HL Deb 26 June 1963 vol 251 cc253-380

2.36 p.m.

LORD HENDERSON rose to call attention to the International Situation with special reference to the need for a Test Ban Agreement; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. This debate is taking place at a time of unusual political and diplomatic activity. President Kennedy is visiting Europe and at the week-end he and the Prime Minister will confer. Next month there will be two important conferences in Moscow, the first between the Soviet and Chinese Communist leaders, and the second, the conference between Russian, American and British representatives on the nuclear test ban. There are many problems and events in the international field which could properly claim our attention to-day. I shall not attempt to cover them all, but will confine myself to what I regard as three or four major issues.

It is interesting to note that on this occasion there are problems not only between East and West but within the East and also within the West. I do not think it would be far off the mark to say that two of the major problems that will be discussed by the President and the Prime Minister will be the proposed multilateral nuclear force and the coming test ban talks in Moscow. There can be no doubt, I think, that objections are held about the multilateral project, not only by the Labour Party, to which clear expression has been given by the Leader of the Opposition in another place, but by the Liberal Party and also by some members in the Conservative Party itself. There is a growing feeling that the multilateral force concept is based less on military or defence considerations and more on political considerations.

It is not only in this country that doubts seem to have grown. One of the Guardian's American correspondents wrote on Monday June 24: The proposals to establish a fleet of surface ships armed with Polaris missiles, jointly owned by NATO countries and manned by mixed crews, is, if anything, less popular now than when it was first launched. It is widely regarded as a 'gimmick', even by members of the Administration, and the Pentagon considers its military values as more than doubtful. Even its most ardent advocates agree that its main justification is political. It may be true that Germany to-day does not aspire to become a nuclear Power; that she is, in fact, debarred from producing nuclear weapons; and I agree that the multilateral force would not give her a finger on the trigger. But I do not think it can be doubted that the original concept of the multilateral force was primarily designed to satisfy Germany's ambition to be an associate member of the Western nuclear club. And this has given rise to fears not only in the Eastern world, but also in parts of the Western world, that a finger on the safety catch might in time become a finger on the trigger. If there is one thing in the nuclear field on which both East and West have declared their agreement it is that the proliferation of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear nations should be prevented. To prevent it is, in my opinion, one of the most important steps in the limitation of war dangers. I believe, too, that to prevent it would be conducive to the creation of a better climate for the test ban and general disarmament discussions. A pact to stop the spread of nuclear weapons is therefore something that should be urgently worked for.

Mr. Wilson, during his recent visit to Moscow, found that the Soviet Government warmly welcomed the idea that negotiations should be started between East and West with that end in view. It is not unlikely that one of the causes of the Chinese Communists' bitter onslaught on Mr. Khrushchev is that Soviet Russia has refused to give nuclear weapons or nuclear "know-how" to other Communist countries. China is working on nuclear devices, but, in the absence of Soviet scientific and technical aid and technicians, progress is bound to be slow, and it would take her a long time to qualify as a member of the nuclear club. In the East there is only Soviet Russian ownership, with the Soviet Russian finger on the trigger. It seems to me that the more national and multinational and multilateral nuclear arrangements the West seeks to make, the more difficult it will be for Mr. Khrushchev to stand up to pressures for similar developments within the Communist world. Mr. Wilson has stated that the Russians left him in no doubt that if Germany were brought into a mixed NATO force they would be under intolerable pressure from China for nuclear weapons. Mr. Wilson's own comment was that: This fact—and the clear gain to world peace from a ban on the spread of nuclear weapons—are enough to justify Washington thinking again. I am sure that there will be a good deal of support for that view.

In his defence of the policy of coexistence against Chinese criticisms, it is only common sense for the West to hope that Mr. Khrushchev will be able to hold firmly to his position and not become involved in concessions which would increase the Chinese potential for troubling the peace of the world. Korea, Laos, Vietnam, Tibet and India are reminders of what Communist China's direct and indirect conventional interventions can lead to. The continuing conflict in Laos and the failure to get there a stable national Government which would maintain independence and pursue a policy of neutralism are a cause for real concern. If there is any external disruptive influence at work, I would say that it was Communist China, who may be seeking to force Communist bloc recognition of Asia and South-East Asia as a Chinese sphere of influence.

Despite the failure of the Polish representative to accompany his Indian and Canadian colleagues in their visit to the Plain of Jars, I doubt very much whether Soviet Russia wants to see the Geneva Conference Agreement to fail. A partitioning of the country would be a bad and dangerous solution. Instead of cooperation and unity for the benefit of the country and its people, there would be division, distrust and insecurity, as well as a menace to the security of others.

The noble Earl the Foreign Secretary, as one of the co-Chairmen, has played a notable part in seeking to get the Geneva Agreement implemented and to obtain freedom for the International Commission to move freely about the country. It is not easy to follow the latest developments through Press reports, and I am not sure what the current situation is. I hope, therefore, that the Foreign Secretary will have something to say about Laos and the prospect of getting a truce, freedom of movement for the International Commission and co-operation between the different elements in an effective national Government. If the work of the Geneva Conference and of the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Gromyko, as co-Chairmen, becomes a failure, then Laos will remain a point of grave danger to the peace of South-East Asia. Moreover, it would underline the failure of a test case of international co-operation between East and West to solve a dispute in which the interests of both coincide.

My Lords, it has long been my view—and I have taken a number of opportunities of repeating it to the House—that if only we could get an agreement to end nuclear tests, we should be able to create a new international climate and thus pave the way for more fruitful negotiations on the broader field of general disarmament. But even this has led the three nuclear Powers into great difficulties. For a long period the Soviet Union had rejected the conception of any on-site inspection and had argued that advances in seismological detection now made on-site inspection quite unnecessary. It was therefore an encouragement to the world when, some months ago, the Soviet Union put forward its offer of two or three on-site inspections, together with three of the automatic detectors known as "black boxes". For my own part, I wish that the American and British Governments had felt able to meet this offer with a figure lower than the seven on-site inspections, which was the number the American Government were prepared to consider. It might have been that an offer or five or six would have been an acceptable compromise.

This, I am convinced, is largely a political question. Senator Hubert Humphries, in a speech to the United States Senate, said: … the fact is that our detection capability is much greater than the Press has led us to believe on the basis of the information it has received from the United States Government. He went on to say that a five-year study of the detection and identification of underground events in the Soviet Union showed clearly why the number of inspections and the number of detection stations can be reduced without in any way reducing the effectiveness of verification.… The results in three years of research are phenomenal.

American scientists have also been by no means unanimous in insisting that a substantial number of on-site inspections are essential to deter a nation from breaking an agreement. A recent statement by nine American scientists, including Dr. Hans Bette, showed how large a disagreement there is between scientists on this question. I hope, therefore, that when the Conference of representatives of the Soviet Union, the United States and Britain meet in Moscow on July t5 there will be a new offer from the West which, even if it does not go so far as to accept that there is no need for on-site inspections, will at least propose a figure more likely to be accepted by the Soviet Union. It may be that a proposal of 21 or 22 on-site inspections, conducted over a period of seven years, with up to five inspections permitted in one year, might prove acceptable as a basis for negotiation.

I hope that there is special significance in the fact that the Leader of the House, Lord Hailsham, is to be the Head of the British delegation. He is Minister for Science and Technology, and no doubt he will be accompanied by a number of top-level British scientists. I hope, therefore, that every effort will be made at the Conference to get the scientists of both sides to meet and try to reconcile the conflict of scientific opinion on the need, or otherwise, for on-site inspections.

I understand that when the Leader of the Opposition was in Moscow two weeks ago Mr. Khrushchev said that the Soviet Union had offered two or three on-site inspections only in the belief that the Americans would accept the offer, and that this offer had now been totally withdrawn. I hope that Mr. Khrushchev will have second thoughts about this, but I think we can expect him to make a move only if we are prepared, from our side, to seek a compromise.

We may have to be satisfied with an agreement to stop all nuclear tests in outer space, above the ground and underwater, leaving the question of underground tests for further negotiation. This is perhaps the most helpful line in negotiation in Moscow next month, especially in view of President Kennedy's announcement that the United States will not conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere so long as other States do not do so. I do not, in any case, expect the negotiations, even in the best circumstances, to produce a final comprehensive agreement. They may help to clear the way to such an agreement, but, as I have said on previous occasions, I believe that agreements of world importance will be reached and finalised only with Mr. Khrushchev at a Summit Conference.

So far as general disarmament is concerned, I very much regret that so little seems to have been done to find what the Foreign Secretary in March of last year called a master plan, drawing on the best of all the proposals before us". All the attention in Geneva lately seems to have been drawn to the problem of nuclear tests, and the negotiators seem to have given up, at least for the time being, the struggle to find common policies of general disarmament. Even so, there have been from the Russian side some encouraging moves. They have modified their original proposals on the timing of a disarmament treaty. They even accepted the American proposals concerning manpower levels in the first stage of a treaty. They have also accepted the American proposals concerning the commensurate reduction in conventional weapons. But perhaps most important of all was Mr. Gromyko's statement in September that the Soviet Union would agree to the retention of a "minimum deterrent" until the end of Stage 2 in the disarmament plan. This "minimum deterrent" would consist of a strictly limited number of rockets, antimissile missiles and anti-aircraft missiles. Subsequently, in March of this year, the Russians agreed to a method of inspection and verification of this "minimum deterrent" force.

I understand from the discussions which were conducted between the Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues in Moscow that the Russians seem also prepared to reconsider their altogether too rigid insistence on the destruction of all means of delivery of nuclear weapons in the first stage and the ending of foreign bases. They were, I understand, prepared to draw a distinction between overseas missile and bomber bases, on the one hand, and troop bases, on the other.

To conclude what I have to say on this subject, it is my belief that much greater priority should be given to these negotiations on general disarmament. I agree with the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary that all the elements of a disarmament treaty are in the United States or the Soviet plans". The practical step is to have the master plan prepared; and I would repeat the suggestion which has been made on several occasions, that the Secretary-General of the United Nations should be asked to undertake the task of preparing it. With a master plan before the conference a more determined and no doubt more fruitful effort could be made to analyse points of agreement and points of difference. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will himself return to Geneva, together with the Foreign Secretaries of the other nations concerned, to give a new impetus to the general disarmament talks.

Finally, I want to turn to the financial crisis which has hit the United Nations. This world organisation, which is the hope of the nations, is financially "in the red". Member states are in arrears to the tune of 106 million dollars. Of this sum, 7 million dollars represent unpaid contributions to the regular budget. The remainder, 99 million dollars, is the arrears of payment in respect of the United Nations emergency force stationed in the Middle East and the United Nations operation in the Congo. Both these operations continue, and they involve additional costs each month. The Middle East operation is costing about 20 million dollars a year; and the Congo operation is estimated to require 5½ million dollars a month to the end of this year, when, in the view of the Secretary-General, it would not be unreasonable to expect that complete military disengagement could take place.

The costs of these two operations have involved the levying of special assessments on all the Member States in the same proportion as their regular contributions. Fifty-seven States have failed to pay their quota towards the costs of the Middle East Emergency Force, and 67 have defaulted on the Congo account. In the case of some of the members the reason for their defaulting is inability to carry the extra financial burden. This is understandable with newly independent, underdeveloped States whose economies are normally under strain; but the most serious aspect of the deficit problem is the refusal on political or constitutional grounds of some of the developed nations to meet these commitments. France, for example, is responsible for one-fifth of the shortfall on the Congo account because she was opposed to the powers given to the Secretary-General in the Congo operation. The Soviet Union and the Ukraine account for one-half of the shortfall on the Congo account. They refuse to pay because they regard the action of the General Assembly as ultra vires the Charter.

This position represents a serious challenge to the United Nations—a challenge that cannot be ignored. The financial problem has become urgent. It would be a grave setback to the United Nations if the two major peace-keeping operations had to be prematurely ended because of lack of funds. A special session of the General Assembly is now engaged in dealing with it. It has before it a series of recommendations from its budgetary sub-committee which adopted them by an overwhelming majority, against the opposition of France and the Soviet bloc. These resolutions, briefly, deal with the payment of arrears, the financing of the Congo operation for the remainder of this year and the establishment of general principles for the sharing of the cost of future peace-keeping operations involving heavy expenditures. They preserve the principle of collective responsibility and take account of the hardship which the full proportionate share of the costs would impose on under-developed nations.

I want to say here how gratified we are at the initiative taken by Her Majesty's Government in these efforts to find an equitable solution of the United Nations financial problem. Much of the credit for the proposed plan must go to the British Government. I understand that the resolutions are expected to be adopted by the General Assembly during this week. But it seems clear that there will be no change in the attitude of the Soviet Government and its allies, nor, perhaps, in the case of France.

As noble Lords are no doubt aware, the International Court has given an advisory opinion that the expenses of the Middle East and Congo operations were to be regarded as expenses of the United Nations and, therefore, that all members must bear their duly apportioned share. This advisory opinion was accepted and endorsed by a large majority in the General Assembly. The Soviet Union rejects this decision. It argues that the financial crisis of the United Nations is the result of systematic and flagrant violations of the Charter which had given the Security Council sole competence in the maintenance of peace.

Here we have the root of the problem. The Soviet Union repudiates the powers of the General Assembly under the "Uniting for Peace" resolution adopted in 1950. This was adopted to enable the United Nations to act when the Security Council was frustrated by the Veto from taking action for the maintenance of peace. The only countries who voted against any part of the resolution were the countries of the Communist bloc. It is, of course, true that under the Charter the members conferred on the Security Council "primary" responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and agreed that in carrying out its duties under this responsibility the Security Council act on their behalf. But primary responsibility does not mean exclusive responsibility, and if the Security Council are prevented from taking action for peace because of the absence of unanimity (which means because of the use of the Veto), then, unless there was alternative machinery, the United Nations would be debarred from performing the function for which it was brought into existence

We know the record of the Soviet Union in exercising the Veto. We know of the Soviet Union's attempt to establish a Troika, which would have carried the Veto into the Secretariat of the United Nations. Now we have what is tantamount to an attempted financial veto on the peace-keeping operations of the United Nations. If non-payment by the Soviet Union continues until the end of the year, Article 19 would come into play and the Soviet Union would forfeit its vote in the General Assembly on January 1, 1964. Its membership of the United Nations and of the Security Council would, of course, not be affected. A similar position would arise with France on January 1, 1965.

Despite the Soviet Union's view that the application of Article 19 would require a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly, the terms of Article 19 are specific, and forfeiture of the right to vote would seem to be automatic. In that case, the United Nations would have one of its founder-members and a permanent member of the Security Council debarred from voting on any matter which came before the General Assembly. I think there would be general agreement that this is a development not to be wished for. It is a situation to be avoided, if possible, in the interests of the United Nations itself. On the other hand, Article 19 cannot be ignored and turned into a dead letter. To allow this to happen might inflict a fatal blow to the future of the United Nations.

There are, however, six months before any question of the application of Article 19 can arise. Those six months should, I urge, be used to the full for diplomatic effort to persuade Soviet Russia and her allies to co-operate as partners in the United Nations. The future interests of the United Nations require that a real effort should be made to get Soviet Russia to change her attitude. As I see it, there is little hope of effecting a change in the Soviet bloc's attitude unless there is an attempt to iron out differences at the highest level. It is one of those issues that require to be dealt with face to face with Mr. Khrushchev; and the time factor is against undue delay.

There is urgent need for a summit conference this year, and one of the items on its agenda should be United Nations' problems. The next session of the General Assembly in the autumn would provide a suitable opportunity for a top-level meeting if President Kennedy, the Prime Minister and Mr. Khrushchev arranged to attend personally. I hope, therefore, that when President Kennedy and the Prime Minister meet this weekend they will decide on the need and desirability of adopting this course of action. No step should be rejected which may help to avoid the dangerous head-on collision at the United Nations that will occur on January 1 if the situation remains then as it is to-day. I greatly hope, therefore, that it will be the decision of Her Majesty's Government that action should be taken along these lines. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.

3.10 p.m.


My Lords, I understand that I have the great but alarming honour of representing the Liberal Party in this important debate. What I really represent is nothing so grand as that but the common herd of Gadarene swine in protest against the direction in which we are being driven by the illustrious swineherds who run the world. I know well that a protest from the swine is unprecedented. Indeed, it is contrary to the porcine code laid down for them in the time of that rather dim representative of the swineherd class, Lord Raglan: Ours not to reason why, Ours but to do and die.


My Lords, I strongly object to the noble Viscount making a completely false accusation against my distinguished ancestor.


My Lords, I am not criticising him as a grandfather in any way whatsoever. I was only criticising him in his public capacity for having lost a great number of lives with very little visible result for the benefit of the country.

I expect severe disapproval for the few apprehensive squeals that I propose to make as we get nearer and ever nearer to the edge of the precipice. Of the two vanished miseries of our national life, war and poverty, it is the prospect that the latter will return that alarms me and does not seem to concern the Government in any way whatever. The noble Earl, Lord Home, who plays Great Britain's part in the cold war with such skill and distinction, is to my mind facing the wrong way. If I may mix my metaphors, I think he is barking down the wrong precipice. Very rightly, he takes no futile steps to preserve the citizens of this country in the improbable event of war, although we are all glad in this House to know that steps have been taken for the survival of the noble Earl, the Minister who represents the Home Office. But very wrongly, I think, he and the Government have taken no steps whatever to anticipate the perils of peace, to forestall the revolutionary chaos and economic dislocation that await the inevitable end of the cold war.

I was brought up in a military atmosphere. My father was for many long years a member of the Committee of Imperial Defence, and my family home was full of those documents marked "Secret and Confidential", written by experts, on which our national security was said to rest, and from the wisdom of which was derived Passchendaele and all the other disasters of the 1914 war. People then wondered how my father, sitting under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, and a mere civilian, kept his place in this august body. The reason was that he had the rare gift of instant recognition of the obsolete. He told me once that he never would have allowed the English Government to go on producing bows and arrows for 100 years after the invention of gunpowder. The moment the dreadnought was invented he knew that the German High Seas Fleet could not fight, and to intimidate a reluctant Treasury, which is always the fate of a good idea, we floated a secret pressure society called the Islanders, whose slogan was: We want eight And we won't wait"— the sort of poetry that is invented by politicians.

Your Lordships believe in heredity, and I always thought that I had a modicum of my father's gifts. For many years I expected to get one of the Prime Minister's charming letters asking me to put these gifts at the service of the country. Those of your Lordships who are conversant with human vanity will realise that I did not say to myself, "No letter, no gifts". I assumed that in the modern world no one wanted to expose the obsolete, above all, those who make the obsolete, and still more those who sell it.

Suez was a revelation to me. Surely we would defend our great imperial and commercial interests and not throw them, as well as an attractive Prime Minister, to the wolves. England and France gave way, and ignoring the shouts of "Second-class Power!" and "Unable to stand up against the Americans!", and nonsense of that sort, we accepted these so-called humiliations. My hereditary instinct told me at once that the Great Powers could not fight. But it was clear that the proof of this had to come by the United States and Russia being humiliated as well as England and France. We had not long to wait. Cuba, a country even smaller than Egypt, proved their humiliation. The United States abandoned the Monroe Doctrine, which, with the assistance of the British Fleet, had preserved them and their continent for a hundred years, while Russia had to trundle back home the missiles which she has so skilfully placed close to her prospective enemy. The Great Powers could not fight. The moment the megaton bomb was invented, even though, unlike the noble Viscount who leads the House, I have no idea what a magaton is, a major nuclear war was out of the question.

But the enormous interests that stand entrenched behind the cold war had another line of defence against the alarming conclusion that they were obsolete. It might be possible that the loser would not dare to let off the megaton bomb, and a conventional war, something on the lines of those delightful little wars of 1914 and 1940, could still be fought. For that we must be thoroughly prepared. The General Staff must have scope and opportunity to plan the Passchendaeles of to-morrow. And then my eye for the obsolete caught the words of the Minister for Defence in The Times of April 3. He said: I think it is quite erroneous to talk about tactical nuclear weapons as though they were some sort of modern artillery. They are weapons of really devastating power. I had no need to disguise myself as the correspondent of the Daily Mail. I saw at once that they could not fight a conventional war either. I had to wait, of course, for confirmation of this, and it came from the Defence correspondent of The Times. The tactics of the B.A.O.R. were to be changed, and they were to be trained to fight without nuclear weapons. A revolutionary change, based on the general theory that the use of nuclear weapons will inevitably develop into general war, had arrived, and there is no definable line between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

There was also some muddled thinking, unworthy of the Repington tradition, suggesting that we should be able to count "when necessary" on nuclear support. Do the Russians agree to all this? Has the noble Earl a treaty in his pocket defining the necessary moment when nuclear support can be brought up? No doubt, by keeping at the back, for use when necessary, all the dangerous weapons of war, we might be able to fight. Indeed, one of these days the noble Earl, borrowing the accoutrements of the Black Prince from Canterbury Cathedral, may appear on some modern version of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. But if they cannot fight, and the cold war is moving, as it is, from a military to a commercial contest in which the West is already distributing £3,000 million a year to the emerging nations, it is clear that the whole edifice on which the vast military expenditure of the world is based has collapsed. For a short while, like the Brazilians who threw their excess coffee into the sea, the great tax-paying democracies may allow the money that they need so badly for education, hospitals, housing and roads to be spent on the production of obsolete arms that can never be used.

No steps have been taken to prepare for this vast inevitable revolution. The noble Earl's policy on disarmament can be put into three words: waiting for Godber: waiting for the patient public servant who has been sitting in Geneva for years to produce a long-since asphyxiated rabbit from Mr. Khrushchev's fur hat. Lord Hailsham, it is true, has now been appointed to go to Moscow, but although there is an improved feeling that an important person is to be sent there, we must remember that the great disadvantage of Big Bertha was that it could be fired off only once. This seems to me hardly the way to meet a tremendous and sudden economic crisis, the diversion of £1,800 million a year spent on armaments in this country, £18,000 million a year spent in the United States, £16,000 million a year spent in Russia.

The noble Viscount who leads the House, in some obscure village the other day used the stirring words: we are one of the most successful political societies ever seen on this planet. Now is the great emergency in which to prove it. Russia, with its low standard of life, geared to fear and suspicion, needs that £18,000 million most. America, where, according to the Bureau of Labour statistics, one in five is below the poverty line, is geared to war and badly needs her £18,000 million. We are free; yet we badly need that £1,800 million of ours to complete our most affluent society in the world.

The three nuclear powers are in favour of disarmament; and so are the three Parties of this country. Every now and then the noble Earl, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, with all the dignity and bravura of which he is such a master, announces the policy of the Labour Party, and the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, within the more moderate limits of his capabilities, echoes on behalf of the Conservatives a similar intention to disarm. Not a leaf stirs on the Stock Exchange; not one one-sixteenth is lost from any price of any stock. Very different from the storm caused by the quite moderate attack on tobacco ! I expect, but I do not get, letters from my broker, saying that I am over-invested in armament shares.

Then there is advertising. These days, everybody is advertising. Tobacco firms take great trouble to advertise. Everybody is doing it. On the hoardings you will see, if not now, shortly, "Everybody loves Labour", or "You can trust the Tories". But not a sign of "Guns are good for you", as you would expect from the armament firms.

The industry of arms is not afraid, and will not be until the Liberal Party is included in the counsels of the nation. I see the difficulty of the Conservative Party so closely allied to big business and the Services. I think they have remnants of aristocratic independence that might stand up against these vested interests here at home. But how can they argue against the vast industrial production built up by the United States? Armaments, not only for themselves but for arming the emergent nations with second-class weapons, are a cornerstone of United States prosperity. They have 2,600,000 people under arms; 4,000,000 unemployed. Your Lordships will remember General Eisenhower's farewell warning against the industrial-military complex "the growth of which", he said, "involves the very structure of our society".

The Labour Party, who know so well the relation between the obsolete and the redundant, cannot enjoy the prospect of a vast slump all over the world. The trivial redundancy of the Beeching reforms nearly led to a strike. Can they stand up against their trade unions menaced by the dislocation of disarmament? Only the Liberal Party is free, with no vested interest to endanger its principles, and it seems to me that they must be included in any Government that has to face this inevitable crisis. For something must be done at once to end this cold war deadlock before fresh Powers obtain the atomic bomb and to plan and organise a peaceful world.

I would suggest a conference of reasonable men. We have some in every Party—Mr. Heath, for instance; the noble Earl, Lord Longford, is a reasonable man. And Mr. Grimond to represent the Liberals.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Viscount for one moment? I was not in sympathy with him up until now, but he is carrying me with him at this point. I suggest that if he goes around the House on these lines he will get a lot of support before he is finished.


In America, strange to say, I think Mr. Adlai Stevenson would represent the Democrats, and Mr. John Sherman Cooper the Republicans. I think that this conference might be called in Moscow with Mr. Khrushchev in the chair, for, even if he is not as reasonable as the noble Earl, Lord Longford, he has to represent the Communist Party. For it is a formidable and revolutionary task to change the pattern of the world, to overcome the suspicion of Russia and to enlighten the political immaturity of the United States.

