hatred of Communism. Communism is a mixture of sense and nonsense. Our aim, I think, must be to help the Communists—I am now talking about Russian Communists—to grow out of the nonsense. I do not think there is any hope of changing them fundamentally otherwise. There are two bits of nonsense I want to refer to. The noble Earl, Lord Home, said he found the doctrinal breach between the Russian Communists and the Chinese Communists hard for us to understand. I think he has not done his homework right. I think it is very easy to understand. First of all, the Marxist theory assumes the universal application of the Communist analysis of history: that the rich are going to get richer and the poor poorer until there is revolution, and that this happens in every country throughout the world. It is the simple Marxist analysis, and it was proved to be rubbish by two people: Lord Keynes and Lord Beveridge. They proved that this Marxist analysis is quite invalid. It may have limited validity in some places, but I think everybody now accepts that the simple Marxist analysis just does not work. The Russians have reached the stage of agreeing that it does 648 not work, but the Communists still accept the pure doctrine of Marxist analysis of history. That is what it is all about.
§ LORD TAYLOR
I will repeat the lesson after the class. It has been familiar to me for many years. It explains how one sometimes gets what one might call a bivalent Russian foreign policy, because there are still some old Russians who believe the Marxist analysis of history, whereas the young ones would say that it is a lot of nonsense. Russian foreign policy appears monolithic, but behind that appearance there is tremendous discussion and rows going on in committees and meetings behind closed doors, just like those that go on anywhere else. What emerges is often a compromise or marginal view.
The second piece of nonsense in Communism is that the end justifies the means. This very simple fallacy is now being fought out in Russia. I would say that this is the thing which makes dealing with Communists very objectionable for those of us who have had to deal with them in unions and elsewhere. People who appear very moral, very public-spirited, suddenly start behaving in an extremely immoral way, and one finds they are doing it because they believe that the end justifies the means. This view is still held by the older Communists, the older Russians, or some of the older Russians, who are either uncritical Marxists or else time-servers. But the younger Communists do not believe it at all. They are taught, as scientists and technicians, to judge things on their merits. Increasingly they are occupying important positions in politics, and I think we shall see a steady improvement because of this. One distinguished Russian scientist, who had worked at the World Health Organisation, told me how much he had been impressed with our Sir John Charles. Sir John Charles was the Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health, a very fine man. The Russian said to me, "Sir John was the first man who taught me to judge situations and issues on their merits and not according to preconceived ideas". I regard this as a very hopeful sign.
Let me say a word about the sense in Russian Communism, because there is some sense in it. Its planning is extremely 649 good. It is tough, but it works, even in the most unfavourable circumstances. There is a constant battle against the Russian temperament to achieve efficiency. I think the achievement of the Russian technology in space research and in rocketry is a staggering thing, when one sees what the Russians are like as electricians. Hence the tremendous drive as part of their planning for higher education, university and technical education; and it is paying off. They are getting first-class young people now through to every sphere of activity. Hence the tremendous priority given to books. I bought this very interesting book Analytical English—it is a text book of English—for 40 kopecks. Books are extremely cheap, because they are regarded as culturally desirable. There is a tremendous drive for health. Their clean air policy has been first-class. Their national health service is very good, though not as good as ours. They have great humanity towards their patients, which is a very nice thing and contrasts with some Latin and Germanic people who are not nearly so nice towards their patients. The Russians are sometimes better than us. They are tremendously interested in and concerned for their children.
Where does all this help, in practical terms, in showing us how to get on with them and how to deal with them? I am sure that the Government and all of us have been right in assuming that the first need is to be absolutely firm, absolutely constant and absolutely honest. One must never take "No" for an answer. But there is one thing that goes with this: I think that one has to make oneself like them. They are very lovable people, extremely likeable; but they are intensely irritating. They are irritating because they do not think in a logical order; it spills out anyhow in a lecture, and one has to take out the material and arrange it in a fresh order in order to make sense of it. I had to do this a good deal When I was there, because it was my job to make sense of what they were saying. It was sense if one persevered. And, as the Foreign Secretary knows, they speak at great length.
Secondly, they are naturally tortuous in their! approach. Thirdly, they are downright inefficient a great deal of the time, and time and again their apparent negativism is apparently due to the fact 650 that it is the easiest course to follow at that level and they have got in a muddle. It is often muddle and not wickedness which makes them appear, from our point of view, extremely foolish. It is no good getting irritated with them, as I think the Foreign Secretary said when he was talking about the Conference at Geneva. But although they are tortuous, they are fundamentally honest people. They do not always like telling or facing the truth, but that goes for all of us. But they equally do not like telling lies, and they will twist and turn in order to avoid an outright lie. One must assume that their motives are good, even if odd—as they frequently are —and I think it is an assumption one has to make and to welcome.
There is no need to be afraid of them. They are not afraid of us. They are too much like us to be frightening. They find us just a bit odd, as we find them odd. Accidentally they have soaked themselves in English literature, which is a good thing—not just Dickens but the whole of English literature. English is now for them the first foreign language in all their schools, which is a jolly good thing. Finally, one has to learn to laugh with them, at themselves and at ourselves, for with the healthy emollient of laughter I think we can just about squeeze past each other both ways on that narrow bamboo bridge over the Iron Curtain.
§ 6.11 p.m.
§ BARONESS ELLIOT OF HARWOOD
My Lords, I rise with some trepidation after the most delightful and entertaining speech of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, to which we have all listened with great interest, because I do not think that anything that I can say can be as entertaining as his descriptions of his experiences in Russia. I hope he will not expect me to follow every journey, like an H. V. Morton book that he has just recounted to us, because I could not do so. But I have on one or two occasions had the same kind of experiences in regard to the Russians. In his opening remarks he spoke about the international work of the United Nations, of the World Health Organisation. I have had something to do with UNICEF and with Social Commissions, and I agree that it is most exciting to find groups of people of all nationalities working together in what 651 I might call this international civil service in the way that he has described. We in this country have whole-heartedly backed all these organisations of the United Nations.
What I have also done, and he has not done, in connection with Russia is to have sat side by side with the delegates from the U.S.S.R. because, as noble Lords here will know, the alphabetical order for United Nations seating puts the United Kingdom between the United States and the U.S.S.R., and therefore on every committee one is always flanked by a Russian on one side and an American on the other. I have seen the astonishing obstinacy of the Russians who, week after week, month after month, continue to say "No" to every single suggestion that is put forward, unless it happens to be one which they have the authority of Moscow to vote for. That, I must say to the noble Lord, however enthusiastic he may have felt for the Russians, is extremely frustrating; and it must be most frustrating for the Foreign Secretary—indeed, for any Foreign Secretary, who is trying to do some co-operative work, some international work to bring the Russians into the international picture, always, or nearly always, to have them in the position of saying, "No". Nevertheless, I agree with the noble Lord that we must not despair, that we must try as often as we can to bring them into international affairs, and to hope that, at the end of the day, something may come out of all these discussions which will bring a sense of peace and detente in the international situation as we know it to-day. But it is a slow and a difficult process, and in my opinion the Russians themselves are most difficult people to deal with.
But this evening in your Lordships' House I want to say just a word about the current position internationally, particularly with reference to the events of last week, because I cannot remember any diplomatic event in recent years which has caused such universal disappointment as the breakdown of the Brussels negotiations. It makes one realise, just because it has been such a disappointment, what a tremendous lift the world would have got if the negotiations had gone right. That, I think, is sad for us at the present time. I should like to pay my tribute to 652 the Lord Privy Seal, to his skill in the negotiations, to the fact that he took the rough with the smooth without apparently showing any distress, anyway in the television appearances which he made, and in the newspapers. I should also like to pay a tribute to another member of our team over there, our Ambassador in Paris, Sir Pierson Dixon. His was the dual rôle of representing Britain in France and being the chief official in the Brussels team. I know his great skill in difficult diplomatic relations, because I worked with him in New York at the United Nations during the Suez crisis and the Hungarian revolt. I never saw any man so calm, so deliberate and so tactful, and we owe as much to him as to anyone for the short time during which our differences with our Allies lasted.
That was in 1956. Since then, much water has flowed under the bridges. When I saw that he was to take part in the team with the Lord Privy Seal, I knew that we should have the best possible people for the job. Paradoxically, their success has brought about their failure because, as we now appreciate, the French did not want us to succeed. That is a tragedy. I regret it as much for the repercussions as for anything else. It is a slap at the United States of America and our own close and friendly relations with that country, at a time when the carefully built up NATO alliance—built in the first instance by members of the Opposition—was really growing into a powerful and important force and a great influence, and when the words "North Atlantic Community" had begun to have real significance, and to be very nearly household words.
This point of view has not been achieved without much careful diplomacy on both sides of the Atlantic and among the other fourteen NATO countries. The fact that the Common Market plan had the support of the United States was also important. People forget that America in Europe is an event of the day before yesterday. I can remember, when I was fairly young, the disappointment after the First World War when the United States refused to join the League of Nations. That was a major set-back to the unity of the allied countries in those days—1919, 1920 and onwards. Some of your Lordships may have been reading 653 recently, as I have, the volume of Lord Avon's memoirs recently published, covering the years 1923 to 1938. As his long story of negotiations and visits to one European country after another wends its way through those long and troubled years, nothing strikes one so forcefully as the fact that hardly ever is the United States mentioned. Day after day, week after week, despatches are sent to European countries, meetings are arranged, diplomatic missions go from one country to another and are received here and elsewhere. But all the time the greatest Power which might have—I do not say necessarily would have—deterred Hitler was hardly ever consulted.
