§ 2.40 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE rose to call attention to the need for a separate and permanent naval, military and air force, together with the necessary military government or civil affairs component, created, controlled and paid by, and owing sole allegiance to, the United Nations, with its own command structure and staff; to urge Her Majesty's Government to propose to the Security Council and to the Assembly of the United Nations that the necessary steps to set up such a force be now taken; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I should first of all like to express my appreciation of the Foreign Secretary's attendance here to-day to answer this debate. He has, I understand, been indisposed and has had to travel down from Scotland especially, and I am very grateful to him for so doing.
§ The reason for this Motion is to advocate a suggested remedy for what I believe to be a serious defect in international organisation. Before proceeding with the case I wish to put to your Lordships, I should like to clarify two issues immediately. The first is that it is no part of my case that the United Nations is perfect. It is human, and therefore fallible. But it is learning, and it is learning fast. As it consists of delegations from 110 nations, naturally regional and world stresses and strains tend to find expression in the General Assembly. It is not a world government or a world parliament. Nations remain sovereign theoretically, whatever validity that concept may have in the modern world. Fifty-five of the member States are African or Asian.1372
The Seventeenth Annual Session of the General Assembly, which ended just before Christmas, made a considerable impact on observers. The Times correspondent, for example, wrote in the issue of that paper for the 27th of December last that some worthwhile contributions to international understanding were made. Later he added:
The session just ended has shown a growing tendency by most countries, other than the Communist bloc, to look at issues on their merits and to vote independently.
Therefore, as I said at the beginning, we need by no means despair. There is every reason to hope that the United Nations will learn by its own experiences.
§ The second preliminary point is that my suggestion on the Order Paper to-day is not intended as a substitute for the Western Alliance—that is NATO—or for any other regional or national force, at all events in the beginning. Perhaps, in time, it may come to be regarded, with respect to the larger issues of world peace that may develop, as a world force, but in the beginning I intend it as a suggestion that a force should be created which will handle the "bush fires", the sort of disputes with which the United Nations has had to deal in the past, is dealing with now and will deal with in the future. Such tensions require United Nations' forces at this moment in the Congo, on the Egypt-Israeli border, in Kashmir and in West Irian—what we used to call New Guinea.
§ The present situation is too often this. An incident or a series of incidents occurs which involves the maintenance of peace and the necessity to take prompt action. Multi-national or civil war has broken out; the United Nations decide to step in to maintain peace; a scratch military force is hastily collected together from member nations—those member nations, of course, which have had no experience whatsoever of the part of the world or the sort of situation which has developed. A commander is appointed and staff collected. Civil representatives are engaged. The one constant factor in all this is that all these forces and representatives must come from nations with no experience whatsoever of the type of fighting required or the type of administration necessary. Pakistan for example, was recently called upon to send 1,000 troops to New Guinea; Ethiopian troops were landed in the Congo. Dr. O'Brien, the chief United 1373 Nations representative in the Congo, was chosen because a book of critical essays on poetry that he wrote commended itself to Mr. Hammarskjoeld. This put Dr. O'Brien in an impossible position. He had no experience whatsoever in this kind of duty; and he has now written a book to say that the Congo operation was mishandled and the communiqué issued by the United Nations explaining his actions was false.
§ This is accompanied by the inevitable inefficiency and expense which such scratch arrangements entail. Yet the Congo operation is the touchstone for future events. The purpose in this case was to forestall civil war, to restore law and order, to lay the foundations of a viable and efficient Congolese State and to prevent the cold war from laying its icy hands on yet another region. If it fails in the Congo, where else can the United Nations succeed?
§ The cost has been very great. Here is an indication of the sums involved. The Congo operation cost in 1961 120 million dollars, of which the contribution by Great Britain was 7.78 per cent. Up to the present, according to this morning's Guardian, the cost in the Congo has been £100 million. The Egyptian-Israeli border operations cost 19 million dollars in 1961, of which Great Britain contributed 8.4 per cent. At the end of February, 1962, 45 members of the United Nations were in arrears with their contributions to the regular budget for 1961 or earlier. Sixty-two countries were in arrears with their contributions to the Middle East account; and 77 countries were in arrears with their contributions to the Congo account.
§ Article 19 of the United Nations Charter provides that a member nation loses the vote after being in arrears to an amount equivalent to two years' contributions. The International Court was asked whether this rule applied to the Middle East and Congo operations. The reply was in the affirmative, and the General Assembly accepted this opinion by 76 to 17 votes, in the teeth of opposition from the U.S.S.R., France and some of the Arab States. I hope that my noble friend, Lord McNair, will deal more closely with this particular problem. He has vast experience in this field.
§ Another example of difficulties in the present situation is that at this moment 1374 there is no authority for court-martial in the United Nations' forces. All they can do is to set up a court of inquiry; and if misconduct is established, the matter is referred to the officers of the contingent concerned. A further difficulty is that national contingents have no common language, no common administration, organisation, equipment or armament. This is bad enough in NATO, where, as your Lordships know, the late Commander-in-Chief said that the only element common to the forces was the air in the tyres of their jeeps. In the Congo there are 17,000 troops, and there have been as many as 20,000. An article in the Guardian to-day say that up to the end of December last, of United Nations' forces, 127 officers and men had been killed in action, 50 killed in accidents and 133 wounded.
§ The fact is, my Lords, that there will be a number of these incidents to deal with. The dissolution of the British, French, Belgian, Dutch and Portuguese empires has created a power vacuum and a Balkanisation of Africa and Asia. Added to this there is the menace of the Communist world, and the stresses and strains caused by it. All this is inevitable, and it will undoubtedly work itself out in time, with help—but the help must be there. In Berlin and in nuclear and general disarmament we see other examples of situations which might call for such United Nations' forces and control.
§ We have in the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, one who was present at the start of the United Nations. He will be able to tell us more than anyone else what they intended, but from careful reading of the Charter it seems to me that the original intention under the Charter for the United Nations forces was based on contributions by national forces. The Charter provides that there should be a Military Staff Committee to advise the Security Council on its military requirements, consisting of the Chiefs of Staff of the permanent members, or their representatives. Military agreements should be made by all members of the United Nations to contribute forces to maintain international peace, and members of the United Nations should hold national air force contingents immediately available for combined, international enforcement action. Needless to say, this situation has never come about. The Military Staff Committee, although it meets 1375 occasionally, has given no advice for many years. I asked the Foreign Secretary what the cost of the Committee would be. His answer was that it costs nothing; when it meets it does so because members are there for some other purpose. No military agreements have been concluded under Article 43 of the Charter. No member of the United Nations is holding national air force contingents immediately available.
§ Special operations of this kind need money, men and materials. They require to be ready at the right time and in the right place. In my Motion I have described the sort of requirements I believe necessary. I am convinced that the United Nations must have at its own disposal its own force with the following attributes. First of all, it must be a separate force—that is to say, it must be a force of the United Nations, not one hastily gathered together when trouble has started and consisting of national forces all diversely equipped, administered and armed. Secondly, it must be a permanent force, whose members will join it on a long-term basis. Thirdly, it must be a naval, military and air force—and I say force, not forces, because I believe that it is quite time that forces of this kind were combined, so far as possible. I hope that the United Nations will give a start in this direction to the national forces, so that we have one combined naval, army and air force under one head. We made a start during the war. General Eisenhower was the head of such a force. I am not sure how much naval control he had; but certainly he had control over the army and air force of the Allies.
§ Then I believe that it is most important to have a military or civil affairs component, what the United States call G.5. This organisation was developed during the last war and was most useful in dealing with civil populations and in taking away from the military commander many of the unfortunate incidents that can arise. I remember finding during the last war, when I was still in Aix-la-Chapelle (now called Aachen), that the American Army there had not sufficient military government detachments and the army commander had to detach a whole division to deal with the vast number of refugees who were wandering about, due to the fact that in the Rhineland and elsewhere the slave 1376 labourers which Krupp and others had employed were now roaming the countryside, naturally not in the best frame of mind. So that this is a most important aspect of the whole situation.
§ During and after military operations, skilled impartial administration is essential. The Congo is a case in point. Though it is fashionable to say to-day that lawyers and administrators do not necessarily need to have specialist training, that is not my experience. Administration takes just as long to learn as any other form of activity, and a gifted and trained administrator is a very rare creature indeed.
§ I believe that this force should be recruited by the United Nations, controlled by the United Nations and paid by the United Nations. The decision reached by the General Assembly on the question of costs for special operations makes this much easier, and I can only hope that the United Kingdom Government, whose record has been very good so far as contributions to the United Nations are concerned, will press others to follow their example and make the necessary contributions to special operations. I think that it would be easier to do so if there were a standing force in respect of which they would make contributions, rather than the United Nations' having to come to them for extra contributions for an incident when it arose and trying to get contributions out of them for the incident although politically they might be much against it, as in the case of Portugal, France and Soviet Russia.
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF HOME)
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question for the purpose of clarification for the rest of the debate? I am not quite sure whether he is now asking that national contingents should be earmarked against the day when they might be wanted by the Secretary-General or whether the Secretary-General should set about recruiting soldiers, airmen and naval personnel for an international force.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I am coming to that point, which I appreciate is an important one. Members of the force should swear to honour their allegiance to the United Nations and, if there were a conflict, to renounce their 1377 allegiance to their own national contingents. This may sound difficult, but there is growing up in international affairs just such a feeling of international allegiance amongst international servants of one kind or another. Recently, while speaking to one of NATO'S civil servants, who happens to be a Dutchman, I referred to another Dutchman as "your compatriot". He pulled me up at once and said, "I have no compatriots: I am a servant of NATO." I believe that this sort of feeling is becoming more widespread than we might think.
On the Foreign Secretary's point, I am certain that the United Nations should straight away appoint and pay the commander and his staff—that is to say, the command structure and staff should be paid and permanently employed. We must have commanders trained in the United Nations outlook and in the type of United Nations operations that are likely. Criticisms have been voiced in your Lordships' House from time to time about the operations in the Congo. Commanders have been criticised for certain actions which they were alleged to have taken and for giving certain orders; or, on the other hand, for not giving certain orders. I think that it is unfair to put commanders in this sort of situation, when they have had no training in this type of activity. So my view is that we need our own commanders. The staff should be preparing plans for the sort of actions which loom up, because few of these incidents come in a moment. They can usually be seen a time ahead. And the United Nations Staff should be preparing plans, just as our own General Staff prepare plans for the various eventualities which might or might not take place.
As for the troops, I would have a certain number recruited straight away. After all, we have operations going on now. It is not something which may or may not happen in the future. I have instanced four territories where operations are going on, and there may be others that I have forgotten. While I do not suggest that we should engage a vast number of troops at the moment, I believe that we should certainly begin recruiting air and ground troops straight away and gradually build up, so that in the end we have a complete United Nations force. But that cannot be done in five minutes, and until we can build up a strong com- 1378 mand staff, we shall have to rely upon contingents from national forces.
In the debate on February 6, the Foreign Secretary said, referring to the present Motion, that the directives of the Security Council must be impartial, United Nations action 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. We shall all agree with those sentiments. These things are essential. But I defy anybody to tell us how they can be carried out in existing circumstances, unless we have a force such as I have described, and a permanent command staff. The excellent propositions of the Foreign Secretary, with which I entirely agree, would be quite incapable of being carried out. The only way of achieving these objectives, I suggest, is to have a permanent, trained, disciplined United Nations force in place of the hasty, disorganised and often untrained and raw personnel which, in present circumstances, are thrust into the maelstrom.
In conclusion, I urge Her Majesty's Government to propose to the Security Council of the General Assembly of the United Nations that the necessary steps to set up such a force be now taken. Thereby, the United Nations will be enabled to perform one of its essential duties. The United Nations Organisation, with all its deficiencies, is in earthly terms one of the world's best hopes of peace. We must all of us, whether members of the Government or Parliamentarians, do all in our power to sustain and strengthen it. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.0 p.m.
§ EARL ATTLEE
My Lords, I am glad to support this Motion that has been so well moved by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore. It takes my mind back to the days before the Second World War, when I was an active member of an organisation, to which Sir Winston Churchill also belonged and to which Lord Davies devoted a great deal of time and money, called the New Commonwealth. To my mind, the years since then have only emphasised the need for a world police force. If one is to get anywhere in the world with the rule of law, there must be 1379 a sanction behind that rule. You may possibly have the rule of law supported, as it was in the past, by the forces of a single Power. One might say that the British Navy did this for a long time in the nineteenth century. To-day, with the growth of nationality and the multiplication of States, what is required is something that stands quite apart from any States, something in the form of an international force.