We stand in the same relation to them as the Liberal Party does to the other two Parties. This lovely island, "set in the silver sea", has not the vast internal resources of Russia and the United States, and might not survive this coming crash, this terrible slump which we have ahead of us. We might slip back to the unemployment of the 'thirties or, worse still, to the Dickens miseries of the 1840's. We must preserve this oasis of high civilisation, created with so much toil and trouble, that in my opinion leads the world by its way of life.

3.35 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord who opened this debate did so in a speech of characteristic sagacity and with a wealth of information to which we have become used. As I listened to him on the theme of disarmament, I could not help my mind going back to speeches made by his father to which I listened at an international Conference which he did all he could to save in the difficult days of the 'thirties. I hope that, with the Government's help, the noble Lord who opened this debate will produce better results on that topic than we were able to arrive at then.

I am not qualified now to deal with that technical matter, but I should like to say a word or two on the subject of nuclear tests. This is a theme which has been the pursuit of successive Governments, certainly since 1955 and perhaps before. And I think it is fair to say that the present Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary both deserve words of gratitude for their persistence on this topic; and perhaps even their predecessors do, too. At any rate, after long persistence the talks are to begin again, and that is surely good.

The difficulty manifestly which is yet to be resolved is this question of supervision. I myself hope that some arrangement for a modicum of supervision will be arrived at and accepted by the Russians. I say that not only on account of this particular problem, but because I believe that if we could once establish a practice of international supervision its growth would be quite invaluable to future negotiations. The trouble with the Russians on this topic is that, I think perhaps quite genuinely, they regard all supervision as a form of espionage. They did that in 1830, long before anybody had even heard of the Communists. It is not necessarily a Communist trait but a national trait: suspicion of what the foreigner is coming to look at, perhaps because they have always had quite a lot to hide. Whatever the reason may be, that is their attitude; and if it can be got over in this instance it might have very useful consequences for the future.

My Lords, I am very glad that my noble friend the Leader of the House is to represent us in this negotiation. It is a little difficult to know what advice one should venture to give. I think that perhaps, on the whole, the words of Ulysses to Achilles, when he was taking no particular part in the battle, are apt: Perseverance, dear my lord, Keeps honour bright: For certainly perseverance will be called for—though I hasten to assure my noble friend that sulking in his tent is not what we usually associate with him. Certainly we all wish him good fortune in his first and most important international negotiation.

I should like in this connection to say one or two words about the question of nuclear warfare as such. At the moment I believe it to be true to say that the horror of nuclear war is a powerful influence on the side of peace. I do not say that it will always be so; but for the moment I believe it is so, and I think one saw expression of that in what happened recently in Cuba. I know that there are many who feel, "If only we could be rid of the nuclear weapon, we should all feel much safer". That is a natural reaction, but I am not at all sure that it is a wise one. Some of those who feel that way are apt to overlook the power of weapons other than nuclear weapons, a power that has grown step by step with that of the nuclear weapons. It is even true, as we now know, that more people were killed at Dresden than at Hiroshima. If we were to rid the world of the nuclear weapon, is there not a risk that we should leave in men's hands very powerful destructive forces at which they would not feel the same abhorrence as all now feel for nuclear war? Because wherever you sit, in any capital of the world, you find that any statesman who has responsibility has this matter at the back of his mind; and he cannot escape it. For the present, therefore, unless and until we can work out better methods than we have yet found for maintaining an international law, I think it is as well that the nuclear weapon is there.

That brings me to the position of our own country in relation to this deterrent. Should we go on trying to maintain an independent nuclear deterrent, or not? On this matter there is scope for differences of view. I always thought that the action taken by the Labour Government, under the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, in 1946, of deciding to make the atom bomb in secret, was a courageous action. I also thought it was a wise action despite the financial strains that it must have imposed at that difficult period. It is not for me to say what was in the minds of that Government at the time, but I imagine they said to themselves something like this, "We have no intention of using this thing"—of course they had no intention of using it—"But here is a weapon which we can have in our hands and which could have an important deterrent effect. Had we not better obtain possession of it and make it?"

For myself, my Lords, I have a stronger motive than either of those for believing that, on balance, it is right that we should go ahead and keep the independent deterrent ourselves, if we can. It is for negotiating reasons. If you look back over the last few years, I think that all your Lordships will admit that the Governments of this country have at least played a considerable part in trying to get agreement on this problem of the nuclear tests, and on nuclear weapons in general; and I think the chances of getting that agreement would certainly not be better to-day if we had not had our word to say. Therefore, if it be only to add authority to our negotiating position, I would at present think it right to maintain the power of the independent deterrent; and still more so at a time when a number of countries, with or without leave, seem inclined to try to obtain the deterrent for themselves. It does not seem to be a very good moment for us to weaken or to abandon it.

I should like, however, to ask my noble friend one question about the independent deterrent. I should like to know whether or not the Nassau Agreement has affected the use of this independent deterrent. How far does it affect our freedom to use it? I understand that the future British Polaris force, which will come into being with British ships and American misfiles after 1968, can be used unilaterally—a terrible word—only where "supreme national interests are at stake". It would be interesting to know whether there is any definition in the Government's mind or in American minds, or both, of what is meant by "supreme national interests". I think we should also like to know that such a necessity need not be confined to Europe. Any information that my noble friend can give us about that would, I feel, be useful.

In that same connection I would add one other thought about the independent deterrent. Is it not perhaps also a good thing, in the interests of the United States itself, that that power, the deterrent power, should be in the hands of at least one other Power in the Free World in addition to the United States themselves? I think on balance that that should be so. But, of course, there remains the question of expenditure. I understand that the independent deterrent accounts for about 10 per cent. of our defence expenditure. It is a formidable power and you must balance that against some other demands. Here I should like to say that, as an outside observer in these events, I have become increasingly anxious at the number of new suggestions—no doubt many of them good ones—and new demands which are being made, the financial burdens of which are going to be cumulatively extremely heavy for the Free World.

Not very long ago our American friends were pressing—I think they still are—for an increase in conventional weapons for the defence of Europe. That may be a good thing—probably it is—but it is a very expensive thing, and it must be weighed against the other demands and calls which are made upon this country and the other NATO countries. I am not sure myself that I would put it very high in the list of priorities. And I think I am right in saying that we, Britain and the United States, are now the only two Powers left in NATO with large obligations overseas. We are also members of SEATO, and the position there is not exactly one that is entirely reassuring, and we have obligations under CENTO also. We do not often get much credit from the other NATO partners for the fact that we have those additional burdens. That, I think, necessitates the British Government's looking very carefully at any new demands for new ventures, however politically desirable and technically intelligent they may be.

That brings me to the last proposal which has been put before us, and that is the proposal for a multi-national mixed-manned naval force which is to provide a nuclear strike. I can quite understand that it is thought that it might serve a useful political purpose. Personally, I am not at all convinced that it would, because it does not deal with the heart of the problem in NATO. The heart of the problem in NATO is not that some countries, or all countries, want to share in a new bit of machinery. What they want is to take part with the United States in the planning and the decisions which determine the strategy of the Alliance, which is a much deeper question. I do not pretend I have an answer to that question to-day. But it is no answer to say, "Let us have another nice bit of machinery, and you shall have a share in it"; at least, I doubt whether it is an answer. I should like to put it in another way. I do not think that you can create political confidence between nations by building armaments for which there is no apparent military need. As to vulnerability, Soviet trawlers seem to be very active in these days in every ocean, and I can hardly think that their only interest is fish.

As one watches these events as an outside spectator one has a feeling—this is one example of it—that what the Western nations do is very well intentioned but rather spasmodic, adapted to meet the hour rather than the outcome of some long-term thinking as to what the West ought to do if it is to hold the leadership of the world, and if it is to gain the respect and therefore the support of those who are at present uncommitted or hostile. The word "interdependent" is very popular nowadays. It is a very good word, though it is not a very original word. I remember trying to build a speech around it in the United State of America in 1951. But, good word or not so good word, what matters, of course, is what is done to make it effective. On that, I have no doubt the Foreign Secretary must often ponder what he can do to further Western unity, now somewhat in disarray. I can speak with greater frankness than he can—so here goes.

In the pattern of Western relations, our relationship with France must always have, in my judgment, a capital importance. In this connection I would not at present attempt anything dramatic, and I am not suggesting it. But I would ask that the Ambassadors at both ends should be set to work. Ambassadors are always decorative; in difficult times they are very useful as well. And this is just the kind of occasion when, without any flourish and without any publicity, they can be set to their tasks to see what possibilities there are. I should like to suggest one or two of the possibilities which might help us to restore our relations with France to their former confidence, which I personally should much like to see.

When we set up the Western European Union in 1954 that body was intended to deal with a number of questions, including armaments. I am not suggesting that it would be a good idea for the Government immediately to summon Western European Union and try to discuss these things. I think that would probably be a mistake, because the last thing we want to appear to be doing is lobbying France's friends with us against her. In that way you make matters worse, not better. I think the first stage is direct contact between the countries, and then to see whether, as a result of that contact, you cannot work out some measures that can be examined usefully and worked upon by Western European Union.

High in the list would come the question originally called "standardisation of armaments" but now spreading wider and meaning the examination by Western European Union of such questions as the future design and construction of tanks, aircraft and other weapons, and even tactical questions. There is no reason in the world—I put it like this, in a sentence—why, because we cannot make progress at the present time with European economic questions, we should not try instead to make progress with European defence questions. I would suggest the possibility that Western European Union might evolve into a European defence organisation, and that there we could do useful work which would also save money and offer material advantages to the European Powers taking part in it. If that were possible, it might be an opening to smoother relations.

My Lords, I should now like, again as one who has no Government responsibility at all, to say something on a slightly different topic to our European neighbours. I do not believe there is anybody in this country who is not gratified to observe improving relations between France and Germany. There is no kind of rancour of spite or jealousy in the mind of any single Briton if the quarrel between Teuton and Gaul is over. It has cost us much too much for there to be any such feeling. On the other hand, I believe that this country has, for geographical and political reasons, a part to play in Europe, and I think that any great European Power would be unwise if it were to follow policies directed at trying to exclude this country from playing its part in Europe. I think the future is still a little too uncertain for that. As I see the present outlook, the West's failings are not its intentions, which are excellent; or its speeches, which are often eloquent; but its planning, which, because of the difficulty of contact, is very often non-existent.

That brings me, in conclusion, to another topic and a few words about the economic relationship of these political questions. I find it profoundly disturbing that, despite all our efforts and despite the efforts of a wealthier United States, which have been very generous, the tendency is still for the richer nations in the world to grow richer and for the poorer nations to grow poorer. There simply cannot be any real international confidence while that process continues, and the question is: what can be done about it? I have noticed of late that some of the raw material prices are beginning to rise. Personally, I think that is a good thing, because, although we may have to pay a little more, these raw material producers are very good customers of ours, and their poverty in the Commonwealth, South America and other parts of the world is something which affects us also. But the question is whether there is anything we can do over and above waiting to see whether commodity prices will rise. I think there is. I think it would be very good if the richer nations of the world would first face certain facts now—because they will have to face them sooner or later.

One of the facts is that, with modern science and mechanisation, the agricultural production of all the wealthier nations is going to mount steadily and rapidly, and, as it does, so the capacity of those wealthier nations to receive imports from other parts of the world is going to fall. It is perfectly natural that the United States should be very indignant because Germany will not take her chicken. It is also perfectly excusable that French farmers are angry when we cannot take their produce without displacing New Zealand's or our own. But, behind all this, the fact remains that no country is going to give up its agricultural industry and that all those industries are going to become increasingly efficient. As a result, their surpluses are going to mount; and is it not somewhat eccentric, really, that the richer countries should be badgering each other to take a little more of the foodstuffs which they do not want, particularly when there are large areas of the world where the standard of life is still falling?

I read in the Financial Times yesterday a very interesting summary of what the Indian Government are trying to do in India under their latest plan, on which they have now embarked, and it is forecast that at the end of five years the standard of life will be still lower and the population still higher. Faced with that situation, is it not possible—and this is a job for a few of the wealthier countries, industrially and in the production of agriculture—to get together and determine, as they surely can, the kind of overspill of agricultural production which they are going to have over the next few years; to determine the channels into which they can most intelligently and usefully direct it to help the recipients; and (and I admit it) to call in the International Bank for its help in handling the whole problem? I believe that if we could work out something like that we should show a form of enterprise on the part of the Free World far more likely to attract understanding of what we are trying to do than in making this new armada, which I really do not believe is going to lead us anywhere very much. There, my Lords, are my suggestions.

I would finally say one word on quite a different topic. For a moment, could we not look at the Communist world and at the two principal Communist Powers, Russia and China? If we are to understand intelligently what is going on there—and many things are evidently going on—we must look behind the façade and bear in mind that all Communist Powers, or at least the two great Communist Powers, are also imperialist Powers. Nobody understood better than Josef Stalin how to combine the use of Russian imperialism, and the purposes of Russian imperialism, with the practice of international Communism. He did it perfectly and advantageously. China is pursuing a very similar course now. Tibet was a strategic move meant to dominate South-East Asia and India.

This is where I think the clash will eventually come, because Soviet Russia is to-day the greatest imperialist Power in the world, occupying vast territories where the race is not their own; nor the language, nor, often, the religion. China has an interest in some of these territories, as she had in Tibet. One day she will cast eyes on other "Tibets" which may lie in Russian territory to-day. However that may be, there is nothing we can do about it, except to do all we can to face the real difficulties within our Alliance and to overcome them. It is very good to keep a watch on your opponent's fences; it is better to mend your own—because in the last resort our fate depends upon ourselves. I wish the Government all success in the efforts they are making.

4.1 p.m.


My Lords, I know you will feel that our debate has opened in a particularly interesting way. We had from the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, one of those careful analyses of the international position and one of the most informed speeches that one could listen to, and which one always appreciates. The noble Viscount, Lord Esher, whom we are always delighted to hear, who entertains and instructs us, gave a picture—one never sees oneself quite as other people see one—of my own role in public life which I must say I found intriguing. Apparently, I was driving a herd of swine, facing the opposite way and barking, at the same time, up a wrong tree. That, I think, is a little embroidery on the noble Viscount's original story. I did not know that I was capable of these gymnastics; but I think that would be better dealt with by Giles than by me in this afternoon's debate. Then he went on to say that he would have a summit meeting. The candidates were, I think, the Lord Privy Seal, the noble Earl, Lord Longford, and, I think, Mr. Adlai Stevenson. I listened with great interest as he went on to name the impartial chairman and his choice fell on Mr. Khrushchev. He said he was speaking for the Liberal Party; and I take it that that may be one of the planks in their platform for the coming elections.

But I agree with the noble Viscount when he says that in this nuclear age the world is mad to think in terms of war; and that the thousands of millions of pounds now spent on weapons of destruction could much better be employed in producing those things of which the greater part of the people on earth are short. There will be no disagreement on any side of your Lordships' House on that matter. I hope to be able to prove to the noble Viscount that, so far from the Government pursuing a reckless policy which will lead us to destruction, our whole hope in life is to make a break-through in the cold war; and we are ready for that if only those on the other side of what is at present an Iron Curtain will give us any opportunity at all of which we can take advantage.

Then my noble friend Lord Avon, whom all of us will be glad to see so well and speaking with his usual authority, made a most interesting speech and put forward a number of suggestions to which, of course, I will give the closest attention. One question that he asked I can answer immediately; that was the question about the independent deterrent. We are the sole judges of the situation as to when, if at all, we might want to use our own deterrent in the supreme national interest. This is a recognition of the fact that we are a world Power and that threats to our vital interests might occur outside Europe and outside the NATO area. Then, following rather upon the same thought expressed by the noble Viscount, Lord Esher, he raised the question of whether it was not possible to devise some world machinery by which the surplus products of those countries with agricultural goods and raw materials might not be better distributed in the world. This is a problem which has so far beaten all the experts.

If we had been able to go into the Common Market it was one of our hopes that we might have been able, in company with European countries, to arrange for the stability of prices through commodity agreements; because I am very much in sympathy with my noble friend in what he did not say but what I am sure he felt: that stable markets are better than any amount of aid. This is not quite the problem he was dealing with and I think he was wise in exhorting us to have another look at the problem, possibly using the International Bank, to try to see whether we cannot work out a scheme whereby the surplus agricultural products may be better distributed to the great advantage of those who are, as he said, running a losing race—in India, in particular, where the population is increasing at such a rate that it cannot be said the Indians are raising their standard of living or reducing the gap between them and the more developed and prosperous countries.

By general consent, this debate we are having this afternoon was to take the shape of a review of foreign affairs; and it is true that those cannot be separated from defence and NATO strategy in particular, and that the armaments necessary to accomplish that strategy are matters of topical interest and importance But noble Lords will forgive me this afternoon if I leave those questions to the end of my speech in response to something which the noble Earl, Lord Avon, said, and concentrate on the questions raised by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and touched on by others: the nuclear test ban, general disarmament and finance of the peace-keeping machinery of the United Nations; for all of these are of the utmost importance. My noble friend Lord Avon put these questions perfectly properly into the con text of East-West relations, and it has been the unhappy state of the world that since the war the outlook and prospects of every country in the world has been conditioned by the desire of the Communist countries to propagate their doctrine and expand their system of government outside their own borders. The question now is whether Russia, after twenty years of cold war, is in a mood to bring that cold war to an end.

It is not easy, I must confess, to read the signs—some of them are good and some are bad. Russia seems to have understood correctly the nature and consequences of nuclear war. In recent years they have pursued their ends by means not likely to provoke a general conflict, with one exception, which I will mention in a moment. But the Chinese—and again this was pointed out by my noble friend—believe, though they may perhaps change their tune when they know more about the power of nuclear weapons, that the Communist Powers should be much more active than the Russians have shown themselves to be in spreading their political aims outside their own borders. No doubt the Chinese do not want to involve themselves in war with the West, but they are encouraging, and they will encourage, others to use force in order to try to hasten the Communist victory, in particular in the area of South-East Asia.

This is the main difference between the Chinese and the Russians, and although at the meeting on July 5 I would expect at any rate a façade of unity to be preserved, nevertheless this difference is so fundamental that it can no longer be papered over. I hope and think that we may be justified in concluding from Russia's stand on principle that they will not deliberately start a fight which could end in a nuclear war. When one studies, as I have to do, the statements of Mr. Khrushchev and the Russian leaders in recent years and months, this insistence that war is not a legitimate instrument for advancing the Communist cause really amounts to a new and revised doctrine. In spite of that, it is true that the world is constantly nervous and on edge and never really at peace, because the Russians are still not able to resist the temptation to get some advantage out of racial and national difficulties and local troubles and rivalries which arise in this country or that. They hope in this way to bring about a Communist expansion.

The exception that I mentioned to Russia's general policy, which I believe is one of avoiding war, is the Cuban situation of a short time ago. Here they made a miscalculation on a scale that could have ended in international catastrophe. They did this because they calculated that by a demonstration of force they could redress the balance of power, which they conceived had moved against them. They could not know that President Kennedy would act with such calm and authority.

Therefore, one must conclude that they were prepared to risk war in order that by a short cut they might gain military equality with the United States of America. That is the most serious thing. In the event, as your Lordships know, because the American President handled the situation so skilfully, Mr. Khrushchev decided on caution and discretion and we got out of that particular difficulty and danger. I think that the Cuban situation has had long-term effects, because it has forced the Russians to think again. The Russians now know that there is in fact no short cut to strategic equality with the United States and only a very long haul ahead, with all the conflicting claims on investment, which we and other countries know so well, between the civilian programme inside Russia, which is necessary for Russia's development and progress, and the military programme. I think that it is too early to say that Mr. Khrushchev is up against a ceiling. The Russian economy is expanding, even if unevenly, but agriculture, housing, education, space and commercial goods are all now competing for priority against defence and there is less room for tightening of belts in Russia, now that people have come to know more of a freer and fuller life.

A result—and I think that it is a direct result—of the Russian experience following the Cuban adventure is that Russian foreign policy is for the moment on the defensive. I do not myself complain of that. That is a change, so long as Russia has really learned how dangerous it is to try to take short cuts or to expand their own Communist doctrine and to try to assert it in areas outside their own borders.

One can note, too—and there is plenty of evidence to support it—the stirring of a new mood in the Eastern European countries. This tendency arises out of prolonged austerity and very bleak prospects. Country after country in Eastern Europe is beginning to question the right of the Soviet Government to dictate the form of their economic development and the wisdom of the methods of economic integration which the Russians propose. Russia's colonies, if I may put it that way—and I do not think that it is an unfair description—now resent being bled for the benefit of a colonial Power and want to build up modern industries and earn wealth for themselves.

Again, there have been very meagre successes for Communism—in fact, there has been scarcely any success at all—either in Africa or in the Middle East. Nor can the Russians be very happy about the investments they have made in places in the Far East. Indeed, if we add up the results of Russian foreign policy over the last few years, they have arrived at a position in which they are faced with the possibility of ideological war on two fronts; and that cannot be a happy position for any country to be in. There are too many things in the Russian picture adding up to failure. If the Russians had a Parliament in their country, then I suggest that the Government would be in trouble in the field of foreign affairs—a position not unknown to Governments. Happily we are not in any particular trouble here in this field at the present time.

If one asked the question: "What next?", I do not think that anyone can predict the situation with any certainty. There is one possible difficulty, which we must watch with the greatest care. It could be that, faced with the crippling prospect of a new arms race with the United States, and the really astronomical sums of money which would have to be spent if they were to embark on a new series of nuclear tests; and faced with the bleaker and long-term prospect of widening the dispute with the Chinese, and the demands from their own people that they should enjoy a fuller and richer way of life, the Russians might be more inclined to seek practical accommodations with the West. Not for one single moment will they openly or privately renounce the long-term aim of destroying our Western society; but there is many a slip between the cup and the lip, and if the Russians seek compromise, and if they seek solutions which in practice will lead to results which we believe to be fair, even though their motives are tactical, I believe that we should welcome them, because there are a number of areas in which honourable compromise is possible and can be advantageous to both sides. I should hate to think (I say this in response to the tone and mood of the speech made by the noble Viscount, Lord Esher) that if the Russians made a move we should fail to recognise it and respond to it. I would assure the noble Viscount. therefore, that if there is the slightest possibility, any opening at all given to us by the Russians, we shall do our very best to respond and come to compromise agreements which are fair and just.

The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, put his finger on some of the possibilities. There is the possibility of a nuclear test ban; and there are two possibilities, either of which is feasible. You could either have a comprehensive ban covering tests in all environments, including underground, or you could have a ban in the atmosphere and under the sea. The question is asked immediately, of course: Is there any need for inspection in the field of underground tests?—and I expect the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, with the knowledge he has of these matters, will be talking about this matter. It is quite certain that, even with the modern instruments which we have—and they have been greatly improved within the last few years—there will be a number of doubtful events that will occur. The only way to be certain that those are not explosions is on-site inspection in a percentage of cases.

I will not this afternoon go into the number of inspections that might be necessary; the number can be a matter of argument and discussion with the Russians. But I think the simple point is this: that unless each side has full confidence that the other will observe the terms of the Treaty, then the Treaty will not stick. A ban which lasted only a few weeks or a few months would really be worse than no ban at all. Therefore, two things I think I can say. There is a minimum percentage of inspections which is necessary to prove that doubtful events are not nuclear explosions; and if they are not nuclear explosions, then neither Russia nor any other country has anything to fear.

When we are talking about what the inspectors should do when they go into Russia, or into one of our own countries, I am quite certain it can be so contrived that it is physically impossible for ourselves or others to conduct espionage in Russia while we are conducting the inspection in a particular area. So I hope that President Kennedy's recent speech will help to overcome the suspicion. I remember saying three years ago that the main difficulty we were up against was the Russian obsession about espionage; and this has been underlined again by my noble friend Lord Avon this afternoon.

So we have to reckon that it may be impossible to get a complete nuclear test ban; and with that in mind, in August, 1962, the United States and ourselves tabled a Treaty covering a ban in the atmosphere and under the sea. It is not as good as a complete ban would be, but it would end pollution in the upper air and radioactive fall-out. It would not require international verification, because we can hear anything that goes on in the air; and it could be completed immediately.

These, my Lords, are the reasons why the United States and ourselves decided to ask Mr. Averell Harriman and the Leader of your Lordships' House, my noble friend Lord Hailsham, to go to Moscow to try to persuade the Russians that now is the time to agree on a ban; and if this moment is lost, then the outlook, I think, is very poor and grim for all of us. The two main questions will obviously be the number of inspections, and what the inspectors are allowed to do when they get on the ground. I hope that the two very distinguished and able people who are going to talk with the Russians will be able to convince them that we are genuine in wanting a test ban, and in wanting it now. I know that my noble friend Lord Hailsham, in the task which he has to do, will have the good wishes of the House as he sets out. Meanwhile, in order to assist the two negotiators, the United States have announced that they will not test in the atmosphere unless others do; and we, as your Lordships know, have said the same thing.

If the deadlock on tests could be resolved—I know that the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has always felt this, as I do—it would give us a much better prospect of progress in the field of general disarmament, where inspection is really the essence of the matter; and for this reason. The Soviet Government have always agreed that we could verify the number of arms which are publicly destroyed—that is what is known in the jargon of Geneva as the "bonfire inspection". They have not agreed, so far, that the arms which are retained should be inspected. But we must be able to check the truth of the original declarations which each country is to make that the stated number of arms are retained; we must be able to check what is coming off the factory lines; and we must be able to check that no arms are hidden. Governments are, after all, the trustees for their countries' security, and they simply cannot rely—I do not know any country which could rely—on the counting of rockets and delivery vehicles at a "bonfire inspection" only.