The whole situation in the years before 1938 might have been different had the American policy of isolation not been the order of the day. One forgets these things after another World War and eighteen years of the closest co-operation with United States Government; one cannot remember what isolation was. But if you think back, and if you read back, to the immensely detailed account of those years which Lord Avon gives in his book, you will see what a great misfortune American isolation was. This must not happen again.
The alliance that brings the United States into Europe and provides joint defence against Communism is an alliance that must not be broken. To push the United States back behind the Atlantic seaboard, to fail to appreciate the enormous contribution of American scientists, technicians, soldiers, sailors and airmen, industrialists and commercial enterprises is to turn one's back on the greatest force for freedom and democracy in the world to-day. The Four Freedoms of President Roosevelt still epitomise the purpose of the Free World. Policies such as the Marshall Plan, the aid for underdeveloped countries, the trade policies and tariff reductions aimed at by the Kennedy Administration, are as important to Europe as they are to any other part of the world.
My Lords, General de Gaulle has a short memory in conveniently forgetting all these things. To push this power into isolation once again, when we live in an age when missiles, rockets and aeroplanes go at fantastic speeds, linking countries geographically closer than ever before, to diplomatically turn away from 654 them is the crowning folly. One is tempted to ask: why build a supersonic plane at a fantastic price to cross the Atlantic in three hours if at the end of that three hours the only thing you wish to do is to insult the Americans? No my Lords. If the pages of history are to be read aright the lesson is clear to all. Europe is not a self-contained entity as it was in the past, a past darkened by war and torn by dispute. The French know this as much as we do. They know from where freedom was defended, and will be defended, as long as the British nation survives. As the Prime Minister said, the Common Market is a great idea, a new conception which could have spread its benefits far and wide. It has been given a serious setback and the five countries must see what they can do to overcome this, just as we must try to overcome this, too.
Of course, that Europe is the richest market at our door no one can deny but there are other markets which in the next ten or twenty years may provide outlets for our industrial production. The new States of Africa are only in their infancy, but will soon be wanting agricultural machinery, roads and bridges, with a great demand for books and education, the demand for training in industrial activities, the demand for motor vehicles and so on—all these things will be coming along and we should be ready to find markets there. If the development policies of the United Nations, which were referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, and the United States succeed, there will be markets for industrial goods among what are now the underdeveloped countries, but if our policies succeed the development of those nations may go much more swiftly than anticipated and they may, and we hope will, become prosperous countries who can buy from Europe and from ourselves.
My Lords, others have spoken of Commonwealth trade. Undoubtedly if the old Commonwealth countries want to help us they can. Their populations are rising, and demand is growing, but we must not forget that they also are producers of industrial goods and they want markets too. Nevertheless, I hope the Government will go ahead as rapidly as they can with talks on trade expansion with the EFTA nations, with the Commonwealth and with the United 655 States so that we shall see things happening more swiftly, now that we have had this temporary setback, and so that we may be able to find other ways round the economic problems which face us. It is the tragedy of a political opportunity lost, a dream which may not recur for many years. That is what is so sad. But we shall continue with our Common Market friends and with the EFTA countries: and let us all stalwartly combat the attacks upon the United States, and encourage her all we can to remain in Europe, a bulwark against Communism and dictatorships!
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, like many Members of your Lordships' House, I have always been pro-Common Market, provided that we could negotiate minimum safeguards for our agriculture and for the Commonwealth. But probably this was rather wishful thinking. Personally, I think General de Gaulle had no real intention of allowing us into the Common Market while we were so strongly interwoven with America. I agree that he is misguided in that point of view, but it is a fait accompli and we have to accept it. I would ask Her Majesty's Government, for the moment at any rate, to forget about the Six, but never to turn their back on Europe. I feel that it would be a great mistake to try to influence the Five to go against de Gaulle, because we might then split Europe. We have to be thankful for small mercies—not that one can exactly call this a "small mercy". However, there has been a wonderful rapprochement in the cooperation between France and Germany, which twenty or thirty years ago would have been quite impossible to envisage. For that, at least, we can be thankful, and we ought not to do anything to disturb it.
I also deplore the attitude of some parts of our Press in abusing General de Gaulle. He may be misguided, but, after all, a great number of us are misguided—perhaps I myself am often misguided. But I am quite sure he is not anti-British. He wants a united Europe, and wants to have this Third Force. It is extremely wrong to abuse him. He is a great and extremely patriotic Frenchman. He has done a great deal for France, and there are some people 656 in this country who might take a leaf out of his book as regards patriotism. Perhaps the General has done us a good turn by breaking off the negotiations, however brutally. He will force us now to get down to things and stand on our own feet.
Her Majesty's Government were hoping that the stimulus of the Common Market would provide the cure for our economic ills. If we had 3 million unemployed the Government could always say, "It is not our fault. If you cannot compete with the Continent, that is your fault". But now the Government themselves will have to cure our economic ills, and what they do will be extremely unpopular. The whole difficulty, as I see it, is that in a democracy it is easy to rally the people if you have shells or bombs raining down on you; but if you have economic dangers facing you it is extremely difficult to explain to people the economic perils in which they stand. For instance, in our Welfare State the average person is taught his rights, but is not taught his responsibilities; so that it is extremely difficult for a Government in a democracy to save the people from economic disaster.
We have to understand that our ultimate source of power is our industrial efficiency. It is hopeless for Ministers to call for more exports, for greater efficiency in work, and for all those other things, unless you introduce some discipline with your leadership, and to do that in a democracy is of course very difficult. But it has to be faced, because every year we stagger from financial crisis to financial crisis over our balance of payments. Legislation will have to be enacted to see that industrial costs do not automatically rise with production, because if that happens you have your expansion, true enough, but you are back to where you started.
There will be a tremendous strain on the pound, and if there is a strain on the pound we cannot play our part in international affairs. It is essential for the health of the world that Great Britain should be able to play her part in international affairs, but if she is backward economically she cannot do so. People are inclined to forget that. I realise that this is a debate on international affairs and at the moment I am speaking on economics, but economics is the basis of power. If our economy is not sound, the 657 Communist bloc can ride roughshod over us. The Government really must have legislation to prevent unofficial strikes. After all, in Russia you are not allowed to strike, although I certainly would not go as far as that. It is all right having official strikes, but we really must stop these unofficial strikes; otherwise we shall be quite unable to have industrial efficiency. If we cannot have industrial efficiency we cannot play our part in international affairs.
My Lords, I believe that if we have industrial efficiency our future, without being in the Common Market, is bright. We ought now to devote our whole energies to industrial liberalisation. We have to reduce tariffs still further, and to bring the EFTA countries and the Commonwealth countries together. There is a unique opportunity now to bring the Commonwealth and EFTA together. I agree that one cannot compare the Commonwealth with the Common Market, from the point of view of being a market for our goods, because Commonwealth countries have their own young industries which of course they want to protect. But I do say that in thirty or forty years —it is a long time, I agree—the Commonwealth, with its vast population and its huge resources, may well become a greater market for our exports. I agree that that does not solve the present problem, and that our exclusion from the Common Market is a great blow economically. I also agree that the political implications could be serious, too. America has just brought into being the Trade Expansion Act. If we had joined the Common Market, I understand that this Act would have been greatly to our benefit. I hope, now that we have not joined the Common Market through no fault of ours, that America will help us by giving us the same tariff reductions as if we had joined the Common Market.
We have close ties with America. Our monetary systems have been interwoven, as is our defence. But we have a fairly powerful body in this country who have become very anti-American. They have become anti-American only because they are under the impression that we "kowtow" too much to America, and that we are really becoming a satellite of America. Of course that is not true, but I think the Government ought, by every means of information at their disposal, to try to dispel these fears, because 658 such an impression is not a very good thing.
The average person, I suppose, understands the vast economic and military power of the United States. But there is one respect in which this body of people may be justified in some criticism. Have the Americans the emotional stability and the experience to be the leaders of the free world? I rather doubt it. We have seen how their policies in other parts of the world have sometimes not been too good. They have not always borne the best fruit in the Middle East or in Africa, and that makes people suspicious and rather frightened. But we are fortunate in that President Kennedy's Administration is extremely pro-British; it is probably the most pro-British American Administration there has ever been. But, of course, Administrations change, and, although it is extremely unlikely, I suppose it could happen that, if there were an Administration which was not so pro-British, Polaris might be denied to us. Of course, we had the Skybolt affair, but I do not blame America at all for that. It was highly unfortunate. I believe people doubted the integrity of America over that matter, but I think that was unfair. Polaris has of course proved itself, so we should not have the same trouble.
I think the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and one or two other noble Lords opposite, do not agree that we ought to have an independent deterrent in this country. I cannot agree with them at all, because if you do not have an independent deterrent how can you have any foreign policy? You can be blackmailed by any country that has the deterrent. After all, foreign affairs are not ruled by love; they are ruled by force. That is a fact which we have to face.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, may I ask the noble Viscount this question? Even supposing that it is desirable to have an independent deterrent, would he explain to us how the present Polaris is an independent deterrent?