We have seen the need for this in recent years. We saw it in Palestine and we have seen it in the Congo. But in these cases the force has been an ad hoc force, hastily brought together, and a continuance of national forces. In my view, what is required is a permanent international force, recruited from various nations, forming one single force, owing allegiance not to any national State but to the United Nations. I remember that in old times, when one used to advocate this, it was said: "You will never get people to serve under a general from another country". But I recall that in the last war the noble and gallant Earl, Lord Alexander of Tunis, had men of 22 different nations under his command in Italy. I think that we have largely outgrown the idea that people cannot serve with nationals other than their own.
I conceive the international force not as one centrally administered body but as consisting of detachments in various parts of the world. Their function would be to carry out the general policy of the United Nations, and, in particular, wherever there is friction, to hold the position between the contestants. I think that what is needed is a force of all arms, highly mechanised and highly mobile. To my mind, an infantry contingent for occupational purposes will always be needed if anywhere some country has to be held. And I think it essential that the force should be directly recruited, directly trained and altogether outside national considerations. At the present time, there is one difficulty, because any force must have an adequate political control. The structure of UNO at the present time puts an almost unbearable burden on the Secretary-General. I look forward to a development of the United Nations in which there will be an executive body responsible to the United Nations, to whom the world police force will look for its orders. I look 1380 forward to the time when there are no more national forces beyond the very minimum required for internal security, and when the only force in the world will be an international force.
People ask how great that force should be. Well, my Lords, the forces of the police in any country are conditioned by the possible forces that might be brought against them. The force I have in mind might be a large force to begin with, and might be gradually reduced as the world gets more peaceful. But, in my view, it should be not merely a military force, but a great force for mutual understanding. It seems to me that the combined training and combined service would raise a certain cadre in the world of internationally minded people, just as service in the United Nations does to-day. It may seem that, with the difficulties in the world to-day, and the division between East and West, this is rather a wild notion; and that may be so. But I think the nole Lord, Lord Ogmore, is quite right in suggesting that a beginning should be made, because we have already had examples of where such a force may be needed. I do not think it is altogether satisfactory that we should always have to draw a force from what are known as the uncommitted nations. This puts a great burden on the Scandinavians, on Eire and on other small countries. It would be just as well that the large nations should learn the lesson of international action.
It may be, as I have said, that this ideal is rather far off to-day. I have sometimes thought that if we cannot get action in the United Nations we might begin in the British Commonwealth. We had an example of that when the Korea dispute broke out. In that case forces were sent: they were mainly American, but we in the British Commonwealth responded by sending out the Commonwealth division, supported by contingents from various Dominions, in which, let us remember, India also participated, although her participants were non-combatants. It might be a good thing to-day in our British Commonwealth if we looked over our world commitments and considered that, instead of, as in the past, this country having to police the whole of the Commonwealth, the task should be shared among all our member States. 1381 One can imagine a force based somewhere in the Pacific, where perhaps the command might be Australian or New Zealand, and another force in South-East Asia, where the command might he Indian. But the essential need is that there should be a force, not of one Power only, but common to the whole Commonwealth. I believe that that would be a link between all of us in the Commonwealth who have a common faith and a common desire in protecting the peace of the world.
I should like to see this country giving a lead, first of all at the United Nations. If we fail there, we should make a start on our own: because I am quite convinced that the future of the world depends upon the establishment of the rule of law, on the submission of disputes to international tribunals, and that it is absolutely unthinkable that we can have the rule of law without an ultimate sanction, as if we had law courts in this country and no police. My Lords, I believe that the logic of events to-day is that the world is so closely knit that we cannot afford any wars, not even small wars; that all disputes must be submitted to judicial arbitration; and that, behind that, there must be a united force. Service in the world police force, to be a member of a force whose only object is peace and the rule of law, should make a great call to idealism of youth. I have much pleasure in supporting this Motion.
§ 3.12 p.m.
THE LORD Bishop OF CHICHESTER
My Lords, I should like to say how much I welcome the initiative of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, in moving the Motion for this debate. It might seem, after the two important debates already held in this House this week on matters of home and overseas concern, that this is something more academic in its flavour. Yet I do not believe that is so, and I should like to express the concern and support of the Churches for the ideas propounded by this Motion. The Churches, which have been drawing closer together in many ways during the past few years, are always most conscious of their partnership in their duty to warn the world of the danger it is in in the present mounting competition of arms, and also of the intense need to find some answer to the whole 1382 challenge of war in its modern form, or those recurring outbreaks of violence which might lead to it.
Time and again in the last few years conferences of Christian Churches—the Lambeth Conference a few years ago, covering more than 300 centres of Church life throughout the world, the World Council of Churches at New Delhi, with an ever wider sweep, and many more local branches and groups as well as intense local debate—have always returned to this theme. Whatever other themes we may have been discussing—whether the maintenance or protection of family life, the duties of ctizenship in the modern world, or the need for feeding the hungry in other parts of it—we have always been forced back to this prerequisite of securing, so far as we can, the prospect of peace for the world as a whole.
At the same time, the Churches, in the various resolutions they have put out, have recognised the complexity of this whole subject: the slow steps to disarmament; the building up of international organs of law or authority; the removal of unrest, and so on. While it is perhaps easy to critise such resolutions made in a sweeping way, undoubtedly Christian opinion is very acutely concerned with a realistic approach to this question. There is a small and relatively strong body of pacifists who would eschew all use of force, even in a police capacity. I suppose, also, there are forms of unilateralism in connection with the prospect of nuclear war and revulsion from it which shade into pacifism in one degree or another, and which may have their own value in protestation and impatience that save us from any kind of complacency. But the general bulk of Christian opinion is seriously combining a realistic approach to the existing facts of power and human weakness with a refusal to accept this existing situation as either inevitable or incapable of improvement. We would rather say, as I think the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, said in connection with unemployment yesterday, that this is to be regarded as an opportunity rather than a problem.
From this wide Christian opinion in this country and elsewhere, there would be, I believe, very great support for any practical steps along the lines of this 1383 Motion and a real impatience if, for lack of courage, or for reasons of finance or prestige, we failed to pursue it further. To such opinion as I have referred the limited proposals that have been put forward for a limited international force of police commend themselves for a number of very obvious reasons. In the first place, it is not a Utopian idea coming out of the blue. It has been envisaged already in the United Nations, in its origin and in much of its thinking. It has been canvassed in a number of different groups in most countries, and no doubt the noble Earl, Lord Longford, when he speaks later in the debate will refer specifically to a clear and analytical consideration of the different steps towards an increasing control of the world's peace, as has been put out by a widely representative body of opinion in the Wyndham Place Trust. It is practical also because, as is clear to us all, we already have living experience of the different crises which have faced the United Nations in the past and of the different kinds of situation in which their own ad hoc forces have had to operate in the past few years.
There is a clear difference between a police force and something more in the nature of a military force, even though in fact they may wield something of the same arms. It will seem unlikely to most of us, and to others perhaps even undesirable, that there should be so large an international or supra-national force as to have it in its power to control the world. At any rate, the provision for that would depend upon a number of factors which clearly are not present now, and are not likely to be present for a long time. But there is, none the less, an immediate need for a force which could control outbreaks of violence on a more limited scale. Such outbreaks, although at first affecting local situations only, if not controlled may become established and produce a whole area of disease and infection. If they persist, they can affect far wider areas and ultimately threaten the peace of the world. Violence begets violence, and unrest spreads. It is surely vital that we should have the machinery to disinfect the trouble effectively and promptly. Such would be the work of a police force. It is not there to conquer; it is not there to impose a particular solution; it is not there to interfere in inter- 1384 nal politics. It is there primarily to pacify. What happened afterwards would depend upon negotiations, other agencies of law or welfare which could follow. But these could not operate until violence itself had been contained.
Behind the notion of a police force, of course, is a conception of law. A police force is there to control, but not to conquer; it is there to keep the peace, but not to make it. It must act itself under the discipline of a properly recognised authority and in such ways as make it possible to establish the proper conditions under which peace might be established later.
This is not perhaps the moment or the time—and certainly I am not qualified—to consider further how the principle of law may be more firmly established between nations, though it is a work for which the Christian Churches have pleaded often enough in our present state of international anarchy. But the emphasis on the police nature of this force is one that leads inevitably to the conception of law and not of violence. It may be, as the noble Earl has just said, a dream which certainly many of us share, but only a pipe-dream, that we shall move on to a body that could control the world. But we are surely allowed to have our dreams, and surely allowed also, even if they are unattainable, to consider what can be done immediately. The fire service in London could not put out a general conflagration covering the whole metropolis, but that is no argument against putting out individual fires where they break out.
Because such a police force has a specialised objective it must also have specialised training. In many ways the function of a police force is a harder one than that of a military force. Its members have to use the minimum of force themselves, and only in the last resort of legitimate self-defence can they resort to it. They would require, I suppose, a very special discipline and techniques if they were to operate in conditions of riot or local unrest and to restore not only order but confidence. Hence, special attention must be given to the formation, command and recruitment of such a force. We cannot surely continue on the basis of national contingents controlled ultimately by their own Governments. As the Congo operation has just made clear, such forces 1385 are bound to be subject to the policies or whims of their own Governments and can be withdrawn suddenly.
Moreover, their equipment, if they are to be ready to operate in any part of the world, even as police, must be elaborate. They cannot be subjected to the difficulties of inadequate armament or depend, for instance in the vital matter of transport, on the good will of a particular nation that might supply it. Because they must be seen to be impartial, too, they must at present be drawn only from the uncommitted nations, with all the inevitable restriction that that involves. In the meantime there remains the insecurity that even if a large majority of nations might vote in favour of despatching a United Nations' force to a trouble spot, its whole provision would depend on the good will of such nations as can provide what the force needs. All this points clearly to a quite different solution, even in the present uneasy balance of power, and there must surely be an adequate permanent force of international police, building up its own discipline and its own esprit de corps, adequately commanded and equipped, which no doubt could be reinforced by national units specifically reserved or held in readiness for emergency needs.
There are, of course, other aspects. Behind the police there must be civil resources to create conditions of peace or welfare where they are lacking. We fight not only with the sword but with the pen. All violent conflicts, as has often been remarked, are accompanied by verbal conflicts, and it is monstrous that an international force should be subjected to misrepresentation or confusion because there are not adequate means of establishing the truth of what is actually happening.
Your Lordships will want to pursue this subject in greater detail than I can. I should like to say, in conclusion, that this Motion is less ambitious than I should have liked it to be, because we believe that a first step is necessary. At present, the nations, aware as they are of the precarious nature of world peace, seem to be reconciled to making hand-to-mouth provision in. a way that they would never tolerate in preserving their own internal peace. It may be a moment for political courage and wisdom, and it is to be hoped that we can use just this opportunity. I hope, as others have 1386 said, that some real leadership can come from this nation at this juncture.
I would voice again the support that I am confident would come from strong Christian opinion, which is certainly gravely perplexed about its duty to-day. It is anxious to keep its feet well on the ground, yet longs for solid, practical steps to which it can give its support and its loyalty. I suppose that this mood is more underlined, with their own characteristic impatience, by the younger generation. The young to-day, I believe, are more internationally minded than their fathers, just as they are more impatient. While they may express their frustrations in sometimes very unhelpful ways, they want a national policy in this direction which will appeal to their idealism. I hope, therefore, that the proposals such as are embodied in this Motion will be taken into the practical concern of any who will be leading us in the next few years.
§ 3.28 p.m.
§ LORD ROBERTSON OF OAKRIDGE
My Lords, my attention was drawn to this Motion from the very first time I saw it in the list of forthcoming debates, and that was quite a long time ago—such a long time, indeed, that I have been wondering what has caused the delay and why the Motion has not come up for discussion. I have no evidence to support the theory that has just occurred to me that perhaps the reason is that this is one of those subjects, like some others—perhaps, one might say, like the reform of your Lordships' House—that we all know we ought to do something about but for which the moment is never opportune. At all events, I venture to put my ideas before your Lordships this afternoon and in doing so I am fearful lest they shall seem rather, as it were, brash, because in a relatively short speech one cannot expound the thinking behind the opinion that one offers.
I should like, in saying that, to pay tribute to the bodies and the men and women who are giving a great deal of thought to this subject. I am thinking particularly of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which has produced an excellent treatise over the name of a gentleman called Mr. Fry, and also of the Wyndham Place Trust, to which reference was made by the right reverend Prelate who spoke just before me, and 1387 which has issued a splendid report from a Commission under the chairmanship of the noble Earl, Lord Longford.