This is not just the obstinacy of the West. Consider the situation of India. How could India discard its arms unless China agreed to inspection? It would be clearly impossible for India to do so. What is true of India is true of ourselves and other countries. If any country suspects that a potential enemy is privately replacing the arms which it publicly destroys, then there will be no disarmament agreement; and we must face that fact. That is why Russia's whole approach, in saying that the whole process of disarmament must be complete before any inspection is allowed, is totally unrealistic and can never bring about disarmament.

We have attempted to provide a plan which is acceptable. I should like to send the Western plan to the noble Viscount, Lord Esher, because, from what he said, I cannot believe that he has read it. It is a complete plan, a programme of disarmament for all stages where the balance is kept always between conventional and nuclear arms. That is essential, because the conventional arms—as again my noble friend said just now—are terrible weapons. We are apt to forget, when we think only in terms of nuclear weapons, what devastating weapons conventional bombs and rockets can be. So there must at all stages be a balance between conventional and nuclear. But our plan has concise provision for destruction of weapons across the whole board, maintaining a balance and that degree of inspection, including the inspection of factories, which is sufficient, and no more than sufficient, to safeguard against evasion.

The noble Lord, Lord Henderson, mentioned the point about the attitude of the Russians, and I should like to say a word or two about that. They have, so far, refused to give serious consideration to the plan for phased disarmament; and their scheme, so far, is total disarmament or nothing. But they have advanced one idea, which the noble Lord mentioned, in which there is some hope. It is the idea put forward by Mr. Gromyko for the retention of a limited number of rockets and delivery vehicles by Russia and the United States. Now he has indicated that those rockets remaining could be inspected on their launching pads. What he has not agreed to is that there should be any inspection to find rockets which might be concealed. We have tried to probe two questions: what number of rockets the Russians have in mind, and whether they would agree to any inspection to try to make sure that no rockets were concealed. This is not an academic question, because if ever we reach a stage in disarmament where only a few rockets are left, the concealment of an additional few could be an overwhelming danger. So this is a real problem which must be faced.

I hope that when the Geneva Conference resumes its consideration of overall general disarmament, we may be able to take up this question again, and that the Russians will be able to give us an answer to some of these questions which we have asked. I have always thought that, faced with the position where public confidence is so shaken, and the apparent gap between the Russians and the West so unbridgeable, we might be able to create a better atmosphere for physical disarmament if one began with some measures of a more modest kind.

They fall into the category just mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, but not developed to-day, of preventing the risk of war and, in particular, a non-dissemination agreement for nuclear weapons, and measures to minimise the danger of surprise attack, including, I would think, international observation over a wide area of Eastern and Western Europe. Mr. Rapacki, the Foreign Minister of Poland, put forward the first edition of a plan which had one grave weakness—a weakness, I think, which was fatal: it proposed complete disengagement which would have led to a no-man's-land between East and West. I think that our experience of that kind of no-man's-land is that it is an invitation to subversion and take-over, and a very great temptation to the greedy to which they are likely to succumb.

But there are all kinds of variants of anti-surprise attack plans. My noble friend Lord Avon put forward one, I remember. General Norstad put forward another; and there have been, for instance, plans which the Americans tabled at Geneva and which we ourselves have supported for international observation at road junctions, ports, road routes, marshalling yards—indeed anywhere where forces and material for agression might be assembled. If we could adopt a plan of that kind, I think it would have a certain value, and would begin to create the confidence which is so lacking to-day. The Americans and the Russians—and this is the only thing to come out of the paper tabled on measures of this kind last year—have agreed to instal what is known as the "hot line" so that they may be able to get in quick contact if there is a crisis. That is a modest success, but any success at all, however modest in this way, is to be welcomed.

There are various stubborn problems ahead of the Disarmament Conference: the nature of an international disarmament organisation, and how peacekeeping forces can be organised. These will be very stiff tests for the Conference, but I think it is your Lordships' feeling that, in spite of all the obstacles and against all the odds the Conference should persevere. Our troubles, of course, have largely sprung from the failure and inability of the countries of the world to organise collective security through the United Nations. Here, too, as the noble Lord pointed out, over the years Russia has consistently thwarted the objective of the majority by the use of her Veto. The Communist countries in general have actively pursued policies which have prevented co-operation being as fruitful as it might in the United Nations. Even so, the urge to work together in the United Nations has been so strong that, against all the odds, that organisation has made very notable contributions to the well-being of mankind.

Now there are signs that the Russians are bent on preventing the United Nations from undertaking, even on the modest scale that they do at the present time, peace-keeping operations of any kind. The Russians (and this includes the countries of Eastern Europe and other Communist countries) not only say that they will not pay, but say that, not paying, they must be allowed to continue to vote on all the issues, both in the Security Council and in the Assembly of the United Nations. Plainly, if that were condoned it would be an application of a double standard which would made a complete mockery of the United Nations Organisation.

By a special effort of the free nations, and by the fact that the Secretary-General has been successful with his bond issue we were able to pay the bills of the organisation for the first half of 1963. As the noble Lord said, even that has been possible only because the United States and ourselves, and a few other countries, have paid more than our share. We are encouraged by the discussions which have taken place, and the majority of members have tried their best to find a fair solution. Most countries, except the Communist countries, are agreed at least on this: that the finance of peacekeeping operations should be a collective responsibility. That they have put into a resolution. It is accepted that the economically developed countries would have to bear a relatively larger share of the contributions; and without prejudice to the principle of collective responsibility there is a place for voluntary contributions by Governments. But it seems certain that Russia will refuse any part in such action, and face the members of the United Nations with alternatives, all of which are bad.

Either we must abandon peace-keeping operations altogether, or the whole cost of those operations will fall on the nations who care for peace and stability, or by her own hand Russia will deprive herself of the right to vote, as will her Communist colleagues. One hopes (because Russia dropped the Troika proposal when they realised how unpopular it was) that they would realise that their attitude flouts the opinion of the great majority of the United Nations. But I see no sign of this. What could not be tolerated is a situation in which the Communist countries refused to pay their subscriptions; but claimed the right to continue voting and influencing on the issues concerned.

I gave notice two and a half years ago that the United Nations was approaching a crisis of confidence in its affairs. Some people did not like that forecast. I did not much like it myself, but I felt certain that it was true and it was coming. That forecast has turned out to be true—at least, I hope it has not, but I fear it has. If the members of the United Nations allow a double standard of that kind to operate within the Organisation, I say once more, as I said two and a half years ago, that the Organisation will break in our hands; and the members of the United Nations must be aware of that and prevent it.

I hope that I have made it clear in this House for three years that the United Kingdom Government and her Allies have searched, and are searching, diligently for areas of agreement with the Russians. So far—and I find this record depressing—the occasions on which we have been successful in reducing tension are those in which we have been involved in a serious clash of wills with the Russians, first, over Berlin, of which I gave an account to the House over a year ago, and, second, over Cuba. We hoped there was an exception, which was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and that was Laos. My noble friend Lord Avon realised years ago that a Laos which was unaligned and neutral could make all the difference between peace and war in South-East Asia because it would be a buffer between the expansionist tendencies of China and North Vietnam and the independent countries of the rest of South-East Asia. If the Communists in Laos take over the country, then Thailand and South Vietnam will feel themselves directly threatened; there will be infiltration and subversion, and possibly attack; and the forces of the Communists and of the SEATO Alliance will again be brought into direct confrontation.

It is possible to create a neutral Laos. Prince Souvanna Phouma is the personification of neutrality, and the people want nothing else other than to be left alone by the great Powers. The action which is necessary and required on the spot is really quite simple. It is that the International Control Commission, consisting of an Indian, a Canadian and a Polish member should be able to travel anywhere in the country. But here I must report two factors which make the organisation of peace in Laos difficult, although, I hope, not impossible. First of all, the Pathet Lao under their Prince Souvannaphong, a member, let us remember, of the Coalition Government in Vientiane, are actively preventing the International Control Commission from coming into their area. And they are doing more; they are nibbling away and capturing here and there new territory under the cover of the Geneva truce. Then—I regret to say this, but it is necessary—the Polish Commissioner has fallen in with these tactics and has refused to co-operate with his Indian and Canadian colleagues. I have tried to get the Russians and the Poles to recognise that this matter is within their control and that it is in no one's interest and cannot be in Russia's interest that we should revert to the brink of war which we so narrowly escaped in 1960. Once more I would ask for the assistance of Mr. Gromyko in keeping the Geneva agreements intact while there is time, and there is now only just time.

I thought of saying a word about the Middle East, but I think I will leave that to another occasion, as I have spoken a very long time, and come to a more general review, for a few minutes, of the world scene, keeping the interest of the free nations in the foreground of our thinking and British interests as a member of the various alliances and as a strong supporter of the Free World. I would list, if I may, two or three broad acts of policy which I hope the House will feel, against the background of our known policy, represents a coherent and a sensible whole.

First of all, Japan desires to become increasingly active on the world stage. I hope that on my recent visit to Tokyo I was able to convince the Japanese people that the United Kingdom welcomes and encourages their intention, and I believe it would be the feeling of the whole House that we should co-operate with the Japanese wherever we feel that it would lead to greater economic and political stability in the world. We believe that the creation of Malaysia will contribute to the political stability and economic strength of South-East Asia, bearing in mind in particular that the whole area is at present threatened by Chinese expansion; and we hope that as a result of the discussions which have been held here in London and elsewhere Indonesia and the Philippines now accept that this will be to their advantage in the long run.

We have used our good offices in India and Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute, because the Chinese action has brought to the forefront what has always been apparent to us but has not, perhaps, been so apparent to the people of India and Pakistan: that the defence of the sub-continent can be successfully organised only if India and Pakistan combine together to meet the external threat. There is no agreement at present on Kashmir, but at least there is a clearer understanding in both countries of the issues involved.

May I turn lastly to Europe? We have, of course, had great difficulties in the economic and political fields, following the breakdown of the talks in Brussels, but what we did, our first reaction (and I feel that this will be approved by my noble friend Lord Avon, at any rate), was to insist that the divisions which had appeared at Brussels should not be carried into the defence field in NATO. That is why I went on a particular mission to the NATO Council in March. That view was accepted by the Allies in the NATO Council and, what is more, it was I think clear to everybody in the Council that NATO must remain in every sense an Atlantic Alliance, because where else, except in a small degree in our country, is the nuclear power, and how else can we meet the enormous threat from the East and from Russia's great nuclear capacity?

So in the Council meeting in Ottawa only a short time ago the view was accepted that NATO should have a nuclear force, that the member countries should assign what they were able to assign to it, and that a contribution should be made by the European and North American Allies. There was only one qualification on that, and it is not really a qualification but an embroidery of it, and that is that in the new strength of Europe there is plenty of room which can be found for a greater part to be played by the European countries, including Germany—and may I say that I agree with what was said by the noble Earl, Lord Avon, that it is the planning, management and political control of the nuclear weapons which really matter to the Allies. When I come to the question of a multilateral force or possibly some new arm, I would point out to the House that a review of NATO strategy is being undertaken and that any new feature of this kind should fit into that strategic concept. But this proposal has been made to us by one of our greatest Allies and it deserves very close study, but in the context of the NATO strategy. So I am going to say no more to-day on that, because there will be many more conversations about it and also because this idea has not been examined in the NATO Council itself.

I hope that this survey of some of the aspects of the foreign situation—and I am in sympathy with the noble Lord when he says that one cannot possibly cover them all—will show that we are pursuing active and constructive policies. There are no short cuts. If we are going to lay a sure foundation of peace it must be done stone by stone, first looking for co-existence that is genuine and then trying to extend that into co-operation between men and nations.

4.50 p.m.


My Lords, I should like first to welcome the general tone of the Foreign Secretary's statement, as I am sure all noble Lords will, in its conciliatoriness and hopefulness towards the possibilities of getting a breakthrough with the Soviet Union during next month's talks; and I should like in a moment to examine what obstacles there may be on our side to such a breakthrough and to suggest to the House that it may not be as distant as is commonly thought.

It seems to me that the time has come to reassess the whole drift and tenor of Western policy in the world. I think the time has come because President Kennedy has now had more than half his term of office and it is clear what his Administration is up to and what is the way in which it sees the world. I believe myself that it sees the world in part, wrongly, and in a way in which, I should have thought, could have been largely corrected by initiatives from the British Government. My Lords, a test ban would be a very good thing, just as aspirin is a very good thing when you have typhoid, but it would not cure the world's fever. An insistence on seven on-site inspections, on three, on none, on eight, on twenty, on twelve—each side claims different numbers at different times; the only thing they have in common is that they are absolutely necessary when you are claiming them, and anyone who thinks otherwise is either a traitor or an ignoramus—this insistence on absolute figures, straitjacketed as it is, seems to me no more than a sort of political immaturity on the part of the great powers vis-à-vis the new world in which we live. It is the little neutrals who now show maturity. They prepared a most ingenious and helpful compromise in Geneva earlier this year. They were going to propose 31 to 35 on-site inspections in seven years, with a maximum in any one year, but the two great Powers fell upon them and buffeted them and clawed at them until their ranks broke and they gave up their attempt. The British Government was unfortunately an accessory to this action.

Although some on-site inspections would still be a good thing—and here, of course, I must agree with what the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary said—the need for them is decreasing very fast, and flexibility, I hope, will be the order of the day when the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, visits Moscow. I suggest to noble Lords who are interested in the realities of international politics that they look at the article by Doctor Thirlaway of the Atomic Energy Authority (this does not mean the Government Front Bench; they probably gave him permission to print the article, and a very good thing, but other noble Lords) in the New Scientist for May 9. It is a fascinating story of how they are learning to distinguish between earthquakes and tests. When the earth at the seismograph moves up and down one-fiftieth of the diameter of a 'flu virus, is it because the earth at the seismic event moved up and down, or because it moved back and forth and the direction of movement was changed at some point between the event and the seismometer where the lay of the strata changed? That is the sort of question on which the political future of mankind now hangs.

The pace of advance in seismology is fast at present and will increase. I wonder how many in this House and outside who have said, "We must not go faster than science will allow, and science at the present dictates such and such a hard political line", know that it is only now, after all these years, that we are beginning to build seismic research stations in the best places for seismic research, which includes the best places for distinguishing between bomb tests and earthquakes, instead of where we used to build them before, which is near the universities. That is a measure of the speed with which we could progress and are progressing.

It is rather a bitter thing to see the great phalanxes of the old order parroting their cries of "seven" or "three" while the raw materials of agreement and advance lie untouched behind their backs. Only two days ago President Kennedy himself said in Germany that we needed a test ban to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons to more countries. We need it, and sorely; but that is not one of the things it will do for us. What it will do will be to give us something in hand, something like the "hot line" agreement, only bigger; and if it is maintained over several years it will begin to put an end to the qualitative arms race, though not the quantitative one, in nuclear weapons, though not in their means of delivery or in other types of weapons, among the three existing nuclear Powers, but not among others. More important than all these, as I judge importance, it will reduce the amount of radio isotopes now piling up in the bones and flesh of children, and will reduce the load of genetic damage which this generation is projecting on to its descendants.

But it will not stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Why should it? It is a mystery to me how any body of men as well informed as President Kennedy and his advisers can ever have thought it would. Let us imagine that we ourselves are de Gaulle. One day the Soviet and the American ambassadors come to us hand in hand and say, "We have got a test ban and we want you now to stop your testing programme "—that is, not to develop low-yield fission weapons and not to develop thermo-nuclear weapons. What will be the effect? This is precisely the Russo-American agreement at French expense, or at European expense, which has always been de Gaulle's nightmare. This is precisely the thing for fear of which he felt driven to develop his national nuclear force in the first place. If we say to him or to anyone else down the line—India, Australia, West Germany, the U.A.R., Israel, Sweden—"Now I have enough weapons to destroy the whole world twice over I am not going to develop any new types. I am just going to go on building the ones I already know how to build until I can destroy the world four times over, and meanwhile you must not develop any at all", what answer do we expect? To say that, is to say, "My strength justifies your weakness". It is to say, "I may be strong because I know how to temper strength with wisdom, but you may not, because you do not". A test ban will not hold China, and France has told us over and over that it will not hold her, either. We could physically blockade Gambier, the island in the Pacific Ocean where France plans to continue her testing programme, but nothing else will do it. And that is obviously a bad idea, if only because we cannot physically blockade the deserts of Western China to balance it.

But the test ban is not the only frayed lasso with which Kennedy is seeking to corral the wild horses of nationhood. The other is the multilateral force. I am delighted to see that the Government are quite clear they are not committed to it by the Nassau Agreement. I was glad to hear the lukewarm or even lukecold words the Foreign Secretary had to say about it just now, and I hope this morning's Press stories may be true when they suggested that Kennedy and Adenauer are beginning to agree together that it might be just as well to forget all about it. I do not need to tell this House that it is a military nonsense. I could not do so with half the vigour or authority with which the noble Viscount, Lord Mont gomery of Alamein, told it so last week. I will only say that I have met a great many naval men in the last four months on my journeys as rapporteur of the Defence Committee of Western European Union, and their lips have been either discreetly sealed or alternatively have spoken a lot of hard words about this possibility.

There are so many questions about the multilateral force. If surface ships are not vulnerable, why did the United States Navy choose the more expensive Polaris submarines for its own force. I think we know why: the Americans, perhaps with justification, regard their European allies as bad security risks. They do not want us to have access to the propulsion systems, and perhaps even more to the highly sophisticated communications systems, which they use in their nuclear submarines. This is what Admiral Rickover, the father of the Polaris submarines, persuaded President Kennedy of quite recently. The surface ships, if we get them, are going to need absolutely first-grade anti-submarine escorts, and that is going to take escorts away from the re-supply convoys; and that is going to cause the Russian blockade to be felt sooner; and that is going to tempt us to pre-empt on the Soviet submarine force as best we can by a nuclear strike on its bases.

The more of these nuclear forces you set up, the more likely you are to have to use them. It is not surprising, really. We can no longer even hope that the Polaris ships will be indistinguishable from merchant ships. In reply to a recent Soviet Note accusing us of being about to break the convention which forbids disguising warships as merchant ships, the West answered that they would be warships in the full sense of the word, with a distinctive silhouette and all the other insignia which would enable submarines and aircraft to tail them.

The multilateral force is not even a very likely way to avoid the stationing of strategic missiles on the soil of Europe. When Herr von Hassel, the German Defence Minister, accepted the multilateral force for Germany he said that this did not supersede Germany's request for medium-range ballistic missiles on German soil. SACEUR himself, General Lemnitzer, said only this month to the Assembly of Western European Union that he favoured a multilateral land-based missile force as well as the sea-borne one. He also said that he and SHAPE had not been asked their ideas at all on this by Washington. It is quite an odd feature of the whole story that this great gimmick for NATO unity, the mutilateral force, should be being sold by the Americans in a series of bilateral conversations and not in the organs of NATO at all. Even the procedure is disruptive. But still, perhaps a military nonsense may still be a bit of political good sense: it may be worth it. That is for the United States Administration to demonstrate. As for me, I believe that bluff in military matters is probably useful towards an enemy, but not towards one's own side. At any rate, the poor flustered Germans have been talked into believing that the multilateral force is worth it. Anything, they feel, to avoid the choice between the rival suitors.

What are we doing with Germany? Here is a people who fell dupe to the foulest ideology which exists, and committed the foulest crimes ever committed by any people, and were beaten in a necessary war. We all know that; we remember it. We do not often find it necessary to say it. The first thing that happened to them afterwards was that they were divided in two. One half then makes a marvellous economic recovery, and develops a decent democratic State, stable institutions, magnificent social services, pretty good intellectual freedom. All that is wrong is that it is only part of the country which develops them. Then we force that half to re-arm. Justifiable, I think. The Russians maintained this colossal conventional force and we needed to balance it in the West. But now what? Here is this half a country, split right down the middle, a prey to every sort of irredentism. If you were carefully to try to devise a soil in which the seeds of violence and strife might grow you could not do better. And all this in a country where few of us can remember how many inflations and revolutions they have had within the lifetime of their mature generation.

Then divisions and misunderstandings arise between France and the rest of us. De Gaulle goes to Germany and woos her. Kennedy goes to Germany and woo her. Our own Queen will go to Germany and woo her. Germany is a dismembered State, and we are com petitively twitching and plucking at that maimed body politic. We are saying, "Join me, and I will sell you weapons"; we are saying, "Join me, and I will lease you influence"; and we are saying, "Join me, and I will make you whole." But we cannot make Germany whole. The United States is engaged in a courtship dance on the Rhine, and the multilateral force is its display feathers. We are making Germany the arbiter of our fate and she is not stable enough. It is not safe. We must shoulder our own decisions, and we must not offload them on to shoulders which, politically and morally, are the weakest in Europe.

In sober truth the dilemma is clear enough. It is the dilemma of control. If the multilateral force is subject to American veto it provides no incentive for Germany to forego the development of independent national nuclear capability. If it is not subject to American veto, Germany might just as well be allowed independent nuclear capability. And the absurdity of it all is that Germany shows no sign of wanting independent national nuclear capability, at the moment. The multilateral force will only whet her appetite. The Eastern countries regard it as proliferation of nuclear weapons; they call it making Germany an associate member of the nuclear club. There is good ground for believing that the main quarrel between the Soviet Union and China, the underlying issue of that whole split, has been about Russia's unwillingness to help China to acquire nuclear weapons. So at least it is believed in Poland, and they should know better than we. If we go on with the multilateral force we shall give the Chinese an argument that the Russians can hardly resist. If we wish China not to have nuclear weapons we shall be trusting solely to the good will of Russia in not giving them to her. We must face this. Russia has been saying to China, "No, you cannot have them, because we are trying to reach an arrangement with the United States, and there will be disarmament". If the Chinese can turn round and say, "But the United States are giving them to the West European countries," it is in effect as if the United States herself gave them direct to China.

The test ban is good, but only as a key is good. When the key is turned, we still have to open the door and we still have to decide what to do in the room. The multilateral force bolts and bars the door which we are hoping to unlock with the test ban. The United States is now bringing to operational status one Minuteman missile every day. She is racing ahead of the Soviet Union in strategic delivery capability. As the Foreign Secretary said earlier to-day, the Russians know that there is no short cut to strategic equality, and I think that they also know that there is no long cut either. Nevertheless, the United States is maintaining her demand in the Geneva talks that means of delivery should be reduced by one-third in each of the three stages of disarmament. That is, she is daily increasing that which she is offering to decrease only proportionately.

I have burdened your Lordships with these figures before, so I shall be brief this time. There is such a thing as a minimum deterrent level: Jet us say, 50 missiles. These are enough to threaten intolerable retaliation to any attack. So say I have 300 missiles and you have 100. We reduce by one-third: I have 200, you have 67. We reduce by another one-third: I have 100, you have 33. You are below your minimum deterrent level. I have a first strike capability. You are therefore at my mercy. How can we expect the Soviet Union to accept that? And of course they do not.

But they have now officially proposed, as my noble friend Lord Henderson said in his opening speech—a matter which the Foreign Secretary returned to—the original American idea of the agreed transitional minimum deterrent. By this arrangement the two sides would come down to the same number of missiles, so that neither side can hope to attack and each side knows that it can retaliate. The Russians propose that this should be inspected. I should like to digress here for a moment. I would have asked the Foreign Secretary the question direct if he were here. I feel that there was a contradiction in his speech. He said at one time that the Soviet Union insists that disarmament must be completed before any inspection is permitted. He said at another time that the Soviet Union would not permit inspection of retained levels. The Soviet Union do indeed permit inspection of the retained missiles directly on the launching pad. That is part of their proposal.

The Soviet Union also permit inspection of the destruction of weapons—the bonfire type of inspection that the Foreign Secretary mentioned; and this is where he contradicted himself. The Soviet Union also permit the inspection of the factories which were making weapons, to see that they are no longer doing so; and the Soviet Union also permit inspection against surprise attack at transport nexuses—railway junctions, airfields, ports, et cetera. All these things are in the Soviet draft treaty and, with the exception of the inspection of the retained missiles, have now been on the table in Geneva for 14 months.

To return to the minimum agreed transitional deterrent, if the test ban is the key to the door, I believe that the agreed minimum deterrent is the way to open it. This is what will hold France. General de Gaulle has said so many times—I quote: Nothing will induce France to stop the development of independent nuclear capability but that the great Powers should cease the production of nuclear weapons and commence a reduction of their stocks. This minimum deterrent will not in itself hold China—we must let her into the United Nations before we can do any business with her—but it will certainly give us better hope of getting her into a disarmament arrangement if the present nuclear Powers are themselves doing something about it.

If we do not go for the transitional minimum deterrent, if we go on whetting the currently modest German appetite with this cross-gartered multilateral force, if we start a special kind of arms race within the alliance and build up and up with our eyes on our Allies instead of on the whole wide world, we face a cheerless prospect. Let us wish the Lord President well in his journey to Moscow. Let us also ask him and the Government to remember that the small good which may be accomplished there in achieving a test ban will swiftly be overtaken by the blind clicking of the Washington computers unless the whole of Western policy, both deterrence and disarmament, is drawn together so as to face in the same direction towards the establishment of a single transitional Western deterrent at minimum level. At present it is facing in two contradictory directions, and is often doing so even within the same speech.