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
Of course, the noble Lord has a very good point there. It is true, as I was just saying, that if America turned nasty she could prevent us from having it; but, apart from that, while 659 we have it, it is an independent deterrent. Of course, I should have much preferred the Government to give British genius a chance, so that we could have had our own deterrent, as we could easily have had; but you always have the excuse that it is too expensive. However, if anything will enable us to keep our place in the world, I do not think the question of expense comes into it. People argue that it is hopeless for us to have these half-a-dozen submarines, these few deterrents, because America has 100 of them, or perhaps it is 200 of them. But that is not the point, because atomic weapons are so powerful to-day that even if you have two or three it is such a threat that no one will attack you. You could equally say that if there was a man who was going to kill you, it would be far better if you had a hundred rifles than one. I do not agree: one rifle is sufficient.
§ LORD OGMORE
No. The noble Viscount is making a serious case; he is entitled to his point of view, and I should like to ask another question. If we are going to assign these submarines to nuclear NATO, as is the plan, is it not quite inconceivable that you could pull them out, so to speak, to form an independent deterrent, a deterrent on its own? Once they are in NATO they will stay in NATO, surely.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
As I understand the Nassau Agreement, if there was ever an occasion when we were threatened individually, as a nation, we could use it independently. I agree that it is hard to envisage such a possibility, but we have that right, I understand. I should have much preferred to have our own deterrent, irrespective of America, but everybody appears to be quite happy. As things stand at the moment, the future of the world can be decided by some future President of the United States having a tête-à-tête with some future ruler of Russia. Personally, I feel that America ought to undertake for herself the sacrifices of sovereignty she is asking everybody else to undertake. But I do not like 660 having somebody else's hand on the trigger: perhaps the noble Lord does not mind that.
My Lords, to get away from this question of the independent deterrent, which one can talk round for hours and hours, I should just like to speak for a few short moments about China, India and Pakistan. Now there is this dispute between Pakistan and India, we ought to insist that Pakistan and India should come together and settle their differences over Kashmir finally. We shall have to give India all aid we can, but she must help herself. It is absolutely iniquitous that there is what I can only describe as this animosity over State boundaries. As to China, I am afraid we are going to have the most appalling trouble in India, because China is now on the roof of the world, and she can subjugate India. She is probably trying to prevent the standard of India from rising, in order that it shall not be a bad advertisement for China's social progress. If India progresses faster than China it will be rather bad propaganda for the Communist régime in China. I also believe that China needs to infiltrate into India and that probably she will soon move into North Assam, which is quite undefended, or she might even go into Burma. It is an appalling position, fraught with danger.
I was rather interested to hear the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, say that in his opinion he thought the United Nations had done a great job in the Congo and had discharged their responsibilities—I cannot remember his exact words, but that anyway they had discharged their responsibilities excellently. I honestly cannot agree with that. I am extremely disturbed about the United Nations. I honestly think that as at present constituted their future is hopeless. The noble Lord, Lord Taylor, spoke a good deal about the Communists, but I know quite a lot about the Communists, too. The dangerous Communists are not the ones who call themselves Communists, and you will be surprised where you find them. I am of the opinion that when President Roosevelt brought the free world to the table and we had this wonderful Charter of ideals for the United Nations the trouble was that we sat down at this same table with Russia. It is the same as if one made a householders' protection society and included 661 in the membership the chief burglar. The United Nations got off on the wrong leg to start with, and I do not think that can ever be eradicated. The Communists do not like creating their own organisations; they prefer infiltrating into existing organisations. I am of the opinion that the Communists are infiltrating into the United Nations. I am completely convinced of that, and I believe that eventually they hope to dominate that organisation.
§ LORD TAYLOR
My Lords, would the noble Lord be surprised to learn that all the Russian delegates at the United Nations are Communists? They do not make any secret of it: it is quite an honest thing.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
I do not object to the Russians who are Communists at all: I object to other people in the United Nations who are not Russians but who are aiding Russia. Those are the people I object to.
I think the Communists are using the Assembly as a respectable cover to fool the Free World. I quite agree that the Communists want peace, but they want their peace. Look at the record. Let us take Hungary. The United Nations did nothing. Or Tibet: the United Nations did nothing about Tibet. We can also take the Chinese invasion of Laos. The United Nations did nothing about that. There is the Indian invasion of Goa, and they did nothing about that. But in our invasion of Egypt we were under terrific pressure, as were the Portuguese in Angola. And in the Congo Belgium also was under terrific pressure. It does not add up, and I think it stinks to high heaven.
§ LORD TAYLOR
You can take our activities in Cyprus—there was no intervention. But I must not continue.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
You have the Americans, who do believe in freedom and who are pouring out millions on the fighting in Vietnam. But I think they would do much better to root out some of the Communists in the Departments of the United Nations.
We have had the question of Katanga brought up in this debate. Katanga was the only properly run State in the Congo: now it has been destroyed by the United 662 Nations in the name of freedom. The United Nations have appointed a Communist called Victor Nendaka to be head of the Katanga security forces. They have appointed him to be in control of the Katanga security forces to prevent Communist infiltration into Katanga. Yet he is a Communist. It is a complete farce. He is backed up by the Afro-Asian solidarity front, which is Moscow-controlled. It is extraordinary that, far from the United Nations bringing peace to the Congo, we shall find that there will be a great upheaval throughout Central Africa. I subscribe to the idea of the United Nations, but I should like to start a new United Nations. I do not think it is possible to reform the present organisation. We ought to act with other nations in a common organisation who adhere to International Law, who will practise what they preach and who will abide by the rules. Otherwise, I think that things will go from bad to worse.
§ 6.53 p.m.
§ LORD KENNET
The noble Lord will forgive me if I do not follow him in detail, but I am in agreement with one of the things he said; that is, that de Gaulle is a good patriot, and we cannot reproach him with that. The question is: what is this country for? Here we are, 50 million "pinko-grey" people, as E. M. Forster described us, living in a little island. One hundred years ago we were for keeping the world in order. Some of the people we kept in order did not agree with the interpretation that we had of it. But we had no doubts at all. We cannot do that any more. Nor can anybody else. The Americans cannot; the Russians cannot. And the Americans and the Russians could not do it together —the Chinese will see to that.
This is a month when all this looks clearer than ever before. Everything has shifted and almost dissolved since we in your Lordships' House last discussed Foreign Affairs. The Cuba crisis has shown the beauties of independent national decisions on the brink of nuclear war. The Communist bloc has burst open at the seams. That famous Continental Alliance is in ruins, and our hope of integration in Western Europe is in ruins, too. The Commonwealth survives as the uncertain, paradoxical unit that it has been for many decades now. As for NATO—if you are seeking statesmanlike moderation you could not say less than that it is 663 suffering a certain unease. The problem is the same old one of nuclear weapons. At each of these crisis points there is an unsolved problem about nuclear weapons. The more confused things become, the more rapidly shifting world alignments, the more necessary it is for nations to look to their own ability to retire behind a shield of the supreme deterrent and let the world go hang. It is once again a time of nationalism—creeping nationalism—disguised under high talk and sonorous pledges, but in fact no more than a hardening of lethal carapaces, a whetting of knives, a tightening of nooses, the realisation that if one is going to die one is damn well going to die on issues and at times of one's own choosing and no one else's.
What do we see this week? Australia, disturbed by the recently achieved military superiority of Indonesia sees the acquisition of nuclear weapons becoming a Party issue. Canada, under heavy and clumsy pressure from the United States to take part in U.S. strategy, which they learned to hold in suspicion at Cuba, is shaken by a major political crisis. And if Canada gives way now and goes nuclear, how long can we expect Germany to hold out? How can Germany reconcile the militarily seductive with the politically sensible, when even Canada is driven to the polls by her inability to do so? In Japan—even in Japan, where, of all places, they would not lightly have them—the movement to have nuclear weapons is gathering strength. It was noticeable how, during the meeting of the Mixed Commission which regulates the American-Japanese security Pact, there was a sudden orchestrated scare in the Japanese Press about the Chinese A-bomb. Further round, in SEATO, there is talk of the possibility of a SEATO joint multilateral deterrent on the model of the NATO one, which I shall talk about in a moment. Even Franco stirs in the ignoble lethargy of decades, and suggests that if the Americans want to renew their base agreement with him, the Spanish Army might like some nice nuclear weapons—thank you very much!
I must apologise to the House for talking a little about NATO this week, instead of next, because next week I have to be abroad on W.E.U. affairs. Which are interesting, too, as has been said earlier in this debate.
664 In NATO Europe among our closest friends there is total chaos. Not the huge staffs at Fontainebleau, and in Paris and in Washington; not the normal diplomatic network; not the frequent meetings between Heads of State—none of these has been sufficient to prevent the development and deployment of national nuclear forces. Because what has happened?—de Gaulle's action. It is easy to see what he is building, and I think it is easier to see what he is after than many of us find, or affect to find. He is building this small force of supersonic low-level bombers with free-falling A-bombs. Of course the Russians would shoot most of them down, but probably not all. And that is all that is necessary for the theory of a minimum deterrent. Of course they cannot get to Russia and back, but they can get to Russia. And anybody who thinks that a few Hiroshimas, even a very few Hiroshimas, even delivered by mad pilots—what the Japanese used in the last war to call Kamikaze pilots, "one-way pilots"—is an illusory or negligible force, as has been said in some sections of the Press and in public discussion in this country, has forgotten what we are talking about when we talk of nuclear weapons.