It is a subject with a very long history and, of course, one cannot go into this history in a short debate like this. But I should like just to refer to one or two incidents in it in order to point to what I believe are some useful lessons. I would draw attention, first of all, to what happened during the days of the League of Nations, when I first came across the subject. Your Lordships will remember that in drafting its Covenant one of the most crucial issues was the demand of the French for an international force that would be able to enforce peace and ensure the security of the world against an aggressor, meaning Germany; and these ideas were coolly received at the time, particularly by Great Britain and the United States of America. Then came the Disarmament Conference of 1932. I was present when M. Tardieu produced a French plan for disarmament, and in that again he insisted on the creation of a permanent international force with provision for additional forces to be made available by earmarking from the States. And again these ideas were coolly received, and it is interesting to ask why.
Why was France so certain in those days that an international force of this sort is required, of which she is not certain to-day? Why was she so certain that it would ensure her security? And why were those peace-loving nations like Great Britain and the United States of America so cool towards it? I think the answer is very obvious and it is also very significant. The answer is that in those days France believed, and with justice, that she had the League of Nations in her pocket. She could count on the votes of the Little Entente and the Balkan Entente. She could generally reckon on the votes of the Latin American countries, for some reason which I never understood but apparently connected with the fact that the Latin American ladies buy their frocks in Paris. At all events she was assured of getting out of the League of Nations the votes she wanted. Why were Great Britain and America so cool about it? For exactly the same reason: they were not prepared to commit their countries on an issue of peace and war simply on the basis of whether or not France could get a certain 1388 vote out of the League of Nations. Moreover, they were not prepared to put their troops under the command of Marshal Foch in peace.
I agree with the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, that time has marched on and we are more accustomed to that kind of thing now. But the objection was not merely to putting troops under a foreign general. The objection was largely due to the fact that in those days Marshal Foch, as is perhaps forgotten now, had some rather peculiar ideas about the future of France and, incidentally, the future of Marshal Foch. A French friend of mine said to me only a month ago: "You should not overlook the fact that since Napoleon Bonaparte died my country has produced a series of men who have endavoured to emulate him, generally with disastrous results for France". I am bound to say he was not thinking of Marshal Foch when he said that. In the event, as we know, the League of Nations was never provided with a force and it is possible to argue, though difficult to prove, that this was the reason why the League did not intervene during those initial aggressions by the Axis Powers, in Albania, Abyssinia, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere; and it is possible to argue this was the prime cause for the outbreak of World War II; but it is very difficult to prove it.
Since the war the United Nations Organisation has come into existence and the Military Committee, consisting of the Chiefs of Staff of the various countries, set up I think under Article 43, sat down to devise means for producing a force to deal with rupture to peace or threatened rupture to peace. They sat down for two years and then handed in their portfolios, having achieved nothing at all. I mention this matter in order to draw attention to the reason for the breakdown. At that time the United States of America was demanding an international force 300,000 men strong, and Soviet Russia said she would agree to a force no greater than 100,000 men strong. I do not deny that if agreement had been reached on that point other difficulties might have arisen, but the fact is that that is the issue on which those conversations broke down, and I think it is very significant that a reminder that in this matter, as in so many others, the better is a constant enemy of the good. I think that if the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, were to hear to-morrow that agreement had been reached to set up an 1389 international force of 100,000 strong, or even something considerably less than that, he would be very pleased.
The United Nations has made various suggestions since then. The Secretary-General, Mr. Trygve Lie, put forward a series of proposals, bringing his numbers down each time, but in the end he also threw in his hand, and he did so making the bitter comment that a self-contained United Nations commandis administratively, financially and militarily impracticable at the present time".There again we see the same idea coming in: the time is not opportune. It is never opportune for this. And yet, although the United Nations Organisation has had no force at its disposal, the fact is that it has intervened on a very considerable number of occasions since the war. The chief of these, as we know, are Korea and Suez and the Congo, but there have been more than half a dozen others and there are four on hand at the present time.
I will not endeavour to recount the story of these interventions, but I would suggest some four or five lessons which I think your Lordships could perhaps agree with me are pertinent. The first lesson, I would say, is that speed has proved to be the essence of the business. Once the political decision to intervene is taken, the more quickly action follows the more efficacious it is and the sooner the trouble is arrested. The second lesson is something which perhaps your Lordships might feel inclined to dispute a little, but I hope that on reflection your Lordships will also accept this. Experience has shown that the provision of fighting troops is one of the less difficult parts of the problem. I do not say there are no difficulties but it is one of the less difficult parts of the problem. Indeed on some occasions, notably Suez, the offers of troops have been positively embarrassing, and even in the case of the Congo there was no shortage of offers of troops. It is true that some offers were accepted which ought to have been rejected, but that is a different matter.
The third lesson I would point to is that, even though offers of troops have been made, the administrative arrangements for moving those troops and getting them to where they are wanted, for arming them properly and maintain- 1390 ing them when they are there, are much more difficult to improvise, and yet it is these administrative arrangements which greatly determine the speed and the efficiency with which the troops can act. The fourth point I should like to suggest is that a great deal more thought is needed about the proper method of controlling these parties. Whatever opinion your Lordships may hold about the intervention of the United Nations in the Congo—and I am bound to confess that, personally, in some respects, I hold a very poor opinion—I believe that all would agree that there was a breakdown in control indeed it was admitted. This resulted in a state of affairs on the ground for which rude military men like myself generally use a very unparliamentary expression. But it was not the fault of the troops. There was complete absence of clear, firm political direction and there was an entirely nonsensical chain of command.
The fifth lesson, I would suggest, is that no two cases have been alike. We are often told that the one thing which we know about the next war is that it will be quite unlike the last. I believe that that might well be applied to these cases. The only thing we know about the next case in which the United Nations will be asked to intervene is that the circumstances will be entirely different from anything that they have been before. I suggest that it follows from this that the nature of the force, the size of the force, the composition, must be determined on each occasion according to the circumstances prevailing.
I have taken rather a long time in trying to paint the background as I see it, and it is certainly time that I said what I believe to be possible and desirable and what I believe not to be possible. While I am wholeheartedly in support of the proposal that is contained in the Motion as being a proper ultimate objective, I feel bound to say that the creation of a standing international force of any considerable size appears to me, at the present time and in the present state of the world, to be utterly impossible.
I will suggest four reasons for saying that. The first is that there would be no agreement about it. To the best of my knowledge and belief, Russia would veto it. Then France—well, the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, I think it was, said last 1391 week that we are face to face to-day with a highly nationalistic France. The President of France has openly expressed his contempt for the United Nations Organisation—"ce machin", "that gimmick"; and it seems to me, at least, that if France were to raise no objection to the creation of a permanent international force of this nature, she would do so in only the same way as she said she would raise no objection to Great Britain's entering the Common Market. And there would be other countries too, apart from France and Russia, who would create great difficulties about the creation of such a force at this time.
Secondly, although I heard what the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said about finance, and I know that certain arrangements have been made to improve the situation, I cannot, for the life of me, see how it would be possible to produce the money to pay for an international force of this character. It would cost, to the best of my belief, several times, and probably many times, the total amount of the United Nations budget at this time. Thirdly, unless such a force were armed with the most modern weapons it would stand in grave danger (to borrow an expression from our noble and gallant colleague, the Field Marshal) of being "hit for six"; yet it is most difficult to imagine that such a force could be so armed. Fourthly—here, perhaps, I express a personal opinion which will not be accepted on all sides—I myself do not see that the United Nations is sufficiently mature as an organisation to control a vast and powerful weapon of this nature. So that is the conclusion I come to on that first idea, that there should be created a rather large, permanent international force.
As to a smaller force—say a force of 5,000 or rather less—the same difficulties arise, but of course in lesser degree. It may be that they could be overcome. I know the difficulties about relying upon forces that are earmarked from the various countries and come, as it were, ad hoc. I can see certain advantages in having a small force of this nature; yet I wonder whether it is worth it at this time—I emphasise" at this time". I recall what I said: that the force needed has to be tailor-made for each occasion. Even if we had such a force, 1392 would it be suitable? Would it be suitable for use on the particular occasion that arose? In the light of those difficulties and thoughts, my own frank inclination is to say that I am so keen on action being taken in the direction where I believe it is possible and which I now describe, that my own predilection is for making the problem as simple as possible, and not complicating it and raising additional difficulties by pressing for a small force of, in my view, rather doubtful value.
Now to come to what I believe should be done, is possible and on which agreement may be possible, namely, the immediate creation, within the organisation of the United Nations, of a headquarters, containing a strong political and military planning staff and a logistic nucleus. I do not, of course, mean the resuscitation of the old military committee of the Chiefs of Staff—nothing of that sort is of the slightest use. This staff should owe allegiance to the Secretary-General through its own Chief of Staff. One imagines that he would be drawn from one of the non-Security Council nations, but the staff officers under him would probably come mainly from the Security Council countries. They would be recruited by the Secretary-General, though most of them would be seconded from those countries by those Governments. They would owe allegiance to him. They should not be representatives of their nations; they should be the servants of the United Nations.
Such a headquarters would, in my view, have functions roughly as follows. In the first place, it would make a study of the various kinds of intervention that the United Nations might be called upon to make, whether by force or by showing a presence, and a study of those ancillary activities which might be associated with intervention, such as the temporary assumption of responsibility for civil affairs, to which the Motion most properly draws attention. Second, as part of this study the staff should devise and recommend a sensible system of control to ensure proper, prompt and constant political direction and a reasonable chain of military command. Thirdly, it should collect information and collate it on the various parts of the world where information might be needed.
1393 Fourth, and most important, it should be authorised to consult with the Governments of those States who agree, and who should be pressed to agree, to earmark forces under, I think it is, Chapter VII of the Charter; to consult them about their composition, their state of readiness, their training and so forth, and to make inspections. Fifth, this staff should plan the logistics of intervention, and the infrastructures needed for it—by which I mean the telecommunications, the chain of airfields and so on. I could dilate on this at considerable length, I am afraid, but I must not do so. There is, however, an enormous amount of useful work that I am sure could be done here which would make a great difference when the next call for intervention came.
That is roughly my idea. I know it is a modest beginning—I am afraid too modest to satisfy the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, but at least it is a beginning. Surely in these matters we must proceed by steps. I note that the Report of the Commission which was "chaired" by the noble Earl, Lord Longford, stresses that view: that it is right to proceed by steps. The difference, as it were, between myself and that Report is that I feel it does not recognise the importance of this first step and does not emphasise sufficiently the importance of getting one foot on the first rung of the ladder, and not spending too much time gazing at the point where the top of the ladder disappears into the clouds.
I think there would be another advantage to be derived from the creation of such a headquarters, in that it would give an opportunity for the creation of just one of those cadres of internationally-minded men to which the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, referred. I myself have always believed that the success of the United Nations, or, For that matter, the League of Nations, would depend more than anything else on the creation within itself of a body of men who believed in it and who were determined to make a success of it. This might provide an opportunity for just such a body, which would develop its own individuality and spread its influence like yeast, so that later on the things we all desire might become possible though they are impossible to-day. The United Nations Organisation must indeed succeed or we are all lost—there is little doubt about that.
1394 The noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary (whom we are so glad to see back with us to-day) has been sharply critical of the United Nations on more than one occasion. I, for one, have entirely agreed with what he said; but if the United Nations is as important as one believes it to be, then it is not enough to criticise. Here is an opportunity, I suggest, to put forward a constructive proposal for the strengthening and betterment of the United Nations. I should like to see the British Government taking a bold initiative in pressing for this first step. I am aware that in saying this I am inviting the Foreign Secretary and his over-worked staff to do a lot more work for which they will get very little thanks. They will meet opposition. They will be told again that Great Britain is seeking her own interests, and we shall be called colonialists all over again. But at least it will be something to have done what we believe to be right. At least we shall be giving evidence to all clear-minded people that we do support the United Nations and wish to have it strengthened and improved.
Therefore, my Lords, I warmly welcome and support the Motion before the House proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, as an ultimate objective; but for the immediate future I would urge Her Majesty's Government to take an initiative in the United Nations Organisation towards the taking of this first small, practical step along the road to that objective.
§ 3.55 p.m.
§ LORD McNAIR
My Lords, we have had three speeches demonstrating the moral and material need for a United Nations police force; and a fourth speech full of most expert and practical advice on the best way of making a beginning upon the constitution of such a force. I propose to approach the matter more from the legal and constitutional point of view, because it is impossible to have any force at all unless we have the proper legal machinery for its creation and control. But before I deal with a United Nations police force in the rather limited sense in which it has been dealt with so far, I should like to distinguish it from a much larger proposal with which it is apt to be confused—a confusion from which I think the more modest proposal is suffering.