Yesterday, in Frankfurt, President Kennedy said: Together our nations"— that is America and Germany— have developed for the forward defence of free Europe a deterrent far surpassing the present or prospective force of any hostile power. And he said again: Our defences are now strong—but they must be made stronger. Then, five minutes later, he said: Together we must explore the possibilities of leashing the tensions of the cold war and reducing the dangers of the arms race. If the Americans continue these self-contradictions, claiming disarmament but at the same time piling their national counterforce batteries sky high and trying to induct a half-willing Germany into the nuclear club, I for one should reluctantly—very reluctantly indeed—admit that a quiet West European minimum deterrent, based on a Franco-British force, might be worth considering among other possibilities.

5.14 p.m.


My Lords, the Motion put to us by the noble Lord has special reference to a test ban agreement. I suggest that we shall lose the real value of this Foreign Affairs debate if we confine it to too narrow a front—that is to say, merely to the problems connected with the test ban agreement, which of course we all want, and which I very much hope we shall get. That is why I was grateful, as the debate got under way, that it became widened, first by the noble Earl, Lord Avon, and then by the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary.

I should like to take a look at NATO and at its nuclear delivery set-up. Both of these need to be looked at through the right end of the telescope, and that is seldom done—hence the strait-jacket in which we find ourselves. I can claim to have a good working knowledge of what goes on inside NATO. I headed up the military side of the Western Union in 1948, the first organisation ever set up to create military strength in Western Europe against the threat from the East—before NATO was formed. In 1951 the Western Union was absorbed into NATO, under the first of the Supreme Allied Commanders, General Eisenhower, and I then served in NATO for seven more years. Those ten years in Continental Europe, working with the political and military politicians of NATO, were the most frustrating experience in the whole of my military life.

To-day, some fourteen years after the signing of the Treaty in Washington in March, 1949, what do we see? We see NATO in a state of disorder and confusion; its nuclear strategy and organisation is totally unco-ordinated; its views on the defence of the West are in a chaotic state; and we see a deep conflict of political purpose. What is the reason? The reason is intense nationalism, and, since 1948, a failure to subordinate national interests to the common good of all; that is to say, to the security of the Alliance. "Interdependence" has become a meaningless catchword. It is one thing for Ministers to sit around a table and make speeches which are written before they leave their home countries—


My Lords, I must object to that.


Then I withdraw that remark—after they have reached the council chamber: it is a very different thing to get anything done. In NATO every decision has to be unanimous: this is supposed to be its great strength. In actual fact, therein lies its great weakness, because it is almost impossible to get fifteen nations to agree on policy. I must admit that I personally found this rather convenient. When I was Chief of the Imperial General Staff I served one Prime Minister, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee. It needed only his one decision to send for me and "tick me off"—which happened about once a month. In NATO I served fifteen prime ministers, and I was quite safe. A unanimous decision was not possible, because I have never known fifteen prime ministers agree on anything.

NATO was formed to prevent Soviet expansion in Europe. It has done so. And in strengthening NATO, politically and militarily, lies the best hope for the Free World. It was never thought suitable, at the outset, to draw up a complete blueprint for the organisation; it was hoped that proper measures would be evolved, step by step, as the years went by. This has not happened, and when I left NATO in 1958, after ten years, it was clear to me that it had become a first-class political racket. And I have never had any reason since then to change that opinion. The waste of money in NATO is terrific. With a simplified organisation, streamlined and effective, we could have a far better defence for about half the cost. NATO needs a thorough overhaul and a fundamental re-design. It needs simplicity of organisation and focal points of decision in that organisation. Most of your Lordships, I imagine, will have read the Treaty. Article 12 reads as follows: After the Treaty has been in force for ten years, or at any time thereafter, the Parties shall, if one of them so requests, consult together for the purpose of reviewing the Treaty … NATO was born of collective insecurity. There is still collective insecurity, and the time for a review, in accordance with Article 12 of the Treaty, is long overdue.

I do not want to be too hard on the existing NATO. It has done a tremendous job; it stopped the war and it has given us peace. But after a successful battle the wise commander reorganises and prepares for what lies ahead, which his experience tells him will present him with a totally different problem. So it is with NATO. My Lords, the true enemies of NATO are not its critics. The true enemies of NATO are its friends, who have consistently encouraged it to do what it was never intended to do and cannot possibly do effectively. As at present constituted, with a membership of over 100 nations armed with everything from bows and arrows to nuclear weapons, it can never be anything but a forum for discussion—unless it is reorganised. I would urge Her Majesty's Government to request that a review of the Treaty, in accordance with Article 12, takes place as a matter of extreme urgency. So much for NATO. I will now turn to the nuclear delivery capability of the West.


My Lords, before the noble and gallant Viscount leaves the question of NATO, could he give some indication as to the way in which he thinks NATO might be reorganised as a result of this review?


My Lords, I think that would mean that I should make a very long speech. I am greatly in favour of short speeches. I do not want to speak for more than ten or twelve minutes. But if the noble Lord would like to have a talk with me outside, I should be delighted to give him my views. I could give him quite a "jugful".


Would not the noble Viscount give the House even a small "jugful"?


I think it had better come later on. Short speeches, if you do not mind. We have had some pretty long ones this afternoon.

With your Lordships' permission, a little back history will be necessary over this nuclear business. When nuclear weapons became available to the Armed Forces in NATO, I was serving as Deputy to the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. In that capacity I was involved in the deployment of the nuclear weapons and with the target systems. From the outset I pleaded for mobility; but, initially, mobility was very difficult because we had only liquid fuel.

When solid fuel became available, I gave it as my view that no nuclear launching sites for weapons should be deployed in Europe. The maximum mobility would be obtained in the air and on the sea. I added that, if we had no nuclear weapons on land in Europe, it would make it easier to reach some accommodation with Russia; and it was important to do that because of the rise of China. My advice was not taken. I have no complaint: I was not responsible; I was merely second-in-command. But let me make this point. Those who think that the land armies in Western Europe can use tactical nuclear weapons in battle without bringing on an all-out nuclear war involving megaton strategic weapons, are making a very great error.



We have always said so from this side.


Well, I say so now from this side. I have said so before. I said so at the Royal Academy banquet. Such thinking (I am sure the noble Earl the Leader of the Opposition would agree) must be stamped on at once; and very firmly. There are to-day some who think that you can conduct ordinary military operations within the concept of nuclear war. You cannot do it. But to-day war games and exercises are carried out by certain NATO nations, which begin with the firing of many thousands of tactical nuclear weapons deployed to-day in Europe. My Lords, it is vital to take every step possible to prevent nuclear war, and within that context the proper way to regard the nuclear weapon is as a deterrent to prevent war—and to be used only as a last resort. And, of course, we must have it, as the noble Earl, Lord Avon, said.

In your Lordships' House on May 28 last, the noble Lord the First Lord of the Admiralty stated that "Her Majesty's Government have given a general welcome" (those were the words used), in principle, to the concept of a mixed-manned NATO force; that is to say, surface ships carrying Polaris missiles and manned by mixed crews. I gave it as my opinion that same afternoon, that the concept was all "utter and complete poppy-cock". The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, added that an American Admiral, Admiral Ricketts, accompanied by a small naval team, would be in London early in June to discuss the military aspects of that problem. I should like to be told what was said to Admiral Ricketts, and I think we have a right to know. I have some small experience of High Command in war, in battle and in the conduct of war, and I can inform Her Majesty's Government that the general welcome given to the concept of a mixed-manned nuclear force of surface ships with Polaris weapons is the biggest military nonsense ever perpetrated by the Government. Instead of fighting the enemy outside the ships, the mixed crews are much more likely to fight each other inside the ships.

I remember that some years ago it was suggested there should be a NATO aeroplane; and a NATO maritime aircraft has, in fact, been developed by the French, and produced by a consortium of firms, the different parts of the whole project being parcelled out between various countries. But attempts to sub-divide development projects and production between NATO countries have proved a lamentable failure. There may be one or two exceptions—though if so, I do not know about them. This failure is not surprising. Commercial interests are involved. Unless firms are prepared to co-operate on terms agreeable to them, how can anything be started?

It is not possible to progress in that way, unless NATO was a supra-national authority which, through its sovereign power, could dictate how the resources of member nations were to be spent, taking into account the political and economic problems of the whole area over which it holds sway. But as I have already made clear, NATO is not a supranational authority. You cannot have a NATO ship or a NATO aeroplane. You might just as well set up a breeding establishment and try to produce a NATO man. The only way for an alliance to fight effectively in battle, is to have national forces welded into a fighting machine. The concept to which the Government have given a "general welcome" is a political gimmick, to try to improve the general bonhomie in NATO. I agree that the general bonhomie could do with some improving, but militarily it is absurd.

Now, my Lords, let us stretch our imagination and assume that the politicians are determined to perpetrate this absurdity—and it does not need a great deal of stretching, actually. We must then demand clear answers to three questions. The first question is: is this mixed-manned force to be part of the strategic deterrent? If so, it is not needed. The strategic deterrent is heavily over-subscribed already. The second question is: is it to take part in the tactical battle in NATO Europe? If so, how can a commander in NATO Europe operate megaton weapons which may well be 2,000 miles away? The third question is: how is it to be paid for? Will the Foreign Office pay? They seem to like the concept. The Defence budget is pruned, heavily pruned, to the last penny. If this force is to be created, something must be cut. What will be cut? If the Government were to bring the British Army out of Germany and bring it back to Britain, much money would be saved. So whatever way we look at the concept of mixed-manned NATO surface ships armed with Polaris weapons, we have to conclude that it is utter nonsense. Everybody knows it. But Ministers seem afraid to say so—presumably because it would offend the Americans, who invented the nonsense. I do not know what the first NATO ship will be called when it is launched, but I should call it the NATO Ship "Poppycock".

My Lords, in my profession the commander-in-chief in the field must ensure that what is strategically desirable is tactically possible with the forces at his disposal. That is one of the first rules of strategy, which I know very well. We are now at peace, and there must be a close marriage between political policy and military possibilities—that is to say, Defence Departments must ensure that what is politically desirable makes sound, military common sense. In other words, is it militarily "a good egg"? Sometimes it is very difficult to decide, and sometimes it does not really matter; but in this case it does matter, because the whole object of the NATO military machine is to be able to fight effectively in battle if attacked, and the only way to do that is to have national forces welded into a fighting machine. To get that welding is not too easy, even in war. How much more difficult is it in peace? I know very well that with mixed-manned forces it is impossible to fight effectively.

I read in the Press, I think yesterday—I know one cannot believe everything one reads in the Press, but I did read this—that the President of the United States and Dr. Adenauer have agreed that mixed-manned surface ships in NATO armed with Polaris missiles are quite "a good egg". I can tell them both, the President and Dr. Adenauer, in no uncertain voice, that it is "a completely rotten egg". I understand that the President is coming to England next week-end to discuss this very question, among others, with the Prime Minister. I would urge the Government to have courage and to tell the President that Great Britain will never agree to a military absurdity—one which will weaken the military effectiveness of the NATO military machine.

5.34 p.m.


My Lords, as the Foreign Secretary said in the course of his speech, the debate has already been illuminated by a number of most admirable speeches. There have been the penetrating analyses of the situation by the Foreign Secretary himself and by my noble friend Lord Avon; there has been a characteristically wise and moderate speech by the noble Lord, Lord Henderson; there has been, I thought, an extremely interesting and well-informed disquisition on nuclear problems by Lord Kennet; and there has been an equally characteristic and breezy speech by the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein. But this wide area which has been covered by our discussions this afternoon is, after all, not unusual. Indeed, foreign affairs debates in this House inevitably range so wide and cover so extensive a field that it is not at all easy to know beforehand that anything that one has made up one's mind to say will have the slightest relevance to the course which the debate actually takes. But, of course, we all have to take a chance on that; and at any rate the subject to which I propose to devote the few minutes for which I shall trouble your Lordships should, I hope and think, be relevant to any debate, of whatever character, on foreign affairs—and I am more encouraged in this by the fact that the subject has already been touched upon by both the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and the Foreign Secretary himself.

It is the subject of the United Nations; what it was intended to be by those who brought it into being and what it has in fact become. We all remember very well in this House, I am sure, the structure which was contemplated by those whose task it was to draft the Charter of the United Nations at San Francisco in 1945. There were to be three main elements. First, there was the Security Council, which was the only really executive part of the structure of the new institution, at any rate so far as the preservation of peace was concerned. That, as we know, was composed of what were then regarded as the Great Powers, who were permanent members, and also a number of temporary members, who were chosen, broadly speaking, from certain groupings of nations—the British Commonwealth, South Americans and so on—so as to make the Council, so far as possible, geographically comprehensive.

Under the Charter as originally conceived, the Security Council—and the Security Council alone—could initiate action by the United Nations Organisation for the purpose of preserving international peace. It is perfectly true that its capacity to perform that function was limited by the existence of a power of veto in the hands of the permanent members of the Council. Many of us felt, I think, even at that time—those of us who went to that conference—that the inclusion of the veto was very unfortunate, and that it was calculated to hamstring the power of the new institution to act in an emergency. But it was eventually held to be justified by the fact that if the Great Powers were divided on any issue a situation would be created where it was clearly impossible for the United Nations as a world institution to take any action at all. So much for the Security Council.

Then there was, in addition to that Council, a second element: the Assembly of the United Nations. It was not the intention of the original framers of the Charter that the Assembly should have any executive powers at all with regard to peace and security. Its function was to give an opportunity to the smaller countries to express their views, which they clearly had a right to do as members of the organisation. No doubt what they said would be taken note of by the Security Council: bat that was all that the members of the Assembly could do. They could express their views; but they could not direct or control policy on matters concerned with peace. And, finally there was, of course, the Secretariat, which was in effect the Civil Service of the United Nations, composed of officials whose job was not to initiate policy but merely to implement decisions on various subjects, which had already been reached, on the political plane, by the Security Council and the General Assembly. That, as I remember it—and the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, will correct me if I am wrong—was broadly the structure of the United Nations, as originally conceived by those who drew up the Charter: and I would emphasise that it was to that particular structure, and not to any structure of any kind, that we gave our approval when we signed the Charter in 1945.

I am sorry to have troubled your Lordships with facts which are so very elementary; but I think it is important that we should not entirely forget them, now that the United Nations has evolved into something entirely different. The first thing that went wrong—and this happened in the early stages of its history—was, as the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, has said, the intemperate use by the Russian Government of the power of veto. Even those who had supported the inclusion of the Veto in the Charter had always intended that it should be used only on rare occasions; but it soon became clear that the Soviet Government intended to use it on all and every occasion when decisions of the Council did not exactly accord with their own individual policy. As a result, the Security Council, to whom all executive action regarding peace had been entrusted, became more and more inhibited from taking any decision at all. In this situation, those who directed the affairs of nations were faced with the necessity of making up their minds whether to acquiesce in the continuation of a state of affairs which must largely paralyse the organisation and might well condemn it to an early death, or to transfer final decisions from the Security Council to the Assembly. No one can help sympathising with them in this hideous dilemma with which they were confronted.

But I am not certain that I would agree with the noble Lord, Lord Henderson—if I understood him aright—that the decision to which they did come was, in the long run, the best one. For what, in fact, they did by the "Uniting for Peace resolution" of November, 1950, was to transfer power whenever there was a deadlock on the Security Council, from that body to the Assembly; and that was a thing the framers of the Charter in 1945 studiously avoided doing. For they knew very well that an Assembly composed largely of small and irresponsible States was utterly unsuitable for reaching balanced and impartial decisions on great questions of world policy.

That was a bad enough thing in itself, and it led to yet a further departure from the original intentions of those who framed the Charter. For the Assembly, being far too large and heterogeneous for the functions which were being imposed on it, began to delegate its powers more and more to the Secretary-General and to the Secretariat. The Assembly would pass a resolution, phrased in wide, indefinite and apparently agreeable terms, and leave it to the Secretariat to implement it: and the Secretariat would interpret it according to their own personal predilections.

A good example of this was the resolution of February 21, 1961, regarding the Congo, a resolution which, to Her Majesty's Government at any rate, who were one of the main members of the Security Council, meant that force should not be used to impose the will of the United Nations on Katanga—a view which our own representative expressed quite unequivocally at the time the resolution was passed. Yet force has been used, again and again and quite ruthlessly, ever since; until Katanga—a State operating in practice that policy of multi-racialism which we were pledged as a nation to support—has been utterly destroyed. And we, who had made it clear from the start that we were utterly opposed to a policy of force, had not only to acquiesce in it but largely to pay for it; whereas the small, irresponsible States to which I referred above have not, for the most part, paid one penny towards carrying out a policy that was not ours but their own. Noble Lords can tell me what they like; but I cannot feel that that is right.

Surely it would have been far better that the original purpose of the framers of the Charter should have been adhered to, and, if there had been disagreement between the Great Powers and it reached a point when no common policy could be devised that was acceptable to all the members of the Security Council—if that had happened—then the Security Council should have stated quite frankly that there was no common policy on which the United Nations could agree and that therefore the Organisation could not intervene at all. At any rate then our own name would not have been besmirched, as I feel it has been, and our impotence would not have been exposed, as it has been during the last two or three years.

And now the point has been reached when the head of one of the member States of the British Commonwealth, the Prime Minister of Uganda, has stated openly that he offers his territory to train an army to commit aggression against other British territories; and not a squeak comes out from the British Lion. Nothing, I believe, has done more to lower our authority in the councils of the world than our passive acquiescence in policies that everyone knows were utterly abhorrent to us.

Of course, I recognise the difficulty, as anybody must—now that things have gone so far—of rectifying the position in the United Nations Organisation and restoring it to that which was originally intended by those who framed the Charter. Once powers have been given to the Assembly, that body will not willingly agree to the withdrawal of such powers; and we must all recognise that. But if power—final power—is to continue to reside in the Assembly, let that body at any rate insist that all members alike contribute to the cost of policies which the Assembly has approved. I gather from the speech of my noble friend the Foreign Secretary that active steps are now being taken to produce that result, and I would wish those steps all success. But if they fail, and if other members still refuse to make their contribution, then I hope sincerely that we shall not continue to pay, as in the past, for policies to which we are utterly opposed.

In that connection, may I, very diffidently, draw the attention of Her Majesty's Government to one development which has not yet been mentioned this afternoon? I heard on the B.B.C. a few days ago that the Government of Ghana are proposing that the Secretary-General of the United Nations should be invited to discuss the desirability and feasibility of a scheme for the creation of a new fund to be called the "Peace Fund", to be placed at the disposal of the SecretaryGeneral—and I emphasise that that is where it is, under the proposal, to go. To this fund should be asked to subscribe—so I understood it—not only Governments but all lovers of peace throughout the world. It was stated, quite frankly, that this was to ease the burden on countries like Ghana, who cannot afford to pay their full contribution. This sounds a splendid plan, and I understood on the B.B.C. it was well received. Indeed, I believe Her Majesty's Government themselves supported it, though only for consideration; they did not tie themselves to accept the scheme. But I do urge them to approach it with some considerable caution. For we should do well to remember that Ghana's ideas of maintaining peace, as evidenced by their attitude to the problem of Katanga, may not be quite the same as ours.

If the Government think it expedient to support this proposal—and I hope personally that they will not—then I suggest that it is essential that the fund should be placed in the hands, not of the Secretary-General, but of the Security Council, and released only as a result of a vote of that body. Only so can we ensure that a fund subscribed for one purpose shall not be used for another.

There is also, if I may go back to the main problem which I am discussing, one further decision which I suggest that the Government could take, and take now. They could decide—and I hope that they will decide—to devote all their efforts in future to get back power into the hands of the Security Council, where it ought to be. Even the Russians, I gather, would agree to that. That would at any rate go some way to take control from these immature countries, the main purpose of whom seems to be to use the Charter itself as a cloak for the commission of offences, such as unprovoked aggression in support of their own national policy, without bringing oh them that retribution which, under the Charter, they might otherwise expect. They are like criminals—perhaps that is too strong a word: they are like transgressors who put on policemen's uniform in order to commit a breach of the law.

There is also one other principle, which I hope Her Majesty's Government will henceforth not only champion in words but regard as broadly governing anything they do in the international field—in short, govern their whole foreign and imperial policies. It is this, that we should make it clear that, in any international organisation of which this country is a member, we will neither interfere ourselves nor condone any intervention by the organisation in question in matters coming within the domestic jurisdiction of other member States. I believe this to be absolutely basic to the peace of the world. And yet it is a principle which at present is falling sadly into disuetude. More and more members of the United Nations—even members of the British Commonwealth—feel themselves justified in interfering by methods of cold and even hot war in the internal affairs of their neighbours.

The main methods that are adopted are two. They either say that there has been in the country concerned a breach of the Charter of Human Rights—and human rights, my Lords, though extremely difficult to define, are all too easily exploited; or they paint a picture of conditions in the country in question as being "explosive and dangerous to international peace", and so requiring immediate intervention by the United Nations, if peace is to be preserved, although the picture they paint may have no relation to realities at all.

I should like to give your Lordships a small instance of this within my own experience. I happened a few weeks ago to be in Central Africa, and one morning I read in a local newspaper a despatch from New York which gave a very sombre account indeed of the situation in Southern Rhodesia. It talked of an "explosive situation". It mentioned an almost resigned acceptance of the prospect of violence. It said that the situation between whites and blacks deteriorates with every day and finally it mentioned a steady emigration of the white population. That is a very grim picture. It is a picture of a country crumbling into chaos and ruin. It so happened that two days later I found myself on a remote farm, sixty miles from the nearest town, in an area with a vastly preponderant African population. My wife and I were quite alone in the homestead; but no one even suggested closing the windows or doors at night; and I remember thinking, at the time, that the situation compared fairly favourably in that respect with conditions in England itself. And what is the truth which emerges from experiences of that kind? I think it is this. The propaganda which is being disseminated by the Afro-Asians is at present, at any rate, largely just pernicious bunkum, deliberately put about by them for objects of policy and with a view to creating a situation in which they could ask the United Nations to intervene.

Those are the kind of methods which are being actively pursued at the present time. They have even been insinuated into conferences and meetings of members of the British Commonwealth, as we saw from the proceedings of that Conference, a year or two ago, which led to the departure of the Union of South Africa from the Commonwealth. I do not like the policy of the Government of the Union of South Africa any more than many other noble Lords who are here to-day; but I believe that a disastrous precedent was created when that country was forced out. For surely we had no more right to interfere in their internal affairs than with, say, the internal affairs of Australia or even Russia: and what is more, I am pretty sure that a continuation of that type of thing will be fraught with danger to us all.

Such are the views which I have made bold to put, very diffidently, before your Lordships this afternoon. I believe that over the United Nations we are at the present time coming to a parting of the ways. Were that organisation to be allowed to work as it was intended to work, I still believe that it could be of inestimable benefit to mankind. But if it continues on its present lines, I greatly fear that it may well end in bringing only misery and chaos on the world.

5.57 p.m.


My Lords, I should like at the outset, before he leaves the Chamber, to give the noble and gallant Field Marshal an assurance that I will follow his advice and be extremely brief. I think that it is important, especially in a debate of this kind, that one should be brief. It is only for that reason that I will not venture to follow the noble Marquess who has just sat down into the United Nations argument, which he has put forward so well; because I think that the only hope in a debate of this kind is that every speaker should deal with a different subject.

The subject on which I would venture to address your Lordships this afternoon is timing. Politics is a game—the greatest game, because it is the game which is played for the highest stakes. But, like all games, including golf, the essence of politics is timing. When the present Administration was formed and the Prime Minister took over, it was clear what his first task must be—it was to restore the Anglo-American Alliance. He brilliantly succeeded. And this is a public service which will never be forgotten.

But it seems to me that his second task, if he believed in it—and I have every reason to believe that he did—was to get this country into a United Europe as quickly as possible. In order to do that, he had to enter the Common Market negotiations from the outset, take an active part in them, and issue a clarion call to the nation, which I think would have been heeded by everybody except the noble Earl who leads the Opposition. We could then still have stepped on board the European ship. But, instead, the Prime Minister turned to a Summit Conference, dragging a reluctant Eisenhower after him.

Let no one impugn his sincerity or good intentions. Sooner rather than later, a Summit Conference has got to be held, if the human race is to survive. All I venture to suggest this evening is that he got the timing wrong. The Paris Conference crashed, not because of the U.II, but because it was held too soon. The Brussels negotiations crashed because they were held too late. When the Prime Minister finally decided that he was politically strong enough to take us into the Common Market, if he could, four fateful and fatal years had been allowed to pass. For us, all through those years the European tide had been ebbing steadily; and when at last we took the plunge, the West European ship, with de Gaulle standing on the bridge in aloof and solitary grandeur, was hull down over the horizon. That is why we missed it.