On the other hand, the French force will be able to reach, very conveniently, Poland, and back. The mere fact that it will pose a greater threat to Poland than to Russia introduces an altogether new dimension into European politics. It will increase the number of Polish interests which are not shared by Russia, and that could be a very handy thing for the General. As to who is to control the force, well, if one man has been clear about one issue throughout this whole tangled history, this is the man and this is the issue.
So we have the n th power problem, the power proliferation of national forces—more and more triggers. Naturally, America, the holder of the biggest single trigger, was worried. Having tried for three or four years to suggest the idea of a joint NATO deterrent, the American Administration turned last summer (and this is a chapter which seems already to be forgotten; though it should not be) to the idea of a European joint nuclear force integrated with their own—whatever that means—but still European, as opposed to NATO. Mr. MacGeorge Bundy, Kennedy's Special Adviser on national 665 security affairs, made a speech in Copenhagen in which he said: "Go ahead. If you can agree on one, we shall not try to stop you." His actual words were:If it should turn out that a general multilateral deterrent integrated with ours in NATO is what is needed and wanted, it will not be a veto from the Administration in the United States which stands in the way.Even our own Mr. Thorneycroft appeared for a short while to be thinking along similar lines, and of course that would have meant in practice the pooling of the British and French bomber forces, whatever other contingents might come along later.
Then came Cuba, and the two giants faced each other alone. The more successful giant found that the interests of his own nation would not permit that there should be more and more smaller nuclear forces in the world, and there was a change of American policy. All talk of a European deterrent was at once forgotten and the joint NATO force once more came to the front when Mr. McNamara lectured the NATO Council and Mr. George Ball spoke to the NATO Parliamentarians. None the less, de Gaulle claims that the Prime Minister was still offering to merge the French and British forces into a West European force when they met at Rambouillet. If this issue is alive to-day I do not want to appear to take sides in this fight on who said what, but I am far more disposed to take the word of the Prime Minister.
At Nassau the American veto was restored. Mr. McNamara's words for this are that there should bea single integrated strategic force responsive to a single chain of command to be employed in a fully integrated manner against what is truly an indivisible target system.Those are strong words. I hope we may know some day what the American and British Governments said to one another between the Rambouillet meeting and the Nassau meeting. It should be interesting.
Nevertheless the effect on de Gaulle was dramatic, but hardly surprising. We were not after all going to go along with the idea of a European force. All right; he would go it alone. "Keep out of the Common Market and you will be grateful to me later," was what he said. Indeed, the moral about all this was, of course, why was de Gaulle not invited to Nassau? We should be in the Common Market now if he had been.
666 This country stands, I believe, like all other countries in the world as at present constituted, alone a hopefully self-sufficient national unit in charge of its own destiny. The United States would, I think, have liked to gain control of our nuclear force. That is the current American mood. But the Prime Minister did not see why they should. He spoke with, for him, extraordinary clarity in the House of Common last week and said almost in so many words that he could imagine times and places where he would want to threaten the use of nuclear weapons and America would not—perhaps not this American Administration but some future one; perhaps some Administration more influenced by Congress (Senator Mansfield is for ever crying out that if the Western European countries do not do as the United States wishes, the United States should partially withdraw from Europe), some Administration like Truman's which, for motives of understandable nationalism, went back on Roosevelt's word to us about a joint nuclear programme.
And so we have the Nassau Agreement. My Lords, it may be an annoying procedure, it is a time-consuming process, but I think it is a useful one, to look sometimes with a microscope at the wording of an Agreement like this which fully expresses the crux of our national fate. It says that a unified command—the House will remember the context; it is the context of the joint NATO nuclear force to which our present V-bomber force is to be committed, as well as the future force of Polaris submarines, if we ever get them—is the best guarantee of the safety of the West "in all ordinary circumstances of crisis or danger".
The presumption is quite clear. It is that if ever there comes a crisis which is extraordinarily critical or a danger which is extraordinarily dangerous, then unity of command is not the best guarantee of Western safety. If trade talks with the Soviet Union take an ugly turn, then that is an ordinary crisis and we will maintain a posture that threatens a unified holocaust. If a Soviet plane buzzes a Western plane in the Berlin air corridor, that is an ordinary danger, and the holocaust we will threaten is still unified. But if the Russians start a war on the ground, or incite Iraq to invade Kuwait, or Indonesia to invade Brunei, then that 667 may be an extraordinary crisis and danger, and separate national, independent holocausts are indicated.
And the same for the Americans. Cuba is a matter for the bilateral holocausts as between the strong. The idea that it means anything to have a unified command except when crises are critical and the dangers are dangerous is ridiculous. The Nassau Agreement says that in ordinary times we will leave our pistols in the NATO cupboard, but if ever there is any question of firing them they will be issued to national soldiers. True to its past and its nature, the Government has preserved our independent deterrent. So has the United States. There has never been any question of their committing all their thermo-nuclear forces to NATO, even on the ordinary extraordinary qualifications we have accepted in this country. We are all Gaullists in practice.
That is for now: but what about the future? Is it thinkable that we shall one day all agree to die together, for each other, at the drop of a pre-arranged hat? We, who cannot at present agree to produce more than 3 per cent. of our military hardware in common, or to place our navies under Allied command in peace time, or develop a standardised tyre for our jeeps—can we perhaps agree one day to have Polaris submarines with German commanders, Italian navigation officers, Dutch electronic officers, British signals officers and American cooks, steaming about the oceans listening attentively for the word of a Luxembourgist General who will, at the moment of extraordinary crisis, open a book some 5,000 pages fat to find the "contingency" which is described there and most nearly corresponds to what is happening, and say: "Contingency No. 1785/A/43B", so that the submarine will then lob one rocket of precisely 700 kilotons on the gauge-change point at Brest? Well, can we imagine that?
§ LORD KENNET
Would any of us entrust our lives and future—for that is what is supposed to be at stake—to such a system? Can noble Lords here present imagine that book and that system?
§ LORD KENNET
Can they imagine the Governments of Portugal, Turkey and Norway, having perhaps contributed financially to such a force but having no man on board it, entrusting the lives of every last man, woman and child in their countries to that book and that system? I say this is a militarist Utopia and bears no relation to the real world of responsible democratic Governments in which we live. It is pie in the sky, and poison pie at that.
Let us be realists. We are in the presence of rapid proliferation of national unclear forces, each developed for good national reasons. Most of us have foreseen this for years, I think. I know that noble Lords on this side of the House have. Well, now it is happening. I am an internationalist and I belong to an Internationalist Party. The idea of a joint multilateral deterrent is internationalist all right; but it is impossible. Even if it were possible, there is little reason why it should make the world any safer. On present showing, we may have a dozen national nuclear forces in ten years or so. If shared Alliance nuclear forces were possible, we should perhaps have five or six forces in the world in ten years or so: three on our side, being NATO, SEATO and some CENTO-type arrangement, and probably a pan-American force; and on theirs there will be two national forces, whatever we may do, the Russian and the Chinese. There will probably also be an Indian force, as well.
Theoretically, six or seven nuclear forces are less dangerous than ten or twelve; but they are not much less dangerous. And what they gain in paucity they loose in credibility, and credibility is supposed to be the essence of deterrence. Why should joint forces remove the dangers of piecemeal attrition, the famous salami-tactics of German theorists, any more than national forces have done? They may do less well: because what adversary will believe Portugal is ready to fry for Turkey, and Holland for Canada, and Italy for Norway, whatever the present Governments of those countries may actually say about it in times of relaxation? No, my Lords: nations are nations, and nuclear weapons are nuclear weapons. We shall not quickly stop being nations, but we may very well arrange to lay down our weapons.
669 The disarmament negotiations are at present in a condition rather disgraceful to the West. Last September, in the United Nations General Assembly, the Russians made a rather crucial concession. The House will remember how we had said: "We cannot do business with you on disarmament, because you want all the means of delivery of nuclear weapons eliminated in one rush in Stage 1." We said: "This is not practical; it is not safe. It will leave you masters of Europe." The Russians have now come forward and said: "All right; we abandon that, since you object to it. We propose that a small number of AICBMs shall be left outstanding on each side after the end of stage 1 for an indefinite period", which they have not specified. And what has been the West's reaction? The West's reaction has been that it maintains the original proposal that all means of delivery should be reduced by 30 per cent. in each of the three stages, which, to use shorthand which I hope is familiar to your Lordships, means that the Russians will be taken below their minimum deterrent level and held there for years while the Americans remain above it. The fate of Communist society will then be in the hands of the Pentagon. That Russian concession on the means of delivery has not been answered by the West; it has hardly even been acknowledged.
Last month the Russians made a critical concession—the critical concession, really—on the test ban which the Foreign Secretary mentioned earlier. They agreed to admit three on-site inspections a year. For eighteen months now we have been saying that one thing holds up the test ban, and it is that the Russians will not admit inspectors on to their holy soil. They now will. I think it is pretty generally agreed among technicians that it would have been safe to sign up, even if they had not. Still, this was a matter of political principle, of prestige for America, that there should be a few on-site inspections a year. We now have them. Talks since this concession have been private, but it seems that the United States are sticking out for a higher number.