1395 As I see it, there are two objectives. There is a major and ultimate one, and a minor and immediate one. This major and ultimate objective is an international armed force operating under the direction of a world authority, particularly linked with the process of disarmament, and designed also to preserve peace in a world of States or other units which are restricted to the use of force for internal purposes. The minor and more immediate objective is an international police force equipped for such purposes as dealing with the liquidation of the Suez crisis or with the Congo affair.
The desirability of the major and ultimate objective is rapidly becoming common ground in your Lordships' House and, to some extent, outside. I refer to repeated statements which have been made by the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, and others upon world government, and to two recent statements by Ministers, which I propose to quote. On June 27, 1962, the noble and learned Viscount who leads this House said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 241, cols. 998–9]:I have long thought, as several noble Lords have, that the logic of modern weapons—perhaps even the logic of the continued absence of success of our disarmament negotiations—points inevitably towards some form of international police force and to some form of world authority.And in July, 1962, the noble Earl, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who has been so generous as to come here to-day in face of difficulty, in addressing a meeting arranged by the United Nations Association, while urging that the members of the United Nations "must never allow it to countenance aggressive war", is reported to have said:… remember that the only hope of a disarmed world is to substitute for national armies an international police force.That kind of international force is possible only in a world whose States or other component units are restricted in the use of force to that which is required for internal purposes, because it would be impossible to-day to create an international force superior to the forces at the disposal of one or more of the leading powers. So a large measure of disarmament is a condition precedent to the creation of an international force of that character, which must come into being step by step— 1396 a kind of parallel process—as successive stages of disarmament are realised. Whether the executive control of such a force will reside with one of the existing organs of the United Nations or will require the creation of some new organ of authority is one of the problems which the Disarmament Commission will have to consider. It is difficult to create an international organ in vacuo. It must have some kind of corporate existence, and if you can link it with an existing international organisation so much the better.
A permanent armed force associated with the United Nations need not mean a force which is under the direction of an Assembly of more than 100 States. The precise relationship of such force to the organs of the United Nations is one of the difficult problems that must be solved. But I think it is worth while noting that, whereas it has been found convenient to attach the International Court of Justice to the United Nations as its principal judicial organ, that does not mean that the General Assembly or the Security Council, or any other organ of the United Nations, has the very slightest influence upon its actions. The machinery of the United Nations is useful for the election of the judges, and for financing the Court; but the Court remains entirely independent. That is a piece of technique that seems to me to be worth bearing in mind. Obviously, an international armed force cannot be entirely independent: it must be subject to some executive control. But there is no reason why, once its mandate has been clearly prescribed, it should not be free to carry it out without continual reference to this or that organ of the United Nations.
However that may be, I now come to the more limited and immediate objective—namely, the creation of a standing police force, associated with the United Nations and capable of being readily available for such purposes as the Suez crisis; the emergence of the Congo into independence; the supervision of an armistice, as in the case of Egypt and Israel; the holding of a plebiscite, as in the Saar in 1935; the support of United Nations administration of territory, as in West Guinea at the present time, and so forth. Such a force may or may not be developed into the kind of force that will be required to supervise general disarmament, but at any rate some 1397 essential lessons and experience will be gained from it. Moreover, the experience resulting from the successful cooperation of Eastern and Western Governments in a minor force might engender the mutual trust necessary for a major force in the later stages of disarmament. I can see no reason why the creation of a standing police force should wait for a conclusion of the negotiations on disarmament, which are likely to be long drawn out.
As has often been pointed out, one of the main lessons learned from the experience of the League of Nations was the necessity of equipping any such international organisation with some armed force and the right to use it in the last resort. The Covenant of the League made no such provision and contemplated that, if force was required, it would be supplied by its members acting in concert. This is one of the principal differences between the League of Nations and the United Nations. Accordingly, one of the main preoccupations of the framers of the Charter of the United Nations was to put into it the teeth which the Covenant of the League lacked. So, by Article 43 of the Charter, the membersundertake to make available to the Security Council, on its call and in accordance with a special agreement … armed forces, assistance and facilities, including rights of passage, necessary for the purpose of maintaining international peace and security.Article 47 provided for the establishment of a Military Staff Committee consisting of the Chiefs of Staff of the permanent members of the Council or their representatives., for the purpose of making plans for the application of armed force, and for the purpose of beingresponsible under the Security Council for the strategic direction of any armed forces at the disposal of the Security Council.Unhappily, as we all know, owing to the premature break-up of the Alliance of the successful Powers in the Second World War these provisions have remained a dead letter. The Military Staff Committee and the members of the Security Council were not able to agree upon the composition and size of the force, and on other matters, and the special agreements between member States and the Security Council contemplated by Article 43 were never con- 1398 cluded. Nevertheless, the necessity for some such machinery for the use of an internationally directed armed force has remained, and I must refer to three occasions on which, in spite of the failure to implement Article 43 of the Charter, armed force has been improvised.
The first occasion is the outbreak of the Korean war in June, 1950, but that is a special case, because the Security Council was able to adopt the necessary resolution authorising the use of armed force against North Korea only by reason of the absence of the representative of the Soviet Union from the vital meeting of the Council; and because, although the Council set up a unified command, the United States was, in effect, in almost complete control of the operations. To some extent the administrative position was strengthened some four months later by the "Uniting For Peace Resolution" adopted by the Assembly, to which I shall refer later.
I now come to the Suez crisis of October-November, 1956, and the creation of the United Nations Emergency Force for the purpose of securing and supervising the cessation of hostilities, by separating the opposing forces and supervising the withdrawal of the British, French and Israeli forces. The Security Council was unable to act, by reason of the British and French negative votes, but it arranged for an emergency meeting of the Assembly in pursuance of the "Uniting For Peace Resolution". In this way the United Nations Emergency Force in the Middle East, which is still there, in reduced numbers, rests on the authority of the General Assembly, to which body the Commander of the Force is responsible. The third case is the Congo. The creation of the United Nations force in the Congo rests on a series of resolutions adopted by the Security Council in July and August, 1960, without a dissenting vote. The resolutions were noted by the General Assembly in September of the same year, in a resolution which was adopted without a dissenting vote, and which "fully supports" the resolutions of the Council.
Now, my Lords, there is a new factor in the discussion of this administrative problem, which is the light shed upon it by the Advisory Opinion given by the International Court of Justice in July 1399 of last year entitled "Certain Expenses of the United Nations (Article 17, paragraph 2 of the Charter)." Incidentally, I may mention that this is the first and only occasion on which a representative of the Soviet Union has pleaded before the International Court on behalf of his Government. I do not know whether we are to regard that as a sign of grace: it is, at any rate, a sign of the strength of the Soviet objection to any kind of affirmative answer to the question submitted to the Court. The United Kingdom was represented by the noble and learned Lord now on the Woolsack, in his capacity as Attorney General, and the question asked by the General Assembly was, in summary form, whether the expenses incurred by the United Nations in pursuance of resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council are "expenses of the Organisation" within the meaning of Article 17, so that they must be borne by the members.
That question received an affirmative answer by a vote of 9 against 5. The Attorney General argued in favour of an affirmative answer, while the representative of the Soviet Union and others contended strongly in favour of the contrary view. The Attorney General pointed out in his speech to the Court that the Court was not asked to pronounce upon the validity and legality of actions taken by the General Assembly and the Security Council. Nevertheless, the Advisory Opinion is very important, and relevant to our discussion, for it was necessary for the Court to examine the bases of the creation of these two forces, the first in connection with Suez and the second with the Congo.
With regard to the former, the Court came to the conclusion that year by year the expenses of the United Nations Emergency Force—that is, the force created after the Suez affair—had been treated by the General Assembly as expenses of the Organisation within the meaning of Article 17, paragraph 2, and made the following statement:The provisions of the Charter which distribute functions and powers to the Security Council and to the General Assembly give no support to the view that such distribution excludes from the powers of the General Assembly the power to provide for the financing of measures designed to maintain peace and security".1400 With regard to the Congo, the Court, after a lengthy and detailed examination of the resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, said as follows—if your Lordships will pardon another quotation:In the light of such a record of reiterated consideration, confirmation, approval and ratification by the Security Council and by the General Assembly of the actions of the Secretary-General in implementing the resolution of 14th July, 1960, it is impossible to reach the conclusion that the operations in question usurped or impinged upon the prefogatives conferred by the Charter on the Security Council. The Charter does not forbid the Security Council to act through instruments of its own choice: under Article 29 it may establish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions'; under Article 98 it may entrust 'other functions' to the Secretary-General".My Lords, I wish to underline the importance of these passages in an Advisory Opinion which was requested by, and has since been adopted by, the General Assembly. It lays a solid basis for the creation by the Council, subject to the veto of any one of the five permanent members, of a standing force for the purpose of carrying out the functions of the Security Council. Thus, so far as the Council is concerned, much of the damage done by the initial failure to implement the provisions of the Charter for placing certain armed forces at the disposal of the Council and the establishment of a Military Staff Committee can now be repaired. In short, the fact that it was found impossible to implement Article 43, to which I have referred, does not preclude the Council from acting under other Articles of the Charter. The court said:It cannot be said that the Charter has left the Security Council impotent in the face of an emergency situation when agreements under Article 43 have not been concluded".Moreover, the Court, by this Advisory Opinion, has recognised that the Security Council has no monopoly in the use of force and that if action by the Council is frustrated by the exercise of the veto. there still remains a resort to the powers of the Assembly, which is also concerned with the maintenance of peace and security and is empowered by Article 22 toestablish such subsidiary organs as it deems necessary for the performance of its functions".May I conclude my reference to this recent Advisory Opinion by quoting a 1401 short passage from the Attorney General's speech to the Court? He said:The action taken was with the consent of the Governments of the countries affected. The action taken for the maintenance of international peace and security with the consent of the Governments concerned was regarded as essential. If the United Nations could not take the action it did, if its action was invalid or illegal, the United Nations would be indeed a defective instrument for the preservation of peace, and the hopes and aspirations of many millions of people would be disappointed.My Lords, if we compare the League of Nations and the United Nations as instruments for the preservation of peace, the outstanding fact is that the United Nations has at any rate acted—it was active in Korea, in the Middle East, in the Congo and elsewhere—whereas the League of Nations was powerless (I say "powerless", not supine) in face of the long series of aggressions in Manchuria, Abyssinia, Austria and Czechoslovakia, which led logically to the Second World War. That is a fact which entitles the United Nations to rather more support and encouragement than it gets in certain quarters.
Now, my Lords (I have nearly reached an end), I intend to make a concrete suggestion for action in regard to what I have called the minor and immediate objective, and I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, may feel that it does not greatly differ from what he has in mind. Hitherto, when there has arisen an occasion calling for international police action it has been necessary for the United Nations to improvise a force in crisis conditions of exceptional urgency, and much of the criticism directed against the United Nations in the Congo has been due to the necessity of such improvisation. Considering that fact, it is remarkable what a degree of success has been achieved by the United Nations in averting graver danger. But we cannot afford to drift along and trust to our luck to be able to improvise in that fashion. My suggestion relates to the creation of the structure of a permanent United Nations police force now, which, on the basis of regular training, could be rapidly assembled and transported to any part of the world where trouble is brewing.
This matter is distinct from the creation of an international force for the purpose of controlling the process of disarmament 1402 and maintaining peace in a disarmed world. I think the limited question that we are now discussing is suffering from being tied up with the work of the Disarmament Commission. It is necessary quite apart from disarmament, and need not be delayed any longer. My request is that Her Majesty's Government should take the initiative by stating that if the United Nations are prepared to establish under a Military Staff Committee a small cadre of commissioned and non-commissioned officers, Her Majesty's Government would, provided that certain other Governments are prepared to do the same, be willing to enter into a stand-by agreement under which certain British naval, army and air units, together with their equipment and transport aircraft, would be earmarked for service when the need should arise as part of the United Nations police force.
It would be necessary that members of these earmarked forces should be seconded from time to time to train in the United Nations force together with units of other national forces. In fact, I am asking Her Majesty's Government to hark hack to the "Uniting for Peace" resolution passed by the General Assembly in 1950, which contained a recommendation of this character. That is what the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, described as a modest beginning, if I may borrow his expression; but my belief is that if Her Majesty's Government were to give a lead of this character there is some reason to hope that our example would be followed and the nucleus of the United Nations police force would come into being.
§ 4.25 p.m.