We have missed the European tide, so far as action is concerned, on three critical occasions. First, when we refused to join in the negotiations for the establishment of the Coal and Steel Community—and my noble friend Lord Avon played a great part in the debate on that in the House of Commons, when the Conservative Party were still in Opposition. Secondly (and here I am afraid that I find myself in disagreement with him), when we refused to join the European Defence Community; and again when we did not take part, in time, in the Common Market negotiations. I would only say, in a phrase made famous by Sir Winston Churchill in another connection: Three times is a lot. Today the British people realise, at long last, that their leadership of a United Europe has been thrown away during all the years when they could have had it on their own terms; and that the new multi-racial Commonwealth, which was the preferred alternative of successive Governments, is, for practical purposes, largely a myth. It need not always be so; but that is how it stands at present; and we had better face up to it. That is why I think this nation is feeling at the moment lost, bewildered and not sure of its destiny or its purpose.

My Lords, where do we go from here? That is the question that has re-echoed through this House this afternoon. There have been many criticisms of President Kennedy, and I daresay that on the details of nuclear armaments he may be going a little wrong at the moment. But yesterday, at Frankfurt, he made a speech which has not been mentioned much this afternoon, although it was, in my view, a momentous declaration. It was a speech which, if it had been made in 1912 or in 1937, would undoubtedly have prevented two world wars. He advanced the proposition of an Atlantic partnership. He said that defence was indivisible. I am now going to quote his words, because they are extremely important, He said: Our commitment to Europe is indispensable"— Imagine if President Wilson had said that before the First World War; or President Roosevelt before the Second World War!— in our interests as well as yours. War in Europe, as we have learnt in 40 years, destroys peace in America. A threat to the freedom of Europe is a threat to the freedom of America. Those who would doubt our pledge or deny this indivisibility would only give aid and comfort to the men who welcome any Western disarray. These, my Lords, are extremely important words.

Then on economic policy, he said: Now that other nations, including West Germany, have found new economic strength, it is time for common efforts here, too. This was a clear reference to the shortage of liquid reserves to buttress the two great trading currencies of the Western world—namely the pound and the dollar; and I am sure that he also had in mind, what my noble friend Lord Avon had in mind: the fact that a large number of countries in this world are getting steadily richer, while an even larger number are getting steadily poorer. We talk and read of stockpiling of raw materials, of tin and rubber, in the United States, and of surplus food supplies stocked in granaries and cold storage all over the world, while we know that millions of people are living on the borderline of starvation. That cannot go on indefinitely, and the problem can be solved only by a united effort. I thought it was a most useful suggestion made by my noble friend Lord Avon, that we should take joint action on these matters. But President Kennedy said the same thing yesterday.

Finally, he said, as a political objective: We work towards the day when there may be real peace between us and the Communists. Observe, my Lords, that he did not say, "when the Communists will have disappeared", or "when the Communists will have changed completely", but when there may be real peace between us and the Communists. The Times reported this morning that he wanted to use the word "co-existence", but was dissuaded from doing so, at this juncture, by Dr. Adenauer. I believe that this is an extremely important pronouncement, and that we have not yet paid sufficient attention to it.

There is, of course, a deep divergence, which we must recognise, between President Kennedy and President de Gaulle. It is no good trying to hide this, to camouflage it or hush it up. For President Kennedy, in his own words: Change is the law of life. There are no German problems, or American problems, or even European problems. There are world problems", to be met, as he said, by a system of co-operation, interdependence and harmony within an Atlantic Community. That is President Kennedy's conception. For President de Gaulle, complete nationalism is the only enduring political form; and, therefore, separate national nuclear deterrents, which to President Kennedy would be "to turn the clock backwards". This chasm is at present unbridgeable, and I do not think it is any good for Her Majesty's Government to pretend that there can be at the present time any accommodation between President Kennedy's outlook and that of President de Gaulle. Indeed, I see President Kennedy's visit to the Continent of Europe at the present moment largely as an attempt to rally the other countries of Western Europe against the policies of General de Gaulle. The disagreement between them is perfectly legitimate; it is sincere and genuine. But there it is; they cannot even meet.

Before I sit down, I wish to say that in my firm conviction we have now to choose between one or the other. If it had not been for the Nassau Agreement, I believe that President de Gaulle would have had us into Europe. But, in his eyes, it was an Anglo-Saxon tie-up; and he thought that we should be bringing in the United States with us. In my view, our choice should be to go along with President Kennedy. I am not qualified to talk about the various nuclear weapons, which no one understands except the Chiefs of Staff and the scientists—who disagree with one another. I am not sure that even they understand all about them, although I was much impressed by the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, who spoke with great knowledge and authority on the subject—I would certainly not contradict him—and also by a letter in The Times this morning from Mr. Alastair Buchan, another great expert. I agree with him that at present we should certainly not commit ourselves too deeply to what he described as: multilateral control of an irrelevant force on ambiguous terms". That is put a little more politely than the noble and gallant Field-Marshal's description of it, which was shorter, and perhaps pithier—"Poppycock". But I find myself in sympathy with those who feel that these political ships would be likely to lead more to internecine warfare than to any effective warfare against a possible or potential enemy. I think that Her Majesty's Government, although they have accepted it in principle, should be very cautious before they go into this.

I should also like to say that I agree entirely with the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, that there is no evidence at the present time that the Germans have asked for, or want, nuclear weapons themselves. I cannot imagine anything that would do more damage to the world, or bring the danger of war nearer and make it more of a reality. I say that having been to almost every country behind the Iron Curtain in the last two years. This does not go for Russia alone, but for the lot—Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Roumania. They all feel the same thing, and said in unequivocal terms: "The real danger of another world war, is that … by one means or another, camouflaged or openly, West Germany is given nuclear weapons. Then we shall be on guard, and anything can happen." I repeat that I do not believe that at the present time the Germans want these weapons.

I should now like to say how much I agree with the noble and gallant Field Marshal, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, that you cannot make a distinction between tactical and strategic nuclear weapons. It is a frightfully dangerous thing to do. Once you start shooting off these tactical nuclear weapons, of great power and with ranges going up to 1,000 miles, where are you going to stop? You do not stop. You go straight up in an escalator which reaches the strategic weapon in about fifteen minutes. I think it is extremely dangerous to treat these so-called tactical nuclear weapons as if they were harmless popguns which you can shoot around frontiers if there is a local riot. You will find yourselves with the destruction of the world on your hands, if you are not careful.

Finally, I think there is enormous danger in the proliferation of national nuclear forces. I think that we have to face the fact that, with France in her present mood and under her present leadership, it is probably unavoidable, but we should do everything in our power to stop it. This is basically a political problem, and the question we have to ask ourselves is whether we accept the fact, as both President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev do, that in the modern world nuclear power is indivisible. For my part, I do accept it; and in consequence I accept the ultimate responsibility of the United States as the sole custodian of the nuclear weapon. I do not think that independent national nuclear deterrents should be given any encouragement by this country. Our ultimate aim should be a single nuclear force for the West, to balance that which Russia has established in the East; and then to devise (and this, I think, is important), within NATO, political machinery which will give us a real share instead of only a paper one—if that—in determining the policies which will govern the use of that force.

We have not, as the noble and gallant Viscount has pointed out again and again, evolved within NATO the necessary political machinery to direct the enormous power which is at our disposal. Unless and until we succeed in establishing not only an Atlantic partnership but an Atlantic community, on firm foundations, in the political, military and economic fields, the prospects of reaching a test ban agreement or a genuine détente with the Communist world will, in my view, be very slim. But we must be careful to do whatever has to be done in such a way that, at a later stage, France will be able to join. We must not make it too difficult for France. France can do nothing at the moment; but France will not go on like this for ever. Once again it is a question of timing. The British rôle, as I see it, in the immediate future is to act as link and linchpin, first, between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean; and, secondly, through the expansion of trade between East and West. Those should be our main objectives at this moment of time. Then, I think, we shall regain, as a nation, the sense of mission and purpose that we seem for the moment to have lost.

6.13 p.m.


My Lords, it is always very difficult to follow the noble Lord who has just resumed his seat, as his arguments are so cogently and validly put that even when his speech is something in the nature of a curtain lecture to his old cronies I hardly feel competent to follow him. I agree largely with almost everything that he said, but I want to devote my own speech to the problem of Germany. I have on past occasions in these Foreign Affairs debates directed attention particularly to the problem of Berlin, and, indeed, to the problem of Germany generally.

It is very difficult to get people in this country interested in this problem, and to persuade them how very serious it is. I was glad that the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, referred a good deal to Germany, and of course my noble friend Lord Kennet made a very important point in regard to it. But people in this country are not very attentive to the grievances of the Germans. This is very natural. After all, they know perfectly well, as my noble friend Lord Kennet pointed out, that in two world wars the German people have brought misery and destruction to a large part of Europe and to much of the world. But this problem is not just a problem of Germany itself: it is a problem of the world, as the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, was, in effect, indicating: because as long as these problems remain unsolved, the peace of the world must remain in a precarious balance. Indeed, having recently had the opportunity, at the invitation of the Federal German Government—an opportunity for which I was very grateful—of looking at these matters at close quarters, I have come to the conclusion that the emotions of the German people are weighing the balance down in an inexorable way which undoubtedly is a very great danger and may well, in the end, engulf the world. However, there is still time and it is for this reason that I wish to devote my remarks to this subject this afternoon and propose to concentrate entirely on this problem of Germany.

The inescapable fact, of course, of the present situation is that you cannot, as the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, underlined, expect to continue to keep the German people divided indefinitely. I regard the reunification of Germany, or a serious and dangerous attempt to bring it about, as inevitable in the long run—and not perhaps in such a very long run. The point is that if it cannot be brought about by peaceful means, it will in the end, I am sure, be attempted by war. War, of course, will result in war from the other side; and in the end the attempt will be prevented only by war which can result only in a war in which we are all engaged. That is why the German problem seems to me not to be just a problem for the German people. Peace certainly has not become less indivisible than it was at the time when Litvinov made his famous prophecy, a prophecy which was fulfilled, in the event, only too quickly and disastrously.

My impression is that there has been a considerable upsurge of national feeling in Germany. I think those who suggest that, because until recent times Germany was divided into a number of separate sovereign States which were often at war with one another, something of the sort can continue in the modern world are very wrong indeed. The forces of nationalism in Germany have been built up over the last hundred years in a way which puts the earlier history of Germany in this business completely out of court. As I have said, my impression is that there has been a considerable upsurge of national feeling in Germany over these last few years. After the war it was my impression—and I go to Germany quite frequently—that the people were dazed and were concentrating on trying to restore the material conditions of the country, rather than taking what one might call the typical ideological German point of view. They have of course succeeded in rebuilding their country, as my noble friend Lord Kennet said, in a most remarkable way, and they are now ready to return to what I might describe as a rather more typical German point of view.

In earlier days reunification used to be looked at as very much the passion of the refugees from the East: those who lived in the camps. In my experience for the mass of the Western German people at that time reunification was not a highly emotional matter: it did not make a great deal of impression upon them. Some people said that when the refugees had been absorbed into the main mass of the people the enthusiasm for reunification would abate. They have, in fact, now been absorbed into the mass of the German people in a very remarkable way, but the longing for reunification has certainly not abated, and I should say that the tension is tighter and more widespread than it was before.

This does not mean that I would accept the view that there has been any sort of resurgence of Fascism in Germany. I found many facts which point to the contrary; and while, no doubt, there are here and there bits of evidence which show that some people still have a Fascist outlook, I should not myself feel that there had been any sort of resurgence of Fascism. After all, it is now something like eighteen years since the end of the war, and if we look back we shall remember that eighteen years after the First World War not only had Fascism built itself up but in fact it had triumphed; and if it had been now as strong as is suggested, I think it would have made a greater and more obvious impact on the national life. The national feeling and the urge towards reunification is not necessarily Fascist at all. I think it is probably a Communist heresy to try to link the two things together. I believe that a certain growth of national emotion of this kind was probably inevitable in Germany after a few years, but I do not think it would have reached the present obvious pitch of emotional intensity, or done so with anything like the speed with which it has taken place, if it had not been for the building of the Wall in Berlin.

My Lords, it is very difficult to imagine the meaning and significance of the Wall without actually going to Berlin and experiencing it. The Wall is an historical phenomenon which is unique, and it may well be that it will be a basic fact of modern history of a world-shaking character. Its importance, of course, is symbolic. As a Wall, as an obstacle, it is really nothing very remarkable. In fact, I think everybody who sees it for the first time, having read a great deal about it, feels what a puny sort of affair it is. Undoubtedly a good strong British dray horse could push a hole in it without a great deal of difficulty. But that, of course, does not mean that as an emotional factor it is not of the highest significance. Its importance is what it stands for. It stands for the separation of the German people, and that, I am sure, explains why the reaction to it in Germany has been of such an intense description. It is impossible for an ordinary Englishman to imagine what the Wall means without going to Berlin. When one is there the impression which it makes upon one—and everybody with whom I have talked agrees with this—is really overwhelming, and I personally found it quite frightening.

All along the West Berlin street on which the row of East Berlin houses stands from which so many people tried to escape by jumping, sometimes jumping to freedom, more often jumping to their deaths, wreaths are laid at every spot where a victim fell. People come from all over Germany and, as it were, pay their respects, and you can feel the emotion in the air. There is a museum with relics and trophies, from a balcony of which the people gaze out, as it were, from Pisgah over the promised land, and it seemed to me that hundreds of young German students were coming in from West Germany and you could see the kind of mystic look which Germans get and which really made one very frightened. West Berlin is an astonishing place. The vitality and energy of the people are striking. Their achievements, as Lord Kennet said, have to be seen to be believed. Their staunchness is a matter for admiration and their salty and rather irreverent humour must make an appeal to any Englishman. And yet the atmosphere is certainly rather a suffocating one and I believe there is very great danger of it spreading over the rest of West Germany.

My Lords, I do not believe that the Germans themselves are really capable of dealing with this situation, which will go on, steadily getting more and more explosive as time goes on unless some positive steps are taken from outside by the Powers to improve matters. It seems to me that the lead to this end, as almost anybody who has been there of recent weeks will agree, requires to be a very strong lead from the Powers outside. Unfortunately the Western Powers have really done nothing constructive to deal with the situation. Their slogan has simply been J'y suis j'y reste, and I cannot agree with the Foreign Secretary when he says that every opportunity was taken and the Government were only looking for a loophole, so to speak, which they could use to improve the situation. Surely it is their job to make openings. A competent diplomacy makes openings, but indeed openings have been made here by Mr. Khrushchev himself with his project of internationalising the city. Of course he did not go very far with it because, I think, apart from Senator Humphrey in the United States of America, no sort of move was ever made by the Western Powers of the kind which Lord Home told us about.

West Berlin has proved to be an astonishingly viable entity. United with East Berlin as an international city under the United Nations it could form a very powerful international city indeed, with a fully viable political life. It would no doubt in the end once more become the capital of Germany, though no doubt we should have to wait for quite a time before that occurred. We should have to wait for a rather fuller easing of the tension than has so far been achieved.

One outstanding advantage of the internationalisation of Berlin would be the removal of the Wall. In many ways the East Berlin Government has been quite a successful Government. It consists of a group of men, some of them of great ability, who have achieved a good deal: more, I think, than they are given credit for, especially since they receive much less economic help from the U.S.S.R. than they must have felt they were entitled to. I think they made a mistake when they built the Wall. It was an understandable mistake. One can see quite well how they wished to stop the continual movement of some of their most able workmen across the line into a country like West Germany, which had become so economically rich and successful in such a short time. I think they could have found more effective ways or doing this which were politically very much less dangerous, but obviously now they cannot be expected to pull down the Wall. It would be too severe a check to their prestige, and if they are to take some action of that kind they must receive fairly substantial concessions in return.

The quite ridiculous policy of refusing to recognise their existence makes it impossible to negotiate with them, and in that sort of way we reach an impasse. I suggest that one of the first steps to ease and improve the situation—and I have made this suggestion before—is to recognise the de facto existence of the East German Government, if only for the purpose of enabling ourselves to have proper, sensible discussions with them as to the way in which these problems can in fact be eased. The Bonn Government naturally sets its face against recognition. That is perfectly understandable, but it carries this to a rather extreme length by refusing diplomatic relations with any Government which does recognise the East Germans. As regards recognition de jure, of course it is naturally enough quite an inevitable policy, because if East Germany is a full sovereign State, which is implicit in de jure recognition, then reunification clearly may be postponed until the Greek kalends. But as regards de facto arrangements, that is quite another matter and the present situation seems to me to have no practical advantages whatever to anybody and it has a number of very obvious disadvantages which could and ought to be overcome.

Actually, I believe that the present constitutional position in Germany with a number of semi-sovereign lander—I think very few people in England appreciate how much power exists in the lander and how much sovereignty, so to speak, has been devolved upon them—provides a practicable method by which, in the end, East Germany might be brought back without too great a diplomatic upheaval into the main German economy. It might become a separate land, or two or three separate kinder, and when that was negotiated it would be possible to make considerable provision for the continuance of something in the way of the present régime for at any rate some period of time. Such a move, I appreciate, is some distance away, but the mere fact that it was discussed and could be regarded as a possible solution would, I am sure, have considerable value for the purpose of reducing tension and making the German people as a whole feel that reunification was a real possibility without their having to take violent warlike steps to achieve it.

The present régime, the ability of which—and, indeed, the success of which—in the difficult situation with which it has been confronted has not received much recognition in the West, cannot be expected to throw in its hand: it could continue as a land Government. Incidentally, there was a very interesting article in The Times a fortnight ago by a traveller to East Germany in which he made clear how wrong a conception most people in the West have of what is going on in East Germany. Clearly the whole of this situation needs a great deal of diplomatic negotiation to be devoted to it. The U.S.S.R. could do an enormous amount to make the sort of scheme which I am suggesting viable. It is, however, a condition of such co-operation by the Russians that the possibility of aggression from Germany should be completely prevented. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, was right when he emphasised the fear which exists throughout Eastern Europe, not only of a nuclear Germany but of a rearmed Germany; and I still feel that it was a great mistake on the part of the Western Powers to insist on rearming Germany. It would be an even more terrible mistake to insist on doing it by means of nuclear weapons.

One of the main elements of this fear of aggression from Germany is the fact that the Bonn Government (and this is quite understandable) has always refused to accept the Oder—Neisse line, the new frontier for Eastern Germany. For a long time the Oder—Neisse line did not seem to worry the main mass of the Germans, apart from the refugees from the Eastern territories. Curiously enough, now that these have been absorbed, the Oder—Neisse line seems to be becoming a bogy for all the German people, and if we are not careful there will be a kind of movement for a Germania irredenta.

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who had been to one of the big towns in the Ruhr where he had seen an obelisk cut into two sections, one part being draped in black cloth, representing the Eastern territories, on which were carved the names not only of Leipzig and Dresden but also of Breslau and Danzig. This is no doubt an imitation of a famous obelisk which existed in Paris with "Strasbourg" carved on it, which remained in mourning until the end of the First World War. But it is a significant and most unfortunate thing. In my view, my Lords, the only possible solution to this is to get on with the Peace Treaty and to get the Eastern frontier underwritten and guaranteed by the great Powers as quickly as possible. This would do something to reassure the Russians, and I think that, on the whole, there is still a great deal of moderate opinion in Germany which would like that to happen.

As I have said, the Bonn Government, for political reasons, cannot commit itself to anything of the sort, but there is a great deal of moderate opinion in Germany which would welcome it. As a young German said to me recently: "What do I care about the lands beyond the Order? After all, there are no longer any Germans living there." That comment is very true, and it reflects, I think, a great deal of moderate opinion in Germany. But if we are to cash in and rely on that moderate opinion, we must see to it that they have guarantees that before very long the reunification of the genuine parts of Germany is provided for. And this, as I said in the beginning, can be secured only by the great Powers outside: it cannot be done by the Germans themselves. Indeed, if it is left to the Germans the situation will become as dangerous as it possibly can be. It seems to me that the main criticism of the Government's policy on this particular front is that over these years—and their Allies are equally to blame—they have made no real effort to bring about a solution of this very dangerous problem.

6.40 p.m.


My Lords, I propose, following encouragement from the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, to introduce another subject: I shall speak about the breach in our relations with the Somali Republic. I should hardly have dared to introduce it but for the fact that the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, assured me that there was no objection, from his point of view, and I consulted the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who was equally encouraging—or not discouraging. I was given an hour to talk about the Somali Republic last time, on April 3, and I hope to-night to take ten minutes only.

The Somali Republic, occupying a portion of the Horn of Africa, is a small child to which the United Nations gave birth; perhaps not so small, but poor. And the birth, I take it, was given under the second section of Article 1 of the Charter, in relation to respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples". We as a country have, in my estimation, been exceedingly forthcoming latterly in applying that principle, ever since the independence of India, where my wife and I have just been entertained for some weeks as guests of the Government, and about which I should hope we might one day have a debate regarding the positive aspects of our relations with the Asian Commonwealth.

However, there is a part where we have not fulfilled our traditional rôle as mother of the free, and that is in the case of the Somalis. The Constitution of the Somalis—whose third birthday is on Monday next and whom I should be very glad to see given a birthday present by the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary—quite naturally, since they received their birth in this way, declares in its preamble as follows:


CONSCIOUS of the sacred right of self-determination of peoples solemnly consecrated in the Charter of the United Nations …".

It is about that principle that we are at loggerheads in the Northern Frontier district of Kenya.

The breach with the Republic occurred in this way. The first document which I produce is the Report of the Kenya Constitutional Conference, 1962 (Cmnd. 1700). On page 11 it is definitely stated as a pledge that "a decision on its findings"—that refers to the N.F.D. Commission—would be taken by Her Majesty's Government before the new Constitution was brought into operation. That was, I understand, a negotiated clause—and I hope that the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary or his noble friend Lord Dundee will confirm the account given in the Somali White Paper—whose inclusion was insisted upon by the Somalis in the N.F.D. It meant clearly what it said concerning a decision on their future in relation to the question of secession or no secession. That was the subject at issue and nothing else. That is the pledge.

The breach of the pledge occurred on March 8, 1963, when a statement was made by Mr. Duncan Sandys in Nairobi. This statement proclaimed a decision, not on the findings of the Northern Frontier District Commission, which indicated a desire to secede to Somalia, but on the findings of the Regional Boundaries Commission, which suggested a way of keeping the Somalis inside Kenya. It was on that flat uncompromising statement in Nairobi by Mr. Duncan Sandys, and in the light of the pledge made by his predecessor Mr. Maudling, that the waiting crowds at the radio station in the towns and villages in Somalia made it impossible for the Somalia Premier in a democratic society to avoid breaking off relations with us.

In spite of assurances given me by the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, and his officers that they expected no difficulty whatever in getting people to stand for election in this area, there was a complete boycott. That is the position. I have asked the Colonial Office—I addressed my letter to the noble Marquess—and I received one answer to the effect that, by Order in Council, the Governor has taken over the powers that would otherwise have been exercised by the Regional Assembly. I asked if the Governor had not also taken over the powers which would have otherwise been exercised by the National Assembly, the Kenya Government. I have received no answer. I asked how many more, if any, of the political leaders of the secession movement had been removed under security regulations, and relegated to the coastal region. I have had no answer. Reuters, however, tell me there are three more; the total is four. That was yesterday's total.

I want to make a positive contribution to this affair, and I have studied what I believe to be the latest views of those concerned. I notice that in the N.F.D., in spite of the removal of some of its secessionist leaders, the situation is getting more resolute, more extreme, more intransigent. Up to the present the situation in Somalia itself, so far as I am able to understand it, directly and by a broadcast made yesterday in the Somali Republic, is that they are accommodating and that they take their stand exactly as they did when their Prime Minister was here, when I had the honour of sitting beside him at Lord Home's luncheon party. The situation, so far as I understand it, has not changed.

I will not read it out, but I should like to call the attention of the Government to the broadcast of the Ministry of Information of the Somali Government at eight o'clock on June 24; that is, the day before yesterday. It states Somali policy. There is a Reuter's cable of yesterday which states something of the situation in the N.F.D. and gives the total of those alleged to have been removed from their positions as political leaders. It seems to me that the Government ought to acknowledge that a mistake has been made.

It has been said by almost everyone that there is a portion of the N.F.D. which they have put in a special region which was referred to as the seventh additional region, and, if I have not made some mistake, I believe it is the North Eastern Region. That region has been described by two Commissions, the N.F.D. Commission and the Regional Boundaries Commission, and by Mr. Duncan Sandys and by everybody else as predominantly Somali. There are other portions of the N.F.D. which are completely hostile to the idea of secession to Somalia. They are the smaller portions in terms of population, though they include very large tracts of desert of one kind or another. And there are areas where the opinion is mixed. In most of the mixed areas there is territorial division. Except in very few cases it is not like the mixed votes in a country like this, in a town where you cannot distinguish definite tribal or half tribal divisions. The demand for a referendum in the N.F.D. will no doubt have to be considered and I have no doubt the Government may have other information which I have not got, but the statement from the Ministry of Information in Mogdishu made yesterday corresponds sufficiently closely to the gist of the conversation I had with the Somali Prime Minister on the 22nd of last month in Mogdishu.