Meanwhile the arms race continues. It continues critically and crucially in the defence budgets of all countries, which increase year by year. There was a big de-stabilising vote in the recent American 670 Defence Budget for AICBMs. They are putting enough money into these now for it to appear to the Russians that they are going into business with hardpoint AICBM systems, with the help of this new low-trajectory missile called Sprint. This is profoundly de-stabilising to the arms race—almost as de-stabilising as the American intention to build up to 2,000 thermo nuclear rockets—and can only put the disarmament negotiations further into jeopardy of permanent failure.
My Lords, if you go to Geneva, as I have done, and talk to the negotiators and the community of disarmament experts in general, you find that the Powers represented there fall into four categories. First the two giants: fearful, deadlocked, creaking and grinding together, with aces up their sleeves and their tongues half in their cheeks. Next, the eight neutrals: patient, wily, constructive, imperturbable, holding the ring by simply refusing to go away and call it a day, which prevents the giants doing so. Third, countries like Poland and Canada, which, though aligned, take a rather large freedom of action in suggesting, in opening up possibilities, in displaying independence of their senior partners—in short, flexible, and sometimes bold. And what a tragedy it will be if Canada is deprived of this freedom by acquiring nuclear arms! It is a matter of the record that Italy once stepped into this class, though she stepped out again the next day. And fourth and last, there are the inert followers, toeing the party line, yapping to the leader's baying—such countries as Bulgaria and Roumania.
My Lords, this is not a polite or a painless thing to say, but I believe it: this country falls not into the third class, with Canada and Poland, or even with Italy, but into the fourth. On disarmament itself, there has not been a British initiative since the last Election. There has been level-headed analysis coming from the technical echelons of our Government system. But as for proposals—nothing. The Government say that disarmament is the best way out, but do nothing. Western initiatives are not lacking, and if you look at the papers, you often see the heading "U.S.-U.K. Proposal". British experts are consulted to a certain extent in Washington—that is to say, it is only rarely that the Americans actually refuse to show our people their proposals before 671 they make them. But our views, if we have any, make no impact. I do not believe that this is because the Americans ride roughshod over our explicit, beautifully argued and constructive ideas. It is because we have not got any. How can we? The Americans have a whole Government agency on the job; we have half a department at the Foreign Office of three or four men. The pious slogan of the Government is general disarmament, and national deterrent until then. It does nothing towards disarmament, nothing compared with our friend Canada or our adversary Poland, and it is very doubtful whether it can even claim that there will be a national deterrent in five years' time.
So what is this country for? Because we lie at the intersection of three systems, Western Europe, the Commonwealth and our American Alliance, we have come up earlier than any other country against the inherent contradiction between nuclear weapons and alliances. What we are for, therefore, is to stop floundering, to stop pretending that any progress is possible along this path, and to show by our pertinacity and adroitness in Geneva the path along which progress is possible.
§ 7.22 p.m.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, my contribution to this debate will, I hope, be of the value of its shortness. This is a rather jaded hour at which to speak on a subject which now quite clearly gives one authority to discuss any matter under the sun, from unofficial strikes to nuclear weapons, which obviously are an aspect of Foreign Affairs. But all this makes it much more difficult to have the old-fashioned Foreign Affairs debate that one used to have.
I shall not follow my noble friend Lord Kennet; he made quite a brilliant speech. I do not agree with him on some of his points, although I found his language descriptive—"separate independent national holocausts", as opposed to "bilateral holocausts". I wish that we could absorb the complexities of the situation. In this respect, I must confess that I enjoyed the speech of my noble friend Lord Attlee. It was a good, straightforward, intelligible bit of foreign affairs, although I confess that I disagreed with a great 672 deal of it—indeed, one of the reasons why I am speaking in this debate at all is to say that I am still an unrepentant if unsuccessful Common Marketeer. I thought that my noble friend put his finger on some very important aspects of foreign policy. One of these is that the Government seem to have let matters get very much out of control. It is desperate. As the noble Earl said, the rushing from conference to conference by the Prime Minister—and I am sure we commend and admire his energy—is no fun for a Prime Minister or a Foreign Secretary. Perhaps there might be something to be said for their remaining at home and taking the time to read the articles of my noble friend Lord Kennet in the Guardian, when they would then be able to see where their policy is leading us. It seems to have led us into a peculiar situation at the moment.
Inevitably, as an aspect of any Foreign Affairs debate, we have one of these tarnished, tired, arguments about the independent nuclear deterrent. The Foreign Secretary to-day gave us one reason why we should have it—the fact that Germany or France may have it. If we are to continue having it, it is quite certain that Germany and France will have it. What I should have liked to ask the Foreign Secretary—and I should like to ask the noble Earl who is to reply—is whether the Government have at any time suggested to France and Germany (and this is of some importance in relation to recent exchanges) that if we agreed not to have it, they too would be kind enough not to have it. I find this situation more and more meaningless. Of course, the possibility of the particular deterrent in which we are now to invest is at least as dubious as Skybolt. I do not propose to pursue this aspect any further at this stage, because we shall have many opportunities, probably weekly, to discuss the deterrent.
I should like, however, to return to the question of the United Nations. I do not think it is worth answering some of the arguments of the noble Viscount, Lord Massereene and Ferrard. It really is not reasonable to expect the United Nations to achieve what they are unable to achieve. Where I think the Government are open to criticism (and some of 673 their own supporters are critical of this; indeed, if the noble Earl were to inquire, as I am sure he does, more deeply into his own office he will find that there are people who disagree) is that in the Congo there was one problem which the United Nations seemed, and still seem, capable of solving. I do not think we were as helpful to the United Nations as we should have been, and if it had not been, some noble Lords would have said, for the misguided but great determination of America, the Congo operation would probably have collapsed again.
I should like to turn to one other aspect of Foreign Affairs which has not been discussed, and that is to ask the Government what steps they are taking to find out and publish the facts with regard to the recent troubles, and the continuing troubles as we understand them, in Sarawak, Brunei and British North Borneo. I admit that this is an aspect of Commonwealth affairs, but any moment now it will touch our relations—in fact it is already beginning to do so—with Indonesia and the Philippines and may well become one of those uncomfortable classic United Nations' operations in which we find ourselves appearing on the wrong side of the fence. It is not long ago since the Cobbold Commission conducted a thorough investigation, and it was pretty clear that the majority of the people in Sarawak and North Borneo, so far as it was possible to ascertain their opinions, were in favour of going into Malaysia. It is perhaps unfortunate that the Commission paid only a courtesy visit to Brunei. The situation in Borneo is a complicated one, and all the revolts in the past against the Brooke Rajahs have been by the Chinese. There have been limited Malay revolts, but this appears to be a Malay revolt in a country which is still predominantly non-Moslem—probably two thirds non-Moslem—with a majority of the aboriginal people, the Dyaks, the Kelabits and the Barawns, many of them delightful people, really wanting the British to remain and, as a second best, wanting to go in with Malaysia.
I urge the Government to do something. I am sure we must establish the facts as independently as possible, and publish them. I would urge that we ask for an independent inquiry. Either send out the Cobbold Commission again, or ask the Indians, or somebody else, to help us 674 to find out the facts. It is clear that there was a political force there (and the Cobbold Commission reported it), perhaps 10 or 20 per cent., who were adamantly opposed to going into Malaysia until after independence. These are the people who are clearly, and not unreasonably, anxious to get independence first. I am sure that the right course must be for them to go in with Malaysia. I think the Indonesian arguments in regard to Borneo are not particularly strong. The primary Malay people of other parts of Indonesia are no more allied by race than the Malays of Malaya, and I think we ought to make our position clear.
May I just say one or two words about the Common Market? It is extraordinary that the Government did not seem to expect this result. After the great Gaullist elections was it really a shock to them that this should happen? Were we misled? Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, can tell the Government, even if their own people cannot tell them.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
Why we did not know what de Gaulle was going to do. It would seem to be obvious from his previous writings that this was likely to happen. Was it, in fact, as he suggested, the result of the Nassau Agreement? If that is the case, clearly, in regard to this matter, as the Government regarded the Common Market as important, they have blundered in failing to try to explain what they did at Nassau. I do not particularly approve what they did, but they had a case for it. It is not surprising that this happened. It is arguable that the Government have pressed ahead to get the matter settled before the Election. On the other hand, I recall that in the summer we were all telling the Government to relax and not to press, so it would not be fair to blame the Government for that.
But there is one important conclusion which should be noted—and I should be interested to know whether the Government agree. I should have thought it was quite certain, whether we are to be pro-French or anti-de Gaulle, that France cannot now hope to have the leadership of Europe. It seems to me that events of the last few weeks have ruined for ever 675 any dreams de Gaulle may have had in regard to this matter; and, in so far as he sought to achieve a Europe which stretches from the Bay of Biscay to the Urals, to include Russia as well, I should have thought that this was the most unlikely of dreams. It is, I should have thought, quite certain that the present Russian leaders, who will, I think, gradually work towards an accommodation with the West, will realise that an accommodation with a Europe which is not NATO Europe, or an accommodation with France will not solve their problem.