§ LORD TWEEDSMUIR
My Lords, I will not detain your Lordships for very long, because the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, has made a speech with which I agree in so much detail and it would be fruitless to go over the same ground again. It was a most interesting speech, and most of your Lordships who have spoken have agreed that the machinery by which the United Nations strive to keep the peace of the world needs overhauling. Disagreement lies only in how this should be done. This has been perplexing thinking people for some time. Mr. Lester Pearson, of Canada, in 1957 was right in saying, 1403 "Can we go on improvising in haste?" The Government of Laos, in 1960, sent an urgent appeal to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in these terms:that an emergency force to halt aggression and prevent it spreading be despatched with the greatest possible speed.How do we get realistically that speed and effectiveness? As the noble Lord, Lord McNair, said, the United Nations has one or two considerable achievements to its credit. It has brought order to the Gaza Strip where none has existed for many hundreds of years. Korea was the first and last crusade of the United Nations. It was a tremendous effort on the part of the nations who took part in this, and it was made possible by three things which allowed the United Nations to work as it had been intended to work. First, United Nations observers on the spot reported aggression. Secondly, as the noble Lord, Lord McNair, said, because Russia walked out of the Security Council in a huff she was not there to apply the veto. The Security Council acted, as it was meant to act, as the Cabinet of the world. Thirdly, there were troops available in the American forces who could go straight to war. Thus, for the first and last time, the United Nations went to war to preserve the peace of the world as its founders intended it should. But a heavy burden was felt by certain nations in money and life. It is obvious to you, very soon after being mixed up with the United Nations, that belonging to the organisation and supporting it may be two different things. Most people supported the action in Korea, but some did so only through leading articles in their newspapers.
I was very interested in Lord Ogmore's proposition and I will not go over it again in detail. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, that one day we may have it, but I do not think it is the place to make a start. So I will put forward another suggestion a little later. I was interested to hear what the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, said about multi-national armies in general, and the Army Group in Italy in particular. He came out when I was there in the Canadian Forces, and I was made his "bear leader"; and I must say I found him a most agreeable "bear". 1404 He said that there were 22 nations fighting there, but in this I think that he was wrong, and that there were 26. They had different religions and a multiplicity of languages, but they fought as one tremendous, unified fighting machine under the brilliant command of the noble Earl, Lord Alexander of Tunis, who was in his place a short time earlier.
It is important to remember one or two things about that force. They did not get that immense skill and unity overnight; that came with a great deal of seasoning, training and experience. They were not fighting for any supranational organisation: every single man from every one of those nations was fighting for his own country. That is a rather important thing to remember. What kept them together was the excellence of the command and the excellence of the staff. The United Nations has all the nations it wants to play with. My modest suggestion, following that of the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, is that we provide the staff to try to make some imitation of that possible.
There has been a mention of NATO, which is a tremendously effective military combination for the reason that every nation in it is faced with a continuing threat and each nation is threatened equally. It has bound those nations together into the situation where, as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said, among the command and staff they practically have NATO nationality. Their eggs have been in the same basket so long they are practically in the same omelette. NATO is almost indissoluble now; or so we hope.
The word "allegiance" has been mentioned by every speaker. It is important to take into account that you do not take over another nationality simply by signing your name in a different place. The French Foreign Legion is a case in point. If you join the French Foreign Legion you join a tremendous fighting force with a tradition of more than 130 years. You do not become a French national by joining. You owe your allegiance to the Legion, and through the Legion to the French Army, but retain your nationality. For the overwhelming part of the history of the Legion, it was fighting in the deserts of North Africa or in the jungles of Indo-China, so that the question of a 1405 legionnaire finding himself faced with an enemy from his own country of origin practically never came up. It did come up in 1943, in the fighting in North Africa, when the Legion were faced with the Germany army. The Commander of the Legion called in all the Germans and told them that those who did not wish to fight against Germans could go back to the rear échelons. Some of them did accept that offer, because they might have had brothers or cousins in the opposing ranks, but many of the others had joined because they disliked the Nazis and they went forward and fought against the Germans. Allegiance is not a thing you can transfer by the scratch of a pen.
I think we must take it that the present unhappy state of the United Nations is going to continue for quite some time, and that the Security Council will not be able to act as the Cabinet Government of the world, as it was intended to do. That means that, whenever matters come up, we shall get this sort of sequence. The Security Council is deadlocked, the Assembly takes over power, it votes instructions to the Secretary-General and the Secretary-General is then invested with powers which a Roman Emperor hardly possessed. The Secretary-General seemed to have to be chosen either from neutral nations which have no experience of war or, as in the case of the present incumbent, from one of the Asian countries and of a religion to which war is anathema. A man in that position must have access to military advice on the spot, and must have continuous access. Otherwise, he cannot possibly hope to make sense of the situation with which he is faced.
Therefore, my recommendation will follow exactly on that of the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Robertson of Oak-ridge, and has much common with that of the noble and learned Lord, Lord McNair, but departs from that of the noble Lord, Lord 0gmore. It is that we do not try to build a force. That is not feasible yet. What is wanted is a Joint Staff. We want a Chief of Staff and a permanent staff. It would be large and do a lot of travelling, generally to those countries likely to set the world alight, so that they would have already looked into any difficulties of climate, roads, et cetera. Before the time came, they would be able to advise the Secretary- 1406 General what the trouble was likely to be, how much he could or could not do in dealing with it, how many troops, and what sort of troops he would need.
I would add to that a Staff College, because wars have to be fought on a uniform pattern of war It is absolutely clear that they must have impartiality in their military judgment, knowledge and experience, and to get people with those qualities you have to go to those countries that have a long experience of military machines. That limits you to the Commonwealth, the countries of Europe and the United States. Obviously, you would have to start off with them and then train people in the Staff College for the sort of operations they would be likely to face.
I suggest that we should not have a separate government component. You should train them in that, too. You have to start somewhere, and, building on that foundation, you could build this instantly, and it would take you quite a long way. I also think that there is a lot to be said for having a reconnaissance unit. I have always felt that if the United Nations had been able to put into Hungary from the first day a body of men who could report back exactly what the Russians were doing from day to day, they would have been able to bring pressure on world opinion and done something to curb the Russians, instead of merely standing by, as we were forced to do. I will not detain your Lordships any longer, as I have promised, save to add that I believe that we must make a start on the lines which have already been suggested by the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, to some of us the speeches this afternoon must have called back the period at the end of 1945, when there seemed to be a real hope that there was going to be world government; that the United Nations was going to act as a world government, and was going to equip itself with a military force that would have given an outlet for many soldiers in many countries with a certain idealism, and formed a fighting force with a genuinely international loyalty. It took very few months in 1945 and 1946, alas! for all those dreams to be dissipated. Ever since then, there has been, as I 1407 think nobody would deny, a growing intensity of the vice of nationalism all over the world.
It has gone to such lengths that even when an attempt is made to have a federation, the component parts tend to spilt away through the power of the nationalist feeling in the countries concerned. We can think of the United Arab Republic; and of other federations, too. I think that the present time is a time in which there is almost the least hope of setting up a world police force under the United Nations. The noble and gallant Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, said that this is always the answer: that the time is not ripe now. But when would the time be ripe? I suggest that it will be when one of the large sovereign States voluntarily accepts arbitration by other parties in a matter which it considers a vital national interest and, moreover, accepts a judgment that it considers contrary to its own vital national interest. That will be the time when there will be a chance of sanctions being applied by an international body in disputes among sovereign States. We have only to think of the history of the past few years to realise that such conditions as that have never been remotely within sight.
So, my Lords, I would say straight away that I cannot go the whole way with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, in his Motion; or even, I am afraid, with my noble friend Lord Attlee. I think, with the noble and learned Lord, Lord McNair, that a limited objective is what we can go for. Following the United Nations operations that have been mentioned—in Sinai, the Congo and elsewhere—it is possible for the United Nations, by a military presence, to fill a vacuum or act as a buffer, or supply, with its civilian Specialised Agencies, lifesaving first-aid in emergency. But such a force has to act within very narrow limits.
The first limit I would say that must be accepted is that it is not a fighting force. Whatever its size, it should not be designed, armed, equipped or trained to fight other national armed forces. It would take too long to argue the case, but it seems clear from the history of the post-war years that a nation can always find bigger backers. So there would never 1408 be the occasion of a United Nations force coercing a small nation, because the conflict would always develop to such an extent that one of the great Power blocs would be involved, and possibly both. I would say that the United Nations should never put a fighting force into any part of the world. To make sure of this, I think they should be called by some name that makes it quite clear that they are not a fighting force—for example, a constabulary, a gendarmerie, or something of that sort.
As to the question of permanency or otherwise, I think that once you start to build up a permanent military force you run into a great many difficult problems. You have the problems of language, religion, food habits and the different nationalities. You must have the career structure in mind. Are you going to offer a long-service career? How is the promotion to be done? How is the balance to be kept between different nationalities and races? As I say, all these difficult problems arise.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I hope that the noble Earl will forgive me for interrupting. The United Nations already have a large civil force of civil servants of all different religions, colour, food habits and so on. But they all work and live together perfectly happily.
§ LORD OGMORE
No. That is completely wrong. The World Health Organisation and others do not live only in New York. They are all over the world, and some in the most difficult places in the world.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
Perhaps that was a foolish flippancy. I think the conditions of fighting troops are totally different from conditions of civilian administrators, specialists and so on. I do not say that these are insoluble problems. But certainly to recruit a permanent force is going to introduce a great many complications and many difficult, thorny problems.
As to the question of training and organisation of United Nations forces in Egypt and the Congo so far as speed of deployment goes, I doubt whether it would be possible to improve much on 1409 the astonishing feats of improvisation that were performed by the Secretary-General's department. Within a matter of days, not weeks, there were contingents, numbering several thousand, from many different countries. In both instances time was not a serious disadvantage and they arrived in time to do their job. But on the state of training, as the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, and other noble Lords have said, no two operations that will call for the United Nations presence will be the same—neither in the same climate nor the same theatre; and probably not the same type of operation will be required. So it would be necessary to have people trained and equipped for many different theatres and climates. No doubt some of the contingents offered and accepted for the Congo fell short of the standards we should have liked. On the other hand, others came straight from active service fighting against the French in North Africa; others, in Ghana and Sudan, had been trained under British officers until a short time before; there were Malayan and other troops, not forgetting the Irish and Swedish. I do not think the fact that these were drawn at short notice from national armies imposed any serious handicap.
What I think is the serious lack is a permanent headquarters staff for planning and administration. As the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, said, there is a clear necessity for such a staff to be added to the Secretary-General's staff at United Nations. This staff could, as the noble Lord said, keep in touch with those nations who would be most likely to be asked for contingents. There is no lack of these. I would question whether insistence on Britain's leading the way by offering contingents is the best way to go about it. We must not forget that, in the present state of world opinion, there are in any given crisis only certain nationals who would be acceptable to the conflicting sides in a dispute. Some would be suspected of being neocolonialists, and others of being wed to the Communist or the Western side. So they would not get the confidence and trust of the countries in which they were to be required to serve. I would say that there will always be certain countries which must be ruled out of direct participation in these operations, and I think that our own country is one of them.
1410 The permanent headquarter staff—the General Staff, as one might say—of the force would, of course, act under political control, and it would be for the Secretary-General to obtain from the Assembly or the Security Council as clear directives as he could. Obviously, as we have seen in the case of the Congo, the Assembly could decide only on something which was drawn in the very widest terms, which of course opens the possibility of misinterpretation and of the force incurring the displeasure of some member countries of the United Nations.
In short, my Lords, it seems to me that the forces, when they are required, should be national contingents, provided at the request of the United Nations for each given incident or emergency. What Her Majesty's Government can do is to press for a permanent planning staff in order to organise operations. And if Her Majesty's Government, apart from making speeches to the effect that they are all in favour of world government and a world police force, would, instead, demonstrate that they are willing to accept arbitration and accept rulings contrary to what they consider in the national interest, they would make it much more likely that a world government and world police force will become feasible.
§ 4.53 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, it falls to my unhappy lot to be the only dissentient voice this afternoon over the Motion which is before the House. I could not possibly support the Motion, and I hope your Lordships will have some patience while I give my reasons for not being able to do so. It is not merely the detailed difficulties of carrying out a scheme, of this kind, but that the very basic ideas behind it are, to my mind, quite wrong and not possible. One of the basic objections lies in human nature itself. I should not like to leave any misunderstanding. I fully appreciate, and should not wish to disparage, the idealism of a number of speakers this afternoon, or of those who believe sincerely in the possibilities of this kind of World Government. None the less, to my mind it is quite unthinkable.
After all, the subject of this debate this afternoon has occupied the intermittent attention of aspiring man for 1411 some centuries now. All through history men have dreamed of an international force to establish peace based on law, from ancient Greece and Rome, to Kipling and Lord Ogmore, from Plato and Cicero to More's Utopia and the Parliamentary Group for World Government. In my view, they are, as the poet said, looking for something which cannot be found:The light that never was on sea or land,The consecration and the poet's dream".I have spent some time in reading the thoughts of others on this subject, and I am deeply indebted to them. But my own reaction is that we are pursuing a dream that always fades behind a receding horizon.