I would suggest that a way out would be that the British Government, and not the Kenya Government, must make an offer—a firm and responsible offer, and not an under-the-table offer that can be withdrawn; something which can be recognised as coming from the British Government—that this predominantly Somali area should forthwith be declared as ripe for secession to the Somali Republic, the date being left for discussion and the manner of doing it to be discussed; the addition or not of any further areas to be the subject of negotiation and, if necessary, of arbitration; and finally, if we cannot agree, reference to the United Nations. My belief is that if that offer were firmly made, in relation to an area where we know, beyond doubt, that you can hardly find a man who does not want to secede to Somalia, that would be a basis for resuming diplomatic relations immediately. It is most difficult to conduct negotiations through the Italian Embassy here and through the American Embassy in Mogdishu. None of them knows anything of what is going on. Therefore, I would suggest that this should be declared forthwith.

I have noticed in a report that the winners of the Kenya election—for what reasons I will not suggest—seem to be less rigid in their determination that the N.F.D. should be a part of Kenya, but they have made a quite unworkable suggestion that it should be part of an arrangement for a federation of Somalia with the other three territories. I do not know to what extent that is firm or valid, because I have seen it only in a newspaper. But, on the assumption that it was a firm suggestion, it has the demerit of the Federation of Rhodesia which we have argued about so often here. The Somalis want it the other way round. They must be free first, and then I am assured that they desire federation.

There are special difficulties in the Somalia Republic. They are at present, with the assistance of an American expert from the United Nations, trying to co-ordinate their system of law: Islamic, British and Italian. It is not easy for them to come into a federation. There has to be a great deal of preparation. Secondly, they are extremely democratic in their outlook, and they look with a certain amount of dismay at some other and less democratic systems in Africa. They have also the peculiarity in Africa that they are entirely devoid of any colour prejudice. They assure me that colonialism and imperialism are colourless, and that the black version when it appears is often a great deal worse than the white, which of course is a heresy in Pan-African circles, especially in Addis Ababa. Should this suggestion be made, I have a belief that at the present time it would be readily acceptable to the Somalis in Somalia.

I am no longer in touch regularly with the N.F.D., but I have from time to time, through letters and through monitored broadcasts and Reuters, and so forth, heard suggestions that the situation is deteriorating. The more responsible leaders are being relegated to the coast, and as more and more join them there the situation will get worse. I suggest, therefore, that nothing will be gained now by wasting any more time, and that this offer should be made forthwith.

I have one further suggestion which is not contingent on this being done, but is a relevant factor. It is regarding the question of relations with Ethiopia. I held a Press conference in Mogdishu, and it was obvious that the Somali public have a fear and are convinced, in regard to the Ethiopian Emperor—they distinguish quite clearly between the system and the people; they like the Ethiopians greatly and they get on with them, but they dislike the system—that he has not withdrawn his claim to the whole of the Horn of Africa, and that his five divisions, with American connivance, are waiting for circumstances to turn so that they may swallow up Somalia as they have swallowed up Eritrea. There is something to be said about that. I have followed the declarations of the Emperor and his representative and they are consistently pursuing this claim, right up to a statement from their Embassy in New Delhi on April 27 of this year. I read it in the Statesman as a claim to a legal title to the whole of the Horn of Africa.

At my Press conference I had to resist the insistence of Somali journalists that the Americans were conniving at this threat to them, to their survival, from vested interests of one sort or another. I am sure it would be desirable, because I do not believe that these things are true, that the Americans and ourselves should approach the Ethiopian Government—that is, the Emperor—with a view to applying the principle of self-determination to all the Somali peoples, otherwise there will be serious trouble. It seems to me that we should point out that it is a doctrine embodied in the United Nations Charter and that it applies as much to his own Empire and colonies as to ours.

I want to conclude by saying that my wife and I were received in Mogdishu with the ceremony, the warmth and affection and honours, as it were, normally accorded to a visiting Prime Minister of a friendly State. They know as well as everybody else knows that I am not a claimant and that I have no claims to political prominence in this country. They are perfectly well aware of that. I should like to think that it was entirely owing to the speeches I have made on their behalf, but I am really convinced that they have a great desire to be friendly with us—more friendly than most. For instance, in discussions with the Prime Minister I was convinced that he genuinely desired, if it was at all possible, to go into an East African federation with our former colonies. I said, "Why not go North? " He met me by saying that there are decided reasons why he should not go North. Then I said, "You may reach the point where you are faced with joining an association of three or four States which are members of the British Commonwealth. You are not in it. That might be a decisive obstacle." He said: "In circumstances of that kind, the Somali Government would consider applying for admission to the British Commonwealth." That is a nice thing to say after the rather scurvy way they have been treated.

At this moment this is a small trouble spot, but it might get worse. The situation is readily redeemable, but it will not be redeemable without applying the principle of self-determination, in detail, if you like. I know that some members of the N.F.D. have claimed that in no circumstances will they accept partition. That is as unreasonable on one side as the demands in Kenya are unreasonable on the other. But by applying the principle, I do not think it should be difficult. Again, I should like to apologise for intervening on a little trouble spot in East Africa, when there have been debated such extremely vital things as nuclear arms and other things.

7.0 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, who initiated this debate—and, as usual, we are most grateful to him for having done so—and my noble friend, Lord Salisbury, both referred to the expanded powers of the General Assembly of the United Nations. I have only one comment to make on that. I am myself very doubtful about the legality of the Uniting for Peace Resolution of 1950. The Charter of the United Nations in Article 108 reads as follows: Amendments to the present Charter shall come into force for all Members of the United Nations when they have been adopted by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly and ratified in accordance with their respective constitutional processes by two-thirds of the Members of the United Nations, including all the permanent members of the Security Council. My understanding is that that process was never carried out in regard to the Uniting for Peace Resolution in 1950. To that extent I believe that it is illegal, and I should have thought that it was something which, as was suggested by my noble friend, we could properly take up, and see whether we cannot get a reversion to the original and legally constituted powers of the Security Council.

The second preliminary point I should like to make to my noble friend, arising out of Lord Salisbury's remarks, is this. Is he in a position to tell us to-day what has happened in regard to the steps to implement the U Thant reconciliation plan for the Congo? In particular, may I ask him what steps have been taken to introduce a federal form of constitution for the Congo, which is the main ground on which, as I understand it, Her Majesty's Government agreed to accept the plan and to urge President Tshombe to accept it himself?

I do not intend to follow the noble Earl who has just spoken so eloquently in regard to Somalia, except to say this. I agree with his view that if there is to be any self-determination for the Northern Frontier District it cannot be restricted to the Somalis. It must include the Turkana, the Rendile, the Boran and other tribes of the Northern Frontier District.

I should like to ask your Lordships to turn your eyes to another part of Africa where events have been taking place which are calculated to have a serious effect on the lives of millions of Africans and which are also possibly fraught with danger to the peace of the world. The Summit Conference of the heads of African States and Governments which took place at Addis Ababa last month is bound to affect international relations in its own way at least as strongly as did the Bandung Conference of Afro-Asian unaligned nations in 1955. The most remarkable thing about the Addis Ababa Conference is not what it failed to accomplish, but what it did accomplish. It was hardly to be expected that a United States of Africa would spring overnight fully-armed from the head of Dr. Nkrumah of Ghana. Apart from any other considerations, the author of this proposal, and also his intentions, were alike suspect.

What the Conference did was to put an end to the breach which had hitherto existed between the Casablanca Group and the Monrovia Groups with their different attitudes on non-alignment, their support of different trade union policies and their bitter personal antagonisms. Instead of this, we now have an Organisation of African Unity, as I understand it is called, comprising 33 States, with a Charter roughly on the lines of the Organisation of American States—something like the Council of Europe at Strasbourg—a permanent supra-national secretariat and a number of commissions. All this is to the good. But, let us face it: it does not mean that divergencies of policy will disappear overnight. The noble Earl did not refer to the fact that there was a violent altercation at the Addis Ababa Conference between Ethiopia and Somalia in regard to the disputed areas. Moreover, the African trade union movement, with their affiliations with the I.C.F.T.U. or, through the All-African Trade Union Federation, indirectly with the W.F.T.U., remains split into a dozen warring factions.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that after Addis Ababa nothing, in the parlance of the day, will ever be the same again. From now on we must expect a concerted attempt to produce a pan-African policy in international affairs—at the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation, and so forth. And of course, particularly will this be so in the drive to destroy the remains of so-called "colonialism" in Africa to which the Union is in its Charter formally dedicated. In this sense the Conference was a triumph for pan-Africanism and, alas!, for racialism. It was in this field of hostility to Portugal, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia that the nations assembled at Addis Ababa found their greatest basis of unity. It is also in this field that those who uphold the principles of the United Nations and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means under the Charter must have the gravest grounds for complaint against the proceedings at Addis Ababa.

Here you have a number of powers, all members of the United Nations, openly advocating the use of force and violence against their neighbours in Southern Africa. Boycotts, sanctions, the rupture of diplomatic relations and the actual training of military forces for invasion or subversion were openly threatened and acclaimed. What hope is there for the peaceful settlement of disputes between nations if these policies are to be allowed to go unchallenged and uncondemned? Since when has the Charter of the United Nations been revised to give member States the right to interfere in the internal affairs of their fellow members, or, still more, to resort to acts of war for that purpose?

We have seen the first fruits of these policies in the attempts made by the African and Communist Powers to disrupt the proceedings of the International Labour Organisation Council in protest against the presence of South African delegates. Apparently nobody seemed to think that this was in the least strange. So far as I can gather, no voices were raised in strong protest against this unconstitutional behaviour. On the contrary, it has now led to a move by the Director of the I.L.O., apparently backed by the representative of the United States, for the expulsion of South Africa on the grounds of its policy of apartheid. I should be the last person to defend apartheid. To me racialism, whether black racialism or white racialism, is anathema. But since when has it been accepted that international institutions should be used to enforce one or another internal policy on independent States?

Certainly, the Communist powers would be the first to protest against an attempt at the United Nations to bar them on the grounds that they are operating a dictatorship of the proletariat which is unacceptable to a majority of members of the United Nations. Equally, a number of independent African States would also, quite rightly, oppose any such action on the ground that they, too, have adopted a system of one-party Government. It is high time that Her Majesty's Government and also the United States Government publicly declared themselves against these forms of distortion of the purposes and machinery of the United Nations and other international institutions. This is necessary not only in the interests of justice but because, in the long run, these procedures can only destroy the international institutions themselves.

I feel that a reversal of British and American policies is particularly needed in respect of their attitude towards the Portuguese African provinces. Hitherto we have allowed ourselves to be dragged along in a string of resolutions aimed at destroying the Portuguese position. I have always found it difficult to understand why Britain and the United States, and indeed other freedom-loving countries, have allowed themselves to be induced to back these attacks on the only territories in Africa where a completely non-racial society exists. It is, of course, true that in these provinces there is virtually a one-Party system such as exists in Portugal itself; but, in spite of this, the fact remains that under this system these communities of races are being led forward to a system of mixed Luso-African society such as has been so successfully accomplished in Brazil. That is something which I believe we should welcome.

I myself, during a recent visit to Africa, took the opportunity of visiting both Angola and Mozambique, and I can testify to the development which is taking place. In the social field, in matters of health, education and housing, there is complete equality between the races. Even in political affairs there are already elected Legislative Assemblies, again on a completely non-racial basis, in all the overseas provinces. Legislation is now in preparation which will give much wider powers to the local Assemblies under a system of wide administration decentralisation Salaries and wages for all races are as high or higher than they are in metropolitan Portugal. The International Labour Organisation Commission's Report for 1962 has entirely demolished the ancient and oft-repeated charge about forced labour.

In medical matters the facilities in Angola and Mozambique are in the van among all African countries. Angola, for example, has more doctors per capita of population than any independent country in Africa, except South Africa. The World Health Organisation has just reported in the highest possible terms on the Portuguese medical services in Africa. The same is true of education. There are in Mozambique, with a population of 6 million, no fewer than 411,000 primary schools, and very nearly 12,000 secondary schools. Illiteracy is far below the average for the independent African countries.

In this connection, I must pay tribute to the work being done by the Portuguese military authorities in the fields of education and of health, in the areas which were devastated by the terrorists in 1961 in North-West Angola. As the population returned from the bush or from beyond the Congo border, officers and non-commissioned officers themselves established and took charge of schools until they could be handed over to the regular education authorities. In the same way, the Army medical services set up clinics and dispensaries, where these had been destroyed, and catered for the needs of the returning population. A great deal of this work has now been accomplished. The revolt has been brought under control, and the number of terrorists in the bush, some 2,000, is becoming powerless to inflict damage. The military authorities control the roads, and the townships and villages, very much in the same way as we did in Malaya.

They have also adopted a policy which we had in Malaya, of taking the inhabitants of isolated houses and villages, especially where they had been destroyed, and grouping them in large villages of 1,500 to 2,000 people, with schools, medical posts, police posts, wells, churches and so on. I visited several of these, and I was surprised to find that, unlike Malaya, there was no barbed wire and no military guards. I inquired about this, and the Governor of the district and the military commander both explained to me that in their view the worst aspect of this whole outbreak of terrorism has been the loss of confidence between the races in this area, after 400 years of friendship. In their view the only way to restore that confidence was by showing confidence themselves and by taking risks.

I have no doubt that, unless there is a massive intervention from outside, this process of pacification and reconstruction will continue. The Addis Ababa Powers have openly made known their intention to stimulate military and guerrilla action. How successful this will be one cannot say. All one can say is that, throughout these troubled areas of Africa to-day, there is a growing understanding of what I might call the economic facts of life. Since the annual revenue from Katanga of some £20 million began to accrue to the Congo Central Government, instead of to President Tshombe, there is a noticeable and growing caution in regard to the terrorist movement based on the Congo. For, after all, we must not forget that only 25 per cent. of the Katanga copper can now be transported by the Route nationale. The rest must go through Portuguese territory, and the Congo Government are dependent on Portuguese good will. It will not have gone unobserved that Mr. Ben Bella said at Addis Ababa that he would have been prepared to send 10,000 guerrillas to Angola had it not been for the attitude of the Congo Central Government.

I noticed the same thing in Mozambique. The Government of Nyasaland appeared to be on excellent terms with the authorities in Lourenco Marques. When I was there they were expecting a mission of Malawi ministers to discuss the communications. The fact is, of course, that all Nyasaland's communications lie through Portuguese territory, and the Malawi Government are anxious to get the Portuguese to extend and expand them. There, again, the economic realities are beginning to play an increasingly important part. Perhaps one should observe here that the same thing applies to Northern Rhodesia, which cannot ship one ton of copper without the good will of Southern Rhodesia and Portugal. And, after all, for a one-commodity economy such as that of Northern Rhodesia, this fact is of overwhelming importance.

So, My Lords, it may be that these countries of the Addis Ababa group, which are now seeking to paralyse Angola and Mozambique, will not find the task such an easy one. Certainly, the Portuguese have no intention of quitting, but will continue undaunted their work of raising the standard of living, and the civilisation, of all these people of the provinces, along the lines which they have laid down and are following successfully.

My Lords, as I have said before, I hold no brief for the South African Government, or for apartheid. Personally, I have always believed that, repulsive as the system is, it has always had within it the seeds of its own destruction. The more the project of Bantustan succeeds, the more certain it seems to me that, in the long run, the South African Government will be driven into concession to the Africans remaining in the white areas. But there is one aspect of the apartheid issue which may perhaps have gone unobserved in this country: I refer to the effect in South Africa of what I can describe only—and I say it with regret—as the present Government's betrayal of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

Recently I found myself one night in Johannesburg on business. Dining with three friends of British origin—one a Progressive, and the other two members of the United Party—I was bitterly assailed in regard to the Government's decision to dissolve the Federation. Was it not realised, I was asked, that for ten years they had been fighting the Nationalists under the banner of the Federation and multiracialism, as the only possible alternative to apartheid? Now the British Government had pulled the carpet from under their feet and it was a victory for the "Nats". That is precisely the propaganda which I now see is being made on behalf of the South African Government.

Be that as it may, and disliking apartheid as I do, I would strongly urge Her Majesty's Government to make clear in no uncertain terms their determination not to be influenced by any of the threats of the Addis Ababa powers in our attitude towards South Africa, either at the United Nations or elsewhere. From the purely selfish point of view, I believe that our interests—strategic, economic, financial—are too great. But, apart from that, I am convinced that the best way to influence the South African Government in regard to their racial policy is not by the use of threats or force. That is a violation of the Charter and of international law, and certainly it will not have any effect.

This is even more true in regard to Southern Rhodesia, where I see that the United Nations so-called De-colonisation Committee have just passed a fresh resolution calling for intervention. I need not go over the grounds on which I believe this action to be not only improper but illegal, and the proposals which it seeks to effect unconstitutional. Her Majesty's Government have resisted this pressure, and I have no doubt that they will go on doing so. But the fact that it is continuing is one further very good reason why Southern Rhodesia should be granted its independence at the earliest possible moment. I devoutly hope that the talks which the First Secretary of State and Mr. Winston Field are embarking upon to-day and to-morrow will have that result. Of course, independence will not put an end to the pressures of the Addis Ababa Powers. One of the unfortunate though perhaps inevitable results of this summit conference at Addis Ababa is that for the first time the inhabitants of Southern Africa are beginning to look to their alliances. My own belief is that all these territories are in their own way moving towards a position in which, in fact, a fair and workable arrangement will evolve, and in which members of all races will, in the long run, be able to play their full part on equal terms. I am convinced that the attacks of the Afro-Arab bloc, whether delivered by the new Organisation of African Unity or in the United Nations, the I.L.O. or any other international body, can serve only to delay this process.

7.21 p.m.


My Lords, we have reached that pleasant stage in the evening when only a few of your Lordships are here and we are able to talk directly to the Foreign Secretary and say things of which we hope he will take note. My noble friend Lord Listowel will, I suspect, be dealing with Africa, and I shall therefore not deal with the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, beyond saying that I have, regrettably, the strongest feeling of gloom about events in Africa. I wish I could think that the sort of solution that he still believes is possible can be achieved. I would say only this. It is in my sincere view certain that to give Southern Rhodesia independence at this moment would be betrayal not merely of the black Africans in Southern Rhodesia but also of the white Southern Rhodesians. I certainly hope that the Government will continue with their negotiations, and will not give in. This is not a question of giving in to blackmail—and I appreciate a lot of the things the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said in this matter—but is a painful recognition of the facts of power in that continent.

I want to make most of my remarks, which will be pretty brief, on one area of the world for which I think there are grounds for real optimism, and that is South-East Asia. It is not so long ago that we were confronted there with the situation of a sudden revolt affecting a former British colony and also the Protectorate area of Brunei, and threats of invasion—indeed, another stage, as we feared, in Indonesian aggression; and yet almost in the last few weeks the situation has been transformed. I think we ought to recognise that it has been transformed, and I hope this is an area into which at this moment the Government will put their strongest efforts, because here is a part of the world whore we may achieve a really important measure of stability. Great credit must of course go to certain of the leaders in that area, and particularly to the Prime Minister of Malaya. But it is interesting that, following the earlier meeting in Manila, the subsequent encounter in Tokyo between Dr. Soekarno and the Tunku did lead to an almost remarkable change in the outlook. I think we should recognise the importance and the value to the peace of the world of Dr. Soekarno's new attitude. I know many of us have in the past been critical of him, but the advantage of this new attitude is great to the area—and, I believe, to Indonesia also—because it will now be possible for that country, which has had a lot of troubles, to participate, not just as a bribe, in the help that can be given, particularly by America, in solving some of their economic problems.

My Lords, I should like briefly to refer to the situation actually within the proposed federation area. I would first of all talk about the position in Sarawak and Brunei in British North Borneo. I think we can reasonably assume now that there is not the danger—at least, I hope there will not be the danger—of a situation of the kind that existed in Burma and India when the British left and certain particularly attractive and strongly pro-British people, such as the Karens in Burma and the Nagas in India, were left fighting the new Government. There are similar people in Borneo. These are the pagans upriver. I have already mentioned some of them: people who in fact played a very important part at the time of the Kedyan revolt in Brunei and who undoubtedly would much rather remain under British rule but who I think are wise enough to accent that Malaysia is the best prospect for them. The recent elections in Sarawak and in British North Borneo, which of course were not full-scale elections, suggest that there is a genuine majority of people who are likely to be in favour of joining the Malaysian Federation.

This question has, of course, reached a very crucial stage. Lee Kuan Yew is coming to England, but, unfortunately, the Prime Minister of Malaya is not; and it is for consideration whether it was wise to fix a definite date by which federation would have to start, with or without certain territories. It is of great importance, both to Malaya and to Singapore, that Singapore should be in the Federation, and I should have thought that Singapore's requests in relation to common market policies for the Federation seem to be reasonable. But what I would urge is that at this point the Government should make every effort to do what they can, even at some financial cost to ourselves, to bring about this successful federation.

Before I leave this point I should like to pay a tribute to the small but valuable initiative of the Japanese in this matter. I myself hope that the Japanese will begin to realise that there is a constructive role that they can play. They may have reasons for a certain caution, but certainly I think this is one area of the world where, keeping our fingers crossed, we can look for a greater stability and a situation in which we shall be able to exercise reasonable influence, and where the bases will be secure in so far as we need them. And I think we do need them in that area.

I do not propose to spend very long on the rest of the debate. We have traversed much of the same ground as we have covered in previous Foreign Affairs and Defence debates, and it is interesting to note how much our Foreign Affairs debates are becoming Defence debates and vice versa. I believe that a real problem is presented to the House to see how we can narrow the subjects in such a way as to concentrate our remarks in a debate and look at one group of subjects rather than at the whole world.

We have discussed Germany and we have discussed again the question of "brinkmanship" and the atom bomb. I was struck by the difference in attitude in regard to this of the Foreign Secretary (in a speech which I thought was one of his best and most interesting) and the attitude of the noble Viscount, Lord Esher. What happened in Cuba was to the Foreign Secretary an example of "brinkmanship"; to the noble Viscount, Lord Esher, it was proof that the two big Powers would never go to war. That in itself was, as the Foreign Secretary might say, a rather "brinkmanship" expression. But I think there is considerable truth in what Lord Esher said. We are reaching the stage where pressures against, and obstacles to, full-scale war, with all that it implies, are growing stronger. But this, of course, is no reason for dismantling our Western defences; and on that I think we shall all agree.

I was a little disappointed—and not for the first time—in the speech of the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein; and I am sorry that he is not here at present. I always expect, after the destructive parts of his speech, some splendid revelation of what we ought to do; but it does not seem to be forthcoming. It may well be that a review of NATO is overdue; but I hope we shall continue to recognise, despite the disillusionments that we must have, that we must continue to believe in NATO and give it as much support as we can. It may be that the situation is changing; it may be that the French attitude is such that NATO is in real danger. Nevertheless, I see no sign at the moment of a possible alternative, and I am sure that for us, as well as for our smaller Allies, it would be disastrous if we were to lose our belief in NATO. There is one thing on which I think the majority of your Lordships—whether politicians or Field Marshals—would agree; and that is in having the most extreme doubts as to the wisdom of this proposal for multinational ships. I think it is our job to strengthen the hand of the Government in resisting this.

It is clear that the Government, confronted by strong American initiative, determined, with the best intentions in the world, to solve this problem of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. They have thought something up which really is a military nonsense; and the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, said that it may be that one has to put up with particular nonsense now and again if it is not too expensive. But I think this is more than expensive; I think it has a dangerous side, and this also ties in with the difficulties we are in as a result of the Nassau Agreement and our own insistence still on an independent nuclear deterrent.

I do not propose to traverse the whole of that ground again. I am one of those who believe that nuclear weapons and the atom bomb have been a major and possibly the decisive factor in keeping the peace of the world. I believe that the last Government and this Government were right to ensure that we had them. But the noble Earl, Lord Avon, suggested that we ought to make more use of our possession of nuclear weapons for negotiating—not so much, I should have thought, in negotiating agreement between the two super Powers but in negotiations within NATO and within Europe. I am wondering whether it is too late or whether, perhaps, there is yet time to get an agreement by which Europe—and we hope, therefore, other countries—would forswear nuclear weapons.

My Lords, the price is not our own independence. The price is whether we are prepared to hang on to something which has no immediate significance for our defence. I concede that it is possible to imagine circumstances in which we might want to use it; but the price we are paying is very heavy. The price is possibly the quicker obtaining of nuclear weapons by countries like China. For this reason I would urge that we should still look to see whether it is not worth while to try to negotiate on this matter. I agree with the speaker—I am not sure whether it was the Foreign Secretary or Lord Avon—who pointed out that the Dresden raids killed more than those on Hiroshima, and that conventional war can be every bit as horrible for those directly involved. Indeed in some ways it may be regarded as more horrible because there are survivors left to suffer amid the ruins.

But, my Lords, we shall not quickly solve this problem. I think there are grounds for slight optimism in the disarmament talks, and I am sure that everyone, whatever his political views, would strongly support the Government in taking the initiative in the opportunities of the next few months. We get sudden changes; we have seen sudden changes affecting the Russian attitude and in other areas when we least expected it. When we look back at the position in the cold war four or five years ago, it seems absolutely miraculous to see the transformation that has already come over the scene. Whereas in the past I have thought it was necessary for us to recognise that there was a long haul, going on for forty or fifty years, and of our wasting an appalling quantity of resources in defence expenditure, I think now that it may be that there are signs of a break-through coming. I put it no higher than that. But, my Lords, this is certainly not a time when we need despair about the international situation.