My Lords, there are many aspects of the consequences of our failure to get into the Common Market which we shall have an opportunity to discuss later. The aspect of it which bothers me most—and I think would probably bother the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, although he may think that the result can still be attained—is the damage I fear it must have done to the Atlantic Community. We shall be discussing NATO next week, and we shall be able to pursue this further. Those of us who have come rather late towards supporting the Common Market did so partly because we saw it as an indispensable prerequisite to the wider Atlantic Community, and I think that particular dream and the dream of those who wish to see a more federal world has been put back by the failure.
On the other hand, there is one good thing about which we appear so far to have been wrong; that is, the fears of inevitable economic recession. After all, perhaps we may say that the Government have provided for that in advance; but the further fears and certainly the run on the pound have not materialised. In these circumstances we can, I think, be thankful that international banking techniques and international co-operation have so improved that there is a good chance that the short-term movements which so often led to trouble in the past may not materialise. I think that in the short run the Government have been right in certain matters, and they have been right to increase their further earmarking or hypothecation of British national forces to NATO. And if it were not for their absurd obsession with the independent deterrent, I should have thought there was not very much wrong with British foreign policy. But it is this obsession at this moment which is bedevilling our re- 676 lations with other countries, leading to unnecessary economic waste and producing a confusion in our foreign policy which they will not overcome until they recognise that independent deterrents are meaningless so far as this country is concerned.
§ 7.35 p.m.
§ EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, we have come towards the end of a debate which has been exceedingly interesting. We are grateful to my noble friend Lord Henderson for the manner in which he introduced the subject, and I think it has been made clear from that speech how difficult it is for any individual speaker afterwards to deal effectively with the sweep of Foreign Affairs, having regard to the fact that we shall almost certainly, within about a week from now, have to have time set apart for the House to have a debate on the position relating to the failure in the Common Market. We shall need to go into it in some considerable detail, as so many defence questions have arisen. And as the possible effect of some of the happenings in Europe in the last fortnight may have some relation to the holding together of NATO, we ought to hold back our guns a good deal, in this debate, at any rate, until we come to those specific debates that are likely to be fixed, when we can go into each of these circumstances calmly and collectively.
Nevertheless, I think the first thing that comes to our mind at the present time does have reference to the breakdown in the negotiations concerning the Common Market, so much store having been placed by the Government on the success of their operations in that respect. The Prime Minister was obviously exceedingly disturbed at the effect of the long-drawn-out nature of the negotiations upon the industrial investment in this country, and at the uncertainty caused to industry and agriculture, leading, at least partly, to the growth of unemployment in this country. Therefore, the failure from that point of view is serious enough because of the creation in this country of a set of economic circumstances which are bound to catch up with us in the near future and will have to be met somewhere from expanding production.
One needs only to look at the budget contemplated for 1963–64 for education—the size of which is obvious, on the 677 commitments already entered into by Her Majesty's Government to catch up with the increase in the school population and the grave shortage of teachers—to see that the Government will have to find from local authorities and Government finances, probably within about twelve months' time, about £1,100 million a year. And with the possible maintenance for some time of unemployment—though I hope this will not happen; I hope that circumstances will change and remedies will be found for it—we shall have an increasing social expenditure in that direction. We also have the prospect of an enormous military budget this year—something like £1,800 million at least, and with not a very great guarantee of what I call a safe provision for our defence in relation to the enormous amount of money that we are spending. That is the situation we have to face.
There are all kinds of views now about the situation created by the failure of the Common Market negotiations. I enjoyed the opening of Lord Attlee's speech this afternoon. Unfortunately, I was called away for a short time and did not hear it all, but I was very grateful to him for joining in the debate. Speaking generally, I would say that I am sure the view of my Party will be this. We have certainly had very strong objections to some of the conditions with regard to entering the Common Market which we understand have been conceded by the Government in the course of the negotiations. They moved my late Leader to suggest that in fact the concessions which had been made would create conditions so far from the formal pledges of the Government that it would be impossible for us to support entry into the Market under those conditions.
As regards the actual happenings, I do not think it does any good for us to chase to great length the actions of General de Gaulle, because these things do happen. I find from my long political experience—and my noble friend Lord Attlee would say the same—that you enter into negotiations in international affairs on the best basis of good will, and unfortunately things go awry. He quoted one example this afternoon; one could go on quoting them. We have to accept now that we are not in the Common Market. In my view, for a considerable time we have no chance of going in, certainly not under 678 conditions which the whole country would be willing and ready to accept, and we still have not solved the problem of agriculture in this country in such circumstances.
What do we do? I think the first thing we ought to settle is that there is no need for us to put ourselves in such a position as if we were going to turn our back upon Europe. That is wrong. I think it is absolutely essential to remember that we need trade expansion so badly, the resumption of trade to its full extent; something like normal use of the productive capacity of our steel industry, which is at present being used to very little more than two-thirds of its capacity, which must be obtained by going straight out for trade in every direction.
Let us look at what is in the Common Market for us. For the last five years we have been constantly increasing our exchange of goods with them in both directions. If you look at the figures you will find a run-up both ways totalling hundreds of millions of pounds. If we look at the question of what can be done elsewhere, we find there are now under consideration offers of orders being placed by Russia. There is plenty of room for expansion of trade behind the Iron Curtain if we are willing to accept reasonable terms in, payment. And if we look at the rest of the markets open to us in the Commonwealth and the like, and the possibilities of getting something out of the Kennedy round—I think we shall get our share if the Foreign Office will do their best to handle it in the right way, as I am sure they will—there is no need for us to regard this as a disaster. But we must go all out and make quite sure we do not make a god of Europe to the exclusion of recognition of the other factors in the whole of our Commonwealth and other parts of our trading world. All these things have to be taken into account.
Then I should like to say just a word or two about one remark let slip by the Foreign Secretary. I am sure he did not intend to say anything which the House did not understand; if I was foolish about it, I am sorry. But he did appear to me to say that most of us know that we shall be coming soon to a new arrangement with regard to Australian trade. What exactly does that mean? I 679 hope the Foreign Secretary will be able to tell me.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, my noble friend would have answered this, but perhaps I had better say straight away that, of course, we have a trade agreement with Australia. The review of this trade arrangement with Australia has been due, I think, for several months past and it has been postponed by mutual consent of Australia and ourselves while the Common Market negotiations were going on. Therefore, we shall come in a month's or a couple of months' time—I cannot tell; no doubt it will be arranged at the convenience of the Australians—to reconsider the trade agreement with Australia, and there are perhaps opportunities that we may increase our trade both ways.
§ EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
I am much obliged. That, of course, was in none of our minds during the course of the Foreign Secretary's putting to us that short sentence.
That also brings me back to the other point I asked about in relation to the laying of a White Paper. In my view, the laying of a White Paper is a matter of grave urgency. It is urgent for the proper information of the public at large, not 1 per cent. of whom really understand what have been the concessions, or in what sections of the negotiations concessions of any substance at all have been made. All that they know is what was communicated to the Leader of the Labour Party from different sources, not necessarily Government sources at all, leading him to say quite clearly that the concessions which had been made were such as to render it impossible for us to support entry into the Market, because the conditions which had been conceded were not in accordance with the pledges the Government had given. Let us have the facts. We need the facts. All I want is to see you write into a White Paper the exact text of what agreement was made in respect of each section, and of that which led the Government to be able to say that, if it had not been for the intervention of the French representations finally closing this down, we were practically on the eve of success. We must have the facts and be able to examine them all for ourselves.
I leave that now and come on to the question of the Nassau agreement. I 680 must say that I felt very unhappy about the whole thing. It seems fairly clear that in this particular matter the Foreign Secretary himself has kept closely in touch with what has been going on, although I had a great amount of sympathy for what my noble friend said about some of the handling of these necessary foreign visitations, and the Prime Minister running to meetings with individuals all over the world on matters which we have always been accustomed to leave in the hands of the Foreign Secretary. That is, I think, a point of substance which might yet be answered by the Government tonight. But in regard to this Nassau agreement, I must say that all the protestations which have been made in the past about the invaluable nature of the provision of Skybolt suddenly disappear, after the Prime Minister's visit to de Gaulle and then on to conversations in Washington, and we have come out of the hustle with Polaris.
I am not for a moment going to write down or try to imagine any particular value with regard to Polaris. I do not know enough about it. Certainly it seems a fairly powerful missile, but the expense of it seems to be enormous. We are going to have to build at least five nuclear submarines, the actual cost of which, on a rising market, I have not yet seen estimated in detail at all. With regard to the size of them, each of them is to house sixteen missiles, and it must be a very expensive business. All this time we have been working on a policy which has been pushed and pushed since the White Paper on Defence in 1957. We were going to rely upon reductions in costs according to the Minister of Defence in 1957, and we have been pushing that the whole time.
Now what have we got? We have a great bomber force, a really fine bomber force, all ready to act and work, say, within the next five years. What have you got to put on them? We come out of this now, apparently, with this great expenditure on our part, and are left with the possible use of a bomber force integrated with the NATO forces. With what weapon? That will, I suppose, have to be worked out later on, and can be discussed in the debate upon the White Paper on Defence, but certainly it leaves the country generally appalled at the lack of organised provision of defence in this direction, after all this expenditure 681 of money, with no certainty as to how it is going to be used and for how long we can maintain even an efficient defence if we have a particular nuclear deterrent of that kind.