Let us look at the lessons of the United Nations as we know them now. Under the United Nations Charter, member nations were to make their own armed forces available to the Security Council when necessary, but there has always been failure to agree. In the case of Korea, which has been mentioned, temporary unity was achieved owing to the absence of Soviet Russia, and the United States of America and fifteen other countries undertook the job. In 1956, there was an international United Nations force to secure and supervise the cessation of hostilities in Egypt. At the end of this job, the question began to arise: should a permanent force take its place? Proposals have been suggested that there should be three stages: first of all, a light force such as was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oak-ridge, this afternoon of, say, about 20,000 men, unable to undertake offensive operations; secondly, a medium force, strong enough to be used in military operations so long as they were not directed against one of the Great Powers, and then, the third and last stage, a heavy force to enable the United Nations to be the effective policeman of the world. This, of course, would be linked with the idea of general disarmament, and also the system of unarmed observers such as the United Nations sent to Greece, and on the Arab-Israeli frontiers.
It was first argued that a light force could not possibly damage the legitimate interests of any State. It could enter a State's territory only by consent, and could be set up only on the initiative of 1412 the General Assembly and the Security Council. It would always be subject to the control of the United Nations. It might be raised by individual recruitment or national contingents. Incidentally, the question then arises: When is a mercenary not a mercenary? Presumably, when he is the paid servant of the United Nations. One can see how the general idea of a United Nations army becomes slowly and steadily the apotheosis of the mercenary system, an army, navy and air force to control the world.
To return for a moment to the light force, the idea is to separate opposing armed forces, and before any fighting breaks out. Its real power would be moral. Any attack on it, it is anticipated, would antagonise the nations who sent it. It would be used to supervise, perhaps, plebiscites or free elections. But the danger then arises, as we have seen, of its use to keep a Government in power which would otherwise be deposed. Also, how are you to get the homogeneous unit? The difficulties of language, equipment and discipline immediately emerge. How can a United Nations Force gain the confidence and good will of all nations?
The chain of command, recruitment, promotion, present further problems. The example of the Congo springs to one's mind, where appalling behaviour underlined the absence of the right to discipline except by the country of origin of the unit. There are problems of transport, supplies, bases, training grounds, great but no doubt not in themselves insuperable. But when we come to what I regard as an insuperable obstacle, loyalty, to whom are these dream citizens of the world going to be loyal and who is to be the supreme head?—the Secretary-General of the United Nations? The mess in the Congo again springs to one's mind. A military council? Hopeless, if liable to further control by a disunited Security Council. Then there is the problem of cost and payment. What if many nations refuse to pay, as France and Russia have done over the Congo? If the force becomes, in due course, a medium force, who will provide the weapons for a force of this nature?
Lastly, take the case of a heavy force, which implies a World Government with 1413 much sovereignty surrendered. How do you exclude, as you must exclude, racialism and nationalism from this force? The composition of a supreme military council would itself stimulate major disagreement among the Great Powers. Presumably the World Government would also have to manufacture its own weapons, and have its own bases, and so on. Perhaps the only hope would be an international force based on universal disarmament; a dream which ignores all the lessons of history and the characteristics of human nature. Collective defence—for instance, NATO—can be very effective, but it presupposes a potential enemy and it is kept alive only by the need for self-preservation. NATO, ANZUS, SEATO, the Baghdad Pact, the alliance of the Chinese Peoples' Republic and the Soviet Union, are all regional alliances for the same sort of purpose. But this is a different thing; the dream of a Federation of the World with a World Government and a world police is pure fantasy, in my opinion. It is a device to guard against the outbreak of human nature, the dream-child of men suffering from a lethal overdose of civilisation.
All nature is the story of a fight; the merciless elimination of the weak and the unfit; the survival of the fittest in the prevailing circumstances—not the survival of the morally or culturally best. If you eliminate competition you stagnate, and to have peace on earth you must first centralise force and sterilise the rebellious instincts of those who prefer death to loss of liberty.
The question inevitably rises: Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? Into whose hands would you entrust this supreme power? To abolish the use of force you must first centralise it; and this is the rock of ages on which such dreams have always been shipwrecked. The late Sir Charles Darwin, in his interesting book entitled The Next Million Years said he took that title because that was the shortest period in which any perceptible change in human nature could emerge. Men talk of substituting the rule of law for the rule of force, but the rule of law, as the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, told us this afternoon, is powerlessly ineffectual—in other words, it cannot exist without the backing of force.
1414 We must then ask: is the United Nations Expeditionary Force a freak or a precedent? Would the advantages of permanency even justify the expense? The vision of a world directorate fades before the facts, if we look at them. Think of the Assembly as a potential bearer of authority and look at its irresponsible majority. An eminent student of the United Nations has commented in this manner:No project can get off the ground without the backing of a Great Power, and any idea which comes from a Great Power arouses the automatic suspicions of its opponents.As an alternative to force, experience has shown that economic sanctions are likely to harm both sides, and, in any case, cannot achieve unity in the face of the mutual national mistrust of members of the United Nations. Incidentally, in passing, it is a moot point whether the likelihood of peace diminishes as the number of nations possessing nuclear weapons increases. Fear is probably the greatest unifier in the world.
I am sure that nations will give up their national armed forces, the symbol of their national power, only when they are prepared to forsake national sovereignty. I appreciate that the creation of a United Nations force foreshadows an intermediate technique between merely passing resolutions and actually fighting. But once more, my Lords, look at the United Nations Organisation. The structure of Assembly voting has taken on the character of political manœuvring, reflecting bloc interests. The merits of a dispute are lost in the power shuffle. For instance, the Afro-Asian bloc is not a disinterested, impartial lover of justice, it is inflamed by a highly-prejudiced outlook and buttressed by ignorance. Bloc voting in the Assembly is as disruptive and debasing of real values as vetoes in the Security Council. There is the classic dilemma here of power outside the system being more important than power inside.
In the Congo there are controversial views about the part the United Nations has played; but, personally, I am inclined to agree with the Daily Telegraph editorial of February 9, which described it as a "blood-stained jamboree", and our subscription to its expense as a subscription "on behalf of violence, deceit and a 1415 basically false concept". Not an encouraging precedent for world government.
Under the United Nations Charter member States are obliged to settle their differences by normal diplomatic methods without recourse to international intervention. Only when this fails does the United Nations enter the picture, whether by invitation or on its own initiative. The experience of Sir Owen Dixon in the case of Kashmir illustrates the limited use of the conciliation technique without the backing of force. Mr. Lester Pearson said on one occasion that theUnited Nations was brought into being primarily as a co-operative endeavour on the part of many nations to seek in collective action the security which mankind hungered for and which the facts of life in the modern world denied to each nation individually.But it was not only the facts of life that denied it to them but the facts of human nature also. The price of security, as of liberty, is still eternal vigilance. In the Security Council the veto was deliberately inserted, surely, as a recognition of the futility of using collective action against a Great Power. And so NATO is a comment on the failure to create an effective system of collective security on a universal basis. Peace can be maintained by collective measures only when the great Powers happen to be agreed. The United Nations can promote moderation, can encourage restraint and assist to pacify small areas which might start a wider conflagration. But the Charter sought to concentrate on international stability and to leave alone the internal affairs of member States—civil war, human rights and so on. Recent events have shown a dangerous desire to meddle in internal affairs. The theory that the use of force internationally is an irresponsible act may be beneficial, but a tendency to sanction the use of force by the United Nations in interference in the internal affairs of independent states surely cannot be justified. Early on, internationally a Mexican delegate is reported as having made the apt comment, when the Conference was on about the United Nations, that the Conference wasengaged in establishing a world order in which mice could be stamped out but the lions would not be restrained.The problem of maintaining world order surely lies in strength and not in 1416 weakness; and disarmament is no answer. Most politicians envisage an international organisation that would inhibit their international rivals and opponents but not themselves: the United Nations should put a stop to the illegitimate violence of the others, but should not interfere with the necessary and justifiable military action undertaken by one's own State or its friends. In modern circumstances, who would expose his nation, by the decision of an international body, to the inordinate risks of involvement in total war? The United Nations surely cannot manage the unmanageable; and a thermo-nuclear world is an unmanageable thing. The Soviet mistrust of the United States' getting control of the United Nations Organisation and using it as an instrument, and the equally deep mistrust of Soviet Russia felt by the United States effectively prevent the success of any scheme to induce the two greatest Powers to fight with each other instead of against each other.
The real problem of the world, surely, is still Soviet-American relations, and that was deliberately excluded from the United Nations Charter. So the central issue affecting war and peace in our time lies outside of the United Nations Organisation. Therefore, what use is a permanent United Nations force? The global power situation lies outside. The United Nations Organisation is utterly incapable of exercising coercive control over one of the great Powers.
In relation to the Congo we can note that the promotion of law and order in a setting of domestic factions is not compatible with the ideal of neutrality and impartiality. The one aim left is to minimise the temptation and opportunity for great Power intrusions in the troubled situations of smaller states. Since the organisation of the United Nations is still governed by selfish national interests, any hope of collective security must remain a myth. Since there is no sign that international tensions will subside, or that nations will display a willingness to abate their claims to sovereignty, it is unlikely that a truly effective international force could be established. War, whether due to fanaticism or to self-interest, is unlikely also to be less brutal than it was in the past, in view of the cheapened value of human life due to overpopulation in the world.
1417 There is one line which has not been mentioned this afternoon—a ray of hope—and that lies in the realm of science. The scientific revolution is providing a universality in methods of thought that was wanting before. Already the community of scientists is international in speech and thought, with the same standard of values and no thought of national or racial difference. This was never true of ideas in art, philosophy or religion. Perhaps a single universal culture is rising in the understanding of science. I store the thought in the "left luggage" department of my own mind and go on with the subject of this debate.
The development of our own ideas of liberty and justice cannot always be reconciled with those abroad. There is a precarious balance between liberty and authority. Liberty has to function as an effective counter-balance to authority. Struggles constantly occur for civic liberty or self-determination and in essence it is a struggle against the abuse of power generally. But if in any country law and order breaks down, and there is no traditional reverence for established authority, chaos must ensue. The crying need of man is surely the proper exercise of authority, which lies at the essence of our debate; because my contention is that the United Nations could not properly exercise authority. When we see generals and colonels all over the world seizing power we should remember that this may be the only means of the proper exercise of power, in the absence of accepted traditional forms.
There is no known reliable means either of establishing a World Government force or of limiting its authority. The determination of policy, the execution of policy and the control of policy—who will be responsible for that? We cannot control our own international policies in the world as it is; but we can turn a Government out. A World Government would inevitably be responsible only to itself, and it would control a force against which no argument could prevail. The fine, careless rapture of Lord Ogmore's Utopia would end, I suggest, in a slave world. We say that "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". The absolute irresponsibility, in the sense that it would be responsible to no one but itself, of 1418 a World Government would spell the same disaster.
I mention these things, my Lords, only because there is another objection in mankind: that the universality of man seems to be taken for granted. But surely that is a fallacy, too. Consider the differences between the European cast of mind and that of the peoples in the main stream, shall we say, of Asian history. The West tries to substitute for nature the values of its creative mind, whereas the East seeks the improvement of the individual within existing frameworks, since life moves through men and natural groups and not through institutions and organisations. There are fundamental differences in the mental approach of, say, the West and Asia and Africa. I mention these fundamental differences in mental approach between big divisions of mankind simply as a final proof of the impossibility of a World Government with a world force other than in the aspect of a conquered world, enslaved and helpless under the heel of its conqueror.
In conclusion, then, I express gratitude, with the rest of your Lordships, to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, for having introduced this subject. I think, if I may say so without disrespect, that it is a good thing for this House, which spends most of its time discussing matters of immediate serious consequence, that it should for once go with Lord Ogmore through the looking glass and indulge itself in thinking of things as they might be but probably never will be; and I suggest that on coming back from that side of the looking glass, we face mankind as it is, and as Pope described it:Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled:The glory, jest and riddle of the world.
§ 5.23 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, the noble Lord who has just spoken paid tribute to the sincerity of those who differed from him, and I am sure that all of us who believe in a World Government as the main hope of world peace will, none the less, pay sincere tribute to the deep feelings of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton. That in a way, from my point of view, makes it all the more depressing, for if I thought that he was speaking with his 1419 tongue in his cheek I should see some hope for the world. Apart from activities of the scientists (I wish they were all on one side) there are one or two generals and colonels in regard to whom my own hopes had been much more limited until I heard the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oak-ridge, when I began to think that perhaps the generals are more far-seeing than all of us.