7.38 p.m.


My Lords, those of your Lordships who were privileged to spend some time in another place will recall our pleasant habit of speaking on extraneous matters for two or three minutes in order that the ticker shall flash the news that we are on our feet, and that our friends and enemies shall flock back from the Library and dining rooms to be there for the debate. And I remember that my noble friend, the Foreign Secretary, in the Yalta debate in 1945, in which he greatly distinguished himself, had recourse to that tactic. It appears that in this House your Lordships think of no such thing. Of the twelve or thirteen distinguished speakers who preceded me, I imagine the large majority of them, together with the generality of Members of this House who came to listen, have already departed for their homes for the night, if not possibly for the next two or three weeks.

This "little nigger boy" trick is getting serious. At the end of the debate I shall myself have to apologise for having to go; and I can imagine the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, will be speaking to the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, and the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, will be speaking to the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, and the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, will be speaking to himself. I except from that criticism my two noble friends sitting immediately below me, who have shown remarkable assiduity and stamina in having attended this debate throughout.

My Lords, I should like to represent to you that, militarily and economically, Britain is being greatly overstretched, and politically and morally almost torn apart, by the dictates of the cold war. Since 1941, when Sir Winston Churchill tied us to the doctrine of unconditional surrender, we have been unable to remain a nation entirely of ourselves. We have been forced out of our historic balance of power theories into an ideological crusade, and we have, by four successive Prime Ministers, been rendered increasingly subservient to the United States of America. No victories have been won by Britain since the war. On the contrary, the number of our enemies increases all the time. Originally, it was about 100 million Germans and Italians. It is now about 1,000 million Communists, to say nothing of African and Middle Eastern nationalists and demagogues.

The burden upon us of dealing with this chimera of hatreds increases like the Old Man of the Sea. The economic weight of it produces a balance of payments crisis every two or three years, a thing unknown before the war. The moral distortion is such that half the nation thinks it is wicked to have even an innocent relationship with a Russian or a Chinese, and the other half thinks it is exciting and fashionable. The military distortion is likewise immense. With the exception of a few reserve troops in the Commonwealth, the whole of our military effort is now directed against international Communism. From the V-bombers in Lincolnshire to the garrisons in Germany and the Middle East, we are on guard against a nation—Russia—which shows no sign of wanting to come and possess our country, or that of our allies, by military force. We are spending millions of pounds a day on policies of insurance against risks that have only been guessed at by politicians and never carefully assessed. We are so weakened by this exercise that we have no strength left to do what my noble friend the Foreign Secretary has constantly asked for—namely, to provide the necessary diplomatic and commercial support in other parts of the world, parts which, I would maintain, are far more vital to us than North Central Europe.

The result, for example, in Africa and South-East Asia is poverty, insurrection and a rising tide of nationalism. Britain needs to make a major change in foreign policy. We have to ask ourselves some very serious questions. I personally believe, like most noble Lords who have spoken this afternoon, that hydrogen bombs are a necessary insurance against the return of conventional type war. But I believe also that they ought not always to be located so as to make a permanent enemy of the Soviet Union. As Edmund Burke has told us, there is no sense, especially for a country like Britain with World-wide trading connections, in drawing up an indictment against any one country.

As I said, we are scoring no successes in the cold war, and the reason is not far to seek. It is because we are regarding the cold war as synonymous with a hot war, to be won by a steady build-up of nuclear weapons and a discharge of spies, saboteurs and radio propaganda. But the cold war is a battle between ways of life, between political and social codes, between primitiveness and civilisation. It cannot be won in any other way than by letting the societies intermingle and proving that our way is the stronger. I personally feel certain that capitalist democracy, with all its faults, is stronger than Communism. That is certainly true after a certain stage in production has been reached. But the systems have to be in a fair condition to compete.

For example, in East Germany to-day there is a chance of capitalist democracy succeeding in the end, because the productive process is well advanced and because of its pre-war history. But if we maintain an embattled order against East Germany, do not recognise it and scarcely trade with it, how do we find out? The trouble in Britain and America to-day, and I include the Government in this, I regret to say, is that there are too many shocked Liberals who have not got the courage to close with Communism and prove our system to be superior. Bewildered and terrified that our capitalist society is under relentless attack, they band over the keys of our security to militarists and rocketeers. This is an ignominious rô for Britain to play, whatever may be appropriate for the Americans.

Berlin is the most dangerous spot on the surface of the globe. An invasion of Cuba would soon be accomplished. The Russians would never defend it. But a false step in Berlin would set off a holocaust. If the Western Germans chose in the course of an afternoon to start speaking in the menacing tones of the Nazis, Berlin could become as potent a cause of total war as the city of Danzig itself was in 1939. Here are 2½ million German democrats, completely encircled in a sea of Communism, with a wall on one side and Russian troops on the other, spoon-fed by investment and propaganda from the West, a beacon of light and faith to President Kennedy, no doubt, when he is there, and even when he is not, but nevertheless, as I know full well from visits behind the Iron Curtain, a cancerous tissue of lies and hatreds to those who live on the other side.

Berlin is a beleaguered garrison, living on the edge of disaster, an end product of world politics, a sort of dinosaur—of doubtful antecedents and totally without hope of posterity. Berlin is, moreover, guarded by British soldiers—an event unique in our history. Many a time our forward posts have been overrun by an enemy, annihilated and written off. Rarely do I recall has one of them been deliberately sited and maintained without prospect of relief, and certainly never has such an event been associated with atomic disaster to our homes and to those of our men serving in Berlin.

Last October, at the time of Cuba, my noble friend the Foreign Secretary inveighed against the demonstrations in London. But it is no wonder at all to me that the crowds were out in the streets, in fearful contemplation of the dancers of that time. We must make no mistake about it. It would be exactly the same about Berlin. I believe that a dangerous divorce exists between the strategic purposes of the Establishment and the understanding of the people and that it is the function of the Establishment to set it right. The British people are not prepared to be atomised for the sake of Berlin, nor are they enthusiastic that their men at arms should be called upon to fight even a conventional war to defend the way of life of one set of Germans against another set—because that is what it comes to—the problems of the countries East and West of Berlin being relatively unknown to them.

I cannot stress too strongly that our people's natural allegiances are much at risk in this business. It is just as dangerous in diplomacy to threaten something which will not be carried out as to threaten nothing at all, as we regrettably did before the war. The British Government should take the lead in resolving the Berlin problem and bringing Western troops home. The present time, with Mr. Kennedy's visit to this country, is most propitious for a settlement on the methods to be used.

I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Avon is not here, but, of course, one understands it. It is remarkable to have seen him here in such excellent health this afternoon. I should have liked to mention to him the solution which he prescribed for Trieste and remind him of the success it was. We could apply the same principle in Berlin. We, the Americans and the French could say that we will hold the Western are of Berlin for twelve months, during which time the Berliners must decide whether to leave for Western Germany or stay under Communist rule. We could even help to finance the establishment of a new capital city for Western Germany, to which they could repair from temporary homes.

An alternative, and shorter-term plan, would be to proceed immediately to apply to Germany the solution which worked so well in uniting the Allies' military zones from 1947 to 1949, and which also worked so well in Austria. The plan would run thus: hold elections in both East and West Germany, according to their existing systems, and set up a constituent assembly for both halves of Germany. Mr. Foster Dulles used to demur at this in 1954, because the system in East Germany was not "free" by American standards. Never mind, my Lords, whether it is free or not. Communism cannot be defeated by partition; only by unification. That is the lesson of the Berlin Wall. So let us take the East Germans on their own system, and shame them into electing a body of men to supervise what they allege to be the frightful happenings in West Germany; and shame the West Germans, using their own methods, into doing the same thing for the East. By this means a provisional Government could be set up, with all Berlin as its capital, in order to approximate the ways of life of both halves of Germany to each other. After some months in office the Government could dissolve the constituent assembly and hold elections for the whole of Germany on a new franchise.

There are other solutions, such as the establishment of the United Nations in Berlin and the creation of a weapon-free zone incorporating much, or all, of the two Germanies. Those who believe in ultimate world government, like noble Lords on the other side of the House, will surely seize on this as poetic justice for the horrors of the last war, and as an experimental area for wider application.

My Lords, the British Government should not be weary in well-doing in these schemes, and I hope that their diplomacy will be openly conducted. My belief (and here I echo the words of the noble Lord, Lord Chorley) is that a maddening frustration is settling on the country, induced by the complacency and inactivity by the Government on questions affecting the cold war. The people are longing for an open lead. They are begging that some leader at home, some Government in the Western World, will throw off the statemate of the last war's politics, and achieve a new equipoise, even if the road towards it is difficult and dangerous. It seems fantastic at this time, when there is an apparent détente with the Soviet Union, for Britain to get involved in this new and most provocative military device, the multilateral Polaris surface fleet. But, as I see both that the hour is late and that there is an announcement in the evening papers that this proposal has been shelved by President Kennedy, after discussion with the Germans, I will leave it at that.

In conclusion, and summing up, I would refer again, as I did in my maiden speech the other day, to Sir Winston Churchill's faith and belief that Britain, with the Commonwealth, is, in spite of all, a power still. For myself, I believe that the Commonwealth could be made the most important association in the world for the maintenance of peace and good relations between States, surpassing the United Nations itself in power and influence. But if that is to be done, Britain's external Alliances should be arranged so as to act as a bulwark of the idea of Commonwealth, and not in order to alienate a particular country like Russia or China, and at the behest of another country altogether, the United States of America.

While our armed forces in defence of ourselves and our Commonwealth must be strong and well deployed, we should nevertheless husband our strength, and not be led too deeply into hostilities in remote corners of the world (as we certainly were in Korea; and as we may be in Berlin) for the sake of supporting this or that faction in a civil war of ideologies. To chase and harass an ideology like Communism or Fascism is to pursue a will-o'-the-wisp. In peace, it creates a self-righteous and introspective society which will not tolerate a Poland, a Portugal, or a South Africa as a friend. In war, it drives a nation to Pyrrhic victory and thus to lowered status in world affairs. In both cases there is a real loss of strength and sovereignty. It is my belief that too much of Britain's precious heart's blood is being shed for unrewarding causes. Someone has to staunch the wounds. I hope, from what my noble friend the Foreign Secretary said to-day, that he is going to be that person, in spite of the impetuous liberals and idealogues in the office surrounding him.

7.55 p.m.


My Lords, at this stage of the debate I will not attempt to follow the noble Earl who has just sat down, although he has raised some interesting matters. A few days ago a shrewd commentator in a Danish newspaper said that the visit of the President of the United States was a visit at the wrong time to the wrong countries. There are many matters which have been mentioned in this debate to-day but which were not mentioned by President Kennedy in his speech and which need to be discussed, and perhaps will be discussed, between Her Majesty's Government and the President during his short stay in this country.

It seems to me that the speech which President Kennedy made in Frankfurt would more properly have been made in his own country. By making it in Frankfurt, the result could well be to stir passions which at this moment need to be restrained and which the Government of the German Federal Republic is trying to restrain against a good deal of internal pressure.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, on the dangers and alarms which would arise if nuclear weapons came into the hands of the German Federal Republic. The present German Defence Minister has been much more explicit than his predecessor in stating that the German Government does not desire nuclear weapons. I agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, said on the NATO multi-national mixed-manned service ships. This plan would not assist the achievement of a test ban, nor would it prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. It might well do the opposite.

To come back to President Kennedy's speech at Frankfurt, before any ideas such as he pictured could be realised, surely a long campaign of education in the United States would be necessary. In these days, when Governments take economic decisions they are also taking political decisions. Some of us may wish that we had free trade even in the area called the West, and an international standard of monetary value. But this is not the policy of the American Parliament, nor, for that matter, of the American Administration. Equality as between the United States and a United Europe involves the taking of joint political decisions and the establishment of the machinery necessary for this. This machinery could be either institutional or federal. It also involves agreement on the matters on which the decision is to be transferred to such an Atlantic council; that is, a joint European-American council, if it is set up. I believe that thinking on these lines in Europe is much more advanced than it is in the United States, where strong nationalist feeling, impatient of any fettering of American decisions, is very evident. This theme is on the lips of most Americans one meets, and Cuba has added to this nationalist feeling.

In Europe, the really sad development is the estrangement between our country and France, of which the noble Earl, Lord Avon, has spoken. In my view, nothing could be more deplorable. Until this can be ended any intelligent conception of Europe is impossible. As the noble Earl, Lord Avon, has suggested, all the strength of our diplomacy should be concentrated on remedying this state of affairs. The United States Administration is deeply involved in this deplorable development, and certainly partly responsible for it. I hope the difficulties in, for instance, our application to join Euratom, which arise out of our agreements with the United States, will be mentioned to the President. It seems to me that the United States President in his speech was dabbling in a policy designed to isolate France, which I believe to be wrong and anti-European, as well as unlikely to succeed and, therefore, stupid.

France has recovered a sense of mission in the world—would that we could do the same! I believe the first necessity of the day is to establish the closest link with France and to work together with France, under the impelling sense of a new European mission in the world. Until this is achieved, I doubt whether anything of much value is going to be done so far as the world outlook is concerned. I would deprecate any words, actions or arrangements with the United States which do not contribute to what I believe at the moment should be the first and basic aim of our foreign policy.

8.3 p.m.


My Lords, I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, put down this Motion to-day on foreign affairs, with special reference to the Test Ban Agreement. While I am glad that the Prime Minister has ventured to be fairly optimistic, I only hope he is right to be so. Perhaps the noble Earl, the Foreign Secretary, was a little less optimistic in another of his quite remarkable speeches to-day. We must not forget that there have been gleams of hope in the past, which have, unfortunately, often been extinguished. As Sir Michael Wright said in an interesting article in the Daily Telegraph fairly recently, the gap has certainly narrowed. It seems to the layman that the difference between three and seven on-site inspections a year is surely not insuperable. Could there be a compromise on five? Even if our American allies do not feel that such a number is truly adequate, it would surely be better to have some inspections than none at all. I gather that it is now uncertain whether the Soviet Union will stick to their offer of three. Therefore, however hopeful some of us may now be, we must remember, as Sir Michael points out in that article, that the plain and consistent stand of the Western allies contrasts strangely with what Mr. Bevin used to call the "torturous" course pursued by the Soviet Union. The whole of that article is well worth reading, as well as a second article which was published in the middle of last month.

But, having studied them, I feel that it would be a miracle if, in fact, the gap is bridged, for, as I say, in the history of the matter, on every occasion when agreement has been nearly achieved the Soviet Union has found some way of getting out of it. Whether Moscow does not want a test ban at all, or is perhaps handicapped by the attitude of Communist China (noble Lords have referred to their attitude to-day) or whether the Soviet Union even wishes the test ban to be linked with the settlement of some other problem, such as Berlin, I do not know. But there can be no doubt whatever about the appalling dangers of continuing the spread of testing. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, gave us a most disturbing picture in a very powerful speech.

In that connection, I should like to make the point that I consider that test bans should be extended, not only to what I might describe as recognised nuclear explosions and also, as I think Lord Kennet advocates, to more countries, but also to certain other potential military activities in space. We know that since January, 1958, both the Soviet Union and the United States have been exploding nuclear devices at high altitudes—the United States up to 500 miles in space. We know also that the United States is using space satellites for observation purposes to photograph military installations in Soviet bloc countries. We know that these satellites carry infra-red sensors for the detection of missile launchers, and automatic cameras to expose a large photographic field. Indeed, I wonder what the intriguing Valentina and her space partner Valery Bykovsky were doing when they orbited the earth together 131 times.

I am not suggesting that we should ban these relatively innocuous activities concerning photography and observation. They are, after all, non-contaminating, non-dangerous and, I think, non-offensive in character. There are, however, some much more sinister possibili ties in the future. I am sorry the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, is not here to support me in what I am about to say, or, at least, correct me. In an article which I read by Professor K. Woetzel, the Director of the International Institute of Space Law, he says that in the future space may be used for the deployment of more advanced space weapon systems, such as neutron flux weapons, which could cause extensive damage by directing the emission of neutrons. Then there is LASER directed nuclear energy. As your Lordships know, those letters stand for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation". This would reduce warning times to a second or so. I gather, too, that it is also possible that plasma jets, heated millions of degrees into the fourth state of matter, may likewise serve—to put it mildly—a military purpose. Moreover, as we know, area bursts of large megaton or small gigaton weapons in space could burn large areas of a continent as a terror weapon. My Lords, what next? Last night I saw Bernard Shaw's St. Joan, and I cannot refrain from quoting Joan's last words: O God that made this beautiful earth When will it be ready to receive Thy saints? How long, O Lord, how long? While I recognise the importance of retaining a deterrent, I hone it will not be long before a code of rules on the uses of space may be agreed, for, as I said in the debate at the end of March last year, I hope that it will be through space that the great Powers on this earth may be brought to cooperate and harmonise their policies, and that these ghastly inventions may be used for peaceful purposes, and especially communications in which, with its very narrow beam width, LASER certainly has a role to play.

However optimistic we may be about the banning of tests, it seems to be especially important that the Western allies should continue to remain united within the Atlantic Alliance and the other regional alliances until such time as test banning and a large measure of disarmament have been achieved. It is in order to maintain and increase that unity that I am personally in favour of adopting the principle of mixed manned crews within the North Atlantic Alliance. I certainly think it is going a little too far to call this proposal "poppycock". But in view of the news which the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, has just communicated to us I do not propose to go further into that matter, although I regret in a way not being able to defend the idea.

I think that Alastair Buchan was rather misquoted in his letter in The Times to-day, because at the outset of that letter he states that such mixed manned crews are technically practicable. What I believe is necessary is that we should encourage the gradual processes of the merging of sovereignties. I am afraid the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, cannot possibly agree with what I say here, but I believe that in this world we should encourage those gradual processes of merging sovereignties and peoples. As the noble Earl, Lord Avon, said, suspicions still exist, and I fear it is the case that in regard to the test ban we cannot rely on the Soviet Union necessarily telling the truth about their ultimate intentions. There is still suspicion and dissimulation.

In conclusion, my Lords, and on this matter of dissembling, I feel I cannot do better than to quote from one of the Essays of that great Lord Chancellor, Francis Bacon, for what he says about dissimulation seems to me even more pertinent than his more famous Essay on Truth. It could be applied not only to the foreign situation as I see it now but also perhaps to a certain domestic matter which has been troubling your Lordships of late.

In his Sixth Essay Of Simulation and Dissimulation Bacon says: Dissimulation is but a faint kind of policy or wisdom; and he adds: It is the weaker sort of politics that are the great dissemblers … The whole Essay is well worth re-reading. Towards the end of it he says, and again I quote: For to him that opens himself men will hardly chew themselves adverse; but will let him go on, and turn their freedom of speech to freedom of thought. And therefore it is a good shrewd proverb of the Spaniard, 'Tell a lie and find a troth'. I hope the noble Earl will forgive me if I do not remain for the whole of his speech this evening, but I have a very important engagement with Sir Robert Menzies, and perhaps as it is with that very great Prime Minister I may be permitted to leave before the end. I hope the noble Earl will find someone behind him—perhaps the noble Baroness will be able to stay a little longer. In any case, I hope the noble Earl will forgive me.

8.14 p.m.


My Lords, I think your Lordships will agree that during the first part of this debate we listened to a series of solo performances which would have done credit to a gala performance at Covent Garden. This was extremely enjoyable and instructive, although of course it has made things a good deal more difficult for the minor members of the rapidly dwindling cast who have to perform after the soloists have retired in honour and in glory.

The thing that struck me most about the delightful and impressive speech of the noble Earl the Foreign Secretary was how difficult he made it for us on this side of the House to pick holes in it. But while, of course, that is a difficulty for an Opposition, maybe it is not altogether a bad thing. It shows that in matters of foreign policy there is still, as there has always been in the past, a broad measure of agreement between the Parties; and this, I am sure the noble Earl will agree, strengthens the hand of the Government when they are negotiating with other countries. I should like to say at the outset—and I am sure that other noble Lords will endorse what I propose to say—how glad I was that the noble Earl's visit to Japan was such a success, and how glad I was that he went. I think it was the first time that a Foreign Secretary had visited Japan since the war. It is most important that Japan should be brought into closer co-operation with the West. I believe that Japan is considering entering O.E.C.D., and if we can get Japan as a partner in that organisation that will mean strengthening the partnership of Japan with the West and with the developing countries.

My Lords, in the rest of what I want to say I shall be as brief as I can—indeed, out of self-preservation I think that is probably good policy—but I propose to say something about Africa. During the course of this debate, most of which I have heard, there have been several references to Africa, notably by my noble friend Lord Shackleton, the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and I think that what I have to say will not be repetitive, for my views may be rather different and I may deal with one or two situations with which they themselves did not deal. I think we are all aware, and I imagine that those noble Lords who spoke about Africa will agree, that we are at the present time confronted with a most critical and difficult period in our relations with the independent African States. Whether, within the not far distant future, we shall find ourselves dealing with a friendly or a hostile Africa; whether the former British territories in Africa stay within the Commonwealth or leave it; whether Africa will be the scene of co-operation or strife between the races, will be decided by what the Government do in the very near future about our remaining African dependencies. If mistakes are made, immense and irreparable harm may be done to the Commonwealth, to British interests and British influence in Africa, and to race relations. I very much hope that this debate, and all the speeches that have been made on the subject of Africa, will assist the Government in arriving at the right decisions.

I should like to say something, following the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, about the African Summit Conference at Addis Ababa. It was remarkable, as he said, because for the first time in African history there emerged a Pan-African policy—a policy shared by all the 32 African States, and a policy quite distinct from the separate policies of the individual African countries. I am sure we are all delighted (I can go this step further than the noble Lord, Lord Colyton) that these countries managed to find so large a measure of political and economic agreement. For instance, as Lord Colyton said, many political differences were overcome, including the long-standing opposition between the Casablanca and Monrovia groups.

My Lords, this declaration of African policy gives us an opportunity to review our own policy, to see how far it conflicts and how far it harmonises with the policy laid down in the Charter of African Unity, and to compare our policy with the policy of other great Powers who still have responsibilities in Africa, namely, France and the United States. The dangerous thing is that there is, I believe, a very large area of possible, and even likely, conflict between the purposes of the African countries as laid down in this Charter and the purposes and methods of British policy; and we must try to find how far an adjustment can be made.

Until the end of last year things were going pretty well for us in Africa. The Commonwealth was steadily expanding as more territories in East and West Africa became independent. We were reaping in these countries the good will that independence brings, and throughout Africa there was sincere admiration for our progressive and liberal policy of de-colonisation. Now, all this good will and respect for us in Africa are in jeopardy. I should like to quote a sentence from a leader that appeared in The Times on June 3. I do not always agree with leaders in The Times—some of them recently have been rather controversial—but on this occasion a great expert on Africa, The Times leader writer, has said something which should give us all cause for thought. What he said was this: … it is not the record in East and West Africa that Africans regard as the test of British sincerity, but Britain's performance in the witches' cauldron of the southern end of the continent". I am afraid that that statement is right and true; and in a year's time we shall find, looking back, that even more people will agree with the truth of that statement than perhaps do so at the present moment.

In the second clause of this new African Charter there is reference to the "eradication of colonialism", and this shows that the determination of all the black and brown African countries to put an end to white rule in the small area where it still survives is as firm as ever; and if we want to avoid violence, as we all do—and there is a great risk of violence—we must move more rapidly in the direction of African freedom. I still think that the Government (although this is, of course, the object of its policy) do not appreciate the urgency of this African demand.

In this respect, I should like to take a brief look at French policy. It seems to me that since 1960, when General de Gaulle changed his policy towards Africa, the French have been more intelligent, as well as more generous, than ourselves. In spite of the Algerian war, France has now succeeded in liquidating the whole of her African empire without losing the affection and regard of French-speaking Africans; and anyone who goes to French-speaking Africa will testify to the immense regard that is felt in these countries for France. We are less fortunate than France because we have been slower to move with the times. We have still to dispossess ourselves of a very large part of our African empire, of Kenya, of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, of Southern Rhodesia and the High Commission Territories. And we cannot tell, until this whole process of decolonisation in British Africa is completed, whether, at the end of it, we shall enjoy in African eyes the standing we have now or whether we shall have the standing, say, of the Portuguese. I am not for a moment criticising or commenting on what the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said about Portuguese Africa, but I am saying that in the eyes of African countries the standing of the Portuguese is very low indeed.

That, then, is the situation with which we are confronted in Africa, and I should like briefly to say something about each of what I believe are the really critical areas. First, Kenya. Here I think the most helpful development for the future of Kenya has been the proposed East African Federation, to which the three East African countries, Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika, agreed in the first week of June. At this point I should like to ask the Government a question. These countries want to federate, and surely we should do everything in our power to aid federation in Africa. They want to federate by the end of the year, but they cannot do so until Kenya becomes independent. We have been waiting for a long time for the Government to tell us whether or not they have decided to make Kenya independent by the end of the year. We have every reason to suppose that a decision has been taken, and I hope (because Parliament has a right to know if this decision has been taken by the Executive, which is responsible to Parliament) that if the Government have a reason for not communicating this decision to Parliament, they will give it to us. After all, this is a matter of extreme importance and a direct Parliamentary responsibility for one of our most important colonial territories in Africa; and the whole prospect of federation depends on the timing of independence for Kenya.