May I say that I greatly enjoyed the speech of my noble friend Lord Kennet. I am perhaps somewhat in the category of my noble friend Lord Shackleton, in that I may not agree with every word of it. But I hope that your Lordships will recognise that in the presence in this House of Lord Kennet we have acquired in the last two or three years a man who gives his life to specialised study on this question, and who begins to speak with greater and greater authority on these matters. We are glad to have him in our Party, and for him to be able to give his views to us, at any rate for consideration, on this most important question. I must say that, even before he spoke to-night, the conversations I have had have shaken me a great deal with regard to our insistence upon retaining our own nuclear deterrent.
I was greatly struck again by the strain used by the Foreign Secretary in his speech to-day—and, by the way, may I say that it was an excellently constructed speech, pleasant and charming, as the noble Earl always is when speaking to the House. But he talks about the absolute necessity for keeping a separate British nuclear deterrent, perhaps because of the danger of our being alone, and that after all these conversations in regard to interdependence, which I have often thought about myself, we should be subject to blackmail if we did not have this single deterrent. I expect he has been following the debates on this matter in another place. There was a great deal to be said for the argument used on the other side of the House in another place—namely, would Russia versus ourselves, or would America versus any other Power, be prepared to sheer off, to be frightened, because of the development of any threat from this country, a comparatively small Power, in regard to a nuclear deterrent, compared with what will be within the resources of either Russia or the United States? Would that be sufficient to stop the blackmail? I do not know. I think this wants a lot more careful examination, and I hope that we may have an opportunity of seeing this really take place.
The only other matter upon which I 682 want to take up the time of the House, because we have rather stretched out our debate, is a matter raised by my noble friend Lord Shackleton about the situation in Malaysia in relation to North Borneo and Brunei. I think myself that there has been a growing danger spot for us in that area ever since Indonesia obtained control of the old Dutch possessions. They think they have, as it were, the power in their hands to spread their influence; and, although the nominal attitude of the Government is supposed to be neutral, there is a strong suspicion everywhere else that Indonesia is much influenced by Communist policy. Therefore, the whole position has to be looked at very carefully indeed. I think that there was a good deal in the point made by my noble friend, that perhaps the situation is such that it might be wise for the Government again to hold some independent inquiry into the matter.
I think there is a good deal of hope in the idea as to the result of the work of this country in connection with Malaya, which was led I think at one time by Lord Lansdowne. I think that Malaysia, which is just about to be floated, is an exceedingly good idea. Could it not be extended by negotiation, to get a far better feeding in relation to the matter, say, from the Philippines, and to have that extended also to North Borneo? That at least requires careful examination. I hope that perhaps the consultations with the Foreign Office, on the wider basis, and the Colonial and Commonwealth Office, with regard to particular features in it, will be wisely employed in studying the matter from that point of view at the present time.
However, let me say that I agree with the Foreign Secretary that we are still a great nation. I am not quite so sure that I accept every one of his points as showing how popular we were, and how we were looked up to and admired in these matters. I think we have to some extent in the last few years lost face, and I want to see our position restored. This can be, as it always has been in the last three or four centuries, a great nation. I want to see it as a great nation extending its co-operation with, and help to, all the other countries in a form of interdependence which is perhaps not quite so narrow as that which was referred to by the Foreign Secretary, on the one hand largely for defence, and perhaps 683 on a few other grounds. But I want to see our nation a great nation. However, if, for example, you are now going to enter into new discussions with Australia about a trade agreement, let us again get together with our EFTA companions and with the Commonwealth in negotiations through the normal trade channels, with a fine outward-looking trade policy for the whole world; to use these powers that we in this country have, and to organise the resources that we have in order to restore our greatness.
§ 7.58 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, the Foreign Secretary began by complimenting the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, for the most helpful and reasonable manner in which he enabled your Lordships to have this debate by introducing the Motion. I should like to extend the same gratitude to the noble Earl the Leader of the Opposition, who has wound up in so reasonable and objective a fashion. We all know that the noble Earl held strong views on the Common Market long before his Party's policy was finally formulated about it. We appreciate his desire to have more information, perhaps in the form of a White Paper, which will enable him and others to form some judgment as to whether, if agreement had been reached on the basis of such discussions and such agreements as had so far taken place, the result would have been that our undertakings to the Commonwealth, to British agriculture and to our EFTA partners were satisfactorily fulfilled or not.
I quite understand the noble Earl's desire to have evidence which would enable him to formulate a clearer opinion. My noble friend is certainly considering this possibility with the Lord Privy Seal. There are, of course, agreements which have been made and which have been described in the White Papers produced after each round of talks, but if a more detailed story of the negotiations from start to finish is required my noble friend feels it might take some little time.
My Lords, nearly all your Lordships who have spoken since the Foreign Secretary spoke have pretty well adhered to the general theme of this debate: What is our policy to be as a result of the events last month in Brussels? I had 684 been prepared to answer a large number of disjointed questions such as are often asked in foreign affairs debates. The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, did range a little wider, but I think what he said was covered by my noble friend the Foreign Secretary, and since then there is not much else that has been raised. I largely agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, said about Malaysia. He was a little critical of the fact that the Cobbold Commission had only paid a courtesy call on Brunei. The reason is that Brunei is not a British colony, but an independent Protectorate adjoining British Colonies. I need not go into the Cobbold Report because I am sure Lord Shackleton has studied it far more diligently than I have been able to do. It shows that the Cobbold Commission took some trouble in order to ascertain the wishes of the inhabitants. In a case like this, when you have decided it is a good thing to end colonialism and to grant freedom in conjunction with another country to an ex-Colonial country, the more you delay, the more difficulties you are always faced with. Therefore, while appreciating as much as any of your Lordships the disadvantages of speed in this matter, I think they are outweighed by those of delay.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, the noble Earl has missed my point. I fully agree with everything he said, but the noble Earl, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, and myself, asked the Government to do something about it, because this is going to be a new "hot spot". Send out a commission of inquiry; get some reports; get some understanding of the situation.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, I am glad the noble Lord agrees with me. We have had this very recent Cobbold Commission. I do not know that it would do good to have another one over again. We also sent out my noble friend the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs.
My Lords, I did want to say how interested I was by the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, which was not so much on the main theme of this debate. He began by saying that he thought we were too Anglocentric. That is a thing neither the Foreign Secretary nor I could ever be, because neither of us is English.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
Since I have been at the Foreign Office for only fifteen months or so, it has rather seemed to me that the English have fallen into the habit of not being at all Anglocentric; that they think they ought to agree with and appease everybody else. I cannot help thinking—not as an Englishman, which I am not, but as a Briton—that it is about time we began to act in such a way that other people had to appease and be polite to us and get our good will occasionally, instead of continually allowing ourselves to be pushed around by everybody else.
I was very interested in the delightful account Lord Taylor gave of his visit to Russia and of his impressions of how willing the Russians were to show him their instruments, their microscopes, their system of artificial respiration, and so on. I only wish they were equally forthcoming in freely exchanging information about nuclear tests. That would very materially help the international situation. I am sorry that his telephone conversation with the ladies in Russia had such an unromantic ending. I did not think his explanation of it was very convincing.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
There is another possible explanation which occurred to me. The first time I ever used a telephone there—we had a party line put in—I picked up the receiver and the first thing I heard was a very attractive female voice which said to me, "Is that you, little mother?" Before I had an opportunity to reply suitably to this encouraging conversational gambit, I heard another female voice replying, "Yes, it is little mother, but her mouth is full of liquorice."
On the main question, upon which the noble Earl, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, and most of your Lordships have concentrated—that is, the breakdown of the Brussels negotiations—the first thing I want to say is that I think all your Lordships, whatever views you may hold about the merits of the Common Market, are united in admiration for the indefatigable patience and devoted service of the Lord Privy Seal. When I 686 reflect on everything he has been through in the last sixteen months, I always think of Shakespeare's saying, that "Perseverance keeps honour bright". His perseverance has been opposed by an inflexible obstinacy, and I think the difference between perseverance and obstinacy can perhaps be concisely defined by saying that perseverance means a strong will (which I think my noble friend has) while obstinacy means a strong "won't", against which he has had to contend. Perseverance is a virtue which will give, in the long run, greater reward than obstinacy, although it may encounter temporary setbacks. We shall not succeed in our aims, which we mean to pursue, by abusing and slanging the obstinacy of those who have impeded us, but we must make it clear again what our objectives are. That is what your Lordships want to be done in this debate.
The primary aim of the Common Market, which came before that of any economic benefits to its members, was the prevention of war, because it is almost impossible for countries which are associated in an organisation like the Common Market to go to war with each other. And even if nothing greater had been achieved I think that the assurance of permanent peace between France and Germany would still be a great gain to the future of the world. That is something which we should not despise. But we believe, and I think the most enlightened and progressive opinion in Europe believes with us, that a much wider extension of the Common Market—to include all the nations of Western Europe, including EFTA, Ireland, and so on—would strengthen the defence of European civilisation and of the Free World. In that way, it would be a wider and greater contribution to peace than the abolition of the possibility of war between the Western European countries themselves.