The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, warned us that world government was a lethal dose of over-civilisation. I am afraid that I see it, and many of us see it, as the only alternative to world annihilation which would be a lethal dose of under-civilisation—and of the two I should prefer the over-civilisation. He also reminded us that leading men throughout the centuries had been thinking about these problems. He mentioned Plato and Cicero, and Sir Thomas More, and now Lord Ogmore; and he seemed to think that this is rather an argument against this train of thought. I would rather travel in the company of those great men of old days, and Lord Ogmore, than take such a gloomy view as that which has been shown by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton. I am bound to say that in the last fifteen years, after a short "honeymoon" which the noble Lord and I enjoyed together, I can never remember having agreed with him on any matter which came before this House; and I am bound to think that if we did agree, there would be something wrong with one of us, or perhaps with both. As there is no chance of that happening I do not think we need add that to the calamities which threaten the world.
My Lords, I feel that we all are grateful, and we do well to be grateful, to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, for the way he introduced this Motion, for the arguments he put forward and for the conciseness with which he performed that task. Some little while ago, in debates in this House, I and other Members on this Bench used to try to elicit statements from the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary (and once again I should like to say how grateful we are to him for being present, in view of many difficulties), and other Ministers, as to the Government's attitude to world government; and even at our most astuteness I 1420 do not think we ever obtained from him anything more than a general expression of good will towards world government as an ultimate objective. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has pursued a more formidable line this afternoon. He has posed to the Government a question which does not permit of a merely ultimate solution. He has asked the Government to do something quite definite. He has urged the Government to make certain proposals to the Security Council and the Assembly of the United Nations, and he wishes those steps to be urged on the United Nations without delay.
The noble Earl, Lord Attlee, rubbed that in by saying that he hoped that these proposals would be made by the Government to the United Nations, but that if they found they were not getting anywhere with the United Nations, then our Government should take an initiative in establishing an international police force within the Commonwealth. I should like respectfully to endorse what the noble Earl said. Perhaps with equal respect I can say that he seems to speak better and better as the years pass. If I remember rightly, Cicero, brought into our discussions by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, wrote one essay called De Oratore, and another called De Senectute, but in the case of Lord Attlee these two qualifications are quite indistinguishable—the oratory grows as the years advance. As one a few years younger—and that applies to many in this House—I draw great encouragement from this, and I hope that the best years of our oratory, though certainly not our longest speeches, lie ahead of us.
It is not for me to refer to, or go over, the names of illustrious speakers—the right reverend Prelate, Lord McNair and others—but I should like to say, as one of the minor theorists of world government, what a great pleasure it was to find that the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, a distinguished soldier and administrator, should have entered so deeply into the thinking of all concerned with the building of world government. I did not find myself in agreement with all his conclusions, but there was no doubt that he knows every argument that has been deployed in this matter and has thought a great deal about the issues involved.
1421 I hope that, when we come to a conclusion (and I hope not to detain your Lordships long), the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary will be able to give a specific and favourable answer to this Motion. It is true that not everybody in the House has supported this Motion in its entirety, though I think that all, apart from the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, have spoken in support of its spirit. But there are those who would wish a rather more limited suggestion to come from. Her Majesty's Government to the United Nations. In view of the time I will not now elaborate on this distinction, but apart from the views of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, I hope that the noble Earl will say that this is accepted in spirit. He will not think me impertinent if I say that I hope on this occasion he will not feel we should be satisfied with general expressions of good will towards the ultimate ideal of world government.
As I see the question of world government, if I may put my own thoughts in a sentence or two (and they have been put much better on many occasions, for example by the noble Earl, Lord Attlee), unless we establish world government within a measurable number of years we do, in all seriousness, face the obliteration of life on this planet. Some people perhaps are a little less anxious on the point since relations between the United States and the Soviet Union seem to be rather better than they were a year or two ago, but I do not think that anybody taking a long view—taking a view in relation to the lives of our children—will consider that is a stable balance or means of security when we think of China and other countries which will soon have their own nuclear weapons.
Therefore I repeat what has been said so often: unless we can establish world government within these years the outlook for humanity is very dark indeed. Anybody who believes in world government as any sort of ultimate ideal—an ideal to be achieved within ten years, for example—will agree that an international police force is bound to be an important element in it. So in terms of our aspirations we are all, or almost all, in agreement. I certainly hope the Government share that general vision.
The question then arises: how do we get there? It is at this point that one tends to get bogged down. If I might 1422 again summarise my own thoughts dogmatically and briefly, I would say that this world police force, if it is to come, will come by stages. It will grow in its functions and strength at a pace which must be no greater than the degree of confidence it commands. It must therefore start small. We must start with a body which commands general confidence. That does not mean that every single country in the world has to be in favour of it. I myself am on record, as Chairman of a Commission whose Report was referred to earlier, the Wyndham Place Trust Commission—though I contributed very little towards its thinking—as supporting a particular set of stages. These stages were worked out in that Report. I am not mentioning them in order to elucidate them, but to show that this approach by stages must take some such form as this—and I am not dogmatic on this.
In this Report, which was drawn up by a Commission including a number of leading Christians and Jews, pacifists and non-pacifists—serious people of all kinds—these six stages on the way to a full world police force were distinguished. First, there is the present state, when members supply the United Nations with ad hoc forces to meet emergencies. We are still in the first stage. Secondly, a force to which the United Nations would contribute specially trained earmarked national units. These exist to-day in Denmark and Norway. So that, to the limit of their abilities, they can be said to be in the second stage.
Thirdly—and this is the one I want to focus attention upon to-night—there would be a light standing force. This would mark a decisive transition from a system of improvisation in the face of particular emergencies and would involve the exercise of a limited, but continuing, function. This would be a light force, which would certainly have no chance of tackling any large Power. One vital quality of this force would be individual recruitment; the troops would not be recruited by individual countries but by the United Nations. Above all, it would be a standing force. It would not consist of nationally earmarked forces which could be withdrawn, but would be standing and permanent in the sense that it would endure until something else took its place. I will come back to this in a moment, because this is the force some of us have in mind when we are urging the Government to make some positive recom- 1423 mendation to the United Nations. These stages, or something like them, must be gone through if we are going to reach a world police force.
The fourth stage would be a stronger force in a fully-armed world. The fifth stage would be a police force in a disarming world. The sixth stage would be a world police force in a disarmed world. Certainly, the last two stages would require some modification of the Charter. I am not trying to inflict them upon the Government. This light standing force, with the details of which I will not worry the House, is obviously a feasible conception. If I may say so to the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, I fully understood his arguments against setting up a large force immediately. He then came to the smaller force and produced what I should consider were, on the whole, less well-developed arguments against it. I realise that he had a great many technical considerations in his mind which he did not feel able to deploy this afternoon. I am not saying that these considerations do not exist, but if he reads Hansard to-morrow I think he will agree that he did not develop these at any length in view of the time available. That, at any rate, my Lords, is the kind of force many of us have in mind when we urge the Government to take an initiative at the United Nations. I myself feel that this, or something like it, is the least the Government ought to undertake.
I hope I am not making any revelation—I certainly do not think so—but when, some years ago, I was Chairman of another all-Party Committee of serious people who drew up a plan for an international police force, it was well received by the Foreign Secretary of the day and the Government generally. It was given a very friendly reception in this House, and there was considerable applause all round for the work of that Committee; but I cannot remember that it led the Government to do anything at all. That was in fact five and a half years ago. I hope I am not guilty of an indiscretion when I say that the Foreign Secretary of the day pointed out the difficulties that would arise at the United Nations at that time if we were too prominent in urging this plan. I remember saying, "I suppose you 1424 mean the Russians would cause difficulty." He said, "Yes, the Russians—but also the Indians." I do not think that difficulty will arise now. We are told now that it would be the French. And if we got the French into line, I suppose a few years later it would be somebody else. To quote something that was said by the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, the time is never quite opportune for an initiative.
My Lords, I seriously ask the Government to believe that most of us will think very poorly of them if they do not take some initiative. They themselves know the details of this proposal. There is a great difference between doing nothing and between doing something positive on this matter. It is five and a half years since many fine things were said about that Report, but the Government then patted us on the head and told us to try to prepare public opinion. Public opinion now seems to be prepared, and I do not think that that can be the obstacle. Therefore I must ask the noble Earl, with great respect, if he would tell us whether they are prepared to take an initiative, and if not, why not. It is as simple as that. I am sure that in essence there is no difference between us, but something has held this back. I hope that this debate will convince him that he will have the country behind him if he takes a strong initiative in this direction in the United Nations. I hope he will believe that there are many of us who think that this is by far the most important issue in public affairs to-day, and the peace of the world depends on it, in so far as it depends on our country.
I think we are all very grateful to the noble Earl for coming from Scotland to take part in this debate when he has not been well. But I do hope he will be able to say something clearer and more definite about the intention of the Government than has been said hitherto. I will now give way to him, and I hope and pray that I am not mistaken in thinking that he has something good to tell us.
§ 5.41 p.m.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I am very pleased myself that this Motion has been put on the Paper and that at last, after many months, time has been found for it, because I have admired the determination of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, that this subject should be 1425 discussed and I am glad that it has been rewarded. I only hope my voice will last long enough to make some comments on what has been said by him and other noble Lords. I think it right that it should be discussed, although many of these matters may be well in the future because even the most sceptical, I think, as to the prospects of world government or an international police force in the fullest sense of those words must agree that, unless we keep our ultimate aims in front of us, then we shall never arrive at the kind of world which the Charter of, the United Nations envisaged.
My Lords, I have no quarrel at all with the noble Lord, or indeed with any of those who have spoken, as to the purposes of the resolution in most of the speeches. In fact, as the noble Earl, Lord Longford, says that he is not aware that the Government have done anything about furthering the move for an international police force, I shall have the greatest pleasure in sending him tomorrow, if I may, a copy of the United Kingdom-United States Disarmament Plan, because, beginning in Stage 2 and completed in Stage 3, is a detailed plan for an international police force to take over from the national armies as disarmament proceeds. Indeed, only this week we have a meeting of the Jurists of the four Western disarmament Powers—the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy—in which we are considering the practical problems which will arise from the very beginning when that scheme is put into effect. So not only in the United Nations, where this disarmament plan was registered, but now in Geneva, we are trying to persuade our colleagues in the Disarmament Conference to begin the process of disarmament which will actually start, in the beginning of Stage 2, the establishment of the international police force which the noble Earl requires. And I should not be in the least surprised if it was actually his model which was largely responsible for the proposals put forward. Therefore, he cannot say that we are doing nothing about this matter.
My Lords, to-day, if I may say so, I think the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, was wise not to get us all involved in the mists of world government, of a world government served by armies of its own directed by an objective and impartial Security 1426 Council. I think the noble Lord, Lord McNair, described that as the major and the ultimate objective. I think everybody recognises—the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Chichester certainly did—that the ultimate objective is now unobtainable until we have a measure of disarmament and, indeed, until a good many of the "isms"—certainly racialism, nationalism and Communism—are reconciled into some more universal philosophy of living.
But the noble Lord did not spend very much time on the major and the ultimate; he turned to the minor and the probably possible. His purpose was more modest: that is to say, to discover whether we could not find a better international machinery to deal with situations which I think he described as "international bush fires". I think he made three proposals: first, that if we had to continue for a time with the national contingents made available to the United Nations, that might be the best thing that we could do. But he would like to see the national contingents converted at any rate into the beginnings of an international constabulary. His second proposal was that, if there were to be operations dealing with the "bush fires", the United Nations should be able to recruit and train military and administrative officers who would be able to take charge of such situations from the start and see them through to an efficient conclusion. I hope that is roughly what he said.
My Lords, as your Lordships know, Article 43 of the Charter deals with the provision of forces, Article 45 with the means and the terms under which national forces may be allocated. I think I will read a part of the Article, which says:The strength and degree of readiness of these contingents and plans for their combined action shall be determined within the limits laid down in the special agreement or agreements referred to in Article 43 of the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee",and Article 47 goes on to describe the nature and functions of the latter. Of course, as has been said, the authors of the Charter were thinking in very much more ambitious terms than we are able to think in the present world situation to-day. They were thinking of an international army commanded by the Security Council, acting under its instructions, with the great Powers in 1427 agreement, enforcing, universal peace on a generally accepted view of law and order. But the point I am really making, when the noble Lord asks for certain steps to be taken, is that the paper provision is already there in the Charter. What has been lacking so far has been the will to put the paper rules into practice.