Apart from the immense advantages to Kenya—and, indeed, to the other African territories concerned—of federation, it seems to me to be the best hope for a solution of the Somali problem. We always listen to the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, with immense pleasure and interest when he speaks of Somalia, and we are delighted to have someone who can put the Somali case in this House, but I must confess that I differed from the views he expressed about a possible solution for the problem. He said that the situation in relation to Somalia has not changed. I believe that it has changed as a result of federation and as a result of the talks between the Somalia Government and the Kenya Government during the Conference on federation.

I believe that the Somali Foreign Minister, Mr. Isa, who was at the Federation Conference as an observer, said that the thought the best way to solve the problem was for Somalia to join the Federation. If what is now the North-East region of Kenya, the western part of what used to be the Northern Frontier Province, were to transfer to Somalia when the Federation is set up, Kenya would get rid of its Somali majority area, and a happy relationship would be established between the two countries. I submit to the noble Earl that is a more possible and practicable solution than an imposed solution by the British Government, which really could not take place now when we have given Kenya self-government. We cannot interfere in the internal affairs of a country which has been given self-government. Perhaps the noble Earl would like to comment on this.


My Lords, since the noble Earl gives me the opportunity, I should like to ask whether he was present when I mentioned the broadcast the morning before last of the Ministry of Information in Mogadishu. That is, at any rate, at variance with what he has just cited as the opinion of the Foreign Minister; and I would say that it is a superior version of what the Somalis think and represents the Prime Minister's opinion, which I have also given separately.


The noble Earl may be right. I cannot say whether this broadcast, or what was reported to be said by the Somali Foreign Minister, represents the point of view of the Somali Government. I daresay the noble Earl who will reply may be able to put us both right; I daresay we are both wrong. At any rate, we shall look to him for guidance.

I cannot help feeling that, whatever the view of the Somali Government may be, a settlement on these lines, which I believe would appeal to the noble Earl himself, whatever the method of arriving at it may be, would be a fair, reasonable compromise, and if it were adopted by the countries concerned would re-establish a happy relationship between them.


My Lords, may I interrupt once more? I am afraid I must emphasise that I support the theories which the noble Earl himself has previously urged with regard to the Federation of Rhodesia: freedom first, federation afterwards.


I am grateful to the noble Earl because he has given me a perfectly good excuse for taking rather longer than the five minutes I originally said I would inflict upon your Lordships.

This East African Federation, which I hope the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, will say the Government are supporting to the best of their ability, opens a new vista of hope and opportunity for many countries besides the three sponsors. Zanzibar has been specifically asked to join. I was glad to note that the Prime Minister of Zanzibar has accepted the invitation. Could the noble Earl say what our attitude is towards the desire of Zanzibar to join the Federation?—because, again, Zanzibar cannot join the Federation until it becomes independent. But, of course, this new federated area in East and Central Africa will have attractions later on for other countries: Ethiopa, for example, and, I hope, at a later stage for Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia.

The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, referred to the talks going on at the present time between Mr. Butler and Mr. Field at Victoria Falls on the sub ject of Southern Rhodesia. The White Paper which was published last week with the correspondence between Mr. Butler and Mr. Field shows that the terms for independence for Southern Rhodesia have not yet been agreed. I think Mr. Butler is to be congratulated on his success in convincing Mr. Field after he came to London that he cannot have independence before the Federation is dissolved, and also on persuading both him and Sir Roy Welensky to join the conference at Victoria Falls.

What Mr. Butler has not told us is the terms on which he would offer independence to Southern Rhodesia. That is the really crucial thing, because although we all desire independence for Southern Rhodesia, the whole question is the terms on which independence will be granted. It seems to me to be of the utmost importance to our relations with Africa and with the Commonwealth outside Africa that we should be told that this country would not give independence to Southern Rhodesia without a Constitution that ensures majority rule. It is no less important for Southern Rhodesia to realise that it will be debarred from the Commonwealth if it obtains independence under its present Constitution, for that, I think, was made clear during the time when Mr. Field was in London. From what I understand, it was the old Dominions—that is to say, the old Commonwealth countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand—which made it perfectly clear that if the time came, as it would come normally after independence, for them to be consulted about membership of Southern Rhodesia in the Commonwealth, they would not accede to this request if Southern Rhodesia retained its present Constitution.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl one question? Is it really the fact that Southern Rhodesia must seek the approval of other members of the Commonwealth before remaining in the Commonwealth? She has been a member for over forty years, and, as I understand it, there would not necessarily be any question of having to obtain permission.


My Lords, I think the noble Lord is not quite correct on the constitutional procedure. We have the noble Earl opposite who is a former Colonial Secretary, and no doubt he will correct me if I am wrong. I think the procedure is that after a country becomes independent, which is entirely a matter for the British Government and the Government of the Colony concerned, and that constitutional stage is reached, then it asks all the members of the Commonwealth to admit it as a full member of the Commonwealth. I think it is important that these immensely important issues should be made absolutely clear, and we should know where the Government stand and what their policy is.

I hope the Government are aware how strongly a lot of African countries feel about the Rhodesian issue. For instance, the Prime Minister of Uganda said it would leave the Commonwealth, even break off diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom, if we gave independence to Southern Rhodesia under its present Constitution. That may be something rather hasty, which I dare say the Government of Uganda might regret later on, but it indicates the state of mind of African countries, and I think Asian countries, in the Commonwealth about Southern Rhodesia. It is surely not too much to hope that Mr. Field, who has already shown great reasonableness by coming round to the idea of attending the Conference at Victoria Falls, can be persuaded that we really cannot do something that would break up the Commonwealth and antagonise the whole of Africa. Moreover—I am sure he would look at it from this point of view as well—it is tremendously to the advantage of Southern Rhodesia, whatever the future may bring, to have the economic support of this country, and of its neighbours in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

I was going to say something about the Federation, but I will not inflict that on your Lordships. I would say one or two words about South Africa, because I think it is important, as it will show the really major difference between the policy of the Government and the policy of the Opposition. Whatever we do in other parts of Africa, I do not believe that we can retain African good will if we go on supplying arms to South Africa. This will be in African eyes the crucial test of our sincerity. I find it rather difficult to understand why the Government wish to go on supplying arms to what is in fact a police state. I am sure they are wrong about the balance of advantage. No doubt the decision turns on the balance of advantage. But the most important consideration, after all, is a simple consideration of principle. We do not supply arms to Russia, China, Spain, and other police states. Why then should we send to South Africa arms that might be used against the civilian population?

It may be said that one can distinguish only between arms used against external attack and arms that can be used for internal security. But I do not think the Government make this distinction. The other day they decided to sell helicopters to South Africa, and helicopters can obviously be used for purposes of internal security. The simple consideration is that of principle, and fortunately a consideration of principle can be understood by ordinary people. This is a consideration that will be understood by the ordinary people of this country just as well as by the ordinary people of Africa: Do we, or do we not, go on selling arms to a police state?

8.40 p.m.


My Lords, in this long debate, which has not been quite so long in time as I had expected—and I have listened to every speech in it: perhaps I am the only one of your Lordships who has—there has been no consistent or dominant theme of division or controversy among your Lordships. The special point which the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, included in his Motion—that is, the need for a test ban agreement—has already been fully covered by the Foreign Secretary. Therefore, I think your Lordships would wish me to conclude the debate quite briefly by trying to deal with a few of those points which have been raised since my noble friend spoke. The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, has described them as a large number of solos. He might have added that not only the audience but most of the orchestra have by now departed. Certainly the double bass, the 'cello and the trombones have gone; only the second fiddle is left playing, not a long solo but a brief finale.

The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, made as he often does, a most interesting and informed speech about the scientific context of nuclear test ban negotiations and also of disarmament negotiations. I think the noble Lord may perhaps have misunderstood the Foreign Secretary in the matter upon which he thought he had fallen into a contradiction. I think what my noble friend said was that he had been encouraged at first by Mr. Gromyko's offer of inspection of rockets on the launching pads after a disarmament agreement had been carried out—that is, inspection of the remaining rockets. What he added was that Mr. Gromyko did not offer or give any encouragement to those who desired to go on to have an agreement of a wider inspection which would make sure that no other concealed rocket sites were being built; and his idea was that it would not be any use being able to have an inspection of the remaining rockets, which were admitted, if there was no means of discovering whether the balance would be upset by the construction of a whole lot of new, concealed launching sites about which nothing had been disclosed.

The noble Lord also developed a full argument against the American proposal for a multi-manned force, and in that, as we all expected, he was supported with great vigour by the noble and gallant Field Marshal, Lord Montgomery of Alamein, and, later on, in a slightly different context, by my noble friend Lord Boothby. I think the position of the Government in this has been made quite plain. At Nassau, the Prime Minister and President Kennedy both looked forward to creating a NATO nuclear force, first of all by the assignment of existing forces, and several steps have already been taken to that end. Agreement has been reached with the United States Government on the provision of Polaris missiles for these submarines. A NATO Ministerial meeting at Ottawa approved measures to re-organise the nuclear forces of the Alliance, including the assignment of the British V-bomber force and also of the United States Polaris submarines to Supreme Allied Command in Europe.

This arrangement had a double object. One was to increase the nuclear striking power which was directly available to NATO, and also to give member Governments a greater sense of participation in the management of nuclear forces; and it was with those objects in view that the United States proposed the formation of this mixed-manned force. We have undertaken to consider whether we can contribute to a mixed-manned force, but we have entered into no commitment either at Nassau or elsewhere in regard to participation, and the whole question is still under careful examination. As some of your Lordships have mentioned in this debate, Admiral Ricketts and a team of United States Navy experts have lately had discussions with our own defence authorities about this mixed-manned concept. These conversations, which covered both the military issues and more detailed and technical questions, were of great value to ourselves and go doubt to the United States, and our object has been to give the most serious and full consideration to the proposals which have been put forward by our Allies.

There is, of course, the technical feasibility of this force which was the main subject of conversation with Admiral Ricketts; but there is also the question whether there is a military need for this force in NATO; there is a question of what the cost will be, and the question of what effect it will have on the provision of other forces necessary for the defence of the Alliance, and whether it will serve the political purposes for which it is designed. These are all matters which ought to receive, and which we are determined shall receive, most serious consideration, but we are under no obligation in the matter.

I think your Lordships will agree that, if we were to use the expressions which have been used by the noble and gallant Field Marshal in this debate, it might add to what he called the general bonhomie of NATO, but it would not add to the value of our relationship with the United States. After all, they are our greatest Ally, and when you have a proposal put by an Ally you must consider it seriously and earnestly, and not frivolously. This matter was also dealt with by my noble friend Lord Boothby in his speech. He started by saying that we had to choose between Kennedy and de Gaulle, and in his judgment we ought to follow Kennedy. But he went on to develop an argument that we should oppose President Kennedy in the only matter which Lord Boothby dealt with—namely, this multi-manned proposal.

He gave as reasons for opposing it that it would create anxiety among other countries in regard to the nuclear potentiality of Germany, and he pointed out that one of the great dangers to peace was national proliferation of nuclear weapons. That is quite true, but I think it is fair and right to say that the main purpose of the American Administration in putting forward this proposal is precisely to prevent the national proliferation of nuclear power. Their idea is that by having a plan of this kind, you will make it much less likely, and not more likely, that Germany may, perhaps from other sources and with other helpers, acquire independent nuclear power of her own. One of the objects of the Americans in doing this is to try to prevent the spread of national nuclear forces.

I was glad my noble friend Lord Boothby—who I am glad to see is now visible again—went on to say that, although we had to choose between Kennedy and de Gaulle, an Atlantic union must eventually include France. He no doubt will have seen that President Kennedy in his Frankfurt speech yesterday spoke about an Atlantic association with a united Europe, and I think the implication was that it would be rather meaningless if France were to be left out.


Hear, hear!


The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, has sent his regrets that, like many other of your Lordships, he has been unable to stay until the end of the debate. I thought he made a very interesting and useful speech about the history of the United Nations, pointing out that while its original founders had intended the executive power to be vested in the Security Council, the subsequent "Uniting for Peace" procedure had transferred a great measure of power to the more irresponsible Assembly, with consequences with which we are all very familiar.

A vast number of small nations, often immature and inexperienced, with equal voting power in the Assembly, have been able to influence the policy—which has to be paid for, as the noble Marquess said, by the larger Powers, often against their better judgment. He gave a number of examples of that, and I think in general I found myself in agreement with what he said. Particularly in relation to Central Africa it has always seemed to me that the mistaken and unwarrantable attempts of the Committee of 24—the Colonial Committee—to interfere with what is really a British concern in Central Africa has had a deplorable effect. It has had the effect of promoting extremism on both sides. I very much doubt whether the present difficult position in Central Africa would have arisen if it had not been for what I must describe as the very mischievous activities of this Colonial Committee.

Several other noble Lords spoke about Africa—not only the noble Earl who has just resumed his seat and to whom I will refer in a moment, but also the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, and my noble friend Lord Colyton. Lord Lytton spoke exclusively about the unfortunate breach with Somaliland; my noble friend Lord Colyton, among other things, about the Congo; and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, about various principles of British policy in Africa. I do not think that the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, was really justified in criticising Her Majesty's Government for the breach, which we all regret and deplore, that has taken place between ourselves and the Somalis.

I really think that it is the Somali Government which is entirely to blame for this. When their Ambassador was recalled to Somaliland as a preliminary to the severance of negotiations, I interviewed the Charge d'Affaires and impressed upon him what an unfortunate thing it would be—rather more unfortunate for Somaliland than for us—if they proceeded to take this extreme step. I pointed out to him that when the Somali Prime Minister had sent a telegram to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr. Macmillan had sent him a detailed reply giving him a categorical assurance that the measures now being taken in Kenya and which had been announced in the previous week would in no way prejudice the final decision on this question and that the Somali Government would be given an opportunity to express their views on this subject before any final decision was taken. These assurances had been frequently repeated to the Somali Government by our Ambassador in Mogadishu. We considered that we had done a great deal to make a solution based on self-determination more practical by forming this new district in Kenya, with very large self-governing powers, which was delineated in order to include all the inhabitants of that region who were Somalis.

I thought at the time, and still think, that the action of the Somali Government in breaking off relations was impetuous, foolish, inexcusable and very much against the interests of the Somalis themselves. Indeed. I have little doubt that the Somali Government are conscious in their own mind that their action was based not upon the merits of the case but in response to ill-informed popular agitation. It is a very unfortunate thing. The result is that they have left themselves almost without a friend. They have broken off relations with us; they have antagonised nearly everybody else. Nevertheless, we still very much hope that a peaceful and agreed solution may be found on this question.

The noble Earl, Lord Lytton mentioned his last speech on the subject, when he was answered by my noble friend Lord Lansdowne. Since that debate it has been gratifying to see that there have been a few developments which have at least partly fulfilled the need for a period of calm reflection to which Lord Lansdowne referred at that date. At the Addis Ababa Conference of Heads of African States we noted that although there was disagreement on this question some fruitful contacts were made between the Somali delegation and the Ethiopian Government; and after the conference the Somali Foreign Minister was invited to take part in discussions in Nairobi with the leaders of the three East African territories. I also understand that the new Kenya Administration intend to have further discussions with the Somali Government; and I think that an incidental result of these various discussions so far has been a noticeable decrease in the number of uncompromising utterances by African leaders on this subject.

I should like to say to the noble Earl that the interests of Her Majesty's Government in a final settlement is very great, although it may be less direct than that of the immediate parties to the dispute. And while we fervently hope that a settlement may be arrived at—and we shall always be glad to do anything to facilitate it—I think that, having regard to these discussions, it would be very unwise that we should attempt to intervene at this moment.


My Lords, can the noble Earl say—because this is very important—whether or not both Kenya and Somalia agreed at the Addis Ababa Conference, as I think is in the Charter, to settle their differences by peaceful means? If that is so, that surely makes the prospect of a peaceful settlement far better than it has ever been before.


I certainly hope so, my Lords. We know that these expressions of intention are often made at conferences of that kind, and I hope that in this case it will be found to be based on the practical intentions of the parties concerned.

My noble friend Lord Colyton asked one particular question about the Congo; that is to say, whether the Federal Constitution was being applied. It is not yet. The Congo is still ruled by the provisional Constitution decreed by the Belgians when independence was granted three years ago. The new Federal Constitution was tabled a month or two ago before the Central Parliament, but it has not yet been discussed by the Central Parliament in Leopoldville. When it has passed the Parliament it will have to go before each of the 21 Provincial Legislatures, which is bound to be a lengthy process. I do not want, again, to go over this Congo question, which we have often discussed, as my noble friend is aware. The Government did not entirely agree with the course of action taken by the United Nations in this matter, and we think that it would have been very much better if a Federal Constitution had been agreed on earlier and without the use of United Nations troops.

My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, made various observations about the principles of our policy in Africa. He alluded to the happy result of French dealings with their former Colonies, except of course in Algeria, where there was a much more difficult problem. I am sure that we should wish particularly to avoid any sequence of events, which might be at all comparable to what happened there, in any territories for which we are responsible where there is a substantial white population. We want to bring about if we can, as I think my noble friend Lord Colyton advocated, a policy of racial co-operation, not racial antagonism, and we very much regret the various issues which, in one way or another, have made that more difficult.

The noble Earl asked one or two particular questions about our intentions toward Kenya, and towards the proposed East African Federation, which he related to each other, because he said that it might be desirable that the date of Kenyan independence should be known before an agreement about the possible Federation could be reached. The noble Earl will understand that this is a matter upon which one must be particularly careful in what one says at this moment, because words are so easily reported and misunderstood. With regard to the question of Kenyan independence, I think that my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary gave a Written Answer on that in another place yesterday. What he said was that he has had satisfactory talks on the subject of independence with the Minister for Constitutional Affairs in the Kenya Government—that is, Mr. Tom Mboya. He has had these talks, and I understand that they were satisfactory both to the Colonial Secretary and to Mr. Mboya. The conclusions from those talks are being considered by our own Government and by the Kenya Government, and a statement will be made next week about the matter. In view of that, I think it would be wrong if I were to attempt to speculate or to give any further statement on the matter.


My Lords, can the noble Earl not say why, if the decision has been taken, the statement cannot be made now; and why we have to wait until next week?


I did not say that the decision on the date had been taken. What I said was that my right honourable friend had had talks with Mr. Mboya which were satisfactory to both parties; that the conclusions are being considered by the British and Kenya Governments; and that a statement is to be made next week. I think that that is obviously as far as I can go to-night.

With regard to the East African Federation, my Lords, Her Majesty's Government welcome all efforts by the Governments concerned to form closer associations among themselves, and they welcome and will support this initiative. Whether the success of such initiative would demand, as a prerequisite, that all the people eventually joining the Federation should first achieve independence is, I should have thought, rather doubtful. The noble Lord particularly mentioned Zanzibar. I see no reason why the statement I have just made should not apply to Zanzibar, but I would not say that it necessarily depended on Zanzibar's achieving independence this year.


May I put it this way? Would the noble Earl not agree that it would be impossible for any African country, or indeed any European country, which wanted to enter into a federation to do so unless it was a sovereign country?


Certainly, yes. But surely it is possible to join the Federation after the Federation has been formed—not being a foundation member, so to speak. I merely said that to safeguard what might happen. I think there is no reason why we should fundamentally disagree with what the noble Earl said about Rhodesia. There, again, in view of the Conference at Victoria Falls at which my right honourable friend the First Secretary is just about to preside, and for whose initiation I think he deserves great credit, what we want is to see Southern Rhodesia become independent in circumstances which will enable her to take her place in the Commonwealth and in the Comity of Nations; and not under conditions which will cause her to run the risk of ostracism or outside interference.

At the talks which were held in London, various possible amendments to the Constitution were adumbrated which would result in broadening the basis of representation in the Legislature. The future development of a policy of nondiscrimination was also a subject of discussion. I think that your Lordships are fully aware of the sentiments and hopes of my right honourable friend the First Secretary on this matter, and we all join in wishing him good fortune in this difficult endeavour in which he is now engaged. I do not think that at this hour your Lordships would wish me to engage in controversy about a matter which the noble Earl was good enough to say was the only matter which divided us—arms to South Africa. It is, as he will agree, a very wide and difficult question, and all I can say is that he is correct in thinking that we hold different views about this. I could certainly not agree with those views which he expressed a few minutes ago.

My Lords, I was glad to hear the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, express optimism about South-East Asia. I was also sorry to hear him just before that express gloom about Africa. I think we need to be careful, on the one hand, not to indulge in wishful thinking about any of these matters; and, on the other, not to say anything which creates alarm and despondency. I am grateful for what the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, said, in particular, about Malaysia. We have discussed this before. I think we referred to it in a debate on Foreign Affairs which we had in February, when I remember that the noble Lord expressed his view that it might have been better if independence had not been granted quite so quickly, but, of course, one must remember in these matters that when we have decided that independence should be given and when we have decided that the new plan will result in the formation of a viable nation which is able to carry on without our superiority, without our sovereignty, then the longer you delay that, the more chance there is of difficulties and obstacles of all kinds arising.

There is, as your Lordships know, one difficulty which has arisen in regard to finance at the moment: differences between the Governments of Malay and of Singapore, which came to a head in the last few weeks. Her Majesty's Government invited representatives of both Governments to London to help to resolve these problems, and we are confident—and I am glad to hear that Lord Shackleton agrees—that this will facilitate early agreement. But your Lordships will not expect me to go into details on the very eve of these important and rather delicate discussions.

So far as the international aspect of Malaysia is concerned, there has recently been a helpful development to which the noble Lord referred. The Foreign Ministers of Indonesia, Malay and the Philippines met in Manila earlier this month and reached agreement on a number of recommendations to be considered at next month's meeting of the Prime Minister of Malaya and the President of Indonesia, and the Philippines. I think, broadly speaking, the Philippines have accepted the idea of Malaysia, subject to further confirmation by the Secretary-General of the United Nations that this would be in accordance with the will of the peoples of the Borneo territories. This important step towards closer understanding among Malaysia and her neighbours in South East Asia is most welcome to us, and we hope that next month's meeting will complete the good work, ensuring that Malaysia will come into being on the appointed date—that is, August 31 —with the good will of all concerned.

My Lords, I would conclude by saying that I think the reason why so many of our debates proceed with so much concord in this House is largely due to the moderation and good sense of the Opposition, particularly of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, to whom, I think, your Lordships in a Parliamentary sense owe a great deal of gratitude in that respect. I think we are all particularly dominated by the feeling that we are all searching, as it were, for a small needle in a large haystack—that is, trying to find some opening which will start the process of forming better relations and a better understanding between the Iron Curtain countries and ourselves. That means very long, patient endeavour. We do not know whether we shall find the needle next month, or next year, or not for ten years, but we must go on and we must persevere, although we must often experience feelings of frustration.

I think we are helped by the agreement on both sides in this matter that we cannot have a free and secure world until we have broken down misunderstanding between ourselves and the peoples, as well as the Governments, of the Iron Curtain countries. The more contacts we can have with them; the more trade we can do with them; the more agreements—although perhaps not very important in themselves—we can have with them, the more chance there is that, in the course of time, the natural feelings of the people of these countries in favour of peace, as the feelings of the ordinary man and woman always are, will prevail. I think it is encouraging that there is such a measure of agreement in this respect, and it is one for which I should like to express my recognition and gratefulness to the noble Lord opposite.

9.15 p.m.


My Lords, I think that this has been one of the best and most worthwhile debates on Foreign Affairs since I came into the House, and I am very grateful, first, to the noble Earl, who has replied to the many speeches that have been made since the Foreign Secretary addressed the House. I am also grateful to the Foreign Secretary because he answered very thoroughly the main points that I myself raised and which were raised also by subsequent speakers.

There are only two points on which I want to make comments. I raised the question of the multilateral force, and most speakers have referred to it—Members on the Government side, Members on the Cross Benches and Members on this side. I think it had very rough treatment. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will remember what has been said to-day when he and the Prime Minister are discussing this matter at the week-end with the American President.

The second point I want to refer to arose in the speech made by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, which was also supported by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, when they referred to the United Nations. I cannot let it pass without saying in a sentence that I do not go along with the criticisms made by the noble Marquess and his solutions for them. If I may say so, I was a little surprised that the Minister of State went so far as he did in support of the criticisms and the suggestions made by the noble Marquess. I am speaking off the record at the moment, but my recollection is that the work of the Committee of 24 does not arise from the "Uniting for Peace" resolution. Had there been no "Uniting for Peace" resolution I think that the Committee of 24 would still be operational, and that has nothing to do with the main point that was raised. I think it would be a very retrograde step to attempt to withdraw from the General Assembly the powers which it gets under the "Uniting for Peace" resolution. Indeed, what is needed is to give full implementation to the other terms of that resolution.

Finally, on behalf of all of us, I should like to say to the noble Viscount the Leader of the House, who is going on this special mission, that we wish him well on this because, if there is one thing which is clear from the debate, it is that we all want to see a test-ban treaty arrived at, and if the noble Viscount can bring that about he will have the gratitude of us all. My Lords, I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.