As for the economic side of it, the principal reason, first for founding the Market and then in seeking to extend it, was not to create a rich man's club for the benefit of the affluent industrial States, but to increase our ability to aid the underdeveloped countries, both by exporting capital and, what I think is more important than that, by regulating the world price of primary products, so that these underdeveloped countries can receive a fair payment for 687 those primary products by which most of them earn their living. I think that is just as important as giving them economic aid by exporting capital; and it is an even more difficult thing to achieve.
My Lords, first of all what are we going to do now to further that aim after this temporary setback? At this time of night I will only say a very brief word—it has already been fully discussed—about Nassau in the context of greater unity and greater co-operation in Europe. The first step, of course, is to press ahead with the assignment of existing nuclear forces. I am not going to enter into the question of whether or not it is a good thing for the Prime Minister to travel about, but I think he did play a leading part in developing this multilateral idea at Nassau. As the Minister of Defence explained in another place last week, we hope to contribute up to the whole of our V-bomber force, provided that this can be done, as we think it can, without prejudice to our commitments outside the NATO area and to our right to use these forces independently in the defence of our supreme national interests.
It is for the North Atlantic Council to decide what other contributions should be made to the NATO nuclear force, besides United States and British allocations which are mentioned in the Nassau communiqué. This Nassau proposal is not a cut-and-dried Anglo-American plan, to be imposed on unwilling Allies: it is an offer open to full and free discussion. The North Atlantic Council will be considering not only the composition of the force—that is, what countries should contribute weapons, men and money—but also command structure and target arrangements; and the whole complex of the political supervision and control of the force has also to be worked out. I listened with interest to what my noble friend Lord Gladwyn said. The Government will certainly consider his views. All I would say now is that the defence of the Atlantic area, whether by nuclear or conventional weapons, is, in our view, indivisible; and defence must be the responsibility of one Atlantic organisation in which the 688 United States and Europe can consult together on these problems. There must not be any duplication.
My Lords, as for economic affairs, our main objective is, by accelerating our own economic growth and those of our Western Allies, to put ourselves into a position to give more rapid and effective help to underdeveloped countries. We believe that one of the most effective methods of doing this is by freer trade all round. We certainly intend, in spite of the set-back at Brussels, to pursue what is called the "Kennedy round". The conditions which the American Government laid down in connection with tariff reductions were in anticipation of our joining the Common Market, and in some respects they may have to consider whether or not they will alter those conditions. I have not the figures here, but I think the President was enabled to reduce tariffs up to 100 per cent. on commodities of which 80 per cent. were produced in the United States and in Western Europe: that is the E.E.C. area, including us. Of course it is for them to decide whether that figure will still apply to us and to the E.E.C. countries, now that EFTA and the E.E.C. are not being combined.
§ EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, if I remember rightly the particular arrangement for expansion, which was made in that American Act, came down from the Senate to Congress with the provision that it would include us if we were in the Common Market. But in the Congress that provision including us, if we were not in was taken out. It was reported to me (though I did not see it myself), that if, in fact, we were out of the Common Market then the Treaty could always be amended back to the basis on which it originally left the Senate. I hope that the Foreign Office has taken that up.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
Yes, my Lords. I am grateful to the noble Earl for reminding me of these facts; but it is, of course, for the Americans to decide how this is now to be applied. One difficulty, as your Lordships know—it may not be a final difficulty—is that the E.E.C., the Six, are bound not to alter their tariffs until the end of 1965 without unanimous consent. So that one member 689 could prevent a desire of the other five to participate immediately in the "Kennedy round". It is a question to be decided, whether in spite of that it would be a good thing to go ahead with the provisional agreement of the other Five, although their reduction of tariffs would not be effective until the beginning of 1966. In any case we intend to discuss the matter as soon as possible with our EFTA partners, with the United States, and, of course, individually with members of the Commonwealth.
My noble friend the Foreign Secretary has already replied to the noble Earl's question about Australia. We should in any case have had to have consultations with Australia soon about renewing the commercial treaty, and if we want to get business done quickly in this matter I think we ought to have bilateral discussions with all the Commonwealth countries who are willing to talk to us about it. What we want to do is to get tariffs reduced now wherever we can, and we hope that the Five countries, who agreed with us in our view of the future of Europe, will do their best to aid us. We do not exclude the possibility of the French doing so, too, and we are hoping soon to have meetings of the W.E.U., to which we think more importance and weight should now be given, and we hope that the French, who are members of W.E.U., will attend those meetings. But we do not mean to be deterred or prevented from pursuing this aim, which we think is essential in the interests of the Free World as a result of what happened last month. We are also, as I think your Lordships may know, meeting our EFTA partners very soon, on February 18, when we hope the result will be an agreed attitude towards these very important questions.
It has been made fairly clear in Paris recently, my Lords, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said, that, whatever may be the true reason for the French veto on our entry into Europe, the reason which the French President wishes the world to believe—and it may, of course, be the true reason—is that France fears the effects upon Europe of our special relationship with the United States. My Lords, there are many aspects of foreign policy, with which your Lordships are familiar, on which we do not always agree with the United States. Some of them are serious. We disagreed 690 strongly six years ago about Suez; we have some differences about the criteria which should decide recognition or non-recognition of foreign Governments, of which China is one example. And we have not always seen eye to eye, as I think we have fully explained to your Lordships and in another place, with the United States about the precise limits which ought to govern the military activities of the United Nations in the Congo. I do not think it is necessary for me to go further into the Congo question, but that is one question on which we have not seen eye to eye with the United States. There are many others: there have been many others, and no doubt there will be more.
But it is true to say, as the French Government have said, that one permanent factor in our foreign policy, which I think is acceptable to all political Parties here, is that in planning the defence of the Free World, and in planning the economic progress of the Free World, there ought to be close collaboration between Europe, which includes ourselves, and the United States. Think, my Lords, what tragedies have resulted in our lifetime from United States' isolationism. If we had had, in the 1930's, a combined system of European defence to which the United States had been committed, as the United States is now committed to NATO, then the Second World War could never have occurred—a war which very nearly exterminated the whole of Western European civilisation. What folly it is now for any European State to oppose closer co-operation between Europe and America! If it had not been for the United States' nuclear shield over Europe in 1947, France would now be a Communist satellite, with a French Ulbricht in the Elysée, and all the great French achievements built up over the centuries, in civilisation, art and culture, would have been conquered and enslaved by the Communist machine.
At the present moment, my Lords, that part of the world which is committed to the defence of freedom, including ourselves and the United States, France, Germany and NATO—the whole of us—is not much more than equal in military power to that part which opposes it and threatens it, and we are far smaller in numbers than those parts of the world 691 which are either against us or are uncommitted. Division between us will destroy our defence, and it may also destroy our ability to help the millions of people in Asia and Africa and in Latin America—which, in my submission, is perhaps the most critical area of all. There are millions of people there who will not be on our side if we cannot help them to combine freedom with the material means of enjoying it.
§ EARL ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, would the noble Earl allow me to interrupt him? I am anxious about one point which I ought perhaps to have mentioned, so he will excuse my butting in. I entirely agree with what the noble Earl has said about American power when applied to the use of the Allies in NATO, starting from 1947 onwards, before we got the full NATO organisation going. But in view of the remarks of men like Dean Acheson, the sort of thing he said recently, I hope the Foreign Office will make it quite clear that when America was rapidly demobilising, and in face of the dangerous situation which arose out of the Paris Peace Conference in 1946, it was the British Government alone which signed the Treaty of Dunkirk and started the road to Brussels, before there was any realisation from the point of view of NATO, by the United States. I hope that will be kept constantly before some of the Americans who make these remarks.
§ THE EARL OF DUNDEE
My Lords, I am very willing indeed to stress not only that but also the fact that in the First World War we fought for freedom without America during the first three years; in the Second World War, for the first two-and-a-half years, and for part of that time entirely alone; and that our material sacrifices, in treasure and in wealth, have proportionately been very much heavier than those of the United States. But I 692 am talking about the situation now, the steps which can be taken now to prevent those circumstances arising in which it was necessary for us to take all the spears into our own breast before our friends across the Atlantic had made up their minds to come in—and that is what I am afraid is perhaps being endangered by the present attitude of the French Government. That is why it is so important, in my submission, to stress now the need for unity.
In one of the statements made in Paris yesterday, to which I think the noble Lord alluded, the French Prime Minister is reported to have said that Britain would not accept the Treaty of Rome rules, and that we cannot come in until we have learnt to accept them. I think we must reply to that, without any bitterness and without any desire to quarrel—because we want to carry our French friends with us—that that is a statement which nobody in the world believes except the French Government which made it—no one at all. Everyone is aware that we did fully accept the rules of the Treaty of Rome. We were willing to have a common agricultural policy, a common external tariff and all the rest of it. It is not we who must learn the rules of the Treaty of Rome: it is the French, my Lords, the French Government, who in our view must learn that those human values which have grown up very slowly and painfully in the civilisation of Western Europe, but for which mankind has no natural guarantee, will not be preserved and will not be extended unless there is a resolve for unity among all those, both here and in America, who wish to preserve and to extend them.
§ LORD HENDERSON
My Lords, I think that all that it is necessary for me to say, without any discussion of my sort, is that I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.