I do not think I need remind your Lordships, because it has been done by a number of noble Lords, why the performance has fallen so far behind the precepts, although I think I must do so because this is basic to certain arguments which I have to use later. First of all, of course, has been the paralysing effect of the Russian use of the veto in the Security Council, thereby really making the Security Council a completely ineffective instrument for collective security. That fact has forced the United Nations to transfer a lot of the power of the United Nations to the Assembly, which is a very different kind of body and was never meant by the authors of the Charter to be the body which would in fact ensure collective peace.
Then again, of course, there has never in the last few years been any common acceptance in the United Nations, that the United Nations should be given bases in national territory; nor—and I think this point is very relevant to any decisions that we might have to take at the present time—has the Soviet bloc as a whole ever accepted the idea that there should be an international police force recruited by the United Nations. In fact, they have been actively opposed to it. Therefore, in a debate of this kind, I think it is well to face at any rate the fact that, so long as the Communists persist in dividing the world, we can make no really satisfactory progress towards the original conception of an international police force to keep the peace.
I agree with the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, that there is no reason whatever why people should not serve loyally in international forces; but, if I may say so, the circumstances prevailing in the case of the example which he gave of the international force serving under the noble and gallant Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis, and in the example of NATO, were, of course, very different 1428 from the circumstances prevailing in the case of the United Nations. In both cases, the self-interest and the collective interests of the participants were the same, both in NATO and in the armies under the noble and gallant Field Marshal. That brings one directly to the question of where, if an international force was collected under the authority of the United Nations to-day, the control and direction of it would rest. Would it be in the Security Council, or would it be in the Assembly, with some of the difficulties and dangers of the latter as pointed out by my noble friend Lord Milverton?
If, therefore, what I may call the major and ultimate goal is out of reach, is that any reason why we should all face complete defeat, and must the best necessarily be the enemy of the good? I think there are actions which can contribute to peace and which are within the strength and capacity of the United Nations, although at the Assembly this year (though I do not expect the noble Earl will remember it) I felt it necessary to caution the United Nations in this: that in their very early days—and, after all, they are still a very young Organisation—it would be a great mistake for the Organisation to try to take on responsibilities and commitments which are patently beyond their strength. So the actions that I have in mind that the United Nations are justified in fulfilling, and the fulfilment of which can perform a very useful function in the world, are really just those which were mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord McNair—police actions of a more or less modest character.
There are, I think, some lessons which can be learned from those police actions which have been undertaken already. There was, of course, the case of Korea. That really, my Lords, I think we ought to dismiss as a freak. The Russians were not present in the Security Council when that action was begun, and the main burden of it was carried by the United States forces—although, as the noble Earl said, the Commonwealth did, of course, play a significant part. Then, again, there is the action on the Israeli border—a purely police action on a frontier. This action has really worked extremely well, and has been, on the whole, efficiently conducted. I would say it has certainly contributed to the peace in that area, in that it has prevented 1429 border clashes developing which could have led to a wider war. The action in West Irian is of a rather different, supervisory kind so far, but there is no reason to think that that is not within the capacity of the United Nations.
When we come to the Congo—and here I am not going into the merits of the resolutions under which the Secretary-General acted at all; there may be different views about them—certainly the operation itself has revealed defects both in the military and in the administrative machine of the United Nations, and has highlighted, in a way, the need for the kind of preparations which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has advocated. Because if operations of this kind are to be undertaken by the United Nations—and I think they should be—even if they are modest operations, it is essential, if the United Nations are not to lose their reputation, that those operations should be efficient. Therefore, I think that the lesson of the Congo is this. The Secretary-General (and I am sure he is probably doing this already) should look most carefully at the structure of command and administration to see whether it needs strengthening. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, if I may say so, that this is the field in which every encouragement should be given to the Secretary-General, because it is a practical thing that ought to be done, whether forces are earmarked or whether they are contributed on a national basis in an ad hoc way, as they are to-day. I will return to that question, if I may, in closing.
However, more generally, there is one difficulty which, curiously enough, has not come to the front of this debate as I thought it would. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, mentioned it, as did the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, and there may have been a passing reference in some other speeches. But there is an immense difficulty to be overcome before an international police force of any size can be contrived even on the basis of national contributions, and that is finance. It is no use neglecting this. Money is always inconvenient. Discussion of it brings out the worst in all of us; but it is no use putting it behind us, because there it is, sticking out like a sore thumb. The facts are these, my Lords. Many member States are now in arrears in their contributions both to the 1430 Middle East operation and to the Congo operation. Some object in principle; some dislike the particular operation, and some are just dilatory and do not like paying. Neither the Soviet bloc nor the Arab countries are paying for the Middle East operation; neither the Soviet bloc nor France are paying for the Congo; and out of 110 States which are members of the United Nations, 65 have not paid up their share for the Congo operation.
My Lords, the deficit which is thereby accumulated not only threatens these actions which are at present being undertaken by the United Nations, but raises the question of whether the United Nations is going to be solvent at all. This, in turn, poses another question which must be threshed out in the next few months in the Fifth Committee: why, if a member State has not paid a share in these operations, should it be allowed to vote on the issues concerned? I will give, if I may, the Government's general approach to this matter, although I do not want to say anything too specific before discussions actually begin before the Committee. As realists, we believe that there are policing actions which the United Nations should be able to undertake. They may be a few of a nature which the Lord Bishop of Chichester (I think it was) described as "disinfecting" trouble, which we think can be useful in keeping the peace. We therefore believe that financial provision should be made which will enable the Secretary-General, under the directions of the Security Council, to act competently when so instructed in a particular operation. We must accept, I think, that there might be an occasion when a contributing country feels so deeply that a decision to initiate an operation is wrong that it would refuse to pay; but, as some countries are always going to dislike some action, some compromise must be reached, or all action will be paralysed.
Therefore, we voted, as the noble Lord, Lord McNair, reminded your Lordships, for the Judgment of the International Court of Justice, which said that in principle countries should pay for these special operations as a part of their general assessment, although a fair and equitable formula must be found because, of course, some nations are in 1431 a less favourable position to pay than others. We are at present trying to decide how that formula should be framed, and how it might be put forward. But all I can say to your Lordships now is that it really is an impossible situation that the United States, the United Kingdom and one-third of the members who are faithful should carry on their shoulders the burden of the United Nations' special operations. Some way must be found of making this situation more fair.
I should like to sum up and leave the question of finance, having warned your Lordships that this is one very serious question in relation to the general purpose of the United Nations, and in particular to the special operations, to which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, proposes we should add an international force in order to keep the peace; although it would not necessarily be more expensive. My Lords, if I may, I will sum up in this way. There is no chance of a true international force, as envisaged by the authors of the Charter, enforcing collective security on the world, so long as the world is divided by the Communists into two parts. Clearly, the United Nations could not have the authority to deal with a great country like Russia or a great country like China, and no collective force could be got together to be able to do that now.
There must be, before we can get that, many years in which confidence is recreated in an objective and impartial Security Council and, before that can be done, racialism and nationalism must play themselves out. I do not despair of that, especially as, with the ending of the colonial era, the time may come more quickly than we think. Nevertheless, it will be some time before we can get true collective security. There are, however, opportunities for the United Nations to help keep the peace, and, while the United Nations is so weakened as it is by division, those police operations should be restricted to modest tasks within its strength.
Therefore, my Lords, I think that we are reduced to almost one question arising out of Lord Ogmore's Motion. I recognise the need (and I think we can certainly encourage the Secretary-General in this) to strengthen what the noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oakridge, called the head- 1432 quarters and logistics on the military and administrative sides. Whether the forces are nationally contributed, or whether they are earmarked, an operation, if it is to be carried out, will be carried out more capably than in the past. That is a practical thing.
Then comes the question of whether the forces should continue, as at present, to be selected by the Secretary-General on an ad hoc basis, or whether this country ought now to take the lead in suggesting an earmarking of forces. On that I would just say a short word. In 1959 (I think it was about the time of which the noble Earl was speaking when he was searching for agreement on my part to world government, when I gave him rather what he thought was not a very satisfactory answer, though there was a little light at the end of a long tunnel), the United Kingdom Government said that they would certainly consider any such proposal for earmarking forces but that such a proposal must be supported and accepted by the whole United Nations Organisation. We had in mind exactly the same kind of thought that the noble Lord himself had in mind when he read out the conditions precedent to the creation of an international police force; that was, that there must be a situation in which there was general confidence. I want to see whether, if we were to earmark forces, there is any hope of that.
In 1959, we said that such a proposal must be supported and accepted by the United Nations as a whole. If the Security Council and the General Assembly were broadly agreed, as we hoped they would be when the Charter was framed, on the policy of what the rule of law should be, and therefore on the purposes to which an international police force should be directed, then we should be able to earmark forces without qualm. But there is not at the present time, if I judge the position correctly, that general confidence which the noble Earl himself says is necessary. What would happen at the present time? So deep are the differences between the nations, particularly with the Communist bloc (although it is not confined to the Communist bloc) that there are very strong nationalistic feelings in many places. We should find that no country would assign its forces to the United Nations police force without conditions, 1433 and that it would insist on retaining the control of the circumstances in which the forces so allocated would be used. If that is so, it means we should be very nearly back to the point at which we are. I agree with the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, that it is probably better for the present, until there is a little more confidence in the United Nations, that the Secretary-General, when the situation arises, should select the forces which he requires.
I hope that the noble Lord, when I give him that reply, will not think that the United Kingdom Government will ever be behindhand for one moment in supporting the Secretary-General and the United Nations in measures of true collective security. But what I am saying, and what I think probably the noble Lord who moved this Motion will not quarrel with, is that the best thing is to take the practical step which presents itself now. I think the practical step is that the Secretary-General, in the light of the experience of the different operations which the United Nations has undertaken, should review his headquarters, in both the military and the administrative fields, so that when another operation comes along, as it surely will—though we cannot anticipate its character, because all have been different, in kind and character—the United Nations forces can operate to the best possible advantage.
§ 6.8 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary for the care with which he has listened to my own speech, and to the speeches of all the noble Lords who followed, and also for the way in which he has tried to deal with our suggestions. It is most encouraging when a Minister takes this kind of care, as, of course, the noble Earl does to all of our speeches. All noble Lords who have spoken to-day have great experience in these matters covering a very wide range over a great number of years. With the exception of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton—with whom I thought the noble Earl, Lord Longford, dealt more than adequately—
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I said adequately—I think it is true to say that every noble Lord who spoke this afternoon, including the Foreign Secretary, agreed in principle with what I suggested; although there are differences in detail. I do not want to go to any length, but I should like to clarify the matter. The Foreign Secretary has given us a very important piece of news today. He has told us that the portion of my Motion referring to the setting up of a command staff and military government will have his full support when the Secretary-General deals with this matter, as we all hope he will, as a matter of urgency. I regard this as the most urgent side of the matter, because until a command staff is set up and a policy laid down, they cannot think of employing troops.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I must read this most carefully. I am not sure that the last part of the noble Lord's Motion is not a little too closely tied with the first part for my liking; but, broadly speaking, what I am saying is that if the Secretary-General does decide to do this—and I think that he must be reviewing these matters—certainly we think that it is a sensible thing to do.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I hope that is what I was explaining. Obviously, if they think it is a sensible thing, the Government will support the Secretary-General in his proposals. I do not know whether the noble Earl, Lord Longford, regards this as a reaction which he would have expected from the Government or as a disappointment, but I feel that small mercies are not to be sniffed at; that half a loaf is better than none; that the best is the enemy of the good, or whatever cliché might be thought to be the right expression. At all events, I am fairly happy about the Foreign Secretary's statement.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, since I have been mentioned by name, perhaps I might say that I am desperately anxious that the Government should give a lead, and I am not clear whether, in this all-important direction, a lead is or is not going to be given.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, as the Foreign Secretary is our senior diplomat, I thought that behind his use of diplomatic language was a strong hint to the Secretary-General of the United Nations 1435 that this proposal should be effected. After all, the United Nations is an international body and we cannot expect the Foreign Secretary to get up and say, "I tell you … "or"I order you … ", but I think that he has put into diplomatic language a strong hint to the Secretary-General to get on with it. I hope that he will. However, I do not wish the Foreign Secretary to feel that I am trying to gloss or embroider. A distinguished predecessor of his, Mr. Balfour, once said that he did not mind being criticised, he received praise with a certain amount of equanimity, but he did worry when people tried to explain him. Perhaps the Foreign Secretary feels the same. I hope that the Foreign 1436 Secretary, the Secretary-General and the others concerned will feel that forces as well as a command and staff are desirable. Again, half a loaf being better than none, I have much pleasure in asking your Lordships' permission to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.